With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“Tryin’ to live without your love is one long sleepless night” May 13, 2015


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A few months back I finally succumbed to the seductive ways of Spotify and I signed up for the premium service. Oh boy I wished that I had done it sooner. The amount of new albums that I have listened to lately is phenomenal. My current faves are ‘The Day Is My Enemy’ and ‘The Magic Whip’ by the Prodigy and Blur respectively. I have also rediscovered some classic old albums especially in the reggae genre; Culture, Peter Tosh and Third World to name a few.

jackson5

On top of all this there are countless playlists and it is these that I use for my workouts in the gym. Yes I have been a regular gym goer since January this year. Let me tell you I wasn’t just gifted with such a buff body, I have to work at it! Anyway the reason for this post other than to give Spotify yet more free publicity is to mention a song that popped up on one of those playlists in the gym last night. It was a kind of greatest hits of the 70s playlist and the song has always been one of my favourites.

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Hearing it once again made me think that perhaps it is one of the finest most timeless pop songs ever. I am talking about the Jackson 5‘s magnificent “I Want You Back”. Put aside any prejudices about what Michael became, before he became the weird, cartoon-like plastic surgeon’s Mr Potato Head he was a supremely talented young boy. His pre-adolescent vocals on this song are electrifying. On top of that you get the full might of the marvellous Funk Brothers who were the Motown house band. James Jamerson‘s bass line is sublime in my opinion. Berry Gordy Jr certainly rated it as he had a share in writing it. I would love to hear your opinion on the song and any other suggestions for the finest and most timeless pop songs.

Jackson_5_tv_special_1972

 

 

“But someone picked you from the bunch, one glance was all it took” July 11, 2014


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One of my most favourite Motown songs is the Jackson 5‘s “I Want You Back”. It’s a great song and it feels like it was made especially for the group. However it seems that whilst the Jackson boys made the song their own it was actually written for Gladys Knight and the Pips. I wonder what their version would have sounded like? Gladys had discovered the Jackson 5 and brought the group to the attention of Motown. But it is usually Berry Gordy‘s Motown teacher’s pet; Diana Ross that gets the credit for that.

GladysKnight.Pips_

 

 

“Move to the flow of the pyramid blaster” – Advent post day 3 December 3, 2013


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Are you ready to open the next box on the advent calendar? What delightful chocolate awaits us? well none actually because this is the With Just A Hint Of Mayhem Advent Calendar blog post for 3rd December so instead of chocolate you’ll get two songs. Incidentally what advent calendar do you have at home? Does it contain sweets or chocolate? Mine is a Spiderman one and Catwoman, my lovely wife, has a Maltesers calendar.

Is Mr Richie wearing a Christmas jumper?

Is Mr Richie wearing a Christmas jumper?

The first of todays number themed songs is the Commodores smash hit from 1978, “Three Times A Lady”. The song which was written by Lionel Richie was a number one in the UK and the US. It comes from their album ‘Natural High’. Personally I preferred their more funky efforts and this song for me saw the band and indeed Mr Richie plunge into some bland identikit ballad territory. Songs such as “Still” and “Hello” just didn’t do it for me. I do love a good ballad though and the Commodores have some that are far better than “Three Times A Lady”. In particular “Just To Be Close To You”. “Three Times A Lady” has been covered by artists as diverse as Cobra Starship, Kenny Rogers, Conway Twitty and Bill Bailey. Bill included a German translation of the song in his Part Troll live show. I first saw the Commodores when they supported the Jackson 5 in 1972. Yes I really am that old!

The+KLF

The second song on todays posts comes from one of my favourite acts of all time; the Kopyright Liberation Front, better known as the KLF and sometimes the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu or the JAMMs. This sadly short-lived band was the brainchild of Bill Drummond and Jim Cauty. Drummond co-founded Zoo Records and was also manager of Echo and the Bunnymen and the Teardrop Explodes. In addition to the music the KLF were also infamous for acts of art terrorism which included burning a million pounds on a remote Scottish island. The song I have chosen is the bands only UK number one as the KLF “3 a.m. Eternal (Live At The S.S.L)” from 1990. They also hit the UK number one spot in 1988 as the Timelords with “Doctorin’ The Tardis“. This was apparently achieved by following the rules set out in their book; ‘The Manual (How To Have A Number One The Easy Way)’. Remaining true to their words Cauty and Drummond by withdrawing their back catalogue from sale. This remains the case for most of the world, although some copies of their output are produced via Arista in the USA.

Pyramid_Blaster

 

“Toss and turn, fall to sleep holding my pillow tight” November 11, 2012

Filed under: News — justwilliam1959 @ 8:13 pm
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I know that many people thought that Michael Jackson was a little odd, me included. However I suspect that his weirdness shielded some of the odd behaviours of his family. Jermaine Jackson couldn’t resist the temptation of lumbering one his offspring with a ridiculous name; Hello Jermajesty! But now he is playing the name game on his own name. He has allegedly applied to the courts to be allowed to change his surname from Jackson to Jacksun, apparently for ‘artistic reasons’. I guess he won’t be blaming that on the moonlight or the boogie but definitely the sunshine! I’d love to hear your views on Jermaine’s proposed change.

 

Elton John – Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate Tuesday June 5th 2012 June 5, 2012


Some months ago when Elton John announced a UK tour of some places that never seem to get big rock stars performing the list included the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate. So as I live just down the road and as Sir Elton is now 65 I thought I had to get tickets for me and my wonderful wife Catherine a.k.a Catwoman to regular readers. I love Elton’s music, especially the early stuff, but until today I had never seen him live. It was well worth the wait and the ticket price.

The support act was the amazing 2Cellos, which does exactly what it says on the tin. The act consists of two cellists from Croatia; Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser. If you had said to me before today that two guys playing cello could be really exciting and create an amazing rock sound I may well have laughed at you. But frankly these guys are outstanding. They played three covers; Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”, U2’s “With Or Without You” and an electrifying version of “Purple Haze” the Jimi Hendrix classic.

Just as we all thought they were about to start another song Elton and his band took the stage and raced right into “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting“. 2Cellos remained with the band for that and many other songs during Elton’s incredible two and a half hour set. He seemed to show no sign whatsoever of his recent illness and really seemed to be enjoying himself. The band who included long time Elton stalwarts Nigel Olsson on drums and Davey Johnstone on guitar. These guys have played together for more than 40 years now and I think that trust and knowledge of each other really shows.

The backing vocalists could undoubtedly be an act in their own right including; Rose Stone a founding member of Sly and the Family Stone and the sister of Sly and Freddie Stone and also Tata Vega who produced some terrific albums for Motown in the 70s. Having started the set with a superb rocker the band followed up with “Bennie And The Jets” and “Levon”. I was really pleased with the eclectic set list Elton had chosen. It included many of his biggest hits along with some of those that are not heard as often. Those included two fantastic selections from the ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road‘ album; “Funeral For A Friend/ Love Lies Bleeding” and “Grey Seal” and the gorgeous “Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters” from ‘Madman Across The Water‘. I was disappointed to see so many people head for the bar and the toilets when Elton played “Hey Ahab” from his recent collaboration with the supremely talented Leon Russell.

Most of the crowd were out to have a good time and the rain didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s spirits. Although it was quite ironic to be listening to “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” when the weather had created the effect that the sun had never really come up! There was an element in the crowd that seemed to fit with the stereotypical breed of Harrogate snob. They seemed to be there more for the social occasion, to drink Pimms and most importantly to be seen. One bloke and his wife/ partner asked us to swap seats with him so that he could sit near his friends. We refused largely because they had been getting up and going in and out of the grandstand during the whole show (well the part they stayed for anyway). But it was interesting that five minutes after our refusal all his ‘friends’ left without telling him! I named him Mr Yo Yo Bollocks.

There were two ladies who spent most of the show dancing around and trying to get everyone else up, including the security guards. They were draped in a ‘we love Elton’ Union Jack and seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely, but I suspect that their hangovers may be huge. It took “I’m Still Standing” to get everyone up, most of whom stayed up for the rest of the show. When Elton and the band left the stage it was hard to figure out what the encore would be as they had played some many classics, but of course it was the beautiful “Your Song”. Preceded by Elton signing a whole bunch of autographs for those at the front.

Elton John is a talented musician, a gifted songwriter, a real showman and a consummate performer. There are not many people around that can match him I believe. It is nearly 39 years since I saw my first ever gig (Jackson 5 at the Wembley Empire Pool in 1973 if you’re interested!) and todays show is easily in my top 5 ever. If you are going to one of the shows on this tour I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. If you’re not then do whatever it takes to get a ticket; sell your grannie, send your kits out to clean chimneys or get your dog to wine ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ (OK probably too late on the last one). And finally thank you for a great gig Elton!

I have no film from tonights show (I was enjoying myself too much to get my phone out) so here is a clip of Elton playing “Your Song” from a couple of years back, followed by 2Cellos with their version of “Smooth Criminal”

 

“If you just put your hand in mine, we’re gonna lay all our troubles behind” February 10, 2012


Do you receive a regular selection of random e mails from various groups that you have subscribed to over the years? I get loads and often I can’t be bothered to look at them. But for some reason I took a  chance and opened one at random. It contained stacks of old pictures. Mostly of different stars together and not necessarily those that had worked together. Here are a few that I really liked and had never seen before. let me know what you think of them.

Bob Marley & the Wailers and the Jackson 5

George Harrison & Bob Marley

Mick Jagger & Jimi Hendrix

Mick Jagger & James Brown

No more words required just listen to some great music by some of those artists while you enjoy the pictures.

 

“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
 

 
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