With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

“Then one night some men of higher standing set a trap, they’re not to blame” December 31, 2010


Bobby Farrell RIP

Some interesting news and a strange coincidence for you on this last day of 2010. Amy Winehouse recently pocketed £1 million for a private gig in Moscow for a Russian tycoon, not bad for someone who hasn’t played a gig in ages. There were two other acts on the bill; Boney M and Ke$ha, quite a strange combination in my opinion. What do you think? A few days after that gig singer and dancer Bobby Farrell off of Boney M died in a St Petersburg hotel room after a gig in the city. It is understood that he had a history of heart trouble. The strange coincidence is that Bobby died in the same city as Rasputin and on exactly the same date. Now that is the strange coincidence given that one of Bobby’s big hits with Boney M was “Rasputin” Click here to read the story of Bobby’s death on the BBC. Regular readers will know that Boney M were never my favourite band, in fact they were a long way from it, but it is always sad when someone dies so young, so RIP Bobby. Here he is with Boney M and that very song (followed by songs from Amy and Ke$ha:

Amy looks for a safe place to hide her million quid

Meanwhile in the New Years honours list Annie Lennox wins an OBE while Trevor Horn godlike producer wins a CBE, congratulations to them both. Although I am unlikely ever to be offered a Royal honour I have made it very clear to my family and friends that I would turn it down, I cannot support an institution like the Royal Family. I find it strange that there are now a number of Knights of the Realm among the rock and pop aristocracy; Sir Cliff Richard, Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John and Sir Mick Jagger. Keith Richards has made it clear that he would never accept such and honour and David Bowie has already turned down the offer of royal honours a couple of times in the past. Watch Annie with the Eurythmics below along with a couple of classic videos for Trevor Horn productions.

Due to government budget cuts OBE winners were now awarded a cuddly toy rather than a medal

 

“It’s been a long, long time since I’ve got you on my mind” December 29, 2010


This will be quite a short post, but one I simply had to post. Regular readers will know that I am a big Johnny Nash fan and also not a small fan of Bob Marley. I have a Google Alert set up for Johnny Nash and today it pointed me towards a real gem of a blog post from the Transpontine Blog. It is a South East London Blogzine and todays post was about a story that appeared in the Southwark News from early November. If you thought Peckham was only famous for Del Boy and Rodney then prepare to think again, for it may have reignited the career of Johnny Nash and sparked the career of Bob Marley in 1972.

Keith Baugh, the Art Teacher at Peckham Manor School in the early 70s met Johnny and Bob in a London club in 1972 where they bemoaned the fact that they simply couldn’t get their songs played on the radio. So Keith suggested that they do a bit more promo work, perhaps with a gig at his school. So they took him at his word and played two sets, they also found time to play a bit of football with some of the pupils.

I really loved the Transpontine post, so thanks to them, the Southwark News and Keith Baugh for providing the photos and the story. Transpontine has also been added to my Blogroll. Obviously this also gives me a chance to indulge in a few songs from a couple of my most favourite artists. Did I ever tell you that Johnny Nash was the first person to have a UK chart hit with a Bob Marley song? Well he was and that song was “Stir It Up

 

“We can make your wildest dreams come true” December 27, 2010


It is with sadness that I report the death of Teena Marie aged just 54. According to some news reports she died in her sleep and was found by her daughter. Read the news here on Yahoo. Teena was one of Motown‘s most successful white artists and a protegé of funk legend Rick James. Motown were worried that the fact she was white might have a detrimental effect on sales so they kept her image from the cover of her first album. A bit like the way they released some albums by their black artists in the 60s, I recall one Isley Brothers album, where the cover was a picture of a lot of beautiful young white people on a beach! It’s all wrong surely.

Teena also won a landmark legal case against Motown before she joined Epic. It broke the way record companies were allowed to hold artists on contract without them being able to release anything. Although she went on to further success with Epic in the 80s Teena for me will always be remembered for two classic funk songs from her Motown days; “Behind The Groove” and “I’m Just A Sucker For Your Love”. You can listen to them below and also watch an excellent clip of her singing “Casanova Brown” live

She will be sadly missed, my thoughts go out to her family and fans around the world.

 

“Got to be a joker he just do what he please”


Well I trust that you all had a good Christmas and that your turkey is all used up. Myself and Catwoman certainly ate too much as usual! Anyway I’m back with a couple of snippets of news for you.

Even Simon Cowell can't stand to listen to most contestants

Firstly I am saddened to report that the X Factor was the most watched show of 2010 on UK TV. Some 17.7 million viewers watched Matt Cardle crowned champion on the final show of the series whilst England versus Germany in the World Cup could only muster 17.4 million. But it would be fair to say that the England team showed as much talent as some of the no talent losers that populate the first few weeks of the X Factor. Eastenders and Coronation Street were 3rd and 4th. You can read the story here on the BBC. Matt Cardle has also managed to stay for a second week at the top of the UK charts. The top ten also features Rihanna, Black Eyed Peas, Take That and Katy Perry who have all had major guest slots on the show. Olly Murs, X Factor Finalists and JLS, all former contestants are in the top 40. In addition part-time X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger has a top 40 place and there are two for X Factor judge and the Nations Sweetheart Cheryl Cole. So many places taken up by X Factor related stuff, how bad is that?

So onto some better news, the zebra crossing outside the Abbey Road studios which was featured on the cover of the Beatles Abbey Road album has been given listed status. This must be the most famous crossing in the world. How many of you have been there and had your picture taken on it? Send them to me and I’d be happy to post them on the blog! The BBC reports the story here. To celebrate listen to the Fab Four below with “Come Together” from that very album. Below that you can also see two other famous crossings, the Simpsons and the Red Hot Chili Peppers

 

“Pretty lights on the tree I’m watching them shine” December 25, 2010


As a special Billy Christmas bonus for those of you who have stuck with me through each and every one of the 25 posts on my UK Christmas Number Ones Advent Calendar. Here are the 21 UK Christmas number ones that did not get seen or heard on any of the original posts. Enjoy them as you digest your turkey and enjoy a nice glass of wine 🙂

And finally at the end of the post I couldn’t resist adding another bonus, the final song is my favourite Christmas song ever, it’s Darlene Love with “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”

1953       Frankie Laine     “Answer Me

1954       Winifred Atwell  “Let’s Have Another Party

1956       Johnnie Ray        “Just Walkin’ in the Rain

1959       Emile Ford & The Checkmates    “What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For?

1969       Rolf Harris           “Two Little Boys

1976       Johnny MathisWhen A Child Is Born (Soleado)

1977       Wings    “Mull of Kintyre

1980       St Winifred’s School ChoirThere’s No-one Quite Like Grandma

1982       Renée and Renato          “Save Your Love

1985       Shakin’ Stevens                “Merry Christmas Everyone

1992       Whitney HoustonI Will Always Love You

1993       Mr BlobbyMr Blobby

1994       East 17 “Stay Another Day

1995       Michael JacksonEarth Song

1997       Spice Girls           “Too Much

2000       Bob The Builder                “Can We Fix It?

2001       Robbie Williams & Nicole Kidman              “Somethin’ Stupid

2005       Shayne Ward     “That’s My Goal

2006       Leona Lewis       “A Moment Like This

2007       Leon Jackson     “When You Believe

2008       Alexandra Burke              “Hallelujah

 

“Does your granny always tell ya that the old songs are the best”


Happy Christmas everyone and thank you so very much for reading my blog, especially for those of you who have hung in their for all of my UK Christmas Number Ones Advent Calendar posts. With today being December 25th that as they say is that. But I am signing off the Advent Calendar with a real Christmas classic. It still gets played regularly these days as well. It’s from 1973 and it’s Slade with “Merry Xmas Everybody”. It was number one for 5 weeks in 1973/1974.

It was the bands 6th and final UK number one, following “Coz I Luv You” (1971), “Take Me Bak ‘Ome” (1972), “Mama Weer All Crazee Now” (1972), “Cum On Feel The Noize” (1973) and “Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me” (1973). The song was the third of Slade’s UK number ones to enter the charts at the top. Noddy Holder expressed amused surprise when the song remained at number one until mid January asking “who is still buying a Christmas single after Christmas?”

All very amusing indeed, but Rudolph would like his nose back!

Unlike contemporaries like Mud and the Sweet Noddy and the boys wrote their own songs and this one was written by Noddy Holder and Jim Lea. In 2007 “Merry Xmas Everybody” was voted the UKs favourite Christmas song. The song was recorded at the Record Plant in New York during a small summer US tour for the band. Apparently it was a very hot day in an August heat wave. The echo sound you can hear on the chorus was achieved by recording it in the studio corridor.

So that’s it for this years Advent Calendar, any ideas or suggestions for next years advent calendar theme would be welcomed. In the meantime I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas and a fabulous New Year.

 

“My tears could melt the snow” December 24, 2010


Almost over for this year then, it’s the penultimate day of my UK Christmas Number Ones Advent Calendar, it’s December 24th, Christmas Eve. So as we are that close to the big day I have decided to take you back to the Christmas of 1974 and I hope you won’t be lonely at Christmas because todays song is from Mud and it’s “Lonely This Christmas”. It stayed at number one for 4 weeks. Like many of the big pop hits of the 70s it was written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, whose publishing company was known as Chinnichap. A bit like a pre Jedward melding of names there methinks.

“Lonely This Christmas” was the second of their UK number ones following “Tiger Feet” earlier in 1974 and a cover of Buddy Holly’sOh Boy” in 1975. Singer Les Gray was well-known for his Elvis soundalike vocal, in fact at the time many people believed that “Lonely This Christmas” was by Elvis himself! Sadly Les Gray died of a heart attack in 2004. Drummer Dave Mount died in December 2006.

Of the two remaining band members bass guitarist Ray Stiles joined the Hollies. However lead guitarist Rob Davis has carved out a very successful career as a songwriter. He has written dance hits for Kylie Minogue and Spiller featuring Sophie Ellis Bextor. The latter hit the number one spot with a song that Davis co wrote, it was “Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love)” it also, thankfully, prevented Victoria Beckham from having a solo number one. She remains the only former Spice Girl never to have a solo number one.

 

“And there won’t be snow in Africa, this Christmas time” December 23, 2010


Getting closer to the big day by the hour now and behind one of the few remaining perforated cardboard door flaps on my UK Christmas Number Ones Advent Calendar today, December 23rd, is a song that has been the Christmas number one on three separate occasions and technically by different acts each time. It was number one firstly in the Christmas of 1984, then in 1989 and most recently in 2004. It was the last UK Christmas number one before the X Factor winners had four years in a row, finally broken last year by Rage Against The Machine. You have probably guessed that the song is “Do They Know It’s Christmas” originally by Band Aid in 1984, then Band Aid II (1989) followed by Band Aid 20 (2004). Maybe it’ll be top again for the 30th anniversary in 2014.

It was number one fora total of 12 weeks; 5 weeks in 1984, 3 weeks in 1989 and 4 weeks in 2004. The song was written by Bob Geldof off of the Boomtown Rats and Midge Ure off of Ultravox after they had seen the news coverage of the 1984 famine in Ethiopia. They had aimed to raise money for famine relief and the single and subsequent Live Aid concert probably went way beyond their initial expectations. It sold more than a million copies in its first week alone and went on to sell 3.5 million copies. It remained the fastest and highest selling UK single until Elton John’s rerecording of “Candle In The Wind” following the death of Princess Diana in August 1997. The song was recorded on November 29th 1984 at SARM Studios in London after Geldof gathered the great and good of pop music at the time. The opening line was originally written for David Bowie, who was unfortunately unable to make it, so it was done by Paul Young. The single was released just 4 days after the recording on December 3rd 1984 and remember this was way before the days of downloads.

Midge Ure produced the original version, it was offered to Trevor Horn but he was not in the UK at the time. Stock, Aitken and Waterman produced the 1989 version. Some artists such as David Bowie and Paul McCartney were unable to be at the recording of the original so provided messages that appeared on the B-Side. Members of Bananarama appeared on the 1984 and 1989 version whilst Bono sang the same line in 1984 as he did in 2004; ‘Well, tonight, thank God it’s them, instead of you’. On the 2004 version Dizzee Rascal also added some new lyrics.

The artists that appeared on each version are listed below;

BAND AID (1984)


Bono, U2,   Phil Collins, Bob Geldof, Boomtown Rats,  Tony Hadley, Spandau Ballet, Midge Ure, Ultravox, Simon Le Bon, Duran Duran,  Paul Young,  Heaven 17,  Marilyn,  Bananarama,  Jody Watley,   Paul Weller, Kool & The Gang,  George Michael , Status Quo, Boy George, Culture Club,  Sting, Holly Johnson, Big Country

BAND AID II (1989)


Bananarama,  Big Fun, Bros, Cathy Dennis,  D Mob,  Jason Donovan,  Kevin Godley,  Glen Goldsmith,  Kylie Minogue,  Pasadenas,  Chris Rea,  Cliff Richard,  Jimmy Somerville,  Sonia, Lisa Stansfield,  Technotronic,  Wet Wet Wet

BAND AID 20 (2004)

Bono,  Daniel Bedingfield,  Natasha Bedingfield,  Vishal Das,  Busted,  Chris Martin, Dido, Dizzee Rascal, Ms Dynamite, Skye Edwards, Estelle,  Neil Hannon,  Justin Hawkins, Jamelia, Tom Chaplin, Tim Rice-Oxley, Beverley Knight, Lemar,  Shaznay Lewis, Katie Melua, Róisín Murphy,  Feeder,  Snow Patrol, Rachel Stevens,  Joss Stone,  Sugababes, Thrills,  Turin Brakes,  Robbie Williams, Will Young,  Francis Healy, Danny Goffey, Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Paul McCartney, Francis Healy, Andy Dunlop, Dougie Payne

If you would like to donate to Oxfam then click here

 

“While shepherds watch their flocks by night, they see a bright new shining star” December 22, 2010


So very nearly there now and definitely onto Christmas songs in my UK Christmas Number Ones Advent Calendar, it’s December 22nd people, are you excited yet? You’re not? Why not? Maybe checking out NORADs Santa Checker will help, click here to find it. In the meantime let me take you back to Christmas 1957, another one from before I was born. This is one of only three songs to reach the Christmas Number One spot more than once. It was also the first song to achieve it. The song in question is “Marys Boy Child” and at Christmas 1957 it was number one in the UK courtesy of the supremely talented Harry Belafonte.

Harry Belafonte with Martin Luther King Jr and Sammy Davis Jr

I remember my Uncle Ben, who incidentally had nothing to do with rice, playing “There’s A Hole In My Bucket” to me on his ukulele. Harry Belafonte had a hit with the song in 1961 as a duet with, according to Wikipedia, Odetta Holmes. However I thought he did the song with Eartha Kitt. My first experience of Eartha Kitt was as her sultry performance in the camp 60s TV version of Batman where she played Catwoman. With hindsight maybe that was the seeds of my sexual awakening!

Anyway Harry’s version of “Mary’s Boy Child” was number one for 7 weeks. Harry first recorded the song in 1956, although it wasn’t released as a single until the following year. The Caribbean island of St Kitts issued postage stamps featuring the song in 1983. It has been covered by many acts, including; Andy Williams, Roger Whittaker, Bryn Terfel, Harry Connick Jr, Three Degrees, Nat King Cole, Jim Reeves, Rolf Harris, Charlotte Church, Juice Newton and of course Boney M.

They didn't have much of a clothing allowance did they?

It was Boney M who took the song back to the Christmas number one spot in the UK at Christmas 1978, their version which formed a medley with “Oh My Lord” was number one for 4 weeks. Boney M were an incredibly successful band in the late 70s, but I really disliked them. They came to prominence when I first started out as a mobile DJ with my good friend Glen Voisey. Thanks to Glen’s brother Gary we were known as Bill & Glen the Disco Men. The group were really the brainchild of German record producer Frank Farian. Their first big hit was “Daddy Cool” which was just about ok, but for me “Brown Girl In The Ring” still resonates as one of my least favourite songs. What do you think of Boney M?

 

“Everyone knows one and one makes two, I’m the one and the other one’s you” December 21, 2010


Sir Cliff laughs in the face of the recent cold snap by keeping his shirt open

After a mammoth Beatles Advent Calendar post yesterday, today, December 21st, brings you another person who has so far had three UK Christmas Number Ones. So let’s open that little cardboard flap and see who it is. You’ll firstly be taken back to Christmas 1960 when I was fast approaching the milestone of two years old. It was the first of Cliff Richard’s UK Christmas Number Ones and on this one he was backed by the Shadows, it is called “I Love You”. Cliff is the only act to have achieved UK Christmas Number ones in three separate decades. The other two were “Mistletoe And Wine” in 1988 and “Saviours Day” in 1990. Thankfully the awful, in my opinion anyway, Cliff’s “Millennium Prayer” didn’t make it to the top at Christmas 1999, however it did get to number one for two weeks and was deposed by Westlife, with “I Have A Dream/ Seasons In The Sun“. Of the two I’m really not sure which was the worst, but a 2004 VH1 poll registered “Millennium Prayer” as the worst number one ever. I presume that makes it officially a pile of number twos!

Sir Cliff prepares to celebrate his first UK Christmas Number One

After Hank and the boys moved on Cliff struggled to play his guitar parts on air guitar

Anyway onto the three songs that made it to that coveted UK Christmas Number One spot for Cliff. Firstly with “I Love You” backed by the Shadows in 1960. The song was written by Bruce Welch off of the Shadows and stayed at the top for just two weeks. John Lennon once said that ‘before Cliff and the Shadows there was nothing worth listening to in British Music’ Whilst Cliff went on to massive success without the Shadows, they too were a very successful band. Cliff has had a total of 14 UK number ones, sadly that record is now equalled by Westlife, which puts him and them just behind the Beatles on 17 and Elvis on 21. The Shadows had three number ones in their own right, including the fabulous “Apache” from 1960, and a further seven backing Cliff.

Sir Cliff's cunning plan to disguise himself as Santa wasn't a great success

Cliff waited 28 years for his next UK Christmas Number One which arrived in 1988, it was called “Mistletoe And Wine”, certainly not one of my favourites, but then, to each their own as they say! The song comes from a 1976 musical adaptation of Han’s Christian Andersen’s ‘The Little Match Girl‘. It was Cliff’s 99th UK single, which whether you like him or not is an astonishing record (no pun intended!) It was also his 12th UK number one and the biggest selling single of 1998, it spent 4 weeks at number one. Like many Christmas themed songs it often returns to the UK charts in December.

And there was me thinking that only Freddie Mercury could get away with clothes like that!

The third and so far final UK Christmas UK Number One from Cliff was “Saviours Day” in 1990. The video for the song was filmed in Dorset. It is one of only three UK Christmas Number Ones to remain at the top for just one week. An honour it shares with “Goodbye” from the Spice Girls in 1998 and “Killing In The Name” from Rage Against The Machine in 2009. At the time of writing Matt Cardle’s “When We Collide” has been at the chart summit for less than a week, but I expect that it will remain for a bit longer yet. I find it pretty sad that once again the X Factor gets the Christmas Number One slot. We must do better next year people, let’s make sure it doesn’t happen. We need another Rage Against The Machine moment, let’s start a Facebook campaign now!

Madonna, Amy Winehouse and Sir Cliff Richard in Lego..... a strange trio if you ask me!

 

 
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