With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ January 21, 2019


have never been a fan of biographical faction style films of musicians and bands, some have had their good points, while many have been dire in my opinion. So I really wasn’t keen to see the Queen/ Freddie Mercury biopic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, but I was torn as everyone I knew that has seen it said it was stunning. They all told me I might need tissues to dry my eyes at times too, more of that later, but I thought they were bluffing. Anyway these last ten days or so I have been on an extended business trip to the USA. On Sunday I found myself downtown when it started to rain, so I thought why not pop into the conveniently close cinema. As luck would have it the next film on was ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ so I thought what the hell, I’ll give it a go!

The film certainly feels like it captures what life was like for Queen in the early days and how their life changed as they became successful. The story is told largely as Farouk Bulsara a.k.a. Freddie Mercury’s life but the interaction with all the other main players; Brian May, John Deacon, Roger Taylor, John Reid, Mary Austin, Paul Prenter and Jim Beach to name just a few is well portrayed and is full of pathos, humour and love. There are far too many highlights to mention all of them, you should see the film yourself if you haven’t already. But for me the gestation and recording of “Bohemian Rhapsody” is thrillingly done. The ongoing joke about Roger Taylor’s “I’m In Love With My Car” is hilarious. The Live Aid element, not just the concert but the lead up to it is heartwarming and highly interesting to us music anoraks. Finally the way Freddie tells his band mates that he has AIDS is so emotionally moving that yes I did need the tissues.

I never spotted it at first but EMI Executive Ray Foster was played by Mile Myers and perhaps more amusingly for Queen historians the guy in the truck stop scene who seems to be giving Freddie the come on is none other than Adam Lambert! The script, the acting, the production, the casting and the soundtrack are all brilliant. However the best thing about it for me is Rami Malek who so many times during the film made me believe I was watching a documentary. He had the emotional highs and lows spot on, especially in the highs and lows of his relationship with his family and his band family. Also the confusion of his long time relationship with Mary Austin. I am so very glad that I got to see this film and just sorry that it took me so long.

 

“To avoid complications she never kept the same address” January 19, 2019

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As far as iconic band names go Queen must be right up near the top right? Well I think so, however they did consider other names, Brian May was apparently particularly keen on Grand Dance while Roger Taylor submitted Rich Kids. I wonder if Glen Matlock, Midge Ure and their gang knew about Taylor’s choice? Maybe the Rich Kids 1978 hit was all about Roger Taylor’s idea for a name. Who knows?

 

“When you turn pro you know she’ll let you know” April 1, 2014

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queenImagine how different music history might have been if Brian May had left Queen in 1974 just a short while before things really began to take off for them. It might have happened, during 1974 Queen were supporting Sparks in London and Ron Mael took the opportunity to ask Brian to become guitarist for Sparks. I wonder what direction each band would have taken had Mr May said yes? What do you think?

 

sparks

 

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“The best years of my life are like a supernova” March 17, 2014


Freddie-Mercury-of-Queen-011Before they chose the name Queen (which incidentally was chosen by Freddie Mercury) Messrs May, Mercury, Deacon and Taylor were at one point considering a very different name. They might well have been called Build Your Own Boat! Does that work for you? It doesn’t work for me. Would they have been as big with a name like that? Who knows?

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“Fairy tales of yesterday, will grow but never die, I can fly, my friends” July 31, 2013


unreleased-mj-and-freddie-mercury-songs-coming-out__oPt

That well-known badger supporter Brian May has unearthed some recordings made by Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson at Jacko’s home in 1983. He has worked on them with fellow Queen member Roger Taylor and William Orbit. I guess the issue will be whether or not the three songs will live up to the expectations. was it quality control that kept them from release until now? Another big name duet for Jacko was Mick Jagger who joined the Jacksons on the single “State Of Shock” from the brothers ‘Victory’ album in 1984. Personally I was and still remain underwhelmed by that song. Other elements of posthumous twiddling may have fared well but for me the quality was lacking with the Beatles “Free As A Bird” which was based around a very basic John Lennon demo recording.But let’s keep fingers crossed that this stuff is actually good.

Michael+Jackson++Freddie+Mercury+FreddieMichael

Paul Gambaccini has suggested that the songs were dubbed the Llama recordings given that Jacko allegedly brought his Llama into the studio when Freddie was there. A cautionary note was sounded by the Guardian’s Laura Barton who said “It feels like we’re sucking the artists’ bones dry… sometimes it would be nice to leave them with a little bit of dignity.” I think I can agree with her sentiments there. But I obviously won’t pass judgement until I have heard the songs. The release seems likely to be later this year. So while you wait take a listen to some classic Jacko and classic Queen and a couple of Jacko versus Queen mash-ups!

Michael+Jackson++Freddie+Mercury+jackson+mercury

 

London 2012 – The Olympics Closing Ceremony August 13, 2012


So the London 2012 Olympics is over, at least until the Paralympics anyway. I truly believe that this has been an amazing Olympics and for me usurps England winning the 1966 football world cup as our greatest sporting achievement. What do you think? OK I know the Scots won’t agree with that in the first place, but I would still like to hear your thoughts.

I realise that this post comes some 24 hours after the closing ceremony, but given the musical nature of that ceremony I felt I had to post something. The Olympic stadium was once again amazing; decked out to show a London skyline that included the London Eye, Big Ben and the Gherkin to name but a few. It all kicked off with the delicious voice of Emilie Sande accompanied only by a pianist, who was playing a piano covered in newspaper. After that the tempo really took off with forty members of the cast of Stomp dancing, drumming and percussing (is that a word?) on the recreated mini London Eye in the stadium. On top of all this there was a choir singing Beatles songs.

Next up was cellist and Churchill appearing out of the top of Big Ben and reciting words from Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ which was a great link back to the superb Opening ceremony. Obviously it wasn’t really Churchill, it was Timothy Spall. This was followed by newspaper clad crowds depicting the hubbub of London. The whole thing then slowed a little for the arrival of the VIPs; Jacques Rogge (President of the IOC) who seems to make even the dullest accountant I have ever met seem exciting and prince Harry representing the Royal family. Clearly he was never going to match his grandmother’s arrival at the opening ceremony! Obviously this was followed by our rather uninspiring, in my opinion, national anthem.

The whole show was a celebration of Britain and the next vignette was real class. It was the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 countdown by Michael Caine from the ‘Italian Job’ and then the iconic three-wheeled van of Trotter’s Independent Trading blew apart and out jumped, yes you guessed it, Del Boy and Rodney in their Batman and Robin costumes. A sublime moment and a nod to one of Britain’s greatest ever comedy shows; Only Fools And Horses.

The mood then turned very much to party as madness were driven around the arena playing “Our House” from the back of a truck. This tempo was kept up by the Massed Guards Bands with a wonderful rendition of Blur’s “Parklife”. Just when you thought it couldn’t get better the stadium was filled with cyclists wearing the most amazing geometric and fluorescent hats. Two of them on tricycles which had Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe as passengers. So we were treated to a fabulous version of “West Ends Girls” on bicycles and tricycles. Could this happen anywhere but the UK? I doubt it!

One Direction were next, like Madness they were on the back of a truck, which sadly wasn’t headed to the tip. OK I have to begrudgingly admit they were at least in tune, but I still don’t like them. Interestingly they were one of just a few acts whose name was flashed onto the screen when they appeared. After that it was back to another great number from the cast of Stomp. That percussion sounded like “Spice Up Your Life” to me. was that deliberate? Who knows? An incredibly talented dance troupe who I think were called Spelbound were next to take the stage. They performed a great routine to the Beatles Sergeant Pepper classic “A Day In The Life”

To keep up the 60s vibe Kinksmeister Ray Davies came on to sing his timeless and classic love song to London; “Waterloo Sunset”. eliciting some great ‘sha la la-ing’ from the audience in the process. Emilie Sande made a return next, minus the newspaper piano and sang over a film montage of some of London 2012’s most tearful moments. The three hundred or so flag bearers entered the arena after that, including super sailor Ben Ainslie fo Britain. Elbow soundtracked this whole piece with a great little set that included the beautiful “Open Arms”.  The athletes followed the arrival of the flag bearers and they were corralled into the sections of the union jack which formed the floor of the stadium. Apparently this version of the flag was designed by Damien Hirst. Indian drummers then accompanied the construction of a large structure made up of more than three hundred white boxes. One to represent each Olympic event. The backing track to this was Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill”. I had momentary butterflies while wishing and hoping that Kate might actually appear herself. But alas she didn’t.

Apparently one of the traditions of the closing ceremony is that it contains the last medal presentation. It is for the Mens Marathon which took place earlier in the day and was won by Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda.  This was followed by a thank you and recognition for all the volunteers, or Games makers as they were known from all the athletes. This was followed by a spectacular light show to the unmistakable sound of Queen’s mighty “Bohemian Rhapsody” followed by a children’s signing choir singing John Lennon’s “Imagine”. This segued into a film clip of Lennon singing the song himself. Apparently Yoko Ono commissioned a special remaster of the song for the ceremony. At the same time a 3D image of John Lennon’s face was built on stage. This was a prelude to the main musical events.

George Michael took to the stage for his first live performance since his life threatening illness he sang “Freedom 90”  his new single “White Light” which is in fact all about his brush with death. He seemed fit and well and on really good form. I’m not sure I like the new facial hair style though, perhaps it will grow on me! Ricky off of the Kaiser Chiefs was driven to the stage as a scooter pillion passenger singing “Pinball Wizard”. I have gone off the Kaisers of late, by I must admit they did a storming version of the Who’s classic. The next part had me positively tingling with anticipation; A series of short film and audio clips of David Bowie. Would he actually appear? Surely not? And surely he didn’t. But his 1980 hit “Fashion” was used as a backdrop to a showcase of British fashion which included a weird march around the stadium from a series of models including Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss.

George couldn’t master Mo Farah’s Mobot so he invented the Georgebot

A huge skeleton of what might have been a viking boat was pulled on stage and the hidden figurehead was none other than Annie Lennox. She performed “Little Bird” which was used on the soundtrack of Coppola’s film version of Bram Stoker’s classic story Dracula. The much rumoured Pink Floyd appearance turned out to be nothing more than Ed Sheerhan, Nick Mason and Mike Rutherford doing the Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” accompanied by a tightrope walker who recreated the Floyd album cover with the flaming man.

Russell Brand arrived on stage in what looked like the Scooby Doo van and he was singing, he’s not a bad singer either. He got out of the van to perform the Beatles’ “I Am The Walrus”. The van begat a giant inflatable octopus from which Fatboy Slim did a brief DJ set featuring his own hits “Right Here Right Now” and “Rockerfeller Skank”. Jessie J then sang “Price Tag” in an open top car she was joined by Tinie Tempah then Taio Cruz with “Dynamite”. All in open top cars. Then all three of them took the stage for a creditable performance of the Bee Gees disco classic “You Should Be Dancing”. As they were performing in front of a drum kit marked up with the name of Beady Eye it was obvious who was going to be on later!

A group of London Black cabs entered stadium and performed a kind of synchronised dance. Then five of them moved to the centre of the arena and were lit up with some spectacular lighting arrays. This wasn’t the best kept secret of the show, but guess who the passengers in these five cabs were? Yes it was Scary, Sporty, Baby, Ginger and Pouty…. oops sorry I mean Posh. It was the return of the Spice Girl. They kicked off with possibly one of the greatest pop singles of the 90s (OK that doesn’t mean you have to like it); “Wannabe”. They followed this with the samba rhythmed “Spice Up Your Life” which they performed while being driven around the stadium atop the cabs that brought them in. As expected after seeing their drum kit earlier Beady Eye were next. Thankfully they didn’t play any of their own stuff, just a cover of “Wonderwall” which seemed to go down really well as a sing along with the crowd. Liam seemed quite nervous to me and is his voice a little rough these days?

ELO’s “Mr Blue Sky” was played as a backdrop for a section pioneering flight. This included flying bikes and a failed human cannonball who just happened to be Monty Python star Eric Idle who led the audience in a marvellous sing-alonga-python version of “Always look On The Bright Side Of Life”. he even made a great comedic attempt to join in with some Bollywood style dancing. This whole piece was perhaps the equivalent of the Mr Bean set in the opening ceremony. It ended with the real and successful firing of a human cannonball.

Matt Bellamy and the boys from Muse were the next to appear and they performed their song “Survival” which was commissioned for the Olympics. It’s good and their performance was excellent as usual but this is a long way from being my favourite Muse song. Interestingly, as some have likened Muse to Queen they were followed by a film clip of Freddie Mercury performing some improv jazz scat and despite being dead for more than twenty years the audience were enraptured and joined in the whole Freddie call and response thing. This proved to be the overture to Brian May’s appearance and it’s fair to say that he’s quite a good guitarist isn’t he? 😉 As the unmistakable riff to “We Will Rock You” began and Brian was joined by Roger Taylor I was briefly worried that Adam Lambert or someone similar might step onto the stage. Thankfully it was Jessie J, and inspired choice in my opinion. She did a great vocal on the song which never tried to emulate the late, great Mr Mercury.

It was then time to return to the formal activities which meant the Greek national anthem followed by a Welsh Male Choir version of the Olympic Anthem. This was sealed with the Brazilian national anthem and a formal handing over of the Olympic flag from London’s Mayor Boris Johnson to the Mayor of Rio De Janeiro via Jacques Rogge. The Brazilians then put on a samba fuelled show to let the world know what to expect in 2016. This culminated in an appearance by one of their greatest sports ambassadors; Pele. Then we had more formal stuff with speeches from Seb Coe and Jacques Rogge. Seb was quite inspiring Jacque was once again the definition of dull in my opinion. The remaining action was the extinguishing of the flame. This began with Take That (thankfully without Robbie) performing the appropriate “Rule The World”. It continued with Darcy Bussell flying in as a Phoenix to join two hundred other ballet dances for an exciting modern ballet.

The petals of the cauldron where the Olympic flame burned were then lowered and were slowly extinguished and at this point I thought that was the end. However there was more to come in the shape of the Who. They were on top form and for a pensioner Roger Daltrey’s vocal power is still damned good. They closed with a rousing version of “My Generation” accompanied by yet another magnificent firework display.

I fell a little deflated after such a brilliant two weeks but so very proud to be British. I truly believe that we really showed the world what we are capable of as a country. Not just in the Olympic events but by how we put on such a brilliant event in itself. In spite of the little hiccups before the start (G4S etc) we really delivered this in style and won a whole treasure box of medals too. So let me take this opportunity to congratulate and thank everyone in Team GB, the organisers, all the other competitors, the BBC, the volunteers/  Games Makers and anyone else who was involved in this remarkable event.

Was this the best Olympics ever? I believe it as. Rio follow that!

Most of the film clips from the ceremony are IOC copyright and therefore difficult to show. So here are two songs that sum things up in a simple way.

 

“I’m gonna paint you by numbers and colour you in” aka The Brit Awards 2012 (February 21st) February 22, 2012


It’s that time of year again, the annual celebration and all round back slap of the UK music industry that is the Brits. There are 46 nominees this year including Adele who comes to the party already the proud owner of six Grammys. In a slight departure from my live typing last year I am doing this from the recording of the show. This meant I was able to spend a great night with Catwoman and some of our best friends and their lovely daughter Amelia. (Incidentally if you’d like to read the blog I write monthly for Amelia just click here)

So on with the show. A great and bombastic opener, “Charlie” from Coldplay. As with last year the event is presented by James Corden. The little clips introducing the best album nominees began with Adele’s ’21’ which is appropriately enough the best-selling album in the UK so far this century. As expected there was a film montage in memory of Whitney Houston which preceded the live appearance of Florence and the Machine. I am always blown away by that girl’s voice and tonight was no exception with a superb performance of “No Light No Light”. She seemed encased in a white light prison at one point. A prism prison if you will!

The first award was for Best British Female, presented by the beautifully proportioned Kylie Minogue. Whilst I would have liked to have seen Kate Bush win it there was really no surprise to see Adele be announced as a very worthy winner. She gave a really amusing acceptance speech including suggesting that she felt like a drag queen next to Kylie. The Best International Male award was presented by Jessie J and Jack Whitehall (who the fuck is he?) The winner was Bruno Mars with a bouffant hair do that seemed to add about a foot to his stature. His thank you speech was probably the blandest and least controversial there has ever been at the Brits.

The next live act was Olly Murs with the Rizzle Kicks. This is a real dilemma for me, I love the Rizzle Kicks but Olly Murs voice makes me want to eat my cats vomit with a side order of fresh road kill. It was a big dance production of Olly’s “My Heart Skips A Beat” including an attempt at Murs robotic dancing. At least his Mum and Simon Cowell would be proud of him.

The Critics Choice award went to Emeli Sande and was known in advance, this was given to the wonderful Jessie J last year. Mr Ed Sheerhan was the next turn to take to the stage with a wonderfully sparse version of his superb song “Lego House”. Just how good was that? The next award was for Best British Single presented by the immensely talented Tinie Tempah. Sadly the winner was the rather insipid attempt at anthemic; “What Makes You Beautiful” from X Factor Pop Muppets One Direction. Did they get dressed in a James Bond costume shop?

Jenson Button was chosen to present the award for International Female, not for his musical talents presumably. Still he’d make a better James Bond than One Direction, probably a better singer too. The award went to Rihanna, possibly one of the sexiest women on the planet in my opinion. To make up spectacularly for Olly Murs Noel Gallagher appeared with his High Flying Birds with the stupendous “AKA What A Life” with Chris Martin off of Coldplay on keyboards. I think it’s now very clear that Noel was and is the more talented Gallagher brother.

Next was a tribute to Amy Winehouse. Quite fittingly interspersing some of her brilliant songs with some great interview clips all shown in black and white. Losing Whitney was very sad but losing Amy was a tragedy. Best British Male was the next gong and it was presented by the sharp dressed and edgy Plan B. The award went to Ed Sheerhan who has now ditched the green T Shirt for a suit and tie.

Huey Morgan and Jo Whiley presented the Best British Group award. This one has been taken home by Coldplay twice before (in 2001 and 2003) and this year they make it a third. It was voted for by BBC Radio Two listeners. A really sincere acceptance speech though. James Corden then interviewed, very briefly, Kylie Minogue. He really should stick to his day job! The stage was owned by Adele for the next live performance, a storming “Rolling In The Deep”. She looked stunning, I wonder if that pretentious twat Karl Lagerfeld was watching.

The International Group award was presented by two of the remaining members of Queen, Brian May and Roger Taylor. The Foo Fighters were very worthy winners and were the first recipients of the evening not able to be there to collect their award. They did supply a great little video clip though. Nicole Scherzinger was joined by none other than musical superstar, sorry I meant football superstar Cesc Fabregas to present the Best Breakthrough act award. It was the second of the night for Ed Sheerhan. An interesting acceptance speech, apparently his manager could do with a new sofa.

Bruno Mars performed “Just The Way You Are” dressed like a tuxedoed James Bond lookalike. Except that the hair is probably an explosive secret weapon presented to this pint-sized warbler by Bond Boffin Q. Then we had another awkward Corden interview, this time with the prepubescent One Direction. A bizarre pairing of Rob Brydon and Will.i.Am presented the Best International Breakthrough act which unsurprisingly went to the talented and somewhat astral Lana Del Ray. She also won the award for blubbiest acceptance speech of the night, but I do love her album.

“We Found Love” from Rihanna was a live performance to be reckoned with. Only she could make a kind of painters smock sexy whilst performing in front of a gang of dancing painter decorators. Her hair had grown immeasurably from her earlier appearance. Has she taken the same follicle elixir as Bruno Mars or was it just a really classy syrup?

Finally it came to Ray Winstone to present the Outstanding Contribution To Music Award to Blur aka Graham, Dave , Alex and Damon. Next was the MasterCard British Album of the year award, presented by the man with talent oozing out of his pockets, George Michael. This had Adele’s name on it months ago didn’t it? That girl will need a bigger shelf for all these awards. How the fuck did they end up curtailing her acceptance speech in such an abrupt way.

Blur were on stage to close the show kicking off their set with “Girls And Boys” and then appropriately “Song 2”. They were then joined on stage by Phil Daniels for a great rendition of “Parklife” Sadly that is where the TV coverage ended, I would love to have seen the whole set from Blur. I hear that they finished off with “Tender” and “This Is A Low”, but somehow I imagine this was quite a high for them!

 

“We were born and raised in a summer haze, bound by the surprise of our glory days” July 17, 2011


Hello once again dear readers. I have a few delightful tidbits from the world of music for you in this post. Firstly did you know that Adele’s “Someone Like You” is the first million selling download-only single. Adele, or to give use her full name Adele Laurie Blue Adkins has broken quite a few chart records as well recently. Notably she became the first act to achieve two top five singles and albums simultaneously in the UK charts since the Beatles in 1964.

Check out Niall O'Loughlin's superb artwork here http://nialloloughlin.blogspot.com

Terry Chimes, (aka Tory Crimes) the original drummer off of the Clash is now a chiropractor. He runs two Chimes Chiropractic clinics,which are based in South Woodford and Waltham Abbey. If you live in the area and need some treatment click here for the website and get yourself an appointment. Chimes played with the Clash three separate periods between 1976 and 1983. He later played with Hanoi Rocks, Generation X and Black Sabbath amongst others.

I’m loving the new song from Mann, it features Iyaz and Snoop Dogg. It gets it’s title from the source of its sample. It’s called “The Mack” and samples Mark Morrison‘s excellent “Return Of The Mack” which was one of my favourite 90s songs. What do you thing of Mann’s song and of course Mark Morrison’s original from 1996?

This next video is wonderful, it’s a cover version of “Killer Queen” by a chap called Fredde Gredde, it appears that he also has something in common with Dolly The Sheep. But I think Brian May‘s hair would be closer to Dolly than Fredde Gredde. I’d love to hear whether you like it or not. I mean the song not the hair! For me a great cover version should be very different from the original and I believe that this one certainly is.

Catwoman and I will be going to see Gary Numan at the recently reopened Barbican in York next Friday. We also have tickets to see Imelda May at the same venue in November. So look out for reviews for both those shows in a future post. Many of you know that Catwoman’s secret identity (in this blog anyway) is in fact Catherine Lee, the head honcho of the brilliant Kaleidoscope Virtual Assistant Services. If you need a Virtual Assistant (VA) then click here to go to her site. So why do I need to mention Catwoman’s secret identity in this post? Well we are getting married in September and have been choosing music for various parts of the day. Whilst researching Pachalbel’s “Canon In D” I chanced upon this wonderful comedy piece from a bloke called Rob Paravonian. It’s bloody funny and made me see so many songs in a very different way!

And finally a brilliant clip of a cat getting down to Slayer, truly inspiring. It also got me thinking about what our cat’s favourite music would be. His name is Benny the Ball (did you get the Top Cat reference?) and he is incredibly camp. So we believe he would be a big fan of the Village People. What acts do your pets like or what do you think they might like?

 

“Beelzebub has the devil put aside for me, for me, for me” December 18, 2010


It seems like a long while ago that I posted my first UK Christmas Number Ones Advent Calendar post, but it’s not even three weeks. Today is December 18th which is obviously Day 18. That means that this time next week the jolly, fat, old, bearded bloke with a penchant for bright red suits will have been and apart from a few more days of turkey related meals Christmas will be over. But fear not, that still leaves room for 8 more Advent Calendar posts from me including todays. I can also promise you that there will actually be some Christmas songs coming up in a few days.

Mr Mercury had more royalty than the royal family!

Anyway behind the little perforated door today you will find a song that has been UK Christmas number one on two occasions. It has been at the top for a total of 14 weeks! Firstly in 1975 for 9 weeks and then again in 1991 for 5 weeks. Probably an easy one to guess (especially as the pictures above give it away just a little bit), it’s the magnificent “Bohemian Rhapsody” from Queen. On paper it’s a song that would surely never work. It consists of some ballad, some opera, some heavy rock, a classic guitar solo, great harmonies, some nonsense lyrics and probably the kitchen sink as well. So if it shouldn’t work on paper it sure as hell does work on record. Listening to it again for this post caused me to horripilate (thanks to dictionary.com‘s daily post yesterday for that one, it means to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, well something like that anyway).

I don't believe that there is anyone else who could get away with some of the things Freddie wore on stage. Can you picture Westlife dressed like this? You Can? You need a cold shower and quick!

Whilst it spent a long while at the summit of the UK charts it only reached number 2 in the US and that was after a rerelease tied in with the ‘Wayne’s World’ movie in 1992. It originally went to number 9 in the US in 1976. The song was accompanied by what many consider to be the first ever pop video, some years before the birth of MTV. According to Brian May the band wrote most of their songs in the studio, but he says that this one was all in Freddie’s head beforehand. Mercury had wanted to record what he called a Mock Opera song. I presume this is some punning word play on the Rock Opera concept. When it was first a UK Christmas Number One in 1975 it was like nothing we had heard before. It’s second Christmas Number One appearance however was tinged with sadness as it came shortly after the death of Freddie Mercury in November 1991.

Not many people knew that Freddie actually quite liked pussy..................................................cats!

At just under 6 minutes it is also has one of the longest durations of UK number ones. This is probably the longest of all my Advent Calendar posts this year too, although that really wasn’t planned! The song has been covered by quite a range of acts, including; the Muppets, Pink, Rolf Harris (who also had a UK Christmas Number One himself with “Two Little Boys” in 1969), Flaming Lips and the Cast Of Glee. But the latter bunch cover anything and everything don’t they? You can see and hear all the above mentioned covers below after the original Queen version of the song and a medley of “Bohemian Rhapsody/ Radio GaGa” from their Live Aid set in 1985.

 

“The Charts? Legit. Either work hard or you might as well quit” October 26, 2010


This post comes with a strong health warning attached, it contains some seriously CRAP songs!

Last month the AOL Radio Blog published their list of the 100 Worst Songs Ever, obviously this has caused a massive amount of debate. It is all based on opinion after all and there are definitely some entries I don’t agree with. Personally I would have liked to have seen many of Robbie Williams’ songs in there. Click here to see the whole list and if you can’t be bothered I have repeated the top 10 below. I would love to know what your worst songs ever are too? Use the comments function to let me and all the other readers know your choices.

1 “(It’s Time To) Beat Dat Beat” DJ Pauly D – I must confess until I came upon this list I had never heard of this song. Basically this guy seems to be a product of the ‘Jersey Shore’ TV show from the US. Well let’s face it, TV spin offs are often rubbish aren’t they and this is no exception, although I’m not sure it should be in the top ten, there are far worse songs out there. Just picture Anita Dobson singing “Anyone Can Fall In Love” to the Eastenders theme tune or Nick Berry (also off of Eastenders) with “Every Loser Wins“. I wonder what Brian May thought of Anita’s song?

2 “Who Let The Dogs Out?” Baha Men – I certainly agree with this one being in the list, I really dislike this song. Apparently when Victoria Beckham aka Posh Spice went into the players lounge at Old Trafford on one occasion when Goldenballs was still at Manchester United she and her entourage sang this to Jordan who was there because she was dating Andy Cole at the time. I’m not sure what Jordan responded with, but perhaps a mention of the fact that Posh Victoria is the only Spice Girl that has never had a solo number one in the UK would have been good!

3 “Ice Ice BabyVanilla Ice– So Ice always claimed that the bass line in this awful song was never ripped off from Bowie and Queen’s “Under Pressure”, does he think we’re stupid? This is the song which could have been the still birth of white rap, thankfully it wasn’t and Eminem rectified the crap that Vanilla Ice put out. Appropriately enough this was recently covered by the equally talentless X Factor pop muppets, Jedward and Vanilla Ice actually guested on it!That surely is some bad Karma isn’t it?

4 “She BangsRicky Martin – I don’t thing I really agree with this one being here. It’s not my favourite song, nor is it as good as “Living La Vida Loca” but it’s ok. Ricky came to prominence as part of a Puerto Rican Boy Band, Menudo. Their policy was to replace the boys in the band when one of the following event’s happened; 1) Their voice broke, 2) They became too tall or 3) they reached the age of 16. As far as I know Ricky is the only Menudo old boy to achieve such massive success.

5 “Barbie Girl” – Aqua – Does anyone like this song? It’s awful and frankly somewhat pervy in places too. Mattel, who own the rights to Barbie took Aqua and MCA Records to court claiming that the song infringed their copyright and turned Barbie into a sex object. The song’s lyrics refer to Barbie as a ‘blonde bimbo’. Mattel lost the case as the song was deemed to be a genuine parody. The song topped the chart in at least 13 countries worldwide and even made it into the US top 10.

6 “U Can’t Touch This” MC Hammer – Well if you can get past his ridiculous fashion sense with those voluminous trousers then this isn’t too bad is it? The song heavily samples from Rick James’ “Super Freak“. Hammer went on to become a preacher in the 90s.

7 “I Am Woman” – Helen Reddy – Reddy was born in 1941 in Australia. She says that she wrote this song because she felt that there were no songs that reflected what the women’s liberation movements were trying to achieve. It went on to become a massive success in 1972 reaching number 1 in the US Chart. It isn’t one of my favourites, but I fail to see how it ended up in this list. Actually I always loved her song “Angie Baby

8 “I’m Too Sexy” Right Said Fred – A formulaic disco song, sung by two shaven-headed/ bald well toned brothers; Richard and Fred Fairbrass. They had the classically stereotypical gay man look and I wonder whether this image was partly cultivated to broaden their market. This song smacks to me of being a classic one hit wonder. But strangely enough they went on to have quite a few hits, including a UK number one with “Deeply Dippy“. Meanwhile “I’m Too Sexy” actually reached number one in the US. The guys took their name from the Bernard Cribbins hit “Right Said Fred

9 “Ebony And Ivory” Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder – Paul was never my favourite Beatle and I’ve always loved Stevie, so when I read about this before it’s release I was quite excited. But then I heard it. Let’s face it, it’s crap isn’t it? Should be filed along with McCartney’s “Frog Chorus – We All Stand Together” and Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called To say I Love You” and these two songs are so bad I think that they are actually bettered by “Ebony And Ivory”

10 “Macarena” Los Del Rio – This is one of those songs that no matter how much you hate it, it gets into your head and you just can’t get rid of it. I really dislike this tune and the stupid dance that goes with it.

In the 70’s Kenny Everett hosted a UK Radio Show called “Kenny Everett’s World’s Worst Record Show” featuring many truly atrocious recordings including “This Pullover” Jess Conrad.

My own worst song ever tends to vary depending upon my mood, however I nearly always goe back to “Billy Don’t Be A Hero” by Paper Lace or “Agadoo” by Black Lace or even “Angels” by Robbie Williams.

 

 
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