With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“And we know we shall win as we are confident in the victory” April 13, 2010


I was saddened and angered by the news I read today that Somali militants have banned the playing of music from the country’s airwaves. Well technically the transition government only control a small part of the capital Mogadishu so it is actually the work of the militants that run the rest of the country. There has not been a functioning government in the state since 1991. The militants have closed down five BBC radio relay stations in the south of the country, so now there are just two FM transmitters left in the transition government and UN controlled part of Mogadishu. Is there anything we can do about it? I don’t know, but I doubt it. The waters off Somalia are already full of proper pirates so the chances of setting up a pirate radio station off shore seems unlikely. Can we write to our politicians? Well sure you can, but certainly in the UK at the moment the self-regarding parasites are so far up their own sphincters with the General Election and new ways to fiddle their expenses that they won’t be bothered by something so trifling as this. But if you do believe there is something we could do then please get in touch. If anyone from Somalia is actually reading this I would love to hear from you. You can read the BBC report on this story by clicking here 

The ban on music radio in Somalia has led to the discovery and use of many innovative living instruments. I'm not quite sure where you blow on this one though!

This whole sorry episode got me thinking about songs that have been banned from airplay in the UK, so that, my dear readers is what this post is all about! 

One of the biggest en masse bans occurred just after 9/11 back in 2001. A Programme Director at one of the Clear Channel Radio Stations produced a list of songs that he felt might be in bad taste after the events of 2001. It was allegedly meant as a guideline and supposedly received no corporate backing. I kind of see where this person was coming from with some of the choices (although I do not agree at all) but how the hell did the following make it on to the list? 

Ob La Di Ob La Da” – Beatles 

What A Wonderful World” – Louis Armstrong 

99 red Balloons” – Nena 

Alice In Chains, the Beatles and Metallica have four entries each while AC/ DC are way out in front with six. It seems that almost any song mentioning planes, fire, death, bombs, New York or the middle east was included. Click here to see the whole list. The BBC actually preceded this during the Gulf War of 1991. This list included Abba’s “Waterloo” and also the instruction that Massive Attack would be referred to as Massive during the conflict. Click here to see the BBC’s Gulf War banned list and many other lists referenced in this post 

The BBC has quite a long history of banning songs for various reasons and here is just a small selection along with the reasons they received a beeb ban! 

Je T’Aime” – Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg. Obviously the powers that be at the BBC back in 1969 understood french far better than I did then or even do today. personally I think there would have only been a tiny minority of people in the UK in 1969 who would have understood the lyrics anyway. It allegedly wasn’t helped though by the inclusion in the lyric of Serge’s desire to “entre te reins” which I’m told means between the kidneys, or in English probably ‘up the bum’ 

The Day After You” – Blow Monkeys (supported by Curtis Mayfield). This was banned for being anti Margaret Thatcher. Since when was that a crime? I always have been and always will be. If you feel the same maybe you should also check out Elvis Costello’s “Tramp The Dirt Down” 

Tribute To Buddy Holly” – Mike Berry and the Outlaws. This was a Joe Meek production from 1961 and was banned for being a morbid celebration of a dead teen idol 

Cover Of The Rolling Stone” – Dr Hook and the Medicine Show. Obviously the BBC were not going to advertise an American publication, which in those days was almost impossible to get in this country anyway. The band tried to help by recording a new version of the song which replaced Rolling Stone with Radio Times, which was and still is a BBC published TV and Radio listings magazine (other listing magazines are available!) 

Many other songs, especially more recently have been banned for including swearing. The earliest of these that I am aware of is John Lennon’s “Working Class Hero” in 1970. John Lydon (formerly known as Johnny Rotten remains the only person to have sneaked the ‘C’ word into a song and had it played though. Listen to the Sex Pistols “Pretty Vacant” again and hear how he pronounces ‘vacant’ in the chorus. I understand that this was deliberate. Nice one Mr Lydon 😉 

I could go on and on with this post but I will draw it to a close, but I would like to hear your stories of banned songs wherever you are. Personally I think the world would be a nicer place if the likes of Boyzone, Westlife, Robbie Williams and anyone who wins X Factor were to be banned from getting any airplay ever! 

I will finish with a story about Michael Logan who recently received an ASBO for singing Bob Marley songs outside his home in the UK from 8 a.m until midnight. (Click here for the link to the story from the Manchester Evening News) Now I don’t condone that sort of thing but it does give me a great excuse to end with a Bob Marley song! This is Bob with a great live segue of “War/ No More Trouble”

Did you know that the lyrics to Marley’s “War” were the words of a speech made by Haile Selassie?

 

“You just took for granted that I want to skinny dip” March 17, 2009


Hello everybody on this glorious Tuesday 17th March, well the weather is glorious where I am anyway. Firstly did everyone see the reports about Francis Rossi of Status Quo in the press last week? He finally had his hair cut short, yes he has had his pony tail chopped off. His hair had been receding considerably at the front too, so perhaps he should have done it ages ago, but at least he’s done it now. Personally I really don’t think old grey haired men with receding hair lines and pony tails is a good look. But then maybe I suffer from hair envy as I do have a head like a billiard ball and I have also been likened before to Sam the Bald Eagle from the Muppets, so what do I know! Anyway you can read the story and see the pictures in an article from the Guardian by clicking here (or should that be clicking hair?). Either way it really does have the same shocking effect as seeing Elvis getting his hair cut for the Army in 1958.

Francis auditions for the Bay City Rollers in his younger days

Francis auditions for the Bay City Rollers in his younger days

On with the usual stuff now starting with just a couple of birthdays. Firstly today is the 42nd birthday of Billy Corgan from the Smashing Pumpkins. Whilst he is younger than me we do share the same first name and hairstyle! Billy was (and presumably still is) a big baseball fan. He played for his school and whilst there he also built up a collection of baseball cards that reached 10,000. Wow that even makes my CD and comic (sorry graphic novel) collections look tame! Corgan also dated Courtney Love before she came into Kurt Cobain’s life. Corgan even shared some songwriting credits on Courtney’s band Hole’s album “Celebrity Skin”. Incidentally you should check out Courtney on MySpace, in my opinion she has a fantastic presence there and uses it really well. The Smashing Pumpkins broke up in 2000 but reformed in 2006. In the ensuing period Corgan formed the rather short lived Zwan and also released some solo material. In my opinion the Pumpkins 1997 album “Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness is one of the best albums to come out of the 90s. Check out “1979” from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness by clicking on the song title.

Billy appeared to be (s)lightly cross

Billy appeared to be (s)lightly cross

Today is also the 34th birthday of Justin Hawkins off of the Darkness and Hot Leg. Since the Darkness split up and before Hot Leg came to be Mr Hawkins was quite a busy boy. He issued a solo single, a cover of the Sparks song “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us”. He took part in the competition to represent the UK at the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest. I’m glad he didn’t win that, the voting is so political and territorial that the UK is unlikely ever to win it again. In the Film ‘Telstar’ which is based on the life of the late great (finally those l’s & g’s make a return!) Joe Meek, Justin will be taking on the role of the wonderful English eccentric, the late great (with a vengeance, l & g’s ra ra ra) Screaming Lord Sutch. I saw the Darkness live at the Reading Festival twice. Firstly in 2003 when they were about 4th on the bill and still relatively new, they were absolutely fantastic one of the best bands of the whole festival that year. However they went on to headline the following year and personally I don’t think that they were ready. Their second album still hadn’t been released and they tried out some of the new songs which seemed under rehearsed. In my opinion they were one of the worst Reading headliners that I have ever seen and I have been going for a long while, the fireworks at the end were the most exciting thing about their set that year. I reckon they peaked way to early. However I do feel that Justin Hawkins is immensely talented. I loved both the Darkness albums and the current Hot Leg album is pretty damned good too. Here is the Darkness classic “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” and a future Hot Leg classic “I’ve Met Jesus

Justin had asked one of the audience to change the channel on his flat screen crotch TV

Justin had asked one of the audience to change the channel on his flat screen crotch TV

On this day in 1976 Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers appeared at New York’s CBGB’s club. The Heartbreakers were formed in 1975 when Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan quit the ‘New York Dolls’ and Richard Hell left ‘Television’. Hell left in 1976 and went on to form the Voidoids. The Heartbreakers were invited to appear on the bill of the Sex Pistols Anarchy Tour in 1976, although most of the dates were cancel thanks to the massive overreaction by much of the British press and many local councils. The invite may have come about because Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren had previously been the manager of the New York Dolls and he knew Nolan and Thunders quite well. The Heartbreakers are certainly unlikely to reform since Thunders died in 1991 and Nolan in 1992. My favourite Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers song is “Chinese Rocks” check it out and tell me what you think, to me it’s a punk classic.

Johnny didn't think Sid was particularly vicious

Johnny didn't think Sid was particularly vicious

The CBGBs club opened in 1973 in Manhattan and sadly closed down in 2006. The initials stood for Country, Blue Grass and Blues although strangely enough it is most associated with punk. However it’s full name was CBGBs & OMFUG the second set of initials stood for Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers. I must confess that I haven’t got the foggiest as to what Gormandizers means, do you? The final show at CBGBs was by the fabulous Patti Smith. “Elegie” was the last song ever played at CBGBs, a very sad moment indeed

The CBGB bathroom/ toilet, moderately better than most festival toilet facilities

The CBGB bathroom/ toilet, moderately better than most festival toilet facilities

And finally on this day in 1997 US singer Jermaine Stewart died of liver cancer which was believed to have been complicated by HIV/ AIDS. He had a UK number two hit in 1986 with “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off“. He also worked with Shalamar, the Temptations and Boy George amongst others, largely providing backing vocals. He provided many of the backing vocals on Culture Club’s “Colour By Numbers” album. His first big break was becoming a dancer on the iconic US TV show ‘Soul Train’

Jermaine regretted falling asleep in the road just as the line painters arrived

Jermaine regretted falling asleep in the road just as the line painters arrived

 

 
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