Welcome to Saturday people, unless of course you’re reading this later or something, in which case just “Hello, Good Evening and Welcome! (Copyright – David Frost!). In order to try and keep the promise I made yesterday of keeping this post short (although to be fair I failed abysmally on that yesterday) I’ll at least keep the intro short.
So without further ado, let’s get straight into todays birthdays. Firstly February 21st 2009 would have been the 76th birthday of the late great (two days in a row, those l’s & g’s are in danger of overuse) Nina Simone. She died aged 70 in 2003. She was born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in North Carolina in the US. Like many of her generation she began her musical career in church where she made a classical piano recital aged just 10. At one point during her piece her parents were told to move from the front row to allow some white people to sit down. Nina has said that she refused to play until her folks were allowed to retain their front row seats. She has also said that this may have been where the seeds of her civil rights activism were sown. She took the stage name Nina Simone so that her mother, who was a very strict Methodist Minister wouldn’t know where she was playing what she saw as the “Devil’s music” Nina is Spanish for ‘little girl’ and was a nickname a previous boyfriend had given her. Simone came from the French actress Simone Signoret. Here is Nina with a jolly good version of the Beatles “Revolution” with some rather spiffing lyric changes
The second of todays birthdays is that of Vince Welnick who would have been 58 today, but sadly he committed suicide in 2006. Who he? Well he was the keyboard player with the Tubes so that gives me the chance to indulge myself by providing the link to a clip (or two) of that excellent band! He also played with the Grateful Dead after leaving the Tubes in the late 80s. In 1973 they were the opening act on the bill for the New York Dolls, Iggy Pop and also Led Zeppelin. In 1983 they were also the support band on a number of David Bowie’s Serious Moonlight tour gigs, although sadly not at the Milton Keynes show where I saw him on that tour in 1983. Most of the band, although not Mr Welnick, adpoted some great stage names including Fee Waybill, Quay Lewd and Prairie Prince. Strangely enough the first two names were adopted by the lead singer whose real name was in fact John Waldo Waybill, which to me sounds like a made up name anyway! OK so as promised a couple of links of the Tubes in their prime! Firstly with their stab at disco with “Prime Time” followed by the absolutely stone cold classic “White Punks On Dope” from a late 70s edition of the BBC’s ‘Old Grey Whistle Test’. Fraser if you’re reading this, this ones for you mate!
The third and final birthday for today is that of James Dean Bradfield singer and guitarist with the Manic Street Preachers. In case you were wondering, the James Dean part of his name arose because his Mum was an avid movie fan, he has apparently said on some occasions that it might have been worse had she named him something like Clint Eastwood Bradfield. Presumably Marilyn Monroe Bradfield might have been difficult during his youth as well! The late great (definitely back those ‘ole l’s & g’s)Richey Edwards was a key member of the band up until his disappearance in 1995, providing many of the bands lyrics. His family formally declared him dead late last year. In another twist he also left behind a notebook of lyrics for each of the Manics remaining members and many of these will be used on the bands new album which is due for release later this year. In the meantime enjoy the Richey era Manics with the rather brilliant “Motown Junk” from 1991.
On this day in 1976 the late great (now they’re just showing off!) Florence Ballard of the Supremes died of cardiac arrest aged just 32. She had left the group in 1967 and lost an $8 million lawsuit with Motown Records. She was living on welfare when she died. In my opinion both Flo Ballard and Mary Wilson were much better singers than Diana Ross. I also doubt that Flo or Mary would have recorded the absolutely abysmal (in my humble opinion of course) “Chain Reaction”! Here are the original Supremes, including Florence Ballard with “Where Did Our Love Go“, definitely not Motown Junk!
On this day in 2001 Robbie Williams was attacked and thrown from the stage during a gig in Stuttgart, Germany after a man managed to climb on stage and push him into the security pit. He was later arrested and taken to a secure psychiatric unit, obviously I mean the pusher and not Robbie, although one does live in hope! Well come on I haven’t said anything bad about Robbie for a few days have I? Just to show I care here’s a video of Mr Williams…………. er falling over on stage in Leeds in 2006!
Finally on this day in 2004 Les Gray, the lead singer of Mud, died of throat cancer aged just 57. Mud’s first TV appearance was on BBC TVs ‘Basil Brush Show’ I hope they played “Dyna-mite”……. BOOM BOOM! After they signed to the RAK label in the early 70s and also teamed up with songwriters Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman (who wrote many hits for other acts too, including the Sweet and Suzi Quatro) they had a string of UK hits including three number ones “Tiger Feet”, “Lonely This Christmas” and a acapella cover of Buddy Holly’s “Oh Boy” Click here to listen to a megamix of four of Mud’s 70s hits (Dynamite, Rocket, Tiger Feet and Oh Boy)
OK that’s all for today folks, thanks for reading this far, or indeed reading this stuff at all. See you next time!