With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“Can you ignore my faith in everything?” October 20, 2013

Clarke Peters-JLG-000350

Did you know that one of the backing vocalists on Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel‘s only UK number one was Clarke Peters who played Lester Freamon in the Wire?The song in question is “Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)” which reached the top of the UK charts  in 1975. The song also reached number one in Ireland and Australia. The lyrics are in fact a vitriolic attack on former band members who Harley felt had abandoned Cockney Rebel. The song is still one of my favourites although I would recommend never listening to Duran Duran’s cover version. In my opinion they murdered it!


“All the men come in these places and the men are all the same” a.k.a. 9 ladies dancing December 21, 2012

il_fullxfull.389633769_mw6o Day 9 in my 12 days of Christmas series of posts has arrived and frankly I am running out of room to keep all these diverse and wonderful gifts I keep receiving from my true love. Any suggestions as to what I can do with 9 ladies dancing. OK perhaps you’d better not answer that because undoubtedly most of you will add the word lap somewhere in there won’t you? It would seem likely that the interest in ballroom dancing has surged recently, perhaps due to TV shows like Strictly Come Dancing (is that the correct title? Personally I have never watched it). Dance was one of the most popular art forms according to the Arts Council in England and applications for grants for dance projects had increased from 373 to 437 from 2011 to 2012. Tina+Charles+TC So today is quite special because you’ll get three songs for the price of two. Firstly it’s a classic slice of what I would call disco bubble pop. It’s Tina Charles with “Dance Little Lady Dance”. Tina was born Tina Hoskins in March 1954 and later changed her name to avoid possible confusion with Mary Hopkin. She chose Charles as that was her father’s first name. She started out as a session and backing vocalist. She provided backing vocals along with Linda Lewis on the Steve Harley and Cockney rebel classic “Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)” a UK number one from 1975. She was also the uncredited vocalist on the 5000 Volts hit “I’m On Fire”. This was due to contractual reasons. That song made it to number 4 in the UK and number 1 in Germany and Sweden. It only managed number 26 in the US but it was competing against a version of the same song by Jim Gilstrap. 307066 Tina’s big break came when she met record producer Biddu who had a massive success with “Kung Fu Fighting” from Carl Douglas in 1974. he produced a few songs for her including the biggest hit of her career, “I Love To Love (But My Baby Loves To Dance)” this was at number one for 3 weeks in the UK in 1976. The song I have chosen for this post was also a UK hit for Tina but only managed a peak of number 6. That song is “Dance Little Lady Dance”. A remix of the song was issued in 1987 and made the top 20 in Germany and the Netherlands. her touring band in the mid 70s featured two future members of Buggles and Yes; Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes. tt002 The second song I have chosen for you today is “Private Dancer” from another Tina, this time Tina Turner. The song was written by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits and was originally considered for inclusion on the band’s album ‘Love Over Gold‘. However Knopfler didn’t think it was right for a male vocalist. John Illsley from the band featured on Tina Turner’s version of the song. Guitar was provided by Jeff Beck and not Mark Knopfler on Turner’s version of the song. The song only reached number 26 in the UK but managed a number 7 position in both France and the USA. The choreography for the promotional video for the song was provided by former Strictly Come Dancing judge, Arlene Phillips. tturner_gl_4jul12_pa_b_426x639_1 As I mentioned earlier, you will get three songs for the price of two today and the third is a special Billy Bonus for Christmas. as I alluded to lap Dancing earlier in this post, which is something I have never experienced (ok so maybe I have just the once……. or maybe twice) I thought I would take the opportunity to add some Kate Bush. No I know she isn’t a lap dancer, but I would be very tempted if she was, but she did have a song called “Sat In Your Lap” didn’t she. It reached number 11 in the UK in 1981 and was the first single to come from Kate’s album ‘The Dreaming’, albeit some 15 months before the album appeared. The B Side was a cover of Donovan’s “Lord Of The Reedy River”. Kate_bush_leotard


“But I am strong I can use my tears to bring you home” a.k.a. 8 Maids a milking December 20, 2012

8-maids-a-milking1 My true love has given me quite a few things so far to help me celebrate the 12 days of Christmas. I’m not quite sure what to do with todays gift of 8 maids a milking; any suggestions? In reality though the milk maid was replaced by industrial milking machines many years ago. Back in 1995 there were 35,741 dairy farmers in the UK, in 2011 there were only 14,793. Surely we are consuming at least as much milk as in 1995 though, aren’t we? Maybe these farmers just own bigger farms and dairy herds these days. I have a tenuous connection to the UK dairy industry as my Dad was a milkman for nearly 30 years. I worked as his milk boy from 1970 to 1975. bebopdeluxe As for todays songs, well let’s just say I am very satisfied indeed with my choices. Firstly I bring you a classic from what is in my opinion an unsung band, the marvellous Be Bop Deluxe with “Maid In Heaven”. The song featured on the bands ‘Futurama’ album from 1975. It was later used as the lead track on the Hot Valves EP and under that guise it reached number 36 in the UK singles chart. The band was formed in 1972 in Wakefield,  Yorkshire and the only constant member was leader and guitar hero Bill Nelson. It was Nelson that wrote “Maid In Heaven”. Paul Jeffreys was the bands bass player for a short time in the mid 70s. He also played with Cockney Rebel, the Warm Jets and the Electric Eels. He sadly lost his life aged just 36 as a passenger on Pan Am flight 103 which was brought down over Lockerbie in Scotland in 1988. Be Bop Deluxe 2012GarbagePR050412 Today’s second song comes from what I would consider to be another unsung band, although they did shine quite brightly from 1995 to the early ‘noughties’. Butch Vig, producer of the seminal Nirvana album ‘Nevermind’ was trying to put a band together during 1994 and decided that he would like to try things with a female vocalist. He and his friend Duke Erikson were shown a video of Shirley Manson singing with Angelfish and decided that she might be perfect for the band that became Garbage. I believe they were very much correct. The track I have selected is, rather obviously, “Milk” from the bands eponymously titled début album from 1995. (Hmmmmm, 1995 eh? Did Garbage precipitate the demise of the UK Dairy industry?) It was the fifth single to be released from that album, following “Vow”, “Only Happy When It Rains”, “Queer” and “Stupid Girl”. The album made it to number 6 in the UK and number 20 in the US, it did make it to the top of the chart in New Zealand though. The single of the song reached number 10 in the UK in late 1996 but failed to make the top 100 in the USA. It wasn’t the bands highest UK chart placing, they had five other top 10 hits. It did marginally climb higher than their James Bond theme song “The World Is Not Enough” from 1999, which stalled at number 11. The song is Shirley Manson’s favourite from the album and was written by Shirley, Butch Vig, Duke Erikson and Steve Marker. Some versions of the song feature some vocals from UK trip hop maestro Tricky. garbage-performing-live-21 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P99KwIZlsVY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALuZRsFaXas Garbage_live,_August_2012


Steve Harley at the Grand Opera House in York 28th May 2010 May 29, 2010

Last night I went to see Steve Harley off of Cockney Rebel at the Grand Opera House in York. I saw him there four or five years ago as well. He was excellent then and he was superb last night as well. He played some new stuff and classic oldies, not just the big hits. Stuff like “Sebastian”, “Judy Teen” and “Tumbling Down” both of which I love.

The band were excellent and include Stuart Elliott the original drummer from Cockney Rebel who formed the band with Steve in 1972. According to Wikipedia Steve is now 59, that makes me feel old, but also it seems at 51 I’m not far behind. The backing vocals were provided by the Lartey Sisters, they were also his support act. Well worth turning up on time for, unlike quite a number of people who stayed in the bar. Check them out on MySpace here. Every member of the band was on top form, a supremely skilled bunch. I thought the guitarist looked a little like Stephen King, which is fine with me as I am a massive King fan

He played two cover versions. “Here Comes The Sun” which he had a hit with in the 70s and also a Daniel Johnston song, which he handled really well

Steve Harley has a brilliant rapport with his audience and showed that with some of the between song banter and he also told a great story about busking in the early 70s. The song I was most pleased to hear again, because I haven’t heard it in ages was “Mr Raffles (Man It Was Mean)” Overall he was on stage for around two hours and as you might have guessed he climaxed with “(Come Up And See Me) Make Me Smile” He did mention how most local radio DJs and much of the press seem to assume that song is pretty much all he has done. But added some good words for Johnnie Walker and Steve Wright, both of whom in his opinion really ‘get it’ I’m not surprised either, I have always admired the brilliant Johnnie Walker.

So overall it was an excellent night, just like the last time and probably the next time as well! Well done and thanks to you Mr Harley!

Check out Steve’s official website here

You can purchase Steve’s new album by clicking here


“Cold fire, you’ve got everything but cold fire” February 22, 2009

Welcome to Sunday everyone, I hope you’re having a good weekend. I am, in fact I am slightly hungover today, but hey that’ll pass soon enough….. well I hope so anyway!

So on with the show then, today, 22nd February 2009 is the 36th birthday of Scott Phillips, drummer with Creed who had a US number one single with “With Arms Wide Open” in 2001. It also reached number 13 in the UK charts. It won a Grammy for best rock song too. He also played keyboards on Creed’s album “Weathered”. He is currently a member of Alter Bridge along with two other former members of Creed, Mark Tremonti and Brian Marshall. Creed were often dismissed by critics as a Christian rock band, however they were never signed to a Christian label, nor indeed did they play Christian venues. A number of their songs certainly suggest a strong interest in religion, but for me whatever their beliefs they were a damned good band. The rumour mill suggests that Creed may be getting back together this year. What are your thoughts on band reunions? I think some are great and some are dire, for example in my opinion the reunion of both the Specials and Blink 182 this year is excellent, however the reunion of Limp Bizkit………….. WHY?????

Creed had now moved wholesale into the decorating business

Creed had now moved wholesale into the decorating business

The last of todays birthdays is that of James Blunt, who is 35 today (although some sources suggest 32. Someone once remarked that it was no coincidence that his name rhymed with another but much more derogatory word than blunt. I’m not sure I’ve figured out what that word is so for now let’s just say he’s a bit of a runt. Although strangely enough his real name is in fact Blount, James Hillier Blount to be precise. I’m sure that you all know him much too well. For me the first time I heard “You’re Beautiful” I thought this is an ok kind of song, but then it was absolutely played to death by radio and in pretty much every clothes store in the land too. Personally I prefer the Weird Al Yankovic version entitled “You’re Pitiful” (click the title to hear it) and just to show that I am completely unbiased, after all this is James ‘The Runt” Blunt and not Robbie Williams, here is James with his song “1973” You may be aware that James served in the British army for six years, notably as part of the peacekeeping force in Kosovo in the late 90s. But did you know that he was also one of the Guards for the lying in state of the Queen Mother after her death in 2002, he was also a part of her funeral procession. I know that last point will interest my Mum, but I’m really not a fan of the Royal Family at all!

In spite of his apparent wealth James still couldn't afford a full set of clothes for his lady

In spite of his apparent wealth James still couldn't afford a full set of clothes for his lady

On this day in 1960 the Percy Faith Orchestra began a nine week stint at number one in the US chart with “Theme From A Summer Place” which also reached number two in the UK chart. This piece of music is very much a guilty pleasure of mine, I remember hearing it on the radio quite a few times when I was young and it is indeed on iTunes on my laptop, it hasn’t quite been promoted to my iPod just yet and it’s not in the 50 songs that make up my all time top 10 either. The music was written as the theme for a 1959 movie called, can you guess, “A Summer Place” The film starred Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue, Sandra went on to be immortalised in the song “Look At Me I’m Sandra Dee” in the Grease movie. Percy was a renowned band leader and often branded as a leading light among producers of ‘easy listening’ music. He was Canadian and died aged 67 in 1976

After months of practice Percy still couldn't get the "YMCA" dance right

After months of practice Percy still couldn't get the "YMCA" dance right

On this day in 1969 Tyrannosaurus Rex (soon to become T Rex) featuring the late great (those l and g’s have been quite busy this week haven’t they?) Marc Bolan were headlining at the Manchester Free Trade Hall in the UK. The support act was one Mister David Bowie who performed a one man mime act. But perhaps the less said about Mr Bowie’s acting the better! Anyway Bolan and Bowie were good friends for quite a few years before either of them found fame. In fact at one point in the sixties they shared the job of painting Ken Pitt’s apartment, he was their manager. Bolan had success before Bowie and helped out his old friend by playing guitar on Bowies single “The Prettiest Star“. This single is still a sought after collectors piece. It’s a good song too, in fact Bowie rerecorded it for the Aladdin Sane album in 1973

Bolan and Bowie together for what became Marc's last ever TV appearance before his untimely death in September 1977. Look closely and you'll notice that is was also before any work on Bowie's teeth too

Bolan and Bowie together for what became Marc's last ever TV appearance before his untimely death in September 1977. Look closely and you'll notice that is was also before any work on Bowie's teeth too

On this day in 1975 Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel achieved their only UK number one single with the excellent “Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)“. I just had another idea for a special edition blog, how about songs with parentheses (that’ll be brackets to the less well read amongst you, to anyone else they’re the little curly things at each end of this sentence). “Make Me Smile” has been used for two UK national TV advertising campaigns; Carlsberg Lager in 1995 and more recently for Marks and Spencer in 2005. It remains one of the most played songs on UK radio. I finally got to see Mr Harley in concert in 2005 at the Royal Opera House in York, he was very good, I would certainly see him again given the chance.

Steve wondered why all the other boys dressed in blue

Steve wondered why all the other boys dressed in blue

And finally on this day in 2002 the drummer Ronnie Verrell died aged 77. He worked with many different people including Tom Jones, the Strawbs and Phil Everly. But most people have probably heard him without even knowing it, for Ronnie is the man who provided all the drum licks for the Muppet Shows in-house drummer, Animal! Here is Animal himself drumming for Rita Moreno on “Fever“, an excellent clip from the Muppet Show

Animal drummer for the Muppet Show House Band

Animal drummer for the Muppet Show House Band

The late great Ronnie Verrell stunt double drummer for Animal from the Muppets

The late great Ronnie Verrell stunt double drummer for Animal from the Muppets

Has anyone ever said that you resembled one of the Muppets or perhaps a cartoon character? Well a number of people have said that I look something like Sam the Bald Eagle from the Muppet Show. I don’t have blue skin, so is it cos I is bald? This link goes back to my youth and more recently even Catwoman made the same remark. Anyway here is Sam the most handsome and intelligent Muppet!

Sam The Bald Eagle or perhaps it really is William? Answers on a postcard, or maybe in the blog comments

Sam The Bald Eagle or perhaps it really is William? Answers on a postcard, or maybe in the blog comments

I hope you enjoyed yet another day of full on trivia bombardment and until we meet again tomorrow I bid you farewell good trivia fans 🙂



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