It’s Friday night (at least it is here in the UK), and not just any old Friday night. Nosireebob. This Friday night is the best type of Friday night: the type that kicks off a Bank Holiday weekend. Hoorah! No! Work! Til! Tuesday!
So here’s your weekly 60 minutes or so of tunes curated and mixed by yours truly into some semblance of a coherent playlist. As is often the case, it’s a slow burner at the start, before we get into some tunes that should make you want to dance and/or sing, before we have a little break so you can have a nice sit down for a bit before we’re up and at ’em again for the last few choices.
So, with the usual apologies for a couple of skips and jumps which happened either during the recording or uploading process, let’s get your weekend started:
Look out, here comes your tracklisting (complete with sleeve notes):
I’ve been on a bit of a Paul Fab-Macca-Wacky-Thumbs-Aloft McCartney trip since his headlining slot at Glastonbury this year, so I thought this, from “the band The Beatles could have been”, would be quite a nice way to kick things off this week:
Wings – Let ‘Em In
This is one I’ve been meaning to have as an opening track on one of these for a while, simply because the title fits the mood of things. And also because of Simon’s unintentionally hilarious, trying to sound hip, description of him popping “outside to smoke myself a J”. Oh, you are outrageous, Paul!
2. Paul Simon – Late in the Evening
There’s no Bowie this week, so I figured a bit of T. Rex would be the next best thing. I try to avoid posting the obvious, famous ones when I’m doing these playlists, but sometimes it the obvious, famous ones which are just screaming out to be included. I couldn’t resist:
3. T. Rex – Get It On
There’s no Bowie this week, so I figured a bit of Suede would be the next best thing.
4. Suede – The Drowners
There’s no Bowie this week, so…oh wait, that doesn’t work with this one. Bring on the lovely Ms Wener and her Sleeperblokes!
5. Sleeper – Nice Guy Eddie
I wanted to pick the tempo up a bit more here, and the Kaisers doing their standard “Woah! Woooah! Woooooaaaaaaah! Woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooah!” routine seemed as good a way as any:
6. Kaiser Chiefs – I Predict a Riot
Contrary to popular belief, Kula Shaker didn’t just release ropey singles. When they weren’t referencing Hinduism or dropping covers of Deep Purple singles, they managed to release at least one decent one:
7. Kula Shaker – Hey Dude
There’s no effin’ & jeffin’ warning on this week’s playlist, but let’s be honest, genius that he was, can we ever be sure exactly what Mark E. Smith was singing all the time? Sacrilege, I know, I know. Chances are we’re on safe ground here, though, with this blistering cover of an old Tommy Blake number:
8. The Fall – F-‘oldin’ Money
If I ever had to name a band that had single-handedly introduced me to the most other bands, then it would be The Wedding Present, via their dazzling array of cover versions. This one cropped up on as an extra track on their 1994 single Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah, and it’s easy to see – and hear – what drew Mr Gedge to it:
9. Paul Revere & The Raiders – Him Or Me – What’s It Gonna Be?
This next one is included purely because the intro to it reminded me of the Paul Revere tune, although now I listen to them both, I’m really not sure why:
10. The Monkees – Last Train to Clarksville
I had the pleasure of catching this next lot at Glastonbury back in 2010, playing in the Acoustic Tent (I think); there was only about 15 people there to see what was a blistering set, which was fine for us as there was more room to wig out in; it was probably a little disheartening for the band to have to play to such depleted numbers though.
In the context of this mix, this is a bridging song, by which I mean one which links nicely with what follows, as I slow things down for a bit. The fact that it has the word “Train” in the title is entirely coincidental, a theme is not about to emerge:
11. The Woodentops – Love Train
There’s no effin’ & jeffin’ warning on this week’s playlist, but you should ensure any minors’ eyes are averted from the saucy old name of this band. Time to put your feet up and have a breather for a bit:
12. Starfucker – Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second
I’m genuinely surprised when I hear that this R.E.M. track isn’t universally loved. Sure, it’s from the first post-Bill Berry album Up, which is patchy at best, but I think this is a rare moment of beauty from the band’s late period of ever decreasing circles and diminishing rewards:
13. R.E.M. – Suspicion
Ok, I’ll admit it. There’s another reason I picked that R.E.M. tune: for some reason which I can’t quite fathom, it pleased me greatly to have that song title next to this one. Maybe it’s because it then echoes Supernatural Superserious, the lead single from their Accelerate album. I dunno. Maybe. Does it matter?
Anyway, should you ever you get chance, check out some of the footage of Stevie playing this one when it was released back in 1972; he looks as cool as cool can be:
14. Stevie Wonder – Superstition
We’re on to the home straight now, and Stevie acts as the first part of a pair of Seventies classics used to book-end a couple of belters from the Eighties. No further notes required, I think:
15. New Order – True Faith
16. Pet Shop Boys – Heart
17. The Jackson 5 – I Want You Back
That’s yer lot til next Friday, although all of the previous mixes should be available to download should you need a long varied soundtrack for your Bank Holiday weekend BBQs. Fill your boots.
Okay, I hadn’t planned to be away for so long, and I will explain why. Soon, but not yet.
It’s not appropriate to go into it today, for the event that has coaxed me back to my keyboard was the sad passing this week of ex-Monkee Mike Nesmith.
I was going to write a much longer piece about him, but I see that Alyson over at What’s It All About? has done a fine job of eulogising about him (which you can read here), so I’ll stick to posting (actually, re-posting) my two favourite Nesmith moments.
Firstly, a song from his time with The Monkees, which he didn’t write but did sing lead vocals on. This is without doubt my favourite song by the band by a country mile:
(Coincidentally, I picked up a vinyl copy of the album that’s from, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd, on ebay the other day. The vendor who let it go for £1.99 + postage must be kicking himself he didn’t list it a day or two later. It arrived on the morning that Nesmith died. I do hope the two things aren’t linked. Maybe I should test this serendipitous theory by buying Coldplay records and crossing my fingers.)
The footage is, I think, taken from one of their TV shows, which originally aired in 1966, but I remember watching reruns of it during the late 70s/early 80s. I loved it, utterly buying into the jokes and, with the benefit of hindsight, the slightly anarchic format of the show Each episode was a fairly ramshackle affair, with a performance or two such as this thrown in for good measure.
At the time, drummer Micky Dolenz (and last surviving member of the band) was my favourite, because he seemed to get all the funniest lines. But watching that clip I just find him really irritating. Alright Micky, stop trying to hog the camera. We all saw you do your “funny” wave the first time, no need to repeat it an additional four times.
Anyway. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, for, now that my musical taste-buds are fully developed, I realise that it wasn’t Dolenz I should have been watching, but Nesmith. It’s always the quiet ones.
For he penned a song which, if I absolutely had to name my top 5 favourite records, would definitely, 100% nailed-on be in it. It’s probably the song which I have – and have posted – the most versions of.
I speak, of course, of Different Drum.
All those different versions I have? All great, because the song is so good, it’s nigh on impossible to screw it up. If I had to pick my favourite version, it would probably be the most well known one – the Linda Rondstadt/Stone Poneys version.
Here’s Linda and the boys belting it out live; you may note the link says there is a jazz harp involved, but if there is then I blinked and missed it (which is probably a good thing: to these ears a jazz harp sounds like an innuendo waiting to happen: “She only walked in and caught me strumming my jazz harp….”):
And here’s Susanna Hoffs performing an acoustic version because…well, do I need a reason to post a video clip of Ms Hoffs? Thought not.
But Nesmith’s honky-tonk version, now performed as Michael Nesmith rather than Mike (like when footballer Andy Cole started insisting everyone call him Andrew so he seemed more grown up) with the First National Band, is still rather wonderful. Because it cannot fail to be.
Any excuse to post it again is always welcome, except this time, I wish the reason wasn’t done with such a heavy heart:
Signatures and autographs seems to have become an unintentional theme of my posts this weekend, so I thought I’d share something that happened last weekend to round things off.
As many of you will know, I’m a massive football fan, and, as I wrote way back here (song link not re-upped as I got my only take-down notice when I first posted it) I’ve supported Tottenham Hotspur since 1981.
I don’t believe in fate, but something – pure coincidence seems more likely – has lent a hand in me now living in North London, not a million miles away from my beloved Spurs’ home ground.
Many of you will know that for the past year and a half, Spurs have relocated to Wembley, as their own stadium, White Hart Lane, was demolished and then rebuilt with a significantly larger capacity. The process has not been without its problems: the stadium was supposed to be finished and ready for the start of the 2018/2019 season, but it was only this week that the doors finally reopened and we were able to play our first competitive match at the new stadium (I say “we” like I had something to do with it, which of course I didn’t).
Whilst the club was relocated, I’ve been fortunate enough to go to a few games for free, courtesy of a friend of mine, Ray, who works for the club. I’ve known Ray for about twenty-five years, since he first worked with and then lived with my old mate Richie. Full disclosure: that twenty-five years includes a massive gap when I lost touch with both of them. But now, every now and then, I’ll get a text or a direct message from Richie, asking if I fancy going to a specific game as Ray could probably sort out free tickets for us (I feel embarrased to actually ask if he can sort tickets for us for a particular match, and would much rather wait until the opportunity is offered to me). The answer is always, unless I have something else on which I really can’t get out of: yes!
Consequently, I’ve been fortunate enough to have been at matches against Real Madrid in the Champions League last year (we won, 3-1 – what a night!), against (and, no disrespect intended but there’s a considerable drop-off in the quality of the opposition here) Huddersfield (a 2-0 win), the final game of last season (which was supposed to be our last game at Wembley) against Leicester – possibly the stupidest but most thoroughly enjoyable match I’d ever seen up until that point, which ended up with us winning 5-4 – and our 3-0 win against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League this season, where Richie and I, thanks to Ray, ended up sitting very close to the likes of Michael McIntyre and England manager Gareth Southgate.
For that last couple of those games, Ray had arranged for us to have access to the bar where the sponsors meet and eat, and where ex-players are employed to meet with the fans, have a chat and a photo taken. Consequently, I have pictures (which I won’t bore you with) of me and Richie with the likes of Tottenham Legends Robbie Keane, Ledley King, Pat Jennings, Gary Mabbutt, Ray Clemence and Ricky Villa (I was a total dribbling fanboy when I met him, telling him over and over – as he must have heard a thousand times before – “You’re the reason I support Spurs!”.
Because of this goal:
So last Saturday, Ray had sorted something really special, never to be repeated, for us: pre-match lunch in the exclusive Tunnel Club (yes, I know it sounds like a euphimism for a gay bar, but it’s so called because the end wall looks out onto the tunnel the players line up in as they prepare to head out onto the pitch) followed by really quite amazing seats, right behind the home bench, for the Tottenham Legends as they played Inter Milan Forever in the final test event before the stadium doors opened properly on Wednesday of this week.
And when I say “really quite amazing seats” I mean it:
The stadium is breath-takingly amazing, getting the balance between the old and the new just right, as evidenced here:
On the day, for Milan, such lumiaries as Lauren Blanc, Mikaël Silvestre, Juan Sebastian Veron turned out. For Tottenham the likes of Robbie Keane, Jurgen Klinsman (who played for Milan in the second half), Dimitar Berbatov, David Ginola, and of course, Paul Gascoigne.
Here’s all nine goals that were scored – it’s worth watching just for Robbie Keane’s gloriously impudent goal, and his trademark celebration, which is round about the 8:00 mark:
What’s missing from that footage (apart from me – I’ve spotted Richie in the crowd, but I’ve no idea where I am) is Gascoigne’s brief appearance; he came on in the second half to a rapturous reception, but clearly injured himself in the warm-up; he basically limped around the pitch for fifteen minutes or so as he desperately, unsuccesfully, tried to run off his injury. It was lovely to see him, but also sad that we hadn’t really seen him.
As he came off, Richie turned to me and said: “I’ve always wanted to say that I saw Gazza play. I’m not sure I can say that now.”
And on came David Ginola.
We’d been sitting very close behind him for the first half, and I spent much of that time in irritating fanboy mode, nudging Richie in the ribs and saying “David Ginola’s sat just there!” over and over again:
I’d wanted to capture the moment he stripped off to his kit to come on; this was the best I managed:
Phwooooar! Am I right, ladies?
But, as is to be expected of a man who has recently had major heart surgery, his involvement in the game was restricted to a few nonchalant Gallic flicks and back-heels.
I still would though.
To see these players, who mean so, so much to me, even if I wasn’t watching them play in their pomp and prime, was utterly, utterly priceless to me. It was quite the most glorious of days. I can’t think of another time that I was quite so deliriously stupidly happy.
Anyway, to the anecdote.
In the second half, one of the chaps who had been sitting on the table next to us in The Tunnel Club, leaned over and tapped Darren “Sicknote” Anderton on the shoulder, proffering him a match-day program and a pen. Anderton duly obliged, and went to hand the program back, only to be asked if he could pass it forward to Gazza.
Which, whilst I must applaude the audacity of the autograph hunter in question – I commended him on it back in the Club after the game – it must have been a dagger to Sicknote’s heart.
There. That’s caught you all out. The Chain on a Wednesday morning.
Don’t get used to this. I’m at a work conference this afternoon and won’t get back until late, so I figured if I didn’t get it done before then, it’d end up being another week before it appeared. So, I started writing it earlier than usual (but still a week late, if you’re being ungratefully picky).
Anyway, we’ve lots to get through this week – 63 new suggestions in total – and so, as has become usual, we’ll start off with a reminder of the source record for the week:
Yet again, one of you correctly guessed the next song in The Chain, but we’ll come to that later. Or, more specifically, at the end.
But first, where to begin? Link-wise, I can think of no finer place than with therobster from Is This The Life? although, as you will see, the first tune of the week can only be partly credited to him:
“I’ve gone down the ‘intentionally misspelled animal-related band name’ route. How about some Def Leppard? No…?”
Yes! But with no actual one-armed suggestions forthcoming from the robster, in stepped Rol from My Top Ten:
“If therobster isn’t going to suggest one, can I suggest…”
Now, just in case any of you were planning on pulling me up on using that sleeve, let me explain. RCA Records bosses told the band that they would not release the song with the title “Randy Scouse Git” (which, incidentally, is taken from 1960s sitcom “‘Til Death Us Do Part”), and demanded they gave it an alternate title. “Okay”, said drummer/singer Mickey Dolenz, “‘Alternate Title’ it is.”
Here’s another band that fits nicely into the category:
(NB. I tried to track down a video clip of just the Partridge – Kraftwerk introduction, sadly to no avail. But imagine my surprise when typing the words “alan partridge introduces kraftwerk” into Google to find that the fourth link it offers is to…The Chain #28!)
But I digress. GMFree seizes the opportunity to do the old Chain link one-two shuffle:
“Which leads me to my [next] suggestion with the recent death of Holger Czukay…”
Ah yes, Apple Records. Alex G picks this up and runs with it:
“‘Martha, My Dear’ is from The Beatles’ eponymous 1968 LP, their first on their own Apple Records imprint. So from one artist-owned label named after a fruit, to another: Ray Charles’ Tangerine Records. I do wonder whether the Beatles got the idea from him, though nobody else seems to think so. Anyway, let’s go for Ray Charles’ version of…”
And the bloke leaning over my shoulder at the bar is called Dave, amongst other things
So let’s switch on the Magimix ™ and see what delight we get
………… and the winner is
David Soul ‘Silver Lady'”
Much as I love that record, it’s featured before, way back in The Chain #8, and as such has to be disqualified. But since GMFree has done the old Chain link one-two shuffle, I suggested Julian might want to follow suit. So, since, he’d got to David Soul, perhaps one of his other songs? Nope. That’s too straight-forward for our Julian:
“David Soul starred in a short lived TV show called ‘Casablanca’, so how about…”
Having valiantly chipped in to assist therobster earlier, Rol’s back with a suggestion all his own doing:
“‘Martha My Dear’ is from The White Album. Another band who released a ‘White Album’ (following on from their Blue, Green and Red albums… even though all of them were actually just eponymous) were Weezer. From that, I’ll suggest…”
Do any other White albums spring to mind? Well, no, although there is, of course “The Whitey Album”, by Sonic Youth off-shoot Ciccone Youth (I really thought this would get suggested, especially as I posted a track from it in a recent post).
“It occurred to me that The Beatles ‘White Album’ reminds me of Mr Barry White…I can’t find any dog-related [this will get explained soon – Ed] Barry songs or ones about a girl called Martha [I think we pretty much used them all up last time – Ed] so it’ll have to be the next most appropriate for this place:”
Now, all this white stuff is all well and good, but let me draw all of your attention back to something Alex G said earlier: ‘Martha, My Dear’ is from The Beatles’ eponymous1968 LP…” And he’s quite right: the album in question is colloquially known as ‘The White Album’ but it’s actually, officially, called ‘The Beatles’.
Which takes us back to George, who suggests a new category: “…the ‘eponymous album that wasn’t a debut’ route.” And specifically he suggest this, from Blur’s 1997 album, the fifth that they released:
I must say, this is my favourite link of all that were suggested this time. It had never occurred to me before that most acts, when releasing an eponymous album, made it their debut, presumably to double the impact of their name, get it “out there” as a recognisable brand. So I did a little digging and found these acts also released eponymous albums, but not first time around:
Yes, everyone calls their fifth album “The Black Album”, but it’s not called that, it’s called ‘Metallica’.
And at the other end of the musical spectrum, this lots’ first album was 1973’s “Ring Ring”, but it wasn’t until two years later, when they released their third album, that they released an album called…well, you can figure the rest of that sentence out for yourselves:
Now, remember how in her suggestion Alyson mentioned something about dogs in songs? Well that’s where we’re going next and here’s Dirk from sexyloser to explain why:
“..the title ‘Martha My Dear’ was inspired by McCartney’s Old English Sheepdog, named Martha.”
Which leads us nicely into a whole batch of songs about dogs. Sort of. But before we get to Dirk’s suggestion, here’s The Great Gog, awake at 02:31am and thinking about dogs:
“All this talk of Martha has me thinking of my one of my sister’s dogs, which goes by that moniker. Martha is a spaniel, no idea what type of spaniel though. One type is a cocker spaniel which immediately led me to thinking of…”
“Another famous Old English Sheepdog was Alfie, who starred in ‘Serpico’, so – of course – did Al Pacino. And Al Pacino will always be remembered – at least in my household – not for Serpico, but a) [for the sex scene he had with the fabulous Ellen Barkin in] ‘Sea Of Love’, the film being named after a single by Phil Phillips from 1959. I prefer The Heptones’ version from 1968 though, also we don’t have enough Rocksteady on ‘The Chain’, I’m sure you’ll agree!”
Sorry, I stopped paying attention at the mention of Ellen Barkin. (I was wondering you were linking to her surname)
“We could also have something by Blondie as well…‘cos contrary to what everyone thinks, the band didn’t choose their name because Debbie Harry was blonde, no, they named themselves after Adolf Hitler’s German Shepherd, Blondi (the ‘i’ – ending was generally regarded as being too uncommon for American ears, so much so that the ‘-e’ was added)!”
Which is good enough for me. Here’s the Blondie track Dirk suggested:
Ok, brace yourself. It’s time for the undisputed Worst Record of the Week award, and to present the award here’s all round nice guy and not a white supremacist enabler at all, Sean Spicer accept the award and explain what the hell he was thinking when he sent me this suggestion is Rigid Digit from Stuff & Nonsense:
“…sticking firmly to the Dogs route (and a contender for Worst Record Of The Week)…”
Not just a contender, Rigid, but so nailed on The Worst Record Of The Week that nobody else even bothered to try to think of any more because this was so obviously unbeatable.
But first some context.
The song is about Barbara Woodhouse, a dog trainer who found celebrity status in the UK in the late 1970s/early 1980s, back when celebrities were required to have some semblance of talent (see also celebrity steeplejack Fred Dibnah). Here’s a clip to give you an idea:
And here she is, interviewing William Shatner, teaching his dogs a thing or two, and then revealing a little too much about her bedtime habits for my liking:
And here’s Rigid’s suggestion. Remember: in the world of The Barron Knights, a man putting on a ladies voice = funny:
And here’s two actual funny women, Rebecca Front and Joanna Scanlon, parodying Ms Woodhouse directly and subtly:
I’ll leave the last word on that Barron Knights song to Charity Chic who quipped:
“I think you missed an H out of the title.”
Rigid then goes on to mention the Dogs d’Amour, but doesn’t actually suggest a record by them. Luckily for us him, babylotti steps in with three suggestions by the band; I’ve picked the one he cited as his favourite. Because I’m nice like that.
I must say I always get the Dogs d’Amour mixed up with The Quireboys. Were they around at the same time? (NB: This is a rhetorical question, the type where instead of already knowing the answer, I already know that I don’t really care.)
So let’s have some more doggy-do’s, and one which I was surprised nobody else suggested. A song which is famously about a dog, although the name in the title was changed from ‘Brandy’ in the first draft (who sounds more like a stripper than a dog, if I’m honest) to:
(I was going to post a Buzzcocks tune and had settled for the (s)punky little burst that is ‘Orgasm Addict’, until I realised how that might look when played after the previous two songs…)
Time for another one that I was surprised nobody else came up with. The original version has featured on The Chain before, so I would have had to disqualify it. But, as with the helping hand I tried to give Julian earlier, had the original been suggested than I would doubtless have given you a nudge towards this:
Their record label initially refused to release that, on the grounds that it was trying just a bit too hard to sound like The Small Faces. Harsh, but fair.
But as Rigid astutely concludes:
“There ain’t many songs whose last words are: ‘lovely buttocks'”
A fair point, well made. But just think of the songs which could be improved by the inclusion of those words. “God Save The Queen” springs to mind.
Speaking of which…
Often, the suggestions link from one song to another by way of one word in the title. But there wasn’t much to work on here, just three words, and one of them, Martha, was pretty much done to death last time. But there was one more song to link to that name, from Swiss Adam over at Bagging Area:
“I have a niece called Martha. Her Mum, my sister, was born in June 1977. My parents sometimes say that if she’d been born on the Queen’s jubilee day they’d have called her Jubilee. At least I think they’re joking. So [this] seems an appropriate link (Pistols obvs).”
So, where to start with this little lot. Well, let’s split them down into songs which feature the word “Dear” in the title (or prominently elsewhere in the lyrics) and, first, songs which can in some way be linked to Deer.
And, after missing last times linkage, it’s a warm welcome back to SWC, who proffers this:
(Except it’s not really the Sex Pistols, is it? It’s got Eddie Tudor-Pole on lead vocals for a start. And it’s from ‘The Great Rock’n’Roll Swindle’. And it’s title and that picture are clearly meant to shock, but it’s shocking for the sake of being shocking. Not cool.)
But no, Julian was in fact going here:
“Ok it’s the rain song from Bambi”.
This caused a little confusion at Chain HQ, as the song that Julian actually wanted was this:
I have a confession to make: I’ve never seen Blade Runner. Sacrilege, I know. But it’s one of those films that everybody bangs on to me about how amazing it is that it can never live up to expectations. I guess I’d better rectify that before the new one comes out later this year, right?
Over to babylotti now, who suggests these two:
“[I’m] going to fall back on Marvin Gaye’s divorce settlement album, ‘Here My Dear’, with obvious reference to Martha my dear….I’ll suggest the title track rather than any of the singles.”
Martin from New Amusements snuck his suggestion under the wire just in time:
“Keith Moon used to call everybody “Dear Boy” and he did a pretty fair cover of Beatles track ‘In My Life’ for his lone solo album ‘Two Sides of the Moon’ (even if it was played with too straight a bat). Anyway, a double-linker!”
Time for C from Sun Dried Sparrows tune now, and this is an example of me saving the best ’til (almost) last; I think this is my favourite song by this lot. I love a good bracket (see?)
“I went down the ‘dear’ route too and another song whose title ends in the word ‘dear’ (there can’t be many, surely?). “Dear” is such a charming, old-fashioned word, I always thought it sounded a bit out of place for Blondie to use it but I love that they do. So I’d like to suggest…”
Now, when the suggestions start coming in, I will often have a little bet with myself as to who I think will suggest what. I’m rarely right, of course. For example, this week I was sure that Dirk would suggest this:
…which, given it’s a cover of a song from The Beatles’ “White Album” and features the word “Dear” is unquestionably a double-linker (Points!!).
And I wouldn’t be so sure about neither of your suggestions being right, CC, for you’re right on the money with your second one. The official link is, quite simply “From one Dear to another…” and the next record in The Official Chain is this:
I’d forgotten how great that record is too, as it goes.
So, CC, congratulations. A huge bag of non-existent points is winging its way to you. Hopefully that makes up for The Chain making you late for work last time. And today, too.
Ok, you know what happens now. This is the bit where I invite your suggestions, please, for songs which link to “There, There, My Dear” by Dexys Midnight Runners, along with a brief description of the link, via the Comments Section down below, in time for the next edition. Who knows when that might be.
Apologies it’s been a bit quiet round here this week; work has been busy and I’ve found myself of an evening ploughing through a load of TV shows that I’d recorded and never got round to watching (more about this later)…and then before I knew it, here we are at the weekend.
What I’m trying to say is: brace yourselves, there’s loads on the way over the next couple of days.
To kick things off, more musings on recently purchased vinyl, and another record which I had not previously owned but which when I saw it I had to own, since it was by a band who remind me so much of being a kid.
With the school summer holidays beckoning, I often find myself reflecting on how my childhood holiday mornings would usually start: sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the television, watching old re-runs of Flash Gordon, Tarzan, Robinson Crusoe, The Banana Splits, and this lot:
Truth be told, until I bought this recently I only really knew the three most well-known tracks:
and, of course, this, which heralded the start of their TV show and signalled a whole lot of uninterrupted zany fun (The Banana Splits were definitely zany, but the show was punctuated with what were, to my mind, too many dull cartoons):
The rest of the songs are all much of a muchness, if I’m honest. Not bad, not great, but clearly for the most part created from the same template.
Here’s a full episode of their show, just in case you fancy recreating the moment too:
There’s a further reason why I’ve a soft spot for The Monkees: Micky Dolenz was the first celebrity I ever encountered. He was the special guest at the summer fete in the village I lived in, a friend of a local resident who happened to be over visiting and who presumably got strong-armed into making an appearance.
Truth be told, I remember as much about that encounter as Dolenz probably does.
But thinking about it, perhaps that wasn’t my first celebrity encounter. A little earlier, I think, and for reasons that I’ve never really understood, actress Katy Manning – who played Jo Grant for three years alongside Jon Pertwee’s third Dr Who – visited our school.
This is Katy in her pomp:
I was a little too young to remember her being in Dr Who (she left in 1973), but the show was most definitely something that was on my radar by the time she visited, already an object of my obsession throughout the Tom Baker years (I owned a Tom Baker doll action figure, a toy K-9, and a Tardis). So to meet with a real live companion of the Doctor’s blew my mind back then.
Anyway, when she met with the small group of kids I was with, I was wearing a t-shirt with a picture of Dennis the Menace and Gnasher on it (because I was super cool), and I remember her pointing at it and saying “Hey Dennis….Grrr!” (because she recognised me as being super cool).
What makes her visit all the more inexplicable is that this must have been in the late 1970s, and thus probably around the time that she somewhat notoriously posed nude with a Dalek for a photo-shoot for ‘Girl Illustrated’ magazine in 1978. I say nude, but actually she was wearing a pair of boots given to her by Derek Nimmo.
Oh wait. Katy definitely wasn’t the first celebrity I ever met. That honour does, in fact, go to a Mickey, just not Micky Dolenz:
Before any of you comment on what a pretty dress I have on, that’s me on the right, and so happy am I to meet the massive Mouse, I appear to have filled my shorts to absolute maximum capacity. Always knew how to make a good first impression, me.
Yeh, go on, laugh it up. I’m not the only one to find myself in such a situation:
It’s weird how things pan out. We have various categories here, where I award points for (nobody’s counting, the points mean nothing, apart from giving a warm glow for the recipient) the following:
Worst/Cheesiest Record of the Week
Showboat Comment of the Week
The Next Record in The Official Chain
Well, this week, we have a suggestion for each of the above. All of them will receive points. Yes: one person correctly guessed the next song in The Official Chain. If I could afford Ray Winstone’s head to pop up to ask you to lay your bets “nahhhhh”, this is where he’d be.
To recap: last week, we ended up with “Bonny” by Prefab Sprout, from their “Steve McQueen” album. Plenty of food for thought there, you’d think? Well, we have the most tunes ever to get through this week, although that’s mostly because I kept thinking of new ones.
Oh and by the way, it was rather pleasing to note that absolutely nobody complained about my deliberate mistake last week, which was to omit the link for the Crazy Frog tune. My faith in humanity is almost restored.
But before we go any further, many of you will know that regular Chain Ganger Badger’s better half was Lorna was involved in a car crash last week. Needless to say, our thoughts and best wishes go out to them. Get well soon.
“Beans often come from sprouts so how about something by Sunflower Bean? Tame Impala perhaps…”
Yes, that’s Tame Impala by Sunflower Bean, rather that Sunflower Bean by Tame Impala. As it says on their Bandcamp page: “Tame Impala wrote a song called Led Zeppelin and now they have a song named after them.” You can’t fault their logic.
“I feel that this is as good a time as any to mention Jasper Carrott and Funky Moped, although I think that a fair proportion of its sales were down to the inclusion of the non-musical Magic Roundabout on the flip side.”
You’re probably right, GG, so let’s stick with the A-Side which is, by the way, the Worst Record of the Week:
And since we’re in Belgium, here’s Charity Chic from Charity Chic Music:
“Plastic Bertrand is the only Belgian singer I’m aware of….”
What, you haven’t heard of Arno before, CC…..? Care to nominate a song by the most famous Belgian (after Hercule Poirot and Jan Vertonghen, both of whom would have done better than our actual defence did yesterday).
In a normal week, the next suggestion, from George, would win the Comment Showboat of the Week. Not this week though, oh no:
“Using the song title, Bonny, to the name Bonnie, which leads to child star of the 70s Bonnie Langford, who appeared on a TV show with Lena Zavaroni, one of Rothesay’s famous exports, and there is no way I’m suggesting ‘Mama He’s Making Eyes At Me’, NO WAY, because I am linking from Bonnie Langford to Jon Langford, founder member of The Mekons, and to the song ‘Prince Of Darkness’, who seems to be having a rare old time at the moment in the UK and the USA. (The Prince of Darkness, that is, not Jon Langford)”
See that? Biting satire as well a great suggestion:
Time for The Robster from Is This The Life? with a bit of a history lesson:
“The only thing I’m coming back to is ‘My Bonnie’, the 1961 debut single by Tony Sheridan. He was backed on this by some young upstarts called The Beat Brothers (as the label credited them). Apparently they went on to become quite famous under a slightly different name…”
Many of you weren’t content at simply linking to Bonnie, plumping for songs which reference, or are just plain about, famous outlaws Bonnie and Clyde. Here’s another one of mine to kick this batch off:
Okay, are you all sitting comfortably? Good, because I’m about to go off on a bit of a tangent, and hog the limelight for….oooh…the next five songs.
In the movie about the outlaws Bonnie & Clyde, pithily titled “Bonne and Clyde” Bonnie was played by Faye Dunaway, and Clyde was played by Warren Beatty. Beatty may, or may not have been the subject of this record:
And, of course, her co-star in The Thomas Crown affair was one Steve McQueen, which is, of the course, the name of the album that this week’s source record comes from.
(If I could award myself the Comment Showboat of the Week for that little lot, I would. Guess I’d better give it to one of you lot instead. Harumph.)
Go on then George, do your stuff:
“From Steve McQueen to Alexander McQueen, the designer, whose partner was George Forsyth, which is also the name of a long dead American General, and also of a Peruvian footballer. And also from Peru was Daniel Alomia Robles, who wrote the song El Condor Pasa, which was made famous by Simon And Garfunkel as ‘El Condor Pasa (If I Could)’.”
“Shaun Ryder cribbed the opening to the Happy Mondays’ ‘Step On’ (“You’re twistin’ my melon, man…”) from a documentary about Steve McQueen. ‘Step On’ is, of course, a cover of a John Kongos number that I believe has featured on these pages before [it hasn’t, so we could have it…] Happy Mondays also covered Kongos’ Tokoloshe Man. So that instead, please.”
Fair enough. This featured on “Rubáiyát”, which was released to mark record label Elektra’s 40th Anniversary:
Okay, where shall we go next? I know, let’s have some suggestions relating to Prefab Sprout themselves, and to kick things off, here’s Alyson from What’s It All About, Alfie?
“I always thought that their ’88 hit ‘King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’ was called ‘Albuquerque’ as the word comes up so often in the lyrics – Whenever watching the TV show Breaking Bad which was set in Albuquerque I thought of the song ‘A Horse With No Name’ by America (from Ruislip) and sure enough it popped up in the third season (and is my suggestion for this week). A tenuous double link is that the America band members back in the early ’70s would have worn the fashionable trouser of the day – loon pants – and Prefab Sprout’s main man was of course Paddy McAloon!”
“I should go from something by Prefab Sprout to the *original* Prefab Four, i.e. The Rutles, but I’m not actually familiar with their output. ‘Cheese and Onions’ is a mildly infamous song of theirs, though, so I’ll go with that.”
Now, we’ve had numerous links to Steve McQueen, the album that the source record features on, but what about other albums by Prefab Sprout?
“Prefab Sprout’s next album was ‘From Langley Park to Memphis’ and one of the singles from it was aforementioned ‘King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’. Elvis of course was the KORNR and he lived in Memphis so an alternative suggestion is ‘Walking in Memphis’ by Cher (as she dressed up as Elvis on ‘Top of the Pops’ back in the day).”
No extra points, I’m afraid Martin, but I will take this opportunity to nudge you in the direction of Swiss Adam’s Bagging Area, where he has just finished posting a week of protest songs. Worth a visit, in my opinion.
Anyway, that’s your lot for this week. Except, a little while ago, Rigid Digit mentioned the Steve McQueen film and Blur album “The Great Escape”, but didn’t actually nominate a song from said album. Magnanimous host that I am, I asked him if he had one particular song in mind:
“My choice would be the peerless ‘The Universal’ (despite it’s continuing usage on the British Gas advert)”
I don’t have much to say about today’s choice, other than that last week I mentioned I’d be posting something by The Monkees today. Oh, and that I once met Micky Dolenz at a village fete when I as a kid. But he doesn’t sing the lead vocals on this one, so it’s not really relevant.