With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“Robin Hood and William Tell And Ivanhoe and Lancelot” Blog Advent Calendar Day 5 December 5, 2014


elo-band

December 5th has arrived and it’s therefore day 5 of this years advent blog posts. As you know this years theme is the ABC of British bands, which means today we arrive at the fifth letter of the alphabet; ‘E’. My choice for today is the Electric Light Orchestra a.k.a ELO. The band was initially an offshoot of the Move and they set out to combine orchestral sounds with rock music. It may well have been Roy Wood‘s idea but he left early on to form Wizzard. Meanwhile Jeff Lynne made ELO into a world straddling colossus.

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The band’s first UK hit was “10538 Overture“. The song was originally a b-side for the Move. Wood, Lynne and Bev Bevan (also off of the Move) added orchestral strings to it. After John Lennon heard one of my favourite ELO songs, “Showdown” he began referring to them as Beatles Junior. The band had number one singles across the world; and “Turn To Stone” and “Shine A Little Love” were number one in Canada and “Living Thing” topped the charts in South Africa. Sadly, in my opinion at least, there only UK number one was the rather dreadful “Xanadu” which also featured Olivia Newton John. That song was also a number one in the Netherlands, Germany and Ireland. The band had 15 UK top ten hits in the UK between 1972 and 1981. This was only bettered by their eighteen top ten hits in France from 1972 to 1986.

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So now it’s time for you to enjoy a selection of ELO songs, apologies but I have not included the aforementioned “Xanadu”.

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“We don’t care about long hair” – Advent day 17 December 17, 2013


advent-day-17_2084082aIt seems like just days since I started this years With Just A Hint Of Mayhem Advent blog posts and yet here we are at Day 17 already. More than two-thirds of the way through. So not only is it December 17th it is also the day that you get two songs with seventeen in the title. I’m getting a little concerned that I’ll be able to find two at least half decent songs for each day up to 25th December. But I think I can!

At_seventeen_(Janis_ian_single_cover)Anyway enough of my mindless prattling, what is the first song for today I hear you cry. Well it is a beautiful song from 1975; it is Janis Ian with the Grammy winning “At Seventeen”. The song failed to chart in the UK although I seem to recall that it got a lot of airplay in 1975/ 76. It went to number three on the US Billboard chart and remains her biggest hit. Janis didn’t want to release the song at first as she felt it was too personal. The song has been covered by Celine Dion for her current album ‘Loved Me Back To Life’. In addition to piano and guitar Janis also plays organ, harpsichord, French horn and flute. She had mastered all of these by the time she reached her teens. Janis also writes science fiction and has had a number of short stories published.

4541100486The second song today comes from punk icons the Sex Pistols and is called “Seventeen”. The song was the first track on side two of their only studio album; the timeless punk classic ‘Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols’. The bass on the album was played by either Glen Matlock or Steve Jones as Sid Vicious was not a particularly competent bassist. However it seems that Mr Vicious may have played his bass on the album’s eighth track; “Bodies”. “Seventeen” was one of 15 songs that the band played at their final gig (not including reunions) at the Winter Ballroom in San Francisco on January 1978. US hardcore punk band Total Chaos have covered the song for the ‘Never Mind The Sex Pistols, Here’s The Tribute’ album in 2000.

 

“I wait in the darkness of my lonely room, filled with sadness, filled with gloom” a.k.a five gold rings December 17, 2012


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It’s now day 5 of my 12 days of Christmas series and that can only mean one thing right? Well five things actually and all of those are gold rings. Yes, on the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me five gold rings. Go on admit it you sang that line in your head just like it goes in the tune didn’t you? Had you bought your five gold rings in 1970 they would now be worth considerably more. In December 1970 gold was valued at £15.64 an ounce, earlier this month its value was £1,060.95 an ounce. Some interpretations of the 12 days of Christmas suggest that the gold rings are in fact goldspinks which as old name for a goldfinch. However I have based my choice of songs on the gold rings and I have two great songs for you.

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Firstly we go to the King, kind of appropriate for Christmas don’t you think? Yes it’s Elvis Aaron Presley with “Wear My Ring (Around Your Neck)”. The song was written by Bert Carroll and Russell Moody and was released in 1958. Up to that point Elvis had achieved a string of ten consecutive number ones on the Billboard Hot 100, but this song stalled at number two. It made it to number three in the UK. Did you know that Elvis’ father Vernon’s middle name was Elvis or that his mother Gladys’ middle name was Love? You didn’t? Well you do now. It has been said that Elvis once entered an Elvis lookalike contest and only came third. However whilst this is a great story that is probably all it is. It was an item printed in the Weekly World News which is about as reliable in the truth department as the National Enquirer or perhaps the Sunday Sport in the UK.

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Freda+Payne

The second of this posts songs is the soul classic “Band Of Gold” by Freda Payne. It was a million seller in 1970 where it reached number one in the UK but only number three in the US. It was also her biggest hit on both sides of the Atlantic. It was released on the Invictus label which had been set up by the Holland Dozier Holland team after they left Motown. “Band Of Gold” was written by Edythe Wayne and Ron Dunbar but it was produced by Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier. The lead guitar on the song comes from Ray Parker Jr and two former Motown backing vocalists provided vocal backing for Freda. Those backing vocalists were Joyce Vincent Wilson and Telma Hopkins, both later went on to join Tony Orland as part of Tony Orlando and Dawn. Did you know that Freda’s sister Scherrie was a member of the post Diana Ross Supremes for a while? When I began as a mobile DJ back in the 70s some of the advice I received from an old sage of a DJ was to never play this song at a wedding reception as it is all about break up. That’s true but hell it’s a great dance track isn’t it. So I must confess to the world that I have indeed played the song at wedding receptions.

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Two Goldfinches, the whereabouts of the other three are currently unknown!

Two Goldfinches, the whereabouts of the other three are currently unknown!

 

“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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“The things that we two could plan would make my dreams come true” February 17, 2011


Gaga tells Her Maj that she has had way more number ones than Queen

So was the Lady G in the right place at the right time? Was it luck or was it a marketing ploy? Personally as the release date for “Born This Way” was announced so long ago I think it was pure fluke. What the hell am I going on about I can hear you say. Well obviously that Lady Gaga has made more history by having the 1,000th US Billboard charts number one with her new single. It now sits at the top of the Hot 100 pile, that particular chart started in 1958. Read about her achievement at the BBC site.

Elvis had really wanted Hound Dog to be the 1000th number one

Elvis celebrated his achievement by simply horsing around

That particular feat was achieved just over six years ago in the UK, but then our charts started back in 1952. So who made it to the top for the 1,000th UK number one? Well in my opinion it was largely planned as part of a massive reissue campaign. It was Elvis Presley’s 20th UK number one, coming 27 years after his death with a reissue of “One Night” Read about that feat here, again at the BBC.

 

” It’s been too long since we took the time, No-one’s to blame, I know time flies so quickly “ October 8, 2010


A mixed bag of a post for you today, drawn from a few recent news stories. Firstly I would like to wish a posthumous 70th birthday to John Lennon. I find it incredible that it is now almost 30 years since he was cruelly gunned down in New York. Has that time gone quickly for you too? He is also in the news for something other than his birthday as well. The FBI have seized a set of Lennon’s fingerprints that he gave to New York police in 1976 as part of his green card application. The card was part of a memorabilia auction, but the FBI claim it is official government property and have taken it away. haven’t they got a big enough file on Lennon already? Frankly though, why go they need it, I mean he is unlikely to commit any crime is he? Read the story on the Beeb by clicking here.

Now for another very sad Beatles related story. The cast of Glee have now beaten the Beatles record of the most appearances on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart by a non solo act. They have a total of 75 compared to 71 for the Fab Four, they have also surpassed Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin who have 74 and 73 respectively. The only acts ahead of them right now are James Brown with 91 and Elvis Presley with 108. Click here to see the report.

It has been reported that soulful chanteuse Toni Braxton is filing for bankruptcy for the second time. She went bankrupt for the first time just 12 years ago. This time a heart condition caused her to cancel a number of Vegas shows. So I would like to wish her well in the sale of her assets and hope that she can soon ‘unbreak the bank’ and will soon be able to “Breathe Again“. I must confess that earlier this year I burnt the original and a few remixes of “Unbreak My Heart” for my good friends Glen and Jill. So now we know of Toni’s financial predicament I ought to as k them to buy the songs. Come on guys help the poor girl out!

Kurt Kobain’s letter in which he appears to rail against MTV is to be auctioned. He referred to the TV Channel as Empty TV and signed the letter as Kurdt Kobaineee. read about it at the NME by clicking here.

Finally for today it is now 25 years since A-ha released “Take On Me” accompanied by that wonderfully arty video featuring Morten Harket from the band along with Bunty Bailey off of Hot Gossip. Enjoy the video below and read all about it by clicking here.

 

 
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