With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

The David Bowie World Fan Convention 2022 – Day 3 June 19, 2022


Just how did the final day of the rather spiffing David Bowie World Convention come around so quickly? I really don’t know, but here it is. the day kicked off really well as I managed to complete a great set of autographs in the “Little People, Big Dreams – David Bowie” (written by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara and illustrated by Ana Albero) for my 18-month-old grandson Leo. The book has dedications for Leo from John Cambridge, Woody Woodmansey, Donny McCaslin, Gail Ann Dorsey, Robin Clark, and Carlos Alomar. Carlos was kind enough to add a cartoon self-portrait. I plan to teach Leo everything I know about Dame David! I suspect that after the excellent Bowie Ball on Saturday night that there were a few sore heads in the audience for Sunday, but the schedule was busy and exciting.

Jonathan Barnbrook
Pegg, Duffy, Auliac, O’Regan

First up were a couple of very interesting and informative short films presented by the curators of the David Bowie Is exhibition, Victoria Broackes, and Geoffrey Marsh. This was followed by Jonathan Barnbrook a supremely talented designer who created the cover for Bowie’s final two albums and Heathen to name just a few. Not only is he a great designer he is also a confident and eloquent raconteur. His sense of humour is magnificent and frankly right up my street! After that Kevin Cann was back to facilitate a conversation with the owner and creator of the Duffy Archive, Chris Duffy. Chris is a talented photographer in his own right and his father was the person behind the iconic ‘Aladdin Sane’ album. Chris talked about his childhood, his father, Bowie, and many of the artists he has photographed. Very entertaining indeed! Chris returned for the next session in which Nicholas Pegg was in conversation with Mr. Duffy, Phillipe Auliac, and Denis O’Regan. It was pleasing to hear Phillipe say that it was him who shot Bowie not doing a Nazi salute at Victoria Station in 1976. I was there and there most definitely was not a nazi salute. The press turned a snapshot into a vile slur. O’Regan’s memories were enlightening, especially his story about the on-stage feuds between Mick and Keef. The final session was Nicholas Pegg in conversation with the obscenely talented Donny McCaslin. Donny went into great depths about the creation of ‘Black Star’ and the ‘No Plan’ EP. We learned that while Donny is a master of many instruments, the piccolo is not one of them. Donny shared some demos of his new project which is performing ‘Black Star’ and other Bowie songs with a full concert orchestra. The plan is for it to be performed for the first time in the US in September. Even the demos sounded magical, they made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end and I was washed with wonderfully warm emotions. Donny closed his session with a solo sax performance of, I think, “Warszawa”. Every session has been incredibly good, (apart from the NFT presentation on Friday), but I think Donny’s just about shaded it for me as the best of the whole weekend. Before we left we were treated to seeing all the remaining guests appear on stage as a final thank you.

Donny McCaslin

The 2nd David Bowie World Fan Convention is planned for June 2023 in New York, sadly I won’t be able to make that, but I am so glad I made it to Liverpool for this one. We met some great people, especially top bloke and our new friend Jeremy. Perhaps a slight disappointment was not being able to get into the incredibly limited capacity Bowie Quiz at Phase One. But that is minor and did not spoil a truly spectacular weekend!

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The David Bowie World Fan Convention 2022 – Day 1 June 17, 2022


Day 1 of the David Bowie World Fan Convention was good. Nicholas Pegg, writer, actor, Dalek, Twitter star, and wonderful interviewer facilitated sessions with Gail Ann Dorsey, Woody Woodmansey, RobinClark, and Carlos Alomar. Gail Ann Dorsey is an all-around wonderful human being she was really open about how sometimes she felt worried that she wasn’t very good. I have seen her play live and she is supremely talented! Woody Woodmansey has absolutely hilarious and extremely honest. Carlos Alomar was interviewed with his wonderful wife Robin Clark, what a stunning voice she has! They both came across as great people. I even got to ask them a question: “I was lucky enough to see David Bowie play live quite a few times from 1976 to 2004 and in every show, it seemed like Bowie and everyone on stage with him were really enjoying themselves, so what was your funniest moment on stage with David?” It was quite a brilliant but long reply focussing on Bowie’s sense of humour and how he turned Robin and Carlos on to British humour, including Monty Python. I thanked them both and added “nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition”. I was so pleased when Robin guffawed and looked over at me and said “Touche”, my day was made!

The evening drinks reception for us VIP guests at the British Music Experience in the Cunard Building was great, I will definitely be coming back to spend more time there, probably early next year with my delightful wife Catherine a.k.a Catwoman! A big shout out to a new friend and Bowie fanatic Jeremy too. His suggestion that I should dress up as the Laughing Gnome for the Bowie Ball tomorrow night was brilliant, I just wish that I thought of that ages ago! You can find a rather delightful video of me and Jeremy dancing to Madonna’s “Vogue” at the BME on the Mayhem Twitter account, our performance will definitely scare Madonna! Day 2 is looking good too, John Cambridge, Kevin Cann, and more from Gail, Woody, Robin, and Carlos!

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The David Bowie World Fan Convention 2022 – Day -1 June 16, 2022

Filed under: Observation — justwilliam1959 @ 8:10 pm
Tags: , , ,

Hello constant readers and music lovers, I am now in the fantastic city of Liverpool with my wonderful wife Catherine (a.k.a. Catwoman) for the David Bowie World fan Convention 2022. Three days of immersion into the extraordinary life and work of Dame David. I will get the opportunity to interact with many people who worked with Mr. Bowie, including Woody Woodmansey, Gail Ann Dorsey, Carlos Alomar, and many others like Nicholas Pegg who wrote the marvellous ‘The Complete David Bowie’ Perhaps it is quite fitting that I am writing this on the 50th anniversary of the release of the iconic ‘Ziggy Stardust’ album too. Is there anything you would like me to ask any of the guests? Just message me if there is and I will do my best to get a response for you. We have VIP tickets so that means early entry to most things. We are also looking forward to Saturday night and the star-studded Bowie Ball, we will be making extra effort to look like strange ones, maybe I will even dye my beard, paint my nails, and put on some makeup. There will be pictures! I will not be dressing like any particular period Bowie, our theme will come from a classic Bowie lyric, but I promise you that what Catwoman and I turn up in will be colourful! I plan to post daily about this wonderful event. Are any of you going? If so give me a shout! Love on ya xxx Bill

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The Mayhem Monthly Top 20 Song Chart – May 2022 June 9, 2022


Here comes the third monthly Mayhem Top 20 Song Chart. This month’s number one is from a band that has featured on this site quite a few times and will continue to do so if they keep up the superb quality of their great music and live shows. They scraped into the artist chart at number 20 back in March. But now they follow Prairie Brigade and the Hazy Janes to hit the top spot in the song chart. Who am I talking about? A fabulous York band called Vaquelin with their current single “Roads Leading Nowhere”. They managed to hold off competition from Harry Styles who sits at number 2. There are a lot of oldies in this month’s chart, including Bill Withers, Love, Steely Dan, the O’Jays, the Clash, Mike and the Mechanics, Traffic, and the Sex Pistols. T.Rex take “Metal Guru into the top 20 for the second time in three months, it hit number 20 in March and sits at number 18 for May. David Bowie makes it three entries in a row and Roxy Music appear for their second month in a row. The oldest release on the list is “Alone Again Or”, a 1968 UK hit from Love at number 8. A really eerie cover of Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” by M Ward hits number 6 and my favourite Professor Elemental song, “I Love Libraries” gets to number seven. There are also appearances from Leeds band Astoria at a very creditable number 4, the Institutes, Let’s Eat Grandma, and Kendrick Lamar. Eight artists featured in the Mayhem Top 20 Artist chart for May also feature on this list. We would love to hear your thoughts on the Mayhem Song Top 20 Chart as we hope to make it a regular feature. Check out the complete list below.

1 Roads Leading Nowhere – Vaquelin
2 Music For A Sushi Restaurant – Harry Styles
3 Goodbye Mr. Blue – Father John Misty
4 (Don’t) Turn Around – Astoria
5 Use Me (Live) – Bill Withers
6 Let’s Dance – M Ward
7 I Love Libraries – Professor Elemental
8 Alone Again Or – Love
9 Haitian Divorce – Steely Dan
10 All That You’ll Ever Know – The Institutes
11 The Living Years – Mike and the Mechanics
12 London Calling – The Clash
13 Pyjamarama – Roxy Music
14 I Dig Your Act – O’Jays
15 What In The World – David Bowie
16 United In Grief – Kendrick Lamar
17 Happy New Year – Let’s Eat Grandma
18 Metal Guru – T Rex
19 Freedom Rider – Traffic
20 Anarchy In The UK – Sex Pistols

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The Mayhem Monthly Top 20 Artist Chart – May 2022 June 7, 2022


The Mayhem Artist Top 20 artist chart for May 2022 is here. Many of you know that I am a keen user of a site called Obscurify. It claims to tell you how obscure your listening on Spotify is. Compared to the rest of the UK I achieved a level of only 96% more obscure than other users in the UK this month, one point up from last month’s 95%. Regular readers will know that it also lists my most obscure artists, (two of which had been there since I began doing these posts, although for the first time ever Woke Up Dead and Promethium are not on that list! Sorry chaps) which currently are;

Gene (The best British band of the Britpop era in my opinion, back for a second month)

Har Mar Superstar (American modern disco maestro and supremely good live act)

Astoria (A fine young band from Leeds who were recently featured in our Mayhem Virgins series)

Vaquelin (One of York’s finest young bands. They will definitely be in the Mayhem Song chart for May 2022 when it is posted soon. Check out their latest video below too)

Matty Groove (An incredibly talented beatboxer who I recently saw supporting Professor Elemental)

As for the May Top 20, only Dame David remains from the last chart, but he drops from number one to number six. Other classic artists include Sex Pistols (at number one), Pink Floyd, Lou Reed, Elvis Costello, John Lennon, and The Clash. A few would giants make an appearance too including Bill Withers and the Four Tops. I learned in Uncut magazine this month that somewhere out there is an unreleased album that the Tops recorded with Norman Whitfield. Who do we need to speak to about getting that released? There is quite an eclectic mix here for May: Father John Misty, OMD, Steve Earle, Professor Elemental, and The The. Harry Styles rocked up at number 14 in April and hits number two in May. I am most definitely a Harry Styles fan, he is a hugely talented artist and I bloody love his music! I would love to hear your thoughts on this chart. Oh and keep your eyes open for the third Mayhem Monthly Song Chart, just like an old-school top 20 singles chart! That one includes songs by a few of the artists featured in the April Artist Chart. Will one of this month’s obscure artists get the coveted number one in the song chart? Maybe, but you will find out soon!

1 Sex Pistols
2 Harry Styles
3 Pink Floyd
4 Bill Withers
5 Four Tops
6 David Bowie
7 Father John Misty
8 The Institutes
9 Steve Earle
10 Arcade Fire
11 Lou Reed
12 Daryl Hall & John Oates
13 Elvis Costello
14 The Clash
15 Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
16 John Lennon
17 Yelawolf
18 The The
19 Professor Elemental
20 Linda Ronstadt

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The Mayhem Monthly Top 20 Song Chart – March 2022 April 11, 2022


We have been publishing our Mayhem Top 20 Artist Chart for a while now, so it’s about time we hit you with our top 20 song chart right? We promised you this in the last Artist Top 20 and here it is! The inaugural Mayhem Top 20 Song chart. Who will be on the hotlist? Who will be number one? Read on to find out! Well it won’t be a traditional old skool run down from 20 to 1, we thought we’d hit you with number one first and it is………. Prairie Brigade with “Is This How The World Ends”. York singer-songwriter Rubby Addy is a close second with her gorgeous tune “Roadkill”. Meanwhile, Bang Bang Romeo follow up their chart-topping of the Mayhem Artist Top 20 appearance for March with a very respectable number three placing. The oldest release on the list is “Metal Guru” by T. Rex at number 20. Eight of the artists who featured in the Mayhem Top 20 Artist chart for March also feature on this list. We would love to hear your thoughts on the Mayhem Song Top 20 Chart as we hope to make it a regular feature. Check out the complete list below.

1 Is This How The World Ends – Prairie Brigade
2 Roadkill – Ruby Addy
3 Cemetery – Bang Bang Romeo
4 Edge Of The World – Last Of The Fallen Angels
5 Ride Home – Katy Hurt
6 You Belong – Set Your Sights
7 Mansard Roof – Vampire Weekend
8 ROCK$TAR – Police Car Collective
9 Sunday – David Bowie
10 Colourful White Lies – Electric High
11 Pieces – Revivalry
12 I Thought I Knew It All – Marq Electronica
13 Wilder Days – Morgan Wade
14 Barbara Streisand – Phonomatiq
15 Fool Britannia – The Undercover Hippy
16 Rhubarb – Childcare
17 I Wanna Be By Your Side – Na’eemah Harper
18 Little Bit Broken – Hattie Briggs
19 If You Get To Hell First – Fury
20 Metal Guru – T Rex

We love our readers so much we have even created a Spotify Playlist of the Mayhem Song Top 20 for March 2022. Click here to give it a spin!

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The Mayhem Monthly Top 20 Artist Chart – March 2022 April 6, 2022


Here we go with the Mayhem Artist Top 20 chart for March 2022. Many of you know that I am a keen user of a site called Obscurify. It claims to tell you how obscure your listening on Spotify is. Compared to the rest of the UK I achieved a level of 100% more obscure than other users in the UK. Although that has since dropped to 99%. Regular readers will know that it also lists my most obscure artists, (the top two of which have been there since I began doing these posts) which currently are;

Woke Up Dead (One of the two bands that have been ever-present in my obscure list and an excellent band to boot!)

Promethium (This metal bunch continues to fly the flag for great British rock and like Woke Up Dead have been ever-present in this obscure team)

PhonoMatiq – Billy Paul Williams’ a.k.a. Phonomatiq came to be here thanks to a rather strange tune called “Barbara Streisand” which I have listened to quite a lot

Heartsink -One of York’s best young bands and most definitely York’s best pop-punk band!

Muda – cinematic electronic synth-led modern classics from Ireland. I came across them purely by chance and what a find!

As for the March Top 20, only Dame David remains from the last chart, but he has been a bit of a constant from the start. Other classic artists include Barry White, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Vampire Weekend and R.E.M. But there is the first entry, straight in at number one, for the amazing Bang Bang Romeo, a band that I came to quite late. But I am so glad that I found them! They are an incredible rock band from Yorkshire and Anastasia Walker’s voice is in a league of its own! Here is that all-important top 20. There are quite a few appearances from artists that have never appeared before in addition to Bang Bang Romeo. These include Police Car Collective (I saw them at Leeds Fest last year, bloody stunning), Mik Artistik’s Ego Trip, (I was lucky enough to witness Mik in all his live glory in York a few weeks ago), Hattie Briggs (she was discovered by Alfie Boe busking at Paddington Station) and Koffee (new reggae star with great reverence for Robert Nesta Marley). Ukrainian band Antytila are in at number 16. They asked to have a live link slot at a recent Concert For Ukraine in the UK and I heard the organisers turned them down as it would have been too political!!!! WTAF???? There are even a few country artists too, Katy Hurt, Morgan Wade and Leah Blevins. At number 20 you’ll find an incredible York band, Vaquelin, check out their first album, ‘Where Dreams Hurt’! I would love to hear your thoughts on this chart. Oh and keep your eyes open for a new addition to the Mayhem Monthly Artist Chart. Very soon we will bring you the Mayhem Monthly Song Chart, almost like an old school top 20 singles chart! That one includes songs by eight of the artists in the March Artist Chart.

1 Bang Bang Romeo
2 Katy Hurt
3 David Bowie
4 Hattie Briggs
5 Vampire Weekend
6 Barry White
7 Police Car Collective
8 Leah Blevins
9 Koffee
10 Mik Artistik’s Ego Trip
11 Pink Floyd
12 Morgan Wade
13 The Surfing Magazines
14 A Will Away
15 Hard Feelings
16 Antytila
17 Led Zeppelin
18 R.E.M
19 Childcare
20 Vaquelin

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“Everything has changed. For in truth, it’s the beginning of an end” March 10, 2022

Filed under: Observation — justwilliam1959 @ 3:29 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Regular readers know that I am a huge David Bowie fan, in fact, fellow Bowie fans will know that the blog title is taken from a 70s Bowie lyric. Mr. Bowie is easily my most listened to artist regardless of my mood. His music has helped me through so many periods of my life from extreme sadness to extreme happiness and everything in between. My “go-to” Bowie album in recent years has been ‘Heathen’ from 2002. When I first heard it in June 2002 I really believed that many of the songs were in response to the awful events of 9/11 around nine months before it was released. Bowie himself said categorically that this was not the case and I have a number of bootleg studio recordings that show quite a few of the songs on ‘Heathen‘ were initially tried out during the earlier ‘Toy’ sessions. This all proves that it almost certainly wasn’t written and recorded in response to 9/11.

Tribute in lights illuminates downtown in New York, NY on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016. Photo by Jin Lee,9/11 Memorial

I am writing this small piece based on how what is happening in Ukraine right now is permeating so many of my thoughts and no doubt many of yours too. When I was feeling particularly low last week I put together a playlist of songs that spoke of word war 3, armageddon, or the apocalypse. Then I had a word with myself and said don’t be so fucking depressive about it. Music can make us feel better in so many cases. So I started listening to ‘Heathen’ again. In particular: “Sunday”, “Slip Away”, “5:15 The Angels Have Gone” and “Everyone Says ‘Hi'”. Both lyrically and for the mood of the music, these are the tracks that made me originally think the album was a response to 9/11. There are obvious New York references on “Slip Away” (“Drags his bones to see the Yankees play” and “Sailing over Coney Island“) and there is a positivity about coming to terms with loss in “Everyone Says ‘Hi'”. But the song that I have played most is “Sunday”, which opens the album, it has a sad and sombre feel to it and I believe the lyrics can be seen as very positive or very negative, maybe that would depend on your mood. There is also a feeling that this song might be written in terms of a human, or even an animal, coming to terms with a post-apocalyptic world. It also has some apparent religious references which do crop up from time to time in Bowie’s songs.

“Everything has changed
For in truth, it’s the beginning of nothing
And nothing has changed
Everything has changed
For in truth, it’s the beginning of an end
And nothing has changed
And everything has changed”

The above, for me, can be heard as a positive and a negative. While the next part which closes the tune has some very dark and perhaps overtly religious connotations. Although equally, you might see it as a Pheonix rising from the ashes. I am spiritual but I follow no religion at all and I doubt that I ever will.

“In your fear
Of what we have become
Take to the fire
Now we must burn
All that we are
Rise together
Through these clouds
As on wings”

Meanwhile, the following couplet carries a real sense of hope and purpose, and I wanted to draw this to a close in a positive way:

“In your fear, seek only peace
In your fear, seek only love”

I am very much a positive person in the main and my glass is always at least half full. ‘Heathen’ is really helping me become even more hopeful in spite of the shit show our world has become. What music gets you through really bad points in life? Also I would love to hear from you if you have a completely different interpretation of this song. If you want to read a really in-depth take on ‘Sunday’ click here and check out Chris O’Leary’s rather excellent ‘Pushing Ahead Of The Dame’ blog.

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The Mayhem Monthly Top 20 Artist Chart – February 2022 March 1, 2022


On the last Mayhem Top 20 post, I mentioned that I was changing how it would be published. Instead of waiting for Obscurify to tot up listens on a seemingly random date, I will now take a snapshot at the end of each month. So the Top 20 for February is the first of those. Many of you know that I am a keen user of a site called Obscurify. It claims to tell you how obscure your listening on Spotify is. Compared to the rest of the UK I achieved a level of 100% more obscure than other users in the UK. 100%, is that even possible? Either way, I am proud of it! Anyway, regular readers will know that it also lists my most obscure artists, (the top two of which have been there since I began doing these posts) which currently are;

Woke Up Dead (One of the two bands that have been ever-present in my obscure list and an excellent band to boot!)

Promethium (This metal bunch continue to fly the flag for great British rock and like Woke Up Dead have been ever-present in this obscure team)

Tommyrot – (One of York’s finest young bands, check out their new EP, ‘Turkey Vulture Of Drug Culture‘. They appear at number 23 in the extended chart)

Black Acacias -(I have no idea how I found this lot. Their album came out in 2008 and they have 4 monthly listeners on Spotify. There seems to be no information about them online, apart from the music on Spotify. If you were in Black Acacias or know anything about them please contact me. They appear at number 13 in this week’s chart)

Folk The System – (folky protest and frankly great songs, this lot make their second appearance in the obscure list. They appear at number 27 in the extended chart)

As for the February Top 20, only Dame David and Kate Bush remain from the last chart. Other classic artists include Suede, Arctic Monkeys, Glen Campbell, Alison Moyet, Culture Club, Bob Dylan Dionne Warwick, and Frank Turner. Bruno Skibbild makes his second appearance and there will be another post about him very soon. Nine Inch Nails crash in at number one, I have just read a great book about their album ‘The Downward Spiral’, lookout for a review of that on these pages sometime soon. The rest of the top five is The Skinner Brothers, Hawksley Workman, Heartsink, and the aforementioned Kate Bush. Four of the artists who feature in the February Top 20 are current contenders for my album of the year for 2022, can you guess who they are? Who knew that there was a band called Diamond Dogs? I didn’t until now. Gonora Sounds from Africa produce some of the most uplifting music that I have heard in a long while! Here is that all-important top 20. I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

1 Nine Inch Nails
2 The Skinner Brothers
3 Hawksley Workman
4 Heartsink
5 Kate Bush
6 David Bowie
7 Glen Campbell
8 Paul Draper
9 Bob Dylan
10 Alison Moyet
11 Gonora Sounds
12 Culture Club
13 Black Acacias
14 Dionne Warwick
15 L.A.B.
16 Diamond Dogs
17 Suede
18 Arctic Monkeys
19 Frank Turner
20 Hurray For The Riff Raff

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The Mayhem Monthly Top 20 Artist Chart – January 23rd, 2022 February 24, 2022


Greetings dear readers how is 2022 shaping up for you. I am a little late with this post, so there will be a February top 20 on the way soon and some news as to how these Top 20 posts will change going forward. Many of you know that I am a keen user of a site called Obscurify. It claims to tell you how obscure your listening on Spotify is. Compared to the rest of the UK I still remain over 97% more obscure than other users in the UK. It also lists my most obscure artists, (the top two of which have been there since I began doing these posts) which currently are;

Woke Up Dead (One of the two bands that have been ever-present in my obscure list and an excellent band to boot!)

Promethium (This metal bunch continue to fly the flag for great British rock and like Woke Up Dead have been ever-present in this obscure team)

Penfriend – (Not Laura Kidd’s first time in this list and a welcome return)

Cabinet Of Millionaires – (the art of political protest is still strong!)

Folk The System – (folky protest and frankly great songs)

So who were the top artists for January 23rd? Check the full lists below, in a first for this chart there are more female artists than male artists for the first time (11 versus 9). In fact the Top 4 are all women, including a first number one for Gwen McCrae, what a voice! The Dame hangs in at number five. My reggae taste is represented by Dr. Alimantado (7), Dillinger (8) and Marcia Griffiths (17). My favourite 90s band Gene sit at number 18. There a a few classic artists (Kiki Dee, Kate Bush, Judie Tzuke and Joni Mitchell to name a few). This was before Joni removed her music from Spotify of course. Confession time, I really, really fancied Judie Tzuke when I was in my teens! There is a great showing for new artists too, some are more new to me, including The Anchoress, Helen Love, Bruno Skibbild and Yard Act. Look out for an upcoming Bruno Skibbild post soon. Give Obscurify a spin and let me know what your chart looks like and how obscure your tastes are 🙂

1 Gwen McCrae
2 Kate Bush
3 Tori Amos
4 Millie Jackson
5 David Bowie
6 Kiki Dee
7 Dr. Alimantado
8 Dillinger
9 The Anchoress
10 Joni Mitchell
11 Tavares
12 Helen Love
13 Beverly Craven
14 Yard Act
15 Shabazz Palaces
16 Norman Connors
17 Marcia Griffiths
18 Gene
19 Judie Tzuke
20 Bruno Skibbild

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