With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“Move to the flow of the pyramid blaster” – Advent post day 3 December 3, 2013


8162440-number-3--christmas-tree-decoration--part-of-a-full-set

Are you ready to open the next box on the advent calendar? What delightful chocolate awaits us? well none actually because this is the With Just A Hint Of Mayhem Advent Calendar blog post for 3rd December so instead of chocolate you’ll get two songs. Incidentally what advent calendar do you have at home? Does it contain sweets or chocolate? Mine is a Spiderman one and Catwoman, my lovely wife, has a Maltesers calendar.

Is Mr Richie wearing a Christmas jumper?

Is Mr Richie wearing a Christmas jumper?

The first of todays number themed songs is the Commodores smash hit from 1978, “Three Times A Lady”. The song which was written by Lionel Richie was a number one in the UK and the US. It comes from their album ‘Natural High’. Personally I preferred their more funky efforts and this song for me saw the band and indeed Mr Richie plunge into some bland identikit ballad territory. Songs such as “Still” and “Hello” just didn’t do it for me. I do love a good ballad though and the Commodores have some that are far better than “Three Times A Lady”. In particular “Just To Be Close To You”. “Three Times A Lady” has been covered by artists as diverse as Cobra Starship, Kenny Rogers, Conway Twitty and Bill Bailey. Bill included a German translation of the song in his Part Troll live show. I first saw the Commodores when they supported the Jackson 5 in 1972. Yes I really am that old!

The+KLF

The second song on todays posts comes from one of my favourite acts of all time; the Kopyright Liberation Front, better known as the KLF and sometimes the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu or the JAMMs. This sadly short-lived band was the brainchild of Bill Drummond and Jim Cauty. Drummond co-founded Zoo Records and was also manager of Echo and the Bunnymen and the Teardrop Explodes. In addition to the music the KLF were also infamous for acts of art terrorism which included burning a million pounds on a remote Scottish island. The song I have chosen is the bands only UK number one as the KLF “3 a.m. Eternal (Live At The S.S.L)” from 1990. They also hit the UK number one spot in 1988 as the Timelords with “Doctorin’ The Tardis“. This was apparently achieved by following the rules set out in their book; ‘The Manual (How To Have A Number One The Easy Way)’. Remaining true to their words Cauty and Drummond by withdrawing their back catalogue from sale. This remains the case for most of the world, although some copies of their output are produced via Arista in the USA.

Pyramid_Blaster

 

“I wish the world were truly happy living as one” December 24, 2011


Happy Christmas dear readers and good people of the blogosphere. This is the last post in my ABC of Motown Advent Calendar. It’s the 24th December and technically that means the letter Y, but I’ll throw in X and Z for free along with a couple of Motown Christmas songs. The big bearded dude in red arrives on his venison powered sleigh tomorrow. I hope that you get everything you want this Christmas and more importantly I hope that you have a really enjoyable Yule.

The first song for the letter X has been a tough one to find. But I have found one, I know hardly anything about it so if you have any information feel free to get in touch. I do feel like I’ve cheated you a little though, the song is called “Xmas Twist” although the chorus uses the proper phrase ‘Christmas Twist’. The song was released by a group calling themselves the Twisting Kings. So clearly no cynical tie-in with a popular dance craze then! The song was written by Berry Gordy and Barney Ales. Gordy was the producer for the song which was released in November 1961. It can be found on a couple of compilation albums to my knowledge; #A Motown Christmas Volume 2′  and ‘The Complete Motown Singles Vol. 1 1959-1961’ released in 2001 and 2005 respectively.

For the letter Y I have chosen a song from a superb act who haven’t yet appeared in this ABC of Motown. It’s Gladys Knight and the Pips with “You Need Love Like I Do (Don’t You)”. The most memorable line up from the Pips included her brother Merald ‘Bubba’ Knight and two of her cousins; Edward Patten and William Guest. Her first pitch at fame came when she won a local TV talent show aged 7 in 1952.Gladys and the Pips were the first Motown act to record the classic song “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” which they took to number two in the US charts. In their early Motown career they were the opening act for Diana Ross and the Supremes. It is alleged that Diana had them kicked off the tour because Gladys and the Pips were far more powerful a talent and probably a very tough act to follow.  “You Need Love Like I Do” was an US hit in 1970 reaching number 25 in the Billboard charts and number 3 in the US R & B charts. It never charted in the UK. The song was another from the talented song writing partnership of Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong. It was also recorded by the Temptations.

The final song from my ABC of Motown selection is a rather well-known album track from the Commodores who made an appearance in this Advent Calendar with the letter J on December 10th, click here to read it. The song is “Zoom” and should not be confused with the Fat Larry’s Band song of the same name. It was never released as a single in the US but made it to number 38 in the UK charts in 1978. The album it came from was released in 1977 and in the US it was called ‘Commodores’ whilst in the UK it was called ‘Zoom’. The song was written by Lionel Richie and Ronald LaPraed from the band. The album also included two other Commodores classics in “Brick House” and “Easy”. Fergie sampled “Zoom” on her ‘Duchess’ album on the track “All That I Got (The Make-Up Song)”

Finally let me wish you a Happy Christmas once again and to finish please enjoy two of my favourite Motown Christmas songs from the Jackson 5 and then Stevie Wonder.

Incidentally if you’d like to know the songs that came before in the ABC of Motown Advent Calendar, here they are;

  1. ABC – Jackson 5
  2. Bernadette – Four Tops
  3. Cloud Nine – Temptations
  4. Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) – Frank Wilson
  5. Endless Love – Diana Ross & Lionel Richie
  6. Farewell Is A Lonely Sound – Jimmy Ruffin
  7. Gotta See Jane – R Dean Taylor
  8. How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You – Marvin Gaye
  9. I’m In A Different World – Four Tops
  10. Just To Be Close To You – Commodores
  11. Keep On Truckin’ – Eddie Kendricks
  12. Let’s Get Serious – Jermaine Jackson
  13. Money – Barrett Strong
  14. Needle In A Haystack – Velvelettes
  15. Ooo Baby Baby – Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
  16. Pops We Love You – Various
  17. Quicksand – Martha Reeves & the Vandellas
  18. Rockin’ Robin – Michael Jackson
  19. Superstition – Stevie Wonder
  20. Take Me Girl I’m Ready – Junior Walker & the All Stars
  21. Up The Ladder To The Roof – Supremes
  22. The Night – Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (this is the only one based on artist name rather than song)
  23. War – Edwin Starr
 

“You see you’re my heart, you’re soul you’re my stone inspiration” December 10, 2011


It’s December 10th and that Saint Nick dude is getting closer and appropriately enough todays song on the ABC of Motown Advent Calendar is about being close. It is one of my favourite songs from the Commodores and it’s called “Just To Be Close To You”. I only saw the Commodores live on one occasion and that was back in November 1973 at my first ever gig where they were supporting the Jackson 5.

When released in 1976 the song reached number 7 in the US Billboard chart but was a number 1 in the US R & B Chart. Sadly it could only limp to number 62 in the UK chart. Like many of the bands hits it was written by Lionel Richie. The band was originally called the Mystics and decided that they needed a new name. William King a founder member who is still with the band decided to open the dictionary at a random page and point a finger at a random word on that page. Obviously that word was commodore. King is quoted as saying ‘We lucked out, we almost became the commodes’

Whilst the band left Motown in 1986 Lionel Richie stayed and went on to even greater success, although personally I have always preferred the more rough and funky sound of the earlier Commodores material. The band is still around and continue to play live.

 

“Well she really fills her clothes from head to toe, I want the world to know I love her, love her so” December 11, 2010


reet petite asleep perhaps?

It’s December 1986 and a song that was recorded nearly 30 years before makes it to the top of the chart and also 3 years after it’s singer died. Can you guess what we’ll find when we open the December 11th Cardboard flap on my UK Christmas Number Ones Advent Calendar? It’s the truly stupendous Jackie Wilson with “Reet Petite”. Back in the 70s this was always one of the favourite songs of my mate Glen’s Dad Bill Voisey.

Jackie meets Elvis

Jackie Wilson was a truly gifted vocalist. How can people not be moved by  “Your Love Has Lifted Me Higher And Higher” and “I Get The Sweetest Feeling“. In 1985 Wilson was mentioned in the post Lionel Richie Commodores hit “Night Shift” along with the likes of Marvin Gaye. Wilson was mentioned in quite a few songs and in fact “Reet Petite” was given reference in David Bowie’sRed Money” from the 1979 album ‘The Lodger’. “Reet Petite” was number one for 4 weeks including the Christmas of 1986. Jackie’s cousin was Levi Stubbs Jr off of the Four Tops, probably one of my favourite vocalists of all time and very sadly missed.

The song also made the top slot in Ireland and Holland, enjoy the video below, after some other Jackie Wilson classics

 

“Cause only two of you had dinner, I found your credit card receipt” January 16, 2010


I was reading the Guardian newspaper earlier today and chanced upon a rather amusing article about the music tastes of what many might consider the more evil of our world leaders. The article itself can be found by clicking here.

I thought he might have been more of a Master Of Puppets period Metallica fan

In a nutshell here are the favourite artists of our favourite despots, or as one Guardian headline put it; The Axes Of Evil

Osama Bin Laden – Whitney Houston. So why don’t we send Whitney to the badlands between Afghanistan and Pakistan and just ask her to sing “Saving All My Love For You” especially for Osama. He’d be in her arms faster than a cruise missile

Where's Osama? Just send Whitney! It's not right but it's ok

Robert Mugabe – Cliff Richard. Now here’s the thing, apparently at the Zimbabwe Independence Concert in 1980 Mugabe was disappointed that Bob Marley was chosen to headline, he considered him somewhat scruffy and allegedly would have preferred the more wholesome Cliff Richard. Clearly Mugabe wasn’t aware of Bob Marley’s tireless efforts to gain justice for Africa. However I’m sure Mr Marley would be sickened by what Mugabe has done subsequently. Here is Bob Marley singing “Zimbabwe” in Zimbabwe in 1980

She said son you be a dictator boy and make your enemies paaaay! (to the tune of Sir Cliff's "Bachelor Boy")

Colonel Gaddafi – Lionel Richie. I can now imagine the Colonel rocking around his tent to Lionel’s “Dancing On The Ceiling” or perhaps “Machine Gun” by the Commodores might be more appropriate

Judging from his body guards you'd think he might have preferred the Supremes or the Three Degrees

Nick Griffin – Kate Rusby. Clearly a very, very, very long way from being a world leader, but definitely a bigoted racist arsehole who is not as bright as he thinks he is. It is interesting that his choice of British Folk Music is perhaps the whitest form of music in the UK. However even the folkies have a Folk Against Facism Movement. So once again the racist thugs of the BNP get it wrong. Maybe we should organise a Political Celebrity Death Match between Nick Griffin and Robert Mugabe, in the hope that both might pop their clogs

Nick was devastated when he realised he couldn't play his records because they were black, if only he'd bought the special edition white vinyl versions. Still he could now agree with the majority of people in Britain, that he is indeed a complete tosser

Kim Jong-Il – Eric Clapton. I wonder when we will hear them say Kim Jong-Well or will he always be sick? I can now only ever picture Kim as his puppet in the wonderful ‘Team America’ movie. I wonder what his favourite Clapton song is?

Kim always liked to listen to a bit of Slowhand when he took time for a little "Slow Hand" of his own 😉

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – Chris De Burgh. A member of Dubya’s so called Axis Of Evil and potential owner of nuclear weapons. But frankly how can you take him seriously now you know he listens to that bloody awful “Lady In Red“?

Just one more dig at Lady In Red and I'll rip my wig off and shove it right where the nuclear reactors don't shine!

 

“So tonight gotta leave that nine to five upon the shelf and just enjoy yourself” June 26, 2009


OK so I haven’t posted much lately but I couldn’t let a momentous event like the death of Michael Jackson go by without posting could I? As many of you know the first gig I ever saw was the Jackson 5 at the Wembley Empire Pool (now known as the WembleyArena). I went with a school friend, Brian Taylor who later found fame as an incredibly talented drummer for the Tom Robinson Band and the Stiff Little Fingers amongothers. (Brian if by some weird twist of fate you’re actually reading this feel free to get in touch). The importance of the group to Motown was apparent in the choice of support acts; Junior Walker and the All Stars and a pre-fame Commodores.

Sadly I actually had a jacket similar to that, but it was the 70s!

Sadly I actually had a jacket similar to that, but it was the 70s!

If my memory serves me well the Jackson 5 had recently released the fabulous “Looking Through The Windows” single, which I still love to this day. In fact I still play a few Jackson 5 songs in my DJ sets. Most recently I ran “I Want You Back” next to “ABC“. Indeed the former has been the ring tone on my mobile phone for months now. Those early J5 songs were fantastically produced, supremely well written and perhaps most importantly performed so brilliantly. I think that at the time, perhaps because I was pretty much the same age as Michael Jackson (he was born in August 1958 and I was born in January 1959) the J5 were by far my favourite group. I’m not ashamed to admit either that I used to mime to those early singles in front of the mirror using my hairbrush (for in those days not only did I possess one I actually needed to use it) as a microphone. Go on there must be more of you who did that kind of thing, like maybe miming to Hendrix using your tennis racket as a guitar? Post a comment about it, let’s have a series of ‘Confessions Of A Teenage Mime Artist’

Mike on the mic

Mike on the mic

Anyway back to the late great Michael Jackson as the J5 was the first live act I ever saw (I’m not counting the dreadful covers bands that played in hotels when my folks took me to Spain as a youngster – “Guantanamera” in-bloody-deed!) I was always going to interested in them to some degree. I followed their recording career quite closely throughout the 70s. Stuff like “Dancing Machine” is excellent. Then they left Motown to join Epic and produced some great stuff there too, for me the best being “Enjoy Yourself” and “Show You The Way To Go“. I felt that from around 1972 until “Off The Wall” Michael’s solo releases were at best patchy. But when “Off The Wall” hit the record racks that has to be the moment he began to ascend the stairs to super-stardom. He probably reached a level of fame that no one else ever has. In terms of fame he was probably far bigger than the Beatles or Elvis ever were. That level of celebrity must bring such pressure to bear on the way you need to live your life and maybe that’s perhaps where things began to go a little awry. Now is not the time to discuss the allegations of child abuse and whether I believe he was guilty or not is irrelevant. But I will say that it might have been better if he wasn’t surrounded by ‘yes men’ who did nothing to control his excesses. Did those people really care about him or about their own wealth? I’ll let you make your own minds up on that one! What is undeniable though is that he was one of the most talented individuals ever to have graced the world of music. His contemporaries from an age perspective at least were Madonna and Prince. Both of them are also supremely talented, but on the same level as MJ? I don’t think so. I reckon that Michael would probably appear in the top tens of more music fans than any other artist. What do you think dear readers?

A still from the Billie Jean video

A still from the Billie Jean video

The ‘Off The Wall’ album was the first in what proved in my opinion at least to be a trilogy of his greatest recordings. This was followed by the juggernaut that was ‘Thriller’ and then by the underrated (in my opinion) ‘Bad’. After that I never felt he reached those artistic highs again and I’m not sure that he ever would, but now we’ll never know will we?

‘Thriller’ sold in excess of 50 million copies worldwide, I wonder how many more copies will be sold now he has died? Remember that people tend to buy lots of product of immediately deceased stars. Just recall all the hits that Elvis and John Lennon had after they died, in some cases many years after they died

A still from the Zombie dance in the Thriller video

A still from the Zombie dance in the Thriller video

I would like to think that history looks reasonably kindly on Michael Jackson. He was a truly talented individual and yes he had flaws, some allegedly quite serious. But then how many of us can say we are completely flawless?

So let’s celebrate MJ’s life with another view of his superb performance at the Motown 25th Anniversary show in 1983. Click here to see it. Additionally Mojo Magazine has an excellent collection of Jacko videos on their website, click here to see them.

Also did any of you ever see his collaboration with my favourite author, Stephen King? It was a short but superb movie called “Ghosts”

I happened to visit HMV at lunchtime today and oh boy have they moved quickly. Nothing but Jacko on the sound system and stacks of his CDs now occupying prime positions in the store whereas last week they were all in the sale items (2 for £10). I know that sales people are often seen as cynical but to do that so soon after the guy is dead really takes the biscuit!

The tributes from other celebrities are quite interesting too, here are some words from Celine Dion; “He was not only a talented person, but he was unique – a genius. It’s such a loss. It feels like when Kennedy died.” Now it’s kinda strange that she seems to remember how that felt when Kennedy was killed in 1963 and Ms Dion wasn’t born until 1968.

Thanks to Popbitch for the following  joke I know that the usual crop of sick jokes are doing the rounds as well, but I actually found this one quite amusing, here goes, but don’t read it if you think you might feel just a little bit offended ok. You have been warned;

There will be a post-mortem today to determine which was the cause of death:

A) Sunshine B) Moonlight C) Good Times D) Boogie

And a bit of fun to try and cheer up Jacko’s fans, here is an excellent Bollywood version of Thriller (thanks again to Popbitch for pointing this one out too)

Overall the BBC coverage of Michael’s death has been excellent, check it out here.

As a bit of an epilogue to this story I actually received my 15 minutes of fame this morning (well more like 15 seconds actually) when I made a brief appearance on BBC Radio York (thank you to Liam for arranging that!) this morning to comment on MJ and how it was the first gig I’d ever seen.

 

 
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