Allegedly according to producer George Martin, the 60’s Batman TV theme tune inspired George Harrison of the Beatles, to write the hit song “Taxman”. Now there’s a thought for a brand new super hero team up; Taxman and Robbing! I guess it’s also fair to say that the Jam ripped off “Taxman” with start and Weller’s band also recorded a version of the Batman theme!
I have come across many songs that refer to Super Heroes which got me wondering how many songs there are that refer to super villains. I can think of only two right now;
“Magneto And Titanium Man” – Wings. This song focusses on super villains from the Marvel universe and in addition to Magneto and Titanium Man who are included in the title the lyrics also mention the Crimson Dynamo. Magneto has for a long while been the nemesis of the X Men and the other two have done battle with Iron Man on a few occasions.
“Brainiac‘s Daughter” – Dukes Of The Stratosphear. The Dukes was a side project emanating from XTC. Brainiac is possibly the greatest of all of Superman’s enemies. Superman is of course part of the DC Comics universe.
A special mention should go to “Batdance” from Prince, largely because some of the dialogue from the film that is included on the track comes from Jack Nicholson as the Joker, who is of course one of the most infamous of Batman’s villainous enemies.
I would love to hear from you with any other songs that feature super villains.
With all the recent celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Beatles first album, ‘Please Please Me’ back in 1963 it got me thinking again about the impact the fab four had on popular culture. I know much has been written about the Beatles from a social history point of view so I won’t be getting deep and heavy about that. But my thoughts are more around mentions of the mop tops in popular music.
There have been some great songs that mention John, Paul, George and Ringo and to celebrate 50 years since the recording and release of ‘Please Please Me’ I thought I would mention some of those songs. Apologies in advance to Dora Bryan though as I won’t be including her ode to the band; “All I Want For Christmas Is A Beatle”. The chosen songs are;
“All The Young Dudes” – Mott The Hoople – for the line ‘My brother’s back at home with his Beatles and Stones, I never got it off on that revolution stuff’ I believe that this is probably the best song Bowie ever wrote.
“1977” – The Clash – a summation of life in the UK in 1977. The line ‘No Elvis, Beatles or Rolling Stones in 1977′ sums up the punk new boys.
“London Calling” – The Clash – a brilliant song that includes the line ‘Phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust”
“(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?” – Oasis – whilst this song doesn’t mention the Beatles it does mention a Beatles song from the ‘Revolver’ album; ‘Walking to the sound of my favorite tune tomorrow never knows what it doesn’t know too soon’. It’s no surprise that the Burnage Boys songs contain many references to their musical heroes from Liverpool.
There are plenty more songs that reference the Beatles, including solo Beatle songs that mention or reference the band. I’d love to hear what your favourites are too.
Amazingly it is now 50 years to the day that the Beatles first single was released. “Love Me Do” came out on 5th October 1962 and reached the heady heights of number 17 in the UK charts later that year. It was an US number one when it was eventually released there in 1964. It also finally achieved a higher position in the UK charts on its reissue in 1982 when it peaked at number 4.
The song was mostly a Paul McCartney composition although John Lennon contributed the middle eight. It was most likely written in 1958/ 1959 in one of the notebooks that John and Paul used to write their songs; usually under the heading of ‘Another Lennon-McCartney Original’. Many of the songs the pair wrote in the late 50s were done at Paul’s house and often while they were playing truant from school. (Allegedly at least!)
The first recording of the song in 1962 featured Pete Best on drums. Pete was then infamously replaced by Ringo Starr who played on the next recording of the song. Producer George Martin was unhappy with Ringo’s performance and brought in session drummer Andy White. Ringo was relegated to tambourine for the Andy White session and it is this which makes it easy to distinguish between the Starr and White versions.
“Love Me Do” is one of only two Lennon and McCartney songs that are wholly owned by John Lennon’s estate and paul McCartney; the other is the B Side “P.S. I Love You”. The reason for this is that all later releases were published via Northern Songs. The publishing company has been owned by, ATV, Michael Jackson and Sony at various times.
The song has been covered by many artists including Bobby Vee and Sandie Shaw. It was also played live a few times by David Bowie on the Ziggy Stardust tour in 1972/1973. In a strange coincidence the first James Bond film had it’s UK premiere on 5th October 1962.
It’s not often lately that I learn a new bit of David Bowie trivia, but this week I certainly have. I was reading the recent Bowie special published by Uncut magazine, in particular a bit about Bowie’s film career. Now personally I don’t see him as a brilliant actor. I think he was superb in just three movies; ‘The Man Who fell To Earth‘, ‘Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence‘ and ‘The Hunger’. The rest I really can just take or leave.
He also auditioned for a role in ‘The Eagle Has Landed‘ as Max Radl, who was eventually played by Robert Duvall. John Sturges the director referred to Bowie’s audition as “the ego has landed”. But what I found really interesting, assuming that it’s true, is the three roles he supposedly turned down;
1) The Bond villain Max Zorrin in ‘A View To A Kill‘ (Eventually played by Christopher Walken)
3) The Joker in Tim Burton‘s ‘Batman’ (Eventually played in a really over the top style by Jack Nicholson)
That is one hell of a selection in my opinion. Personally I think he might have made a good Bond villain and maybe could have brought some of his ‘Labyrinth’ character to the part of Captain Hook. But I believe he would have been awful as the Joker. What do you think dear readers?
Now obviously I wasn’t going to close this post with no Bowie songs was I? So here are a couple for you to enjoy!
I have been a big fan of comic books and superheroes for many, many years and obviously people like the Fantastic Four, Spiderman, Iron Man, the X Men and many others are real aren’t they? OK you might be laughing now but click here and you will see that I could be right!
Phoenix Jones is a Seattlesuperhero crime fighter. He is the leader of the Rain City Superhero Movement. He recently appeared in court charged with attacking some people outside a nightclub using pepper spray. Somehow I can’t imagine that Batman kept pepper spray in his utility belt. The judge made him unmask and reveal his secret identity as Benjamin Fodor. I am not sure whether he was bitten by a radioactive spider, was exposed to gamma radiation, is a mutant or is indeed slightly mad. But he certainly seems to be for real. He is married to another superhero/ vigilante known as Purple Reign, she sounds like some kind of Prince protegé to me! I wonder if they drive around in the Phoenixmobile or the Jonesmobile?
Phoenix appears to be getting a bit of a caning from a woman here 🙂
Obviously we need a few hero related songs to accompany this post don’t we?
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?
Many of you already know that I am now engaged to the Catwoman (who obviously maintains a strong degree of security around her secret identity). But Catherine, oops sorry I mean Catwoman, made a public appearance last Saturday on the radio. As she is a VA does that mean it was a VA PA? Anyway she appeared on the Julia Booth Show to review the newspapers. The weekly guest is usually a local business person and that is how Catherine aka the Catwoman came to be invited.
She put on a great performance and has been invited back to do more shows in the future. The only criticism she had of herself was the overuse of the word ‘absolutely’. You can hear the show here on the BBC Radio York website (if you’re in the UK) for another few days. Catwoman’s appearance begins around two hours and ten minutes into the show. You can also check out Catherine’s (aka Catwoman’s) excellent website for her company Kaleidoscope Business Services by clicking here.
As I point out on a regular basis this is a music blog, so here are some radio and news related songs for your listening and viewing pleasure;
I chanced upon an amazing video the other day. It shows the two guys who make up the maintenance crew for a 1,786 foot radio antenna. If your scared of heights then you might not want to watch it. I can take any height as long as there is a good barrier between me and the drop, this tower doesn’t have that. Much of it is free climb and you have to take your toolbox which weighs 30 pounds with you. Frankly, and I apologise for being a bit crude here, but I could feel my testicles contracting with every step the guy took! I reckon I can live with any problems with public transport on my daily commute, because even the UK rail system is safer and more comfortable than these tower guys!
To be fair though, Batman and Robin always climbed without a safety rope too!
Like I’ve said so many times before this is a music blog, so I couldn’t finish without leaving you with a few very loosely related songs
“Stairway To Heaven” – Rolf Harris – The obvious choice would have been the Led Zep original, but that gets played quite a lot and Rolf’s version really is good fun don’t you think?
“Up The Ladder To The Roof” – Supremes- This song was written by Frank Wilson and Vincent DiMirco. It was the first Supremes single to feature new girl Jean Terrell who replaced Diana Ross. Personally I always thought Diana was the weakest vocalist in the group anyway. It reached the top 10 in the US and the UK. This video is worth watching for the costumes and dance moves even if you don’t like the song! I used to have this on 7 inch vinyl American import and I played it to death, even the B Side which was an ego boost for a young lad, as I was at the time. It was called “Bill, When Are You Coming Back”
Insane Clown Posse post their appreciation of Batman! Bang! Pow! Boom!
So after 21 years of violent lyrics and posturing it turns out that Insane Clown Posse have been evangelical christians all along. Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope have revealed their religious views in a new song “Thy Unveiling” Apparently they have just been pretending to be violent, evil and wicked while all the while they were really just naughty choir boys! Some of the lyrics in the new song appear to be unequivocal evidence that they have come out of their christian closet. “Fuck it, we got to tell. All secrets will now be told. No more hidden messages …Truth is we follow GOD!!! We’ve always been behind him. The carnival is GOD. And may all juggalos find him. We’re not sorry if we tricked you.” But it would appear that many of their fans (aka juggalos) are feeling betrayed. Violent J is quoted as saying “You have to speak their language. You have to interest them, gain their trust, talk to them and show you’re one of them. You’re a person from the street and you speak of your experiences. Then at the end you can tell them: God has helped me.”
Personally I find it quite amusing and there must also be a whiff of hype about it all. Clearly this is the type of act who probably don’t have a great christian following, indeed they may have many anti-christian followers. So in a sense it was like Donna Summer‘s announcement a few years ago that AIDS was a plague sent by god to destroy homosexuals. A pretty stupid statement really. Firstly because it is totally wrong and secondly because much of her audience were gay men. So there must be a lesson for Joseph Bruce and Joseph Utsler (aka Insane Clown Posse) in how to alienate a large chunk of your audience. It’ll be interesting to see where their career goes from here. Click here to read the story on the Guardian website.
Newly converted fans rush to worship their new holy heroes!
BuzzFeed has a great list entitled ‘The 12 Most Ridiculous Insane Clown Posse Lyrics” Click here to check it out. My particular favourite is “Your son’s on crack and your daughter’s got nut stains on her back and they both fuckin’ smell like shit” which is taken from their song “Halls Of Illusion“. I bet these guys still secretly put ‘Kick Me’ labels on each others backs.