Scottish band Teenage Fanclub‘s rather excellent 1995 album ‘Grand Prix‘, their fifth, was apparently given it’s title as a joke. The band claim that they wanted to hear Americans call the album ‘Grand Pricks’.
I’m getting just a little bit more excited now it is the 12th of December after all. In keeping with this years With Just A Hint Of Mayhem advent posts I have two diametrically opposed songs for you today. But obviously two that have the number twelve in their titles.
First up is the timeless song “Twelfth Of Never” which was initially recorded by Johnny Mathis in 1957. He apparently didn’t like the song and it was demoted to the B Side of “Chances Are”. The song has been recorded by many, many artists since then. The Mathis version made it to number 9 in the US charts and Donny Osmond took it to number one in the UK and number 8 in the USA in 1973. The list of cover versions is almost endless and includes; Nina Simone, Barry Gibb, Cliff Richard, Tammy Wynette, Chi-Lites, Glen Campbell, Cher, Dolly Parton, Roger Whittaker, Barry Manilow, Andy Williams, Olivia Newton John, Hank Marvin and Jeff Buckley. Jeff’s version can be found on the Legacy edition of ‘Live At The Sin E’ and remains very faithful to the Nina Simone version of the song. The regular readers among you will know that I am a big fan of Texan crooner Johnny Nash. In fact I would go as far as saying that his singing voice is my favourite voice ever. Anyway I haven’t posted about Mr Nash for quite a while so I thought I would use his version of the “Twelfth Of Never” taken from his 1968 album ‘Soul Folk’.
The second song today flows from the Julian Casablancas post from yesterday. It is “12:51” by the band that Julian is a big part of; the Strokes. The song was written by Mr Casablancas and was the first single released from the bands second album ‘Room On Fire’ in 2003. The song made it to number 7 in the UK and reached the top 40 in Ireland, Canada, the Netherlands and Sweden. The songs original title was “Supernova”. The video for the song was directed by Roman Ford Coppola, the son of Francis Ford Coppola and the cousin of Nicolas Cage. It has a theme that is very reminiscent of the ‘Tron’ the 1982 movie. When the band played a number of Japanese dates to support the release of the ‘Room On Fire’ album in 2003 they included a cover of the Frank Sinatra classic written by Paul Anka “My Way”, only they sang it with Japanese lyrics!
Did you know that there are four winners of acting Oscars who have also had UK number one singles? No nor did I until I chanced upon the quiz in this weeks NME. Those four clever people and their UK number ones are;
Frank Sinatra won the best supporting actor Oscar for his role in 1954’s ‘From Here To Eternity’
Cher’s UK number one singles were “I Got You Babe” (with then husband Sonny Bono) (1965), “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss)” (1990), “Love Can Build A Bridge” (with Chrissie Hynde, Eric Clapton and Neneh Cherry) (1995) and “Believe” (1998)
Lee Marvin won the best actor Oscar for his part in the 1965 film ‘Cat Ballou‘
Lee’s only UK number one was “Wandrin’ Star” which was taken from the soundtrack of ‘Paint Your Wagon’ in 1970. The B side was another actor not famed for his singing, Clint Eastwood with “I Talk To The Trees”
According to an interview with diva extraordinaire Cher in the UK’sObserver newspaper today she was the first woman to show her navel on US TV. This monumental event took place on the Sonny and Cher Show in the early 70s. Given the amount of plastic surgery Cher is alleged to have had I wonder whether she still has the same navel/ What do you think?
Upon reaching the ripe old age of 50 a couple of years back I made myself a short list of things I wanted to do before I pop my clogs. There were five things; Ride a motorbike, learn to play the guitar, have something I’ve written actually published, spend a couple of hours in a flotation tank and be hypnotised for some past life regression. Thanks to my delectable fiancée, who most of you know as Catwoman, I have now achieved three of them, all birthday presents in fact. I spent a day at the Harley Davidson Centre in Wales in 2009, but I won’t be taking up riding! I took an initial few guitar lessons in early 2010, but work got in the way as I could never get home in time for my lessons. But I do have a very rudimentary skill. This weekend I underwent past life regression hypnosis. Now in many things I am quite cynical, but with things like reincarnation I do have an open mind.
The experience, given to me by Catwoman for my birthday, surpassed all my expectations. I wasn’t put into a deep trance, but some of the things I experienced were incredible. Were they actual past lives or were they part of my imagination driven by the vastness of my unconscious mind (I’m not bragging here, everyone has one!). I don’t know, but I do know it was an amazingly thought-provoking and exciting experience. I am still an atheist with no-balls, which is how an old boss of mine described agnostics! Anyway I won’t go into too much detail about it here, but feel free to get in touch if you’d like to hear more. But I am happy to say that I wasn’t Napoleon or Caesar!
But apart from the guitar lessons none of this is about music so I thought I’d add a few past life related songs. I hope you enjoy them.
Captain’s (b)Log Stardate 16022009 it’s pretty damned quiet in space, no one can hear you scream either, apparently! If only Captain James T Kirk’s ‘T’ stood for trivia, that’d be a good link, but sadly it stands for Tiberius, so these words are completely random. But to bring it back to music, have you ever heard William Shatner’s version of Pulp’s “Common People“? Do you want to? yes? well just click on the song title and tell me what you think!
So boldly onto birthdays now, starting with Sonny Bono. He would have been 74 today but sadly he died in a skiing accident in January 1998 aged 62. He is perhaps most famous for being the singing partner and husband of Cherilyn Sarkasian La Pier (more commonly know as Cher) but he also became a US Congressman in 1994. Here he is with Cher in a mildly amusing skit introducing the Jackson 5 singing “Looking Through The Windows” on the Sonny and Cher Show in the early 70’s. Apparently the All Saints song “Never Ever” was dedicated to the memory of Mr Bono, who incidentally is no relation of the short Irish chap who fronts U2.
The second and final birthday for today is that of Andy Taylor guitarist off of Duran Duran and the Power Station. Happy 48th today Mr T. Andy was one of three unrelated Taylors in Duran Duran. The other two were John Taylor (Bass) and Roger Taylor (drums). Just to confuse things further Roger Taylor was also the name of Queen’s drummer! Perhaps they should have called themselves Taylor Taylor! They actually took their name from an oft used phrase from the 60’s Jane Fonda movie “Barbarella” that phrase was “I am looking for Duran Duran” I believe the Duran in the movie was played by Miles O’Shea. Coincidentally in their early days the band played quite a few gigs at Barbarellas in Birmingham! Andy joined the band after answering an ad in the Melody Maker for a live wire guitarist! Shocking! Here is a very underrated song in my view, this is Andy Taylor with the Power Station and “Some Like It Hot” featuring the late great (did you miss those good ‘ole l n’ g’s?) Robert Palmer on vocals.
On this day in 1974 the three members of Emerson, Lake and Palmer (ELP) were arrested in Salt Lake City, Utah after swimming naked in their hotel pool whilst on a US tour. They were each fined $75. They were primarily an albums band and in fact when they released “Brain Salad Surgery” as a single in advance of the album of the same name in December 1973 it failed to chart in the UK. The album and single were released on the bands recently formed own label ‘Manticore’ The name comes from the name of a supposedly mythical beast that battled the armoured armadillo called Tarkus on the album, “Tarkus”. They did have one massively successful single though, it was their interpretation of the American composer Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare For The Common Man” which reached number 2 in the UK charts in July 1977. That was pretty damned good for a bunch of ‘old farts’ at the height of punk!
On this day in 1991 the Simpsons were number one in the UK singles chart with “Do The Bartman” lyrics provide by one Michael Jackson! They never had a number one hit in the UK again (well so far anyway) but the marvellous “Spider Pig” reached the top 30 in 2007.
And finally on this day in 2002 thieves broke into George Michael’s London house and made off in his £80,000 Aston Martin DB7 with £100,000s worth of paintings, jewelery and designer clothes. They also caused more than £200,000s worth of damage to his home. I don’t know who they were, but the must have been “Bad Boys” <groan!!!!> Incidentally the song was a number two UK hit for George and Andrew in 1983. I’m not sure who the lass in the fat suit in the video is though, any ideas?