With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“Cleans her teeth ten times a day scrub away scrub away scrub away” Blog Advent Calendar Day 24 December 24, 2014


This is it good people in Blogland, just one more sleep left until the big day. It’s Christmas Eve a.k.a 24th December a.k.a day 24 of this years Advent calendar Blog posts. As this is the last advent post of 2014 from me it will cover the final three letters of the ABC of British bands. So that’ll be ‘X, Y & Z’ then. before I reveal who the lucky bands are let me take this opportunity to wish al of you a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous 2015. If you don’t celebrate Christmas then I hope that you have a very long and very happy life anyway.

xrayspex

So onto the bands for today; Ladies and Gentlemen please allow me to introduce X-Ray Spex, Yazoo and the Zutons. This won’t be a long post because I will shortly be starting my own festive celebrations. So firstly it’s X-Ray Spex. Lead singer Poly Styrene was born Marianne Joan Elliott-Said and as Marie Elliott she issued a reggae singled called “Silly Billy” in 1976 which sadly failed to chart. The band’s highest charting UK single was “Germ Free Adolescents” which reached number 19 in 1978.

yazoo

Sow how about Yazoo? Or you may know them as Yaz in the USA after a spot of legal wrangling with Yazoo Records. Yazoo was made up of soulful vocalist Alison Moyet and Synth Supremo Vince Clarke. Vince’s talents know no bounds and he had hits as part of Yazoo, Depeche Mode, The Assembly and Erasure. Yazoo had four UK top 20 singles from 1982 to 1983. “Don’t Go” took them to number one in Belgium in 1983 and they had three US dance chart number ones from 1982 to 1983. They also won a Best Breakthrough Artist Brit award in 1983.

zutons2

And finally those Scouse Scallywags the Zutons. The band took their name from a member of Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band; Bill Harkleroad was known as Zoot Horn Rollo, but this was often shortened to Zuton. Many people now see their song “Valerie” as an Amy Winehouse classic, which it is. However it was also the Zutons tenth single release and their joint highest chart position in the UK. It made number 9 in 2006 as did “Why Won’t You Give Me Your Love?” in the same year. Winehouse’s version of “Valerie” was recorded with Mark Ronson and reached number two in the UK in 2007.

And finally a special Amy Winehouse bonus 🙂 Happy Christmas!

 

 

 

“I want the world to know I’m happy as can be” November 15, 2012


This month, November 2012, marks the 60th anniversary of the UK singles chart which began in the NME in 1952. We’ve come a long way from crooner Al Martino‘s “Here In My Heart” all those years ago to the current resident of the number one spot in the UK singles chart; Robbie Williams with “Candy”. Maybe we haven’t come too far though as Robbie does fancy himself as a crooner doesn’t he. I must confess that Robbie’s current number 1 is one of the few songs of his that I like.

The chart now includes downloads which have helped to boost sales of singles considerably. Apparently there have been 3.7 billion singles sold in that 60 year period in all formats. But the peak for the physical format was the 80s which recorded 640 million singles sales.  The biggest selling UK single ever was Elton John’sCandle In The Wind ’97” which was the singers dedication to Princess Diana. It sold 4.9 million copies and therefore raised millions for charity. Personally I prefer the original version. Does anyone ever play the Diana version these days? Incidentally do you know what the biggest selling single never to top the charts is? It’s Wham! with “Last Christmas/ Everything She Wants” which lost out to Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas” which is the second best-selling single ever back in 1984.

There have been more than 1,200 number ones in the chart’s history. The artists with most number one singles in the UK are;

Elvis Presley (21)

Beatles (17)

Cliff Richard (14)

Westlife (14)

Madonna (13)

How tragic is it that Westlife are in there?

Hopefully it really will be their last ever tour

As a teenager I can still recall lining up my cassette recorder microphone near the transistor radio to record my favourite songs from the Radio 1 chart rundown back in the 70s. How many of you did the same? I know of at least one fellow blogger who did. You can check out his excellent post on this chart milestone on his Every Record tells A Story blog by clicking here. You’ll even be able to see him on the chart history documentary on the Beeb! Recording the charts now seems almost pointless given the availability of music on-line, which I think is a real shame. But hey that’s progress right? Talking of progress, the first ever UK number one single based on download sales alone was as far back as 2006. It was the excellent “Crazy” from Gnarls Barkley.

There are also a number of chart records an artist probably wouldn’t want though, like;

Most Top 75 hits (97 of them) without a number one. That one is the honour of the Glee Cast. I hope they keep that one forever

Most Top 40 hits without a number one is easily won by Depeche Mode with 40 of them.

But perhaps the one you really should feel sorry for is Sash! A record of five number 2 singles and no number 1.

But let me finish on a better note. The first single I ever bought was a classic UK number one in my opinion. It was “Sugar Sugar” by the Archies and stayed at the top for 8 weeks at the tail end of 1969. Personally I fell that the charts will stay with us for many years yet, albeit very much adapted from the old days of purely physical sales. I would love to hear your thoughts on this fabulous UK Charts anniversary.

Even the charts are younger than Cliff

 

“You’re not down with who I am, look at you now, you’re all in my hands tonight” March 10, 2012


A white parka? Seriously?

XFM listeners recently took part in a poll to name the greatest front man of all time. So many great blokes to choose from and they went for Liam Gallagher. Now don’t get me wrong Liam has been very good in the past, particularly in the early days of Oasis, but the greatest front man of all time? I don’t think so. The full top 20 was;

1. Liam Gallagher
2. Freddie Mercury
3. Dave Gahan
4. Dave Grohl
5. Matt Bellamy
6. Brandon Flowers
7. Morrissey
8. Jim Morrison
9. Kurt Cobain
10. Alex Turner
11. Paul Weller
12. Mick Jagger
13. Tom Meighan
14. Eddie Vedder
15. Joe Strummer
16. Ian Curtis
17. Caleb Followill
18. Ian Brown
19. Thom Yorke
20. Chris Martin

A white double-breasted jacket? Seriously?

I agree with many of these, but I am surprised Robert Plant and John Lydon didn’t make the cut. Who do you think should have been included? Click here to read the report on nme.com.

Liam wasn't very happy with his dental work

 

“They think they’ll get to heaven through the universe” – Brit Awards 2011 February 15, 2011


So this years Brits have undergone yet another revamp and moved to the O2 Arena as well. It is now designed to build up to a finale of the announcement of the Best British Album, with each nominee introducing their album in little vignettes throughout the show. I guess it’s based around the Oscars where the whole spectacle concludes with the Best Film Awards. Even the actual award has had a makeover too, thanks to Vivienne Westwood. With Viv involved it seems weird that the Brits effectively started at the height of punk and it was all black ties and very formal and Cliff Richard was the winner of Best British Male Vocalist, oh how times have changed, well mostly anyway.

The show was kicked off by Take That with “Kidz”. I hate to say it but even with Robbie back in the ranks I quite like them. The performance was good and the boys were surrounded by riot police dancers who stripped at the end. Maybe there’s a lesson for the police the next time they are called out to student protests. But did anyone else think that a couple of the ‘That were wearing incontinence pants?

Hosted by James Corden, personally I’m not sure about that choice I have never really found him either funny or exciting. First award was for Best British Male presented by Dizzee Rascal, last years winner, to Plan B. Now that was a good choice, the ‘Defamation Of Strickland Banks’ is a killer album.

Another live performance came next, it was the abundantly talented Adele, boy that girl has got a superb voice. She sang “Someone Like You” accompanied just by a pianist. It’s hard to believe that she is so young. Now that’s what you call real singing, are you listening Cheryl Cole? It was a brilliant example of how talented a lone singer can be, but did they have to shower her with all that silver snow/ confetti?

Now that interlude of James Corden speaking to Justin Bieber was weird. James telling Justin how wonderful he smelled. Is that grooming? (Yes I know you could read that two ways!) It was left to Fearne Cotton presenting the Best British Breakthrough Artist award to take that awful scene out of my mind. The winner was Tinie Tempah, apparently Prince Harry and Prince William are fans!

International Album was presented by none other than German Musical Superstar………..errrr Boris Becker. Anyone for Tennis? It was justly won by Arcade Fire with ‘The Suburbs’. They gave a fantastic name check to British acts; Clash, Bowie, Culture Club, New Order, Depeche Mode.

And now we have Rihanna who started her medley set from behind what could have been a giant shower curtain or giant grass skirt. The hair matched the dress, but did the collar match the cuffs? 😉 We came close to finding out as she removed the dress pretty damned quickly! Maybe not everything but the kitchen sink, but Burundi style drummers and wait……. was that the Olympic flame? Oh and another thing, now that’s what you call real dancing, are you watching Cheryl Cole?

Mark Ronson was there to present the Critics Choice Award, was he dressed like an Accountant or was it just me? I don’t mean that I was dressed like an Accountant, obviously! Don’t you think his hair was like a ski slope? Well even more obviously no surprise that the winner was Jessie J, as this was one of the awards that was announced some while in advance of the ceremony itself. The fourth woman to win that award and she didn’t blub….. but only just!

One of the nominees for best album were the next band on stage, it was Mumford And Sons. It’s no wonder they’re so big in America is it? They look like hicks and hillbillies; mind you they were bloody good at the Reading Festival last year. Who wears cowboy hats or truckers caps in this country, which just puts my flat cap to shame really!

To present the International Male Award we had yet another musical superstar; Lewis Hamilton…..errrr how many albums has he had then? The award gave Cee Lo Green his first ever Brit. Now that’s a big “Fuck You” to all the previous voters, they won’t “Forget You” next time Cee Lo. A brilliant choice in my opinion. He gave a great shout to Boy George too. Nice to see all the Johnny Foreigners thanking the Brits this time around. I’m not xenophobic ok, I’m just an archetypal arrogant Brit! Well actually I’m not really, I am a Brit but I don’t think I’m arrogant or even archetypal, although I’m sure some might disagree!

What was the Best British Single then, it was presented by Alan Carr, is it me or does his voice really grate on you? It was also voted for by fans, so that should mean a good choice right? Well it was a good choice, it was Tinie Tempah with “Pass Out” It could have been so much worse with all those X Factor related nominees.

What the F*ck am I doing here?

Two blokes off of Duran Duran presented the Best International Group award to the magnificent Arcade Fire. What can one say? Flipping heck another good choice, this revamp has done wonders for giving the right people the awards too.

Plan B was the next live performer. Show stopping set and dancing, a tight band. It was like a modern version of the old Motown or Stax Revues. Were those Police left over from the Take That performance? Of course they were, the Riot Squad were there again. It’s one thing infiltrating eco-activists, but this level of police intrusion is so far beyond subtle it’s off the bloody scale! What about the dude that was set aflame? Was that a tribute to the recently deceased Johnny Storm aka the Human Torch off of the Fantastic Four? Check out issue number 587 of the World’s Greatest Comic magazine for more info on that one people!

Avril Lavigne and Will Young combined to present the next award, now that is a novel but strange pairing. It was International Breakthrough Act and was won by Justin Bieber, well I suppose it couldn’t all go my way could it. Still at least it wasn’t the Glee Cast was it? Still the boy done good bearing in mind he is not quite seventeen yet.

Best British Female Solo award was present by Georg O’Dowd aka Boy George, isn’t it about time he upgraded to Man George? Deservedly won by the beautiful talent that is Laura Marling. She was followed by a brilliant performance from Arcade Fire with “Ready To Start”. Are these guys one of the best bands on the planet right now? I think so and it always looks like they’re really enjoying themselves too.

Now that’s what I call presenting an award, are you watching Cheryl Cole? Ooops no you’re not, you’re actually presenting the damned thing for Best International Female. It went to Cheryl’s ‘Girl Crush’ (hmmmm interesting in a pervy kind of way); Rihanna in a big white dress with roses….. they grow on you!

Tinie Tempah took to the stage next and frankly he did it like he owned the thing. Great performance and bloody good laser show to boot. The stage was full of Tinie lookalikes, how about a spoofed version of Eminem, anyone for ‘The Real Tinie Tempah’? This dude is a really top bloke in my humble opinion. Move over Mr Rascal and make way for Mr Tempah. Are the organisers of the Reading Festival watching? How about Tinie Tempah on the afternoon bill on the Main Stage Saturday or Sunday, it’s worked well for Dizzee before hasn’t it?

Dermot O’Leary off of the X Factor (amongst Others) no less was on hand to present the Award for Best British Group. It went to Take That. It pains me to say that with their current album I actually like some music that Robbie is involved in. I must be ill in the head. Robbie was his usual nonsensical arse with just a couple of shouts of ‘Shabba’ thankfully leaving the other boys to do most of the talking and thanking.

So then came the grand finale the Best British Album Award, presented by Rock God Roger Daltrey off of the Who. He said that he thought that Plan B’s set had made him reminisce of the early days of the Who,(was he serious?) but sadly the award didn’t go to him, it went to Mumford And Sons, still not a bad choice.

The show was closed by the mighty, magnificent Cee Lo Green with “Forget You”. A great tune but I kind of wish he had done the original ‘naughty’ version! A great singer none the less. So that is as they say it for this years Brits. I will be back with other posts before the 2012 Brits so feel free to keep reading my blog now that you’ve found you’re way here. I bet you’re relieved that I have got to the end of a whole post with no mention of Lady Gaga……….DOH!

The good, the bad and the untalented!

 

“Wonder if you’ll understand it’s just the touch of your hand, behind a closed door” December 17, 2010


Just over a week to the big day now people, it’s December 17th so let’s open todays door on my UK Christmas Number Ones Advent Calendar. This one is a little softer than yesterdays. It’s a cover version of the classic Yazoo song “Only You” by the Flying Pickets. It was number one for Christmas 1983 and remained top dog for 5 weeks. The original was written by Vince Clarke while he was still a member of Depeche Mode. He allegedly offered the song to the band when he left and they declined. He then recorded it himself with superb vocalist Alison Moyet aka Alf when he formed Yazoo. The original version went to number 2 in the UK in 1982.

The Flying Pickets version was a cappella. That is nothing to do with Fabio Acappella who might be the England manager but it just means that they recorded the whole thing without instruments. Bloody tight gits! Incidentally they weren’t really tight gits, they were socialists though and in a bizarre twist none other than Margaret Thatcher claimed that the song was one of her favourites. This kind of echoes the current spat between Johnny Marr and David Cameron. Marr with the support of Morrissey has forbidden Cameron from liking any Smiths songs.

Arthur Scargill turns up at the Police gig but struggles to find Sting and the boys!

During the 1984 Miners Strikes the band performed at a number of benefits for striking miners. Their record company Virgin threw a bit of a hissy fit when the band took part in a protest at the Drax Power Station. Some record shops refused to stock anything by the band owing to their support for the miners. Bad move from the record shops if you ask me. Original singer Brian Hibbard went on to appear in Doctor Who and Coronation Street.

 

“Howling in shadows living in a lunar spell” December 14, 2010


Well there really isn’t a great deal to say about this fantastic album cover animation other than it is truly brilliant. It’s called Battle Of The Bands and it truly is a fight to the death!

If I have noted it correctly it contains album covers from all the following artists, if you see any I have missed just let me know!

Foreigner, Yazoo, Billy Joel, Shaun Cassidy, Violent Femmes, Rick James, Eminem, Joe Jackson, Beastie Boys, 50 Cent, Roxy Music, King Crimson, Scorpions, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Duran Duran, Velvet Underground, Pink Floyd, Coldplay, Rush, Boston, AC/ DC, Def Leppard, Replacements, Jane’s Addiction, Love And Rockets, Depeche Mode, Ozzy Osbourne, Weezer, B 52s, Dead Kennedys, Van Halen, Dio, Iron Maiden, Night Ranger, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, OMD, Nirvana, Asia, David Lee Roth, Black Flag, Cars, Michael Jackson, Beatles, Journey, Green Day, Hermans Hermits, Madness, Phil Collins, Lou Reed, Madonna, Tom Petty, Bob Seger, Lionel Richie, Devo, Jimi Hendrix, Quiet Riot and Metallica.

My favourites are Michael Jackson and Roxy Music, what are your favourites? Can you find the hidden Ozzy track?

 

“Silver Surfer and the ragged kid are all sad and rusted” October 29, 2010

Filed under: News,Trivia — justwilliam1959 @ 9:57 pm
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An US Research Scientist recently claimed that science is not very far away from being able to record dreams. His name is Dr Moran Cerf which sounds made up to me. You can probably get some good anagrams from it, I tried and came up with DREAM FOR SNR which I interpreted as dream for senior, i.e. dream for older people, i.e. me!

I’m not sure it would be a good thing, it might reveal your innermost thoughts to everyone and frankly it could destroy the porn industry too, everyone could just record their own personal fantasies! It really does take science way into the realms of science fiction. He does however state that the first step is to visualise dreams by a combination of recollection and brain activity. The actual recording is quite some way off. I’m pleased about that, I’m not sure I’d want my dreams available to all! What do you folks think?

Read the story on the BBC site by clicking here.

On a bizarre footnote as I was typing this WordPress showed the following proposed tags based upon what I had written; Dream, BBC, Neuron, Science Fiction and Brain. All of which make logical sense, but it also added Marilyn Monroe and the Eiffel Tower. Is it reaching into my dreams? I have certainly dreamt about Marilyn before, mostly in my teens! Anyway I deliberately haven’t added them as tags to this post.

As always this is at heart a music blog so please enjoy the following dream related songs and feel free to add your own via the comments facility. I started out expecting to put a top 10 together and appear to have ended up with 20, not all of which I like incidentally, but I’m sure there is at least one person out there that likes them! There is also one hidden dream song, the first person to tell me what it is and where it is in the post via the comments facility may win a prize!

All I Have To Do Is Dream” – Everly Brothers. Written by famous husband and wife songwriting team Felice and Boudleaux Bryant in 1958, Don and Phil’s version is probably the most well known although it has been covered by many acts. It was most recently used in the 2010 remake of ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street‘ where of course all Freddie Krueger has to do is dream to be able to kill

“Dreaming” – Blondie – Taken from the ‘Eat To The Beat’ album and released in 1979 and reached number 2 in the UK. As with many of Blondie’s hits it was written by Deborah Harry and Chris Stein. It has been covered by the Smashing Pumpkins, the Posies, Yo  La Tengo and Jeff Tweedy off of Wilco amongst others.

Dreaming” – Cliff Richard – The same title as the Blondie song but definitely not the same song! Cliff was never massively succesful in the US. “Devil Woman was a big hit and “Dreaming” also made number 10. Cliff is the only artist to have had UK number one hits in every decade since the UK charts began (50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s). None in the 10s yet though, but I reckon a Christmas team up with an X Factor winner would probably swing it.

Teenage Dream” – T Rex. Bolan’s chart success had started to wane by the time this was released in 1974, it still made UK number 2 though. It was also the first release that was credited to Marc Bolan and T Rex. It was taken from the wonderfully titled album ‘Zinc Alloy And The Hidden Riders Of Tomorrow

Dream Kid” – Sutherland Brothers and Quiver – Gavin and Ian Sutherland started life as a folk rock duo in the late 60s, they joined with Quiver in 1972 and sadly didn’t have massive chart success. But this song from 1973 remains one of my all time favourites.

“Don’t Dream It’s Over” – Crowded House – It was recorded in LA in 1986 and released in January 1987. The song was written by Neil Finn and was the first of the bands two US Top 40 hits. The song featured in the TV adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’. It has been covered by quite a few artists. The Sixpence None The Richer version was very good, the Paul Young version was frankly…..crap!

Dreams” – Fleetwood Mac – This one’s a true classic from the  ‘Rumours’ album and was written by Stevie Nicks. The song was most famously covered by the Corrs and none other than Mick Fleetwood joined them to sing it at the Royal Albert Hall with them in 1998

Silver Dream Machine” – David Essex – This was recorded for David’s 1980 film ‘Silver Dream Racer‘. Not one of his better hits in my opinion. What do you folks think? (Especially you Ms Topsom!)

Boulevard Of Broken Dreams” – Green Day – This was taken from the bands excellent ‘American Idiot’ album. Billie Joe Armstrong wrote the song and was rather amusingly criticised by Noel Gallagher off of Oasis for ripping off one of his songs (the chord progression is very similar to “Wonderwall”)

Dreamer” – Supertramp. This was from the ‘Crime Of The Century’ album and was released in 1975. The B Side was another brilliant song; “Bloody Well Right” which was released as a single in its own right later that year.

In A Broken Dream” – Python Lee Jackson – Python Lee Jackson were an Australian band during the late 60s. They had a brief stay in the UK where they recorded this song with a then unknown vocalist, Rod Stewart. The single was a flop when it was released in 1968 but became a big success when it was rereleased in 1972.

I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) – Electric Prunes – Perhaps one of the most fondly remembered psychedelic bands from the 60s. They had a song, “Kyrie Eleison” included on the ‘Easy Rider’ soundtrack. The band reformed in 2001 and are still touring.

“Daydream Believer” – Monkees – The song was written by John Stewart and the lead vocal was sung by Davy Jones. It was an US number 1 but only managed number 5 in the UK. Despite being effectively a manufactured boy band all four members actually played or sang on this song.

In Dreams” – Roy Orbison – The song was written by Orbison himself and he was able to demonstrate his amazing vocal range, he sings across two octaves. Roy said that the song came to him while he was a sleep and presumably while he was dreaming. David Lynch used the song in his film, ‘Blue Velvet’

“Never Had A Dream Come True” – Stevie Wonder – The song was released in 1970 before Stevie was able to take control of his own career, so it was not one of his own compositions. It was however a co-composition written along with Motown staff writers Henry Cosby and Sylvia Moy. The song was covered by the Jackson 5 for their first album.

Island Of Dreams” – Springfields – The group formed in 1960 when Mary ‘Dusty’ O’Brien and her brother Dion O’Brien teamed up with Tim Field. They all took on the Springfield. And that dear readers is how Dusty Springfield came to be!

“Teenage Dream” – Katy Perry – The same title as the T Rex song, but not the same at all. It was the second single taken from her 2010 album of the same name, following the worldwide smash that was “California Gurls”. I wonder if she’ll use her married name in future? Actually Katy Brand doesn’t sound bad does it?

“Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) – Eurythmics – This gave the band their only US number one when it was released in 1983. Marilyn Manson recorded an excellent cover of the song in which he changed some of the lyrics, adding lines like “I wanna use you and abuse you/I wanna know what’s inside you.”

Any Dream Will Do” – Jason Donovan – The song was written by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber for their 1968 musical ‘Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat‘ which has gone on to massive success on stages all over the world. At various times it has been sung by everyone from Philip Schofield to Donny Osmond.

Dreaming Of Me” – Depeche Mode – This was the bands first single and was released in the UK in February 1981, strangely it was never commercially released in the US. It was written by Vince Clarke who went on to form Yazoo and Erasure.

 

 
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