With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

‘My Life In Dire Straits’ – John Illsley – Book review November 14, 2021

Filed under: Book,Review — justwilliam1959 @ 1:02 am
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I don’t often get the chance to review books, but when this one was sent to me a few weeks ago I thought it was worth giving it a spin. I read a lot of books, including many rock autobiographies and biographies. This is a compelling autobiography from Dire Straits’ ace bass player John Illsley. Along with Mark Knopfler, Illsley was one of the founding members of Dire Straits, who became one of the most successful British bands ever. Apparently, Geldof had asked them to headline Live Aid as in 1984/ 85 they were probably the biggest band on the planet. However, as they were booked to play Wembley Arena that night they went on a little earlier. Illsley sums that day up superbly in saying that he is glad they didn’t have to follow Queen. John describes his early years and how he came to find a career in music, which like many of his peers and successors was frowned upon by his parents, at least initially. The band came together in Deptford, South London and were so broke in the early days that they were living hand to mouth and picking up any gigs they could. They were finally able to record a demo tape which they managed to get to DJ Charlie Gillett who played “Sultans Of Swing” incessantly on his show, the rest, as they say, is history. Aside from his time in Dire Straits Illsley speaks in a brutally honest way about how that level of fame, success and the intensive recording and touring cycles destroyed some of his relationships. I really enjoyed this book and it definitely ranks among the best rock autobiographies that I have ever read. It is well written, open, honest, uplifting and incredibly interesting. It will be a great read for any music fans and not just fans of Dire Straits. It is out now, published by Diversion Books.

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“All the men come in these places and the men are all the same” a.k.a. 9 ladies dancing December 21, 2012

il_fullxfull.389633769_mw6o Day 9 in my 12 days of Christmas series of posts has arrived and frankly I am running out of room to keep all these diverse and wonderful gifts I keep receiving from my true love. Any suggestions as to what I can do with 9 ladies dancing. OK perhaps you’d better not answer that because undoubtedly most of you will add the word lap somewhere in there won’t you? It would seem likely that the interest in ballroom dancing has surged recently, perhaps due to TV shows like Strictly Come Dancing (is that the correct title? Personally I have never watched it). Dance was one of the most popular art forms according to the Arts Council in England and applications for grants for dance projects had increased from 373 to 437 from 2011 to 2012. Tina+Charles+TC So today is quite special because you’ll get three songs for the price of two. Firstly it’s a classic slice of what I would call disco bubble pop. It’s Tina Charles with “Dance Little Lady Dance”. Tina was born Tina Hoskins in March 1954 and later changed her name to avoid possible confusion with Mary Hopkin. She chose Charles as that was her father’s first name. She started out as a session and backing vocalist. She provided backing vocals along with Linda Lewis on the Steve Harley and Cockney rebel classic “Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)” a UK number one from 1975. She was also the uncredited vocalist on the 5000 Volts hit “I’m On Fire”. This was due to contractual reasons. That song made it to number 4 in the UK and number 1 in Germany and Sweden. It only managed number 26 in the US but it was competing against a version of the same song by Jim Gilstrap. 307066 Tina’s big break came when she met record producer Biddu who had a massive success with “Kung Fu Fighting” from Carl Douglas in 1974. he produced a few songs for her including the biggest hit of her career, “I Love To Love (But My Baby Loves To Dance)” this was at number one for 3 weeks in the UK in 1976. The song I have chosen for this post was also a UK hit for Tina but only managed a peak of number 6. That song is “Dance Little Lady Dance”. A remix of the song was issued in 1987 and made the top 20 in Germany and the Netherlands. her touring band in the mid 70s featured two future members of Buggles and Yes; Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes. tt002 The second song I have chosen for you today is “Private Dancer” from another Tina, this time Tina Turner. The song was written by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits and was originally considered for inclusion on the band’s album ‘Love Over Gold‘. However Knopfler didn’t think it was right for a male vocalist. John Illsley from the band featured on Tina Turner’s version of the song. Guitar was provided by Jeff Beck and not Mark Knopfler on Turner’s version of the song. The song only reached number 26 in the UK but managed a number 7 position in both France and the USA. The choreography for the promotional video for the song was provided by former Strictly Come Dancing judge, Arlene Phillips. tturner_gl_4jul12_pa_b_426x639_1 As I mentioned earlier, you will get three songs for the price of two today and the third is a special Billy Bonus for Christmas. as I alluded to lap Dancing earlier in this post, which is something I have never experienced (ok so maybe I have just the once……. or maybe twice) I thought I would take the opportunity to add some Kate Bush. No I know she isn’t a lap dancer, but I would be very tempted if she was, but she did have a song called “Sat In Your Lap” didn’t she. It reached number 11 in the UK in 1981 and was the first single to come from Kate’s album ‘The Dreaming’, albeit some 15 months before the album appeared. The B Side was a cover of Donovan’s “Lord Of The Reedy River”. Kate_bush_leotard


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