With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

12 Days To Christmas – Day 7 – Richard Nixon December 19, 2017


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Wow here we are already at day 7 of my 12 days to Christmas posts. Today the famous person in a song is ‘ole Tricky Dicky himself, Richard Nixon. Todays post features the Manic Street Preachers with “The Love Of Richard Nixon” a number 2 hit for the band in 2004 in the UK. They had four UK number 2 chart hits in total, the others were “A Design For Life” (1996), “Empty Souls” (2005) and “Your Love Alone Is Not Enough” (2007). They did hit the top of the chart twice though, with “If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next” in 1998 and “The Masses Against The Classes” in 2000. According to the Manics themselves the song is “a soundtrack to disillusion, hatred, love and never giving up”. It gives a degree of credit to Nixon as it outlines some of the more positive aspects of his Presidency.

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Richard Milhous Nixon was born in January 1913 and died in April 1994. He was the 36th US Vice President from 1953 to 1961 and then the 37th US President from 1969 to 1974. He became the only US President so far to resign from office. That was in August 1974 following the fall out from the Watergate scandal. Will Donald Trump become the second US President to resign? Let’s hope so! Up to now only two Presidents have ever been successfully impeached by the House Of Representatives; Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, however both were acquitted by the Senate. The impeachment proceedings against Nixon were never completed because of his resignation. Although Nixon was disgraced by the whole Watergate affair he was later pardoned in September 1974 by Gerald Ford who succeeded him.

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“The trial was a pig circus, he never had a chance” February 3, 2016


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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
Beatles 25
Neil Young 25
Elton John 19
Bob Marley 19
U2 19
Rod Stewart 18
Pink Floyd 17
REM 17
Elvis Costello 15
The Eels 15
Prince 15
Paul Weller 15
Ryan Adams 14
Led Zeppelin 14
Madonna 14
The Clash 13
Elvis Presley 13
Radiohead 13
Kate Bush 12
Oasis 12
Lou Reed 12
Stevie Wonder 12
Morrissey 11
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

 

“Our love is unconditional our hate is yours to feed upon” June 16, 2014


manix460Before they settled on the, in my opinion rather excellent name, the Manic Street Preachers the Welsh rockers briefly considered calling themselves Betty Blue. Nope, that wouldn’t have worked for me, how about you?

manic-street-preachers

 

“Fist in the air in the land of hypocrisy” November 2, 2011


One of the subscribers to the blog has reminded me of the plight of  Babar Ahmad, currently in prison for 7 years without charge or evidence. He needed 100,000 signatures on this petition site to trigger a debate in the Commons, and that might free him, or at last restart the justice system for him. I am pleased to say that I just signed and the total now stands at 100,106 (in the time it has taken me to compose this post it has risen to 101,126. But let’s try and push the total even further. The following text is lifted direct from Ben’s e mail. Please read it and more importantly please sign the petition. However you arrived at this site, if you’re a UK citizen please take the time to sign the petition.

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/885

Babar Ahmad’s story, widely covered in the Guardian and elsewhere, is a horrifying account of what the ‘war on terror’ has meant in particular for British Muslims.

Baba Ahmad has been in prison for seven years, pending extradition to the US on charges of terrorism for which no evidence has been given. If this petition gains enough signatures there will be a debate on his case in the House of Commons, which could increase his chances of going on trial prior to extradition. A trial would compel the evidence against him — if there is any — to be produced. Whether convicted or cleared, he would at least have had justice.

Babar Ahmad was originally arrested in 2003, assaulted at midnight in his home by several officers from the ‘territorial support group’ (the riot police), and then immediately released. A year later — 5 August 2004 — he was rearrested on an extradition warrant from the US and has been in prison since.

In 2007, the European Court of Human Rights suspended his extradition pending presentation of evidence. Under the Extradition Act 2003, the US does not have to provide evidence when seeking extradition from the UK, including for British citizens (which Ahmad is); there are stirrings of dissatisfaction about this within the current parliament.

In 2009 the Metropolitan Police admitted liability for assault during Ahmad’s first arrest and paid him £60,000 damages. This year, in a separate trial, the officers were found not guilty of assault. Evidence of the officers’ histories of racist assaults was not shared with the jury (see BBC story here, including CCTV footage of Ahmad being brought, injured, into police custody; see also this Guardian account, and this Guardian story; be warned that the accounts of the behaviour of police officers Roderick James-Bowen, Mark Jones, Nigel Cowley, and John Donohue are unpleasant).

Maybe you won’t will take much persuading about this, but anyway I urge you to sign the petition, and to circulate it to anyone who might also support it. The deal with the Number 10 ‘e-petitions’ site is that any petition that gets over 100,000 signatures must be debated in the Commons. The petition currently has 50,000 signatures, and the deadline is 10th November.

If extradited to the US, Baba Ahmad faces life in solitary confinement. He is not the only UK citizen still held in the UK without trial or evidence; he is just the longest-serving.

This is not just about justice for Baba Ahmad; it concerns the moral character of the entire UK legal and political system, and so concerns each of us personally: if it can happen to him, it can happen to me and you.

As I have said many times before, this is a music blog, so here are some appropriate(ish) songs;

 

“Get your face off the Facebook and turn off your phone” May 4, 2010


Squeezing into that little box was easy, but Gordo, Dave and Nicky realised it was going to be bloody difficult to get out!

As I have said many times before this is ostensibly a music blog and therefore pretty much everything I write about gets taken in that direction. This post is no exception. Thursday 6th May sees another General Election in the UK, the 8th one that I have been eligible to vote at, having reached official voting age before the 1979 election.

If only it were true 🙂

I have never failed to cast my vote and I urge you to do the same. It is the apathetic voters that allow the extremists into power, we cannot let that happen with evil and deluded parties like the BNP. But this week those of us in the UK should also vote for change. I know that voting for change is somewhat of a cliché, however I believe that our first past the post system has now had its day. A system that would allow the party with fewer votes to win more seats in parliament is not right, is it?

Most of the fake posters for this election have been better than the real ones don't you think?

In many ways I don’t care who you vote for, but I do care that people actually get off their arse and use theirs. So don’t let the country down, let’s mobilise for a massive turnout!

While you consider who you vote for here are some alleged trivial facts about the leaders of the three main parties; Nick Clegg once set fire to a very rare cactus. Gordon Brown apparently eats nine bananas a day and David Cameron is a direct descendent of King William IV

As I said at the start this is not a vehicle to voice my political opinions, (well perhaps apart from my dislike of the BNP) it’s a music blog. So here are twenty political type songs for you to enjoy while watching the remaining election coverage this week. Enjoy! You can follow the election on the BBC or the Guardian(I will be). Oh and there is also a hidden track somewhere in this post, have you found it? The usual crap prize, subject to postage awaits the first person to tell me what it is and where it is!

Ball Of Confusion – Temptations. This song reminds me so much of my youth and for me is one of the greatest songs Norman Whitfield produced for the Temptations. There was also a pretty good cover produced for Tina Turner by Glenn Gregory and Martyn Ware off of the British Electric Foundation (BEF), also off of Heaven 17 and also once off of the Human League! Click here to listen to Tina’s version.

Elected – Alice Cooper. Probably one of my favourite Alice Cooper songs. Did you know he actually ran for the US Presidency in 1972? With a hook line of “They’re changing guards at President Palace, out goes Nixon and in comes Alice” Why I remember that line I don’t know, but it has been stuck in my head now for nearly 40 years! There was a cover of this song a few years ago in aid of Comic Relief which I believe was credited to Mr Bean and Bruce Dickinson off of Iron Maiden. Click here for that one!

Electioneering – Radiohead. Taken from the classic ‘OK Computer’ album and seen by many as one of the greatest political songs. It also takes a nice dig at the IMF too

Election Day – Arcadia. The Duran Duran offshoot that wasn’t the Power Station, well that’s my view. I would always prefer a band with Robert Palmer as vocalist rather than Simon Le Bon. Which one did you prefer?

The Politics Of Dancing – Re-Flex. In this list purely for the title! You know how low my opinion of most 80s stuff is! ‘Nuff said!

You Haven’t Done Nothing – Stevie Wonder. Now this is a superb song and so true of today’s politicians. If you listen carefully you can hear Stevie bringing the backing vocalists in when he says “Jackson Five come sing along” Yes, it was the Jackson clan providing the ‘doo do wops’ on this song

Abraham, Martin And John – Marvin Gaye. Motown really started to get politics in the late 60’s and early 70’s didn’t it, this was in advance of Marvin’s classic ‘What’s Going On’ album, more of which later. I believe that Dion off of Dion and the Belmonts also had a hit with this

Stand Down Margaret – The Beat. In the event her own party stood her down. Whilst I was really pleased that it happened it was pretty disloyal wasn’t it?

A Design For Life – Manic Street Preachers. For me the opening line says everything about when the working class really moved forward. “Libraries gave us power”

Police And Thieves – Clash. I will never tire of hearing this excellent cover of Junior Murvin’s brilliant song, oh and did I tell you that I consider the Clash to be the best band there has ever been? I did? I thought so

So Much Trouble In The World – Bob Marley And The Wailers. No political song list would be complete without Mr Marley in my opinion and there are so many good ones to choose from.

The President Wore Pearls – Lisa Simpson. What can I say about this? Lisa is trying to get elected but doesn’t think she will be cool enough

Anarchy For The UK – Sex Pistols. Well we may not have anarchy by Friday but we will probably have a hung parliament as opposed to some parliamentarians who should be hung. Duck islands and moats indeed!

Rocking In The Free World – Neil Young and Pearl Jam. Great combination which gives Mr Young extra added rock power, also a bloody good song too

Vote Baby Vote – Lady Kier off of Deee Lite. This was put together for an MTV special ‘Rock The Vote’ show, so it’s perhaps more a jingle than a song, but the message is very clear

I Wanna Grow Up To Be A Politician – Roger McGuinn off of the Byrds. I wonder if this is when politics became a career? I don’t know about you but the term career politician seems to be an oxymoron, with the emphasis on the moron bit for many of them!

Wake Up The Nation – Paul Weller. Is there no stopping this bloke? His last album ’22 Dreams’ was fantastic and the new one ‘Wake Up the Nation’ is even better in my opinion. Nice to hear him getting a tad angry too. How weird is it that Old Etonian David Cameron claims ‘Eton Rifles’ by the Jam as one of his favourite songs? Surely he can’t have listened to the lyrics can he?

Ghost Town – Specials. Reached number one at the height of Thatcher’s early years and amidst all the inner city rioting across the UK. It really summed up the nation at the time I think. It was the night the band performed this on Top Of The Pops that Terry Hall, Lynval Golding and Neville Staple told Jerry Dammers that they were leaving the band to form the Fun Boy Three. Whose first hit was, and still is, appropriate for politicians; “The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum

What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye. Taken from one of my favourite albums of all time and the lyrics and message are still sadly relevant today, nearly 40 years after it’s release

Arrogance, Ignorance And Greed – Show Of Hands. One of Catwoman’s favourite bands and she has got me into them too. The message on this one fits pretty well all modern politicians and perhaps bankers too. Most of them are arrogant, ignorant greedy bastards aren’t they?

 

“From feudal serf to spender, this wonderful world of purchase power” September 15, 2009


Me and my helmet :-)

Me and my helmet 🙂

Here we go again folks and I have some brilliant news, well it was brilliant for me anyway. On Saturday I spent the day at the Riders Edge Harley Davidson centre in Wales. This was a gift experience which was given to me as a birthday present by the wonderful and beautiful Catwoman for my 50th birthday back in January. You have to bear in mind that I have never been on a motorbike in my life. So to say I was a little apprehensive at first would be a major understatement. Let’s just say that I made sure I packed a clean pair of under crackers…….just in case!

Anyway being a complete novice I spent the morning, around three hours riding a 500cc machine around the private roads within the Royal Welsh Showground at Builth Wells. Whilst I never fell off once I came close a couple of times! I guess I pictured in my head having to lean right over when taking corners, but that’s for the speed freaks, at the speeds I was doing taking a corner upright was easy. Incidentally while it felt much, much faster I don’t think I got above 40 mph. For me the coordination required to change gear with your left foot while not looking down at all was very difficult. But when you think about it it really shouldn’t be. I mean I don’t look down when I change gear in the car so why should I need to when riding a motorbike? Well perhaps because I’m not using a gear stick with my hand but trying to change it with my foot. But by the end of the morning session I had reached the dizzy heights of 5th gear twice and stalled less than ten times in total and as I said earlier, I never fell off or crashed once! The last part was a great result for me as I fully expected to take a few spills.

Me on a Harley

Me on a Harley

So after just three hours on the saddle they sadly weren’t going to let me loose on a fabulous Harley on my own. However I did get a pillion ride on a gorgeous Harley Davidson machine under the control of one of the Rider’s Edge expert instructors, Ian. Having never even ridden pillion before that too was also a great experience for me. Cruising around some wonderful Welsh countryside. Great weather, great views and remarkably attractive sheep, well at least I would imagine they are attractive if you’re perhaps Welsh or a Kiwi.

Uneasy Rider perhaps?

Uneasy Rider perhaps?

I would like to take this opportunity to say a big, big thank you to all the folks at Riders Edge. Especially Clive, who was my instructor in the morning and also Ian with whom I rode pillion in the afternoon.

In the meantime and as this is really a music related blog let’s steer it back in that direction! Can you guess what today’s theme might be? Well it’s a bit obvious really isn’t it? Today’s theme is Motorbikes! Here are a few motorbike or motorbike related songs with a morsel of trivia about each of the artists or songs

“Motorcycle Emptiness” – Manic Street Preachers. This was the fifth single to be taken from the band’s Generation Terrorists album in 1992. The lyrics are inspired by a book about biker gang culture called Rumble Fish which was written by S E Hinton

“Motorbikin’”– Chris Spedding. This 1975 Top 20 hit was Spedding’s biggest and he is perhaps best known as a sought after session guitarist. He has played with many artists including; Bryan Ferry, Roxy Music, Elton John, Brian Eno, Jack Bruce, Nick Mason, John Cale, Katie Melua, Harry Nilsson, Tom Waits, Paul McCartney, Jeff Wayne and even the Wombles! He also famously played on and produced three demos for the Sex Pistols in 1976. The three songs were “No Feelings”, “Problems” and “Pretty Vacant”

“Funky Moped” – Jasper Carrot. This was a surprise hit for Mr Carrot in 1975. The single was backed with a risque monologue based around the 60s TV series the “Magic Roundabout“, which at the time I thought was bloody hilarious! he also has a thespian daughter; Lucy Davis who played Dawn in the Office. She was excellent in that series don’t you think?

“Silver Dream Machine”– David Essex. At the age of 23 in 1971 David took the lead role in the musical Godspell on the London Stage. I actually went to see that show as part of a school trip in 1972 when he was still in it. Our coach was delayed because all the girls on the trip had gathered outside the stage door to scream and get his autograph. It was around the time he released his first major single “Rock On”. My first serious girlfriend; Gay Topsom, was a big David Essex fan and I remember buying her each of his singles as soon as they were released. I never had enough money to stretch to an album. But we were together for two years from 1975 to 1977 so I guess that’s a fair amount of singles. She left me for a guy who was slightly older and more importantly had a car! But you know what I’m over that now and if you’re reading this Gay, I forgive you 🙂

“Bat Out Of Hell”– Meatloaf. Meat was born Marvin Lee Aday on 27th September 1947 so he will turn 62 in a couple of weeks. get your cards written and sent now folks. Jim Steinman the producer and I suppose you could say creator of Meat’s landmark Bat Out Of Hell album was apparently trying to get something that sounded like a cross between Wagner, Phil Spector and Bruce Springsteen. Well I for one reckon he succeeded. What do you think?

“Born To Be Wild”– Steppenwolf. This band hailed from Toronto and many credit their recording of the iconic “Born To Be Wild” as the first Heavy Metal record, although just as many disagree. It has had a long association with motorbikes, very likely due to its inclusion on the soundtrack to the movie Easy Rider which starred Peter Fonda

I used to have this poster on my wall as a teenager :-)

I used to have this poster on my wall as a teenager 🙂

I am sure that you can think of plenty more so fire away folks!

This is the poster I really wanted on my wall as a teenager ;-)

This is the poster I really wanted on my wall as a teenager 😉

 

“But Abigail Blast you sure are changing fast!” February 21, 2009


Welcome to Saturday people, unless of course you’re reading this later or something, in which case just “Hello, Good Evening and Welcome! (Copyright – David Frost!). In order to try and keep the promise I made yesterday of keeping this post short (although to be fair I failed abysmally on that yesterday) I’ll at least keep the intro short.

So without further ado, let’s get straight into todays birthdays. Firstly February 21st 2009 would have been the 76th birthday of the late great (two days in a row, those l’s & g’s are in danger of overuse) Nina Simone. She died aged 70 in 2003. She was born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in North Carolina in the US. Like many of her generation she began her musical career in church where she made a classical piano recital aged just 10. At one point during her piece her parents were told to move from the front row to allow some white people to sit down. Nina has said that she refused to play until her folks were allowed to retain their front row seats. She has also said that this may have been where the seeds of her civil rights activism were sown. She took the stage name Nina Simone so that her mother, who was a very strict Methodist Minister wouldn’t know where she was playing what she saw as the “Devil’s music” Nina is Spanish for ‘little girl’ and was a nickname a previous boyfriend had given her. Simone came from the French actress Simone Signoret. Here is Nina with a jolly good version of the Beatles “Revolution” with some rather spiffing lyric changes

It was at this point that Nina realised the surprise jumping out of the cake simply wasn't going to work

It was at this point that Nina realised the surprise jumping out of the cake simply wasn't going to work

The second of todays birthdays is that of Vince Welnick who would have been 58 today, but sadly he committed suicide in 2006. Who he? Well he was the keyboard player with the Tubes so that gives me the chance to indulge myself by providing the link to a clip (or two) of that excellent band! He also played with the Grateful Dead after leaving the Tubes in the late 80s. In 1973 they were the opening act on the bill for the New York Dolls, Iggy Pop and also Led Zeppelin. In 1983 they were also the support band on a number of David Bowie’s Serious Moonlight tour gigs, although sadly not at the Milton Keynes show where I saw him on that tour in 1983. Most of the band, although not Mr Welnick, adpoted some great stage names including Fee Waybill, Quay Lewd and Prairie Prince. Strangely enough the first two names were adopted by the lead singer whose real name was in fact John Waldo Waybill, which to me sounds like a made up name anyway! OK so as promised a couple of links of the Tubes in their prime! Firstly with their stab at disco with “Prime Time” followed by the absolutely stone cold classic “White Punks On Dope” from a late 70s edition of the BBC’s ‘Old Grey Whistle Test’. Fraser if you’re reading this, this ones for you mate!

Mr Waybill figured that if he could work out how to lower the mic stand he could wear his comfy flat shoes

Mr Waybill figured that if he could work out how to lower the mic stand he could wear his comfy flat shoes

The third and final birthday for today is that of James Dean Bradfield singer and guitarist with the Manic Street Preachers. In case you were wondering, the James Dean part of his name arose because his Mum was an avid movie fan, he has apparently said on some occasions that it might have been worse had she named him something like Clint Eastwood Bradfield. Presumably Marilyn Monroe Bradfield might have been difficult during his youth as well! The late great (definitely back those ‘ole l’s & g’s)Richey Edwards was a key member of the band up until his disappearance in 1995, providing many of the bands lyrics. His family formally declared him dead late last year. In another twist he also left behind a notebook of lyrics for each of the Manics remaining members and many of these will be used on the bands new album which is due for release later this year. In the meantime enjoy the Richey era Manics with the rather brilliant “Motown Junk” from 1991.

The Manics after the white jeans sale at Primark

The Manics after the white jeans sale at Primark

On this day in 1976 the late great (now they’re just showing off!) Florence Ballard of the Supremes died of cardiac arrest aged just 32. She had left the group in 1967 and lost an $8 million lawsuit with Motown Records. She was living on welfare when she died. In my opinion both Flo Ballard and Mary Wilson were much better singers than Diana Ross. I also doubt that Flo or Mary would have recorded the absolutely abysmal (in my humble opinion of course) “Chain Reaction”! Here are the original Supremes, including Florence Ballard with “Where Did Our Love Go“, definitely not Motown Junk!

The Supremes (left to right) Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, Diana Ross

The Supremes (left to right) Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, Diana Ross

On this day in 2001 Robbie Williams was attacked and thrown from the stage during a gig in Stuttgart, Germany after a man managed to climb on stage and push him into the security pit. He was later arrested and taken to a secure psychiatric unit, obviously I mean the pusher and not Robbie, although one does live in hope! Well come on I haven’t said anything bad about Robbie for a few days have I? Just to show I care here’s a video of Mr Williams…………. er falling over on stage in Leeds in 2006!

Robbie was really hoping that swallows didn't eat nuts

Robbie was really hoping that swallows didn't eat nuts

Finally on this day in 2004 Les Gray, the lead singer of Mud, died of throat cancer aged just 57. Mud’s first TV appearance was on BBC TVs ‘Basil Brush Show’ I hope they played “Dyna-mite”……. BOOM BOOM! After they signed to the RAK label in the early 70s and also teamed up with songwriters Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman (who wrote many hits for other acts too, including the Sweet and Suzi Quatro) they had a string of UK hits including three number ones “Tiger Feet”, “Lonely This Christmas” and a acapella cover of Buddy Holly’s “Oh Boy” Click here to listen to a megamix of four of Mud’s 70s hits (Dynamite, Rocket, Tiger Feet and Oh Boy)

"If our biggest hit was Tiger Feet why do we have leopard skin trim on these suits?" asked the Mud boys

"If our biggest hit was Tiger Feet why do we have leopard skin trim on these suits?" asked the Mud boys

OK that’s all for today folks, thanks for reading this far, or indeed reading this stuff at all. See you next time!

 

 
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