Well blow me down with a feather, knock me down with an empty washing up liquid container, hit me on the head with a silk handkerchief or spank me with a lollystick! This is my 1,000th post on this blog. It has taken eight years, but wow I am amazed that I have got this far with it. As a special offer to my blog followers and Facebook friends I opened this post up to you. I asked you to send me one song or artist and those songs and artists would form the content of this post. I did promise to say something nice about your choice and I will certainly try to stand by that, even if you have sent me a song that you know I do not really like, actually there were very few of those. So here we go and there is no particular order or sequence to this by the way.
First up was suggested by a man who is exactly one year older than me, Vijay Ragoonanan. His choice is the first one that I received and it is a pretty classy one too. It’s “Train In Vain” by one of my favourite bands, the Clash. It was their first top 30 hit in the US and was largely called “Train In Vain” to avoid confusion with the Ben E King classic “Stand By Me” as the common refrain throughout the song is ‘stand by me’
Next up are three songs from the same family Caron Godbold Darbyshire Williams, John Williams and their wonderful daughter (who is also my Odd Daughter) Amelia. Caron chose “High” from the Lighthouse Family which was hers and John’s first dance song at their wedding. This remains the band’s most successful song, it reached the top ten in eleven countries, including number one in Australia back in 1998. John chose the timeless Don McLean song “American Pie”. McLean has spoken very infrequently about the meaning of the song other than to confirm that the day the music died refers to the death of Buddy Holly in a plane crash on February 3rd 1959. However many people have speculated that it summarises much of America’s relatively recent history along with some related music history, for example ‘the quartet practised in the park’ is believed by many to refer to the Beatles. Amelia’s offering was One Direction with “History”. One Direction are one of the handful of acts that have remained a success long after their reality TV star burned out. This song gives a co writing credit to band members Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne along with Julian Bunetta, John Ryan, Wayne Hector and Ed Drewett. Released at the end of 2015 it currently sits as the final single from the group now that they all appear to have gone their own way. It made it to number 6 in the UK and only hit 65 in the USA.
Sam Claypole has the next song and it’s American crooner Barry Manilow with “Could It Be Magic”. The lyrics were written by Adrienne Anderson and the music by Bazza himself. As with most Manilow songs the production is damned good. It was produced by Barry along with Ron Dante. It has been covered by many acts, notably by Take That and Donna Summer. My favourite version of the song is Donna Summer’s and I don’t really like the bombastic over production on the Take That cover.
The next offering is from someone who I went to school with back in the 1970s, Susan Norris. She has given us the sublime UK number one from 1968 by Fleetwood Mac, “Albatross”. This remains the band’s only UK number one, albeit with a very different incarnation of the group from the mega selling troupe that straddled the globe with ‘Rumours’ in the late 70s. Did you know that “Albatross” allegedly influenced a Beatles song? Apparently it was a strong influence on “Sun King” from 1969’s ‘Abbey Road’ album.
Top bloke Andy Copeland has selected the next track, I work with Andy and he sees me as some kind of old cockney geezer and provided me with the nickname Albert! Anyway as a result Andy proposed anything from Chas ‘n’ Dave, so in order not to disappoint I will treat you to “The Sideboard Song” from those cheeky London chappies. The song just missed out on a top 50 UK chart placing peaking at number 55 in 1979. It was taken from their very cockney titled album ‘Don’t Give A Monkey’s’
Someone else that I work with has the next song in the list and it is in my opinion an all time rock classic. Adrian Caines thank you for bring us Rush with “Spirit Of Radio”. Interestingly this is the only act that will feature twice on this list, more from them later. The song was released in 1980 and comes from what I believe is their seventh studio album ‘Permanent Waves’. It is still the band’s biggest UK hit having peaked at number thirteen. The song has been covered by the Catherine Wheel and sampled by Saint Etienne.
Simon Pattinson, a tireless promoter of new (and often local) music brings us York band Faux Pas who launched their first EP at Fibbers in York a few weeks ago. They have already performed at the Leeds Festival and have had some airplay on Radio 1. This teenage 4-piece have a very bright future I reckon, what do you think? The song is “I Hate Dancing”.
David Burr requested Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia with “Unity Hymn” which I have struggled to share with you as I can’t find a link that will play you any more than 30 seconds of this classy song. If you have a link feel free to share it. I have listened to the track on Spotify where it is credited to Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia (featuring John Hiseman, Peter Lemer, Malcolm Macfarlane, Paul Westwood, Anna Gracey Hiseman and the London Gospel Singers). I have added a link to a whole show from 1991 though. Barbara is a very experienced and skilled jazz saxophonist who has been playing professionally for many years. She received an MBE in 1996 and in the early part of this century she had to retire from playing for a while due to Parkinson’s Disease, but she is back now and is a permanent member of Colosseum for whom her husband Jon Hiseman is the drummer.
Among the liveliest of my Facebook friends is Katie Jane Hardy and she has chosen “Ain’t It Fun” by the Dead Boys. Originally fronted by Stiv Bators this band from Cleveland, Ohio were around at the first flush of punk from 1976 to 1979. Stiv sadly died in 1990 after being run over by a taxi, although the band did get back together in 2004 and 2005. “Ain’t It Fun” comes from their 1978 album ‘We Have Come For Your Children’.
Someone else that I went to school with in the 70s, Jane Price, selected the next song and it is a 70s classic; “Heart Of Gold” from Ole Shakey himself, Neil Young. Taken from the album ‘Harvest’ in 1972 it is so far Neil’s only US number one single. Backing vocals on the track are courtesy of James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt.
I would like you to thank Shaun Flannery for the next song, it is “Angels” by Robbie Williams, who as Shaun pointed out to me is a Brits Icon winner, personally that just proves to me how meaningless the Brits actually are. Now many of my regular readers know that I am not a big Robbie fan and one of my least favourite songs ever is “Angels” (along with John Lennon’s “Imagine”). But I did say I would try to be nice. The song was co written by Robbie, Guy Chambers and Ray Heffernan. In 2005 a UK poll voted it the most popular song that was requested at funerals in the UK, I’m not quite sure what that says about it. Robbie has had seven solo UK number one hits in the UK, although “Angels” only made it to number four back in 1997.
I used to work with our next contributor and we have also been to a few gigs together too, Simon Hernaman has chosen “Rockwrok” by the John Foxx incarnation of Ultravox. It was released in 1977 and was taken from their ‘Ha! Ha! Ha!’ album. The B -Side of the single was an alternate version of “Hiroshima Mon Amour” from the one on the ‘Ha! Ha! Ha!’ album
Karen McPoland struggled to choose just one song, in fact she offered me three and asked me to choose. A couple of you gave me an initial choice and then changed your mind, so who knows, perhaps they might all appear on a future post, 1,001 perhaps? Anyway I chose the Eels from Karen’s list with “The Look You Give That Guy”. The Eels were formed in 1995 by Mark Oliver Everett also known as E or Mr E. His father Hugh was a physicist who was one of the first people to propose the potential existence of multiple universes or the Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Physics. The song is taken from their 2009 album ‘Hombre Lobo’ and was a big hit in Belgium.
My good friend and regular Reading Festival buddy wanted the Glass Animals to be included, so obviously they will be. They originate from Oxford where they formed in 2012. They have played a number of festivals around the world and released their second album ‘How To Be A Human Being’ last year. I have chosen “Youth” from that album.
Someone else that I used to work with many years ago picked the next song and it’s a bit of a Prog classic from Yes, thank your Graeme Card. It comes from ‘Yessongs’ which was the band’s first live album. The track originally appeared on the studio album ‘Close To The Edge’.
Jon Reeton is next up with “No Bravery” from James Blunt. I was never a big fan of Blunt, but I have great respect for his deftness at self-deprecation. I think he has an incredible sense of humour, but his music doesn’t do too much for me. However Jon pointed out how meaningful the lyrics are even now and I find it hard to disagree with that. The song was written by Blunt with Sacha Skarbek and can be found on his debut album ‘Back To Bedlam’ from 2005.
A little bit of reggae next with “You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No)” by Dawn Penn, thank you to Carl Rogers for this one. The song reached number three in the UK charts in 1994. Penn first recorded a song with this title in 1967 and it was based on a track by US R & B singer Willie Cobbs which in turn was heavily influenced by a Bo Diddley song. That is why the 1994 release from Dawn Penn credits both Cobbs and Diddley as writers.
Paul Terry offered me two choices and I wonder if he might be surprised that I chose Justin Bieber from the two? Anyway while I can’t say I am a Belieber I do like some of his more recent stuff. Especially “Love Yourself” which was written by Ed Sheerhan along with Benjamin Levin (a.k.a. Benny Blanco) and Bieber. It spent six weeks at number one in the UK chart.
Suzi Stacey my online witchy sister has picked a Rolling Stones classic “Mothers Little Helper”. Obviously this is not a drug related song, well ok it definitely is. Don’t do drugs kids otherwise you might live as long as Keith Richards. Hang on that sounds like a good thing though right? OK I sound like I’m high now, just enjoy the song ok.
I told you that there would be another entry from Canadian rockers Rush and I wasn’t lying. This time it is “Tom Sawyer” chosen by my mate Andy Golborne. It was the opening track on their 1981 album ‘Moving Pictures’. VH1 named it the 19th Greatest Hard Rock song of all time in 2009.
Now we have a track from the late, great Gary Moore which also features the late, great Phil Lynott. Thank you for Jacqui Parkin for choosing this one, I think it is a true classic. The song made it to number 8 in the UK singles chart in 1979. It was written by Moore and Lynott. Thin Lizzy drummer Brian Downey also plays on the track.
The next song is very much one of my favourites as it was the first dance after marrying my beautiful wife Catherine. In fact this is Catherine (a.k.a. Catwoman)’s choice. It is the truly sublime “Into My Arms” by Nick Cave. Just listen to it, is there anyone out there that doesn’t like this song? It is also the only song that I know that includes a reference to an ‘interventionist God’.
Sara Hayes has chosen the 25th song which spookily has the number 25 in the title, it s Edwin Starr with “25 Miles” a fabulous slice of Motown genius. It reached number 6 in the US chart and 36 in the UK chart when issued as a single in 1969. It was written by Johnny Bristol, Harvey Fuqua and Edwin Starr. This song was also a big hit on the Northern Soul scene in the UK.
Rachael Baines-Holmes picked the next song and it is a slice of punky class; the Dead Kennedys with “Holiday In Cambodia”. It was written by the band’s front man Jello Biafra and John Greenway and it was the second single to be released by the group when it came out in 1980. It followed “California Über Alles”. Both songs were included on the album ‘Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables’.
So there you have it twenty-six songs provided by a selection of my friends. Thank you for being a part of this and for reading my blog and putting up with all the puns and shit that I post on Facebook. Finally though I will leave you with my selection. I have said loads about it on previous blog posts and it is without doubt my favourite song of all time. “No Woman No Cry” Bob Marley and the Wailers taken from the ‘Live At The Lyceum’ album from 1975