The other day I decided to take a quick count of all the artists in my album collection where I have at least 10 albums by a single artist. I included CDs, LPs and cassettes (although the only non compilation cassettes that I have are David Bowie bootlegs). Oh and while I’m on bootleg recordings obviously I have included them whether they are live, studio outtakes or simply unreleased stuff. I have not included digital recordings. I was surprised to find that there are 4o artists where I have at least ten releases by them. The list is below, (artist followed by the number of albums) there are no real surprises for me, are you surprised at any on this list? Have you ever done anything similar? I have also added a song from each of the top ten artists 🙂
David Bowie 141
Bob Dylan 30 Johnny Nash 26 Bruce Springsteen 26
Neil Young 25
Elton John 19
Bob Marley 19
Rod Stewart 18
Pink Floyd 17
REM 17 Elvis Costello 15
The Eels 15
Paul Weller 15
Ryan Adams 14 Led Zeppelin 14
The Clash 13 Elvis Presley 13
Kate Bush 12
Lou Reed 12
Stevie Wonder 12
Tom Waits 11
ZZ Top 11
Jeff Buckley 10
Julian Cope 10
Johnny Cash 10 Michael Jackson 10
John Lennon 10 Manic Street Preachers 10
Kylie Minogue 10 Iggy Pop 10
Rolling Stones 10
Frank Turner 10
The Who 10
Are you excited yet? You must be right? There are only 12 more big sleeps to the big day. Have you bought all your presents? What did you get for me? I hope that it was something expensive. Anyway it’s December 13th a.k.a Day 13 a.k.a the letter ‘M’ of this years advent blog post. Regular readers will know that this year it is the ABC of British bands. If you’re not a regular reader please feel free to waste an hour catching up on the letters ‘A’ to ‘L’.
In the meantime though let’s get back to todays band; it’s Mud. That’s neat, that’s neat, that’s neat, that’s neat isn’t it? Although the band formed in 1966 they didn’t have their first chart hit until 1973 with “Crazy”. That kicked off a run of UK 10 UK top 20 hits lasting up until 1975. This included three UK number one hits; “Tiger Feet“, “Lonely This Christmas” and a cover of Buddy Holly’s “Oh Boy”. Ellie Hope off of Liquid Gold who had a big hit with “Dance Yourself Dizzy” in 1980 sang backing vocals on Mud’s version of “Oh Boy”.
Band members were Rob Davis (guitar), Ray Stiles (bass), Dave Mount (drums) and Les Gray on vocals. Sadly Les and Dave are no longer with us having passed away in 2004 and 2006 respectively. The last time the four of them played together was at Dave Mount’s wedding in 1990. Rob Davis has had a lot of success as a songwriter in recent years co-writing hits for Kylie Minogue (“Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”) and Spiller (“Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love)”) among others. But enough of the recent activity, take yourself back to the 70s and enjoy some Mud classics.
The Brits has kicked off well with a storming “R U Mine” from those Sheffield scallywags the Arctic Monkeys. Will it all go downhill from here? Let’s find out shall we? Well at least James Corden was finally on fire for the first time hosting this show. Well the sleeve of his jacket was to set up a lame joke about the Arctic Monkey‘s pyrotechnics. Thankfully this will be his last Brits. The British Female Brit award was presented the shortest man in music Prince Rogers Nelson accompanied by his new band. Corden interrupted for a selfie with the purple one. Ellie Goulding won it and given the nominees deservedly so in my opinion. She was somewhat awed by meeting Prince too.
Katy Perry was next on stage and she went a bit Stargate Cleopatra on us. She sang “Dark Horse” from her new album ‘Prism’. I presume it’s not a George Harrison tribute. Kylie and Pharrell Williams presented the International Male solo Artist award after more inane and unfunny shite from Corden. It was won by Bruno Mars; personally I expected it to go to Justin Timberlake although I would have voted for Eminem.
Tinie Tempah and Fearne Cotton rocked up to present the British Breakthrough Act Award. It was well won by the rather excellent Bastille. I love the ‘Bad Blood’ album. Sadly Corden was back after that with a dreadful interview with One Direction which included some pathetic jokes about Justin Bieber in prison. Then we were subjected to Bruno Mars with “Treasure”. But to be fair I judged him too soon, that was a good performance. Really classy modern R & B.
Next up a welcome return from Lily Allen to present the award for Best British Group. Thank fuck it wasn’t won by Wand Erection. It went to a proper band instead. The marvellous Arctic Monkeys. The previously known winner of the newcomer award was the understated but talented Sam Smith.
Now we have the Global Success Award presented by Rosie double-barreled surname. Who the fuck is she? Was this Award manufactured for the ultimate manufactured band One Direction? Can’t we just sell them to the USA? Is Harry Styles having a wee the most controversial act of this years show? Sadly it probably is. The revolution doesn’t start here!
Beyonce live, now that was bloody good in my opinion. But was she lip syncing “XO”? The nest award was for best British single, presented by Katy Perry. Was she trying an English accent? Won by the fabulous Rudimental which thankfully beat Olly Murs and Wand Erection.
The first collaboration of this years show was Disclosure and Lorde with a really cool and funky take on Lorde’s “Royals”. Followed by a brilliant live rendition of “White Noise” with Aluna. The International Group award was presented by Cesc Fabregas (WTF?) and Nicole Scherzinger. The winners were Daft Punk. Could it really have been anyone else? The legend that is Nile Rodgers collected the award on their behalf.
Ellie Goulding was next to perform. She did “I Need Your Love” and “Burn”. I loved the massed percussion during “Burn”. I have really grown to like Ellie’s music. Noel Gallagher was there to present the best male solo artist award. Let’s hope he has a new album out soon. Fuck me Bowie’s only gone and won it! Kate Moss accepted it on Bowie’s behalf at his personal behest. A brilliant speech written by the Dame too. This has made my night!
Nick Grimshaw that bloke from Radio One who is moderately more talented than Chris Moyles stepped up to present the International Female solo artist award. Lorde was the winner and a bloody good choice too. Bowie is a Lorde fan. Then we had yet another shite interview by Corden with Nile Rodgers and Pharrell Williams. The British Video award was voted for live on Twitter during the show and was presented by Jimmy Carr. Sadly it was won by Wand Erection with “Best Song Ever”, but it isn’t is it?
Rudimental and Bastille combined on stage to become Bastimental for the night. It certainly made up for a second 1D award for the night. Blimey just how sexy is Ella Eyre? Now we are onto the final award of the night, it’s the one that everyone wants. It’s best album and it was presented by Emilie Sande. It went to the Arctic Monkeys. It is a great album, but I was hoping for a second Brit of the night for David Robert Jones. But well done to Alex and the boys, although their acceptance speech was largely bollocks wasn’t it?
The show was closed by Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers. What a barnstorming performance from two music masters. “Get Lucky”, “Good Times”, “Happy” the hits just kept coming. Overall I think this years show was an improvement on last year. Some marks out of ten from me; James Corden 1/10, Bowie winning a Brit 10/10 and for the overall show 5/10 could do better.
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!
I thought that you might wish to know that the list of the UK’s most played songs of the noughties has been published. I assume that it covers 2001 to 2010 which makes me wonder why it took so long to compile, probably because the PRS had to chase many places for royalties. Anyway the top 5 is;
Between them the five songs were played 875 million times. I like all the songs apart from “Angels” which is one of my least favourite songs of all time. But whatever happened to Jamelia and Liberty X? Apparently “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” was initially offered to S Club 7 and Sophie Ellis-Bextor who both turned it down. I reckon they’re kicking themselves now, what do you think?
Is that a microphone or is the bear very happy to see Kylie?
Last Friday it was my great pleasure to accompany Catwoman to the first of Kylie‘s Manchester shows. I had imagined that Kylie would really put on a show and she certainly did. It was one of the most amazing gigs I have ever seen, the staging, production and dancing were out of this world. There were influences from Hollywood, Busby Berkeley, Classic History and Super Clubs.
Kylie went through maybe six or seven costume changes and in my opinion looked pretty fabulous in all of them. Her initial entry on stage was via a hydraulic gold sea shell, she also arrived via Pegasus and a few other routes too. She also performed “Looking For An Angel” while being carried over the stage by an angel! It was like X Men Live!
I have never seen a show with so much water either. There were some amazing fountain displays and the people in the VIP area and those at the front of the extended stage and walkways were soaked. Many of them had paid extra for that privilege. She really seems to understand her audience. The male dancers would have been like a spectacular wet dream for the many gay men in the audience. There were a couple of banners asking Kylie to let them become her gay husband. All the recent hits were there for the long-term fans, although no “I Should be So Lucky“. She also took a request which someone gave her via a 7 inch single. For that she did 60 seconds or so a capella of “Got To Be Certain”
She sang most of the new album; ‘Aphrodite’ and for me it made me appreciate it even more. “All The Lovers” was a really dazzlingly spectacular showpiece. My favourite Kylie song ever is “I Believe In You” and she sang that while being pulled around the stage in a chariot by some well toned blokes wearing not much Dolce and Gabbana.
I would definitely pay to go and see her again, but the UK gigs are pretty much done now. The tour moves to North America at the end of this month. She never really became a massive success in the US and frankly I don’t understand why? there is talk of her taking a residency in Las Vegas and on the evidence of this show she would go down extremely well. So let me finish by saying thank you to Kylie and the band, the dancers, production team, roadies and anyone else involved. It was a great night and Catwoman is still filled with excitement from it!
Almost over for this year then, it’s the penultimate day of my UK Christmas Number Ones Advent Calendar, it’s December 24th, Christmas Eve. So as we are that close to the big day I have decided to take you back to the Christmas of 1974 and I hope you won’t be lonely at Christmas because todays song is from Mud and it’s “Lonely This Christmas”. It stayed at number one for 4 weeks. Like many of the big pop hits of the 70s it was written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, whose publishing company was known as Chinnichap. A bit like a pre Jedward melding of names there methinks.
“Lonely This Christmas” was the second of their UK number ones following “Tiger Feet” earlier in 1974 and a cover of Buddy Holly’s “Oh Boy” in 1975. Singer Les Gray was well-known for his Elvis soundalike vocal, in fact at the time many people believed that “Lonely This Christmas” was by Elvis himself! Sadly Les Gray died of a heart attack in 2004. Drummer Dave Mount died in December 2006.
Of the two remaining band members bass guitarist Ray Stiles joined the Hollies. However lead guitarist Rob Davis has carved out a very successful career as a songwriter. He has written dance hits for Kylie Minogue and Spiller featuring Sophie Ellis Bextor. The latter hit the number one spot with a song that Davis co wrote, it was “Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love)” it also, thankfully, prevented Victoria Beckham from having a solo number one. She remains the only former Spice Girl never to have a solo number one.
Getting closer to the big day by the hour now and behind one of the few remaining perforated cardboard door flaps on my UK Christmas Number Ones Advent Calendar today, December 23rd, is a song that has been the Christmas number one on three separate occasions and technically by different acts each time. It was number one firstly in the Christmas of 1984, then in 1989 and most recently in 2004. It was the last UK Christmas number one before the X Factor winners had four years in a row, finally broken last year by Rage Against The Machine. You have probably guessed that the song is “Do They Know It’s Christmas” originally by Band Aid in 1984, then Band Aid II (1989) followed by Band Aid 20 (2004). Maybe it’ll be top again for the 30th anniversary in 2014.
It was number one fora total of 12 weeks; 5 weeks in 1984, 3 weeks in 1989 and 4 weeks in 2004. The song was written by Bob Geldof off of the Boomtown Rats and Midge Ure off of Ultravox after they had seen the news coverage of the 1984 famine in Ethiopia. They had aimed to raise money for famine relief and the single and subsequent Live Aid concert probably went way beyond their initial expectations. It sold more than a million copies in its first week alone and went on to sell 3.5 million copies. It remained the fastest and highest selling UK single until Elton John’s rerecording of “Candle In The Wind” following the death of Princess Diana in August 1997. The song was recorded on November 29th 1984 at SARM Studios in London after Geldof gathered the great and good of pop music at the time. The opening line was originally written for David Bowie, who was unfortunately unable to make it, so it was done by Paul Young. The single was released just 4 days after the recording on December 3rd 1984 and remember this was way before the days of downloads.
Midge Ure produced the original version, it was offered to Trevor Horn but he was not in the UK at the time. Stock, Aitken and Waterman produced the 1989 version. Some artists such as David Bowie and Paul McCartney were unable to be at the recording of the original so provided messages that appeared on the B-Side. Members of Bananarama appeared on the 1984 and 1989 version whilst Bono sang the same line in 1984 as he did in 2004; ‘Well, tonight, thank God it’s them, instead of you’. On the 2004 version Dizzee Rascal also added some new lyrics.
The artists that appeared on each version are listed below;
BAND AID (1984)
Bono, U2, Phil Collins, Bob Geldof, Boomtown Rats, Tony Hadley, Spandau Ballet, Midge Ure, Ultravox, Simon Le Bon, Duran Duran, Paul Young, Heaven 17, Marilyn, Bananarama, Jody Watley, Paul Weller, Kool & The Gang, George Michael , Status Quo, Boy George, Culture Club, Sting, Holly Johnson, Big Country
BAND AID II (1989)
Bananarama, Big Fun, Bros, Cathy Dennis, D Mob, Jason Donovan, Kevin Godley, Glen Goldsmith, Kylie Minogue, Pasadenas, Chris Rea, Cliff Richard, Jimmy Somerville, Sonia, Lisa Stansfield, Technotronic, Wet Wet Wet
BAND AID 20 (2004)
Bono, Daniel Bedingfield, Natasha Bedingfield, Vishal Das, Busted, Chris Martin, Dido, Dizzee Rascal, Ms Dynamite, Skye Edwards, Estelle, Neil Hannon, Justin Hawkins, Jamelia, Tom Chaplin, Tim Rice-Oxley, Beverley Knight, Lemar, Shaznay Lewis, Katie Melua, Róisín Murphy, Feeder, Snow Patrol, Rachel Stevens, Joss Stone, Sugababes, Thrills, Turin Brakes, Robbie Williams, Will Young, Francis Healy, Danny Goffey, Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Paul McCartney, Francis Healy, Andy Dunlop, Dougie Payne
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In spite of popular opinion it was now clear that Gary was even shorter than Mark. But now at least he’ll be able to stand on Robbie’s Rudebox
I’m not a big Robbie Williams fan as any regular readers will know, but I couldn’t let the news of him rejoining Take That go without a mention. So rather than simply just mention it I thought I’d have some fun with it. Back in my school days at Bishopshalt in the early 70s myself and a friend (stand up Chris Skinner!) often made up short paragraphs using song titles and some simple words to link them. So that is something I have done here to represent an imaginary conversation between Robbie and Take That. The twist is that Robbie is only allowed to speak using his own hits and Take That with theirs, titles are all in CAPS. Let me know what you think. By my count there should be 20 Robbie songs and 14 from Take That, I’d love to see your versions as well
After Robbie had left the band the cheap arse tattoos didn’t seem such a good idea, for a period they were known as TAKE THA, what a bummer!
Robbie would remain eternally grateful that the rest of the boys had rescued his drowning career
Let me close with a conspiracy theory, because I know you love them! The lyrics to Back For Good were written by Gary Barlow. The question is though were they written about Robbie, especially the line about a lipstick mark on a coffee cup. Was Gary having an affair with a cross dressing Robbie? I think the world needs to know. (Please note that this last part is complete garbage that I just made up for fun, but even with this statement I suspect someone out there might actually believe it!)
The UK entry in this years contest was a song written by Mike Stock and Pete Waterman off of Stock Aitken Waterman. It was performed by 19-year-old Josh Dubovie and it is called “That Sounds Good To Me“. But clearly it didn’t sound good to the rest of Europe as for the third time in eight years we came last. OK I know all the conspiracies about neighbourly voting with the Balkan States voting for each other just like the Scandinavians. But really how good was our song? In my opinion it was ok and Josh’s performance was very good. But as the Catwoman said to me during the show “you could almost imagine Kylie singing that a few years ago” It is that which is probably the crux of another UK failure, the song was 80s cheesy disco and very dated.
Still at least it was better than the atrocious and out of tune nul points performance of Jemini back in 2003. The sad thing is that wherever we finish we will always be in the next years contest in the final. Germany, Spain and France will be too. Simply because it is those four countries that fund the whole shebang. Read about the whole thing on the beeb by clicking here
My personal favourites last night were Iceland and Turkey. Kind of Euro Dance and slightly rockier respectively. When Lena sang the German winning entry, “Satellite” I did say somewhat prophetically (or more like a lucky bloody guess) that this one is the winner. It was probably helped by the fact that it has been heard all over Europe already, but it’s not a bad song. Although I do find some of her English enunciation a little strange. But then coming from someone like me who speaks just one language (unless bollocks, bullshit and double dutch count) that’s a bit rich. So congratulations to Lena for achieving Germany’s second win. The first was with Nicole’s “A Little Peace” back in 1982.
Can we learn from Germany? They won in 1982 with Nicole and this year with Lena. So next year perhaps the UK's entry should be sung by Doris, Ethel or Chardonnay!
There were some rather strange moments last night. The Spanish performance was interrupted by a random guy in a stupid hat jumping on the stage and dancing. Personally I didn’t think he looked out-of-place among the toy-like dancers providing a backdrop to a dreadful song. Sung by someone who looked like a reincarnated Leo Sayer. Then there was Armenia who sang a song about apricot stones, what was that all about then? Well apricot stones obviously, but I mean why? Apparently the apricot is their national fruit. Then there was the Belarus entry “Butterflies”. Graham Norton had said before their appearance that the dresses they were wearing would be hotly desired by every little girl in Europe aged under 10. I didn’t understand why until partway through the song when they transformed into dresses with added butterfly wings. They also nearly managed to finish below us but picked up some massive votes towards the end.
So let us now ponder on what the UK will do next? Personally I think we should ask Muse and Radiohead to combine for next years entry. It might not win but it would be credible and blow everyone else away! How else will we add to that illustrious list of previous UK winners Sandie Shaw, Lulu, Brotherhood Of Man, Bucks Fizz and Katrina & The Waves? Let us also hope that this has no similarity with the result of the impending World Cup in South Africa!