Do you know what the first song ever to be played on an iPod when Apple first tested the device in 2001? It was a UK, New Zealand, Irish and Australian number one from the previous year; “Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love)” by Italian Producer Spiller featuring Sophie Ellis-Bextor. It was in the Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) format favoured by Apple. The song also performed a great public service when it charted in 2000. It kept “Out of Your Mind” by True Steppers and Dane Bowers featuring Victoria Beckham at number 2 in the UK. Posh remains the only Spice Girl never to have had a solo UK number one single.
This is a public service announcement; if you are easily offended by the word FUCK then please read no further. You have been fucking warned ok!
I usually listen to my iPod in shuffle mode when I walk from the car to the office every morning. It gives me a good ten minute blast of tunes before I start the day. This morning up popped Eamon with his UK number one from 2004 “Fuck It (I Don’t Want You Back)” I believe that is the first UK number one to feature the F Word in its title. It even generated an answer song in response from Frankee. That was called “FURB (Fuck You Right Back)”. It got me thinking a few things first that FUCK is a rather good word when used in the right context isn’t it?
The word has featured in plenty of songs; “Working Class Hero” from John Lennon and the MC5 introduced their storming live version of “Kick Out The Jams” with the line ‘kick out the jams motherfuckers!’ The word has perhaps been a little overused by rappers too. But secondly it got me thinking what are my favourite songs with the word fuck in the title. Here are my top choices (plus Eamon and Frankee’s efforts) what are yours?
I think I must be getting to that kind of age where many of your heroes or favourite folk from your youth are dying off. Well it’s happened again; sadly the great Jimmy Castor is now the late, great Jimmy Castor. He died yesterday in Las Vegas from apparent heart failure after earlier by-pass surgery. He was aged just 71 (although some on-line sources say 64). I hadn’t listened to him for quite a while but I heard the news on the way home from work tonight and played “Trogolodyte” on the iPod.
Mr Castor was a seriously funky dude who could even give the likes of George Clinton and Bootsy Collins a run for their money. His songs have been sampled by many artists including Madonna, Neneh Cherry, Kanye West, DJ Shadow, Ice Cube and the Spice Girls. If you’re too young to remember Jimmy Castor or he somehow passed you by then take a listen to the songs below and get your booty shakin’. You know it makes sense you funkateers you!
My thoughts go out to Jimmy’s family, friends and fans. RIP Jimmy Castor.
I know he wasn’t a singer, musician or songwriter but Steve Jobs sure as hell left an incredible mark on the music industry. His genius, foresight and innovation has fundamentally changed the way we buy/ obtain our music and indeed how we listen to it. Are there many households, or even people, in the world that don’t have an Apple product that can play music? iPod, iPhone, iPad, iMac even if you have none of those you may have iTunes on your pc. I think that names like iPod will become synonymous with portable music players in the same way that ball point pens are mostly called biros and vacuum cleaners are mostly called Hoovers (although Dyson may take that crown in the long run)
Back in my schooldays inventors and innovators were old, dead or probably wearing a white coat in a secret nondescript lab somewhere in the world. This generation of innovators, inventors and geniuses (or should that be genii?) are much more visible. For example are there any of these names that you don’t recognise; Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg?
His life is also a lesson for those who focus on a formal qualification being the golden ticket to a successful career. Mr Jobs dropped out of college, did that stop him having a great career? I think not! In addition to the music related innovations that he was responsible for he also put a lot of money, time and effort into Pixar. So you could argue that he also helped to save Disney studios, who frankly would have been on their knees without Pixar.
Steve Jobs will be sadly missed. In my opinion whatever you may think of Apple from a corporate perspective it would be very difficult to argue that this wasn’t a truly great man. RIP Steve Jobs.
I have tried to think of the most appropriate music I could with which to mourn his passing and celebrate his life. I have chosen a few tracks from what the previously available Ping function on iTunes revealed as his favourite albums a few years ago. Enjoy and celebrate the life of a great man.
I took the opportunity to visit Fibbers in York on Friday night for an excellent gig organised as a benefit for York Hospital Radio by a young man who I think will go a long way and be very succesful in band management and music promotion. His name is Simon Pattinson, this is the third gig organised him that I have attended and frankly he has a great record in getting hold of some terrific bands and tonight was no exception. So when you hear him described as the new Harvey Goldsmith, remember where you read it first!
First band up was The Deep State Collective. They had to limit themselves to a relatively hastily arranged acoustic set after their guitarist had to pull out due to illness. I heard a whisper that the singer wasn’t feeling too good either. If the latter was true then this dude is a real trouper! Their set was pretty accomplished and they clearly have some good songs. Jules and Chris, I thought you did an excellent job, I really enjoyed your set. As for the litmus test, well I would definitely go and see this band again. Check them out if you get a chance!
Deep State Collective
I was joined at the gig by another friend of mine; big shout to another Simon and his lovely wife Marie. Hello Mr & Mrs Hernaman. They missed the first band but arrived in plenty of time for IO who were next on stage. This was apparently their first live gig, which is kind of hard to believe given how well they played. The singer is Ollie Webb formerly of Swimwear Juniors and the drummer is Sam Ford once of the band One Night Only. Sam is a truly wonderful drummer, like Keith Moon spliced genetically with Animal from the Muppets and I mean that in a really good way. The band was really tight and seemed bloody well rehearsed. The singer was also a rather spiffing percussionist too. Do they sound like anyone else? Possibly, Simon H reckoned he detected an element of Echo & the Bunnymen. We also agreed that they would be a great draw at Freshers week in any University town in the country. I hope these guys go on to bigger things and personally I believe they will.
It was a tough choice but I think the next band just shaded it from the headliners as my favourite band of the night. They were a York based band known as Stone Ugly. This female fronted quartet know a lot about stagecraft, production values and image. They built their entrance up with a piece of the Willy Wonka movie (starring Gene Wilder) and some dry ice (or maybe a smoke machine). The whole band also had some fab red stripes running the length of their faces from hairline to chin along the line of their right eye. Pretty damned effective too. In a bizarre twist of fate I was actually drinking Red Stripe beer all night too! What did they sound like? Well for me there was a big helping of Prog Rock served up with a dollop or two of New Wave and Post Punk sounds. I loved their song “Can A Leopard Change It’s Spots” Jenna, the lead singer has a really versatile and powerful rock voice. Does she sound like anyone else? To me maybe Siouxse Sioux, Hazel O’Connor (thanks to Simon H for that one) and possibly Karen O off of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I reckon these guys would go down a storm at Reading and Leeds.
The headliners were Maven Fiction. Their mainman was the lead singer from the Shadracks when I saw them a while back. Maven Fiction’s sound is much less jangly indie pop and much more electronic with a possible heavy influence from Mike Skinner off of the Streets. Regular readers will know that I have long been a big fan of the Streets. The counter vocals from the female vocalist were a brilliant counterpane for the lead vocal of Mr Maven Fiction himself. That can’t be his real name can it? His Mum was also there and there was even a suggestion that she might do a Pans People, sadly she didn’t! Back to the music though, I really like this new direction and I rushed to buy the CD they were selling at the end. An E.P. for just £1, that’s a real bargain. It’s bloody good too, it’ll be on my iPod very soon. The band was joined briefly by Jenna off of Stone Ugly on tambourine.Mr Fiction also has some has some real balls; he finished his set by stepping out into the audience with just an acoustic guitar. He didn’t only sing bloody well but he even got us all singing along. They have a few gigs lined up in New York. Good luck with those shows guys and I’ll be back to see you again some time I’m sure.
All in all an excellent night, just a pity too many of you didn’t make it. You’d better be there next time, because we know where you live! 😉
As it’s been quite a while without a post from me, well apart from the two immediately before this one anyway, I thought I’d go back to an old favourite. So what were the first five songs that came on my iPod this morning using the shuffle option? Well here they are. Feel free to submit your first five songs on the shuffle option
“Sunflower” – Paul Weller – This rather excellent Weller song was one of three singles to be taken from his second solo album ‘Wild Wood’ in 1993. It reached number 16 in the UK.
“The Worst Job You’ve Ever Had” – Derek and Clive (aka Pete ‘n’ Dud) – This is obviously not a song and if you are a sensitive soul or easily offended I would strongly recommend that you do not listen to this. OK don’t say I didn’t warn you! This was what I suppose you could call a side project of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. It ran for a few albums and personally I am neither a sensitive soul nor am I easily offended so I found it bloody hilarious. I recall the first time I heard any of the tracks and exactly where I was at the time. I had started work in October 1975 aged 16, I was based in London Transport’s Bus Schedules Office which was full of bus fanatics a.ka. ‘Frothers’. In those days everyone went to the pub on Friday lunchtime and stayed for a few hours, including those like me who were underage! We regularly visited a local hostelry called the Westminster Arms where the entertainment was provided by a number of young ladies who were clearly too hot as they were always removing their clothes when on stage. The pub clearly couldn’t afford a comedian so in the intervals between the clothes removing girls they played tracks from the first Derek and Clive album over the PA system. So maybe not a particularly interesting story but entirely true.
“Apollo 9” – Adam Ant – Released in 1984 this once the once Stuart Goddard’s last UK top 20 hit when it reached number 13 that year. I’m not sure why he chose Apollo 9 as his title/ subject. Apollo 9 was the third manned mission in the Apollo launches and it was also the first to carry the Lunar Module. It was launched on March 3rd 1969, just a few months before the first successful moon landing with Apollo 11.
“Shoorah Shoorah” – Betty Wright. Betty was originally known as Bessie Regina Norris. She released two singles in 1966 aged just 12 and also allegedly helped discover George and Gwen McCrae in 1967. This single was a minor UK hit in 1975.
It is with great sadness that I bring you the news of the death from cancer of Poly Styrene aged just 53. She remains a true punk icon and an inspirational figure. The music world has lost someone who was a true original. Poly, whose real name was Marianne Elliot-Said, came to prominence in the wave of UK punk bands that broke through in 1977. X Ray Spex was their name and they left some classic songs which crop up on my iPod shuffle quite often; “Oh Bondage Up Yours”, “Germ Free Adolescence” and my personal favourite, “The Day The World Turned Day=Glo”. You can see some of those in a short while. Her most recent solo album was released just last month. You can read the news on the BBC and the NME. My condolences go to her family, friends and fans.
Well I’m afraid I have some sad news to impart, Steal The Smile are sadly no more. As many of you regular readers know, this is a band I have championed often in this blog. I got to a few of their shows and they are still regularly played on my iPod. They were a bloody good band who had a lot of potential. I feel quite confident that we will hear more from the boys in other guises in the future.I’m particularly looking forward to hearing more from luke, but then he is my son 🙂
So it’s the Smile are dead, long live the Smilers. Guys thanks for the music and the shows and good luck with any future musical ventures. You can still find them on MySpace and Facebook.
In the meantime the boys have kindly offered a few of their recently recorded tracks for download, click here to obtain your copies. “Jealousy” and “Dreamer” are very tight and accomplished slabs of power pop punk. Send the link to everyone you know, let’s send the boys out with a bang and not a whimper!
Yesterday morning I arrived at the station in plenty of time as usual to catch the 7.27 from York to Chesterfield (I really do get to the most exciting places don’t I?). The first thing I saw when I came into the main concourse was the cancellation notice for said train accompanied by quite a few angry commuters. Personally I refuse to get angry about that kind of stuff anymore, frankly it’s a waste of energy. So the cancellation of the Cross Country Trains 7.27 service from York to Reading via Birmingham was an opportunity for me. I dashed over to Costa Coffee and spent 30 minutes reading the Guardian with a cup of tea. Obviously the tea wasn’t reading the Guardian, I was!
Incidentally the train was cancelled owing to a ‘shortage of train crew’ which I don’t think had anything to do with the stature of the driver, guard or trolley dolly!
When I eventually boarded the train it was, as expected very crowded. So I figured I would just lean against the wall in the vestibule, listen to my iPod and read. I positioned myself opposite the open door and was listening to the hubbub af anger and complaint. Phrases like “couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery”, “there’s less shit in a sewage farm” “what a bunch of useless tossers” were used to describe the rail operator, so it was clear that many people were very angry. Not me though, I don’t see the point, anyway there was quite a lot of swearing too, that stopped however, straight after a vicar boarded the train. (Incidentally it was a male vicar and sadly not Dawn French in her Dibley role). The comments then became most polite “did you see that thing on ITV last night”, “the weather isn’t great is it?” and “did you watch the football last night?”. Now I don’t know why this happened, is it because everyone has respect for a man of the cloth or perhaps people have an underlying belief that bad language offends religious people. I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter though. I am no authority on religion, I’m not religious and considered myself an agnostic, then an old boss of mine said that an agnostic was just an atheist with no balls, so I guess that’s what I must be!
As always this is a music blog and this post gives me the opportunity to post some vicar related music, something I don’t think I’ve done before. So for what you are about to receive may the god of rock and the no balls atheist make you truly thankful, Amen!
Firstly the incredibly underrated Mansun with “Stripper Vicar” The song is taken from the excellent ‘Attack Of The Grey Lantern‘ album which singer Paul Draper originally conceived as a concept album where the Grey Lantern was a superhero in an English Village. But he apparently he ran out of steam so it’s only partly concept. In fact Draper has referred to it as con album rather than a concept album! “Stripper Vicar” was released in 1996 with the album following in 1997.
A collection of randomness awaits you in today’s post. Starting with a rather bizarre picture that was sent to me last week. Now obviously I read a lot of conspiracy theories (I don’t believe most of them though) and I have also read Ira Levin‘s ‘The Boys From Brazil‘ So from all that wealth of knowledge I have gleaned that most of the top Nazis from the 2nd World War disappeared to South America after the war, possibly including Adolf Hitler himself. Personally I never believed that at all and I believe that the picture below, which was taken on a London Bus recently clearly proves that Hitler is not in South America, but that he is in fact residing in Shepherds Bush in London. Is that Eva Braun with him or is it his Mother?
Hitler Hiels a bus!
OK so like I’ve said loads of times this is a music blog so here is a song that mentions Mr Hitler. It’s one of my favourite songs and this is undeniably a great excuse to play it, please enjoy the Clash with “White Man In The Hammersmith Palais”
Some rather sad news now, Sony is finally retiring the Walkman after 30 years of sterling service, I owned one in the early 80s although I can only imagine that a Walkman in a cupboard must feel like Woody in Toy Story when Buzz Lightyear arrives. In this case of course Buzz Lightyear represents the MP3 player or iPod. I read a brilliant post about the demise of the Walkman on the Barely Awake In Frog Pajamas blog. Click here to check it out, you’ll find some top tunes there too! You can also read about it in the Guardians Music Blog.
RIP - the Sony Walkman
What better song to play at the Walkman wake than “C30, C60, C90 Go” by Bow Wow Wow which includes wonderful lyrics such as “C30 C60 C90 Go, off the radio I get a constant flow, hit it, pause it, record it and play, turn it, rewind, and rub it away”
Did you know that Tina Turner once advertised Pearl Drops, way back in 1972? She should have sponsored fright wigs, especially at Halloween!
It’s not too late to save the 100 Club, just click here and contribute, I have! There has been live music at the venue since 1942 when it opened as the Feldman Swing Club. In 1976 it hosted the International Punk Festival which featured the Sex Pistols, Siouxse and the Banshees, Buzzcocks, the Damned and the Clash. More recently bands such as Gallows and the Automatic have released tracks recorded at their gigs at the 100 Club. Click here to see a comprehensive list of acts that have played the club. Watch the Jam performing at the 100 Club in 1977 below.
Sir Elton found writing pop songs a real pig these days, so he decided to leave to those X Factor muppets
Sir Elton John has said that he will no longer be releasing singles, he says that he is not able to compete in the singles Pop Charts with the likes of JLS and Lady Gaga. He says he will continue with what he calls fun side projects, like with the Scissor Sisters. He will also explore elements of his own musical heroes, like his current release with Leon Russell. Click here to read details of the story, which is taken from a GQ interview, on the BBC site.