With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“When the ink starts to itch, then the black will turn to red” – Advent day 13 December 13, 2013


13-StarWarsFriday 13th December, one step closer to Christmas and a fabulous day unless you are triskaidekaphobic. So on with the show and today that show comes to you courtesy of two iconic music legends. One from the US and one from the UK. One is sadly no longer with us and the other is very much alive.

johnny-cash-022112-doubleFirst up it’s the now departed Man In Black, Johnny Cash. The track I have chosen comes from the first of the albums that Cash recorded with Rick Rubin; ‘American Recordings‘ released in 1994. The song was written for Johnny by Glenn Danzig and it is called “Thirteen”. It took Danzig just twenty minutes to write the song. The album won a Best Contemporary Folk Album award at the 1994 Grammys. Cash joined the US Air Force in 1950 and for a time his role was to intercept morse code messages made by the Russian military. Apparently he was the first US radio operator to learn of the death of Joseph Stalin. The Cash family line could be traced back to 11th century Scotland.

Oct-Mir 33The second song for today comes from that spikey, scouse minstrel Declan McManus who most of you know as Elvis Costello. The title of that song is “Thirteen Steps Lead Down” it is taken from 1994′ s ‘Brutal Youth‘ album. This was the first album that Elvis had recorded with the Attractions for eight years. The song was released as the lead track of an EP; the “Thirteen Steps Lead Down EP” which included three other tracks. Those were, “We Despise You”, “Basement Kiss” and “Puppet Girl”. Did you know that the backing band on Costello’s first album ‘My Aim Is True’ were called Clover and that they went on to form the nucleus of Huey Lewis and the News? Well you do now. I had the pleasure of seeing Mr Costello play live in June this year and he was brilliant.

 

“How do you like it, how do you like it” November 29, 2011


Are music related deaths like buses? There isn’t one for ages and then loads arrive at once? That’s what the last few days seem like anyway; The first one I heard about was the sad death of Andrea True who had a massive 70s disco hit in the 70s with “More More More” under the not so imaginative name Andrea True Connection. Her real name was Andrea Truden and she changed it to True when she began to appear in porn films before her singing career, including ‘Deep Throat 2’. This was apparently so that her parents wouldn’t find out that she was in the porn industry. Sadly her singing career was not a long one, however she did spend time working in a number of jobs after throat surgery cut short club singing. These jobs included being a drug and alcohol counsellor. “More More More” was prominently sampled by Len on their 1999 hit “Steal My Sunshine” and was later covered by former S Clubber Rachel Stevens in 2004.

Barry Llewellyn off of the iconic and influential reggae band the Heptones has died in Jamaica aged 64. The band recorded a number of songs with the infamous Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. They are probably best known for their song in praise of the larger woman; “Fattie Fattie” This is also one of my favourite reggae songs and I used to own the 7 inch vinyl version of the song many years ago.

Perhaps he wasn’t a musician or singer but I couldn’t let the great film producer Ken Russell’s passing go without a mention here. He was responsible for what in my opinion is one of the best rock related movies ever made. He created a magnificent and somewhat weird adaptation of the Who’s ‘Tommy’ for the silver screen in 1975. He also made a movie of the life of Liszt starring Roger Daltrey as Franz Liszt and titled ‘Lisztomania’ which was also released in 1975. The soundtrack was provided by Rick Wakeman. In my view these two movies were the pinnacle of Daltrey’s acting career. Russell even tried his hand at the music video format when he directed the video to Elton John’s 1985 hit “Nikita”.

Don DeVito the producer of two of my favourite Bob Dylan albums, ‘Desire’ and ‘Blood On The Tracks’ has also passed away aged 72. He finally lost a 16 year-long battle with prostate cancer. He remained at Columbia records throughout his career where he worked with such luminaries as Aerosmith, Billy Joel and the Boss himself; Mr Springsteen.

Former singer with bands such as the Joe Loss Orchestra Ross McManus has also sadly left us. He was a very good singer in his own right but many people of my generation probably know him better as the father of the former Declan McManus; Elvis Costello. He died on 24th November aged 84 less than two weeks after the death of his second wife Sara. He played trumpet on a few of his son’s recordings. He once recorded a cover of the Beatles “Long And Winding Road” in 1970 under the name Day Costello, which is where young Declan chose his new surname from. He also wrote and recorded the song that accompanied the R White’s Lemonade advertising campaign in the 70s entitled “I’m A Secret Lemonade Drinker” on which backing vocals were provided by the then teenaged Declan.

My thoughts go to the family, friends and fans of Andrea, Barry, Ken, Don and Ross. RIP all of you.

Coincidentally today also marks the 10th anniversary of the death of George Harrison aged just 58. I find it hard to believe that it was so long ago, but it was just a couple of months after my Dad in September 2001. There are a number of events in Liverpool to commemorate the anniversary. In 9 days on December 8th it will also be the 31st anniversary of the murder of John Lennon. Clearly this period of the year hasn’t been great for other rock deaths either; 24th November was the 20th anniversary of the passing of Freddie Mercury and 22nd November saw 14 years since the death of Michael Hutchence off of INXS.

 

 
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