A few days ago the one billionth song was downloaded in the UK only ten years after the legal download was first launched. Now that is quite a phenomenal performance isn’t it? The top 10 most downloaded songs in the UK are;
1. Adele – Someone Like You
2. Maroon 5 ft Christina Aguilera – Moves Like Jagger
No real surprises there really, all artists of the modern age. Of course there have been the campaigns to get old songs in the chart via downloads. Some of these have been successful and many haven’t. We now have the annual let’s stop X Factor getting to the top at Christmas. That probably peaked with the success of Rage Against The Machine‘s “Killing In The Name”. There have also been the slightly more ridiculous campaigns which probably culminated in the arrival of Judy Garland’s “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead” from the Wizard Of Oz at number two in the charts this week aimed at ‘celebrating’ the death of Margaret Thatcher. I was in two minds about this plan, but frankly right now I don’t think it feels right. The whole idea of celebrating anyones death is odd. Why not just get out on the streets to protest against what the current government is doing to the country. That makes more sense doesn’t it?
It seems that the new leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un, has his own song. He doesn’t sing it, but it’s lyrics seem to draw from one of his speeches around the time he became leader. The song is called “Onwards Towards The Final Victory” and as you might expect it is getting significant airplay on the countries radio and TV networks. His father Kim Jong-Il also had a song, his was called “There Is No Motherland Without You“.
The only way is Up!
Personally I find all this a little strange, I mean I know our own British national anthem, which incidentally is far less rousing than Kim Jong-Un’s little tune, is an awful ode to the power of the monarchy, but imagine if all of our Prime Ministers had their own song! So obviously I thought how about finding some possibly appropriate songs for our head public servants. I know that they see themselves as leaders, but actually they are really servants aren’t they?
Just a few random things heading your way for this post. Let’s start with the sale of an iconic item of Michael Jackson’s clothing, it’s the jacket that he wore in the “Thriller” video. It sold recently for £1.1m in an auction in Beverley Hills. It was bought by an US Commodities Trader who plans to use it to raise money for children’s charities. Given the many allegations made against Jacko the use of his old clothes in that way does seem somewhat appropriate, doesn’t it? Click here to read the story on the BBC.
Lady Gaga is being sued in the USA for allegedly pocketing far more money than is appropriate in the sale of her Japan Earthquake Relief wristbands. The lawsuit, in which she is being sued for more than £3m, alleges that the wristbands are sold for $5 each and include shipping and tax costs meaning less than 10% would reach its beneficiaries. But obviously we don’t know how much of the detail Gaga herself is aware of, so watch this space and click here to read the story on the NME site.
Madonna will soon feature in a comic in the US. It will be in Bluewater Productions ‘Female Force’ series of comics. It’s hardly Batman or the Fantastic Four is it? Even more so when you consider that some of the other women to have featured to date are; Michelle Obama, Sarah Palin and Margaret Thatcher. I suppose that the latter two could almost pass as super villains though. Even though I have a large collection of comics I think it’s highly unlikely that I’ll be buying the Amazing Adventures Of Madge.
To coincide with the release of the new Muppets movie later this year a number of rock acts have recorded cover versions of many Muppet numbers. Amy Lee off of Evanescence has recorded one of my favourite Muppet songs, “Halfway Down The Stairs” originally sung by Kermit’s nephew Robin. Weezer and Hayley Williams off of Paramore have covered “Rainbow Connection”. Other artists recording songs for the album are; Alkaline Trio, My Morning Jacket, Airborne Toxic Event and OK Go.
It's a tragedy that Gaga has not been allowed to record a Muppet song, especially after she murdered so many of Kermit's relatives to make her dress.
Did you see any of the Glasto coverage? I thought the BBC did a great job with it, although I didn’t see the Wombles anywhere! As for the headliners; I thought U2 were ok, Coldplay were bloody good and Beyoncé was truly amazing. She even managed to cover Eurythmics, Alanis Morrisette, Prince and the Kings Of Leon. despite the rumours that her man Jay Z would join her on stage, he didn’t, but she did a rather interesting duet with Tricky. My main thought as I watched her was how little talent the likes of Cheryl Cole actually have.
I’m loving the new Eminem video for “Space Bound”, what do you think of it? It does contain the usual element of controversy from Mr Mathers. This time gun related. But I really believe the man is on top form.
Gaga just get's everywhere doesn't she?
And finally would you like your girlfriend, wife or partner to wear knickers with a picture of Thom Yorke on them? personally I wouldn’t, but if you’re that way inclined you can actually buy them. Has anyone reading this purchased any of them? Click here to see for yourself.
Dizzee enjoyed dressing as an 18th Century poet whilst promenading with a powerful female. Thatcher hasnt aged well has she?
Hello people, I have some assorted bits of music related news for you in todays post. Some old, some new and some strange. Beginning with Dizzee Rascal, who according to the UK tabloid press has an addiction. But not to drugs, drink, sex or gambling, but to 18th century poets. He is very much into his Wordsworth, Byron, Blake and Keats. Mr Rascal, formerly known as Dylan Mills, is hoping that classical English poetry will have an influence on his next album. Sounds interesting doesn’t it? Read about it here in the soaraway Sun and be careful your phone isn’t tapped!
Simon makes one last appearance on Page Three before he departs for the USA
Most of you probably know that Simon Cowell will be leaving the UK version of X Factor to launch and take part in the US version. It still seems most likely that he will take Cheryl Cole with him, providing the Americans can understand her one assumes. My only wish is that the opportunity is taken to get rid of Louis Walsh. What do you think and also who would your ideal fantasy X Factor judging panel consist of? My vote would be Lily Allen, Keith Richards, Jeremy Paxman and Nick Clegg. The latter choice is largely because there should always be one idiot on the panel and surely he will be out of a job soon won’t he?
Clearly Liam was buzzing about the new Beady Eye Bee Side
You’ve probably all heard of the post Oasis band Beady Eye, which is basically Oasis without Noel. I have listened to their album and it’s not bad, it’s hardly ‘Definitely Maybe’ or ‘Morning Glory’ but it’s ok. Anyway this isn’t a review but a rather strange piece of news about Liam Gallagher. According to a report in the NME (click here to read it) he likes to warm up before he goes on stage by listening to Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy”, let’s pray he doesn’t do a cover version of it! What song do you use to get pumped up before work? For me it’s often “Complete Control” by the Clash or “Do Anything You Wanna Do” by the Rods.
Billie Joe auditions for a part in the new version of Snow White
Tom Hanks is currently preparing to produce a film adaptation of Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’ album. The director is likely to be Michael Mayer who was the director for the ‘American Idiot’ Broadway musical. Could this be this generation’s ‘Tommy’? Only time will tell. Click here to read the NME report. What album would you like to see turned into a film? I would definitely vote for David Bowie’s ‘Diamond Dogs’
And finally how small do you think the world’s smallest working guitar actually is? Well you’re probably wrong. It is in fact no bigger than a human blood cell and obviously impossible to be played in a conventional way. It has to be played by having lasers directed at the strings. Read more about the Nano Guitar in the Guardian by clicking here.
Just over a week to the big day now people, it’s December 17th so let’s open todays door on my UK Christmas Number OnesAdvent Calendar. This one is a little softer than yesterdays. It’s a cover version of the classic Yazoo song “Only You” by the Flying Pickets. It was number one for Christmas 1983 and remained top dog for 5 weeks. The original was written by Vince Clarke while he was still a member of Depeche Mode. He allegedly offered the song to the band when he left and they declined. He then recorded it himself with superb vocalist Alison Moyet aka Alf when he formed Yazoo. The original version went to number 2 in the UK in 1982.
The Flying Pickets version was a cappella. That is nothing to do with Fabio Acappella who might be the England manager but it just means that they recorded the whole thing without instruments. Bloody tight gits! Incidentally they weren’t really tight gits, they were socialists though and in a bizarre twist none other than Margaret Thatcher claimed that the song was one of her favourites. This kind of echoes the current spat between Johnny Marr and David Cameron. Marr with the support of Morrissey has forbidden Cameron from liking any Smiths songs.
Arthur Scargill turns up at the Police gig but struggles to find Sting and the boys!
During the 1984 Miners Strikes the band performed at a number of benefits for striking miners. Their record company Virgin threw a bit of a hissy fit when the band took part in a protest at the Drax Power Station. Some record shops refused to stock anything by the band owing to their support for the miners. Bad move from the record shops if you ask me. Original singer Brian Hibbard went on to appear in Doctor Who and Coronation Street.
Is this country finally waking up? Are the downtrodden finally kicking back? Are those that consider themselves middle class no longer ignoring the obvious? Are our students finally in control of their rebellious gene? Let’s hope so! This week saw more than 50,000 people on the streets of London to protest at the raising of student fees. This follows protests about the schools building programme cuts in July, another anti cuts rally in Sheffield last month and the occupation of an RBS bank last week. OK I know the Daily Mail readers out there will be getting all sanctimonious about the violence and to a large extent I agree. (Yep me agreeing with a Daily Mail opinion, fucking hell am I getting old?) I do not condone violence of any kind and I truly believe that this was caused by just a small minority as is often the case.
With Nick Laurel and Dave Hardy at the wheel we can't go wrong....... can we?
Bear in mind that these protests have all taken place before the coalition cuts have begun to bite, so I think things will get much worse before they get better. Just look at the housing benefit plans, sure a great way of saving money in the short-term, but with private rents rising far quicker than the government are predicting a recipe for disaster. If it goes to plan it will lead to an exodus of people from London as they can no longer afford to live there. Where will that exodus take them? Why probably into all the areas in the country where there will be no jobs! Now that really makes sense doesn’t it? I do not disagree that cuts are needed in expenditure but there are far better ways of doing it. Over a longer period, with more considered plans etc.
Cameron prepares to throw the baby out with the bathwater
As for those of you that aspire to be or consider yourselves to be middle class, get over it! There are two classes in this country; the filthy rich and the rest of us! Just remember that the current cabinet contains 18 millionaires among its members. These are the people who believe they are leading the country, a mistake which many politicians make (Thatcher, Blair and more). They do not lead us, they serve us and it would be wise of them to remember this.
Clearly this picture proves that Nick Clegg has been David Cameron's ventriloquist dummy all along
I do not believe that this government will see out its full term and therefore we will have the opportunity to voice our opinions through the ballot box again. When the time comes do not bow to apathy, get off your arse and vote. Let’s show the politicians whose country this really is. Anyway, rant over and let me get back to the music. Obviously I have chosen some appropriate stuff for you!
“White Riot” – The Clash. The song is not about race war as many pundits suggested at the time. According to Joe Strummer it is in fact a call to arms of the white youth of Britain to riot against things that were oppressing them in the same way that black youth in the 70s did.
“Let’s Start A Riot” – Three Days Grace. These guys are an Alternative Canadian band who released their 3rd album, ‘Life Starts Here’ last year.
“Panic” – The Smiths This Morrissey/ Marr composition is not really about social unrest, it’s actually about the poor state of pop music at the time. But frankly it still fits on both levels. It was the first Smiths single to feature new member Craig Gannon.
“Walls Come Tumbling Down” – Style Council This is a superb attack on those that govern and I love it. Weller often gets criticised for the Style Council, but I think they were far better than the press thought they were. This song reached number 7 in the UK charts.
“Another Brick In The Wall” – Roger Waters The Wall album is seen by many as close to being Roger Waters solo album. This video is from his current tour playing The Wall in its entirety.
“Going Underground” – The Jam. This song did not feature on any of the bands studio albums although it has been on most Jam compilations. I almost took the title for this post from the song. The couplet, “their lies let you down and their promises rust” would have worked well. This went straight into the UK charts at number 1.
“I Predict A Riot” – Kaiser Chiefs Formed in Leeds in 1997 the band took their name from a South African football team; the Kaizer Chiefs. The band are Leeds United supporters and former Leeds player Lucas Radebe used to play for the Kaizer Chiefs.
“Fight The Power” – Isley Brothers. Written by Ernie Isley this is a really funky protest song. Public Enemy were inspired by it a few years later.
“You Haven’t Done Nothing” – Stevie Wonder This clip appears to be taken from the Andy Williams show. It’s an excellent piece of protest from Mr Wonder. Did you know that the backing vocals on the original studio version were recorded by Motown stablemates at the time, the Jackson 5.
I do worry sometimes that Jedward may be a little more intelligent than Nivid or Dick
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?