With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“I don’t understand it, for you it’s a breeze” February 5, 2017

Filed under: Trivia — justwilliam1959 @ 7:36 pm
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Back in 1984 the first ever UK number one single to be written, produced and performed by the same artist hit the top of the chart. Sadly it was a song that I really don’t care for, “I Just Called To Say I Love You” by Stevie Wonder. However Stevie has written, produced and performed so many brilliant songs I am happy to forgive him that one. If only that song had not reached the chart summit then the first single to top the chart that was written, produced and performed by the same artist would have been “A Different Corner” by the late, great George Michael. A far, far better song in my opinion.

 

 

 

Rufus Wainwright – York Barbican Wednesday 21st November 2012 November 22, 2012


Teddy Thompson, Adam Cohen and Rufus Wainwright on the same bill. Could this be the greatest ever offspring of famous musical fathers and mothers show? Yes it could be and it probably was. How do I know? Because I was there at the Barbican in York on Wednesday night.

Teddy Thompson, son of Richard and Linda Thompson took to the stage first armed with just his acoustic guitar. He is a real troubadour with great style, great songs and a superb dry wit. In my opinion an inspired choice to support Rufus. Incidentally Teddy is also a member of Mister Wainwright’s band.

Adams Cohen son of Leonard Cohen is a very talented showman indeed. He has clearly invented the great song writing gene from his Dad. He also did a rather amusing ‘guess whose son I am thread between songs. In fact the between song banter was intelligent and humorous. Especially the Celine Dion and George Michael references. All of this helped him achieve great rapport with and support from the audience. But what cemented that was the songs; his own compositions are truly special and he also interprets his father’s material very well too. Adam’s “I Love You” (I think that may be the title) is a stupendous song that ought to become a classic. I would definitely go and see Mr Cohen Junior again.

Rufus Wainwright, son of Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle is a true showman with undoubtedly one of the best voices of his generation. I have heard him described as the gayest man on the planet. I’m not sure how you measure that, but he is certainly one of the campest. His stage clothes look like they came from Rupert The Bear’s wardrobe. I have loved his music since I first acquired a copy of his ‘Want One’ album so I was really looking forward to his show and believe me I wasn’t disappointed. He and his band were on stage for around an hour and forty minutes in which they performed new stuff, old stuff and a cover of one of his Dad’s songs which was shared equally among the whole band. He also gave the spotlight to a couple of band members too. He played one of my favourites in “Going To A Town” as well.

But he saved the best until last. After Rufus and the band left the stage we were waiting in anticipation for the usual type of encore. But what happened transcended any other encore I have seen before. Some of the band came back on stage dressed in their best funk and soul brother outfits and were followed by a musclebound Cupid, who proceeded to whip the crowd into a dance frenzy of mega proportions. Well ok he get everyone on their feet at least. We were all stomping and clapping for the return of the newly anointed Rufus Apollo who appeared from the back of the auditorium wearing a toga like outfit a mask and a blonde wig. He and Cupid started some of the crowd in a conga and lead them onto the stage. Rufus and the band then closed proceedings with a barnstorming version of the truly wonderful “Gay Messiah”. This Rufus bloke knows how to put on a good show and a great party, I order you to go and see him. Don’t delay get out and buy your tickets now!

Please note that none of the pictures and clips are from the show at the Barbican, I was enjoying the show way too much to get my camera out!

 

London 2012 – The Olympics Closing Ceremony August 13, 2012


So the London 2012 Olympics is over, at least until the Paralympics anyway. I truly believe that this has been an amazing Olympics and for me usurps England winning the 1966 football world cup as our greatest sporting achievement. What do you think? OK I know the Scots won’t agree with that in the first place, but I would still like to hear your thoughts.

I realise that this post comes some 24 hours after the closing ceremony, but given the musical nature of that ceremony I felt I had to post something. The Olympic stadium was once again amazing; decked out to show a London skyline that included the London Eye, Big Ben and the Gherkin to name but a few. It all kicked off with the delicious voice of Emilie Sande accompanied only by a pianist, who was playing a piano covered in newspaper. After that the tempo really took off with forty members of the cast of Stomp dancing, drumming and percussing (is that a word?) on the recreated mini London Eye in the stadium. On top of all this there was a choir singing Beatles songs.

Next up was cellist and Churchill appearing out of the top of Big Ben and reciting words from Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ which was a great link back to the superb Opening ceremony. Obviously it wasn’t really Churchill, it was Timothy Spall. This was followed by newspaper clad crowds depicting the hubbub of London. The whole thing then slowed a little for the arrival of the VIPs; Jacques Rogge (President of the IOC) who seems to make even the dullest accountant I have ever met seem exciting and prince Harry representing the Royal family. Clearly he was never going to match his grandmother’s arrival at the opening ceremony! Obviously this was followed by our rather uninspiring, in my opinion, national anthem.

The whole show was a celebration of Britain and the next vignette was real class. It was the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 countdown by Michael Caine from the ‘Italian Job’ and then the iconic three-wheeled van of Trotter’s Independent Trading blew apart and out jumped, yes you guessed it, Del Boy and Rodney in their Batman and Robin costumes. A sublime moment and a nod to one of Britain’s greatest ever comedy shows; Only Fools And Horses.

The mood then turned very much to party as madness were driven around the arena playing “Our House” from the back of a truck. This tempo was kept up by the Massed Guards Bands with a wonderful rendition of Blur’s “Parklife”. Just when you thought it couldn’t get better the stadium was filled with cyclists wearing the most amazing geometric and fluorescent hats. Two of them on tricycles which had Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe as passengers. So we were treated to a fabulous version of “West Ends Girls” on bicycles and tricycles. Could this happen anywhere but the UK? I doubt it!

One Direction were next, like Madness they were on the back of a truck, which sadly wasn’t headed to the tip. OK I have to begrudgingly admit they were at least in tune, but I still don’t like them. Interestingly they were one of just a few acts whose name was flashed onto the screen when they appeared. After that it was back to another great number from the cast of Stomp. That percussion sounded like “Spice Up Your Life” to me. was that deliberate? Who knows? An incredibly talented dance troupe who I think were called Spelbound were next to take the stage. They performed a great routine to the Beatles Sergeant Pepper classic “A Day In The Life”

To keep up the 60s vibe Kinksmeister Ray Davies came on to sing his timeless and classic love song to London; “Waterloo Sunset”. eliciting some great ‘sha la la-ing’ from the audience in the process. Emilie Sande made a return next, minus the newspaper piano and sang over a film montage of some of London 2012’s most tearful moments. The three hundred or so flag bearers entered the arena after that, including super sailor Ben Ainslie fo Britain. Elbow soundtracked this whole piece with a great little set that included the beautiful “Open Arms”.  The athletes followed the arrival of the flag bearers and they were corralled into the sections of the union jack which formed the floor of the stadium. Apparently this version of the flag was designed by Damien Hirst. Indian drummers then accompanied the construction of a large structure made up of more than three hundred white boxes. One to represent each Olympic event. The backing track to this was Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill”. I had momentary butterflies while wishing and hoping that Kate might actually appear herself. But alas she didn’t.

Apparently one of the traditions of the closing ceremony is that it contains the last medal presentation. It is for the Mens Marathon which took place earlier in the day and was won by Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda.  This was followed by a thank you and recognition for all the volunteers, or Games makers as they were known from all the athletes. This was followed by a spectacular light show to the unmistakable sound of Queen’s mighty “Bohemian Rhapsody” followed by a children’s signing choir singing John Lennon’s “Imagine”. This segued into a film clip of Lennon singing the song himself. Apparently Yoko Ono commissioned a special remaster of the song for the ceremony. At the same time a 3D image of John Lennon’s face was built on stage. This was a prelude to the main musical events.

George Michael took to the stage for his first live performance since his life threatening illness he sang “Freedom 90”  his new single “White Light” which is in fact all about his brush with death. He seemed fit and well and on really good form. I’m not sure I like the new facial hair style though, perhaps it will grow on me! Ricky off of the Kaiser Chiefs was driven to the stage as a scooter pillion passenger singing “Pinball Wizard”. I have gone off the Kaisers of late, by I must admit they did a storming version of the Who’s classic. The next part had me positively tingling with anticipation; A series of short film and audio clips of David Bowie. Would he actually appear? Surely not? And surely he didn’t. But his 1980 hit “Fashion” was used as a backdrop to a showcase of British fashion which included a weird march around the stadium from a series of models including Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss.

George couldn’t master Mo Farah’s Mobot so he invented the Georgebot

A huge skeleton of what might have been a viking boat was pulled on stage and the hidden figurehead was none other than Annie Lennox. She performed “Little Bird” which was used on the soundtrack of Coppola’s film version of Bram Stoker’s classic story Dracula. The much rumoured Pink Floyd appearance turned out to be nothing more than Ed Sheerhan, Nick Mason and Mike Rutherford doing the Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” accompanied by a tightrope walker who recreated the Floyd album cover with the flaming man.

Russell Brand arrived on stage in what looked like the Scooby Doo van and he was singing, he’s not a bad singer either. He got out of the van to perform the Beatles’ “I Am The Walrus”. The van begat a giant inflatable octopus from which Fatboy Slim did a brief DJ set featuring his own hits “Right Here Right Now” and “Rockerfeller Skank”. Jessie J then sang “Price Tag” in an open top car she was joined by Tinie Tempah then Taio Cruz with “Dynamite”. All in open top cars. Then all three of them took the stage for a creditable performance of the Bee Gees disco classic “You Should Be Dancing”. As they were performing in front of a drum kit marked up with the name of Beady Eye it was obvious who was going to be on later!

A group of London Black cabs entered stadium and performed a kind of synchronised dance. Then five of them moved to the centre of the arena and were lit up with some spectacular lighting arrays. This wasn’t the best kept secret of the show, but guess who the passengers in these five cabs were? Yes it was Scary, Sporty, Baby, Ginger and Pouty…. oops sorry I mean Posh. It was the return of the Spice Girl. They kicked off with possibly one of the greatest pop singles of the 90s (OK that doesn’t mean you have to like it); “Wannabe”. They followed this with the samba rhythmed “Spice Up Your Life” which they performed while being driven around the stadium atop the cabs that brought them in. As expected after seeing their drum kit earlier Beady Eye were next. Thankfully they didn’t play any of their own stuff, just a cover of “Wonderwall” which seemed to go down really well as a sing along with the crowd. Liam seemed quite nervous to me and is his voice a little rough these days?

ELO’s “Mr Blue Sky” was played as a backdrop for a section pioneering flight. This included flying bikes and a failed human cannonball who just happened to be Monty Python star Eric Idle who led the audience in a marvellous sing-alonga-python version of “Always look On The Bright Side Of Life”. he even made a great comedic attempt to join in with some Bollywood style dancing. This whole piece was perhaps the equivalent of the Mr Bean set in the opening ceremony. It ended with the real and successful firing of a human cannonball.

Matt Bellamy and the boys from Muse were the next to appear and they performed their song “Survival” which was commissioned for the Olympics. It’s good and their performance was excellent as usual but this is a long way from being my favourite Muse song. Interestingly, as some have likened Muse to Queen they were followed by a film clip of Freddie Mercury performing some improv jazz scat and despite being dead for more than twenty years the audience were enraptured and joined in the whole Freddie call and response thing. This proved to be the overture to Brian May’s appearance and it’s fair to say that he’s quite a good guitarist isn’t he? 😉 As the unmistakable riff to “We Will Rock You” began and Brian was joined by Roger Taylor I was briefly worried that Adam Lambert or someone similar might step onto the stage. Thankfully it was Jessie J, and inspired choice in my opinion. She did a great vocal on the song which never tried to emulate the late, great Mr Mercury.

It was then time to return to the formal activities which meant the Greek national anthem followed by a Welsh Male Choir version of the Olympic Anthem. This was sealed with the Brazilian national anthem and a formal handing over of the Olympic flag from London’s Mayor Boris Johnson to the Mayor of Rio De Janeiro via Jacques Rogge. The Brazilians then put on a samba fuelled show to let the world know what to expect in 2016. This culminated in an appearance by one of their greatest sports ambassadors; Pele. Then we had more formal stuff with speeches from Seb Coe and Jacques Rogge. Seb was quite inspiring Jacque was once again the definition of dull in my opinion. The remaining action was the extinguishing of the flame. This began with Take That (thankfully without Robbie) performing the appropriate “Rule The World”. It continued with Darcy Bussell flying in as a Phoenix to join two hundred other ballet dances for an exciting modern ballet.

The petals of the cauldron where the Olympic flame burned were then lowered and were slowly extinguished and at this point I thought that was the end. However there was more to come in the shape of the Who. They were on top form and for a pensioner Roger Daltrey’s vocal power is still damned good. They closed with a rousing version of “My Generation” accompanied by yet another magnificent firework display.

I fell a little deflated after such a brilliant two weeks but so very proud to be British. I truly believe that we really showed the world what we are capable of as a country. Not just in the Olympic events but by how we put on such a brilliant event in itself. In spite of the little hiccups before the start (G4S etc) we really delivered this in style and won a whole treasure box of medals too. So let me take this opportunity to congratulate and thank everyone in Team GB, the organisers, all the other competitors, the BBC, the volunteers/  Games Makers and anyone else who was involved in this remarkable event.

Was this the best Olympics ever? I believe it as. Rio follow that!

Most of the film clips from the ceremony are IOC copyright and therefore difficult to show. So here are two songs that sum things up in a simple way.

 

“I’m gonna paint you by numbers and colour you in” aka The Brit Awards 2012 (February 21st) February 22, 2012


It’s that time of year again, the annual celebration and all round back slap of the UK music industry that is the Brits. There are 46 nominees this year including Adele who comes to the party already the proud owner of six Grammys. In a slight departure from my live typing last year I am doing this from the recording of the show. This meant I was able to spend a great night with Catwoman and some of our best friends and their lovely daughter Amelia. (Incidentally if you’d like to read the blog I write monthly for Amelia just click here)

So on with the show. A great and bombastic opener, “Charlie” from Coldplay. As with last year the event is presented by James Corden. The little clips introducing the best album nominees began with Adele’s ’21’ which is appropriately enough the best-selling album in the UK so far this century. As expected there was a film montage in memory of Whitney Houston which preceded the live appearance of Florence and the Machine. I am always blown away by that girl’s voice and tonight was no exception with a superb performance of “No Light No Light”. She seemed encased in a white light prison at one point. A prism prison if you will!

The first award was for Best British Female, presented by the beautifully proportioned Kylie Minogue. Whilst I would have liked to have seen Kate Bush win it there was really no surprise to see Adele be announced as a very worthy winner. She gave a really amusing acceptance speech including suggesting that she felt like a drag queen next to Kylie. The Best International Male award was presented by Jessie J and Jack Whitehall (who the fuck is he?) The winner was Bruno Mars with a bouffant hair do that seemed to add about a foot to his stature. His thank you speech was probably the blandest and least controversial there has ever been at the Brits.

The next live act was Olly Murs with the Rizzle Kicks. This is a real dilemma for me, I love the Rizzle Kicks but Olly Murs voice makes me want to eat my cats vomit with a side order of fresh road kill. It was a big dance production of Olly’s “My Heart Skips A Beat” including an attempt at Murs robotic dancing. At least his Mum and Simon Cowell would be proud of him.

The Critics Choice award went to Emeli Sande and was known in advance, this was given to the wonderful Jessie J last year. Mr Ed Sheerhan was the next turn to take to the stage with a wonderfully sparse version of his superb song “Lego House”. Just how good was that? The next award was for Best British Single presented by the immensely talented Tinie Tempah. Sadly the winner was the rather insipid attempt at anthemic; “What Makes You Beautiful” from X Factor Pop Muppets One Direction. Did they get dressed in a James Bond costume shop?

Jenson Button was chosen to present the award for International Female, not for his musical talents presumably. Still he’d make a better James Bond than One Direction, probably a better singer too. The award went to Rihanna, possibly one of the sexiest women on the planet in my opinion. To make up spectacularly for Olly Murs Noel Gallagher appeared with his High Flying Birds with the stupendous “AKA What A Life” with Chris Martin off of Coldplay on keyboards. I think it’s now very clear that Noel was and is the more talented Gallagher brother.

Next was a tribute to Amy Winehouse. Quite fittingly interspersing some of her brilliant songs with some great interview clips all shown in black and white. Losing Whitney was very sad but losing Amy was a tragedy. Best British Male was the next gong and it was presented by the sharp dressed and edgy Plan B. The award went to Ed Sheerhan who has now ditched the green T Shirt for a suit and tie.

Huey Morgan and Jo Whiley presented the Best British Group award. This one has been taken home by Coldplay twice before (in 2001 and 2003) and this year they make it a third. It was voted for by BBC Radio Two listeners. A really sincere acceptance speech though. James Corden then interviewed, very briefly, Kylie Minogue. He really should stick to his day job! The stage was owned by Adele for the next live performance, a storming “Rolling In The Deep”. She looked stunning, I wonder if that pretentious twat Karl Lagerfeld was watching.

The International Group award was presented by two of the remaining members of Queen, Brian May and Roger Taylor. The Foo Fighters were very worthy winners and were the first recipients of the evening not able to be there to collect their award. They did supply a great little video clip though. Nicole Scherzinger was joined by none other than musical superstar, sorry I meant football superstar Cesc Fabregas to present the Best Breakthrough act award. It was the second of the night for Ed Sheerhan. An interesting acceptance speech, apparently his manager could do with a new sofa.

Bruno Mars performed “Just The Way You Are” dressed like a tuxedoed James Bond lookalike. Except that the hair is probably an explosive secret weapon presented to this pint-sized warbler by Bond Boffin Q. Then we had another awkward Corden interview, this time with the prepubescent One Direction. A bizarre pairing of Rob Brydon and Will.i.Am presented the Best International Breakthrough act which unsurprisingly went to the talented and somewhat astral Lana Del Ray. She also won the award for blubbiest acceptance speech of the night, but I do love her album.

“We Found Love” from Rihanna was a live performance to be reckoned with. Only she could make a kind of painters smock sexy whilst performing in front of a gang of dancing painter decorators. Her hair had grown immeasurably from her earlier appearance. Has she taken the same follicle elixir as Bruno Mars or was it just a really classy syrup?

Finally it came to Ray Winstone to present the Outstanding Contribution To Music Award to Blur aka Graham, Dave , Alex and Damon. Next was the MasterCard British Album of the year award, presented by the man with talent oozing out of his pockets, George Michael. This had Adele’s name on it months ago didn’t it? That girl will need a bigger shelf for all these awards. How the fuck did they end up curtailing her acceptance speech in such an abrupt way.

Blur were on stage to close the show kicking off their set with “Girls And Boys” and then appropriately “Song 2”. They were then joined on stage by Phil Daniels for a great rendition of “Parklife” Sadly that is where the TV coverage ended, I would love to have seen the whole set from Blur. I hear that they finished off with “Tender” and “This Is A Low”, but somehow I imagine this was quite a high for them!

 

“No matter what they take from me they can’t take away my dignity” February 12, 2012


By now you may have already heard or read the reports of the untimely and sad demise of Whitney Houston aged just 48. Any comment about the cause of death at this stage is pure speculation. Her body was discovered in her Los Angeles hotel room on February 11th. She was staying there for Clive Davis‘ pre Grammys party. It was Davis who discovered Whitney singing in bars and clubs as a teenager. Whitney won 6 Grammys herself and with the ceremony taking place today it’s likely that there will be a lot of focus on her career.

Her mother was Cissy Houston, a talented singer herself. She was also related to Dee Dee Warwick and Dionne Warwick. Aretha Franklin was her godmother. She was just eleven when she started singing in her church gospel choir. As a teenager she would occasionally appear on stage to provide backing vocals for her mother. Her first big break in the industry was when she provided backing vocals on the Michael Zager Band’s hit “Life’s A Party” when she was just 14. One of the biggest hits to be graced with a Whitney backing vocal was the stupendous “I’m Every Woman” from Chaka Khan in 1978. Whitney was still only 15. She carried on as a backing vocalist for a while and even graduated to lead vocals an a Paul Jabara album.

Clive Davis signed her to Arista in 1983 and spent some time developing her and finding the right production and writers which meant that her first solo album, ‘Whitney Houston’, didn’t appear until February 1985. Eventually it rose to the summit of the US Billboard album charts and spent 14 weeks there. It also spawned three US number ones; “Saving All My Love For You”, “How Will I Know” and “The Greatest Love Of All” The album which featured duets with Jermaine Jackson and Teddy Pendergrass and backing vocals from her mother Cissy, went on to sell 25 million copies worldwide.

The follow-up album was the rather unimaginatively titled ‘Whitney’ which stormed the charts in the wake of its predecessor. As well as the album hitting the top of the US charts it gave Houston another four US number ones in; “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)”, “Didn’t We Almost Have It All”, “So Emotional” and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go”.  Her third album ‘I’m Your Baby Tonight’ took her in a much tougher R & B direction and in my opinion showcased her vocal talents better than the first two did. She appeared at the Super Bowl in 1991 where she sang the US national anthem. It was later released as a single and reached the US Top 20. It was the biggest chart hit that any artist had ever had with “The Star Spangled Banner

It was in the 1990s that her career took an even faster upwards trajectory. 1992 was a pivotal year for her. In July She married singer Bobby Brown who she had met at the Soul Train Music Awards three years earlier. She had her only child  Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown with him a year later. After her initial success from 1985 she had many offers of film roles but none of them felt right to her. But eventually she took on the role of a singing superstar in ‘The Bodyguard’ which was released in 1992. She co-starred with Kevin Costner. The film may well be remembered more for its soundtrack though, which included the mega hit “I Will Always Love You”. It was a cover of a Dolly Parton song and frankly is not a song I like very much at all. But I am probably in a small minority there as it reached number one in almost every country it was released. The soundtrack album also included a great version of “I’m Every Woman” a song on which Whitney had provided backing vocals 14 years before. She went on to make a number of other successful movies including ‘Waiting To Exhale’ and ‘The Preachers Wife’

Her next studio album that wasn’t soundtrack related, ‘My Love Is Your Love’ wasn’t released until 1998. It was a much funkier sound from her and includes my favourite Whitney song “It’s Not Right, But It’s OK”. That remains an office catch phrase for me after hearing a colleague (thank you Mr Mangan) use it a lot. Basically if something is not perfect but is ok he would say, ‘It’s a bit Whitney’ meaning in very simple terms, ‘it’s not right but it’s ok’. This album was followed by her greatest hits package ‘Whitney : The Greatest Hits’ in 2000. It included a number of new songs including duets with George Michael and Enrique Iglesias. (Another greatest hits package ‘The Ultimate Collection’ was released in 2007)

The next few years might be seen as wilderness years for her in that she suffered the problems of drug addiction. Plenty has been written about those episodes of her life so I don’t see the point of adding to that here. Even during those low times she was able to release a couple of albums; ‘Just Whitney’ and her first Christmas album. She finally divorced from Bobby Brown in 2007 and got herself back on track by releasing a new album ‘I Look To You’ in 2009. She promoted a single from the album, the rather excellent “Million Dollar Bill” with an appearance on the X Factor in the UK. In 2010 she took off on her first world tour for many years. The shows received mixed reviews and a number were cancelled and rescheduled due to Houston falling ill.

Many of todays generation of female singers owe a debt to Whitney Houston and I am sure she will be sadly missed. Whatever you might think of the way she lived her life it is hard to deny that she was an incredible talent and 48 is just way too young to leave this life. My thoughts go to her family, friends and fans. RIP Whitney Houston.

To celebrate her life I have chosen some of my favourite Whitney Houston songs for you;

 

“We have climbed so high, never wanna die” January 15, 2011


I used to have this poster on my bedroom wall as a teenager

I won’t go as far as addressing you as constant reader as Stephen King does, but I will say dear regular reader thank you for coming to this blog every so often. In particular a big thank you to those of you who send me links to stories that might be worth posting about. I do try to use all of them, although I haven’t done much of that in recent weeks. However I intend to rectify that today with a double whammy of two car related stories. The first was provided by my good friend Nick Horslen and the second from yet another good friend, Tom Wycks. Strangely or appropriately both are car related, so perhaps you can guess the kind of songs that will follow!

Apparently a few days ago whilst out and about in LA actor Peter Fonda discovered a dead body in a car. It wasn’t his, I mean the car wasn’t his, but then neither was the body, but that would have been a hell of a story too wouldn’t it? he saw the body slumped over the wheel and reported it to police. I wonder if he thought it might have been George Michael asleep at the wheel again. You can read the Fonda and the Dead Body (now that’s a good name for an indie band don’t you think?) story on the Guardian website. There are a couple of easy music links to any story involving Peter Fonda. Firstly his involvement in acting and co writing the film Easy Rider means I simply have to include the magnificent “Born To Be Wild” by Steppenwolf from the soundtrack of the movie. This song was said by many to be the first heavy metal song, whether that is true or not it may well be the first song to use the phrase in its lyrics. Secondly it is Peter Fonda’s voice that you can hear sampled on Primal Scream‘s excellent “Loaded”

Nick Cave 1 Speed Camera Nil

The second story is now a few weeks old, but it involves gruff Aussie Crooner Nick Cave who attacked a speed camera in Hove with his car. Now I don’t condone vandalism, but frankly there must be a modicum of praise given to someone who decommissioned a speed camera. But somehow I don’t think the police and the judiciary will see it that way. But joking aside for a moment whilst Nick’s Jaguar was obviously damaged both he and his 10-year-old twin sons were fine. You can read the story here on the BBC News site.

So moving along a car and road travel theme here are a few related songs for you pleasure;

 

“And there won’t be snow in Africa, this Christmas time” December 23, 2010


Getting closer to the big day by the hour now and behind one of the few remaining perforated cardboard door flaps on my UK Christmas Number Ones Advent Calendar today, December 23rd, is a song that has been the Christmas number one on three separate occasions and technically by different acts each time. It was number one firstly in the Christmas of 1984, then in 1989 and most recently in 2004. It was the last UK Christmas number one before the X Factor winners had four years in a row, finally broken last year by Rage Against The Machine. You have probably guessed that the song is “Do They Know It’s Christmas” originally by Band Aid in 1984, then Band Aid II (1989) followed by Band Aid 20 (2004). Maybe it’ll be top again for the 30th anniversary in 2014.

It was number one fora total of 12 weeks; 5 weeks in 1984, 3 weeks in 1989 and 4 weeks in 2004. The song was written by Bob Geldof off of the Boomtown Rats and Midge Ure off of Ultravox after they had seen the news coverage of the 1984 famine in Ethiopia. They had aimed to raise money for famine relief and the single and subsequent Live Aid concert probably went way beyond their initial expectations. It sold more than a million copies in its first week alone and went on to sell 3.5 million copies. It remained the fastest and highest selling UK single until Elton John’s rerecording of “Candle In The Wind” following the death of Princess Diana in August 1997. The song was recorded on November 29th 1984 at SARM Studios in London after Geldof gathered the great and good of pop music at the time. The opening line was originally written for David Bowie, who was unfortunately unable to make it, so it was done by Paul Young. The single was released just 4 days after the recording on December 3rd 1984 and remember this was way before the days of downloads.

Midge Ure produced the original version, it was offered to Trevor Horn but he was not in the UK at the time. Stock, Aitken and Waterman produced the 1989 version. Some artists such as David Bowie and Paul McCartney were unable to be at the recording of the original so provided messages that appeared on the B-Side. Members of Bananarama appeared on the 1984 and 1989 version whilst Bono sang the same line in 1984 as he did in 2004; ‘Well, tonight, thank God it’s them, instead of you’. On the 2004 version Dizzee Rascal also added some new lyrics.

The artists that appeared on each version are listed below;

BAND AID (1984)


Bono, U2,   Phil Collins, Bob Geldof, Boomtown Rats,  Tony Hadley, Spandau Ballet, Midge Ure, Ultravox, Simon Le Bon, Duran Duran,  Paul Young,  Heaven 17,  Marilyn,  Bananarama,  Jody Watley,   Paul Weller, Kool & The Gang,  George Michael , Status Quo, Boy George, Culture Club,  Sting, Holly Johnson, Big Country

BAND AID II (1989)


Bananarama,  Big Fun, Bros, Cathy Dennis,  D Mob,  Jason Donovan,  Kevin Godley,  Glen Goldsmith,  Kylie Minogue,  Pasadenas,  Chris Rea,  Cliff Richard,  Jimmy Somerville,  Sonia, Lisa Stansfield,  Technotronic,  Wet Wet Wet

BAND AID 20 (2004)

Bono,  Daniel Bedingfield,  Natasha Bedingfield,  Vishal Das,  Busted,  Chris Martin, Dido, Dizzee Rascal, Ms Dynamite, Skye Edwards, Estelle,  Neil Hannon,  Justin Hawkins, Jamelia, Tom Chaplin, Tim Rice-Oxley, Beverley Knight, Lemar,  Shaznay Lewis, Katie Melua, Róisín Murphy,  Feeder,  Snow Patrol, Rachel Stevens,  Joss Stone,  Sugababes, Thrills,  Turin Brakes,  Robbie Williams, Will Young,  Francis Healy, Danny Goffey, Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Paul McCartney, Francis Healy, Andy Dunlop, Dougie Payne

If you would like to donate to Oxfam then click here

 

“Pack his raincoat show him out” November 3, 2010


A balls up from the Met perhaps?

"You wanna use song titles in your evidence?" "You've got the gun, want me to play piano?"

A Metropolitan Police Firearms Officer has been suspended after giving evidence at the inquest into Mark Saunders. Saunders was a  Barrister who was killed by the police in May 2008 following a threatening standoff involving a shotgun at his Chelsea home.The suspension happened after it was discovered that he planted numerous song titles in his evidence. Among those songs were;

“No More Tears (Enough is Enough)” Donna Summer and Barbara Streisand

“Point of No Return” – Duran Duran

“Line of Fire” – Journey

“Faith”George Michael

“Quiet Moments” Chris De Burgh

“Kicking Myself” – As Tall As Lions

“Fuck My Old Boots” – Membranes

Now I have played this game, along with Bullshit Bingo at various meetings over the years, however I would not dream of doing anything like it in such a serious situation. Just what kind of idiot is this copper? To think that he is allowed to carry a gun too! You can read the story at the Guardian and the BBC.

I have played said game on at least two occasions. Firstly back in the 90s when I worked in the Finance team at a large Pharmaceutical company. We decided to see who could get the most Phil Collins solo titles into their working day. I didn’t win. The champion was Dave, who actually managed to get “Sussudio” into a conversation! How did he manage that? Well largely because he always struggled to pronounce the name of one of the director’s PAs, which was Cecilia. As I recall the conversation went something along the lines of “Has anyone seen Ce-Ce-Ce-Sussudio” I also realise that this does not look even remotely funny when you read it, but you really had to be there.

The second occasion was a little more planned and prepared. I was working in the project delivery team at a large electrical retailer in the UK back in 2000. Four of us decided that we were going to liven up our fortnightly status meeting with the IT Director by slipping as many Elton John song titles into the meeting as we could. We could only work from a pre agreed list of 25 songs. Apart from me the other participants were Kim, Phil and Frank. Phil bottled out and refused to take part and Frank was unwell, so that left just me and Kim. We both managed 11 each, however at the AOB stage of the meeting Irene the IT Director turned to Kim and said why do you have a list of what appears to be song titles in front of you and columns headed with four names. Basically Kim bottled it and simply said to Irene, it’s Elton John bingo and it’s all Bill’s idea. ( For the non regular readers I am Bill, but I’m not Spartacus, well not in this story anyway) As it happens I had resigned earlier that week so no punishment was forthcoming thankfully. There is a rather amusing footnote though, Irene the IT Director actually scored three points without even knowing she was playing. So for Kim an myself that meant that we were the winners but that Phil had effectively finished fourth out of three! Confused? probably!

I would love to hear your own stories of bullshit bingo experiences!

 

“And no one had the guts to leave the temple” October 13, 2010


Earlier this evening I was watching with fascination and respect the rescue of the 33 trapped Chilean miners. I have watched many amazing live TV events in my lifetime, with the 1969 moon landing being the most amazing (and to the conspiracy theorists, it happened OK, get over it! How do I know? Obviously I know it’s true cos I saw it on the TV! Anyway to celebrate this amazing rescue and excellent good news let’s take a look and listen to some freedom songs.

As I type this 26 of the 33 trapped miners are now free, let’s hope that the rest are on the surface very soon.

The songs are “I’m Free” by the Soup Dragons. Any band named after a character in the Clangers is more than cool with me. next up is a song with the same title by the Who and taken from the truly stupendous Tommy album, purportedly the world’s first rock opera, only don’t mention that to the Pretty Things whose ‘S.F. Sorrow’ was released a little earlier. The final song is “Freedom” from Wham, that one celebrates George Michael‘s recent release from prison.

 

“I guess he’s an X Box and I’m more Atari” September 19, 2010


Hello good people of the blogosphere. The regular readers amongst you may have noticed that I have been posting for a couple of weeks, that is largely because I have been on holiday in Spain. A rather lovely place nestled about halfway between Alicante and Valencia. It is called Javea and is also spelt as Xabia in Spanish, the strange thing is though that it is pronounced with an ‘H’ as in Havea. one of the reasons that I loved the place is that it is not over developed and there are hardly any English Pubs. Is there anyone out there who actually likes the idea of English pubs when abroad? Most of the UK Travel Guides give barely a mention of Javea, possibly because it is quite a popular resort with the Spanish, so maybe it is wise to keep it a secret. Catwoman and I stayed in a villa that we rented at ‘mates rates’ from friends, from there we could walk into town within 25 minutes and the drive took 5 to 10 minutes. It was great to be sitting by the pool or on the beach with the temperature in the 90s whilst the UK was very cold and wet. It was really wet when we arrived back at Leeds/ Bradford airport last night anyway.

I won’t bore you with all the details of the holiday but I will give a special mention to a couple of bars we visited;

Siesta – appropriately named as they let you hire large sun beds with canopies, you almost feel like you’re staying in one of Gaddafi’s tents. Great cocktails, great staff and some excellent chilled sounds.

Jalousie Cocktail Bar – we never sampled their proper cocktails, but the non-alcoholic ones were delicious as were their milkshakes.

Acqua Bar and Steakhouse – Good food, especially the fillet steak

Atalaya – probably one of the most chilled bars in town, you can relax in comfy sofas and look out over the sea and the beach while you drink and eat. The staff were great here too.

Obviously I need to bring this back around to music so here are a few things that happened in the music world while I was away. I haven’t done much research on these, they were in the UK newspapers that I bought or I picked them up from an occasional visit to the BBC site or just spotting other people’s newspaper headlines. I must say though that most of the news revolved around the Pope’s visit, so I’m damned glad I was out of the country.

I wonder what Morrissey thought of it?

Lady Gaga – the lady did wonders for my viewing figures while I was away, just over 30,000 in two weeks including a one day record of more than 6,000. She won 8 of her 13 nominations at the MTV awards and to celebrate she wore a meat dress. I guess she was putting her ‘steak’ in the ground or maybe she was bringing home the ‘bacon’ or giving the ‘cold shoulder’ or simply just ‘hamming it up’. Anyway it appears to have provoked a lot of debate about what meant, frankly though who gives a toss about its meaning? She is a wonderfully talented fruitloop and therefore fully qualified to grab attention in such a way and long may she continue! The BBC report includes a number of interpretations which are quite amusing in their seriousness, click here to read it.

George Michael jailed (and transferred) for driving under the influence (of dope in this case). He started off in Pentonville and was then transferred to a ‘softer’ prison. Pete Doherty and Boy George have both previously spent time in Pentonville. I have so far received many George Michael jokes as I suspect has everyone, but I won’t print those here. However the picture below is a superbly intelligent piece of graffiti. It shows the shop front of the Snappy Snaps shop that George hit with his car.

Apparently Susan Boyle and Michelle McManus were booked to sing for the Pope, although apparently he was already on his way out of the building when Susan was singing. That’s bloody rude isn’t it? Still at least he has now left the shores of our little third world country. Presumably he’s back in the Vatican now drafting a letter telling all those kiddy fiddler priests that they have been jolly naughty and not to do it again or they will be grounded for a week!

Alphonsus Cassell aka Arrow of “Hot Hot Hot” fame has died from brain cancer at his home in Montserrat. Now I reckon a Facebook campaign to get the song to number one should be kicked off, what do you think? Here he is singing the song at a benefit for Haiti in April this year.

Sacha Baron Cohen is chosen to play Freddie Mercury in the Queen biopic. The film will apparently focus on the years leading up to what many see as the pinnacle of Queen’s career, their appearance at Live Aid in 1985. Personally I think that is a great choice, I reckon Mr Cohen will really do the role justice, what do you folks think? Here are Queen at Live Aid with, appropriately for this post, “Radio Ga Ga”

I want to finish with the stupendous new song from Cee Lo Green off of Gnarls Barkley, it’s called “Fuck You” and I love it. there will be a more radio friendly version available soon, called “Forget You”

 

 
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