Are you excited yet? It’s less than three weeks to the big day where we all eat too much, drink too much and regret that over indulgence the next morning! But in the meantime I am rationing my chocolate intake to what is behind the pathetic little doors of my Spiderman advent calendar. I’ve said it before but why is all the chocolate shaped like Christmas things? How about some shaped like doctor Octopus, The green Goblin, the Lizard or even Spidey himself? Chocolate manufacturers please take note!
Anyway it’s December 6th which means that todays songs will contain the number six. It’s an easy concept really isn’t it. The first song for today is “6 Underground” by Sneaker Pimps. The song comes from the Hartlepool bands album ‘Becoming X’. It was their first chart single when it reached number 15 in the UK when it was released in 1996. It was re-released the following year when it made the top ten at number 9. It also made it to number 45 in the US charts that year too. The song was used in the film ‘The Saint’ in 1997 which led to its reissue. The open melody on harp is a sample from the soundtrack of 1964’s James Bond movie ‘Goldfinger’. The band took their name from and article in the Beastie Boys ‘Grand Royal’ magazine. It was about a man who the Beasties used to tracked down classic box fresh trainers and sneakers.
The second song for today comes from down under and it is New Zealand’sSplit Enz with “Six Months In A Leaky Boat” taken from their album ‘Time And Tide‘. The song is about the time it took for early pioneers to sail from Europe to New Zealand and Australia. It was released in 1982 and because of the Falklands war it received hardly any airplay in the UK. The Powers That be felt that references to leaky boats in a time of naval conflict would be inappropriate, so it only managed to reach number 83 in the UK and an even more lowly 104 in the US charts. It fared better in Australia where it went to number 2. It also made it to number 7 in both New Zealand and Canada. The song was written by Tim Finn brother of Neil Finn who was also in Split Enz. the pair went on to form Crowded House. The tune has been covered by artists ranging from Marillion to the Wiggles.The band were originally called Split Ends but they changed to Split Enz before their first Australian tour to emphasise their New Zealand heritage with the nz in the name.
So here we are again at the most important annual event on the European Music Calendar, the Eurovision Song Contest. OK I was only joking right! I intend to give you a brief opinion on each country’s performance, if I can be bothered to watch the whole thing of course! I am also typing this real-time in case you wondered. Germany won last year, so who will it be this year? Blue? Jedward? I bloody hope not! Check out the official Eurovision 2011 site by clicking here. You can also check out my post on last years contest by clicking here.
Denmark – looked like rockers, but clearly they couldn’t rock their way out of a paper record sleeve
Lithuania – Typical Eurovision ballad. Why was she signing for the deaf? Would being deaf be an advantage when watching this show? Anyway the song is the opposite of a Chinese Takeaway meal, you certainly won’t want more of this dirge after half an hour.
Hungary – aaah some Eurodisco at last! But why didn’t her dressmaker finish the dress? Some of the dancers appeared to be wearing illuminated hoodies, so does that mean you could get an electronic ASBO? Either way they certainly wouldn’t be allowed to visit my local corner shop.
Ireland – It’s bloody Jedward, are we in a parallel universe? Surprisingly good graphics and shoulder pads borrowed from Dynasty. It pains me to say it of these two talented twats but I think this damned shite could win. It has everything but talent.
Sweden – well it’s hardly Abba is it? But it has a hook and an 80s disco beat. If you name your song ‘Popular’ though is that going to be a help or a hindrance? Personally I can see the irony in a song with that title finishing last with nul points.
Estonia – well it has to be said that for a fashion student, that is an awful dress. The dancers are like the people who failed the Zombie auditions for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video. As for her song I think it has created a new music genre; Dull Disco!
Greece – at the risk of sounding xenophobic what was that guy doing between the singers parts? Kebab Rap? Catwoman says the set looks like they’re about to be beamed up.
Russia – by far the best of the night so far on both the singing and dancing fronts. Apart from the spelling of the singer’s name on the back of their leather jackets.
France – apparently this is the favourite. The singer is supposedly the youngest professional tenor in the world at just 21. Not my favourite style of music but he is damned good. This really would be an interesting winner. As left field as Finland’s Lordi a few years ago.
Italy – If Jamie Cullum were Italian he’d be this bloke, only slightly better. Another left field option though, jazziest song of the night so far. Top marks to Italy and France for daring to be different.
Switzerland – a bit of a light almost reggae style beat going on with this one. Apparently she was discovered busking. Not a bad song overall apart from being a little heavy on the na na na na na’s but she certainly has the looks to be a star.
United Kingdom – this is it, it’s Blue. A pretty good performance, although a long way from being a great song. But it does sound like something that would go down well all over Europe. Did Simon Webbe forget to pack his shirt?
Blue had bet their shirts on winning Eurovision
Moldova – possibly the worst of the night so far. A poor Beastie Boys tribute band with added brass, unicycles, monocles and the worst hats ever seen in Eurovision. How did this get through the semi finals?
Germany – It’s Lena back to defend her title. She won with “Satellite” last year. I can’t see her being back next year personally. She has a distinctive voice but a really undistinctive (is that a word, probably not?) song.
Romania – the lead singer of this band is actually English. A pretty good song to boot as well.
Austria -well this one really is crap from a Celine Dion wannabe
Azerbaijan – the best thing I could say about this one is that it’s harmless, inoffensive and forgettable.
Slovenia – nice looking girl, not sure about the leather fingerless mitts though or the dress. In my opinion this is very much a mid table song; not a big winner and not a big loser.
Iceland – reminiscent of songs that won in the 70s. Is it me or does it have a whiff of Brotherhood Of Man’s “Save Your Kisses For Me”. Catwoman likes it though.
Spain – they say that the winner more often comes from the last five performances. If that’s the case this year this might be the one. Poppy, good beat, easy on the ear and very good Eurovision song. It looks like they’ll do better than the UK in Eurovision as well as the football world cup.
Ukraine – accompanied by a sand painter who won Ukraine’s Got Talent. He is good though, but what does he add to the song? As for the singer, why was she wearing dead chicken epaulettes. The artist was better!
Serbia – It’s like Eastern Europes version of Ready Steady Go, where is Cathy McGowan when you need her. But one of the best songs of the night, a really cool 60s vibe to it. Sign them up for the next Austin Powers movie!
Georgia – the rockiest song of the night, just not really a very good song the singer has a great voice though. But crap rap and the outfits looked like cast offs from the Tron movie.
As I said earlier I am typing this real time, so before all the scoring starts here is my prediction for the top 3. I would be very surprised if I am even close to being correct, but here goes anyway 1 – Spain, 2 – Russia, 3 – Serbia. Check the real results below.
And the winner is……….. <drum roll> ………………… Azerbaijan, definitely not one of my favourites. Italy were second and Sweden third. So none of my predictions were correct as I suspected. The UK finished in the top half of the table picking up a few votes from most countries. We were however just behind Ireland’s Jedward. Switzerland came last!
Take a look below at the video for the winning song “Running Scared” from Ell & Nikki
Well there really isn’t a great deal to say about this fantastic album cover animation other than it is truly brilliant. It’s called Battle Of The Bands and it truly is a fight to the death!
If I have noted it correctly it contains album covers from all the following artists, if you see any I have missed just let me know!
Foreigner, Yazoo, Billy Joel, Shaun Cassidy, Violent Femmes, Rick James, Eminem, Joe Jackson, Beastie Boys, 50 Cent, Roxy Music, King Crimson, Scorpions, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Duran Duran, Velvet Underground, Pink Floyd, Coldplay, Rush, Boston, AC/ DC, Def Leppard, Replacements, Jane’s Addiction, Love And Rockets, Depeche Mode, Ozzy Osbourne, Weezer, B 52s, Dead Kennedys, Van Halen, Dio, Iron Maiden, Night Ranger, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, OMD, Nirvana, Asia, David Lee Roth, Black Flag, Cars, Michael Jackson, Beatles, Journey, Green Day, Hermans Hermits, Madness, Phil Collins, Lou Reed, Madonna, Tom Petty, Bob Seger, Lionel Richie, Devo, Jimi Hendrix, Quiet Riot and Metallica.
My favourites are Michael Jackson and Roxy Music, what are your favourites? Can you find the hidden Ozzy track?
I would like to take this opportunity to wish a very happy birthday to the Dalai Lama today as he turns 75. If only he could celebrate it with the gift of a free Tibet. The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of Tibet and has so far spent 50 years in exile, courtesy of the Chinese authorities. Click here to send your support and birthday wishes. Many people hope that Tibet will be free within his lifetime, that’s a wonderful thought, but personally I believe that China will hold out much much longer. China invaded Tibet 60 years ago in 1950 and the 14th Dalai Lama eventually fled to Northern India in 1959.
The first Free Tibet music concert was held in San Francisco in 1996 and featured the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bjork, Smashing Pumpkins, Cibo Matto, Rage Against The Machine and De La Soul. The main aim was to raise awareness of the plight of Tibet among younger people, but it also raised $800k for Tibetan justice causes. More than 100,000 people attended the first show. Among the biggest supporters of the Free Tibet campaign in the music world have been the Beastie Boys. As recently as last year the Chinese government prevented Oasis from playing in China because Noel Gallagher had played a Tibet benefit some years before. Bjork caused the Chinese some problems and is unlikely to be welcomed back after chanting Tibet, Tibet at the end of her song ‘Declare Independence’ at a show in Shanghai in 2008
Anthony Kiedis off of the Red Hot Chili Peppers met the Dalai Lama on a trip to India in 1996 and has a wonderfully comic description of that meeting in his autobiography.
This video is Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Johnny Greenwood performing ‘Exit Music’ at a Free Tibet concert
Bjork sings “Declare Independence” and shows the Tibetan flag
I will close this post with David Bowie’s excellent “Seven Years In Tibet” Alternatively you can hear the Mandarin version of the song by clicking here
Well this is it folks the Ides of March, are you scared? Do you even know what the hell they are? Well the term Ides was thought to have meant the day of the Full Moon. The Ides of March (15th March) was made famous in Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’ as the day on which Caesar was assassinated. If you want more information about those nasty ides click here.
So without further ‘ides do’ and before the usual birthdays and stuff I have another contribution from one more regular reader. This time it’s Karen McP who would like me to mention her mate Martin’s band. They’re called ‘No Drinks On The Dance Floor’ I’ve had a listen to them on MySpace and I think they’re pretty damned good. Click here to go to their MySpace page and let me know what you think of them.
The other day I mentioned Bobby McFerrin and his excellent song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” well I just heard it again in an environment that I hadn’t noticed before. Have you ever watched George A Romero’s ‘Dawn Of The Dead’ Zombie movie? I was watching the DVD last night and there is a great scene where the survivors decide to break into the shopping mall for protection. As they enter the building there is the usual awful electronic muzak playing and the tune is the wonderfully ironic (in this setting anyway) “Don’t Worry Be Happy”. How cool is that? Also I received this picture from Ellen at the Dead Zone group today, how appropriate?
Don't Worry, Be Hippy
So onto todays birthdays. Firstly today would have been Arif Mardin’s 77th birthday. He was born in Istanbul and died in New York in 2006. Arif produced some of the greatest acts to appear on the Atlantic label, where he spent 30 years. During his career he produced hits for many artists, these included; Carly Simon, Petula Clark, Bette Midler, Barbara Streisand, Diana Ross, Bee Gees, Patti Labelle, Aretha Franklin, Lulu, Anita Baker, Judy Collins, Phil Collins (no relation), Culture Club, Scritti Politti, Roberta Flack, Hall & Oates, Norah Jones, George Benson, Chaka Khan, Ringo Starr, Dusty Springfield, Average White Band and none other than David Bowie (I bet you never thought I’d get a Bowie reference in that list did you?). After meeting Quincy Jones and Dizzy Gillespie at a concert in Istanbul in 1956 Arif submitted a couple of compositions to Quincy. This changed his life as shortly after he became the first person to receive the Quincy Jones Scholarship at the Berklee College Of Music in Boston. He moved to the US with his wife Latife in 1958. He also won 12 Grammys during his career. So what song should we choose to celebrate what would have been Arif’s birthday? It has to be “Cut The Cake” by the Average White Band. OK fact fans, how many of you know that the Average White Band are in fact from Scotland?
This picture says two things to me 1) Caption Competition - come on readers do your worst and 2) I can't be bothered to think of anything amusing myself!
The second and final of todays birthdays is that of Mark Hoppus from Blink 182 and +44. He is 37 today. Blink 182 is my son’s all time favourite band, so rest assured there will be yet another plug for his band later in this post! Hoppus plays bass and provides vocals for both Blink and +44. In addition to these talents he has also produced other bands such as New Found Glory and Motion City Soundtrack. These are exciting days for Blink fans with the band now back together following their reconciliation after Travis Barker’ horrific air crash earlier this year. They must be playing the UK surely, how about Reading and Leeds in August, any ideas? Mark was apparently conned out of half a million dollars last year by two people who offered him a deal in the development of automated checkouts for McDonalds. They were right cheating burgers weren’t they? Anyway here is Mark with the other Blink boys in the video for “What’s My Age Again?”
Mark knew that the rest of the band were incredibly jealous of his invisible stool
So onto that shameless plug for my son’s band. They’re called ‘Steal The Smile’ and you just need to click here to go to their MySpace page. Let me know what you think of them too. My son Luke is the guitarist and singer. And remaining with Blink 182 for a moment, Luke met Tom DeLonge after his Angels and Airwaves set at the Reading Festival in August 2007!
On this day in 1986 the Bangles were at number 2 in the UK singles chart with “Manic Monday” The song was actually written by Prince using the pseudonym Christopher Nevermind. In a bizarre twist of fate the song was stalled at number two in the US chart, it was held off the top spot by none other than Prince himself with the classic song “Kiss”. I must confess I really dislike the Tom Jones cover of “Kiss” that he did with the Art Of Noise. What do you think of it? Here are the Bangles with “Manic Monday”
This was probably the smallest stage the girls had ever played on, particularly as there was only room for three of them
And finally for today on this day in 1992 the Beastie Boys appeared at the Marquee Club in London. The Beasties started life in 1979 as a hardcore punk band called the Young Aborigines. They became a fully fledged rap crew after Rick Rubin signed them to the Def Jam label in the early 80s. They released the classic album ‘Licensed To Ill in 1986′ It became the first rap album to top the Billboard album charts in the US and went on to be the biggest selling rap album of the 80s. Arguably the band are the best white rappers there have ever been. Eminem and his fans may disagree but surely Vanilla Ice and his fan won’t? There is expected to be a new album from the boys later this year, tentatively titled “Tadlock’s Glasses’ To finish todays post here are the Beastie Boys with the rather good “Ch-Check It Out”
Surprisingly the Beasties play the game for men with small balls