The Chain #49

I promise that I’m not going to start all of my posts with these words, but following the last instalment of The Chain I had an email from from long-time reader and Chain Gang contributor George who said that he was “toying with idea of making a cd of Chain 48”. (To any of our younger readers, CDs are what we used to record music on to and listen to music from before streaming and making playlists became things.)

Anyway, I thought this was an excellent idea, because I have a playlist for every edition of The Chain, the purpose of which was partly so that I could revisit and relive the good times and the bad, but mostly so that I could check whether something had already been suggested and therefore was precluded from being nominated again. You may have noticed I’ve been rather lax about this since The Chain returned, and that’s not going to change: I figure in these days of Trump & Johnson, of global pandemics*, international recessions, corruption at a governmental level, and starving children (it was The Chain or a Rant today), there’s more important things to worry about than duplications in The Chain back catalogue.

(*Sit down, New Zealand, I’m not talking about you)

Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that to get all of #48’s songs onto one CD would take a lot of editing choices, so I’d love to hear which songs made the cut – even more so should you decide on making one after you’ve read this one because this week (I say that like I post these every week, rather than every six weeks or so) we have just shy of 4 and 3/4 hours worth of tunes to get through, and I don’t think there’s a duff choice amongst them. Some ropey ones, yes, but duffers, no. But then Kay hasn’t suggested anything this time, so…..so maybe I should crack on.

Oh, and George (Incoming obligatory oblique 1970s TV reference that about 80% of you won’t get): I’m sorry but we aren’t able to return any drawings sent in, but yes, it is a big one, no I’ve never seen one quite that shape before, and no I don’t need you to send me a photo, but thank you for the offer.

OK, so let’s start as we usually do with a reminder of the source material this time around, which was this:

As you might expect, we have a lot of tunes related to Talk(ing), some related to Fear of Music (the album that features on), and then what I believe is the collective term for lots of suggestions on a similar theme: an absolute fuckload of songs linked to a specific city, or the words cities or city. As always, I’ll try to put them in an order that makes some kind of narrative sense (you’ve noticed I do that right?) but if you’re planning on doing yourself a playlist of these, I’d be interested to see if you think you’ve done better (NB: no I wouldn’t. Keep it to yourself, thanks very much).

Not quite first out of the traps this time was Swiss Adam from Bagging Area who, as he will explain, suggests a tune which simply demands to go first:

“Cities should have a theme and luckily we have an ahead of its time piece of ice cool euro dance that found a second life in the Balearic sounds of ’88 and thereafter:

Now, I don’t profess to know anywhere near as much about that there dance music as our Swiss, but I do know that got used on a tune recorded by David Russell Lee, who used to be known under the stage name of Joey Negro. Lee also recorded under many other pseudonyms, including this one, which throws in a Queen sample for good measure, and I think is what Swiss means when he says “thereafter”, given this came out in 2001:

But since we’re already going off on tangents, here’s a factoid for you (lifted from Wiki, so large pinch of salt at the ready): In 1993, Lee was approached by Take That’s label with a view to working together. Lee suggested they covered an old hit by Dan Hartman, which hadn’t been a hit in the UK but which had become a popular club track in the house music scene. They did as suggested, replacing Loleatta Holloway from the original with – who else? – Scottish songstress Lulu and lo! the boy band’s second number one in the UK was born.

Anyway. Cities. I think next I’ll hand over to Rigid Digit from Stuff & Nonsense to get us back on track:

“Knowing too much about 3rd Division Punk Bands (as I do), the phrase “Cities” immediately brought forth [this]…It’s OK, in a mohican wearing punky thrashing type way, but probably not what you’re looking for.”

Turns out, that’s quite the accurate description. I’m also imagining a purple and black furry jumper:

I gather Westlife are planning to do a cover of that as their comeback single.

Well, we seem to have strayed into the territory of songs with the word Cities in their title, so here’s another couple of suggestions. Firstly, C from Sun Dried Sparrows who says “I’m just plumping for the very first thing that comes into my head as a kind of quick subconscious response and it is…..:”

…which is bound to lighten the mood.

Let’s see what George can conjure up this time:

“Taking the cities from the song, to Manchester City, whose best English footballer was Colin Bell, whose birthday is February 26th, the same date as Michael Bolton…[Oh, Jesus, no…. – Ed]…wait for it…Fats Domino [Better – Ed]…and Johnny Cash, so my song is…:”

Phew!

I think at this point I should hand back to Rigid Digit, who gave me a whole host of acts who had recorded songs called In The City, the first of which was also suggested by Martin of New Amusements fame:

..and this (just Rigid Digit now):

and (which, if I was still giving points out, would earn a couple for being in one of the coolest films ever, but I’m not, so it won’t – and in any event, I’d have to deduct points for the artist having also been in The Eagles and Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band, surely the least cool bands ever):

and this:

Now. Regular readers will know that I have deep-seated hatred of songs being appropriated for advertising purposes, as documented in my S.S.O.S. (Stop Spoiling Our Songs) series. For the avoidance of doubt, I’m with the late, great Bill Hicks on this one:

Here’s a tune which I’ve been meaning to post for a while, and which samples Hicks and explains my thoughts better than I ever could, and which I must credit my old mate Dum Dum (not his real name) for bringing into my life:

See, it’s bad enough when songs we love are appropriated to sell something, but surely it’s even worse when an act we love pops over to an overseas land in the hope that those back home will never find out what they’ve done – and I’m looking at you Bacon and Clooney – isn’t it?:

Mostly because Joey did it too:

But I digress, again.

Rigid’s next suggestion is this: “…or even Starship who built this city on sausage rolls.” Now, we all know what he is obliquely referring to, and that’s the first of the last two Christmas #1s here in the UK. In a week where Tory MPs voted down a motion which would have ensured that children from poor families don’t starve because of the various lockdown restrictions, I thought it probably best if I didn’t post a free link to a song which tried to help. Instead, here’s the (extremely unfunny) video (and yes, this got to #1 in the UK):

…and here’s the song they are referencing:

To be fair, Rigid does offer up a vastly superior song, the title of which references the same source:

So before we set off on a little journey of all the songs mentioning actual cities in their titles or their lyrics (and there’s lots of them), we’ll have a look at all of the suggestions – most of them are mine, admittedly – which feature the word City in the title or in the artiste name. But before we do that, let’s get all of the other ones mopped up.

Here’s the Devonian with, I think, my favourite explanation ever:

“A geographical link… not going off “Cities” though, but rather the fact that the bassist in Talking Heads was the esteemed (albeit not by David Byrne) Tina Weymouth. That got me wondering whether there are any other groups with bassists named after gentrified Dorset coastal settlements. But I couldn’t find any, so I had to settle for a couple of singers instead. Therefore I give you Shelly and Karen Poole and…”

“…which is great and you know it is really.”

Actually, I’m more of an ‘I Am, I Feel’ kinda guy, as it goes, but that’s enough about why I can’t go on public transport without a responsible adult in tow anymore.

“Whilst Devonian was struggling for Dorset-named bass players to link to Tina Weymouth,” pipes up The Great Gog, “I found myself thinking of a feature of said coast that is named in a song – namely the theme tune to children’s TV show Portland Bill (which must have been 20 years old when my kids watched it on satellite telly in the early 00’s).

I can’t say this rang any bells with me at all, but I have managed to track down a copy of the writer of the theme tune in question, playing…well, it:

Next up is PhonicPat who, undeterred by suggesting the worst record last time out, has come up with a load of absolute bangers this time, starting with this, which kinda follows on given that it’s “made up of the rhythm section of Talking Heads” who just so happen to be husband and wife combo Chris Frantz (drums) and Tina Weymouth (bass and renowned gentrified Dorset coastal settlement):

Talking Heads “…tried to continue without Byrne and released the ‘No Talking Just Heads’ album” Pat continues, “featuring collaborations with Debbie Harry, Andy Partridge and Shaun Ryder amongst others therefore:”

and

and

And Pat isn’t finished there:

“[A] David Byrne/Talking Heads link” (as Byrne features as guest vocalist on this):

Now, there’s two things to say about that: firstly Byrne mentions New York at the start, and we’ll be coming on to that city in the fullness of time; and secondly these PhonicPat sponsored words: “…(along with saucy video)“.

In the name of research, strictly so that you don’t have to press play on this next video, you understand, I have watched this, several times, and can confirm that no matter how much you might slow it down or rewind and watch again, whoever had the job of censoring out the wobbly bits did a fine job. Still, best you approach with caution, eh?

Remind me in a bit to give you a related Pet Shop Boys fact, will you?

Since we seem to have landed on band-related suggestions, George is back again:

“From Talking Heads to the Talking Book album by Stevie Wonder, and the track:…”

And moving on to other suggestions about links to the band name we have Alyson from What’s It All About? who says: “We’ve had Dollar [last time out] so in the same vein can I suggest….”

Whoa there tiger! I need to explain the “in the same vein” bit, because Dollar should definitely not be bracketed with The Fizz so lightly. Oh no. For post-1980s fame The Fizz split into two factions: one containing original members Cheryl Baker, Mike Nolan and (sighs) Jay Aston, the other containing Bobby Gee and an almighty war broke out about who should use the name Bucks Fizz to promote their cruise ship wares. And amidst this row, up popped former member of Dollar and never member of the Fizz, David Van Day who, when he wasn’t trying to be the Lawrence Fox of his day and appear all outrageous by dumping his girlfriend live on Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff, elected to appropriate the name Bucks Fizz, go on a tour, sing a couple of their songs and trouser all the cash. The twat.

Anyway, here’s Alyson’s Fizz choice:

What I love about Alyson’s choice is that she could have picked the original of that, by The Romantics, but such is her devotion to ladies having their skirts ripped off as part of a Eurovision dance routine, she simply had to plump for a bit of Fizz. Kudos.

No idea what I’m banging on about? Here you go, complete with withering intro from the much missed Terry Wogan:

Genius pop music. And I mean that.

Alyson has some other suggestions linking to Talking Heads’ name, namely:

and

Almost time to set off on our tour of cities, have you got your packed lunch and your waterproof coat? Ok, I’ll stall for a bit with some frankly rather clever suggestions.

The source record this time features on Talking Heads’ Fear of Music album, which takes us into the dark territory of phobias. Or, as the Devonian puts it: “Cities is from the album Fear Of Music… which is a Phobia… which is a song by Flowered Up”

It sure is:

Which leads us neatly on to Hal’s suggestions: “Didn’t Cage the Elephant release an album called Melophobia?” he asks, rhetorically. Well, yes, yes they did. And in case you were wondering, Melophobia is the correct technical term for having a fear of music, so here’s something from the album of the same name:

I’ve always avoided them because, well, I thought (and still do) that they have a terrible name, but that’s not bad so maybe I need to reassess.

Anyway, Hal isn’t finished yet: “Which leads us to Phonophobia: The Second Coming by Extreme Noise Terror. Or perhaps not…”

Too late, you’ve said it now.

Phonophobia: The Second Coming is an album by Extreme Noise Terror, and this is one of the songs on it:

Peelie would be proud.

How do you follow that? With this:

Thank goodness for Rol from My Top Ten who kindly steps in to suggest this, which in his eyes “seems an obvious winner”

Frankly, if we’re going to mention bands with the word City in their name, I don’t think we can justifiably omit this lot:

“The other obvious one”, Rol continues undeterred, and I’ll let him carry on because I can’t quite work out where else to place this, “is to jump to Radiohead (as they took their name from a Talking Heads song) and Street Spirit (because there are lots of streets in cities…)

He’s not wrong, there are. I counted at least seven near where I live just the other day, and I think I may have missed some.

I hadn’t finished with bands with City in their names. This lot are definitely less renowned than Mr McKeown and the gang (Bay City Rollers, not Radiohead) and are named after 2000AD’s Judge Dredd comic strip. Play this one loud:

And so we move on to songs with the word City in the title (that aren’t called In the City). You know how until that last little spurt I’ve hardly suggested anything so far? Consider that ended. Eyes down and here we go with the almost entirely forgotten about:

…to an often overlooked gem:

…and the never to be forgotten:

A sort of clever one: this was released on City Rockers, a label synonymous with the electro-clash sound of the early 2000s:

And we shouldn’t overlook this brace of bangers:

…which almost inevitably leads us here:…

…which leads me to this spoof record, but it’s a spoof of a song which doesn’t have a city in it’s title, but I’m sure you’ll get it:

And finally, I was very surprised that absolutely nobody suggested anything from PJ Harvey’s magnificent Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea album, so I guess I’ll have to:

I’m stalling because it feels slightly disingenuous to be suggesting we go on a world tour just as so many cities around the world are locking down to prevent travel and the potential spreading of the Corona virus, so can I ask that you all don your face masks, smear yourselves in hand sanitiser like it’s goose fat before you attempt to swim the Channel, don’t stand so close to me and we’ll be off, safely.

But where to start? “Something from Gerry Rafferty’s very fine City To City album perhaps?” pipes up Rigid Digit again, which seems a perfectly good suggestion, and I’ve plumped, somewhat obviously, for the title track:

And it’s to Rigid Digit that we turn to yet again as we herald the start of The Chain World Tour which, given some places like my beloved Wales have gone into circuit-breaking lockdown today, I must say I feel a teensy bit guilty about, but, nevertheless, here we go.

Truly, there can only be one song to kick this off, and as Rigid quotes: “London, Paris, New York, Munich.  Everybody talk about…:

“I was beaten to M,” moans The Great Gog, “but other songs name-checking a number of cities that sprang to mind were…:”

…and…

Not forgetting, as Martin from New Amusements points out, a song which (apart from the Hang the DJ bit) perhaps most perfectly encapsulates where we are right now:

Ok, let’s start, with a whistle-stop tour of the UK. Here’s The Robster:

“I was going to suggest the wonderful Theme For Great Cities but Swiss Adam beat me to it! So I decided to think about songs ABOUT cities. Then I realised I’d be suggesting about 4 million songs and you’d hate me more than I’d hate myself! So in the end I plumped for one city. It was going to be Newport, but the only songs about us are parodies and parodies of parodies. So I chose our neighbours instead and came up with…:

I’m not sure why The Robster thinks this lot only do parodies. Funny songs, of course: it’s their stock in trade. I mean, sure this one is a parody, but it’s the only one I know which actually mentions The Mighty ‘Port in it’s title, and (sorry Rob) from the short time I lived there, seems wholly accurate to me:

Let’s head up to Birmingham next, and I’ll hand the reins back to Swiss Adam for a moment, for he is quoting lines from the source material to guide us to our next destination.

“Birmingham ‘lots of rich people’….” (although I think Byrne was probably referring to B’ham, Alabama.)

For those of us old enough to remember, it’s hard to forget when they fell foul of a Government clause of the 1981 Broadcasting Act which prohibited the broadcast of direct statements by representatives or supporters of 11 Irish political and paramilitary organisations. The restrictions were part of the Thatcher government’s desire to prevent Sinn Féin from employing the media for political advantage.

Yeh, I know. Dry subject.

What this meant in practical terms was that when, in 1987, they appeared on Friday Night Live , a Thames Television programme hosted by Ben Elton, they played Streets of Sorrow but the broadcaster cut to an ad break before they got to Birmingham Six.

Ridiculous as the rules were, a loop-hole meant that we were allowed to hear what Sinn Fein (the political arm of the IRA) had to say, but we could not hear them spoken by a member of the political party. Generally what this meant was the words were read by an actor with a plummy Home Counties accent, but the ludicrousness of the situation was highlighted here, on The Day Today:

This next song actually mentions bombing in Birmingham, although it means it in the “not going down to well at a gig” sense, rather than the more literal interpretation:

In these times of Tiers and Lockdown, I’m not sure we’ll get any better advice than to ‘start drinking til we’re blind’ (again, metaphorically of course – I don’t want any of us to end up in one of those adverts asking people to sponsor a puppy); I know it’s what has got me through writing this post, for a start.

“This mentions Birmingham, Alabama”, offers PhonicPat, and he’s not wrong, it does:

But we’re not quite ready to go trans-Atlantic, because here’s The Robster again:

“I have another one, this time referring to my Devon roots. The nearest city to where I grew up was Exeter – so:”

What I love about IDLES, apart from their records, is that they’re so bloody angry about everything, even their name is in capital letters like they’re shouting that too.

Catchphrase time! Well, if you’re having that, then I’m having this, a song about the nearest city to where I grew up, but where IDLES are VERY ANGRY! about how shit Exeter is, The Long Blondes are just a wee bit disappointed with how dull Peterborough is:

Staying in the UK, here’s Stevie from Charity Chic Music who takes us (much) further Up North:

David Byrne was born in Scotland – Dumbarton to be precise.  So the link is obviously:”

…which not only gets added to the ever-growing pile marked: ‘Must Investigate Further’, it also allows me to include this, which the title obviously references:

Since that also mentions Berlin, we may as well pop over to Europe, y’know, whilst we still can, without having to incorporate a two-week stay in a car park in Kent. Here’s another suggestion from Martin:

Well, this all seems to have got rather gloomy rather quickly. But I have an idea! Let’s pop over to the former capital of Turkey to liven things up a bit:

It became very apparent as I was sifting through the suggestions that there were two cities which featured more than any other, so, after a spot of self-isolation, we’ll pop back to the one in the UK: That London. And first up is another suggestion from Phonic Pat which takes us on a nice little (if expensive) tour of the city:

Here’s Swiss Adam again, quoting lines from the source record:

“…a small city, dark in the day time…”

…and suggesting this absolute shoe-in:

And here’s Martin again with two further capital suggestions:

“For when one is tired of London, one is tired of life, right?” adds Martin. Try telling Alan that:

Obligatory Alan Partridge clip? Tick!

One more from Martin, “…because I love them so…” (me too, mate, me too):

Sticking with Martin’s stream of suggestions, let’s hop over to the other city which seems to be mentioned in song titles more than any other:

“Decidedly not a cover of Ol’ Blue Eyes”, Martin adds. Well no: there’s a more liberal use of the F-word than Sinatra ever committed to record for a start. Plus, without wishing to be pedantic (he says as he is about to do just that), the Sinatra song Martin refers to is actually called Theme from New York, New York, so there was never any real danger of confusion. This next one though, less so:

That’s what being brought up listening to Radio 2 does for you: you remember records like that.

You won’t be surprised to read that I’ve got loads of these, the next of which is by someone who gets a bad rap for being a bit square (I think that’s it; I certainly don’t recall him having done anything unmentionable, apart from Uptown Girl of course), but I think he’s written some absolute corkers, and this is one of them:

New York, here we are, and here’s Odyssey to tell us we fit right in:

When The Strokes released their wonderful and never-bettered debut album Is This It? in 2001 (God, that makes me feel old), there was a difference between the UK and the US release, for the UK release included this, presumably omitted from the US release because it probably wasn’t considered to sit well so close in the wake of 9/11:

Back in time now, to the first record I ever bought, sort of. You can read about that here but in case you can’t be bothered (and if you’ve got this far I can’t blame you for feeling a bit wiped out) here it is:

Remember about seven hours ago, just after The BPA tune, I asked you to remind me to give you a Pet Shop Boys factoid? Well, the time is now: before he worked for Smash Hits magazine (my gateway drug to pop music before I grew up/discovered the NME) Neil Tennant used to work for Marvel Comics, editing out any hint of nipple from the cartoons contained within the pages of the heralded comic book. And that’s not even as funny as the rumour Stuart Maconie made up about him being a fully qualified Rugby League referee.

Anyway, here’s the Pet Shop Boys:

Hold up, Swiss is back with his quoting lyrics and suggesting songs ways:

“Memphis: ‘home of Elvis and the ancient Greeks’”

Leading him here:

And if you’re going to mention Memphis, you either have to include something by a certain Mr Presley (not Reg), or make a joke about being dead on a toilet eating a burger, or post this:

Funnily enough, Mr Simon is going in the opposite direction to Ian Hunter and the Mott the Hoople crew, as suggested by Phonic Pat:

And here’s a group who are considering a move to a completely different part of the US of A:

But as we all know, there’s only one place in America that one should consider moving to:

And that’s where I intended to sign off, were it not for one final suggestion from Martin:

“Oh, and can I add Vegas by Sleeper, just because… well, okay, just because of Louise Wener, really.”

Of course you can: if it doesn’t get cancelled as opposed to being forever rescheduled, I’ll be going to see them perform their debut album Smart, sometime, along with this morning’s postees The Bluetones doing the same with their debut album Expecting to Fly:

And that’s yer lot, except to reveal the actual next record in the actual Chain, which nobody suggested.

Here’s the link: “Talking Heads had a female bassist. So did…

Which just leaves me to ask for your suggestions for songs which link to 1979 by The Smashing Pumpkins, to be submitted via either the Comments function on this page, or if you prefer anonymity that you ultimately won’t be afforded, by email to dubioustaste26@gmail.com

More soon.

The Chain #42

Right, you can all stop checking the time, here it is, three weeks late, but that’s better than another super-long hiatus, surely?

More mega than a fleet of MegaBuses, yes! It’s time to check the buffering capabilities of your hardware and internet provider as we launch into the latest instalment of The Chain.

And what a selection we have for you this week!

But before we get started, some admin. The more observant of you will have spotted a new page link over there on the left entitled “The Chain – The Rules”. You’ll never guess what you see if you click that!

I mention this because there would have been a couple of disqualifications this week for (unintentional) breaches of the rules; luckily one of the transgressors realised and suggested an alternative link.

The easiest rule to break is suggesting a song which has already featured, and I appreciate with around 1000 songs having featured so far this can be somewhat tricky to keep up with. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m in the process of writing up a definitive list of every song which has featured so far, but until I’ve got round to finishing that (and writing The actual Chain takes up a fair bit of time when I could be doing that), if you want to check your options are:

1) Read every previous edition of The Chain (bit time consuming that one)

2) Check the Tags down the left-hand side; if the act you wish to suggest is not listed there, then you’re fine (assuming I remembered to add them, of course). If it is listed, click their name and you’ll be taken to every page that a song by them has featured on and you can check that way.

3) Email me at dubioustaste26@gmail.com and I’ll check and get back to you.

OK, admin over, let’s remind ourselves of the source record for this week:

echo

41. Martha & The Muffins – Echo Beach

The biggest source of linkage this week was the “Echo” part of the song title, so let’s get cracking with one of mine. Since an echo is something happening again, this seems to be an appropriate place to start:

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Whitesnake – Here I Go Again

So, who else provided echo-based suggestions? Well, here’s Alex G of the temporarily (I hope) dormant We Will Have Salad to provide not just a suggestion, but also a definition of “echo”, which saves me the bother of having to copy and paste something from an online dictionary to justify some of the other suggestions I’ve come up with:

“… an echo is an acoustic phenomenon caused by sound bouncing off walls. And ceilings. And other things. But it’s the first one which concerns us here, because it leads me to suggest….”

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Matthew Wilder – Bouncin’ Off The Walls

Unsurprisingly, several of you (well, five actually) proposed records by Echo & The Bunnymen, so we may as well get one of those out of the way next, and it’s over to Swiss Adam of Bagging Area fame, with his second suggestion. (No, you haven’t blinked and missed his first, that’s coming in a while. It’s called editing.)

“Echo and the Bunnymen…sang ‘Silver (Tidal Wave)’, a beach connection there too.”

Yes indeed, that’s your first – of many, it has to be said – double linkers of the week right there. Points!

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Echo & The Bunnymen – Silver (Tidal Wave)

Next to one of several songs this week that I had never heard of before the suggestions came flooding in, this one courtesy of The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow who proposed this by Cavern of Anti-Matter who, for the uninitiated (i.e. me), are Joe Dilworth and Tim Gane, formerly of Stereolab, possibly one of the most missed and most under-rated (if that’s not a contradiction, and if it is, I’m sure it’s one which would please them immensely) bands of the last twenty years or so:

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Cavern of Anti-Matter – Echolalia

I like that. A lot. Thanks for nudging it under my nose, Swede.

Which leads us quite nicely onto another suggestion by Alex G:

“When they recorded ‘Echo Beach’, Martha And The Muffins’ drummer was one Tim Gane. Another Tim Gane was more famously (not *much* more famously, I admit) the lead guitarist of McCarthy and Stereolab. [I just told them that – Ed] So I’ll go for….”

McCarthy (2)

McCarthy – Should The Bible Be Banned?

And since that takes us back into 1980s indie territory, that makes it time for another Echo & The Bunnymen track, this one proposed by Alyson from What’s it All About?:

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Echo & The Bunnymen – Seven Seas

“…double link there if I’m not mistaken…” pleads Alyson. Hmmm…Echo, yes…Seas -> Beach…what do you reckon, Chain Gangers? Oh go on then: Points!

I first posted that song way back in August 2015, accompanied by a retelling of one of the many faux pas I’ve committed over the years. Since some of you may not have frequented these pages that long ago, indulge me for a moment whilst I relate this one, which took place circa 1984, as I waited for the school bus and found myself chatting to one of the “cool kids” at school. He liked cool music (i.e. not Quo) and during this conversation he extolled the virtues of ‘Seven Seas’. My response, a rather pathetic and, as it transpired, ill-judged, attempt to ingratiate myself, was to talk at length about the lead singer fire-eating on Top of the Pops and how impressive he was. I realised mid-flow that my conversation piece was attracting some quizzical looks. And that was because I had completely mis-heard him. When he had said ‘Seven Seas’, I had thought he had said this song title:

Not cool, just…not.

Anyway, moving swiftly on, here’s Walter from A Few Good Times in My Life with the scecond song this week that I’ve never heard before. Over to you Walter:

“They might be forgotten but this song is still worth to listen to sometimes…”

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Echosmith – Tell Her You Love Her

Actually, that was Walter’s second suggestion. His first was for an Echo & The Bunnymen track, and I think enough time has passed since the last one to allow me to post his, which needs no introduction:

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Echo & The Bunnymen – The Killing Moon

What with all of these songs by Echo & The Bunnymen, and with ‘Echo’ meaning something happening again, or being repeated, you could say that we’re…

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Little Boots – Stuck on Repeat (Fake Blood Remix)

Now, a couple of you picked up on the Echo/Repeat/Again angle, but to explain how The Great Gog (who appears to still be doing DIY) got there, we’ll have to take a slight – but relevant – detour:

“Martha And The Muffins’ follow-up to ‘Echo Beach’ was called Saigon, the former name for a city in Vietnam whose new name I can’t accurately spell. This gives rise to…”

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Jimmy Cliff – Vietnam

“…and…”

Hold your horses, there GG. Or hold your gee-gees, there, GG. Time to unveil the old catchphrase for the first time this week.

Well, if you’re suggesting that, then I’m suggesting this:

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They Might Be Giants – Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

Right. As you were.

…and… “Paul Hardcastle’s oh-so-clever (well we thought so in 1985)…”

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Paul Hardcastle – 19

…and “on the theme of a city being named twice…”

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Gerard Kenny – New York, New York

Which leads us on to a very brief sub-category, those of song titles which repeat, or, you might say, echo themselves. This is by far my favourite category of the week. You’ll see why. Julian from Music from Magazines suggested this, which probably doesn’t need any further explanation:

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Status Quo – Down Down

The Quo, there, demonstrating on the record sleeve their renowned empathy for the Black Power movement.

And that brings to an end that sub-category of song titles which repeat, or, you might say, echo themselves.

You know what I haven’t said for a while? I haven’t said the words: “And here’s the next suggestion of an Echo & the Bunnymen song, this time by *insert name of Chain Gang member here*“. I feel an overwhelming need to say it again. But not just yet. I’ll wait til I’m asked.

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Badly Drawn Boy – Say It Again

Oh okay then, if you insist.

And here’s the next suggestion of an Echo & the Bunnymen song, this time by Dirk from sexyloser with the closest we’ve had to a Showboating Suggestion so far:

“Nominated to be one of the world’s most beautiful beaches back in 2012, 2014 and 2015 was Burundi’s coast fronting Lake Tanganyika: if you’ve never been there, you really have missed a treat, I can tell you!

So obviously the correct link can only be Echo & The Burundimen (yes, it’s the Bunnymen in disguise, but still I haven’t made that [name] up, just listen to McCulloch’s intro!) and ‘Zimbo’, the 1982 Shepton Mallet live version though!”

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Echo & The Bunnymen – Zimbo (Live from Shepton Mallett with Burundi Drummers)

Which very nearly brings us to the end of the Echo section. Except…

Except I can’t believe nobody suggested anything by this lot. This is the first single I ever bought by them, before they’d properly found their feet and commercial success:

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Echobelly – Insomniac

And that does bring us to the end of the Echo section. Except…

Except, you’ll recall that I mentioned five of you had suggested songs by Echo & The Bunnymen, and so far we’ve only had four. Well, GMFree suggested their rather wonderful comeback single ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ but then ploughed through the entire history of suggestions in The Chain and retracted that on the grounds that it had featured back in #31 so I wouldn’t have been able to allow it. (Oh, and whilst I’m on songs I couldn’t allow – Lynchiefromab, if you check the Comments in the last Chain, you’ll see that I wasn’t sure if yours were suggestions or just recommendations; if the latter then, thank you, and you’re right, but if the former than I couldn’t allow either of them as they contravene rule No. 6: “Suggestions must be more than just naming a different song by the same artist. You’re cleverer than that.” And I know that you are. Sorry!) However, GMFree did propose a different Echo & The Bunnymen track, a cover version, but suggested that I might post the original instead, since the performers have never featured in The Chain before.

So I will:

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The Doors – People Are Strange

And that really does bring us to the end of the Echo section. Except…

Except, speaking of strange people, and making suggestions which kind of echo, here’s Jules again, and strangely he hasn’t proffered anything by Lambchop this week. Instead:

“Beach of course can remind one of….”

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 Palace – Gulf Shores

Nowt echo-y about that, I hear you say, assuming you’re trying to sound like a stereotypical Northern Englander. Carry on, Jules:

“Echo of course can remind one of…”

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – Gulf Shores

“What a prankster.”

In case you’ve no idea what Jules is blethering on about, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy is the best known stage name of Will Oldham, but he has also recorded under variations of the Palace name, including the Palace Brothers, Palace Songs, and Palace Music. As you know, I prefer it if there’s only one suggestion per person for the same band, but since these two versions are so different, and since they were recorded under different monikers, and since I allowed GMFree to suggest more than one tune by Steven Jones last week for the same reason, I guess I’ll have to let it slide this time.

Speaking of GMFree and Steven Jones:

“Mentioning Mr Jones is too easy on this occasion as Babybird was signed to the Echo label, instead I’ll just suggest one track from his 27th (!) album as Black Reindeer…available through Bandcamp.”

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Black Reindeer – A Rusted Statue Of Liberty Crawls Out Onto A North Korean Beach

Now, I wouldn’t normally buy a track specifically for The Chain, preferring the suggester to provide me with a copy, but I was intrigued by that title so I downloaded that song from the band’s Bandcamp page, as recommended. And shortly afterwards, I got an email from Steven Jones which read: “Ooh a bit topical that purchase Sx”. Which was nice. So I’ll not complain about being out of pocket. This time.

You’d have to have had your head buried in the (beach) sand to not understand what he was referring to, and as it happens, this was not the only track which referenced the forthcoming apocalypse.

A warm welcome back to Marie from It’s All In The Groove

“‘Echo Beach’ puts me in mind of the 1959 film ‘On the Beach’, which depicts the aftermath of a devastating nuclear war. (Not a surprising image, considering the current state of affairs, I suppose.) The film stars Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire and Anthony Perkins and is based on Nevil Shute’s 1957 novel. Anyway, as I’ll use any excuse to post some black gospel quartet music, my selection is the 1950 ‘a capella’ version of…”

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The Pilgrim Travelers – Jesus Gonna Hit Like An Atom Bomb

Now we left Jules muttering away to himself about Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, let’s see if he’s finished:

“…His remake of his ‘I See a Darkness’ is also a cracking number…”

Nope, clearly not.

“…Trump saw a darkness (with no sunglasses) but had embraced it a long time ago…”

Erm, are we going anywhere with this….?

Seems we are:

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Mel Brooks – To Be Or Not To Be (The Hitler Rap)

 Okay….

Well, bar that last little excursion, we appear to not only be in nuclear war related territory – cheerful! – but also Beach related, so let’s have some more of those. And since that last song contains the lyric “Hello New Order!”, it seems appropriate for us to go back and find out what Swiss Adam’s other suggestion was:

“‘Echo Beach’ takes me to the remixed version of Blue Monday from its b-side in ’83…”

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New Order – The Beach

Whilst we’re beach bound, here’s Martin from New Amusements:

“Since Echo Beach was “far away in time” I’ll also lob [this] into the mix:”

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Shakespear’s Sister – You’re History

Bet you’re expecting me to suggest something by The Smiths now, right? Close, but no cigar. Instead, the greatest song about a seaside resort (that isn’t Echo Beach, of course):

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Chas & Dave – Margate

Over to Kay next, who, in an uncharacteristicly rare moment of brevity, simply writes this:

“Echo beach = beach = seaside = candy floss = “

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The Stone Roses – (Song For My) Sugar Spun Sister

So, having exhausted all of the suggestions about echoes, beaches and, of course, Nazis and impending nuclear doom, we’ll move onto something a lot nicer. Back to Martin who suggests this as a double linker:

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The Jam – Heat Wave

And the thinking behind this double-linker? Well, for a start, the original is by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas (we’ll be coming back to some more Martha’s shortly), but also:

“…because you often get jam in the middle of a cake, and a muffin is a type of cake, so yes, I am making a blatant play for a double-linker (and The Jam’s version is, ahem, ace).”

Yes it is, and that’s a succesful double-linker play too. Points!

Do I need to get a shiny gameshow host jacket to wear whilst I write this, do you reckon?

But Martin’s not done there, oh no:

“Talking of muffins being a type of cake, I must also throw in [this] by Kiwi tunesmiths Crowded House:”

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Crowded House – Chocolate Cake

Which leads me onto this, a track lifted from one of those typically patchy tribute albums that were all the rage once upon a time one of those tribute albums, which were all the rage once upon a time, and which could (typically) be a little on the patchy side (and this one really is patchy).

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King Missile – Get Up

In case you’re wondering what that’s doing there, give it a listen partly as there’s an extra verse, not in the original, which links to Martin’s last choice, but mostly because it’s an utterly wigged-out mental cover version.

And whilst we’re still on chocolate cake, it’s about time I posted another clip:

Right, that’s Muffins pretty much covered, right?

Well, actually, not quite. Here’s Rol from My Top Ten:

“Muffin was a Mule and a Mule is sort of like an Ass… though very slightly different.” Which brings us to, rather rudely:

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Denis Leary – Asshole (Uncensored Version)

Well, there’s really no need for language like that. Allow me to drag us out of the gutter with this Ass related tune:

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Groove Armada feat. Gram’ma Funk – I See You Baby (Fatboy Slim Radio Edit)

Okay, so that must be Muffins, Mules and Asses all covered, where next?

To Charity Chic of Charity Chic Music, that’s where:

“This week I am going to suggest a band Swiss Adam first encountered in a hungover state in Monorail records in Glasgow…”

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Breakfast Muff – Feast

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“Huh ahuh ahuh…he said ‘Muff’..ahuhhuh…”

“…and,” continues CC, “also on the Muff theme ‘Keep on Running’ by the Spencer Davis Group who had Muff Winwood as a member.”

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The Spencer Davis Group – Keep On Running

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“Huh ahuh ahuh…he said ‘Muff’ again…ahuhuh…”

Okay, okay, whilst we’re here, another one from Walter, “…a wonderful song by John Martyn…an all time fave of mine…”

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John Martyn – Big Muff

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Can everyone stop saying “Muff” please?

Let’s have some Echo Beach/Martha and the Muffins facts to raise the tone a little.

Fact One: Martha and the Muffins are Canadian.

“Plenty of Canadian bands/artist to choose from,” chips in Rigid Digit of Stuff & Nonsense, “including: Rush (but who has time to listen to the whole of Side 1 of ‘2112’?), Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Bryan Adams and Bachman-Turner Overdrive. All too obvious, but this bunch of Canadian one-hit wonders…:”

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Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance

“Did you know,” pipes up George, inadvertently providing Fact Two, “that Echo Beach has been voted the 35th greatest Canadian song of all time? The greatest song is the execrable song ‘Four Strong Winds’ by Ian and Sylvia, which must surely get the Worst Song vote.”

Well, I’ll happily do that George, although you realise that would mean you’d have to agree the Chas & Dave record is better…? Along with two other songs yet to feature that we all know you’ll hate….?

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Ian & Sylvia – Four Strong Winds

Four strong winds, you say? Here’s four in varying levels of strength.

  1. The ease and squeeze:

2. The Pant Ripper (a classic):

3. The Preposterously Executed:

and 4. The Accidental Decongestant:

Right, that’s…erm…got that out of my system. More factoids please!

Fact Three, courtesy of babylotti:

“‘Echo Beach’ was released in 1980 on DinDisc records, another record that was released in 1980 on Dindisc records, and one that I still have (okay, it was a re-release in 1980, but that’s the one I have) is…:

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Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Electricity

Before we get on to the final category, time for those two songs which George won’t like, the first of which is suggested by Alyson, and I think this one wins the award for Comment Showboat of the week (or have I already awarded that? I don’t know, I’m tired…). George, sorry, I was going to leave these two till last to make it easier for you to ignore them, but thematically they kind of need to be posted earlier.

Anyway, here’s Alyson’s suggestion:

“Martha’s Vineyard is actually a small island off the State of Massachusetts. It faces out onto the Atlantic and it’s where they filmed ‘Jaws’. The fake shark they used for the movie was given the name Bruce.” Which leads us to:

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Bruce Springsteen – Atlantic City

“We now just need something from The Clash,” Alyson continues, “and order will be restored.”

Step forward abramson60, who obliges with this:

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The Clash – Charlie Don’t Surf

And so on to the final category, songs which link to Martha. And we’ll start off with my own double-linker for the week.

There’s a well known phrase in certain communities: “Is he Arthur or Martha?”. Well, here’s an Arthur, Arthur Lee to be precise, and he and his band are going to sing a Love-Lee song which has an Echo/Repeat/Again link too. Points please!

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Love – Alone Again Or

Who else has a Martha tune to suggest? C from Sun Dried Sparrows does:

“First thought – got Martha on my mind now so I’d like to offer one of those songs that surely everybody knows and surely everybody likes? What better time for an office clerk with a very boring job to go down to Echo Beach than during a heatwave, too?” 

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Martha & The Vandellas – Heat Wave

“(Also love the Who’s version)” C signs off. Yeh, me too, but we’ve already had this twice this week, so let’s save that one for another day.

Back to GMFree next, and a suggestion for  “…a song written as a tribute to Billy Corgan’s mother…:”

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The Smashing Pumpkins – For Martha

Next up on the oche is The Robster from Is This The Life? Now, a few weeks ago, Rob announced that he was thinking about stopping writing his blog as he was feeling devoid of inspiration and was just going through the motions. I’ve often felt the same about this place, and I know others in our little blogging community have too. You may not know that Rob lives not a million miles away from where I used to in South Wales, and I love his blog for it keeps me in touch with what’s going on down in and around my old stomping ground so I’m delighted that he’s decided – for now – to keep going, albeit with less frequent posts.

I mention all this not to put any unintentional pressure on him to carry on, but because having cut back on his posts he seems to have gone a bit stir crazy, suggesting “I’m a Man” by The Spencer Davis Group on the basis that Martha & The Muffins were an all-male band. Getting confused by that whole “Arthur or Martha” issue there, I think.

To be fair, Rob did correct himself almost immediately (with a little help from Alex G, who I can confirm is not a qualified doctor, but is  a very keen enthusiast), and redeemed himself by suggesting this, another of the records I’d never heard before, and which I’m really quite pleased that I have now. And it’s a double pointer, featuring as it does a Martha and “two items you might see at a beach”:

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Martha – Ice Cream and Sunscreen

Points!

“What does it matter anyway?” Rob offers by way of an explanation. “If Bowie taught us anything it’s that gender is irrelevant and merely a label.”

Speaking of Bowie, here’s GMFree again:

“Martha Mooke played in the string quartet on [Bowie’s]…”

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David Bowie – Time Will Crawl (MM Remix)

Back to The Swede again next:

“In May last year I concluded a post containing one of [his suggested artists’s] fine songs, by saying that I’d return to his music soon – a promise I’ve yet to keep. I must remedy that situation.”

And having heard this, I think I’ll be joining you to investigate further:

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Huw M – Martha a Mair

Time for Abramson60 next, who…erm…echoes some of the sentiments raised earlier:

“Looks like things are getting worse and worse US of A side, can it really get any worse? My suggestion this week could well be aimed at that excuse for a human being, Trump. No need to explain the link?”

Nope, but this young lady certainly needs to wash her potty-mouth out with soap and water:

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Martha Wainwright – Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole

Another from Alex G now, who suggests “…a lovely song which is never played on the radio because if it was, everybody would stop what they were doing to listen, at a cost to the UK economy of several squillion pounds.”

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All About Eve – Martha’s Harbour

I agree, it is a lovely song, although I suspect were it played more often, people would stop what they were doing to remember when – and I’m sorry to bring it up again (I’m not in the least bit sorry, as it goes) – this happened:

More from Rol next, who suggests this next song on the grounds that a) it has the word “Martha” in the title, b) it doesn’t have any other words in the title, and c) he “…can’t believe nobody’s suggested it yet…”

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Tom Waits – Martha

George is back with another suggestion: “I’m hoping no one has suggested a link from Martha Johnson (that would be the Martha of Martha and the Muffins) to….:”

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Syl Johnson – Is It Because I’m Black

*Insert obligatory Ali G joke here*

As it happens, George has sort of gone down a route I explored, only I sought out other famous Marthas and linked from there. And here’s what I came up with:

Firstly, this which features Martha Wash, who was one half of The Weather Girls, but you’ll forgive for not posting anything by them, I hope:

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Todd Terry – Something Goin’ On

Then there’s Martha Washington, the USA’s first First Lady, which leads me to this chap:

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The Ram Jam Band with Geno Washington – Shake Shake Senora

And the presidential links don’t end there, for there was also of course Martha Jefferson, wife to Thomas, who became 3rd President of The United States in 1801. Martha would have been the third First Lady, had she not rather inconveniently died in 1782. Anyway, this Martha leads me to this ground-breaking house record from 1986:

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Marshall Jefferson – Move Your Body

Two to go until the big reveal, and here’s another one by Martha Wainwright, courtesy of Walter:

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Martha Wainwright – Jesus & Mary

And finally, back to GMFree, or rather, to Mrs GMFree, who gives two suggestions; this:

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Martha Reeves & The Vandellas – Dancing in the Street

And the other is…well, Mrs GMFree was not alone in suggesting it, for it was also proposed by Rigid Digit (and I thought one other person too, but I’m buggered if I can spot who it was now. If you suggested it and I have omitted to credit you, make yourself known and I’ll amend this bit).

Which means that for the first time ever, we have two people correctly guessing the next record in The Official Chain, which, with the simple explanation of From one Martha to another…” is this:

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42. The Beatles – Martha My Dear

Points! Lots of them!!

So to wrap things up, your suggestions, please, for songs which link to “Martha My Dear” by The Beatles, along with a brief description of the link, via the Comments Section down below, in time for the next edition. Whenever that might be.

More soon.

The Chain #40

So there I was for the past few weeks, writing a load of posts which linked various songs together somehow, chuckling away to myself that nobody had noticed I was dropping subtle clues that I was going to be bringing this series back, when what do you know, I went and over-egged it, and was thoroughly busted by The Robster, then The Swede, then Alyson, then Rol all airing their suspicions. And that was before I posted this afternoon’s less than subtle final hint.

The busting that really got me, though, was Kay, who asked me if I intended to start writing it again. Until I corrected her last week, Kay thought it was possible to fast forward through the adverts on live television broadcasts, so I figured if she’d worked it out, I’d better come clean.

There’s two reasons I had started thinking about bringing The Chain back: firstly, I’d decided that if and when I did, it would revert back to being on a Wednesday night again, it’s rightful home, but Series 3 of Fargo had been so good I wanted to wait until that finished; and secondly, the sudden recent demise of When You Can’t Remember Anything, one of the finest blogs around. As regular readers will know, not only were Badger and SWC (or is it SWC and Badger? I always suspected they had to stand a certain way round, a la Ant & Dec, so folks would know which was which) long time contributors to The Chain, but they also ran their own points-earning-invite-a-suggestion series on a Saturday morning – and you had to get up bloody early to be in with a shout of posting something that hadn’t already been suggested. So, with that, and them, gone, I felt the time was about right to bring this back. Oh and chaps, if you’re ready this, feel free to chip in like the good old days.

Now: The Chain last made a (proper) appearance back on March 19th, so it’s had a good rest, as have I. And I imagine that there may be some folks reading this who have no idea what this is about, so I’ll recap on the rules (which luckily I did back in March after a much shorter break, so I’ll thank the Gods of Copy and Paste):

The Chain is a feature on BBC 6Music’s Radcliffe and Maconie show (and prior to that, their show on BBC Radio 2), where a record is played and they invite suggestions as to what record could be played next, which must link in some way to the one just played.

The difference here is that whilst they choose just one record to play, we try to post all of the suggestions which you submit.

The only rules are:

  1. No suggested record can ever feature twice (unless it has only featured as part of The Official Chain, as opposed to having been suggested by someone previously). If you’re not sure – ask! (NB – I’ve never got round to finishing the definitive list of everything that has featured here…let’s call it a work in progress…)
  2. The only other exception to this rule is “Back on the Chain Gang” by The Pretenders, which has been adopted as our theme tune, and which can be nominated as often as you like (as long as a solid link between it and the source record is provided)
  3. Make your suggestions by way of the Comments section at the bottom of this post, making sure that you tick the box marked “Notify Me of new comments via email” Your email address will not be displayed to anyone, not even me.
  4. When making your suggestion, you must provide an explanation of the link between the two songs
  5. You must already own a copy of it, and be willing to provide it (in case I don’t already own it or am unable to source it). I will ask you to supply this via a response to your suggestion Comments (hence the bit about ticking the notification box)
  6. Suggestions must be more than just naming a different song by the same artist. You’re clever than that.
  7. You can make as many suggestions as you like, but please, go easy on me, won’t you?
  8. Don’t be offended if I disqualify your request, although you won’t know I’ve done this until the next post where there will be some gentle ribbing (the name of Durex’s least commercially successful contraceptive).
  9. Even if your song is posted, be prepared for a gentle ribbing anyway. We like a gentle ribbing round these parts.
  10. Submissions will be welcome up until the next edition is posted. But please try not to send them to me late on a Wednesday evening, just in case I am in the middle of writing it and have to rejig the running order.

That’s about it. I award points every now and again, for Worst Record of the Week, Cheesiest Record of the Week, Comment Showboat of the Week, and of course, for anyone who happens to guess either the song or act (or both) that is the next record in the Official Chain, which becomes the source record for the following week’s post. Nobody’s keeping score (well, I’m not anyway), the points are just a bit of fun.

Oh and there’s just one more thing (my trademark Columbo impression, there): I signed off the last edition with the words: “Let’s say that will be next week, and see what happens, eh?” Wise words indeed. I’m not going to promise this will be back every Wednesday, but that’s the plan at the moment. I’ll see what I can do.

Okay, so perhaps we should start off by reminding everybody of the last song in the Official Chain, which is our starting point this week:

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39. Small Faces – The Universal

Now, there was a little controversy over my presentation of this last time, as I posted the song in question under the cover art for their “Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake” album. This was shrewdly picked up on by The Great Gog, who pointed out that it wasn’t on the original release of that album, and he was right, as he often is.

The thing is, the source song from The Chain #38 was “The Universal” by Blur, so had I figured I’d post the “Ogden…” sleeve to give you all a bit more to get your teeth into. Y’know, before I ignored you all for five months. It is on one of the reissued, repackaged, remastered releases that has surfaced in the almost fifty years since the album first came out. And anyway, it’s my game, so if I want to exert a little artistic licence then I shall.

Here’s your first suggestion, courtesy of Charity Chic of Charity Chic Music (yup, it would appear that the C key on my keyboard works fine):

“From Small Faces to Angels with Dirty Faces by Sham 69 please.”

See, that’s the way to do it. Short, to the point, and polite. (Not that I have any objections to long, rambling suggestions, of course, as you will doubtless see).

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Sham 69 – Angels With Dirty Faces

Let’s crack on with a round up of all the suggestions which linked to Small, Faces or Small Faces (sort of, loosely, with a few diversions), and I’ll hand you over to Rigid Digit of Stuff & Nonsense fame:

“Small Faces’ first hit was ‘What’cha Gonna Do About It’, written by Ian Samwell. He also invented British Rock ‘n’ Roll by penning ‘Move It'”

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Cliff Richard – Move It

As mentioned earlier on, compiling a list of everything which has featured on The Chain thus far remains a work in progress (we’re on over 1000 songs, and counting now, so you can see the size of the task ahead of me); but you may be surprised to learn that so far Old Turtleneck is, I think, the second most suggested artist. There are no points on offer for guessing who is the most suggested (sorry, George!)

Rigid came up with another, slightly less fact-based suggestion, presented here in the form of a sort of rubbish multiple choice question:

“Small Faces were named because:

(a) they hadn’t yet reached the top of the Mod Hierarchy (i.e. they weren’t yet Faces, they were still Numbers – albeit high ranking ones – but there was already a band called the High Numbers, and

(b) they were all short (Steve Marriott was 5′ 1″, Ian McLagan was 5′ 0″, and Kenney Jones and Ronnie Lane were both 4′ 7″).

Pixies are also short.”

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Pixies – Here Comes Your Man

Not the only Pixies suggestion of the week, as it goes, more to follow.

Over to Dirk from sexyloser and the much admired organiser of the Bloggers Summit that happened a few months ago, which I was immensely flattered to be invited to but, alas, could not attend:

“I must admit I couldn’t remember this Small Faces tune and I could neither be arsed to download it nor to search for the ‘Best Of’ – CD of theirs I have somewhere. So instead I had a look at YouTube and found out that there’s a dog barking at approx. 1:05 minutes. An even better tune with a dog barking in it – albeit not at 1:05, no, at 2:27 minutes instead – is The Clash’s ‘Somebody Got Murdered’ … a link which – again, mind you – will please my friend George mightily, I suspect!”

Poor old Cliff; every time he pulls a goal back, the bloody Clash go and score again:

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The Clash – Somebody Got Murdered

The Robster from Is This The Life? chipped in with a factoid at this point:

“The dog you hear actually belonged to Steve Marriot. He became something of a session player, also appearing on Pink Floyd’s album ‘Meddle’ in a song they named after him – ‘Seamus’.”

Now unless I’m missing something, there was no actual suggestion from The Robster this time around, so I’ll take that as being it. Please don’t forget your homework again.

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Pink Floyd – Seamus

Anyway, since we’re on The Clash, how about we get them out of the way completely, if for no other reason than so that George can relax and postpone taking his blood pressure medication for a while.

Here’s Julian from Music from Magazines:

“Small Faces might have small hands as allegedly Trump has, to be honest The Clash summed it up…”

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The Clash – I’m So Bored of the U.S.A.

I’m writing this part of The Chain on Tuesday night, and as I typing, this message has flashed up on my phone:

Trump

So, y’know, good job I’m not promising to be back next week. At this rate, none of us will be….

…And we’re back in the room.

Now, one thing I’ve learned since I started writing The Chain is not to interrupt Jules when his brain is ticking over, especially as that usually coincides with a) him having a drink, b) chucking out time, or c) both.

“The American President is known as POTUS the first Lady as FLOTUS which happens to be the title of the latest…… Lambchop album”

Jules suggesting a Lambchop track, who’d have thunk it? Here’s the song he selected from said album, in it’s full 18:12 glory:

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Lambchop – The Hustle

Back to Rigid again, piping up:

“Or…”

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Floaters – Float On

“…(particularly the Lenny Henry version)…” By which he means this:

Although personally, it’s a song which always reminds me of this:

Dear Cadburys: should you wish to reward me for the free advert by granting me a year’s supply of your yummy Crème Eggs, I can be contacted by email. But be warned: I’m a greedy fat bastard, and your idea of a year’s supply is likely to be very different to mine.

But wait, Jules isn’t done yet. In fact, you can practically hear his brain fizzing and he starts riffing:

“A final onslaught

‘Universal Hall’ by The Waterboys is a cracking number…

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The Waterboys – Universal Hall

“…and so is ‘The Whole of the Moon’ which name checks the film ‘Brigadoon’ starring Gene Kelly famous for singing ‘Singing in the Rain’…Um…WATERboys…singing in the RAIN what can it mean….?

Your choice: “

I choose all of those that you suggest, if only to prove I don’t mind how many songs you suggest (at the moment, give it a week or so…), and because I could tell all of that was just to get me to post something by this lot:

1 Wet Wet Wet?
Any shit..”

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Wet Wet Wet – Sweet Little Mystery

(I can tell you’re a big fan…I’ve seen you dancing like Marti Pellow…)

To quote Belle & Sebastian:

“We all know you’re soft cos we’ve all seen you dancing
We all know you’re hard cos we’ve all seen you drinking from noon
Until noon again”

(I know you didn’t actually suggest that song, but it’s a strong contender for the Cheesiest Song of the Week gong…)

“2 The Beatles
Rain…?”

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The Beatles – Rain

“3 New Musik
This World of Water…?”

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New Muzik – This World of Water

“…Or

4 Michael P Hinson
The Day Texas Sank To The Bottom Of The Sea…”

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Micah P. Hinson – The Day Texas Sank To The Bottom Of The Sea

Right that’s that little flurry of Jules’ Gems taken care of, what’s next?

Only Alex G of notoriously salad-free We Will Have Salad, that’s who:

“From Small Faces, I tried to come up with the smallest thing I could think of that has a face, and naturally I thought of Midge Ure.

I’ll rephrase that.

From Small Faces, I tried to come up with the smallest thing I could think of that has a face, and I thought of midges. And having looked them up and established to my own satisfaction that midges do indeed have an arrangement of features on the front of their heads which would pass for faces, that naturally leads me to Midge Ure. In the spirit of this blog, I suggest his little-remembered 1991 semi-hit “Cold Cold Heart”, which I liked enough at the time to buy it, though it leaves me cold (ha!) now.”

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Midge Ure – Cold, Cold Heart

Can I be unkind enough to suggest there’s a very good reason why that’s little-remembered…?

But fear not, Alex, you’re nowhere near nominating the Worst Record of the Week, not by a long chalk.

Over to the When You Can’t Remember Anything boys, and I don’t know whether this was suggested by SWC or Badger, so we’ll credit it to a hybrid of the two, to Swadger if you will:

“If we are talking about faces then the first port of call should be ‘Poker Face’ by Lady Gaga. Just because it’s ace.”

Which it is, of course:

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Lady Gaga – Poker Face

Remember a while ago, I said there would be more Pixies featuring this week? Well here they are, courtesy of…well, me, as it goes:

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Pixies – Broken Face

When I’m deciding on the running order, I break them down into the categories and then kick myself because I never remember to make a note of who it was that made the next suggestion, and so have to furiously scroll through the last edition to try and remember. With one exception (bar Jules’ obligatory Lambchop suggestion, that is).

Yup, it’s time for George to round off the Face section in style:

“From Small Faces, to masks (that tend to be worn on faces) to ‘Trout Mask Replica’, and ‘Moonlight on Vermont’.

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Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band – Moonlight on Vermont

Now on to what I think we can call a bridging link. Here’s Walter from A Few Good Times In My Life:

“If I ever listen to Small Faces it takes me back to the good old days with Rod Stewart. So it is easy to go to his second album under his own name. ‘Gasoline Alley’ might be the best he ever made. Torn between ballads and rockers. So I have to suggest ‘Jo’s Lament’ or ‘Good Old Country'”

Now, before any of you pedants pull Walter up and argue that Stewart was never in Small Faces, I’ve checked and strictly speaking, Walter is correct:

After Small Faces split, Lane, Jones and McLagan joined forces with Stewart and guitarist Ronnie Wood., but this line-up dropped the “Small” from their name and just became known as Faces. Their record company, however, were not happy, wanting to capitalise on the band’s earlier success by retaining their old name. The band stayed firm, arguing that the personnel changes meant this was an altogether different group from Small Faces. In the end, a compromise was reached: the new line-up’s first album in the UK was credited as ‘First Step’ by Faces, while in the US the same album was released as ‘First Step’ by Small Faces.

Hope that’s cleared that up.

Here’s Walter’s suggestion:

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Rod Stewart – Jo’s Lament

What that means, of course, is that we’re now into the territory of links to members of Small Faces, and here Charity Chic again:

“Steve Marriott was a member of the Small Faces. There is a hotel chain called the Marriott. I have stayed in one at LAX Airport. So they have Hotels in California.

 If you can’t face the Eagles [I could…] there is also a version by Alabama 3 […which I’d much rather post]

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Alabama 3 – Hotel California

Time to welcome The Great Gog now, who picks up the theme:

“Picking up from the Marriott hotel chain – this is mentioned in a song – Mark Ronson’s ‘Record Collection’, where Simon Le Bon sings the line ‘I get preferential treatment at the Marriott’. I got heartily sick of this tune at the time of FIFA 11, as it was on the soundtrack and my youngest, then aged 10, was constantly wanting to beat me at it – happy memories of having to be a Belgian 2nd Division team whenever we played!”

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Mark Ronson And The Business Intl – Record Collection feat. Simon Le Bon

Over to Abramson60 with a typically brief suggestion:

“Steve Marriott was born in Manor Park, which could have fetched us back to Blur and Parklife, but no. How about the Ruskin Arms the famed manor Park boozer that was instrumental in the rise of Iron Maiden, again no as I have never understood their appeal. Manor made me think of Ill Manors but despite having seen the film really can’t say much about the music, though did like the early stuff from Plan B. After all this rambling I thought of the Manor studios, something to do with a younger Richard Branson I believe, so two suggestions, both recorded at the said Manor. Something very un-PC from Supercharge and the ‘Local Lads Made Good’ album, ‘She Moved The Dishes’ first, maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, a re-listen made me think of certain elements of Frank Zappa’s work.”

I think we’ll have to agree to disagree about this one Abramson, not my cup of tea, but that doesn’t preclude it from getting an airing here. To me, it sounds like someone trying to sound like Vivian Stanshall and/or the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, but what do I know?

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Supercharge – She Moved The Dishes First

Anyway, you mentioned two suggestions, what’s the other one?

“Manic Street Preachers also visited the manor to record their second LP Gold Against The Soul which contains a song that always brings a smile to my face ‘La Tristesse Durera’.”

Now that’s more like it!

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Manic Street Preachers – La Tristesse Durera (Scream To A Sigh)

That’s the Marriott’s all wrapped up. What about Ronnie Lane?

Here’s Martin from New Amusements:

“Steve Marriott introduced Ronnie Lane as “Leafy Lane” on one of their albums, and a Leafy Lane probably has lots of shade, so let’s go with…”

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Pavement – Shady Lane

Actually, Martin didn’t get to that suggestion straightaway. No, instead he got to Pavement by way of…well…like this (which I’m including simply because we have nothing else to link to drummer Kenney Jones):

“My first thought is that Small Faces’ drummer Kenney Jones later joined The Who after Keith Moon’s death. No Moon maybe implies eclipse, but no, I’m not pitching anything by Bonnie Tyler.”

Of course you weren’t. And why would you, when you clearly are angling for me to post this:

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Nicki French – Total Eclipse Of The Heart

Just what the world needed back in 1995, that. A terrible, hi-energy, Europop version of a song which was only ever sung in the shower by anyone other than Bonnie anyway.

Anything else that you’re definitely not going to suggest, Martin..?

“A new Moon (perhaps on a Monday?) No, I’m not pitching that, by Duran Duran, either.”

Yes, I know who “New Moon on Monday” is by, Martin. (Gentle ribbing. Yummy!) And for that, here it is:

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Duran Duran – New Moon on Monday

So that’s Marriott, Lane and Jones ticked off the list, what about Ian McLagan?

Step forward The Beard, with a suggestion which hands down wins the Best Link of the Week:

“The Small Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan died in Austin, Texas. Steve Austin, The Six Million Dollar Man, was played by Lee Majors. He also played Colt Seavers in The Fall Guy and, a la Dennis Waterman, crooned the theme tune, The Unknown Stuntman.”

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Lee Majors – The Unknown Stuntman (Theme from ‘The Fall Guy’)

No, of course I didn’t own that already…..honestly…

And then, just when we thought we’d exhausted all of the possibilities relating to the band’s personnel, George is back:

“The Small Faces’ first manager was Don Arden. The charming Mr Arden, not at all a thug or bully, in a meeting with Robert Stigwood (another would-be band manager) threatened to throw him out of a window, Robert Stigwood was the manager of Cream, so I suggest their single ‘Badge’.”

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Cream – Badge

Hang on a minute. I used to have a catchphrase for situations like this. Can’t seem to place my hands on it now. I’m sure I left it around here somewhere.

Wait a minute will you?

Found it!

*Clears throat*

Well, if you’re suggesting that, then I’m suggesting this:

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Prince & The New Power Generation – Cream

Okay, where next? Well, let’s take a step back to Ronnie Lane, and we’ll hand over to babylotti:

“Ronnie Lane was in the Small Faces, then the Faces, but it’s Ronnie Lane’s Slim Chance & their version of ‘Ooh La La’ I’m going to suggest first. One of my favourite songs and about the only song that makes me wish I could play guitar so I could annoy people at open mics with it.”

No, no, no – learn to play it then take it house parties, or even better, on camping holidays. Much more annoying, although with potentially more things to throw at you to make you shut up.

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Ronnie Lane & Slim Chance – Ooh La La

And here we go, off on a tangent, which is exactly what brings us here:

“From there I’m going to suggest Goldfrapp’s own ‘Ooh La La’…”, babylotti continues:

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Goldfrapp – Ooh La La [Single Version]

“… and as I’ve gone there, I’m going to wring it to death like a dog & it’s favourite toy & suggest ‘Ooh La La’ by The Wiseguys, a song I used to love playing when DJ’ing and one of Mrs Lotti’s favourite tunes…”

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The Wiseguys – Ooh La La

At which point, Rigid reappears:

“After reading ‘Ooh La La’ that many times, I now have Kool and The Gang ‘Ooh La La La (Lets Go Dancing)’ lodged firmly in my brain”

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Kool & The Gang – Let’s Go Dancin’ (Ooh La La La)

Time for a refresher or two. You’ll recall that right at the top of this post I wrote that Small Faces’ “The Universal” was the second song in a row we’d had a song called “The Universal” to link to? Well Alyson from What’s It All About? came up with a way of linking the word in those two titles that isn’t ‘Universal’:

“There are 2 x Universals next to each other in The Chain but also 2 x the word The. Something from The The…?”

Pressed to choose a song by them, she asked this, which I vetoed at the time as I’d not long since featured it on these pages….but as so much time has gone by, here’s her choice, which, coincidentally, just happens to be my favourite record by them:

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The The – This Is The Day

Refresher 2: remember when I said earlier that I had posted the “Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake” sleeve to give you all something to get your teeth into, given the double appearance of ‘The Universal’? Well, I did you all a grave disservice there, for we’ve got this far and not one of you has linked to it yet.

Until now.

Here’s The Great Gog:

“Seeing the word Ogden’s immediately brought to mind World Of Twist and their late singer, Tony Ogden. I’ll go for The Storm from them.”

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World of Twist – The Storm

And The Great Gog wasn’t the only person to come up with an Ogden based link. Here Rol from My Top Ten:

“My first thought for this was to go down the Stan Ogden route (topical reference, ahoy!) which would lead you to Stan by Eminem…”

The song responsible for bringing Dido to a wider audience. *sighs* Go on then, if we must:

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Eminem – Stan

“…and better still,” Rol continues, “to Mark & Lard’s spoof version, ‘Tony’ by The Shirehorses.”

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The Shirehorses – Tony

Hmmm. This must be some new usage of the phrase “better still” that I wasn’t previously aware of. Ironic, maybe. An inverted meaning, like when “Bad” meant “Good”.

Sorry Rol, Worst Record of the Week, which is some feat in a week when we’ve heard that one by Supercharge.

I have an Ogden link too. Here it is:

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The Beautiful South – The Table

What? You’re all looking at me blankly, like there’s no link there.

C’mon, seriously? Even Kay knows what the link is.

Ogden. Table. Ogden Table.

Ogden tables are a set of statistical tables and other information for use in court cases in the UK. Their purpose is to make it easier to calculate future losses in personal injury and fatal accident cases.

See, we try to educate as well as entertain round these parts.

Now you can tell that I focussed on the album with my suggestions, because here’s some more:

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The Wedding Present – Gone

And, the “Ogden…” sleeve depicts a tin of tobacco, so:

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Tobacco – Hairy Candy

…and since we’ve not had any double-linkers this week:

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Jake Starr and the Delicious Fullness – Ognir’s Nut Gone Frosted Flaykes

By the way, I think The Delicious Fullness may be my favourite band name ever.

Let’s have another Nut-based song (I do hope none of you are allergic), which I could have sworn George had suggested; it’s absolutely the sort of thing he would suggest, and I mean that in the nicest possible way, because it turns out this one must be one of mine too:

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B Bumble & the Stingers – Nut Rocker

Which just leaves one more suggestion, and I’ll hand over to SWC and/or Badger, or Swadger as I’m going to insist on calling them from now on, as they overlooked telling me which of them came up with this fine, stirring suggestion:

“The Faces reformed in 2009 with a certain Mick Hucknall on lead vocals. Hucknall is also a place in Nottinghamshire which was the birth place of a certain Eric Coates who wrote the theme to Dam Busters and the theme to Desert Island Discs. So either one of those please.”

With great pleasure, especially as you dodged the bullet of nominating a Simply Red tune:

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Eric Coates – The Dam Busters March

And so to the next record in The Official Chain, which none of you actually guessed, but Dirk and The Robster came mighty close:

“….[The Universal by Small Faces]…featured dogs barking. Dogs are Pets that make Sounds, so…”

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40. The Beach Boys – God Only Knows

…which, although I don’t think he actually played on the recording, given Glen Campbell’s close links to the band and his sad, untimely passing yesterday, seems a rather appropriate way to end things.

So, all that’s left for me to do is to ask for your suggestions, please, for songs which link to “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys, along with a brief description of the link, via the Comments Section down below, in time for the next edition, whenever that might roll into town.

More soon.

The Chain #39

Scene: an empty warehouse, in darkness.

FX: A door creaks opens, a switch clicks.

The lights flicker into life.

Delivery Man 1 [poking his head through the door]: Yes, this looks like it.

Delivery Man 1 backs into view, clipboard under arm, guiding a large object covered in a sheet, which is being pushed by Delivery Man 2 with considerably more effort than Delivery Man 1 is expending.

FX: The door slams shut.

Delivery Man 2: Whereabouts does it need to go? What does the order say?

Delivery Man 1 consults the clipboard.

Delivery Man 1: It says “Leave in the middle of the floor, covered, as if it’s been here for ages.”

Delivery Man 2 [with a shrug]: Bit weird, but if that’s what it says.

Job done, they exit, leaving the light on.

FX: the door opens and closes. Pause. Repeat.

An incredibly handsome, if fat and bald, man enters the room. He surveys the object before removing the sheet.

Incredibly handsome, if fat and bald, man: And we’re back in the room!

Hello, and welcome to The Chain. Where’ve you been? I’ve been waiting for you.

Prompted by a question about whether one of this week’s suggestions qualified under the rules, and nothing whatsoever to do with the amount of time since one of these posts appeared, nosireebob, I thought it might be best if I go over them again here, with a brief explanation of what we do here.

So, The Chain is a feature on BBC 6Music’s Radcliffe and Maconie show (and prior to that, their show on BBC Radio 2), where a record is played and they invite suggestions as to what record could be played next, which must link in some way to the one just played.

The difference here is that whilst they choose just one record to play, we try to post all of the suggestions which you submit.

The only rules are:

  1. No suggested record can feature twice (unless it has only featured as part of The Official Chain). If you’re not sure – ask!
  2. The only exception to this rule is “Back on the Chain Gang” by The Pretenders, which has been adopted as our theme tune
  3. When making your suggestion, you must provide an explanation of the link between the two songs
  4. You must already own a copy of it, and be willing to provide it (in case I don’t already own it or am unable to source it)
  5. Suggestions must be more than just naming a different song by the same artist.
  6. You can make as many suggestions as you like, but please, go easy on me, won’t you?

That’s about it. I award points every now and again, for Worst Record of the Week, Cheesiest Record of the Week, Comment Showboat of the Week, and of course, for anyone who happens to guess either the song or act (or both) that is the next record in the Official Chain, which becomes the source record for the following week. Nobody’s keeping score (well, I’m not anyway), the points are just a bit of fun.

Okay, that’s the admin done. Last time out, the source record was “The Universal” by Blur; personally, I found this a really tricky one to link to, especially as I have to wait and see what’s left after you guys have nominated all the good ones. Ho hum, such is life.

So, here we go then, and as usual, we’ll bracket them into several fairly broad categories and, as usual, we’ll probably wander off on a couple of tangents along the way.

First out of the traps last time was Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music who wrote:

“It has to be something off ‘Universal Audio’, the final album by The Delgados. I Fought the Angels would do rather nicely I feel”

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The Delgados – I Fought The Angels

Of course, CC was not alone in suggesting a link to something of Universal appeal; Dirk from sexyloser proffered thusly:

“…because not enough good German music is being featured on these pages, I’d like to  link to Die Sterne – ‘Universal Tellerwäscher’ from 1994 …. which in fact is a mighty record indeed!”

I was going to make a rather unkind joke about the phrase “good German music” being an oxymoron, but then I listened to Dirk’s suggestion and have to agree, it is mighty fine (even if I have not one clue as to what it’s about, although Google Translate, which is never wrong, obviously, tells me that a Tellerwäscher is a dishwasher ):

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Die Sterne – Universal Tellerwäscher

Sticking with the Universal theme, SWC from When You Can’t Remember Anything suggested this:

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Universal Being – Size of an Elephant

whilst The Great Gog wrote:

“…seeing as we’re all commenting on The Universal, Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ Universally Speaking would seem apt.”

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Red Hot Chili Peppers – Universally Speaking

And The Beard quoted a completely different song which contains the word “Universal”:

“Universal, unique untouched, unadulterated, the raw uncut”

He is, of course, referring to this:

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Blackalicious – Alphabet Aerobics

Time for the first interlude of the day; I stumbled along this clip the other day, which I’m sure you’ll agree contains some quite wizardly rapping:

Anyway, where were we?

Ah yes. Blur’s ‘The Universal’. Take it away Julian of Music from Magazines fame:

“Blur did a song “Beetlebum”
The Beatles did a song “Across The Universe”
Laibach did a version of “Across The Universe”
Laibach nailed “Sympathy For The Devil”

(The 7.52 version please)”

As you wish:

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Laibach – Sympathy For The Devil

Time for a big Chain welcome for the first of two new contributors to The Chain this week, here’s Telefrank:

“The video for ‘The Universal’ references the Korova Milk Bar, so something by Wendy Carlos natch.”

Just to join up the dots: the Korova Milk Bar features in ‘A Clockwork Orange’, so this seemed like as good a tune as any:

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Wendy Carlos – Title Music From ‘A Clockwork Orange’

Walter from A Few Good Times in My Life pointed out that “…the opposite of universe might be the underground. So…”

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The Jam – Going Underground

It’s scary how that song is so relevant now, 35 years after it came out. “Times have changed”, some people say. I’d play them that and respectfully disagree.

Anyway, before I start going off on one, more Universal shenanigans. Here’s Alex G from We Will Have Salad:

“A nice easy link from ‘Universal’ to another well-known film studio: Columbia.”

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Oasis – Columbia

Walter continues the theme: “Universal is also a music label distributing music of various and different artists. So I suggest:”

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Tom Petty – You Don’t Know How It Feels

From the Universal links, it’s one small step to the universe, and space in general, and to our second new member of The Chain Gang of the week, abramson60, the 60th from the very noble Abramson family, as Adam Buxton would say:

Anyway, abramson60 has certainly got the hang of how to make sure you get lots of tunes played here: list of a load of songs he’d considered before finally plumping for a completely different one. I, of course, cannot resist:

“Universe would automatically take me down the space road, so you could have….”

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 Liz Phair – Supernova

“…or another of my pet favorites…”

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Julian Cope – Spacehopper

“…not forgetting that he went on to become the nation’s favourite spaced out artist.”

But, “…sticking with universe, The Rocky Horror Picture Show had long lasting and profound influence on the somewhat naive 16 year old me who first saw the film at the tail end of the 70’s. So my pick is ‘I’m Going Home’, not quite sure where to but somewhere in the outer reaches of space.”  I’m not sure I quite follow the link there, but as it’s your first visit, I’ll let it slide this time:

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Dr. Frank N. Furter – I’m Going Home

Over to The Swede from Unthought of, though, somehow next, who says:

“I’ll keep things cosmic and suggest ‘Space is Deep’ by Hawkwind – the studio version from ‘Doremi Fasol Latido’ please.”

Very well.

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Hawkwind – Space Is Deep

A couple of you suggested links from lyrics withing ‘The Universal’, which is fair enough and fine by me. For example, Rigid Digit from Stuff & Nonsense suggested:

“‘The Universal’ includes the lines:
“And to karaoke songs,
We like to sing along,
Although the words are wrong”

So .. mondegreens (misheard lyrics) and possibly the most well known: ‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy'”

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The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Purple Haze

Next up, Martin from New Amusements, who takes the “list a load of songs then pick a completely different one as their choice” approach adopted by abramson60 and combines it with Rigid Digit’s foc