With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“There’s nothing left to talk about unless it’s horizontally” January 24, 2015


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What do you think of Olivia Newton-John‘s “Physical“? For me it was one of the tracks that perhaps summed up the 1980’s and I’m still not sure whether I like the song or not. That 80s gym fashion in the video looks so dated now. But despite that the song was voted the sexiest song of all time in a Billboard poll in 2012. Really?

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The song was written by Steve Kipner and did you know that it was originally offered to Rod Stewart? Presumably because of its similarities to Rod’s awful (in my opinion) “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy“. My personal choices for sexiest song ever would be Marvin Gaye’sLet’s Get It On” and “Juicy Fruit” from Mtume. What is the sexiest song for you?

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“None of them received a heroes welcome” – Advent day 19 December 19, 2013


slide_19_2087154aDefinitely on the home straight now, we’re on the 19th December. So day 19 of the With Just A Hint Of Mayhem Advent posts brings two songs with the number 19 in their title. Can you guess what the f-f-f-f-first one is going to be?

Paul+HardcastleI’ll put you out of your misery the first tune is Paul Hardcastle‘s “19” which was his fifth solo single. It went to number one in the UK in 1985 and made the top spot in Ireland, Switzerland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Austria and Italy. It was also number one on the US Dance charts. Hardcastle was inspired to compose “19” after watching a documentary about the Vietnam war called ‘Vietnam Requiem‘. he was shocked that the average age of the US combat soldier killed in Vietnam was 19. That was his age when he saw the documentary. The song may have performed better in the US had it received more airplay. It stalled at number 15 in the Billboard charts after many US radio stations refused to play it as they considered the song to be anti-American. Hardcastle has always denied this and I believe he is right. He is quoting statistics. Although the average age of 19 statistic has been challenged and various sources have suggested that between 20 and 23 are more realistic. That is still bloody young though! Paul Hardcastle’s 1986 single “The Wizard” became the theme tune to Top Of The Pops from April 1986 to September 1991. He also produced Rory Bremner‘s parody recording of “19”; “N-N-Nineteen Not Out” which was released under the name the Commentators and reached number 13 in the UK charts in 1985.

1349963354063_1483409The second song on day 19 comes from those ancient geezers the Strolling Bones, well that’s what they look like these days right? I am talking of course about the Rolling Stones with their 1965 UK and US Billboard number two hit “19th Nervous Breakdown” It broke a run of five consecutive UK number ones for the band that stretched from April 1964 to September 1965. Those five songs were; “It’s All Over Now”, “Little Red Rooster”, “The Last Time”, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and “Get Off Of My Cloud”. The number 19 is an important number in Stephen King’s ‘Dark Tower Series‘ and this song is referenced a few times within those tales. The song has been covered by the Standells and the Wedding Present. On the US TV show Saturday Night Live in 2012 Mick Jagger performed the song with the Foo Fighters.

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“Two-toned shoes, favourite dress, need no diamonds to impress” January 5, 2012


Back in 1986 Billboard started it’s Latin American chart. Whilst a number of male artists, notably Ricky Martin, have had their singles enter at number one, no female artist has ever achieved such a feat. Well until now anyway as this week Gloria Estefan hit the top spot with her song “Hotel Nacional” in it’s first week of release. The song comes from her current album ‘Miss Little Havana’. It becomes only the 11th song in the history of the Latin chart to enter at the top.

Gloria’s full maiden name was Gloria María Milagrosa Fajardo. She became Estefan when she married Emilio Estefan the leader of the Miami Sound Machine in 1978. While still at university she work as a translator for the US Customs Department at Miami Airport. She is fluent in Spanish, English and French. She was seen to be such a good linguist that it is alleged that the CIA once approached her to offer a job with the agency.

 

“For my wrongs I’ve no excuses, I couldn’t blame you if you refused me” December 20, 2011


Please allow me to paraphrase from an Elton John song for just a moment; ‘ho ho ho grab a beer, the bearded weirdy’s nearly here’. Yes folks in just a few days Old Saint Nick will be giving your chimney a good clean with his beard. Don’t worry if you don’t have a chimney, in that case he’ll just break into your house. Of course he is the only person who illegally enters your property and leaves stuff rather than taking anything, well not counting the odd tipple or mince-pie of course. Anyway it’s now December 20th and therefore day 20 of my ABC of Motown Advent calendar. Which brings us to the letter T. For me this was an easy choice. It’s “Take Me Girl I’m Ready” from the stellar band that was Junior Walker and the All Stars.

Surprisingly for me Junior Walker wasn’t his real name. When he was born in June 1931 in Blytheville, Arkansas he was called Autry DeWalt Mixon, Jr. He played in a number of bands from the age of 14 including the Jumping Jacks and the Rhythm Rockers before settling on the All Stars. The band was spotted by Johnny Bristol who was friendly with Harvey Fuqua who had is own Harvey label. Fuqua signed the band in 1961 but they didn’t have much success until the Harvey label was bought by Berry Gordy to become part of his Motown empire.

Their first Motown hit was the timeless classic “Shotgun” which was written by Junior Walker and produced by Berry Gordy himself. It also featured Funk Brother James Jamerson on bass. That song reached number 4 in the US Billboard chart and was an US R & B number one in 1965. They had plenty more hits but the only one that equalled “Shotgun” in the charts was “What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)” in 1969, that song also hit number 13 in the UK. Sadly Junior died from cancer aged just 64 back in 1995.

“Take Me Girl I’m Ready” was originally an US hit in 1971 reaching number 50 in the Billboard chart. It was written by Pamela Sawyer, Gloria Jones and Johnny Bristol. Bristol produced the song which was arranged by Dave Van DePitte. It was a record I could never get hold of in my early teenage years, but then it was finally reissued in the UK in 1977. Obviously I bought it as soon as it came out. I no longer have the vinyl copy but I have it on CD and MP3.

I have blogged about this song before with regards to its appearance on a pub jukebox. Myself and a bunch of friends used to be regulars at the Windmill pub in Ruislip Manor back in 1977/ 78 and “Take Me Girl I’m Ready” was selection number 77A on the pub jukebox. Usually it was myself or my good friend Glen Voisey who were first at the jukebox and without looking we would always select 77A. However on one occasion I approached the jukebox as usual and fed my coins into it and then hit the buttons for 77A. I then started looking for what other tracks I would choose. After a few seconds of that scratchy stylus hitting plastic sound a familiar refrain started. However it wasn’t Junior Walker, much to my dismay and embarrassment it was “Save All Your Kisses For Me” by Brotherhood Of Man. My friends just started laughing and muttered about disowning me, but I was able to prove that I had indeed chosen 77A. The landlord stepped in to support me when he said that all the records on the jukebox had been replaced and the old tenant of 77A no longer lived on the machine. It was a devastatingly disappointing moment for me, but as they say, ‘what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger’!

So without further ado please enjoy the former occupant of 77A on the Windmill pub jukebox in the late 70s; “Take Me Girl I’m Ready” from Junior Walker and the All Stars. This one goes out to Glen Voisey, Keith Plant, Chris Skinner, Neil Payne, Phil Isaacs and Jonesy (aka Bryan Jones)!

RIP the Windmill Pub in Ruislip Manor. It was built in the 1930s and closed down in 2006. Like many of my old haunts it has been knocked down or put to use other than as a pub.

 

“They started going steady and bless my soul he out-bopped the buzzard and the oriole” December 18, 2011


It’s just a week to go to the big day folks, we’ve arrived at the 18th December and therefore day 18 on my ABC of Motown Advent Calendar. Seeing as yesterday was the letter Q by my calculations that must meant that today is the letter R. I have chosen a rather fun song for today. It’s “Rockin’ Robin which was a solo hit for a young Michael Jackson back in 1972.

The song was written by Leon Rene using the pseudonym of Jimmie Thomas and was originally a hit for Bobby Day in 1958. It was his only hit and it reached number two on the US Billboard charts. Jackson’s version was taken from his first solo album ‘Got To Be There‘ and also reached number two on the Billboard charts. The song went to number three in the UK.

The song has been occasionally included on a Christmas compilation album, which is a little strange to me as it was a hit in February 1972. I suppose it must be the Robin reference that makes it a Christmas related song to some people. The B Side of the single contained a cracking version of one of my favourite Supremes songs and another Holland Dozier Holland classic; “Love Is Here And Now You’re Gone“.

 

“You see you’re my heart, you’re soul you’re my stone inspiration” December 10, 2011


It’s December 10th and that Saint Nick dude is getting closer and appropriately enough todays song on the ABC of Motown Advent Calendar is about being close. It is one of my favourite songs from the Commodores and it’s called “Just To Be Close To You”. I only saw the Commodores live on one occasion and that was back in November 1973 at my first ever gig where they were supporting the Jackson 5.

When released in 1976 the song reached number 7 in the US Billboard chart but was a number 1 in the US R & B Chart. Sadly it could only limp to number 62 in the UK chart. Like many of the bands hits it was written by Lionel Richie. The band was originally called the Mystics and decided that they needed a new name. William King a founder member who is still with the band decided to open the dictionary at a random page and point a finger at a random word on that page. Obviously that word was commodore. King is quoted as saying ‘We lucked out, we almost became the commodes’

Whilst the band left Motown in 1986 Lionel Richie stayed and went on to even greater success, although personally I have always preferred the more rough and funky sound of the earlier Commodores material. The band is still around and continue to play live.

 

“I’ll Hold you close in my arms I can’t resist your charms” December 5, 2011


It’s December 5th folks, that’s now less than three weeks until the bearded weirdo in red arrives. That also means that it is now Day 5 of my ABC of Motown Advent Calendar and we’re up to the letter E. I have chosen a very popular song that actually is not really one of my own favourites. It’s “Endless Love” which was written by Lionel Richie who recorded it as a duet with Diana Ross. It was used as the theme tune to the Brooke Shields film of the same name.

It has been covered by many people, most notably, again as a duet, by Mariah Carey and Luther Vandross. The original was an US and Australian number one and reached number 7 in the UK. The Vandross Carey version only reached the chart summit in New Zealand. It reached numbers 2 and 3 respectively in the US and UK charts. Billboard once named the song as the greatest duet ever, I certainly don’t agree with that. What about Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” or Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure”? (OK technically the latter isn’t really a duet unless you count it just as a Bowie Mercury duet)

So tell me dear readers what do you think is the greatest duet of all time?

 

 
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