It’s the 8th December already. Is time moving faster at the moment? Is there something amiss within the space-time continuum? On top of that can you believe that it is 23 years to the day that John Lennon was gunned down in New York? Which brings me to the first song choice in todays number themed With Just A Hint Of Mayhem Advent post. I bring you a classic Beatles track, “Eight Days A Week”.
The song was I believe a first for rock music in that it began with a fade-in intro. It was taken from 1964’s Beatles For Sale’ album. Whilst it was never released as a single in the UK it was in the USA where it went to number one in 1965. It also hit the top spot in Canada and the Netherlands. Back in the 60s there was also an Extended Play (EP) chart and the ‘Beatles For Sale’ EP including “Eight Days A Week” went to number one on that chart in the UK in 1965. It wasn’t a popular song among the Beatles themselves. John Lennon apparently once called it lousy. The band never played it live, although Paul McCartney has played it on his ‘Out There’ tour earlier this year. It has been subject to many cover versions including; Procol Harum, Libertines, Joan Jett, the Supremes, the Runaways and Alma Cogan.
The second song for today is another 60s smash hit. “Eight Miles High” by the Byrds. It was taken from their 1966 album ‘Fifth Dimension’ which was their third long player and was written by Gene Clark and Roger McGuinn. It went to number 14 in the USA and number 24 in the UK in 1966. Some American radio stations refused to play the song because they claimed it was laden with drug references. The band strongly denied that at the time but later suggested that there was some truth in the story. A drug that could get you eight miles high? Wow that might be worth a shot! Don McLean’s classic track “American Pie” refers to the Byrds song in its lyrics with the following line; “The Birds flew off with a fall-out shelter/Eight miles high and falling fast”. It has also been covered by a number of acts including; Roxy Music, Husker Du, Ride, Robyn Hitchcock and Golden Earring. The latter recorded a 19 minute version of the song.
What a bummer, no one told us that it wasn’t fancy dress!
Last Friday I had the pleasure of accompanying the wonderful Catwoman to York Races. It was an evening meeting with six races. Obviously we pushed the boat out big style with really expensive tickets and a massive budget for betting. Well ok that was a slight exaggeration; the tickets were a free gift from our good friends Rachel and Andy who had bought them and were then unable to attend. Our betting budget was only massive if you consider £5 per race to be that size. We used a very scientific means of selecting which horses to place our wagers on. You may have used a similar method yourself, let me explain. All you do is pick a name that you like. That’s it, it’s really as simple as that! But science let us down and we won zilch, zero, nada, nothing! Although one of our nags was in front for most of its race, alas it was not there for the most important part, as in where they cross the finish line.
So in keeping with this being a music blog and all that I thought I would round-up a few horse related songs for your listening and viewing pleasure;
It was clear that our jockey didn’t have the experience needed, nor indeed a big enough horse!
Madness point to the winning post, but clearly none of our horses followed their directions
Apparently at many lengthy sporting events these days such as horse racing and Formula 1 there is often a musical act to close the day. It was Madness, the original Nutty Boys, who closed the show for us on Friday. I am so glad that Rachel and Andy didn’t give us tickets for Saturday as that held the delights of some former X Factor finalists and Lee Ryan off of Blue. The merest thought fills me with dread! Anyway, on to Madness, sadly I can only report that they were very professional, probably very entertaining and they played most of the hits. They even played “The Prince” a firm favourite of my good mate Jes Hyde, who was quite envious of me as he has been a big fan of the Suggs and the boys for many years. Why would I give such an excellent band a lukewarm review? well largely because the sound was bloody awful. I would go so far as to say that it was one of the lowest volume and poorest quality sound mixes I have ever heard at an outdoor gig. So let’s remember Madness in their prime to make up for it.
Squeezing into that little box was easy, but Gordo, Dave and Nicky realised it was going to be bloody difficult to get out!
As I have said many times before this is ostensibly a music blog and therefore pretty much everything I write about gets taken in that direction. This post is no exception. Thursday 6th May sees another General Election in the UK, the 8th one that I have been eligible to vote at, having reached official voting age before the 1979 election.
If only it were true 🙂
I have never failed to cast my vote and I urge you to do the same. It is the apathetic voters that allow the extremists into power, we cannot let that happen with evil and deluded parties like the BNP. But this week those of us in the UK should also vote for change. I know that voting for change is somewhat of a cliché, however I believe that our first past the post system has now had its day. A system that would allow the party with fewer votes to win more seats in parliament is not right, is it?
Most of the fake posters for this election have been better than the real ones don't you think?
In many ways I don’t care who you vote for, but I do care that people actually get off their arse and use theirs. So don’t let the country down, let’s mobilise for a massive turnout!
While you consider who you vote for here are some alleged trivial facts about the leaders of the three main parties; Nick Clegg once set fire to a very rare cactus. Gordon Brown apparently eats nine bananas a day and David Cameron is a direct descendent of King William IV
As I said at the start this is not a vehicle to voice my political opinions, (well perhaps apart from my dislike of the BNP) it’s a music blog. So here are twenty political type songs for you to enjoy while watching the remaining election coverage this week. Enjoy! You can follow the election on the BBC or the Guardian(I will be). Oh and there is also a hidden track somewhere in this post, have you found it? The usual crap prize, subject to postage awaits the first person to tell me what it is and where it is!
Ball Of Confusion – Temptations. This song reminds me so much of my youth and for me is one of the greatest songs Norman Whitfield produced for the Temptations. There was also a pretty good cover produced for Tina Turner by Glenn Gregory and Martyn Ware off of the British Electric Foundation (BEF), also off of Heaven 17 and also once off of the Human League! Click here to listen to Tina’s version.
Elected – Alice Cooper. Probably one of my favourite Alice Cooper songs. Did you know he actually ran for the US Presidency in 1972? With a hook line of “They’re changing guards at President Palace, out goes Nixon and in comes Alice” Why I remember that line I don’t know, but it has been stuck in my head now for nearly 40 years! There was a cover of this song a few years ago in aid of Comic Relief which I believe was credited to Mr Bean and Bruce Dickinson off of Iron Maiden. Click here for that one!
Electioneering – Radiohead. Taken from the classic ‘OK Computer’ album and seen by many as one of the greatest political songs. It also takes a nice dig at the IMF too
Election Day – Arcadia. The Duran Duran offshoot that wasn’t the Power Station, well that’s my view. I would always prefer a band with Robert Palmer as vocalist rather than Simon Le Bon. Which one did you prefer?
The Politics Of Dancing – Re-Flex. In this list purely for the title! You know how low my opinion of most 80s stuff is! ‘Nuff said!
You Haven’t Done Nothing – Stevie Wonder. Now this is a superb song and so true of today’s politicians. If you listen carefully you can hear Stevie bringing the backing vocalists in when he says “Jackson Five come sing along” Yes, it was the Jackson clan providing the ‘doo do wops’ on this song
Abraham, Martin And John – Marvin Gaye. Motown really started to get politics in the late 60’s and early 70’s didn’t it, this was in advance of Marvin’s classic ‘What’s Going On’ album, more of which later. I believe that Dion off of Dion and the Belmonts also had a hit with this
Stand Down Margaret – The Beat. In the event her own party stood her down. Whilst I was really pleased that it happened it was pretty disloyal wasn’t it?
A Design For Life – Manic Street Preachers. For me the opening line says everything about when the working class really moved forward. “Libraries gave us power”
Police And Thieves – Clash. I will never tire of hearing this excellent cover of Junior Murvin’s brilliant song, oh and did I tell you that I consider the Clash to be the best band there has ever been? I did? I thought so
So Much Trouble In The World – Bob Marley And The Wailers. No political song list would be complete without Mr Marley in my opinion and there are so many good ones to choose from.
The President Wore Pearls – Lisa Simpson. What can I say about this? Lisa is trying to get elected but doesn’t think she will be cool enough
Anarchy For The UK – Sex Pistols. Well we may not have anarchy by Friday but we will probably have a hung parliament as opposed to some parliamentarians who should be hung. Duck islands and moats indeed!
Rocking In The Free World – Neil Young and Pearl Jam. Great combination which gives Mr Young extra added rock power, also a bloody good song too
Vote Baby Vote – Lady Kier off of Deee Lite. This was put together for an MTV special ‘Rock The Vote’ show, so it’s perhaps more a jingle than a song, but the message is very clear
I Wanna Grow Up To Be A Politician – Roger McGuinn off of the Byrds. I wonder if this is when politics became a career? I don’t know about you but the term career politician seems to be an oxymoron, with the emphasis on the moron bit for many of them!
Wake Up The Nation – Paul Weller. Is there no stopping this bloke? His last album ’22 Dreams’ was fantastic and the new one ‘Wake Up the Nation’ is even better in my opinion. Nice to hear him getting a tad angry too. How weird is it that Old Etonian David Cameron claims ‘Eton Rifles’ by the Jam as one of his favourite songs? Surely he can’t have listened to the lyrics can he?
Ghost Town – Specials. Reached number one at the height of Thatcher’s early years and amidst all the inner city rioting across the UK. It really summed up the nation at the time I think. It was the night the band performed this on Top Of The Pops that Terry Hall, Lynval Golding and Neville Staple told Jerry Dammers that they were leaving the band to form the Fun Boy Three. Whose first hit was, and still is, appropriate for politicians; “The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum”
What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye. Taken from one of my favourite albums of all time and the lyrics and message are still sadly relevant today, nearly 40 years after it’s release
Arrogance, Ignorance And Greed – Show Of Hands. One of Catwoman’s favourite bands and she has got me into them too. The message on this one fits pretty well all modern politicians and perhaps bankers too. Most of them are arrogant, ignorant greedy bastards aren’t they?
Hello once again dear blog readers. My blog has been going for around 7 weeks now so I thought I’d check some of the stats available on WordPress. Firstly here is the top 10 search items (and number of searches) that people have used and found their way here;
1 pink floyd 431
2 kate bush 157
3 johnny cash 123
4 johnny winter 88
5 george harrison 73
6 smokey robinson 69
7 the smiths 62
8 dire straits 43
9 the byrds 39
10 tim buckley 23
I’m really pleased to see that Kate Bush is doing so well, I’m also quite amazed by the sheer volume of Pink Floyd searches. If you found your way here from searching I’d love to hear from you! As she did so well here is a picture of the delectable Ms Bush
"Oh England My Leotard" perhaps?
Some of you may recall that we also ran an experiment some weeks ago to see if it was possible to drive people to the blog by including a particular phrase, that phrase being ‘Lily Allen Naked’. Well I can report some success, ‘Lily Allen Naked’ is in fact the 18th most popular search item ,with 13 searches , to arrive here. Although clearly all those 13 people (although it could be one person 13 times) will have been disappointed as there are no naked pics of Lily here. So apologies to you folks. I’d love to hear from you too, although obviously I’ll understand if you wish to remain anonymous 😉
Of all the many links I include in my posts I can also confirm that the two most clicked items have been the Myspace pages for ‘Soft Toy Emergency‘ (7 clicks) and my son Luke’s band ‘Steal The Smile‘ (9 clicks). click on their names to increase their total clicks.
OK enough of the stats, numbers excite me but perhaps not everyone! On to the tried and tested format and kicking off with a birthday. Mr Eric Clapton is 64 today. Did he ever cover the Beatles “When I’m 64”? Perhaps he should now! He has been a part of many bands in his time; the Roosters, Casey Jones and the Engineers, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, the Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith and Derek and the Dominoes. Indeed he was also one of the few non Beatles to play on a Beatles song. He played guitar on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. George Harrison returned the favour by guesting on the fantastic “Badge” by Cream. Click on the song title to see Eric with a live version of the song from the 80’s, watch out for Phil Collins on drums!
Eric discusses matrimonial time share plans with George
There are quite a few ‘onthisdays’ for March 30th starting with on this day in 1967 the photo session for the cover of the Beatles ‘Sergeant Pepper’ album took place at Chelsea Manor Studios
Just in case there is anyone on the planet that hasn't seen this album cover here it is again 🙂
Also on this day in 1976 the Sex Pistols played at the 100 Club in London for the first time. They began a weekly residency there in June 1976. One of my biggest musical regrets is that I turned down the opportunity to see the Pistols live in late 1976. They were playing at Brunel University near where I grew up. I’m sorry to say that I chose to stay in the pub!
The other guys always thought it was hilarious to set Glen's microphone stand too high for him
On this day in 1978 Paul Simonon and Nicky ‘Topper’ Headon off of the Clash were arrested in Camden Town, London after shooting pigeons with air guns from the roof of Chalk Farm Studios. It was later discovered that these were prize winning and very expensive racing pigeons. It required four police cars and a helicopter to make the arrest. The pairs fines totaled £800
Once they had established exactly where the Clash were they would avenge the death of their brothers by dropping pigeon shit bombs
Also in 1978 on this day U2 won £500 and a chance to audition for CBS Ireland in a talent contest which was held in Dublin and sponsored by Guinness. Strange fact of the day, Guinness, which I really enjoy, began life 200 years before I did!
Bono puts his hand up to attract the teachers attention as he desperately needs to pee
And finally on this day in 2000 Sir Michael Jagger off of the Rolling Stones paid a visit to his old school, Dartford Grammar. He was there to open a new arts centre bearing his name. He was quoted as saying that he spent the worst years of his life at school!
Mick's old school uniform clearly didn't fit him anymore
OK I’m going to open with a little experiment, the other day when I included a link to a fart joke on this blog I had three times the amount of the usual daily views I had been getting, many of which came from people searching ‘fart’ on t’interweb. I’m not going to get into why you would do that, it’s to each their own right? Anyway the experiment is that todays blog text will include a phrase which I suspect many people may search on, so here goes! Lily Allen Naked!!! Well let’s see how many views come to the blog based on that shall we? I would like to thank Tom W for coming up with that idea, top thinking mate! Incidentally if you arrived at this blog to see Lily Allen naked I’m sorry to disappoint you, but here is a picture of her anyway!
Lily wondered where she had hidden the torch again
In case you didn’t see any news yesterday, Mr Springsteen has been confirmed as the Saturday headliner for this years Glastonbury Festival. That was the slot which was somewhat controversially filled by Jay Zed (copyright Karen McP) last year. well I say controversial, I mean Noel Gallagher was somewhat aggrieved by it! The strong rumours for the Friday and Sunday nights are Blur and Neil Young. Here is the Bruce news on the Beeb
It’s also big congrats to ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ which swept up at the Oscars yesterday, winning eight in total including best film score and also best individual song for “Jai Ho“. Incidentally one of the other best individual song nominees was featured on this very blog just a few days ago, that was “Down To Earth” by Peter Gabriel from the wonderful ‘Wall-E’. How many of you have seen ‘Slumdog Millionaire’? I thought it was a superb movie. Funny, moving, serious, feelgood, great music, all in all a great combination of the best of everything. What did you think of it?
So without further delay let’s kick off with a birthday. Today is the 24th February and it is the 62nd birthday of Rupert, not the bear, but Mr Rupert Holmes. His biggest hit was “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” which was a massive hit in the US where it went to number one. Obviously at that particular moment we had a bit more taste in the UK as it only managed number 23 here! Rupert was born in Northwich, Cheshire in the UK although he grew up and has lived most of his life in the US. His Mum was English and his Dad American. It may seem unreal now but at the height of his Pina Colada driven success Rupert toured the world and the Marcos government in the Philippines even had to provide with a military escort when he was there. There is a very special distinction for “Escape” that as far as I am aware in US chart history didn’t happen before and hasn’t happened since. “Escape” reached number 1 in December 1979 then fell to number 2 in the first week of January 1980 (replaced by “Please Don’t Go” by KC and the Sunshine Band, before jumping back to the top spot the week after. It thus became the only song to end a decade at number one and climb back the following decade a real 70s/ 80s hit. Now that would be an interesting argument for the DJs that work 70s and 80s clubs (we have one of each in York). Maybe it wouldn’t though, because in my experience most DJs in those type of clubs are a long way from good! But of course I would say that as I am a very good Mobile DJ! I’m still taking bookings for this year if any of you are interested. Highlights in the coming months are weddings, 40th Birthdays, 30th birthdays and indeed a 70th birthday! I am happy to do gigs all over the planet, but please be aware that if the travelling distance from York in the UK is significant then so will the price be 🙂
Rupert didn't quite appreciate the difference between cufflinks and handcuffs
Of course having discussed Pina Coladas I couldn’t leave you without the recipe, so just click here! Mr Holmes has also said at various times “whatever else I do in my life my tombstone will be a giant pineapple!”
On this day in 1973 the final live appearance of the Byrds took place at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, New Jersey. The Byrds are one of the acts, along with Jimi Hendrix, who recorded classic interpretations of Bob Dylan songs. The most famous of those Byrd songs is probably “Mr Tambourine Man” which you all know was written by Bob Dylan, but did you know that their version was produced by a chap called Terry Melcher, who is Doris Day’s son? Some radio stations apparently refused to play the Byrds “Eight Miles High” claiming that is was completely drug related. Roger McGuinn, David Crosby and Gene Clark who wrote the song said that in fact it was about their experience of flying in a plane at 40,000 feet. How wrong can one be? 😉 My favourite song by the Byrds is probably “So You Want To Be A Rock N Roll Star” which was written by Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman, supposedly about the manufactured and overnight success of the Monkees. The song was also groundbreaking in that it featured an African musician, Mr Hugh Masekala on trumpet. The observant among you will have noticed that there are two Byrd song links on this piece…… enjoy!
Upon arrival at the Police Station the boys realised that they had been framed
This day in 2004 saw the death of Estelle Axton who had helped to create Stax Records. She set up the Satellite Record label with her brother Jim Stewart. They were contacted by lawyers in 1960 and told that the name was already in use. They changed the name to ‘STAX’ which comes from the first two letters of each of their surnames. I guess ‘AXST’ just didn’t work out! Estelle was heavily involved with the selection and development of many artists on the label including Booker T & The MGs, Isaac Hayes, Rufus Thomas and the wonderful Mr Otis Redding. Stax was to Memphis what Motown was to Detroit. It is also interesting to note that whilst Stax specialised in soul, r &b and predominantly black music it’s two founders were white. This must have been seen as quite a brave move considering segregation was still widespread in the US in the late 50s/ early 60s. Here is the late great (see they’re still around) Otis Redding with the rather excellent “Try A Little Tenderness” from the Monterey Festival in 1967
Estelle Axton with her brother Jim Stewart
The rather splendid Stax Records logo
And finally on this day in 1958 the classic song “Get A Job” by the Silhouettes was number one in the USA. It was recorded in October 1957 and is seen by many as the definitive doo wop song. It went on to sell a million copies and has been used in some great movies too. Notably ‘American Graffiti’ which starred a young Richard Dreyfuss and one of my favourite movies the excellent adaptation of Stephen King’s novella ‘The Body’ which was filmed as ‘Stand By Me’. The song is quite appropriate for many of us now too, given the current economic climate which those clever marketing people have re branded and made into the commodity we now know as ‘The Credit Crunch’ which in layman’s terms remains a recession surely?
The boys were frequently caught bragging about their many fishing trips