The 21st December you say? really? Blimey where did the time go? Anyway I just knew that something good was going to happen now that it is Day 21 in this years Advent calendar blog post series. regular readers will know that the theme this festive period is the ABC of British bands. Some of you may already have guessed who todays band is as I incorporated a clue earlier in this paragraph. Today is the turn of the Utah Saints who despite their name actually come from Leeds.
The band played live often between 1991 and 2001 although their appearances since then are largely as DJs. Although they are still writing and recording and are supposedly working on their next album at the moment. Jez Willis and Tim Garbutt are the Utah Saints core and they really pioneered the use of sampling in pop music. they met when they were both music promoters and DJs for the Mix nightclub in Harrogate. In his inimitable style Bill Drummond off of the KLF described the Utah Saints as “the first true stadium house band”. I’m not entirely sure what that means but it sounds good doesn’t it? They also built their own recording studio on the outskirts of Leeds which opened in 2008.
The band’s first three singles all made the UK top ten from 1991 to 1993. Those releases were; “What Can You Do For Me” (1991), “Something Good” (1992) and “Believe In Me” (1993). Willis and Garbutt described these songs as their vocal sample trilogy. The songs sampled Gwen Guthrie, Eurythmics (“What Can You Do For Me”), Kate Bush (“Something Good”) and the Human League, Crown Heights Affair, Sylvester (“Believe In Me”). Despite persistent press stories these samples were all legally cleared. Kate Bush also let the band use clips from her video for “Cloudbusting” which is where the sample for “Something Good” comes from.
“Something Good” is their biggest hit to date. It peaked at number 4 in the UK singles chart and made the top 10 in Australia and Ireland. Interestingly it also made it to number seven in both the US Dance Charts and the US Modern Rock charts. does this make them truly genre-defying? I’d like to think so. They have released two albums so far (not including a mix album). The first was ‘Utah Saints’ which reached number 10 in the UK album charts in 1992. The follow-up was rather unimaginatively called ‘Two’. Sadly that one failed to chart when it came out in 2000. Now you can enjoy some of the Utah Saints finest beats and I hope that you enjoy them.
Last year I published a post about Bruce Springsteen having written the song “Hungry Heart” for the Ramones. Click here to read that post. I read recently of some other songs that were supposedly written with other artists in mind.
First there are two from the Eurythmics. Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox wrote “There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart)” for Stevie Wonder. Stevie never recorded it although he did supply the harmonica break on the song. The band originally had Tina Turner in mind to join them on “Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves” but she allegedly felt it was too feminist and the gig became Aretha Franklin’s. Seriously? Tina thought it was too feminist?
WTF? Miss Stevie turned me down????
Finally, and this one surprises me assuming it’s true; Prince wrote “Purple Rain” hoping to get Stevie Nicks to record it. Maybe it’s not too late. If you’re reading this Stevie Nicks (highly unlikely I know) then let’s hear it! I would love to hear of any ‘written for others’ stories that you might have.
I’m sure that you’ve heard Katy Perry’s new single “The One That Got Away” which is clearly yet another slice of perfect perry pop and a great radio song. But what intrigues me about it is the line about making out in the lyrics. It reads ‘We make out in your Mustang to Radiohead’. Firstly we get Katy Perry mentioning Radiohead, which I feel makes for quite strange bedfellows. Secondly, does anyone actually make out to Radiohead? I love the band but they wouldn’t be my choice for a sultry, seductive night in with Catwoman! I would prefer a bit of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s Get It On’ album.
Having listened to the song again though it got me thinking about some of my favourite songs that mention bands or singers. You can enjoy five of them below. Let me know what your favourite songs that mention other artists are;
“Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” – Vampire Weekend – mentions Peter Gabriel
“Destroy Rock n Roll” – Mylo – mentions a cast of thousands including Michael Jackson, Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, David Bowie, Van Halen, Madonna, Huey Lewis and the News, The Cars, Herbie Hancock, Bonnie Tyler, Stevie Nicks, Men at Work, ZZ Top, Paul McCartney, Weird Al Yankovic, Cyndi Lauper, Pink Floyd, Pretenders, Billy Joel, Billy Idol, Elton John, Neil Young, Sheena Easton, Patty Smyth and Scandal, Fashion, Big Country, Morris Day and The Time, John Lennon, Apollonia 6, REO Speedwagon, David Gilmour, Rolling Stones, Pat Benatar, Hall and Oates, Wham!, Rebbie Jackson, Adam Ant, Bananarama, Christine McVie, Queen, John Cougar Mellencamp, U2, Fleetwood Mac, The Alan Parsons Project, Rick Springfield, Thompson Twins, Missing Persons, Duran Duran, Police, Eurythmics, Culture Club, Boy George, Band Aid, Stevie Wonder and Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.
“White Man In The Hammersmith Palais” – The Clash – mentions Dillinger, Leroy Smart, Delroy Wilson, Ken Boothe and the Four Tops.
“God” – John Lennon – mentions Elvis and the Beatles
“Punky Reggae Party” – Bob Marley and the Wailers – mentions the Wailers, Maytals, Damned, Jam, Dr Feelgood and the Clash
“All The Young Dudes” – Mott The Hoople – mentions T Rex and is easily my favourite song that mentions other bands or artists.
Just a few random things heading your way for this post. Let’s start with the sale of an iconic item of Michael Jackson’s clothing, it’s the jacket that he wore in the “Thriller” video. It sold recently for £1.1m in an auction in Beverley Hills. It was bought by an US Commodities Trader who plans to use it to raise money for children’s charities. Given the many allegations made against Jacko the use of his old clothes in that way does seem somewhat appropriate, doesn’t it? Click here to read the story on the BBC.
Lady Gaga is being sued in the USA for allegedly pocketing far more money than is appropriate in the sale of her Japan Earthquake Relief wristbands. The lawsuit, in which she is being sued for more than £3m, alleges that the wristbands are sold for $5 each and include shipping and tax costs meaning less than 10% would reach its beneficiaries. But obviously we don’t know how much of the detail Gaga herself is aware of, so watch this space and click here to read the story on the NME site.
Madonna will soon feature in a comic in the US. It will be in Bluewater Productions ‘Female Force’ series of comics. It’s hardly Batman or the Fantastic Four is it? Even more so when you consider that some of the other women to have featured to date are; Michelle Obama, Sarah Palin and Margaret Thatcher. I suppose that the latter two could almost pass as super villains though. Even though I have a large collection of comics I think it’s highly unlikely that I’ll be buying the Amazing Adventures Of Madge.
To coincide with the release of the new Muppets movie later this year a number of rock acts have recorded cover versions of many Muppet numbers. Amy Lee off of Evanescence has recorded one of my favourite Muppet songs, “Halfway Down The Stairs” originally sung by Kermit’s nephew Robin. Weezer and Hayley Williams off of Paramore have covered “Rainbow Connection”. Other artists recording songs for the album are; Alkaline Trio, My Morning Jacket, Airborne Toxic Event and OK Go.
It's a tragedy that Gaga has not been allowed to record a Muppet song, especially after she murdered so many of Kermit's relatives to make her dress.
Did you see any of the Glasto coverage? I thought the BBC did a great job with it, although I didn’t see the Wombles anywhere! As for the headliners; I thought U2 were ok, Coldplay were bloody good and Beyoncé was truly amazing. She even managed to cover Eurythmics, Alanis Morrisette, Prince and the Kings Of Leon. despite the rumours that her man Jay Z would join her on stage, he didn’t, but she did a rather interesting duet with Tricky. My main thought as I watched her was how little talent the likes of Cheryl Cole actually have.
I’m loving the new Eminem video for “Space Bound”, what do you think of it? It does contain the usual element of controversy from Mr Mathers. This time gun related. But I really believe the man is on top form.
Gaga just get's everywhere doesn't she?
And finally would you like your girlfriend, wife or partner to wear knickers with a picture of Thom Yorke on them? personally I wouldn’t, but if you’re that way inclined you can actually buy them. Has anyone reading this purchased any of them? Click here to see for yourself.
Some interesting news and a strange coincidence for you on this last day of 2010. Amy Winehouse recently pocketed £1 million for a private gig in Moscow for a Russian tycoon, not bad for someone who hasn’t played a gig in ages. There were two other acts on the bill; Boney M and Ke$ha, quite a strange combination in my opinion. What do you think? A few days after that gig singer and dancer Bobby Farrell off of Boney M died in a St Petersburg hotel room after a gig in the city. It is understood that he had a history of heart trouble. The strange coincidence is that Bobby died in the same city as Rasputin and on exactly the same date. Now that is the strange coincidence given that one of Bobby’s big hits with Boney M was “Rasputin” Click here to read the story of Bobby’s death on the BBC. Regular readers will know that Boney M were never my favourite band, in fact they were a long way from it, but it is always sad when someone dies so young, so RIP Bobby. Here he is with Boney M and that very song (followed by songs from Amy and Ke$ha:
Amy looks for a safe place to hide her million quid
Meanwhile in the New Years honours listAnnie Lennox wins an OBE while Trevor Horn godlike producer wins a CBE, congratulations to them both. Although I am unlikely ever to be offered a Royal honour I have made it very clear to my family and friends that I would turn it down, I cannot support an institution like the Royal Family. I find it strange that there are now a number of Knights of the Realm among the rock and pop aristocracy; Sir Cliff Richard, Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John and Sir Mick Jagger. Keith Richards has made it clear that he would never accept such and honour and David Bowie has already turned down the offer of royal honours a couple of times in the past. Watch Annie with the Eurythmics below along with a couple of classic videos for Trevor Horn productions.
Due to government budget cuts OBE winners were now awarded a cuddly toy rather than a medal
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?
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!
“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.
“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.