With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“I wish the world were truly happy living as one” December 24, 2011

Happy Christmas dear readers and good people of the blogosphere. This is the last post in my ABC of Motown Advent Calendar. It’s the 24th December and technically that means the letter Y, but I’ll throw in X and Z for free along with a couple of Motown Christmas songs. The big bearded dude in red arrives on his venison powered sleigh tomorrow. I hope that you get everything you want this Christmas and more importantly I hope that you have a really enjoyable Yule.

The first song for the letter X has been a tough one to find. But I have found one, I know hardly anything about it so if you have any information feel free to get in touch. I do feel like I’ve cheated you a little though, the song is called “Xmas Twist” although the chorus uses the proper phrase ‘Christmas Twist’. The song was released by a group calling themselves the Twisting Kings. So clearly no cynical tie-in with a popular dance craze then! The song was written by Berry Gordy and Barney Ales. Gordy was the producer for the song which was released in November 1961. It can be found on a couple of compilation albums to my knowledge; #A Motown Christmas Volume 2′  and ‘The Complete Motown Singles Vol. 1 1959-1961’ released in 2001 and 2005 respectively.

For the letter Y I have chosen a song from a superb act who haven’t yet appeared in this ABC of Motown. It’s Gladys Knight and the Pips with “You Need Love Like I Do (Don’t You)”. The most memorable line up from the Pips included her brother Merald ‘Bubba’ Knight and two of her cousins; Edward Patten and William Guest. Her first pitch at fame came when she won a local TV talent show aged 7 in 1952.Gladys and the Pips were the first Motown act to record the classic song “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” which they took to number two in the US charts. In their early Motown career they were the opening act for Diana Ross and the Supremes. It is alleged that Diana had them kicked off the tour because Gladys and the Pips were far more powerful a talent and probably a very tough act to follow.  “You Need Love Like I Do” was an US hit in 1970 reaching number 25 in the Billboard charts and number 3 in the US R & B charts. It never charted in the UK. The song was another from the talented song writing partnership of Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong. It was also recorded by the Temptations.

The final song from my ABC of Motown selection is a rather well-known album track from the Commodores who made an appearance in this Advent Calendar with the letter J on December 10th, click here to read it. The song is “Zoom” and should not be confused with the Fat Larry’s Band song of the same name. It was never released as a single in the US but made it to number 38 in the UK charts in 1978. The album it came from was released in 1977 and in the US it was called ‘Commodores’ whilst in the UK it was called ‘Zoom’. The song was written by Lionel Richie and Ronald LaPraed from the band. The album also included two other Commodores classics in “Brick House” and “Easy”. Fergie sampled “Zoom” on her ‘Duchess’ album on the track “All That I Got (The Make-Up Song)”

Finally let me wish you a Happy Christmas once again and to finish please enjoy two of my favourite Motown Christmas songs from the Jackson 5 and then Stevie Wonder.

Incidentally if you’d like to know the songs that came before in the ABC of Motown Advent Calendar, here they are;

  1. ABC – Jackson 5
  2. Bernadette – Four Tops
  3. Cloud Nine – Temptations
  4. Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) – Frank Wilson
  5. Endless Love – Diana Ross & Lionel Richie
  6. Farewell Is A Lonely Sound – Jimmy Ruffin
  7. Gotta See Jane – R Dean Taylor
  8. How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You – Marvin Gaye
  9. I’m In A Different World – Four Tops
  10. Just To Be Close To You – Commodores
  11. Keep On Truckin’ – Eddie Kendricks
  12. Let’s Get Serious – Jermaine Jackson
  13. Money – Barrett Strong
  14. Needle In A Haystack – Velvelettes
  15. Ooo Baby Baby – Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
  16. Pops We Love You – Various
  17. Quicksand – Martha Reeves & the Vandellas
  18. Rockin’ Robin – Michael Jackson
  19. Superstition – Stevie Wonder
  20. Take Me Girl I’m Ready – Junior Walker & the All Stars
  21. Up The Ladder To The Roof – Supremes
  22. The Night – Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (this is the only one based on artist name rather than song)
  23. War – Edwin Starr

“See the life I’ve had can make a good man bad” November 15, 2011

How often do you watch or listen to a TV or radio advert and cringe at the fact they’ve chosen some of your favourite music to soundtrack a terrible advert or a horrible product or a combination of both?

The new John Lewis Christmas ads, primarily there to promote a new range of Smiths pillow cases perhaps?

I suppose we shouldn’t get too precious about these kinds of things, after all the writers might need the money. If I’d written a piece of music that someone wanted to use on an advert and they were willing to pay me would I allow it? Of course I would, just as long as it wasn’t used to promote the likes of the BNP, the Daily Mail, Cheese on Toast or the Tory Party.

Morrissey refuses to get catty about the use of Smiths songs in adverts

I was pointed in the direction of the new John Lewis television advert by my good friend Nick Horslen. It is soundtracked by a cover version of the Smiths song “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” by Slow Moving Millie. Personally I don’t think it’s a particularly bad cover, perhaps just a bit bland. Some songs just pass me by on adverts I think, but others are particularly annoying. It’s hardly a song, but I generally change channels if the Go Compare advert comes on, I can’t stand that obnoxious faux opera. However, whilst I am not a big opera fan I do love the music that British Airways have used on many of their ad campaigns; “The Flower Duet” from the opera Lakme composed by Leo Delibes.

For the record Morrissey refuse to wear clothes made from animal skins, which clearly means that his wardrobe is quite small!

As for songs that I love that have been used in disappointing ads, I have to say I was gutted (yes I too am very precious sometimes) when Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” was used to advertise pizzas on TV a couple of years back. But equally Levi’s used some classic music in their brilliant series of TV adverts, including “I Heard It Through The Grapevine“. That same series made hits of many songs that hadn’t been around for years. My particular favourites were “Stand By Me” by Ben E King and “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” from my favourite band of all time, The Clash. But for every one of those there are plenty of awful selections; for example the new Christmas ad for Marks & Spencer uses a version of “When You Wish Upon A Star” by the 2011 X Factor finalists!

If you're ever invited to go for a walk with Morrissey please read this first

Which of your favourite songs have been used in adverts and what did you feel about it?


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