With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“You ask how much I need you, must I explain?” – Advent day 12 December 12, 2013


5978003639_50e93ae9fbI’m getting just a little bit more excited now it is the 12th of December after all. In keeping with this years With Just A Hint Of Mayhem advent posts I have two diametrically opposed songs for you today. But obviously two that have the number twelve in their titles.

250px-Johnny_NashFirst up is the timeless song “Twelfth Of Never” which was initially recorded by Johnny Mathis in 1957. He apparently didn’t like the song and it was demoted to the B Side of “Chances Are”. The song has been recorded by many, many artists since then. The Mathis version made it to number 9 in the US charts and Donny Osmond took it to number one in the UK and number 8 in the USA in 1973. The list of cover versions is almost endless and includes; Nina Simone, Barry Gibb, Cliff Richard, Tammy Wynette, Chi-Lites, Glen Campbell, Cher, Dolly Parton, Roger Whittaker, Barry Manilow, Andy Williams, Olivia Newton John, Hank Marvin and Jeff Buckley. Jeff’s version can be found on the Legacy edition of ‘Live At The Sin E’ and remains very faithful to the Nina Simone version of the song. The regular readers among you will know that I am a big fan of Texan crooner Johnny Nash. In fact I would go as far as saying that his singing voice is my favourite voice ever. Anyway I haven’t posted about Mr Nash for quite a while so I thought I would use his version of the “Twelfth Of Never” taken from his 1968 album ‘Soul Folk’.

strokesThe second song today flows from the Julian Casablancas post from yesterday. It is “12:51” by the band that Julian is a big part of; the Strokes. The song was written by Mr Casablancas and was the first single released from the bands second album ‘Room On Fire’ in 2003. The song made it to number 7 in the UK and reached the top 40 in Ireland, Canada, the Netherlands and Sweden. The songs original title was “Supernova”. The video for the song was directed by Roman Ford Coppola, the son of Francis Ford Coppola and the cousin of Nicolas Cage. It has a theme that is very reminiscent of the ‘Tron’ the 1982 movie. When the band played a number of Japanese dates to support the release of the ‘Room On Fire’ album in 2003 they included a cover of the Frank Sinatra classic written by Paul Anka “My Way”, only they sang it with Japanese lyrics!

 

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


10_lords_leaping

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.

georgeharrison__span

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!

black_box_recorder_1271353026_crop_550x540

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).

black_box_recorder_2_1_

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?

images (1)

 

“I’ll find some crowded avenue, though it will be empty without you” September 27, 2012


I guess most of you have already heard of the sad passing of the great Andy Williams. I can remember watching his show when I was a kid; he introduced the Osmonds to the world and who from my generation can forget the Cookie Monster? I went through a period in my teens where I told myself I didn’t like Andy Williams’ music because it was classed as Easy Listening and my Mum and Dad liked it. As a teenager, certainly in those days, it was just really uncool to like the music your parents liked, although I did let Elvis through that cool versus uncool sieve.

But as I got older I began to realise just how talented a singer Mr Williams was. He could take a song that was completely identifiable with another artist and make it his own. Notably “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons classic. (I do still love Frankie’s version as well). He could take a song and sing it so well that any cover would pale into insignificance, I’m mostly talking of “Can’t Get Used To Losing You” here. Then of course there is his truly sublime version of the beautiful “Moon River“.

People will say that to leave this mortal coil at 84 is a good innings and maybe it is, compared to many, but Andy Williams will be sadly missed. So my feelings go out to his family, friends and his legions of fans across the world. RIP Andy Williams, you were a true icon.

 

“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?

 

“Two drifters off to see the world, there’s such a lot of world to see” December 12, 2010


Well, well, well we are so close to that annual visitation from the bearded weirdie aren’t we? It’s December 12th and time to pull open another little cardboard door on my UK Christmas Number Ones Advent Calendar, unless of course you’re a ripper and simply rip that poor little cardboard flap right off its perforations. Anyway today’s delight comes from Christmas 1961 and only managed a fortnight at the top.

This is a proper record, do you young folks remember them?

It is Danny Williams‘ version of the timeless classic “Moon River”. The song was originally written for the film ‘Breakfast At Tiffanys’ released earlier that year. The song was performed by Audrey Hepburn, playing the role of Holly Golightly in the movie. Danny was South African and to many people his version remains the definitive one, although many have recorded it since. In fact it became somewhat of a theme song for Andy Williams who sang it on many of his TV shows. Which is your favourite version? Mine is the 70s reggae version from Greyhound which you will find at the end of this post.

Danny had quite an up and down career and suffered a nervous breakdown as well as bankruptcy. However he had another big top 30 hit in 1977 with “Dancin’ Easy” which was the song used in the Martini advertising campaign at the time

 

“You don’t have to take this crap, you don’t have to sit back and relax” November 12, 2010


Is this country finally waking up? Are the downtrodden finally kicking back? Are those that consider themselves middle class no longer ignoring the obvious? Are our students finally in control of their rebellious gene? Let’s hope so! This week saw more than 50,000 people on the streets of London to protest at the raising of student fees. This follows protests about the schools building programme cuts in July, another anti cuts rally in Sheffield last month and the occupation of an RBS bank last week. OK I know the Daily Mail readers out there will be getting all sanctimonious about the violence and to a large extent I agree. (Yep me agreeing with a Daily Mail opinion, fucking hell am I getting old?) I do not condone violence of any kind and I truly believe that this was caused by just a small minority as is often the case.

With Nick Laurel and Dave Hardy at the wheel we can't go wrong....... can we?

Bear in mind that these protests have all taken place before the coalition cuts have begun to bite, so I think things will get much worse before they get better. Just look at the housing benefit plans, sure a great way of saving money in the short-term, but with private rents rising far quicker than the government are predicting a recipe for disaster. If it goes to plan it will lead to an exodus of people from London as they can no longer afford to live there. Where will that exodus take them? Why probably into all the areas in the country where there will be no jobs! Now that really makes sense doesn’t it? I do not disagree that cuts are needed in expenditure but there are far better ways of doing it. Over a longer period, with more considered plans etc.

Cameron prepares to throw the baby out with the bathwater

As for those of you that aspire to be or consider yourselves to be middle class, get over it! There are two classes in this country; the filthy rich and the rest of us! Just remember that the current cabinet contains 18 millionaires among its members. These are the people who believe they are leading the country, a mistake which many politicians make (Thatcher, Blair and more). They do not lead us, they serve us and it would be wise of them to remember this.

Clearly this picture proves that Nick Clegg has been David Cameron's ventriloquist dummy all along

I do not believe that this government will see out its full term and therefore we will have the opportunity to voice our opinions through the ballot box again. When the time comes do not bow to apathy, get off your arse and vote. Let’s show the politicians whose country this really is. Anyway, rant over and let me get back to the music. Obviously I have chosen some appropriate stuff for you!

White Riot” – The Clash. The song is not about race war as many pundits suggested at the time. According to Joe Strummer it is in fact a call to arms of the white youth of Britain to riot against things that were oppressing them in the same way that black youth in the 70s did.

Let’s Start A Riot” – Three Days Grace. These guys are an Alternative Canadian band who released their 3rd album, ‘Life Starts Here’ last year.

“Panic” – The Smiths This Morrissey/ Marr composition is not really about social unrest, it’s actually about the poor state of pop music at the time. But frankly it still fits on both levels. It was the first Smiths single to feature new member Craig Gannon.

“Walls Come Tumbling Down” – Style Council This is a superb attack on those that govern and I love it. Weller often gets criticised for the Style Council, but I think they were far better than the press thought they were. This song reached number 7 in the UK charts.

Another Brick In The Wall” – Roger Waters The Wall album is seen by many as close to being Roger Waters solo album. This video is from his current tour playing The Wall in its entirety.

“Going Underground” – The Jam. This song did not feature on any of the bands studio albums although it has been on most Jam compilations. I almost took the title for this post from the song. The couplet, “their lies let you down and their promises rust” would have worked well. This went straight into the UK charts at number 1.

I Predict A Riot” – Kaiser Chiefs Formed in Leeds in 1997 the band took their name from a South African football team; the Kaizer Chiefs. The band are Leeds United supporters and former Leeds player Lucas Radebe used to play for the Kaizer Chiefs.

Fight The Power” – Isley Brothers. Written by Ernie Isley this is a really funky protest song. Public Enemy were inspired by it a few years later.

“You Haven’t Done Nothing” – Stevie Wonder This clip appears to be taken from the Andy Williams show. It’s an excellent piece of protest from Mr Wonder. Did you know that the backing vocals on the original studio version were recorded by Motown stablemates at the time, the Jackson 5.

I do worry sometimes that Jedward may be a little more intelligent than Nivid or Dick

 

 
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