The Chain #20

A warm welcome to all the Chain Gang for the latest instalment in…erm…well, The Chain, obviously.

It seems you’ve decided to take it easy on me this week, with, at the time I’m starting to write this, just the 16 suggestions (plus mine) received. So far. Can’t rule out the occasional late arrival though.

So to recap: we ended last week with The Smiths “Rusholme Ruffians/His Latest Flame (Medley)”, and of course we were looking for your suggestions for records which can be linked to that.

Now you know the score by now: at this point I would normally simply go through the list of suggestions, in the order that I received them, until we get to the end, I suggest mine, reveal what the actual link from the official BBC The Chain is, and invite your links to that ready for next week.

This week, however, I’m going to mix it up a little bit, because, well frankly, the last suggestion I received simply has to be first.

Here’s George to explain:

“I’ve got a link to Ant and Dec………..”

Is it just me, or has it suddenly got very cold in here?

“In The Smiths the drummer was Andy Rourke. PJ O’Rourke is an American journalist……..and PJ and Duncan were in Byker Grove (not actually filmed in Byker) and they released a few singles, for example ‘Lets Get Ready to Rumble’ And PJ and Duncan are better known (according to my partner) as Ant and Dec!”

I love the double disclaimer in George’s suggestion, not just the “according to my partner” bit, but also spelling Rumble in the way he has, instead of the way that we all know it was actually spelt on that legendary single. Like this:

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PJ & Duncan – Let’s Get Ready to Rhumble

Fear not. That’s not the last we’ve heard of from George this week. And I should stress, his suggestions get better, not worse.

So, to The Swede, of Unthought of, though, somehow with a short, but sweet, suggestion:

“From Smith to Jones – Meilyr Jones with the terrific ‘How to Recognise a Work of Art’.”

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Meilyr Jones – How To Recognise A Work Of Art

If you don’t know that record – as I didn’t until The Swede suggested it and I went a-huntin’ – I would heartily recommend you give it a go. It reminds me of My Life Story crossed with Johnny Boy’s “You Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes”, and if that doesn’t tempt you, then I don’t know what will. In fact, if I can go all Victor Kiam for a moment, I liked it so much I’ve gone and got me the album, 2013, too. So, y’know, cheers Swede!

Anyway, back to business. Here’s babylotti:

“Mint Royale released a single called ‘From Rusholme with Love’, one of their most well known tracks is ‘Sexiest man in Jamaica’, not many know the sample was lifted from a live Selecter album with Prince Buster introducing the song in his own humble way, so I suggest that song: The Selecter ft Prince Buster, Rough Rider”

I just confess, I’d often wondered where that sample was lifted from. Cheers for enlightening me.

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The Selecter feat. Prince Buster – Rough Rider (Live)

In case you don’t know the Mint Royale tune babylotti refers to, it’s this:

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Mint Royale – Sexiest Man In Jamaica

And before we go any further, it would be improper not to doff a cap, raise a glass, or show respect in whatever way you think is appropriate, to the now late, always great Prince Buster who passed away last week.

Look out, here come George again.

“I’ve got a link involving Mick Hucknall………..”

No, it’s definitely got colder again.

“Johnny Marr of The Smiths was born in Manchester as was Mick Hucknall….(wait, it gets better) and Mick Hucknall recorded a trbute album of songs of Bobby “Blue” Bland (I promise you it gets better very soon……), for which Mr Hucknall was fortunate not to be sent to prison, and amongst the many fine songs recorded by Bobby “Blue” Bland is one from his R&B era, ‘Little Boy Blue’ (which is my favourite of all his songs).”

Judge for yourselves, Chain Gangers.

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Bobby “Blue” Bland  – Little Boy Blue

Better than his first suggestion, no? And at least it isn’t an actual record by the Tiffany-from-EastEnders’ vomit covered singer (look it up).

Ok, here’s SWC from When You Can’t Remember Anything:

“So Rusholme, Google tells me, is in Manchester. The Smiths also famously put Strangeways on their album sleeves which is also in Manchester. The Mull Historical Society also sang about Strangeways in their minor classic ‘Strangeways Inside’”

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Mull Historical Society – Strangeways Inside

That’s an album I’ve owned for ages but have never really got into. You’d think having seen them, albeit on the main stage at Glastonbury, on a gloriously sunny Saturday afternoon, when I was too mashed to move having over-done the space cakes would endear them to me, wouldn’t you?

“Or just post Sackville by the Carpets” continues SWC.

That’s more like it!

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Inspiral Carpets – Sackville

We are now about to go fully Manc.

I’ll hand you over to Badger (also of When You Can’t Remember Anything) for the next link:

“Taking the Manchester thing that my esteemed colleague SWC mentioned and twisting it slightly by introducing ‘Shadows of Salford’ by Doves”

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Doves – Shadows of Salford

“But…” Badger continues, “Manchester is linked to Liverpool via a motorway. If you turn off that motorway near the end you end up near ‘New brighton’. Which has a promenade famously sung about by The Boo Radleys.

Well, it certainly has a promenade The Boo Radleys sang about. Famously, though….?:

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The Boo Radleys – New Brighton Promenade

You’ll recall that last week Swiss Adam from baggingarea managed to correctly guess the next song in the official chain. Let’s see if he can manage it again this week, shall we?

“To jump on Badger’s suggestion, Doves also had M62 Song which handily links Manchester and Liverpool westwards”.

No, he can’t, is the short answer.

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Doves – M62 Song

“I love all this talk of the M62” proffers The Great Gog. “It’s Immaterial started off in Liverpool and hypothesised about heading out to Manchester on Driving Away From Home (Jim’s Tune). – “it’s only 39 miles and 45 minutes…and that’s my birthplace you know”. Mine too!”

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It’s Immaterial – Driving Away From Home (Jim’s Tune)

One of my favourite records ever, that. I remember seeing them perform it on Top of The Pops back in 1986 and incredulously thinking: “What on earth is that??”

It’s a cracking anecdote, that, isn’t it?

“An alternative would be that in Rusholme Ruffians,” The Great Gog continues, “Morrissey makes reference to a speedway operator. The word speedway to me and many other Mancunians of my age evokes memories of the great Belle Vue Aces team of the 1970s, so perhaps a spot of Kathleen Edwards and “12 Bellevue” would be in order.”

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Kathleen Edwards – 12 Bellevue

This is where I piggy-back on The Great Gog’s idea. I made two semi-suggestions myself, both of which stem from his. The first was “Speedway” by Morrissey, but it seems a bit lame to link a record by The Smiths to a record by Morrissey, so I’ll scrub that.

However, I’m sticking with this absolute corker:

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Miaow – Belle Vue

Now then. We have an announcement. Regular Chain Ganger What’s It All About, Alfie? isn’t a spy at all, as we’d all suspected from her reluctance to divulge her name. No: it transpires that she has a name, and lo! It is Alyson.

Here’s her suggestion:

“Coming from the far north I get my English place names a bit muddled and in my head I got Rusholme and Rushden mixed up. I seem to remember when listening to football results being read out on a Saturday that there was a team called Rushden & Diamonds. Got me, in a very round about way, to thinking about the sadly missed Prince and one of my favourite songs from him – Diamonds & Pearls.”

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Prince & the New Power Generation – Diamonds and Pearls

Now, on to my remaining suggestions. I have to admit I was struggling a bit this week, figuring that most of you would go with links to The Smiths, to Rusholme, to Rank, but that very few of you would come up with anything linked to Ruffians. So, I flicked through my thesaurus (which I really should refer to again to come up with some alternatives for the word “suggestions”) which proffered the word “Barbarian”. Which leads me to this:

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Voice of the Beehive – There’s A Barbarian In The Back Of My Car

And I was going to leave it there, but I happened to notice for the first time that that was co-written by 1980s grebo Zodiac Mindwarp, which leads me to this:

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Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction – Prime Mover (Automatic Cannibal Mix)

Look out, George is back, and he’s taking the starting point for his third and final suggestion (which was actually his first…confusing doing this in a random order, innit?) as the album that The Smiths “Rusholme Ruffians/His Latest Flame (Medley)” is lifted from, Rank, and links it:

“…to J Arthur Rank (the British film producer) then using rhyming slang (“I’m just off for a “J Arthur” – a spot of one-handed lovemaking) to end with The Vapors song Turning Japanese, a song allegedly about Onanism – but the writer says that this is wrong.”

I have to say I’m rather disappointed if that’s the case. I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve told that is what the song’s about. Gah! Egg all over my face!

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The Vapors – Turning Japanese

Here comes Charity Chic:

“Staying on the ranking theme can I have the greatest one hit wonder of all time and a song which I think has featured on this series before (It hasn’t, or rather if it did, I forgot to tag it, although it has featured on this blog fairly recently – Ed.): Uptown Top Ranking by Althea and Donna.”

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Althea & Donna – Uptown Top Ranking

“If there is a rule about songs not featuring twice,” CC continues – there isn’t but I think we should perhaps introduce that rule now. Don’t want to make things too easy for me, now do you? –  “Ranking Full Stop by The Beat please.”

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The Beat – Ranking Full Stop

Time for the last of the suggestions, and I’ll hand over to Alex G from We Will Have Salad, who, rather annoyingly from my perspective, has a good memory:

“Well, you did lay down the challenge, so… The Smiths obviously links to Will Smith, who was half of DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince, and thereby had a hit with “Summertime”. You really should listen to your friends when they tell you it’s one of the two greatest records with “summer” in the title.”

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DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince – Summertime

I remain unbowed. I’m not saying it’s a bad record (although I have probably said that at one time or another). I’m just saying that if I have to pick my favourite two songs with the word “summer” in the title, I’m going for “Hot Fun in the Summertime” by Sly & The Family Stone and “Here Comes The Summer” by The Undertones every time. But each to his/her own, and all that.

And that’s the end of that, and you probably will have noticed that normality has been restored, and there’s been no  correct guesses as to the official link this week. As usual, that’s because your suggestions are all really good, and as usual, the official one is ever so slightly underwhelming:

“Another famous ‘Smith’ is Cure frontman Robert…”

The song, on the other hand, is terrific. But you already knew that, right?

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20. The Cure – In Between Days

And that’s it for another week. I would think most of you know what to do now, but we’re having a few more visitors to these shores recently, so I’ll recap: send me your suggestions for songs that you can link to The Cure’s “In Between Days”, along with a description of how you have got to your suggestion, via the Comments section below. All suggestions welcome.

See you all same time, same place, next week.

Oh, and more soon, obviously.

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Friday Night Music Club

This was supposed to be the last part of this “Songs With The Same Name As Television Programmes, But Which Are Not The Actual Theme Tune, Or A Cover Version Of The Theme Tune Of The Programme In Question” theme, but I’ve thought of enough additional ones to drag it out for another week after this. I’ll let you decide whether that’s a good thing or not.

So, we’ll kick things off with what seems to be the obligatory dollop of Britpop:

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246. The Boo Radleys – It’s Lulu

…the title of which is of course lifted from the TV show of the same name (obviously, hence it’s inclusion here. Do try and keep up, will you..?) as Scottish elf Lulu’s 1970s Saturday night spectacular (Disclaimer: the request for you to vote for Lulu to win a Brit award is nothing to do with me):

But whenever I hear the name Lulu, it’s not the Bee Gee-banging, Freemans catalogue saleswoman that first springs to my mind. No, it’s the character played by Kathy Burke in “Harry Enfield & Chums”:

Not the funniest clip in the world, I grant you, but you get the giste.

National Treasure-in-waiting Kathy’s had quite an increase in her online presence recently; she’s joined Twitter (if you like a good swear – and a good laugh – give her a follow @KathyBurke ), and has been interviewed by Adam Buxton on his wonderful podcast (which you can listen to here) and on Scroobius Pip’s fascinating Distraction Pieces podcast (which you can listen to here). Both are highly recommended.

Plus, Kathy’s in this, which I’d completely forgotten about until writing this post:

And she also declared her admiration for the lyrics of the bequiffed one when she appeared on Room 101 (go to 25:38 for the relevant bit):

And whilst she’s a highly regarded theatre producer these days, it is for this character and sketch that she is perhaps mostly fondly remembered:

Why am I banging on about Kathy Burke?, I hear you ask. Well, because of the sitcom she starred in which was named after this, that’s why:

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247. ABBA – Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)

Well, it is Eurovision weekend, after all. Can’t really not mention them somewhere, can I?

Now. Regular readers will know that I have often cited my older brother (hello!) as a major influence on my music tastes. As I’m a couple of years younger than him, and although later life has brought some kind of parity, when we were kids I always seemed to be a lagging behind in terms of records that we bought. Consequently for much of our youth I would have rather died than actually admit to liking anything he did: when he liked rock music, I was still into Bucks Fizz and Shakin’ Stevens; by the time I’d started listening to Deep Purple, AC/DC and Led Zeppelin, he had moved onto The Rolling Stones and The Jam, and had come back from America with his brace of albums by The Go-Go’s amongst other things; by the time I’d moved onto them, he was going Goth. You get the idea.

Anyway, the reason I mention this now is that I’ve been thinking for a while about doing a series of posts where I highlight records which he bought but which he probably would rather I didn’t remember him having, and of which he will doubtless deny all knowledge.

Like this one (oh, yes you did!):

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248. Eurythmics – Would I Lie To You?

This was the lead single and opening track from their fourth studio album, 1985’s “Be Yourself Tonight”, (which he bought), the second single from it being their only UK Number 1, “There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart)”, which is possibly one of my least favourite records ever, due to the ridiculous amount of over-signing which characterises it. I’m not going to post it, because I hate it so much.

His purchase of this album, though, does demonstrate another family trait which we both seem to have: not getting into bands until they’re past their best. By the time this came out, Eurythmics had all but ditched the electronic sound which informed their earlier finer moments, such as singles like “Love is a Stranger”, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made This)”, “Who’s That Girl?” and “Here Comes The Rain Again”, all released just a year or so earlier.

As for the TV show it links to, it’s a comedic update of “Call My Bluff”, a parlour game if you will. For those of you outside the UK who’ve never seen it, the premise is this: two teams of three play against each other. One player reads out a card containing a statement about something they must claim to do or have done; members of the opposing team question them and try to work out if they’re telling the truth or not. To make things more interesting, as they say, they have never seen the card before, which means if it’s a lie, their quick-wittedness and ability to lie is closely scrutinised.

Here are some of my favourite moments from the show. First, Glaswegian comedian Kevin Bridges tries to convince his opponents that he once bought a horse by mistake:

Secondly, Welsh comedian Rhod Gilbert explains how he once paid for some tapas with a Nissan Micra (this is the complete episode so feel free to skip forward to 24:18 for Rhod’s yarn):

Of course, the game is made even harder when you have the likes of the brilliant Bob Mortimer, who seems to be talking utter nonsense most of the time, on:

There is of course another famous song with the same name, another song that I’m not overly fond of, but in a spirit of both diversity and transparency, here’s the inexplicable  winner of three Ivor Novello Awards in 1992, for Best Contemporary Song, Best Selling Song and International Hit of the Year :

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249. Charles & Eddie – Would I Lie To You?

Every show I’ve mentioned so far this week has been broadcast on the BBC, so let’s change channels.

Between 1999 and 2006, ITV showed a drama series which I never watched, partly because it seemed to be a rip-off, albeit one with considerably higher production values, of Australian soap and late-night student/stoner favourite “Prisoner: Cell Block H”, and without a character with as great a name as “Vinegar Tits Vera”, but mostly because…well, it was on ITV, which is usually enough to put me right off.

Set in Larkhall, a fictional South London women’s prison, by which I mean a women’s prison in South London, not a prison for South London women (although now I think about it….), I speak of course of:

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250. Donna Summer – Bad Girls

And whilst we’re on prisoners, here’s The Clash with the B-Side of their single “(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais”:

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251. The Clash – The Prisoner

…which of course shares it’s name with the iconic, if mind-bending (read: weird), 1960s show starring Patrick McGoohan. Here’s the original opening sequence, which doesn’t half seem to go on:

One TV detective who was responsible for making a lot of people prisoners over the 69 episodes he starred (see what I did there? I really don’t just throw this together, you know), was Columbo.

In 2008, The Verve released their fourth album, the much anticipated follow-up to 1997’s critically acclaimed, multi-million selling “Urban Hymns”. However, “Forth”, for that was the witty moniker it received, was under-whelming at best, but did contain this:

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252. The Verve – Columbo

A few years ago, I was working for a motor insurance company, and was asked if I could come up with any incentive schemes to get the best out of the staff. Some of the claims we dealt with were theft-related, and which required a telephone interview of the policyholder. I, along with pretty much all of my colleagues, hated doing these, so I suggested that my employers should try to find a way to make these a less arduous task for us. To do this, I suggested a monthly cash prize for whoever used the phrase “Oh, there’s just one more thing …” at the end of the interview most often in the month,  just as the interviewee thought their ordeal was over,  presenting them with a killer question, catching them off guard.

The didn’t go for it. The fools. Perhaps I should have suggested a hand lion.

Ok, last one for this week.

I’ve always loved songs which tell a story, which explains why I like those old Country stars like Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, George Jones, Tom T. Hall so much, as well as folks like Ray Davies, Lennon & McCartney, Jagger & Richards, Nick Cave, Bruce Springsteen, and it’s to the latter that we turn to round things off.

The title track from his 1980 double-album of the same name, this is just wonderful:

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253. Bruce Springsteen – The River

And the link? In 1988, and running for just one series (it was THAT good) was a romantic comedy starring twinkly-eyed 70s heart-throb David Essex as lovable, Cockney, ex-convict (aren’t they all…?) Davey Jackson.

Nope, me neither.

More soon.