Given that Radiohead recently shared what might have been the theme to the latest James Bond film, ‘Spectre’ I was reminded of some other Bond theme trivia. The theme song to 1979’s ‘Moonraker’ was originally issued to Frank Sinatra and Kate Bush. Not as a duo, although that might have been somewhat intriguing. Eventually it was recorded by Shirley Bassey.
Then in 2008 Jack White and Alicia Keys provided the frankly unforgettable “Another Way To Die” for ‘Quantum Of Solace’. But I wonder what might have been had Amy Winehouse recorded it as per the original plan?
Last night was the first time I had been to a gig at the Brudenell in Leeds and I have to say it really is a fantastic venue. The eclectic and diverse mix of acts appearing there means that I will certainly come back. Anyway on to the main event; the Selecter. I had seen them once before but that would have been around 1979/ 1980 when I was younger than excellent support band the Tuts are now!
I arrived at the venue just before the doors opened and met some really nice people in the queue. Roger you’re a top bloke! Soon after I came in Pauline Black and Gaps Hendrickson were manning the Selecter’s merch stand. Obviously I was always going to buy something, so I bought a Selecter polo shirt and a CD of the band’s new album; ‘Subculture’ which the pair of them signed for me. Pauline also signed my copy of her autobiography ‘Black By Design’ which I had finished reading a couple of weeks ago. It is an excellent book and every bit as good as recent autobiographies by John Lydon and Viv Albertine. In the book Pauline comes across as very open and honest and having met her, albeit briefly, she really is a wonderful woman. She and Gaps were very attentive with all the fans in the queue for Selecter product.
As for the gig it was the amazing Tuts who opened the show. They are the support band on the Selecter’s UK tour and Pauline Black has championed them every step of the way. I think that this is the fourth time I have had the pleasure of seeing this incredible young band and it is clear to me that they just keep on getting better and better each time I see them. The stage costumes for tonight were made from a material patterned with the leaf of a popular and some would say refreshing herb. They looked very effective too! Their set was energetic and powerful and they certainly know how to work a crowd. On”Tut, Tut, Tut” especially for International Women’s Day they invited Sarah Statham from local band Esper Scout to drum the intro while all three Tuts ran through the crowd making sure that we all sang along. New song “Do I Have To Look For Love” will become a classic and old favourites like “Worry Warrior” and “Dump Your Boyfriend” already are. The girls cover of the Clash’s “Rudie Can’t Fail” was sublime. Nadia berated the music industry about the apparent need to posses a penis to succeed in the music business. Now those of us with half a brain know that shouldn’t be true, but judging from the line-up for Reading and Leeds this year it certainly and sadly has some credence. So come on all you labels and management companies stop all the macho willy waving and sign this band! Metaphorically they have more balls than many of the men in the music industry! The queue and interest in the band at their merch table was incredible which shows that the fans are there! So come on record labels how about a deal. As for more gigs what about another support slot? Garbage must need a decent support band and the could not go wrong with the Tuts, are you listening Shirley Manson?
As for the headliners what can I say? The Selecter were awesome. They played most of their biggest songs; “On My Radio”, “Missing Words”, “Celebrate The Bullet” and my particular favourites; “Too Much Pressure” and “Three Minute Hero”. I thought “Danger” and “London’s Burning” went down a storm too and really got the crowd rocking! One of my newer favourites and it’s yet another crowd pleaser is “My England”. They played a few songs from the new album, which I have now played a couple of times now and it is bloody good. It gets an official release next month, but for now is available at the band’s merch stand on the rest of the tour. Some of the new material fits into the set so well that you’d think it had been around a while. “Box Fresh” could easily become a classic pop song. “It Never Worked Out” and “See Them A Come” are the Selecter at their best and on top form. Another song from the new album, “Breakdown” tackles the large number of black people who have died in custody in this country and is as you would expect very hard-hitting. This is clearly a band that stands up proudly for human rights and are openly anti racist and anti sexist, as frankly we all should be! The pre encore show ended with a magnificent version of “Last Train To Skaville” which had all the aging skinheads from the ska revival of the late 70s stomping and skanking hard enough to cave the floor in! Like me many of those folks now have a natural skinhead look given the lack of hair that age brings to some of us. The encore kicked off with a mighty version of “James Bond” and the Tuts joined the Selecter on stage at the end for a final goodbye to the Brudenell crowd. Nadia even managed to stage dive and briefly crowd surf. As for the energy of the band, Gaps must have sweated gallons! (Is there an exercise DVD that could be made from that performance?) Finally I should also mention two other covers that the Selecter performed; Doris Day’s “Secret Love” which worked really well when ska-ified and Springsteen’s “Because The Night” from the new album and for me worked even better when played live. Overall this was a cracking night and I would definitely not leave it as long before seeing the Selecter again and I am already looking forward to seeing the Tuts again.
You can still catch them both on the remaining dates of the UK tour and if you haven’t already done so then sort yourself a ticket out. You will not regret it!
OK and now for the usual public service note, this time the pictures were taken on my little phone but the videos were all obtained on You Tube.
Usually the most entertaining part of the Eurovision Song Contest is the voting and checking how many countries hate us Brits and show it by giving us nul points. But this year I really feel that we are in with a shout. Molly’s “Children Of The Universe” strikes me as classic Eurovision. I wonder how the votes will be split between Russia and the Ukraine? Anyway I should warn you that I am typing this post as I watch the show. So let’s get on with the 59th Eurovision Song Contest shall we?
Ukraine are up first with a typical Euro song title; “Tick Tock”. Why is there a bloke in a hamster wheel on stage? Singer Mariya Yaremchuk looks good and the song, in spite of its title is not too shabby. Belarus are up next represented by Teo with “Cheesecake”. He has a monster quiff does that Teo. It’s an ok kind of song with some good synchronised dancing in the performance, but no hamster wheel.
Azerbaijan are next and they are trying to “Start A Fire” as sung by Dilara Kazimova. While there is no hamster wheel there is a trapeze. What is that all about? Anyway in my opinion this is a bit of a dirgeful ballad with a singer who seems a little too earnest for me. In Dilara’s favour Catwoman likes her dress. Pollaponk are representing Iceland and one of their backing vocalists is an Icelandic MP. Their suits are all primary colours but as the song says let’s show them “No Prejudice”. The song is a little pop punk with more emphasis on the pop. I’ll probably be wrong as usual, but I think this could win.
Carl Espen is trying to whip up a “Silent Storm” for Norway. He is not an established singer and keeping it in the family the song was written by his cousin. Not my kind of song. It strikes me as a bit forgettable. Paula Seling and Ovi are hoping for a “Miracle” as they sing for Romania. This song can’t make up its mind as to whether it’s a power ballad or just another piece of Euro Disco. It does feature a round piano though.
Armenia are putting up a comedian called Aram MP3 with “Not Alone” which didn’t sound particularly funny to me. Have I missed the punchline. I also felt his voice was a bit flat and out of tune at times. It definitely sees itself as an 80s power ballad though. Montenegro are the first country tonight that are singing in their native tongue. The singer is Sergej Cetkovic with “Moj Svijet”. It sounds like classic mid table Eurovision fodder to me, which given my track record probably means it’ll win. It is backed up with a roller skating dancer, why? Don’t ask me.
We are Slavic washerwomen
“We Are Slavic” is the Polish entry and is sung in English and Polish by Donatan and Cleo. Is it really a feminist anthem? Why are they all dressed as milkmaids? Greece are about to “Rise Up” performed by Freaky Fortune featuring RiskyKidd. The Kidd is actually a rapper from London. It strikes me as the first song of the night to really get the place rocking. Not a hamster wheel in sight, just a bloody huge trampoline.
Now it’s Austria with a bearded drag artist, Conchita Wurst singing “Rise Like A Pheonix”. He/ She looks a little scary to me. It’s a good song but the whole appearance puts me right off. Germany ask “Is It Right” with a female trio called Elaiza. It features an accordion and has a bit of an oompah feel about it. I really don’t like this song!
Can Sanna Nielsen“Undo” the competition for Sweden 40 years after Abba won the contest? Possibly as it is this years favourite. Actually it’s a bloody good sung and Sanna has a great voice. If a ballad wins this year it might be “Undo”. TWIN TWIN perform the French entry “Moustache”; a song about a man who can’t grow a moustache. The singer can certainly grow a cartoon comedy haircut though. I can only assume that France don’t want to win. This song is shit!
TWIN TWIN – you cocks!
The Tolmachevy Sisters have interlocking hair and they are singing “Shine”. Their hair has come undone, well at least that will make going to the toilet easier. But wait now they’re on a see saw; why? It was ok but they’re hardly Pussy Riot. Emma sings in Italian for Italy with a rocking little ditty called “La Mia Citta” a.k.a “My City”. The costumes are a bit Roman Empire. Not a bad song though.
Tinkara Kovac is singing “Round And Round” for Slovenia. Sung in Slovene and English in a rather shouty way with added flute. We’re hoping for “Something Better” from Finland from Softengine. They sound a bit like a discofied Aha.
Ruth Lorenzo once came 5th in the X Factor and she is singing her own composition for Spain. It’s called “Dancing In The Rain”. Knowing my luck a former X Factor contestant will win it. It hurts terribly to admit it but the song is alright, not great just alright. The shouty bit at the end kills it a bit though. Those perennial neutrals Switzerland have a song called “Hunter Of Stars” by Sebalter. It has far too much whistling for my liking with a backing track that sounds like a speeded up “Duelling Banjos“.
Andras Kallay-Saunders is “Running” for Hungary. He runs around the stage a bit too. A good pop song methinks. Malta are “Coming Home” with Firelight. Two siblings in the band have a mother from Yorkshire. But the song is so Mumford it hurts. Is that style popular across Europe? I don’t know and frankly I hope not! But just to provide a balanced view, Catwoman likes this song apart from the female vocals.
Next up is “Cliche Love Song” by Basim singing for hosts Denmark. Blimey is he miming to Bruno Mars? This is possibly one of the best entries of the night. The Danish TV executives must be shitting themselves. It costs a packet to put this show on. After Denmark the Netherlands provide the “Calm After The Storm” as song by the Common Linnets. Who knew that the Dutch do Country and Western? They can though and it’s quite a good song.
San Marino are the penultimate country with “Maybe” sung by Valentina Monetta. It sounds like the theme song to a late 60s James Bond spoof. Was that meant to be a giant sea shell behind her? Finally it’s time for the UK entry which is “Children Of The Universe” from Molly. I really do think she’s in with a chance. Not sure about her boots but for me Molly nailed it!
Before the scoring starts my tips are Sweden, Denmark and the UK and I reckon France ought to finish last. Now for the scoring which as you might have guessed featured all the usual political voting. Molly came 17th out of 26th so not as bad as many UK entries. The runaway winner was Conchita Wurst from Austria a.k.a the bearded lady with “Rise Like A Phoenix”. I really don’t get it, although to be fair on second hearing the song isn’t too bad! As for my tips; Sweden were third and I was right about France who finished last!
Many of you will recognise the two iconic 70s album covers pictured below. First Roxy Music‘s eponymously titled first album from 1972 and ‘The Hoople‘ from 1974 by Mott The Hoople. However did you know that the model on the cover of both albums is the same person? It is Kari-Ann Muller and she has yet another music link in that she went on to marry Mick Jagger‘s brother Chris.
In a strange twist of fate the model on another Roxy Music cover was Jerry Hall. She met Bryan Ferry at the photo shoot and began a relationship with him and then ultimately left him for Mick Jagger. So it is clear I think that the Jagger boys certainly like Roxy Music album covers! Incidentally Keri-Ann was paid just 20 pounds for the Roxy cover shoot. She also appeared in a James Bond film and is now a Yoga Teacher.
Paul Hewson a.k.a. Bono Vox off of U2 has recently been awarded one of the highest cultural honours available in France. This was in recognition of his services to music and committment to humanitarian aid. he was given the honour; Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters by French Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti in Paris. He dedicated the award to his band, saying, ‘I’ve got the biggest mouth and the loudest voice but the music we make comes from each other’. The award was first presented in 1957 and has been awarded to other musicians including; Bob Dylan (1990), David Bowie (1999) and Patti Smith (2005). Two James Bond actors Sean Connery (1987) and Roger Moore (2008). Donald Sutherland, Bruce Willis, Clint Eastwood and Audrey Hepburn are also in that exclusive club along with writers T.S. Eliot and Julian Barnes.
Pope steals Bono’s glasses in effort to look cool…….. FAILS!
While we are talking about awards it has been announced that the BMI, the music rights organisation, will present a special icon award for his contribution to music to one-time enfant terrible of the UK tabloids John Lydon formerly Johnny Rotten. Lydon will receive the award in October this year. Since those ‘The Filth And The Fury’ headlines from 1976 when Lydon was known as Rotten and fronted the Sex Pistols he has achieved bigger musical success albeit with a little less notoriety with Public Image Limited (PiL). perhaps in a step away from the rather typecast image that the British press have of him he has also appeared on the UK reality TV show ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here’ on ITV in January 2004 and later fronted a few wildlife programmes. He is currently touring with PiL and recently took to the stage at Worthy Farm, Glastonbury with the band. So it now remains for me to congratulate Hewson and Lydon on their awards. For me the Lydon award is more appropriate and at least neither is some poxy award from our blood sucking UK royal family!
Following the Oscar win for the Bond theme “Skyfall” Adele is being tipped to record the theme from the next James Bond movie as well. She wrote the song with Paul Epworth and she will need to record another two Bond themes to catch up with the current record holder for recording the most theme songs to this iconic film franchise. Dame Shirley Bassey has sung three Bond songs;
“Diamonds Are Forever” – (1971) – written by John Barry and Don Black.
“Moonraker” – (1979) – written by John Barry and Hal David.
All three were produced by John Barry. “Goldfinger” was the best chart performer of the three reaching number 21 in the UK and number 8 in the USA. Shirley was initially earmarked to record the opening credits song for the Thunderball film from 1965. The song was called “Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” but Cubby Broccoli the film’s producer decided that the song had to have the same title as the film. This resulted in a new song called, unsurprisingly, “Thunderball” being written. It was recorded my another Welsh singing star, Tom Jones. A version of “Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” was recorded by Dionne Warwick and this version is included on the film’s soundtrack album. Incidentally Adele’s “Skyfall” is only the second Bond theme song not to appear on the accompanying soundtrack album. The first was “You Know My Name” sung by Chris Cornell for Casino Royale from 2006.
Based upon information released recently it is alleged that the US Government had planned to blow up the moon in the late 50s as a means of intimidating their nemesis in the Cold War, the Soviet Union. After the Russians effectively took the lead in the Space Race with the launch of Sputnik in 1957 it was apparently believed that a show of strength like blowing up the moon would really scare the Russians. Apparently it was called ‘A Study of Lunar Research Flights’ or ‘Project A119‘. Even that sounds a little James Bond like doesn’t it?
It really does seem like a crackpot scheme and it is unlikely at the time that anyone possessed enough in their nuclear arsenal to actually complete the task. At best it might have left the man in the moon looking more like the elephant Man and the satellite’s surface covered in high levels of radiation. In addition any debris that fell to earth would almost certainly have been radioactive as well.
I wonder if this idea came from the same think tank that thought of the idea of using an explosive cigar to blow up Fidel Castro or to rig the voting in Florida in 2000 in favour of Dubya. Ooops wait a minute that second one was true wasn’t it? had it happened then Neil Armstrong probably wouldn’t have been there to utter his famous ‘one step for man’ line. But then again maybe it did happen and didn’t work very well other than to make the moon radioactive. That would certainly give more credence to those people who believe the moon landings were faked and took place in a film studio directed by Stanley Kubrick.
I’d love to know what you think of this incredibly stupid, yet potentially real plan of Eisenhower’s government. Bearing in mind that his Vice President was Tricky Dicky Nixon, maybe it isn’t surprising! Anyway as I have said many times before so here are a few songs that may not have happened or certainly wouldn’t have been the same had the moon been blown to smithereens, feel free to add your own moon related songs.
Apologies but there are two kiddie fiddlers for the price of one on this next one!
And finally a special Billy Bonus, my favourite track from Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark side Of The Moon’; “Brain Damage”
It is now 50 years since the first James bond film ‘Dr No‘ hit the screens and the new one, ‘Skyfall‘ is due out very soon. This means that there is all the usual interest in the new Bond theme. This time it is the turn of Adele. As is the case with most Bond movie themes the title is the film title; “Skyfall”. I think that this song is a grower. It’s probably never going to be my favourite Bond theme, but it is a long way from being the worst. My least favourite is “View To A Kill” from Duran Duran and my favourite is Carly Simon with “Nobody Does It Better“. What do you think of Adele’s “Skyfall” and what is your favourite and least favourite Bond theme?
Amazingly it is now 50 years to the day that the Beatles first single was released. “Love Me Do” came out on 5th October 1962 and reached the heady heights of number 17 in the UK charts later that year. It was an US number one when it was eventually released there in 1964. It also finally achieved a higher position in the UK charts on its reissue in 1982 when it peaked at number 4.
The song was mostly a Paul McCartney composition although John Lennon contributed the middle eight. It was most likely written in 1958/ 1959 in one of the notebooks that John and Paul used to write their songs; usually under the heading of ‘Another Lennon-McCartney Original’. Many of the songs the pair wrote in the late 50s were done at Paul’s house and often while they were playing truant from school. (Allegedly at least!)
The first recording of the song in 1962 featured Pete Best on drums. Pete was then infamously replaced by Ringo Starr who played on the next recording of the song. Producer George Martin was unhappy with Ringo’s performance and brought in session drummer Andy White. Ringo was relegated to tambourine for the Andy White session and it is this which makes it easy to distinguish between the Starr and White versions.
“Love Me Do” is one of only two Lennon and McCartney songs that are wholly owned by John Lennon’s estate and paul McCartney; the other is the B Side “P.S. I Love You”. The reason for this is that all later releases were published via Northern Songs. The publishing company has been owned by, ATV, Michael Jackson and Sony at various times.
The song has been covered by many artists including Bobby Vee and Sandie Shaw. It was also played live a few times by David Bowie on the Ziggy Stardust tour in 1972/1973. In a strange coincidence the first James Bond film had it’s UK premiere on 5th October 1962.
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!