I would like to say a big thank you to all of you who read my blog and to wish you a wonderful Christmas and a fab 2017 for you and all of your family and friends!
I would like to say a big thank you to all of you who read my blog and to wish you a wonderful Christmas and a fab 2017 for you and all of your family and friends!
In 1942 during World War 2 the BBC banned a rather innocuous little song. The tune was deemed to be ‘too catchy’ (an early earworm perhaps?) and the ‘powers that be’ thought that it would distract factory workers when it was played on the wireless. This of course would significantly damage the war effort. So what was that demonic song that might have caused Britain to lose the war? It was Bing Crosby’s version of “Deep In The Heart Of Texas”.
Where are these people when you need them to ban such drivel as anything by One Direction, Matt Curdle, Olly Murs, Westlife and Boyzone to name but a few. However it is quite amusing that the Bing Crosby song is joined on the list of songs banned by the BBC by “Relax” – Frankie Goes To Hollywood, “Je T’Aime (Mois Non Plus)” – Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg, “Fuck You” – Eamon, “God Save The Queen” – Sex Pistols and “Give Ireland Back To The Irish” and “Hi Hi Hi” both by Wings. These songs were variously banned for being about sex or drugs, containing profanities or being too political. All Bing’s little ditty did was simply be ‘too catchy’!
Please tell me that this is the last gifts my true love is sending me for the 12 days of Christmas. I have just about managed to squeeze the 12 drummers into the cupboard, but what the hell am I going to do with 12 bloody huge drum kits? Anyway did you know that the 364 items given as gifts in the 12 days of Christmas song would cost £67,000 this year according to PNC Wealth Management. That is a 6.1% increase on the previous year. I have searched high and low to snare some good songs about drumming that might help to ‘cymbalize’ Christmas. Look out for a couple of Billy Bonuses to end this series of posts too.
First up is the lovely Florence Welch and her Machine with “Drumming Song”. The song was released as a single in 2009 and managed a lowly number 54 in the UK. It comes from the album ‘Lungs’ an international hit LP that went to number 1 in the UK and top 5 in Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. The single did slightly better in the NMEs top 50 songs of the year for 2009 where it finished 48th. “Drumming Song” was nominated for best video at the 2009 Q Awards and Best Pop Video at the UK Music Video Awards in the same year. Whilst it won neither of these it did take the prize for Best Styling In A Video at the UK Awards.
The second song I have chosen for you today is probably an obvious choice for a festive song to those of you who know me. It’s the Dame and the Crooner; better known as David Bowie and Bing Crosby with “Peace On Earth/ Little Drummer Boy”. The former was written especially for Bowie’s appearance on Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas TV show. The show was recorded in September 1977 and it was alleged that Crosby didn’t know who Bowie was. personally I doubt that is true. Bowie also performed “Heroes” on the show. the music press utilised all their black humour skills in late 1977 suggesting that no one would ever want to appear on TV with Bowie. This was largely because he had recorded TV shows with Marc Bolan and then Bing Crosby and within a few weeks both Bolan and Crosby had died. “Peace On Earth/ Little Drummer Boy” was finally released as a single in the UK in 1982. It reached number 3 in the UK and Germany and number 6 in Ireland that year.
And next up is the first of my Billy Bonuses for today, supreme drummer Cozy Powell with “Dance With Devil”
And an extra Billy Bonus for your delight. When I was at school I sat next to a young man who was already a skillful drummer and he went on to ply his trade with the Tom Robinson Band and Stiff Little Fingers. His name is Brian ‘Dolphin’ Taylor. I haven’t seen him in more than 30 years. But Brian if you happen to be reading this feel free to get in touch.
This weekend the UK press was reporting that a musical featuring the music of David Bowie would première at the IndigO2 in London next March. It would be called ‘Heroes : The Musical’ and was written by Deep Singh he thought he had obtained permission to use the songs. However it would seem that permission has not been given.
A statement from David Bowie and his management issued this weekend reads; ‘ Neither the David Bowie Organization, nor its co-publishers EMI Music and Chrysalis, has issued a license for this performance at the O2. There are no negotiations pending for a long running musical featuring the music of Mr. Bowie’.
Personally I’m quite pleased. I really don’t like musicals and the thought of one based on the songs of David Bowie leaves me cold. What do you folks think?
Hello once again dearest readers, this post is something of a news and catch up style post. Largely because apart from my Reading reports last weekend I haven’t posted much of late. So let’s start by clearing out my mail box folder that is titled ‘Blog Stuff’. So just be warned that you may have seen some of this stuff already, but I reckon it’s worth at least a second view anyway!
First up was the news from two weeks ago that Mr Robert Zimmerman (aka Bob Dylan) is to release a Christmas album this year. A number of commentators have suggested that this may damage his credibility. Somehow I don’t think so, many supposedly credible artists have recorded Christmas songs with no damage to their credibility. I mean how about the Dame’s (that’ll be Mr Bowie to the non regular readers) duet with Bing Crosby back in 1977 on “Peace On Earth/ Little Drummer Boy” Anyway the ‘DYLAN TO RELEASE CHRISTMAS ALBUM’ headline prompted the Independent newspaper in the UK to put together a top ten worst rock n roll career moves. It includes things like marrying your 13 year old cousin (Jerry Lee Lewis), showing your potential Nazi leanings (Clapton, Bowie et al), getting your non musical spouse/ girlfriend involved in your music a la John & Yoko, Paul & Linda, Pete & Kate, Pete & Jordan, er well ok the last one probably helped Peter Andre’s career really and that one isn’t in the article anyway, but I thought it was worth a mention. Anyway now you get the drift read the whole thing by clicking here. Incidentally Bowie’s supposed Nazi salute at Victoria Station on his return to London by train in 1976 was in my opinion just a wave, that looked just like a Nazi salute when captured in still photograph form. Why do I believe this you may ask? Well largely because I was there. I’m not usually the sad kind of fan who does things like that, but I only worked 5 minutes walk from Victoria at the time so I thought it was worth going, well that and the fact that I am a massive Bowie fan too!
Just about a week ago Living TV ran a report on the most expensive wedding singers, I have reprinted the top 12 and their prices below (the original source was in fact the New Zealand Herald);
1. The Rolling Stones – up to £5 million
2. Sir Elton John – up to £2 million
– Kylie Minogue – up to £2 million
4. Christina Aguilera – up to £1.5 million
5. George Michael – £1.3 million
6. Amy Winehouse – £1 million
– Sir Paul McCartney – £1 million
– Leona Lewis – £1 million
– Jennifer Lopez – £1 million
10. Barry Manilow – £750,000
11. Rod Stewart – £600,000
12. Duran Duran – £500,000
You could book me and my mobile disco for much less than any of those! I reckon that Gareth Gates and Leon Jackson would be up for paying you to appear at your nuptials celebration, what do you think? Why no Billy Idol? He could make some money by turning up at half a dozen weddings each weekend just to sing “White Wedding” at each one. Incidentally I found a wedding songs site, click here to check it out. Interestingly enough none of the above top 12 seem to feature much on any of the song lists, maybe that’s why they have stooped to playing weddings themselves methinks!
Many of you will have seen the many different subtitled versions of the clip taken from a film about Hitlers last days in his bunker in Berlin. The first one I saw was Adolf talking about the Chelsea versus Manchester United Champions League Final in 2008. Now that was very good, but one which I think is even better is as usual the same clip of film, but this time Hitler learns that Michael Jackson has died and will be unable to perform at the Fuhrer’s birthday celebrations. Click here to see it and let me know what you think of it as well.
If you have read any of my posts from the Reading Festival will know from the anguished comments added by my good friend Nick H that we managed to miss the appearance of Them Crooked Vultures a band (although back in the day the moniker would have been supergroup) that has John Paul Jones off of Led Zeppelin, Dave Grohl off of the Foo Fighters and Josh Homme off of Queens Of The Stone Age amongst it’s membership! So for all the rest of you that may also have missed them here is a video from their appearance at the Brixton Academy just before the Reading and Leeds festivals. Click here to see it and take comfort in the knowledge that they will be touring in the UK later this year.
And finally for today let’s end with some sad news, it has been reported today that Charlie Watts has left the Rolling Stones, just three years before their 50th Anniversary. 68 year old Charlie took a massive amount of persuading largely from KeithRichards to take part in the last Stones Tour and it seems that with the possibility mooted by Mick Jagger of more Stones activity next year the oldest member of the band has decided to quit. Now that is BIG news, let’s face it though Noel leaving Oasis doesn’t even begin to compare does it?
So until the next time dear readers, ain’t it a shame that Charlie Watts won’t be appearing at a wedding near you soon! 😉
Hello again good people and also to anyone not in that category! I’ll kick off with some news. Yesterday on BBC Radio 2 Rob Dryden hosted a countdown of the Top 75 songs that have been heard in public places in the UK. So that would include cafes’ restaurants, pubs and the like. The chart was compiled by PPL a music licensing company. The top 10 was as follows;
1. Procol Harum – A Whiter Shade Of Pale
2. Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
And now a proper and finally have you seen the new T-Mobile advert where the babies and toddlers are dancing to “Blame It On The Boogie”? It’s a real fun advert, click here to check it out! Check out the original Dancing Baby by clicking here, this is like the one that used to appear on Ally McBeal.
Is it that time again already? Wow here we are on 12th March just a few days away from those nasty old Ides Of March. More of the Ides in a later post….. if I can be bothered, but either way just beware of them ok? Before we get down to business the regular readers among you may recall that the last time this blog included a fart clip the viewing figures went sky high, so here’s another one! This is a fart that disrupts a Council Meeting in the US. Click here to see it and I dare you, no I double dare you not to laugh!
So onto todays delights of which there are six; three birthdays and three ‘onthisdays’
Today would have been the 92nd birthday of Leonard Chess the founder of Chess Records. The label was home to some fantastic artists including John Lee Hooker, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Jimmy Reed. Mr Chess checked out of this mortal coil of a heart attack aged just 52 in 1969. Strangely enough I won a set of eight Chess compilation albums (these were those big 12 inch plastic things we called LPs back in the day) in around 1975. I think the series was called ‘Chess Golden Decades’ or something like that. It was from a competition in the late great (hey the l’s & g’s get an outing for a publication and not a person!) Record Mirror. The winner was the person who came up with the longest list of song titles that featured colours (“Little Red Rooster”, “Tie A Yellow Ribbon” you get the idea. Remember this was way before the internet was even a twinkle in a geeks eye. My winning list comprised of more than 400 titles which was more than double the person in second place. Now that just goes to prove that I have always been a sad anorak doesn’t it? OK not exactly a Chess classic but I couldn’t resist including Chuck Berry’s only UK number one, from 1972 it’s “My Ding A Ling”
Anyway back to Mr Chess, he was born in a part of Poland that is now in fact in Belarus. He was originally called Lejzor Czyz and his family changed his name when they arrived in the US in 1928. I guess that’s a good thing really, I mean do you really think Czyz Records would have had the same impact? The label was based in Chicago and many non Chess acts also recorded at their studios, including the Rolling Stones. The Stones immortalised the Chess address with an instrumental track called “2120 South Michigan” in the mid 60’s. Maurice White who was once a session drummer at Chess Studios eventually went on to form the magnificent Earth Wind And Fire. A band I saw live at Wembley in 1979 😉 So to make up for the earlier inclusion of “My Ding A Ling” here is John Lee Hooker with “Boom Boom”
Today is also the 40th birthday of one of my all time favourite guitarists, Mr Graham Coxon who will be treading the boards as part of a reformed Blur this year. Coxon played on all of Blur’s albums up to and including 1999’s ’13’. He also designed the cover for ’13’. He only featured on one track for the following album ‘Think Tank’ after a big fall out with the rest of the band, although clearly they seem pretty much reconciled now after he appeared at this years Brits to sing a version of “This Is A Low” with Damon Albarn. Graham has also been quite a prolific solo artist having released 6 albums under his own name, three of those while still with Blur. I have seen Blur twice once with Coxon and once without I definitely think they are much better with Graham in the fold. Here is Mr Coxon with the excellent “Freakin’ Out”
Finally on the birthdays front today is the 30th birthday of someone once famously described as a ‘rock n roll fuckwit’ by Pete Townshend. Who? Why it’s Mr Pete Doherty of course. He of Libertines, Babyshambles and now solo musical fame and a fair amount of infamy too. As in ‘infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it infamy’ So many tabloid inches have been covered with celebrity prattle about Pete so I won’t dwell on that. But in my opinion he is a great songwriter, I loved the Libertines and also Babyshambles too. I am definitely looking forward to his solo album. To return to something that was covered in a previous post, that something being Janie Jones. Pete featured on a charity cover of the Clash song “Janie Jones” in 2006. Other contributors were Dirty Pretty Things, We Are Scientists, Kooks and the Holloways. The song was recorded to raised funds for ‘Strummerville’ which is a foundation for new music set up shortly after Joe Strummer’s untimely death. here is Pete with Babyshambles doing the excellent “Albion” on the BBCs ‘Later With Jools Holland’
On this day in 1981 in another monumental piece of hype from Talcy Malcy himself (that’ll be Malcolm McLaren then) Bow Wow Wow were forced to cancel the first dates of a UK tour. The reason for the cancellation was that singer Annabella Lwin aged just 15 would have been guilty of truancy according to the Greater London Council. Incidentally McLaren was the bands manager. Bow Wow Wow were formed after Malcolm began to manage the original Adam And The Ants. He sacked Mr Ant and then brought in Annabella Lwin as the singer. Adam was quite adamant (and Adam Ant) that it did him no harm in the long run though. Lwin’s birth name was Myint Myint Aye, which apparently means High High Cool in Burmese, personally I would have used that as my stage name! here they are with a live rendition of “C30, C60, C90, Go“. Note the Adams & the Ants style Burundi drum beat.
On this day in 1988 the phenomenally talented (according to some, but not me) Rick Astley was number one in the US singles chart with “Never Gonna Give You Up” . The song was also a UK number one. Following something of an internet phenomenon last year with what became known as ‘RickRolling’ he found himself voted the ‘Best Act Ever’ at the MTV Europe Music Awards. Well I suppose even that is better than a win for Robbie W (give me a break I haven’t had a dig at for ages have I?) Anyway ‘Rickrolling’ was a means of sending someone the link to a Rick video by stealth. This led to around 30 million views of Rick videos and presumably 30 million people needing therapy have been a victim of ‘Rickrolling’ The song also gave writers and producers Stock, Aitken and Waterman their fourth UK number one when it topped the UK charts in 1987. They had previously hit the top slot with Dead Or Alive, Mel & Kim and Ferry Aid. OK prepare to be Rickrolled and I promise I’ll be gentle, here is Rick with “Never Gonna Give You Up”
And finally on this day in 2001 Judy Garland’s “Over The Rainbow” was voted the ‘Song Of The Century’ in a poll published in the US. The poll was produced by the R.I.A.A and was compiled from input by musicians, critics and fans. The highest placed UK act was the Rolling Stones with “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”. The Beatles reached number 28 with “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. The top ten was;
1. “Over the Rainbow,” Judy Garland
2. “White Christmas,” Bing Crosby
3. “This Land Is Your Land,” Woody Guthrie
4. “Respect,” Aretha Franklin
5. “American Pie,” Don McLean
6. “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” Andrews Sisters
7. “West Side Story” (album), original Broadway cast
8. “Take Me out to the Ball Game,” Billy Murray
9. “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” Righteous Brothers
10. “The Entertainer,” Scott Joplin
I must say I’m somewhat surprised that the West Side Story soundtrack album made it into the top ten songs of the century, I mean it’s a whole bloody album! If you want to see the whole list just click here.