I have in mind that today’s post will be much shorter than recent days, but let’s see how that pans out at the end shall we? before we get into the usual crop of birthdays and onthisdays I’d like to talk about what I listened to on my iPod today on a brisk walk into the city this afternoon. Don’t panic I’m only going to mention one song. That song being the magnificent “One Nation Under A Groove” by the mighty Funkadelic. This song is in my all time top 10 (which Catwoman tells me seems to contain at least 50 songs!) and for me should be used in the peace process for conflicts across the globe. Let’s all Funk for World Peace, a bit like Make Love Not War, only this is funkin’ instead of ………….. lovin’ (how rude are you? You thought I was going to say something else didn’t you? But funk has an ‘N’ not a ‘C’) Anyway I absotively posolutely love this song. How can you not want to dance to it? when it came out in 1978 I actually saw their show, which was a joint effort with one of George Clinton’s other wonderful creations, Parliament at the Hammersmith Odeon in London. It still ranks as one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen and there have been many since my first in November 1973. Sadly the song only just scraped into the UK top 10, peaking at 9. But it should have put the funk into the number one slot for weeks! George Clinton is the Funkmeister behind both Parliament and Funkadelic using both as vehicles for his prolific output, particularly during the 70s. If you don’t already own this song download it now! If you want to just listen to it click on the title here “One Nation Under A Groove” It would also be remiss of me to include no trivia about them so here is a George Clinton snippet or two (he’s no relation of Bill Clinton by the way!) In 1955 he was still attending the Clinton Place High School (now that’s some coincidence) when he started work as a foreman at New Jersey’s Wham-O Hula-Hoop factory. Now that would have been a cool first job. Mine was in the bus schedules mileage section at London Transport (we measured bus routes!) in 1975.
So now let’s get back to normal starting with the birthdays. February 20th is the 63rd birthday of J Geils who gave his name to, can you guess? yes the J. Geils Band! I can confirm that his real name wasn’t in fact just J, to his Mum he’s just little Jerome! Whilst Jerome may have used his name to name the band he wasn’t the singer (a bit like Van Halen then) the singer in their heyday was one Peter Wolf. Apparently at some point in their career the band also included the wonderfully named Magic Dick on harmonica. I’d love to know if that’s the name on his passport! The bands biggest UK hit was “Centrefold” which reached number three, the song was also a US number 1. OK click the song title and then after three….. all together now na na na na na na (repeat ad infinitum!)
The second of todays birthdays is that of Mr Walter Becker who is 59 today. Becker is 50% of Steely Dan along with Donald Fagen. The band have absolutely nothing to do with Steeleye Span (other than their names sound similar). Steely Dan took their name from the steam powered dildo in William Burroughs book “The Naked Lunch”. They were generally known as more of an albums band, although many of you may be familiar with the singles “Reelin’ In The Years”, “Do It Again” and “Haitian Divorce”. My favourite Steely Dan song though, is the supreme “Dirty Work” from their album “Can’t Buy A Thrill”
The third and final birthday for today is that of the late great (you knew those l and g’s would be back didn’t you?) Kurt Cobain. He would have been 42 today had he not taken his own life aged just 27 in 1994. Apparently 27 is a bad age for rock stars, not only Cobain, but also Jimi Hendrix (more of him later), Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin all died at 27. Kurt’s suicide note quoted some lyrics from Neil Young’s “My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)” Those words were “it’s better to burn out than fade away” Nirvana played their final gig on March 1st in Munich, Germany. Cobain’s body was found on April 8th. Have a look and listen to Nirvana’s excellent “Come As You Are” The “I don’t have a gun” refrain in the song is somewhat eerie given how Kurt killed himself.
And there is just one onthisday today. On this day in 1960 Jimi Hendrix made his stage debut at a High School show in Seattle. Although some sources suggest that this took place in 1959. when Jimi was born in 1942 he was registered as Johnny Allen Hendrix by his mother Lucille (who was a full blooded Cherokee indian). He was renamed James Marshall Hendrix four years later by his father. In 1964 Hendrix was the guitarist in the Isley Brothers touring band, it is said by many that this is really where Ernie Isley developed his Hendrix style guitar playing. Here is Jimi with Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower” at the Isle of Wight festival in 1970 just a few months before his death
That’s all for today folks apart from this picture of one of our cats, Benny. He is named after Benny the Ball from Top Cat and he will be 1 year old at the end of March
I have an apology for all of you who have read this far, it wasn’t a particularly short post today!