With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“We’ll laugh and I’ll tell you the story of love, how it is and the happiness in it baby” December 21, 2011


Just days away from the big day now. It’s nearly Christmas people and I hope you’re still being good or at least hiding your being bad evidence very well. It’s Day 21 of my ABC of Motown Advent Calendar which I believe makes it 21st December and therefore the letter U. So today we’ll be going somewhere where Santa will be very soon; your roof! Yes it’s the delightfully uplifting “Up The Ladder To The Roof” from the Supremes.

The song was the first single showcasing the vocal talents of new lead singer Jean Terrell who had replaced the departing Diana Ross. Which meant it was also the first single to be credited to the Supremes (i.e. minus the ‘Diana Ross and the’ bit) since “The Happening” in 1967. It was released in February 1970 and reached 10 in the US charts and number 5 in the UK. Coincidentally it was the first UK top ten hit for the group since “Reflections” from 1967.

The song was produced by Motown house producer Frank Wilson who featured on this advent calendar himself on December 4th, click here to read that post. Wilson co wrote the song with Vincent DiMarco and once again the music track was provided by those heroes of Motown the Funk Brothers. Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong were the other two Supremes. personally I have always thought that this was the best incarnation of the group, much better than the Diana Ross version. I have a liking for some songs that mention my name, not all of them though. But the B Side to “Up The Ladder To The Roof” was a pretty good example of a ‘Bill song’ it was called “Bill When Are You Coming Back”

Jean Terrell the lead vocalist for the song was often thought to be related to another Motown star, Tammi Terrell. But Tammi’s real surname was Montgomery and she was no relation to Jean Terrell. However Jean was related to Ernie Terrell a boxing champion who once went in the ring with Muhammad Ali. Ernie was her brother and he was WBA heavyweight champ, a crown he lost to Ali in 1967. Jean sometimes sang with his group Ernie Terrell and the Heavyweights.

 

“Well, here’s a poke at you, you’re gonna choke on it too” October 30, 2010


Almost certainly the world's scariest job

I chanced upon an amazing video the other day. It shows the two guys who make up the maintenance crew for a 1,786 foot radio antenna. If your scared of heights then you might not want to watch it. I can take any height as long as there is a good barrier between me and the drop, this tower doesn’t have that. Much of it is free climb and you have to take your toolbox which weighs 30 pounds with you. Frankly, and I apologise for being a bit crude here, but I could feel my testicles contracting with every step the guy took! I reckon I can live with any problems with public transport on my daily commute, because even the UK rail system is safer and more comfortable than these tower guys!

To be fair though, Batman and Robin always climbed without a safety rope too!

Like I’ve said so many times before this is a music blog, so I couldn’t finish without leaving you with a few very loosely related songs

“Stairway To Heaven” – Rolf Harris – The obvious choice would have been the Led Zep original, but that gets played quite a lot and Rolf’s version really is good fun don’t you think?

I Can See For Miles” – The Who – According to the narrative in the tower video the climbers can see 55 miles to the horizon. The song was written by Pete Townshend and was the only single to be taken from the band’s 1967 album ‘The Who Sell Out

Up The Ladder To The Roof” – Supremes- This song was written by Frank Wilson and Vincent DiMirco. It was the first Supremes single to feature new girl Jean Terrell who replaced Diana Ross. Personally I always thought Diana was the weakest vocalist in the group anyway. It reached the top 10 in the US and the UK. This video is worth watching for the costumes and dance moves even if you don’t like the song! I used to have this on 7 inch vinyl American import and I played it to death, even the B Side which was an ego boost for a young lad, as I was at the time. It was called “Bill, When Are You Coming Back

 

“Woke up one morning half asleep with all my blankets in a heap” March 16, 2009


Hello again people here we are halfway through March, well thereabouts anyway. It’s the 16th so technically it’s slightly over halfway. Anyway enough of that crap let’s get on with the show. Did any of you in the UK get the Sunday Times this week? It came with a free CD of Noel Gallagher’s appearance at the Teenage Cancer Trust Concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, I think it was recorded 2007. It’s an excellent CD with acoustic versions of a number of Oasis songs plus an excellent cover of the Smiths “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” . He is also joined by Paul Weller for a version of the Jam’s “Butterfly Collector” and the Beatles “All You Need Is Love”. Do everything in your power to get hold of this CD it’s bloody good! Here are Paul and Noel with the aforementioned “Butterfly Collector

Noel made Liam promise that he would never try the Superglue on the Tea Cup trick again

Noel made Liam promise that he would never try the Superglue on the Tea Cup trick again

Firstly with just the one birthday for today. It’s the 61st birthday of Michael Bruce, guitarist with the original Alice Cooper Group. When the band broke up in 1974 Michael went on to form a band called the ‘Billion Dollar Babies’ named after an Alice Cooper album, a rather good album in fact. The new band were stuck in a legal row over the use of the name and eventually managed to release just one album, “Battleaxe” in 1977. Michael in fact sang lead vocals on a few tracks on the first Alice Cooper album. Here are the Alice Cooper Group with “Billion Dollar Babies

Alice realised that with the high risk of follow through white was the wrong colour to wear in a curry restaurant

Alice realised that with the high risk of follow through white was the wrong colour to wear in a curry restaurant

To make up for just one birthday there are three ‘onthisdays’ today. Starting in 1969. ‘Popworld 69’ took place on March 16th some 40 years ago today. The artists appearing at the Empire Pool in Wembley (now known as the Wembley Arena) were; Fleetwood Mac, the Move, Amen Corner, Peter Sarstedt, the Tymes, Geno Washington and Harmony Grass. I’ve never heard of the last one, have you? They do have a mention on Wikipedia though,
click here to see it. In the interests of keeping todays post down to the usual length I intend to briefly focus on just one of these acts, the Move.

I have a story which relates to a cover version of the Move’s song “Fire Brigade”. This is one you will never find on the internet or indeed anywhere else. I was in my last year at Primary school and aged just 11. I got together with my four best friends and we decided that we would form a band for the final school assembly. The fact that none of us could play an instrument wasn’t going to stand in our way either! It was 1970 and we had that punk ethos way before anyone else, does that mean history needs to reflect that we indeed invented punk? Somehow I don’t think so. Anyway on the big day after at least three rehearsals we were ready. Deano on vocals, Duffy (not the current female one) on his brothers guitar, Billy D on a very rudimentary drumkit (cake tins mainly!), Terry on Bongoes and me Billy A on tambourine, backing vocals and record player. Yes to beef up our amazing sound we played the 45 of the Move single! I would love to say that we sounded great, to us it felt like it, but the benefit of hindsight and a conversation with my old headmaster a few years later I can confirm that we definitely sounded crap. I would also love to say that all of us went on to glittering musical careers, but we didn’t unless I can count my time as a Mobile DJ? All bookings considered by the way, but unless you’re in reasonable driving distance of York in the UK then the travel charge may be a little prohibitive!

My old school (1965 -1970)

My old school (1965 -1970)

As for the real band they formed in the 60s. Many of their 60’s and early 70s hits were written by Roy Wood, although Carl Wayne was the lead singer on many hits. Jeff Lynne had joined the band by the time they broke up around 1973 and went on to form the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) with Roy Wood. Roy left ELO and went on to record some excellent stuff with Wizzard, but their success was somewhat eclipsed by the levels that Jeff Lynne took ELO. The Move had the honour of having the first single ever to be played on Radio 1 in the UK when it began broadcasting on 30th September 1967. The single which was spun by Tony Blackburn was “Flowers In The Rain”. The song was written by Roy Wood and neither he nor the band have ever received any royalties for it. When it was originally released their management in order to promote it produced a postcard of then UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson in bed with his secretary Marcia Williams. He was alleged to have been having an affair with her. Wilson sued for libel and the band paid all court costs and the royalties for the song went (and indeed still go) to a charity of Wilson’s choice. This has continued even after Wilson’s death. Here are the Move boys with “Flowers In The Rain

The band were longing for the day when the audience members would outnumber the band members

The band were longing for the day when the audience members would outnumber the band members

This day in 1970 was a very sad occasion, it saw the death of the wonderfully talented Tammi Terrell from a brain tumour aged just 24. She was born in Philadelphia as Thomasina Winifred Montgomery. Many of you will remember her for the excellent duets that she recorded with Marvin Gaye. One of the first public signs of her illness was when she collapsed in Marvin’s arms while the two were performing together on October 14th 1967. This was one of the events in Marvin’s life that had a profound effect on him and ultimately led to him recording the landmark album “What’s Going On”. The environmental message of this album still, sadly, rings true today almost 40 years later. It has often been thought that the Jean Terrell who was at one time a member of the Supremes was Tammi’s sister, this is not the case, Jean was the sister of WBA Boxing Champion Ernie Terrell who once fought Cassius Clay. This is Tammi duetting with Marvin on the classic “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” this knocks spots of the Diana Ross version I reckon, how about you?

Tammi Terrell - I think she was gorgeous!

Tammi Terrell - I think she was gorgeous!

And finally on this day in 1973 David Cassidy played the first of six sold out shows at the Empire Pool Wembley. Cassidy first came to prominence as Keith Partridge in the TV sitcom the Partridge Family. His mother was played by Shirley Jones who coincidentally was also his Stepmother in real life. In an attempt to break away from his clean cut image David posed nude for a Rolling Stone Magazine photo shoot by Annie Leibowitz. I liked some of his songs but when he was a teen idol in the early 70s it really wasn’t cool for me to like him 😉 Watch David singing “Rock Me Baby” here.

David thought it had been a good idea to pose nude, but he hadn't really considered where the staples would go.........ouch!

David thought it had been a good idea to pose nude, but he hadn't really considered where the staples would go.........ouch!

 

 
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