With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“Louder than sirens louder than bells sweeter than heaven and hotter than hell” a.k.a. 12 drummers drumming December 24, 2012


12 drummers drummingpsddd

Please tell me that this is the last gifts my true love is sending me for the 12 days of Christmas. I have just about managed to squeeze the 12 drummers into the cupboard, but what the hell am I going to do with 12 bloody huge drum kits? Anyway did you know that the 364 items given as gifts in the 12 days of Christmas song would cost £67,000 this year according to PNC Wealth Management. That is a 6.1% increase on the previous year. I have searched high and low to snare some good songs about drumming that might help to ‘cymbalize’ Christmas. Look out for a couple of Billy Bonuses to end this series of posts too.

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First up is the lovely Florence Welch and her Machine with “Drumming Song”. The song was released as a single in 2009 and managed a lowly number 54 in the UK. It comes from the album ‘Lungs’ an international hit LP that went to number 1 in the UK and top 5 in Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. The single did slightly better in the NMEs top 50 songs of the year for 2009 where it finished 48th. “Drumming Song” was nominated for best video at the 2009 Q Awards and Best Pop Video at the UK Music Video Awards in the same year. Whilst it won neither of these it did take the prize for Best Styling In A Video at the UK Awards.

Florence + The Machine - Spectrum

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The second song I have chosen for you today is probably an obvious choice for a festive song to those of you who know me. It’s the Dame and the Crooner; better known as David Bowie and Bing Crosby with “Peace On Earth/ Little Drummer Boy”. The former was written especially for Bowie’s appearance on Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas TV show. The show was recorded in September 1977 and it was alleged that Crosby didn’t know who Bowie was. personally I doubt that is true. Bowie also performed “Heroes” on the show. the music press utilised all their black humour skills in late 1977 suggesting that no one would ever want to appear on TV with Bowie. This was largely because he had recorded TV shows with Marc Bolan and then Bing Crosby and within a few weeks both Bolan and Crosby had died. “Peace On Earth/ Little Drummer Boy” was finally released as a single in the UK in 1982. It reached number 3 in the UK and Germany and number 6 in Ireland that year.

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And next up is the first of my Billy Bonuses for today, supreme drummer Cozy Powell with “Dance With Devil”

And an extra Billy Bonus for your delight. When I was at school I sat next to a young man who was already a skillful drummer and he went on to ply his trade with the Tom Robinson Band and Stiff Little Fingers. His name is Brian ‘Dolphin’ Taylor. I haven’t seen him in more than 30 years. But Brian if you happen to be reading this feel free to get in touch.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my readers a very, very funky happy Christmas and a groovy new year :-)

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my readers a very, very funky happy Christmas and a groovy new year 🙂

 

“some revolution is going to happen today I’m gonna chase the dark clouds away” a.k.a. 11 pipers piping December 23, 2012


11 Pipers

Oh my God when will these bloody gifts stop arriving. I mean I love my true love to bits but where in the hell am I supposed to put 11 bloody pipers piping. I’ve never like the cat strangling sound of bagpipes anyway. Enough of my woes, I’m sure that you have worked out that it is now day 11 of my 12 days of Christmas series of posts, hence the 11 pipers piping. Will there be many pipers left after all the proposed UK defence cuts? Military personnel in the UK Armed Forces are expected to fall from 102,00 to 82,000 by 2018 and it is expected that a number of regimental bands may not survive the proposed mergers of residents.

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But on to some happier thoughts, I have picked two piper related songs for you today, albeit rather tenuous in the case of the second one. but the first song comes from one of my favourite bands from my early teenage years. It’s Chairmen Of The Board with “Pay To The Piper”. Most of the band’s biggest hits were Holland Dozier Holland compositions which may well have been recorded by the Four Tops had HDH remained at Motown rather than leaving to form the Invictus label. The song reached number 13 in the US Hot 100 and only managed a lowly number 34 in the UK in 1971. “Pay To The Piper” was the band’s fourth single. Their first single “Give Me Just A Little More Time” is their best chart performer on both sides of the Atlantic peaking at number 3 in both countries. I am amazed that the band didn’t do better from a chart perspective, they recorded some classic songs. Big kudos too for recording the excellently titled “Shaggin’ The Night Away”.

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The second song for today is a little more tenuous as I mentioned earlier, it’s “Because We want To” by Billie Piper (geddit?). More people probably remember Billie more for her acting these days than for her time as a pop star. I loved her as Rose Tyler in Doctor Who, didn’t you? “Because We Want To” from 1998 was Billie’s first hit single and the first of her three UK number ones. It also made the top 10 in Ireland, Sweden and New Zealand. It was also the official song of the Women’s World Cup in 1999. That tournament was held in the USA and was won by the host nation who beat China on penalties after a nil nil draw. England sadly failed to qualify.

Billie-Piper

And finally another Billy Bonus with Laurel and Hardy dancing to Chairmen Of The Board’s “Shaggin’ The Night Away”

 

“Fleet Street looked everywhere and the Police did too” a.k.a 10 Lords a leaping December 22, 2012


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As if I wasn’t struggling for space already my true love has now given me 10 lords a leaping. It was bad enough trying to keep the 9 ladies dancing still while I put them in storage yesterday, but these 10 Lords are even more feisty. Anyway you have probably worked out that it is now day 10 in my 12 days of Christmas series of posts; hence the 10 Lords a leaping. Unlike some of the earlier bird related gifts the Lords are not yet an endangered species, but given the movement for House Of Lords reform I’d like to think that they will be endangered in the future!

George-Harrison

I have selected two Lord related songs for you today. Starting with the first ever solo number one by a member of the Beatles. It’s none other than the Quiet One, George Harrison with “My Sweet Lord” which made it to the top of the charts in 1971 in the UK, US, Canada, Austria, Switzerland and Norway to name but a few. It returned to the number one spot in the UK in 2002 following the George’s death two months earlier. The song comes from what in my opinion is one of the best albums released in the 70s, ‘All Things Must Pass’. Too much has been written about the ridiculous plagiarism that was brought against Harrison over his songs apparent similarity to the Chiffons “He’s So Fine” so I’ll say no more on that.

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But what I find interesting is the stories and rumours about who may have played on the recording of the song. some of those stories include; Ringo Starr on tambourine, John Lennon on rhythm guitar, all four members of Badfinger taking part along with Gary Wright and some rhythm guitar parts overdubbed by Peter Frampton later. Harrison originally worked up the song with Billy Preston as part of a wish to write a gospel song. At one stage Harrison allegedly wanted to give the song to the famous gospel group the Edwin Hawkins Singers.

BEATLES FIRST US VISIT 1964

The song has been covered in the studio or in live performance by quite a diverse group of artists including; Richie Havens, Andy Williams, John Holt, Edwin Starr, Peggy Lee, Johnny Mathis, Julio Iglesias, Boy George, Osibisa, Nina Hagen and Jose Feliciano. There was also a somewhat cheeky “My Sweet Lord” cover released in 1975 by the Chiffons. Perhaps George should have sued them for that!

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The second song choice today is “Lord Lucan Is Missing” from one of my favourite acts of the 90s/ 00s, Black Box Recorder. The band never really set the charts alight, but they have always been a great live attraction, Sadly I have so far never seen them live. The studio nucleus of the band is Sarah Nixey, Luke Haines formerly of the Auteurs and John Moores once a member of the Jesus and Mary Chain. The song featured on the bands first album, ‘England Made Me’ from 1998. That album also contained a couple of great cover versions too; “Up Town Top Ranking” (Althea and Donna) and “Seasons In The Sun” (Terry Jacks).

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Since his disappearance in 1974 Lord Lucan has allegedly been sighted in every corner of the globe, none of these have so far proved to be real but included; France, Goa, New Zealand, South Africa, Namibia and Colombia. Lord Lucan, or to give him his full name and title, Richard John Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan, would have just turned 78 if he is still alive. Personally I think he is probably long dead. What do you think?

Blimey Freddie Mercury looks a bit grumpy doesn't he?

Blimey Freddie Mercury looks a bit grumpy doesn’t he?

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“Take a black cat and sit it on your shoulder and in the morning you’ll know all you know” a.k.a 7 swans a swimming December 19, 2012


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Seven swans a swimming, I’ve been looking forward to this part of my 12 days of Christmas posts as it features two of my favourite songs. Incidentally did you know that the mute swan which is native to the UK has doubled it’s population since 1983? Maybe it’s the royal protection they are afforded which saw to that.

Ride A White Skateboard anyone?

Ride A White Skateboard anyone?

Anyway on to the first of todays songs and this one was an obvious choice. It is “Ride A White Swan” from T. Rex and it is only the second signal released under the shortened name after the band used to be known as Tyrannosaurus Rex. It is also the song that helped kick off what became known as Glam Rock and the screaming adulation given to Bolan in what became known as Trextasy. The song was released in late 1970 and didn’t reach its highest UK chart position of number two until January 1971. It was produced by Tony Visconti as were many of the bands biggest hits. It was released as a maxi single. So named as it featured three and not the customary two tracks. The other tracks were “Is It Love” and a rather interesting cover of Eddie Cochran‘s “Summertime Blues”. “Ride A White Swan” kicked off a run of 10 consecutive UK top 5 hits for the band which lasted from 1971 to 1973 and included four number ones. The song could only manage a very lowly number 76 in the US chart.

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The second choice for today was an obvious one for me, but do you know why it’s here? It is the stupendous “Badge” from Cream. The band was effectively an early supergroup featuring Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce. Interestingly it wasn’t Clapton that played guitar on this track, it was George Harrison. This was a favour in return for Clapton providing guitar on the Beatles track “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. It was written by Clapton and Harrison and featured on Cream’s final album ‘Goodbye’. It made number 18 in the UK charts in 1969 and only reached number 60 in the US. Apparently it was a drunk Ringo Starr that gave the pair the line in the song which secured its inclusion in today’s post. Do you know what that line is yet? For contractual reasons George Harrison was listed under a pseudonym in terms of the playing personnel. That name was L’Angelo Misterioso.

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“You were only waiting for this moment to arise” a.k.a Four Colly Birds December 16, 2012


4 Colly Birds

So now we’re on to the fourth day, when my true love gave me four Colly Birds. These are in fact Blackbirds. After a 15% fall in the Blackbird population since 1970 their numbers seem to be on the rise again. So what two songs do I have for you to represent the Blackbird? Well I have two great but very different songs for you.

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Firstly it’s an early jazz funk track from the Blackbyrds, the sublime “Walking In Rhythm”. The name of the band was partly drawn from the surname of trumpet player Donald Byrd. The song was produced by Mr Byrd himself. This song was a million seller in 1975 and was also nominated for a Grammy. It made number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and sadly just a lowly number 23 in the UK.

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The second song was an easy choice, it had to be the Beatles with “Blackbird”. It is featured on the Fab Four’s 1968 double album entitled ‘The Beatles’ but is known by most people as ‘The White Album’. As with most of their songs it was credited to Lennon – McCartney but was composed by Paul McCartney. Sir Paul has said that the guitar part was inspired by J.S Bach‘s “Bourree In E Minor” and the song itself was written in response to the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. The Dandy Warhols once said that when Michael Jackson died they would cover “Blackbird”. They did make good on that promise too!

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“Take time for your pleasure and laugh with love” a.k.a. Two Turtle Doves December 14, 2012


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I hope that after yesterdays Partridge and pears post you’re getting the hang of this. If you are then you’ll know that on the 2nd day of Christmas it was the turn of two turtle doves. The Turtle Dove in the UK is facing a bleak future. It is now believed there are only around 14,000 pairs left, which makes up a fall in population of 60% over five years. Anyway enough of the ecology for now and on with the music.

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I have selected two dove related songs for your aural pleasure today. The first of those is from the purple pain himself, Prince a.k.a. TAFKAP (The Artist Formerly Known As Prince), Christopher and Symbol among other things. Incidentally I wonder if I might rename him TAFKADS (The Artist Formerly Known As Dove Soap) for this post. I’m sure you can guess which one of his songs I have selected can’t you? Yes it’s the classic 80s hit “When Doves Cry”. It was the first single to be taken from the timeless classic album ‘Purple Rain’. It was the last track on the album to be completed and not only did Prince write the song, he also played every instrument on it. Except of course the bass. Who played bass I hear you ask? Well actually it was no one, the song has no bass line in it. The song has been covered by may artists, including Razorlight, Patti Smith, Damien Rice and the Be Good Tanyas.

Prince vowed never to let Edward Scissorhands cut his hair again

Prince vowed never to let Edward Scissorhands cut his hair again

It was also heavily sampled by MC Hammer on his song “Pray” from 1990. “When Doves Cry” was Prince’s first US number one single and remained at the top of the pile for 5 weeks in 1984. It also reached the top in Australia and Canada and sat at number two in Ireland and New Zealand. It reached only a relatively lowly number four in the UK. This was bettered by 1994’s “The Most Beautiful Girl In The World” a UK number one. In addition “1999”, “Little Red Corvette” and “Batdance” hit the number two position in 1982, 1983 and 1989 respectively. “Gett Off” and “Cream” both made number three in 1991.

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The second dove related song on today’s post is from those North London Nutty Boys, Madness and it is “Wings Of A Dove”. Surprisingly, for me at least, it remains the band’s second biggest UK chart hit; it reached number two in 1983. It did reach the top of the charts in Ireland though. Their only UK number one was “House Of Fun” from 1982. It was a non album single written by Suggs and Chas Smash. The single also featured steel drums from the  Creighton Steel Sounds and a gospel choir from the First Born Inspirational Church of the Living God. It was also used in the film ’10 Things I Hate About You’ in 1999.

 

“And didn’t I go and shout it when you walked into my room” a.k.a. A Partridge in a Pear Tree December 13, 2012


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Some of you may recall my Christmas advent calendar posts in recent years; these included UK Christmas number ones, Cover versions and an ABC of Motown. This year I have gone for something slightly different but one that sticks with a Christmas tradition at least. I will be making a series of posts influenced by the items in the song “The 12 Days Of Christmas”. I recognise that this won’t mirror the 12 days strictly according to dates as I am starting today, 13th December.

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You know the first line of the song I’m sure. But here it is anyway “On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree”. So what can I give you musically that relates to that line? Well two songs actually, first “I Think I Love You” from the Partridge Family. This song was a number one in the USA and Canada in 1970 and only managed number 18 in the UK. The song featured in the TV show ‘The Partridge Family’ in the same year, but only David Cassidy and Shirley Jones from the show performed on the recording.

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The song was written by Tony Romeo who wrote a number of other hits in the 60s and 70s, including Lou Christie’s “I’m Gonna Make You Mine”. “I Think I Love You” has been covered by a diverse group of artists that include; Perry Como, Voice Of The Beehive and Less Than Jake. David Cassidy’s daughter Katie also covered the song when she was just 15.

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The second song for the first day of Christmas comes from another music TV series, this time the Monkees. The song “Apples, Peaches, Bananas And Pears” was featured in the show but only found commercial release on the compilation ‘Missing Links’ from 1987. Monkee Mickey Dolenz was the lead vocalist on the song. It was written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. They wrote a number of other Monkees songs including “(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone” which was originally recorded by Paul Revere and the Raiders and later covered by the Sex Pistols. The pair also wrote the following Monkees classics; “Last Train To Clarksville”, “Valleri” and the “(Theme From) The Monkees”.

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So now you can enjoy the two songs from the first day of Christmas and I dedicate them to my own true love, Catherine a.k.a Catwoman. Incidentally did you know that the Partridge in the UK is becoming an endangered species with a fall in numbers of around 30% in the five years to 2010.

 

 

 
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