With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb, Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom Jones, Johnny Cash, Englebert Humperdinck, or the Rare Earth” May 28, 2011


News broke earlier today that the immensely talented Gil Scott-Heron passed away yesterday in New York aged just 62. He fell ill after returning from a European trip. He was perhaps more poet than anything else, but was also seen as a pioneer of rap and hip hop with his mainly spoken word recordings. In fact his first album came about after his first book of poetry was published and he suggested to his publisher that it would be a good idea to record a backing for his readings of his words.

He also had a great talent for intelligent and clever protest in his lyrics. Classics of that genre would be songs like “The Revolution Will Not be Televised” which is still quite pertinent today. The first time I ever heard anything by him was when I heard “Johannesburg” on the radio in 1976. That was probably my first experience of what apartheid was all about as well and added to my political views, which were very much shaped by the music I listened to in my formative years; Marvin Gaye, Temptations, Bob Marley, The Clash and John Lennon among others.

He worked regularly with Brian Jackson who helped provide the fusion of soul and jazz that backed a lot of Scott-Heron’s work. After a couple of spells in prison for cocaine possession and alleged parole violation he returned with an excellent new album early last year. The album was ironically titled ‘I’m New Here‘ and received widespread acclaim. A remix of the album retitled ‘We’re New Here’ was done in collaboration with Jamie Smith aka Jamie xx of the band the xx.

He has been described as the Godfather of Rap and the black Bob Dylan. His influence runs very wide and he will be sorely missed. My condolences go to his family, friends and all his fans around the world. Gil Scott-Heron RIP. I would like you to celebrate his life with some of his greatest songs, well my ten favourites at least. Let me know what you thought of Gil’s work.

 

“I just can’t believe you could forget me , after all those happy hours we spent together” June 1, 2010


BBC Radio 2 recently ran a countdown of the top 60 best-selling songs of the 60s in the UK. Presented by Tony Blackburn who was the first person ever to appear on BBC Radio 1 back in September 1967. Without knowing the results I think many of us would have guessed that the Beatles would have figured quite prominently and they did, with 5 songs in the top 10 and 18 in the top 60. While the Rolling Stones could only muster 5 entries and none of those made the top 30. The first record Blackburn ever played on Radio 1; “Flowers In The Rain” by the Move didn’t make the cut. There was also sadly no room for any Motown songs either.

But the biggest surprise for me was who made it to number three, beaten only by the Beatles, it was Ken Dodd. His 1965 UK number 1 “Tears” was amazingly the 3rd best-selling single of the 60s in the UK. I must admit that I was guilty of helping the song a little bit by buying a copy as a present for my Nan, she loved the song.

Ken, like the Beatles, was a scouser, which means that Liverpool provided the whole top 5. Unlike their football clubs who were barely in sniffing distance of the top 5 this year in the Premier League!

Ken had never seen so many queens in one room before!

Here is the top 10 (so much for all that ground breaking 60s rock!);

1. She Loves You – The Beatles
2. I Want To Hold Your Hand – The Beatles
3. Tears – Ken Dodd
4. Can’t Buy Me Love – The Beatles
5. I Feel Fine – The Beatles
6. The Carnival Is Over – The Seekers
7. We Can Work It Out/Day Tripper – The Beatles
8. Release Me – Engelbert Humperdink
9. It’s Now Or Never – Elvis Presley
10. Green Green Grass Of Home – Tom Jones

Check out the BBC news story here and also the Radio 2 site here

Personally I’m looking forward to the top sellers of the 70s now!

 

“Yeah, I’m the one infected, twisted animator” March 24, 2009


Hello again readers (well I am assuming that you’re not just looking at the pictures here obviously!). I’ve moved away from the usual birthday and ‘onthisday’ post once again today. This post could I suppose be called a fire sale! It was inspired by my second fire walk which I completed last night! Yes I walked barefoot over hot coals and I urge you to try it yourself if you ever get the chance. It’s not just a turn up and walk kind of thing there is a build up over a few hours including breaking an arrow on your throat. That too is an incredible experience. The lady who ran last nights session and indeed the first firewalk I did a few months back is ‘Lovely Lisa‘ click her name to get to her website. Lisa is truly an inspirational coach and those of you who know me well will be aware that this is strong praise indeed coming from such a cynical skeptic. Check out Lisa’s site and do everything you can, short of perhaps selling your mother, to do a firewalk.

This is me exposing my soles to hot coals!

This is me exposing my soles to hot coals!

Anyway to get back to the music I thought I would run through my top 5 fire related songs and maybe it could ‘spark’ you into shedding some ‘light’ one your own ‘burning hot’ songs. Here are mine;

1 “Firestarter” – The Prodigy

2 “Fire” – Ohio Players

3 “Burning Down The House” – Talking Heads

4 “Burnin’ And Lootin‘” – Bob Marley and the Wailers

5 “Light My Fire” – Jose Feliciano

OK now do your worst and tell me your favourite fire related songs, if I receive enough I’ll put my five and yours in a poll in a future post!

A post of mine wouldn’t be the same without a large degree of trivia so here it comes.

The Prodigy took their name from a Moog synthesiser which unsurprisingly was called the Moog Prodigy! The band rose to fame during the rave era of the early 90’s in the UK. They released their first single “Charly” in August 1991. It took a sample from a British public information film called ‘Charley Says’ and reached number 3 in the UK. Eventually things went mega for the band in 1997 with the release of the excellent ‘Fat Of The Land’ album which spawned two UK number ones in “Firestarter” and “Breathe”. My own favourite Prodigy song is their fourth single, released in 1992, “Out Of Space”. It sampled heavily from a Max Romeo song “I Chase The Devil” which had originally been produced by the stupendously talented Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. The “I’ll take your brain to another dimension” line is taken from the excellent “Critical Breakdown” by the Ultramagnetic MCs. What is your favourite Prodigy song?

keith knew he would have to grow his hair much more before he could acquire the perfect combover

Keith Prodigy knew he would have to grow his hair much more before he could acquire the perfect comb-over

I was a big fan of funk music in the 70s which is how I first got into the rather wonderful Ohio Players. There was a bonus for teenage boys who were fans of this band and in 1975 I was just 16. That bonus was that all their album covers had pictures of semi naked women doing things like pouring honey over themselves! Excuse me while I go and take a quick cold shower……………… ok that’s better, now where were we? Oh yes the Ohio Players. In their early days Walter ‘Junie’ Morrison was the lead vocalist, he later went on to sing lead for Funkadelic (probably my favourite funk band ever!). Those Red Hot Chili Pepper fans amongst you may already be familiar with the Ohio Players via the Chili’s rather good cover of “Love Rollercoaster”. The RHCP version featured in the movie ‘Beavis And Butthead Do America’ and when released as a single from the soundtrack the additional track was “Lesbian Seagull” by Englebert Humperdinck, I kid you not! Click the title to hear it! The original Ohio Players version of “Love Rollercoaster” features a couple of high pitched screams which have developed an urban myth about them over the years. One myth says they are the screams of a dying woman being murdered outside the studio, another says that it is the painful scream of a dying rabbit which was run down outside the studio. The truth would appear to be much more likely and indeed mundane. It is the sampled scream of a woman riding a roller coaster. Well come on it fits the song doesn’t it? Anyway click here to watch a brief video that explains the urban myth and then tell me what you think. Personally I think it is complete and utter crap!

For research only here are two pictures of Ohio Players album covers. I love the strategically placed picture of the band on the second one

The Fire Service budget cuts had resulted in almost a complete lack of protective clothing for firefighters

The Fire Service budget cuts had resulted in almost a complete lack of protective clothing for firefighters

Well they do say that honey is good for you;-)

Well they do say that honey is good for you;-)

Talking Heads originally formed in 1974 as the Artistics featuring David Byrne, Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz who were all attending the Rhode Island School Of Design. The name Talking Heads came after they read a TV Guide which explained that just a headshot of a presenter was known as a talking head and was basically ‘all content and no action’ They felt that the phrase was a perfect fit for the band. The first time they played under the new name was when they opened for the Ramones at CBGBs in 1975. Jerry Harrison joined the band from Jonathan Richman’s Modern Lovers in 1976. It was a cover of Al Green’s “Take Me To The River” that really helped them take off

After a power failure backstage the band had dressed in the dark again

After a power failure backstage the band had dressed in the dark again

Bob Marley is one of my all time favourite singers and has been for many years. I hadn’t heard of him when he released his first singles though. Largely because I was only three years old and the singles only came out in Jamaica! The songs were “Judge Not” and “One More Cup Of Coffee” production was handled by legendary Jamaican Producer Leslie Kong. Marley didn’t even use his own name on the singles, for both he was known as Bobby Martell. Earlier this year Marley’s family struck a deal with a Finance Company to licence Marley’s image under the ‘House Of Marley’ brand. So expect to see House Of Marley image and branding on everything from Snowboards (that sounds really authentic Jamaican), Luggage, Headphones and a Jamaican Beer!

This little fella auditioned for the 'Marley And Me' movie but clearly didn't know the story very well

This little fella auditioned for the 'Marley And Me' movie but clearly didn't know the story very well

OK I guess I should expect some kickback for this but I feel that the Doors are overrated! Although I love “Light My Fire” I much prefer Jose Feliciano’s version. Jose is Puerto Rican and was blind from birth. His full name is José Montserrate Feliciano García. Perhaps if he had called himself Jose Garcia he could have formed a Latin American version of the Grateful Dead! In 1967 Jose was denied entry into the UK. Why was that? Drugs? Murder? Something worse? No, the animal quarantine laws in the UK prevented Jose from bringing his Guide Dog. he was a massive star in Latin America when he moved to LA in the late 60’s (I presume that the US Government let him bring his Guide Dog). Shortly after this he recorded his version of “Light My Fire” which went to number three in the US charts in 1968. Most covers of the song nowadays tend to favour Feliciano’s arrangement, including the relatively recent version from Will Young.

Jose used his three heads and six hands to play guitar faster than anyone had ever done before

Jose used his three heads and six hands to play guitar faster than anyone had ever done before

 

“I bought you drinks, I bought you flowers, I read you books and talked for hours” March 2, 2009


Good day everyone I hope you had a jolly good weekend and are prepared for another fun working week. Just to get you underway here are a couple of Finance Industry pieces. have any of you seen the Swiftcover Insurance advert on UK TV which is fronted by Iggy Pop? Well it seems that musicians are classed as entertainers and as such are unable to insure through the company, wow their marketing people must have really worked hard on that one. Click on NME to read the story, the page also has a link to YouTube so you can see the advert for yourself if you haven’t already.

Here’s a fun banking game too, that’s right I said banking, not wa…. oh never mind. This was in the Observer today it’s an on line game called ‘Wheel Of Misfortune‘ There is a banker attached to a wheel and you have to throw knives at the wallets and briefcases and balloons to score. However should you hit the banker well, he does show a bit of pain. Click on the name to play (unfortunately you do have to register to play)

OK so now let’s get on with the business at hand for today, 2nd March 2009, starting with some birthdays. First up is Lou Reed who is 66 today. Lou was named Louis Allen Firbank by his parents. At the age of 17 he was sent to a psychiatrist to receive eight weeks of shock therapy aimed at curing him of severe mood swings. After his time with the Velvet Underground ended in 1970 he went back to live with his parents home in Freeport, Long Island. During this time he took a job as a typist for his father’s accountancy firm, earning just $40 a week. Imagine, if he had stuck at that career he could be swimming in money now as a ‘disgraced’ (copyright tabloid papers) financier/ banker. I for one am glad he didn’t though. Here is Lou with his classic “Satellite Of Love” The observant among you will notice that I could have made a big DB reference in this piece, but as there were two yesterday I declined. But the production on this song was by DB and Mick Ronson.

lou and Laurie had just been turned away from the RyanAir check-in desk for carrying too much luggage

lou and Laurie had just been turned away from the RyanAir check-in desk for carrying too much luggage

The second of our three birthdays is that of the late great (the return of those l’s & g’s) Karen Carpenter. She would have been 59 today. She was just 32 when she died in 1983. Karen had a voice like no other and whilst by many the Carpenters were seen as very easy listening, middle-of-the-road fare, the musicianship, production and vocals on their songs were exceptional. My parents loved the Carpenters, which is why I never really got into them until late on. Well in those days it certainly wasn’t cool to like the music your parents liked. I feel that has changed somewhat in recent years though. On a trip to London in December 1976 the group were presented with 21 Gold Discs for UK record sales. They had to leave them behind at Heathrow Airport because they were too heavy to take on as excess baggage. Maybe they should have flown Ryanair, then again perhaps not! Here are the Carpenters with the excellent “Goodbye To Love” This contains some excellent guitar solos too.

It had taken a while but Karen finally mastered the art of playing the invisible drums

It had taken a while but Karen finally mastered the art of playing the invisible drums

The final birthday today is Mr Paltrow from Coldplay, otherwise known as Chris Martin. He is 32 today. The band have recently started recording sessions for their next album. Brian Eno is once again involved and for the first two weeks of recording he asked Chris Martin to stay away from the studio to enable the band to work on the music with no restraint. It’ll be interesting to see how that turns out. Actually by todays standards (well especially Guns N Roses) a new album from Chris and the boys next year must be seen as somewhat prolific. Their first album ‘Parachutes’ came out in 2000 and if they finish it in time their 5th will be out in 2010 (5 albums in 11 years!). Coldplay met at University College London and an initial band including Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland was called ‘Pectoralz’ not a great name in my opinion. At one point Chris met Tim Rice-Oxley a classics student and asked him to join the band. Tim declined and went on to form his own band, Keane. Enough of them and back to Coldplay, here they are with “Fix You” live in Toronto, with a somewhat gushing intro by Chris.

Now the other Coldplay boys had photographic evidence that the sun really did shine out of Chris' rear end

Now the other Coldplay boys had photographic evidence that the sun really did shine out of Chris' rear end

On this day in 1967 Arnold George Dorsey, better known as Englebert Humperdinck was number one in the UK with “Release Me”. Englebert was always a hot property on the music scene, having been born in Madras, India. Arnold named himself after a German Opera composer. It seems quite amazing now that a song like “Release Me” could be a hit at the height of psychedelia. Indeed it even prevented the Beatles double A side “Strawberry Fields/ Penny lane” from reaching the UK top spot

Englebert wondered how much longer he could keep the sun balanced on his head and when he would have to give it back to Chris

Englebert wondered how much longer he could keep the sun balanced on his head and when he would have to give it back to Chris

This day in 1999 saw the death from lung cancer of the late great (l & g back with a vengeance) Dusty Springfield. She was only 59. Dusty was born in 1939 as Mary Isabelle Catherine Bernadette O’Brien and was convent educated. She took the name Dusty Springfield when she formed the folk and country based Springfields in 1961 with her brother Dion (who became Tom Springfield) and a friend Tom Field. I’m not sure who he became. she was a massive success in the 60s but was in the wilderness for many years before she hooked up with the Pet Shop Boys in 1987 to record “What Have I Done To Deserve This?

Dusty had been invited to test a prototype of the new iPod

Dusty had been invited to test a prototype of the new iPod

And almost finally on this day in 1960 Elvis Presley spent a short time on UK soil for the only time in his life. He was travelling back to the US from Germany after completing his National Service and his plane stopped to refuel at Prestwick Airport near Glasgow in Scotland. It is said that Colonel Tom Parker, Presley’s Manager prevented Elvis from touring overseas because he (Parker not Presley) was an illegal immigrant to the US. I wonder whether things would have turned out differently had Elvis been allowed to tour outside the US? Anyway as this piece relates to his National Service here is Elvis with “G.I. Blues

Elvis was ready to kick start his RyanAir flight from Prestwick

Elvis was ready to kick start his RyanAir flight from Prestwick

And finally on this day, while searching for an Elvis in the army picture I found this, I had to show it as it is just so naff! What do you think?

Words fail me, this is just awful!

Words fail me, this is just awful!

 

 
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