OK so it is clear that Ryan Adams and Bryan Adams have, confusingly for some folk, very similar names. But did you know that they also share the same birthday! Both were born on November 5th. Bryan in 199 (the year of my birth) and Ryan in 1974. Ryan now sends Bryan an email every year on their shared birthday. Ryan has also covered “Summer Of ’69” and “Run To You” at various times.
It doesn’t seem to have been widely reported, well I certainly missed it anyway. But Jamaicanska singer Lord Tanamo died in Canada in April this year. He had suffered a debilitating stroke in 2008 which left him unable to speak. The former Joseph Abraham Gordon was 81 when he passed away.
His classic “I’m In The Mood For Ska” finally became a UK hit in 1990 when it reached number 58 following its use as the soundtrack to a Paxo stuffing advert. The song was a ska update of a song that became a standard, “I’m In The Mood For Love”. ng had a hit with it in 1935. Another top Tanamo cut was his reggae cover of Tony Joe White‘s “Rainy Night In Georgia” which went to number one in the Jamaican charts in 1970.
Ladies and gentlemen and those that aren’t quite sure it is now December 14th and that means that my Christmas advent blog posts for 2014 have reached Day 14 which in turn means that we are at the letter ‘N’. With that in mind I have decided to pick a band from Scotland for todays ABC of British bands entry. Please allow me to welcome the mighty Nazareth to this post.
The band formed in 1968 and the original members were Manny Charlton (guitar), Pete Agnew (bass), Darrell Sweet (drums) and Dan McCafferty (tonsil-shredding vocals). The band still tours although Pete Agnew is the only one of the original members still with the band. There are no middle east or biblical overtones to the band’s name. They are named after a town that is mentioned in the classic song “The Weight” from the Band. That town is Nazareth, Pennsylvania. The line is “I pulled in to Nazareth, I was feeling about half past dead”
The band was probably at its commercial peak in the early 70s when they had three UK top 20 albums from 1973 to 1974. I used to own two of those on vinyl; ‘Razamanaz’ and ‘Loud ‘N’ Proud‘. They also reached the top 20 of the album charts in Norway six times between 1980 and 1989. Their latest album ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Telephone’ has charted in four countries this year; Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Austria. This is probably the last Nazareth album to feature McCafferty’s vocals as he retired due to ill-health last year.
Their biggest success in the UK singles chart was with “Broken Down Angel” which peaked at number 9 in 1973. Their cover of Joni Mitchell‘s “This Flight Tonight” made it to number one in Germany that same year. In 1975 they released a cover version of the classic ballad “Love Hurts” it made it to the top of the charts in Canada and South Africa. Dan McCafferty has released a few solo recordings over the years and his cover of the Rolling Stones “Out Of Time” almost made the UK top 40 in 1975, stalling at number 41, I used to have a vinyl copy of that too. In 1994 Guns ‘N’ Roses covered Nazareth’s “Hair Of The Dog” on their covers album ‘The Spaghetti Incident’. Supposedly Nazareth had previously turned down an invite to play at Axl Rose‘s wedding. They might not have entertained guests at Mr Rose’s wedding, but you can enjoy Nazareth now.
December 11th, what a kinky day this is going to be. It is day 11 in this years advent calendar blog post series which regular readers will know is the ABC of British bands. The 11th letter of the alphabet is ‘K’ so todays band is the Kinks and that is why it is a Kinky day!
Brothers Ray and Dave Davies along with friend Pete Quaife formed the band in Muswell Hill, London in 1963. In spite of the sometimes acrimonious relationship between the Davies brothers the band kept going for more than 30 years before finally calling it a day in 1996. The band had their first UK chart hit in 1964 with “You Really Got Me” which went to number one. This song is often credited with being the first heavy metal riff. (Although the phrase ‘heavy metal’ was allegedly first heard a few years later in the lyrics of Steppenwolf’s “Born To Be Wild”). The Kinks had two further UK number one singles; “Tired Of Waiting” in 1965 and “Sunny Afternoon” in 1966. They also climbed to the top of the singles charts in Germany, Canada, Netherlands, Belgium and New Zealand. I can only assume that the band were a little too English for the Americans. Their first US singles chart hit came in 1981.
Ray and Dave Davies were the 7th and 8th children in their family, the first six were all girls. Their sister Rene died on Ray’s 13th birthday. She had given him his first guitar as a present that day. The band took their name after hearing the word kinky used in British 1960s TV show ‘The Avengers’. Pete Townshend off of the Who once said that Ray Davies was his favourite songwriter of all time. Whilst Marianne Faithfull said that Ray was ‘Very Gothic, creepy and silent. Uptight and fearful of everyone’. Either way I am definitely a fan of the Kinks and I would like you to take some time out to enjoy a selection of their best songs.
“Call Me”, Blondie’s big hit from the ‘American Gigolo‘ film which starred Richard Gere in 1980 went to number one in three countries; the USA, Canada and the UK. It was also included on the band’s ‘Autoamerican‘ album. The writing credit goes to Giorgio Moroder and Debbie Harry. However the song was originally not earmarked for Blondie; Giorgio Moroder had written the instrumental track for the ‘American Gigolo’ soundtrack but had initially wanted to give it to Stevie Nicks off of Fleetwood Mac. I wonder how that would have turned out? I reckon that it would have been pretty good!
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!)