With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

The 12 Days Of Christmas 2021 – Songs Of Hope – Day 10 December 22, 2021

Filed under: Christmas — justwilliam1959 @ 1:36 am
Tags: , ,

Three more sleeps, not counting tonight until the bearded weirdy pops down your chimney. Obviously, I mean Santa Claus and not me ok? We are at day 10 (albeit a little late) of this year’s 12 Days of Christmas series which as regular readers know showcases a collection of songs about hope. The first eight posts have given you songs from Bill Withers, The Beatles, Johnny Nash, Bob Marley, ELO, Sam Cooke, Monty Python, Curtis Mayfield, and Fleetwood Mac. At the end of the twelve days, there will be a playlist of all twelve tunes and any that you recommend. It has gone so quick for me with only two more songs to go after this one. The world is a strange, dark place right now and I hope that these songs help you even in a small way. Today’s song is a 60s classic, “Reach Out I’ll Be There” by the Four Tops. Levi Stubbs Jr had one of the greatest soul voices ever in my opinion. Once again stay strong good people, we will get through all the shit that life throws at us eventually and there will be light at the end of this time. If you are feeling particularly low talk to someone. I am happy to be here for you if you need me!

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My 2020 On Spotify And Some Deeper Listening Stats! January 17, 2021


I thought I would share some of my Spotify listening habits. Apparently I listened to Spotify for more than 12 days last year, I wish I knew how much time I listened to vinyl, CDs, MP3s, radio and other on line sources too. I discovered 577 new artists, wow! My most listened to song was David Bowie’s version of “Wild Is The Wind” and unsurprisingly Bowie was my most listened to artist once again (996 minutes, nearly 6% of my total Spotify listening time) I was also in the top 0.5% of Bowie listeners. The other artists in my top 5 were Biffy Clyro, the Streets, Ella Fitzgerald and Woke Up Dead. I listened to 1,286 artists. My top decade was the 1970s, again no surprise there. Top genres were Rock, Soul and Dance Rock. Rather fascinatingly my music is more obscure than 80% of UK users, what on earth does that mean? I also found a few rather amusing, to me anyway, graphs and charts to accompany this post!

Since starting on this post I have also discovered a few sites on which you can regularly update your Spotify statistics split between artists and tracks and then last 4 weeks/ current, Last six months and all time within that. My favourites among these sites so far are Favourite Music Guru, Obscurify Music and Stats For Spotify. Have you used any of these or can you recommend others?

In case you’re interested in my warped eclectic taste these are my top artists on Spotify (Current, Medium Term and all time) The top songs follow those lists. Incidentally the Kunts and Jarvis Cocker feaure strongly on the tracks lists simply because I did my bit to get them to be the Christmas number one in the UK these last two years!

Top Artists — Short Term (4 weeks)

  1. The Beatles
  2. Yusuf / Cat Stevens
  3. Eagles
  4. London Symphony Orchestra
  5. Evie Sands
  6. Rumer
  7. Jackson Browne
  8. David Bowie
  9. Bobbie Gentry
  10. Harry Styles

Top Artists — Medium Term (6 months)

  1. David Bowie
  2. Biffy Clyro
  3. Gregory Porter
  4. The Avalanches
  5. John Lennon
  6. Eminem
  7. Stevie Wonder
  8. Stephen EvEns
  9. Ella Fitzgerald
  10. The Beatles

Top Artists — Long Term (years)

  1. David Bowie
  2. Bob Marley & The Wailers
  3. Biffy Clyro
  4. Frank Turner
  5. Bruce Springsteen
  6. Four Tops
  7. Eminem
  8. Johnny Nash
  9. Elton John
  10. The Streets

Top Tracks — Short Term (4 weeks)

  1. Boris Johnson is a Fucking Cunt – Single Edit — The Kunts
  2. Billy the Kid, Ballet Suite: I. The Open Prairie — Aaron Copland, London Symphony Orchestra
  3. True Faith ’94 — New Order
  4. Jamaica Say You Will — Jackson Browne
  5. Everybody Used to Love You — Silverjet
  6. Raison D’Être — Stolen Dead Music
  7. Wear A Mask — Sing Sing Rabbit
  8. Three Points on a Compass — Martin Rossiter
  9. Drag Me to the Light — Miles and the Chain Gang
  10. Alfred – Intro — Eminem

Top Tracks — Medium Term (6 months)

  1. Boris Johnson is a Fucking Cunt – Single Edit — The Kunts
  2. Taking It Slow — Heartsink
  3. Concorde — Gregory Porter
  4. Freakin’ At the Freaker’s Ball — Dr. Hook
  5. Pepper — Butthole Surfers
  6. Career Criminal — Stephen EvEns
  7. Close — The Islas
  8. Belladonna — Spunsugar
  9. Make Us Eat — The Shining Tongues
  10. Smiling — Alanis Morissette

Top Tracks — Long Term (years)

  1. Boris Johnson is a Fucking Cunt – Single Edit — The Kunts
  2. Running the World — Jarvis Cocker
  3. Star Treatment — Arctic Monkeys
  4. (red, white, and blue) Cheerfulness — Perry Farrell
  5. Balance, Not Symmetry — Biffy Clyro
  6. Future Legend – 2016 Remaster — David Bowie
  7. Deep Sea Dreaming — Ocean Flaws
  8. Loser of the Year — Woke Up Dead
  9. Three Points on a Compass — Martin Rossiter
  10. Wild Is the Wind – 2016 Remaster — David Bowie

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“Brother, brother, brother there’s far too many of you dying” July 11, 2014

Filed under: Trivia — justwilliam1959 @ 12:55 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

marvin-gaye-whats-going-on1

Marvin Gaye co-wrote the wonderful “What’s Going On?” with Renaldo ‘Obie’ Benson of the Four Tops. Berry Gordy infamously called it the worst piece of music that he had ever heard. However Obie thought very differently and he offered the song to Joan Baez, but she turned it down.

Renaldo-Obie-Benson-2

joan baez

 

“some revolution is going to happen today I’m gonna chase the dark clouds away” a.k.a. 11 pipers piping December 23, 2012


11 Pipers

Oh my God when will these bloody gifts stop arriving. I mean I love my true love to bits but where in the hell am I supposed to put 11 bloody pipers piping. I’ve never like the cat strangling sound of bagpipes anyway. Enough of my woes, I’m sure that you have worked out that it is now day 11 of my 12 days of Christmas series of posts, hence the 11 pipers piping. Will there be many pipers left after all the proposed UK defence cuts? Military personnel in the UK Armed Forces are expected to fall from 102,00 to 82,000 by 2018 and it is expected that a number of regimental bands may not survive the proposed mergers of residents.

Chairman+Of+The+Board

But on to some happier thoughts, I have picked two piper related songs for you today, albeit rather tenuous in the case of the second one. but the first song comes from one of my favourite bands from my early teenage years. It’s Chairmen Of The Board with “Pay To The Piper”. Most of the band’s biggest hits were Holland Dozier Holland compositions which may well have been recorded by the Four Tops had HDH remained at Motown rather than leaving to form the Invictus label. The song reached number 13 in the US Hot 100 and only managed a lowly number 34 in the UK in 1971. “Pay To The Piper” was the band’s fourth single. Their first single “Give Me Just A Little More Time” is their best chart performer on both sides of the Atlantic peaking at number 3 in both countries. I am amazed that the band didn’t do better from a chart perspective, they recorded some classic songs. Big kudos too for recording the excellently titled “Shaggin’ The Night Away”.

Billie_Piper

The second song for today is a little more tenuous as I mentioned earlier, it’s “Because We want To” by Billie Piper (geddit?). More people probably remember Billie more for her acting these days than for her time as a pop star. I loved her as Rose Tyler in Doctor Who, didn’t you? “Because We Want To” from 1998 was Billie’s first hit single and the first of her three UK number ones. It also made the top 10 in Ireland, Sweden and New Zealand. It was also the official song of the Women’s World Cup in 1999. That tournament was held in the USA and was won by the host nation who beat China on penalties after a nil nil draw. England sadly failed to qualify.

Billie-Piper

And finally another Billy Bonus with Laurel and Hardy dancing to Chairmen Of The Board’s “Shaggin’ The Night Away”

 

“I’m no longer just another face in a crowd” December 9, 2011


Here we are at day 9 and therefore December 9th of my Christmas Advent Calendar. Today marks the second appearance of the fabulous Four Tops in my ABC Of Motown themed calendar for 2011. The song is “I’m In A Different World” and was written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and R Dean Taylor. Holland Dozier Holland had written most of the Four Tops biggest hits. This was the last Four Tops song that any of the HDH team had anything to do with.

It was recorded in 1968 shortly before Holland Dozier Holland left Motown over a dispute about royalties. They went on to form the Invictus label and had many hits with artists such as Freda Payne and Chairmen Of The Board. It only made number 51 in the US and just 27 in the UK charts.

The Four Tops were allegedly scheduled to board the Pan Am Flight 103 in December 1988. However they had a late recording session the night before and overslept. The flight was later brought down by a terrorist bomb over the Scottish town of Lockerbie. Strangely enough John Lydon and his wife Norah were also meant to be on that flight. They were delayed because Norah took a long while to pack.

 

“Red light, green light, speeding through the dark night” December 7, 2011


We’re up to the letter G in my ABC of Motown Christmas Advent Calendar, which means that today is December 7th. Todays song is from the, in my opinion, very much underrated Richard Dean Taylor. He is better known. He is a Canadian and was born in Toronto in 1939, which makes him 72, just like yesterday’s featured artist Jimmy Ruffin.

Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, R. Dean Taylor, Don Gooch

Taylor signed with Motown in 1964 as a songwriter. His first single was scheduled to be”My Ladybug (Stay Away From That Beatle)” which was deemed unworthy of release. His biggest success as a writer or cowriter at the label was with songs such as “I’ll Turn To Stone” by the Four Tops and “I’m Livin’ In Shame” from Diana Ross and the Supremes. One of his biggest hits was actually one that he didn’t have a hand in writing. It was “There’s A Ghost In My House” which was written by the classic Tamla Motown writing team of Brian and Eddie Holland and Lamont Dozier aka Holland Dozier Holland.

Strangely enough todays song in the advent calendar is “Gotta See Jane” which Taylor wrote with Brian Holland. It reached number 17 in the UK charts in 1968. It has been covered by both the Fall and Golden Earring (enjoy those versions below). The song was released on Motown’s Rare Earth subsidiary in the USA.

 

“All men need someone to worship and adore” December 2, 2011


It’s December 2nd and time to open the next little compartment of my ABC of Motown Christmas Advent Calendar. At the risk of sounding a little Sesame Street today is the letter B. To match that I have chosen a song from my favourite Motown group of all time; the Four Tops. The song is “Bernadette”. It was one of the many classics written by the writing team of Lamont Dozier, Brian and Eddie Holland (a.k.a Holland Dozier Holland). Inevitably it was the Motown house band the Funk Brothers that played on the track.

The song has an excellent false ending which has a short silence before the emotive vocals of Levi Stubbs kick the song back into action. It reached number 4 in the US charts in 1967 and number 8 in the UK. Sadly the Four Tops are no more with Abdul ‘Duke’ Fakir being the only surviving member.

 

“We make out in your Mustang to Radiohead” November 30, 2011


Katy does the garden........ shearly not?

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.

 

“Well she really fills her clothes from head to toe, I want the world to know I love her, love her so” December 11, 2010


reet petite asleep perhaps?

It’s December 1986 and a song that was recorded nearly 30 years before makes it to the top of the chart and also 3 years after it’s singer died. Can you guess what we’ll find when we open the December 11th Cardboard flap on my UK Christmas Number Ones Advent Calendar? It’s the truly stupendous Jackie Wilson with “Reet Petite”. Back in the 70s this was always one of the favourite songs of my mate Glen’s Dad Bill Voisey.

Jackie meets Elvis

Jackie Wilson was a truly gifted vocalist. How can people not be moved by  “Your Love Has Lifted Me Higher And Higher” and “I Get The Sweetest Feeling“. In 1985 Wilson was mentioned in the post Lionel Richie Commodores hit “Night Shift” along with the likes of Marvin Gaye. Wilson was mentioned in quite a few songs and in fact “Reet Petite” was given reference in David Bowie’sRed Money” from the 1979 album ‘The Lodger’. “Reet Petite” was number one for 4 weeks including the Christmas of 1986. Jackie’s cousin was Levi Stubbs Jr off of the Four Tops, probably one of my favourite vocalists of all time and very sadly missed.

The song also made the top slot in Ireland and Holland, enjoy the video below, after some other Jackie Wilson classics

 

“Many, many years ago he started something with his first ‘hello, hello'” May 13, 2010


Nick - "Dave, will this coalition hurt?" Dave - "Not really, but you may feel a little prick!"

 Is the UK’s new coalition government the brave new world that some of the media are suggesting? It is the first for many years and indeed it is the first time The Party Formerly Known As The Liberal Party (TPFKATLP) has been represented on the cabinet. But in essence the country is being run once again by a significant number of toffs. Some 72% of the cabinet were schooled at Westminster, Eton and other exclusive schools and most of those are also Oxbridge Graduates. Personally I feel cheated, for the first time in quite a while I voted Lib Dem rather than Labour as I felt that Nick Clegg’s party ideals were closest to Labours. But then he goes and does a deal with Dangerous Dave. Sure he sided with the party that got most votes, but bear in mind that nobody really won this election. The Tories got 36% of the vote, but that equates to just 23% of those eligible to vote. To make matters worse if it all goes wrong I can’t wear my ‘Don’t Blame Me I Voted Labour’ badge, because I didn’t.  

Will this government move us closer to proportional representation? I honestly doubt it, because the Tories and Labour have most to lose from it so they will angle any referendum questions their way I suspect. Am I being overly cynical? Maybe. But here’s another one, the Lib Dems said that they would not proceed with a replacement for Trident, but now that Dave and Nick are all cosied up the Lib Dems will concede on that. Hold on a cotton pickin’ minute here, why has no-one stated the bloody obvious. This government will bring in austerity measures to achieve public spending cuts saving £6 billion. Now according to reports of Trident costs that I have read Trident’s replacement will cost anywhere from £76 billion to £130 billion. So why not scrap Trident and take the £6 billion from there and then pay all the rest of us (except bankers) obscene bonuses with the remaining money. But that won’t happen either as banking reform will be handcuffed as it will be led by George Osborne rather than Vince Cable.  

Anyway rant over, because frankly what the hell can I do about it now? Bugger all that’s what! Also this is ostensibly a music blog so let’s get on with that element shall we? Taking the theme, appropriately from another new government story. Dangerous Dave Cameron has apparently banned people from using their mobiles and Blackberrys in meetings and I commend him for that. (Read about it here) Where I work I wish someone would take that extra step and ban bloody meetings though, it’s no wonder that nothing get’s done in most organisations when most of us are sat on our arses in meetings all day!  

So back to the point, the banning of phones in government meetings, here are a somewhat eclectic six telephone related songs, (one for each Lib Dem member of the Liberative Cabinet, feel free to suggest your own  

and you thought the first mobile phones were big!

 “Telephone Line” – ELO. This is probably one of my favourite ELO songs, I always preferred their slower numbers. I went off them when Jeff Lynne just seemed to want to be the Beatles, even before Oasis did. But in their time they did record some classic songs though  

  

“Hanging On The Telephone” – Blondie. This was a cover version the original was by the Nerves (click here to listen). I reckon that quite a few people didn’t know that. I suppose I could have chosen “Call Me” as well. I saw Blondie in the 90’s when “Maria” went to number one in the UK. It was at the Reading Rivermead with my very good friend Jes (Jeremy Hyde to his folks). Anyway the band had played a couple of songs from the new album and we were standing a little way from the stage, then they launched into “Hanging On The Telephone” and I remained were I was whilst Jes was dragged forward by the crowd surge. The next thing I could see was Jes right near the front of the stage pogoing his heart out. He has always had a bit of a thing for Debbie Harry though, in fact he once confided in me that our boss Jane reminded him of Ms Harry. But more of that another day perhaps!  

  

“Vibrate” – Rufus Wainwright. This is taken from Rufus’ excellent album ‘Want One’ which was the first of his that I bought. I love the guys voice, which sometimes reminds me of the late, great Jeff Buckley. he is the son of Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III. Loudon once wrote a song called “Rufus Is A Tit Man” which turned out to be completely wrong as Rufus is gay. If my son Luke was around when I put a Rufus Wainwright CD on he always referred to him as Rufus the Doofus, I thought you might want to know that  

  

“Just Seven Numbers (Can Straighten Out My Life)” – Four Tops. Is there anyone out there that doesn’t love Levi Stubbs’ voice, for me it’s an immaculate soul voice. Whilst most of the Four Tops biggest hits were written by the classic teaming of Holland Dozier Holland this one wasn’t. It was co written by Pam Sawyer and Gloria Jones. That’s the very same Gloria Jones that wrote and originally recorded, “Tainted Love” which became Soft Cell’s biggest hit. She also went on to become Marc Bolan’s girlfriend and was driving the car in which he died in September 1977  

“Alexander Graham Bell” – Sweet. Mr Bell is credited with inventing the telephone and allegedly he wouldn’t have one in his study as he felt it was an intrusion, that seems a little strange to me. Also his mother and his wife were profoundly deaf, so his invention was never going to benefit them was it?  

  

“Telephone Man” – Meri Wilson. Meri specialised in double entendre type songs of which this, her biggest hit (oooooooh Matron!) is a good example. Sadly she died in a car crash aged just 53 in 2002

 

 
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