Is it that time again already? Wow here we are on 12th March just a few days away from those nasty old Ides Of March. More of the Ides in a later post….. if I can be bothered, but either way just beware of them ok? Before we get down to business the regular readers among you may recall that the last time this blog included a fart clip the viewing figures went sky high, so here’s another one! This is a fart that disrupts a Council Meeting in the US. Click here to see it and I dare you, no I double dare you not to laugh!
So onto todays delights of which there are six; three birthdays and three ‘onthisdays’
Today would have been the 92nd birthday of Leonard Chess the founder of Chess Records. The label was home to some fantastic artists including John Lee Hooker, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Jimmy Reed. Mr Chess checked out of this mortal coil of a heart attack aged just 52 in 1969. Strangely enough I won a set of eight Chess compilation albums (these were those big 12 inch plastic things we called LPs back in the day) in around 1975. I think the series was called ‘Chess Golden Decades’ or something like that. It was from a competition in the late great (hey the l’s & g’s get an outing for a publication and not a person!) Record Mirror. The winner was the person who came up with the longest list of song titles that featured colours (“Little Red Rooster”, “Tie A Yellow Ribbon” you get the idea. Remember this was way before the internet was even a twinkle in a geeks eye. My winning list comprised of more than 400 titles which was more than double the person in second place. Now that just goes to prove that I have always been a sad anorak doesn’t it? OK not exactly a Chess classic but I couldn’t resist including Chuck Berry’s only UK number one, from 1972 it’s “My Ding A Ling”
Anyway back to Mr Chess, he was born in a part of Poland that is now in fact in Belarus. He was originally called Lejzor Czyz and his family changed his name when they arrived in the US in 1928. I guess that’s a good thing really, I mean do you really think Czyz Records would have had the same impact? The label was based in Chicago and many non Chess acts also recorded at their studios, including the Rolling Stones. The Stones immortalised the Chess address with an instrumental track called “2120 South Michigan” in the mid 60’s. Maurice White who was once a session drummer at Chess Studios eventually went on to form the magnificent Earth Wind And Fire. A band I saw live at Wembley in 1979 😉 So to make up for the earlier inclusion of “My Ding A Ling” here is John Lee Hooker with “Boom Boom”
Today is also the 40th birthday of one of my all time favourite guitarists, Mr Graham Coxon who will be treading the boards as part of a reformed Blur this year. Coxon played on all of Blur’s albums up to and including 1999’s ’13’. He also designed the cover for ’13’. He only featured on one track for the following album ‘Think Tank’ after a big fall out with the rest of the band, although clearly they seem pretty much reconciled now after he appeared at this years Brits to sing a version of “This Is A Low” with Damon Albarn. Graham has also been quite a prolific solo artist having released 6 albums under his own name, three of those while still with Blur. I have seen Blur twice once with Coxon and once without I definitely think they are much better with Graham in the fold. Here is Mr Coxon with the excellent “Freakin’ Out”
Finally on the birthdays front today is the 30th birthday of someone once famously described as a ‘rock n roll fuckwit’ by Pete Townshend. Who? Why it’s Mr Pete Doherty of course. He of Libertines, Babyshambles and now solo musical fame and a fair amount of infamy too. As in ‘infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it infamy’ So many tabloid inches have been covered with celebrity prattle about Pete so I won’t dwell on that. But in my opinion he is a great songwriter, I loved the Libertines and also Babyshambles too. I am definitely looking forward to his solo album. To return to something that was covered in a previous post, that something being Janie Jones. Pete featured on a charity cover of the Clash song “Janie Jones” in 2006. Other contributors were Dirty Pretty Things, We Are Scientists, Kooks and the Holloways. The song was recorded to raised funds for ‘Strummerville’ which is a foundation for new music set up shortly after Joe Strummer’s untimely death. here is Pete with Babyshambles doing the excellent “Albion” on the BBCs ‘Later With Jools Holland’
On this day in 1981 in another monumental piece of hype from Talcy Malcy himself (that’ll be Malcolm McLaren then) Bow Wow Wow were forced to cancel the first dates of a UK tour. The reason for the cancellation was that singer Annabella Lwin aged just 15 would have been guilty of truancy according to the Greater London Council. Incidentally McLaren was the bands manager. Bow Wow Wow were formed after Malcolm began to manage the original Adam And The Ants. He sacked Mr Ant and then brought in Annabella Lwin as the singer. Adam was quite adamant (and Adam Ant) that it did him no harm in the long run though. Lwin’s birth name was Myint Myint Aye, which apparently means High High Cool in Burmese, personally I would have used that as my stage name! here they are with a live rendition of “C30, C60, C90, Go“. Note the Adams & the Ants style Burundi drum beat.
On this day in 1988 the phenomenally talented (according to some, but not me) Rick Astley was number one in the US singles chart with “Never Gonna Give You Up” . The song was also a UK number one. Following something of an internet phenomenon last year with what became known as ‘RickRolling’ he found himself voted the ‘Best Act Ever’ at the MTV Europe Music Awards. Well I suppose even that is better than a win for Robbie W (give me a break I haven’t had a dig at for ages have I?) Anyway ‘Rickrolling’ was a means of sending someone the link to a Rick video by stealth. This led to around 30 million views of Rick videos and presumably 30 million people needing therapy have been a victim of ‘Rickrolling’ The song also gave writers and producers Stock, Aitken and Waterman their fourth UK number one when it topped the UK charts in 1987. They had previously hit the top slot with Dead Or Alive, Mel & Kim and Ferry Aid. OK prepare to be Rickrolled and I promise I’ll be gentle, here is Rick with “Never Gonna Give You Up”
And finally on this day in 2001 Judy Garland’s “Over The Rainbow” was voted the ‘Song Of The Century’ in a poll published in the US. The poll was produced by the R.I.A.A and was compiled from input by musicians, critics and fans. The highest placed UK act was the Rolling Stones with “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”. The Beatles reached number 28 with “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. The top ten was;
1. “Over the Rainbow,” Judy Garland
2. “White Christmas,” Bing Crosby
3. “This Land Is Your Land,” Woody Guthrie
4. “Respect,” Aretha Franklin
5. “American Pie,” Don McLean
6. “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” Andrews Sisters
7. “West Side Story” (album), original Broadway cast
8. “Take Me out to the Ball Game,” Billy Murray
9. “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” Righteous Brothers
10. “The Entertainer,” Scott Joplin
I must say I’m somewhat surprised that the West Side Story soundtrack album made it into the top ten songs of the century, I mean it’s a whole bloody album! If you want to see the whole list just click here.