If you have read the posts for the first three days you will know that this years 12 Days of Christmas showcases a collection of songs that communicate hope. This kicked off with the Bill Withers classic, “Lean On Me”, followed with “Here Comes The Sun” by the Beatles and yesterday Johnny Nash with “I Can See Clearly Now”. At the end of the twelve days I will compile all the songs into a playlist and might even add some of your choices that didn’t make it to my list. We have all been through some very dark times in the past couple of years, some far more than others. I hope todays song helps bring a little light to your darkness, it is Bob Marley with “Three Little Birds” Once again let me say, stay strong people and if you are feeling particularly low talk to someone. I am happy to be here for you if you need me!
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I am proud to say that the With Just A Hint Of mayhem blog has now been around for twelve years, yes on February 9th back in 2009 is where it all started. In that time there have been more than 1,500 posts, nearly 1.7 million views and we now have over 2,500 followers. I can’t let this post go without a very special thank you to my great friend and wonderful human being Nick Horslen who suggested that I should start blogging all those years ago! After a very brief introductory post the first proper post was one about Bob Marley, click here to read that. I just read it again and despite expecting it to be a bit crap, I think I am quite proud of it. You have to start somewhere, right? The mention and the link to MySpace certainly dates it though. Given these awful times we are living in rather than suggest huge celebratory party songs in honour of WJAHOM’s 12th birthday I have chosen a couple of songs that always make me feel good which I hope will help you through these dark days. One of them is, in my opinion, the finest Bob Marley recording ever and the other is by my favourite vocalist of all time, Johnny Nash who we sadly lost this year! On top of that I have added a Bowie classic, well you knew I’d do that didn’t you. Stay safe people and thank you to everyone of you who has read, followed, commented, liked or dissed WJAHOM over the years. A huge thank you to all the bands and artists that have been a part of this journey. Here’s to the next 12 years, by which time I’ll be 74, so things might slow down by then, but who knows?
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This is the second in what I hope will develop into a long running series of establishments that make tasteful and excellent use of songs, lyrics and references in their shop, café or whatever. I kicked off with the Inkwell in Gillygate, York. Now I would like to say a big hello to Circles Cafe on Lendal Bridge in York.
The café has a brilliant mural in the snug area of some lyrics taken from Bob Marley‘s marvellously upbeat “Three Little Birds“. You can see this in the lead photograph in this post.
Circles is a cosy little place that serves excellent cakes and sandwiches and especially good coffee. Other beverages are also available. When the weather is good you can even sit outside. If you’re coming to York by train this is a wonderful place to stop off on your walk into the city or on your walk back to the station. Or maybe you could even stop in both directions!
If you would like to recommend any other places that make good use of song titles or lyrics, they do not have to be cafe’s, then please let me know.
Now the North Korean authorities have decreed that everyone must get a hair cut exactly like their supreme leader Kim Jong-Un, (Actually just male undergradutes to begin with). Really? I know it might sound a little rich coming from a bald bloke like me, but Mr Jong-Un has a shit haircut doesn’t he? Will North Korean women also have to have the same haircut too?
Imagine if every country had that rule I would have worn a wig for years, including a Thatcher syrup (that’s cockney rhyming slang for the benefit of my overseas readers). Nowadays I’d have to seek out a nondescript Cameron cut.
Anyway let’s celebrate this ridiculous news with a haircut themed post. While you are listening click here to read the story on the BBC site.
As a child I really enjoyed the Narnia stories and although they have lost a bit of sparkle for me as I got older they are still great stories. I think the way that C.S. Lewis‘ Christian beliefs crept into the stories in a metaphorical kind of way soured them a little. Anyway to celebrate the news that a C.S. Lewis memorial stone will be placed in Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey next year I thought I’d pick a Lion, Witch and Wardrobe song selection for you. Click here to read the full report on the BBC website. In a strange coincidence Clive Staples Lewis died 49 years ago today, 22nd November 1963, the same day that President Kennedy was assassinated.
Many of you will already know that the NME celebrates its 60th birthday this year. It was first published in March of 1952, it was later that year that it also published the first ever UK singles chart based on sales. That was in November 1952 and featured Al Martino‘s “Here In My Heart” at number one.
As part of their birthday celebrations the NME has published a list of the top 100 songs since the paper has been around. I’m sure that there will be plenty of debate about what is in and what isn’t in the list. I was particularly surprised that there are no songs from the 50’s included. How about Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel” that was pretty damned ground breaking. Incidentally the spread of songs from the other periods are;
60s = 22
70s = 16
80s = 19
90s = 19
00s/ 10s = 24
Why not cast your vote in my favourite decade poll below 🙂
My favourite song of all time; Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry” reaches number 86 and Mr Bowie has “Space Oddity” at number 39 and another song in the top 5 (more of that one later). The Beatles have three entries in the top 100. Thankfully Westlife, Cheryl Cole and their ilk are nowhere to be seen in this list.
So without further ado and in traditional reverse order here is the top 5;
According to the UK tabloid the Sun Prince Harry has aspirations to become a reggae DJ. This apparently all stemmed from what has been described as an inspirational meeting with Bob Marley’s widow Rita on his recent visit to Jamaica. He has supplemented his House music vinyl collection with some heavy reggae on vinyl and has taken mixing lessons.
Someone needs to sign him up for a club gig, for a Royal he seems to have a good attitude. Coming from me that is high praise indeed. I wished that I hadn’t retired as a mobile DJ, otherwise I’d have offered my help. In fact maybe my life long buddy Glen and I (formerly Bill & Glen the Disco Men) should reform and let Harry join the team. How does Harry, Bill & Glen the Royal Disco Men sound?
Do you receive a regular selection of random e mails from various groups that you have subscribed to over the years? I get loads and often I can’t be bothered to look at them. But for some reason I took a chance and opened one at random. It contained stacks of old pictures. Mostly of different stars together and not necessarily those that had worked together. Here are a few that I really liked and had never seen before. let me know what you think of them.
Bob Marley & the Wailers and the Jackson 5
George Harrison & Bob Marley
Mick Jagger & Jimi Hendrix
Mick Jagger & James Brown
No more words required just listen to some great music by some of those artists while you enjoy the pictures.
OK folks I am proud to announce (cue fanfare) that this blog has now received its one millionth hit! It’s taken just under three years and frankly I am completely blown away. My expectations when I started it back in February 2009 were that it would be superb to achieve maybe 50 or 60 visits a week. However it wouldn’t have happened without all the regular commentators, subscribers, followers and those of you that chanced upon it through some random search. Let me tell you some of those were very random indeed!
Some of you I already knew before the blog began and some of you I have met (albeit in the blogosphere) along the way. If you like my blog you really should check out the links on my blog roll. There is some great stuff out there and I am honoured to be linked with some of it. I recently sent an e-mail to my regular contributors and subscribers to ask for their one favourite song for inclusion in this millionth hit celebration. So here they are, in the order I received them, with some reasons why they are favourites. Thank you and enjoy!
Jane from Berkshire is a subscriber and strangely she also went to the same school as me in Hillingdon; Bishopshalt! She says “Corny but mine is George Benson ‘Never Give Up On A Good Thing’. A couple of times over my 24 year marriage when things have been a bit tough this song has been played and the lyrics have hit home. I have LOADS of favourite songs – but this probably just tips it”
It may be corny but I like it too, my favourite track from Mr Benson is ‘Breezin’
Next up it’s Mandy from Leeds who I worked with at GNER a few years ago. I discovered that like me she is also a fan of the great Johnny Nash, but he doesn’t feature in this post. Mandy says “Great idea! I must have 100s of favourites so really difficult. There is one very special song that for me is timeless and I always feel amazing after listening to it, no matter where I am or what I’m feeling. I first heard it when I was very young as my mum had the album (she liked the picture on the front cover!). I played that album to death and was mortified when it was lost in a house move just a couple of years ago after holding onto it for over 30 years – it was like losing my photo album, heart wrenching. I have the CD and digital versions and they don’t have the same scratches or jump at the same time as the original – so there are a few words I didn’t know existed until a few years ago! From the album ‘Let’s Get It On’, my all time favourite song is ‘Come Get To This’ by Marvin Gaye”
I think that Marvin was a genius; I would never be without a copy of the wonderful ‘What’s Going On’ album.
Simon from Bramham is next (is this beginning to sound like a local radio request show or what?) He lives almost on top of the site of the Leeds Festival and here is what he says about his choice. “My favourite song ever is ‘In Between Days’ by The Cure. A great twanging guitar and bass line with crashing drums make it the ultimate Indie foot-tapper. Always makes me smile when I hear it even though the lyrics are rather disturbing by themselves! It has a great video too especially with the ‘Frightmare’ make-up. It reminds me of being a teenager”.
I am not a big fan of the Cure but I do love the more poppy stuff like ‘Love Cats’ and ‘Friday I’m In Love’
Now it’s time for someone from my town, York. It’s Tom who I met when I did some volunteer work at York Hospital Radio. I was lucky enough to sit in on a few of Tom’s excellent Wednesday night shows. Tom was also the brains behind this blog’s Lily Allen naked experiment, so I’d like to thank him once more for that. If you’d like to know more about the experiment just let me know. Anyway here is what Tom has to say about his choice of favourite song of all time. “Congratulations on reaching this milestone, I read all the blogs and enjoy them all. I also learn an awful lot and find myself waiting for the next one to come through!! As far as my favourite song goes, it is such a hard question to answer, but it has to come from one band really; the Beatles, but this doesn’t make it any easier. If I had to say one that stands out from the rest it would have to be ‘All You Need is Love”, the title alone says so much. I think the lyrics are simple but powerful, it’s easy for everyone to enjoy and relate to. The message that it encapsulates defines the Beatles themselves and for that reason it is my favourite Beatles song. I would like to add that my brother had it as his first dance song at his wedding, the little git! He has totally nicked my idea. But at the wedding, seeing everyone enjoying the song and joining in, it reaffirmed the power of the song. People of all ages, backgrounds and musical tastes were singing along and enjoying it. I also now have new memories of this song as my little brothers first dance as a married man and it adds another level of enjoyment to it. To summarise, I can put this song on, at anytime in any mood and I always end up getting lost in it and feeling totally at ease with everything after the 3:48 piece of genius. What more could I ask for from a song? I hope that this is useful Bill and don’t forget: All You Need is Love!”
I totally agree that this song is absolutely superb. If it wasn’t for the fact that the brass refrain at the start was effectively the French National anthem it would have been a contender for my first wedding dance at my recent marriage to the beautiful Catwoman a.k.a. Catherine. Incidentally my favourite Beatles song is ‘Don’t Let Me Down’.
Next in line is Ben who has a band called Reason Breeds Monsters. We used to work together in a garden as Flowerpot Men with Little Weed, actually I just made that up as I am Bill and he is Ben. Although I’m sure I may have been in a garden with a little weed sometime. Anyway enough crap from me, here is what Ben has to say about his choice. “Hi Bill! Congratulations on your million! Thanks for the invite to comment. My answer, based on which song I have listened to most times in my life, is Bert Jansch‘s ‘Blackwaterside’ which was also covered by Led Zeppelin as ‘Blackmountain Side’. On the tree of folk music, it’s a flower on the highest branch. No one’s played guitar with such soul and inventiveness since, and every acoustic guitar player has been at a loss as to what to do. That’s why I’ve listened to it so many times – trying to work it out.
I like the Led Zep version but now Ben’s delightful prose has also turned me on to the Bert Jansch version too.
Andy from Leeds has this to say about his favourite song; “Favourite song: Ahead by a Century by The Tragically Hip. Why? Not sure really – it just ‘hits the spot’ every time I hear it and has reduced me to tears a couple of times watching them live and singing it out very loudly, surrounded in the main by a large group of Canadians. Great band – Canada’s most beloved – and still going strong
after 20 years plus together. ABAC is a beautifully simple song (like all the best ones are) with a typically vague Gord Downie lyric which could be interpreted in almost any way you deem applicable. ‘And that’s when a hornet stung me and I had a feverish dream – with revenge and doubt. Tonight we smoke them out. You are Ahead by a Century – and disappointing you’s getting me down’
Great video too!”
It’s not a song I am familiar with, but I have heard some stuff from the ‘Hip. I do like it though, it may well make an appearance on my iPod very soon.
One of the regular readers is Nicole from Australia who is currently based in Pakistan. She really struggled to select her favourite song of all time, but she got there in the end. Here is what she had to say about it “Hope I am not too late?
The reason why is that I couldn’t decide. I was thinking about London Still by the Waifs (Aussie band singing about being an expat in London – enough said). Then I was thinking about Everybody got their something by Nikka Costa (upbeat motivating song). Then I was thinking 21 things I want in a lover by Alanis Morissette (it has a permanent position at the start of my running mix). Then I was thinking Lighthouseman by the Waifs (Because it gets me through tough times). Then I was thinking Going Somewhere by Colin Hay (because it’s just a great song). Then I was thinking Celestine by Kirsty MacColl (A song that most women should be able to relate too……… well I certainly do :-))
But then I thought – my favourite song is actually Cowboy Take me Away by the Dixie Chicks and I don’t even know why. I just like the sentiment of a simple life I think? Closely followed by Steve McQueen by Sheryl Crow just because it’s fun!”
I like some Dixie Chicks stuff and frankly anyone who can piss off George W Bush in the way those girls did is brilliant in my book.
Catwoman took advantage of the fact that we are married and live together, obviously, and dictated this while I typed! Here is what she has to say. “My song has a bit of a holiday vibe that would go well with cocktails and dancing. I am also a girl who loves her shoes and I have massive amounts of empathy for the character in the song – after all shoes are a girls best friend and they are mostly cheaper than diamonds. My favourite song in case you haven’t guessed is “In These Shoes” by Kirsty MacColl. Coming a close second is “Into My Arms” by Nick Cave which was our first dance at our wedding in September”
Obviously I reckon this is a good choice and a shoe related song from my beautiful wife is highly appropriate.
Now we hear from my good friend Nick from Marlow, who is also my Reading Festival buddy. Here is what he has to say about his choice “I’ve been racking my brains for the best, hadn’t forgotten. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfR_HWMzgyc this is the best online version of my choice! The song that lingers the longest is Kashmir Led Zep, I remember it so clearly the day i bought physical graffiti just as it came out, i also remember it as awesome from Knebworth 1979. For me it just is Jimmy Page and Robert plant at the top of the game. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhrghRDkRTc. The song has great rhythm, menacing almost, great vocals, great pace slow and fast, its simple but it deep, orchestral but also there for a rap . The drumming, the screeching, theirs almost a brass feel to it at points, then the mystic east, what can i say, the presence you get when you really listen to it is amazing, can’t think of another song that really draws me in so much. Probably sticks with me coz Knebworth made such an impression on me as a young student http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KV7i7eaQtmU.
Without it being a song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6oykAkUwCo this at 3 minutes in was just awesome. Self indulgent by todays standards but then we didn’t have them in those days. Id also say it’s probably Kashmir because Physical Graffiti is so awesome, not just as an album but as a double album and I’m never disappointed when i return to it. I LOVE THE COVER, THE FOLD OUT ENVELOPE, EVEN THE LABEL ON THE VINYL, STANDARD LED ZEP. I’m sure there are other songs that I hear on the radio from rock stars and pop stars that I think wow that’s great, I just can’t pick one, not Dylan, Not Bowie, Not Young, Not Radiohead (although Creep will always be up there), not even the likes of Queen or AC-DC or Blink or Foo’s Not Hendrix (oh boy how can i say that with “voodoo chile”) not Lennon, not beatles, not Jackson, not the clash or Johnny Cash, im just having to say all this to convince myself…….. not UB40, not the Kinks, not the Smiths, not Doctor Feelgood……
Bill your question is almost like torture, its been too difficult! If it wasnt Kashmir it would probably be “Immigrant song” or “dazed and confused” thinking about it. Kashmir is all about Page with a big dose of Plant and its never been the lyrics, I thought, but then an opening line of: “ Oh let the sun beat down upon my face, stars to fill my dream” Followed by: “I am a traveler of both time and space, to be where I have been To sit with elders of the gentle race, this world has seldom seen They talk of days for which they sit and wait and all will be revealed” And finishes: “Let me take you there. Let me take you there”
Next up it’s Mr Barton…. Simon to his friends. Here’s what he had to say. “Favourite song? Veeeeeeeery difficult to choose from almost a lifetime of listening to music. When I was a kid my fave was always Bohemian Rhapsody… until I discovered Punk and it became Anarchy In The UK. ( Slight contrast, I know. ) I’ve had many and varied “favourite songs” ever since, from The Band to The Jesus & Mary Chain, from Smokey Robinson to Metallica etc. etc. Although ( at this moment in time ) I’ll probably have to go with Springsteen’s Thunder Road, the ultimate evocation of his nostalgic, cars ‘n’ girls ethos: “It’s a town full of losers / I’m pulling out of here to win…” Still sends shivers down the spine. And then there’s Clarence’s sax solo… Perfection!
( Then again, I could choose Jungleland… or Born To Run… or… )
Anyway, if you’re interested I blog under the name of cerebus660 @http://glasswalking-stick.blogspot.com/ where you’ll find lots of random nonsense about music, films, comics, cats… you know, all the important things in life 😉
I’d be happy if you dropped by some time…” Simon I certainly will 🙂 I also love Thunder Road too
Tom said “Congrats on the impending milestone. I shall be joining you – if my calculations are correct – sometime in April 2026.
Choosing one favorite song is quite a task. However, this morning, Peter Gabriel’s Solsbury Hill popped up and I realized that I could never completely commit to one song has the be-all end-all for me, there is something about Solsbury Hill that gooses my spirit no matter how many times I hear it.
I know some of the song’s lore and the context in which it was released, but none of that intrudes upon on it for me. It’s always a singular listening experience that adapts to what I need at the moment, though the song always returns me to a place of calm and gratitude while offering hope through its resolute tone.
Congrats again. Look forward to reading your stuff for through the next million hits”
This is one of my own favourite songs of all time
Incidentally I once posted about my top 100 favourite songs for my 100th post. If I were to ignore Bowie my top song from that post remains my all time number one. It’s “No Woman No Cry” by the wonderfully talented Bob Marley.
Almost finally here is a list of all those wonderful songs. Once again a big thank you to all of you who contributed and all of you whoe read my blog. I would never have got this far without you all!
Never Give Up On A Good Thing – George Benson
Come Get To This – Marvin Gaye
In Between Days – The Cure
All You Need Is Love – Beatles
Blackwaterside – Bert Jansch
Ahead By A Century – The Tragically Hip
Cowboy Take Me Away – Dixie Chicks
In These Shoes – Kirsty MacColl
Kashmir – Led Zeppelin
Thunder Road – Bruce Springsteen
Solsbury Hill – Peter Gabriel
No Woman No Cry – Bob Marley & the Wailers
I couldn’t think of which song to use as the theme for this post, so I settled on the Barenaked Ladies and a clip from someone who shares the same hairstyle as me; Dr Evil. Enjoy! (Well at least they both mention one million!)
I think I have come close to experiencing regret on two occasions and that is with the benefit of hindsight. Those two occasions occurred in the late 70s and both involved me turning down what would have been significant opportunities.
Firstly I was sitting in my local pub one evening in December 1976 (it was the now sadly departed Oak Tree in Hillingdon) when someone came in and offered tickets to see a band at Brunel University. It was a band that was causing quite a stir and I could have made it quite easily. But I decided that the pub would win that night. The band was the Sex Pistols!
Possibly the very ticket that I turned down!
Secondly I was on a lad’s holiday in Spain in 1977 (or it might have been 1978). We were staying maybe less than an hour’s drive from Barcelona. While we were there a now sadly late, great performer was playing a gig in the city. We asked our travel representative about getting tickets. He
said getting them was easy but that for a bunch of English blokes to turn up at a gig in Spain would incite the Spanish youth to violence. I now realise that this was probably complete bollocks and we should have gone to the show. That legendary, late, great performer was none other than Bob Marley.
So I have always felt that I have never regretted anything I have done in my life so far. I still believe that and I also feel that this is a good philosophy, however that doesn’t mean that you can’t be sorry about some things you have done, does it?
There were a couple of people at school that to be perfectly honest I treated in quite a mean and disrespectful way. With one of those people I simply followed the herd and behaved just like most other people in my school peer group. With the other person I made them look like a liar in order to save some teenage face. So there you have it, my teenage confessions of sorts. I would like to apologise to both of these people albeit so many years later, but I guess I am just salving my conscience. I thought long and hard about whether I should mention them by name and I personally feel that I should, I’m sure that the chances of them reading this is pretty remote anyway.
So at the risk of steering into Simon Mayo confession territory I would like to apologise unreservedly for my behaviour towards two people between 1972 and 1977 or thereabouts. Geoffrey Guile and Susan Batty this one’s for you! If I knew then what I know now then I would have behaved very differently.