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 10 – Andy Warhol December 22, 2017


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This is the 12 days to Christmas countdown with a series of twelve posts that I confess are not particularly Christmas related. More an opportunity to fill a stocking with plenty of songs about famous people from history. Today is day 10, so only two more to go after this. Day 10 is the turn of Andy Warhol to be represented in song. His real name was Andrew Warhola and he was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on 6th August 1928. He died in February 1987, wow where did that 30 years go? In the 1950s Warhol worked as a shoe designer and became a very early adopted of the silk screen process for printmaking. Many of his subjects were American icons, either people or things; Campbell’s Soup Can, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and the mushroom cloud, which technically is a kind of icon of America right? Andy Warhol was gay but in a 1980 interview he suggested that he was still a virgin. A 52 year old virgin? Wow! Many of you who read this blog may well have some Warhol art in your homes. Do you have a copy of the first Velvet Underground album, or the Rolling Stones ‘Sticky Fingers’? well he designed both of those.

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So on to the Song about this iconic and talented artist and it is actually performed by someone many also see as a talented and iconic artist, David Bowie. Come on you didn’t think I would miss the opportunity for some Bowie did you? The song is “Andy Warhol” from Bowie’s 1971 album ‘Hunky Dory’. Bowie met Warhol a few times, apparently the first time was a strange encounter with not much being said other than Warhol remarking on Bowie’s bright yellow shoes. Later, in 1996 David Bowie played Warhol in the film ‘Basquiat’ using some of the artists clothes and wigs. ‘Hunky Dory’ peaked at number three in the UK album chart in 1972. “Andy Warhol” was never released as a single, only “Changes” and “Life On Mars” were issued a singles from that album. Although the track in question did make it to the B- Side of the 1972 single release of “Changes”. Bowie originally wrote the song for his friend, lover and protege Dana Gillespie. But her version didn’t see the light of day until 1973. Interestingly Mick Ronson played guitar on both versions. There are four versions of the song for you to feast your ears on below.

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Bowie as Warhol

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Warhol with a fir tree, now this is a Christmas post……. right?

 

“I’m a space invader” November 16, 2016

Filed under: Trivia — justwilliam1959 @ 2:06 am
Tags: , ,

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It is a little while since I have posted about the Dame so I thought that I would now. Bowie used to draw out the shape of the guitar solos that he wanted the very sadly departed Mick Ronson to play. He said in the sleeve notes to the 2002 reissue of ‘Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’ that the guitar solo in “Moonage Daydream” ‘started as a flat line that became a fat megaphone-type shape, and ended as sprays of disassociated and broken lines. “Moonage Daydream” also made it to number 24 in Classic Rock’s 100 Greatest Guitar Solos.

 

Ian Hunter and the Rant Band – Sheffield City Hall Ballroom – Thursday 2nd October 2014 October 5, 2014


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On Thursday I went to see the magnificent Ian Hunter and the superb Rant Band play in Sheffield. This was my second Hunter show in two years, I previously saw him in Harrogate in 2012. The support band was the stunning blues rock outfit Federal Charm from Manchester. They are a very tight unit musically and their lead singer Nick Bowden has shades of a young Paul Rodgers in his singing. I bought their album at the gig and it is a great set for listening to when driving or probably many other activities too. You should check them out. Click here for their Facebook page.

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On to the main man though. Mr Hunter was on top form as expected and the Rant Band are just bloody good as always. It looked like Ian and the band were really enjoying themselves on stage too. It was an excellent set with the highlights for me being the old Mott songs “All The Way From Memphis” and “All The Young Dudes” both of which probably had everyone in the crowd singing along. I certainly was. But my favourite two songs of the evening were “When I’m President” which works better live than it does in it’s recorded form, probably because it is such a great song. The other was the poignant “Michael Picasso” which was originally released as a part of Hunter’s ‘Artful Dodger’ album in 1996. It is a heartfelt tribute to the late, great Mick Ronson. I must admit that the lyrics often bring tears to my eyes, as they did on Thursday.

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Sadly the UK part of the tour is over now, but I urge you to go and see Ian and the band the next time they tour. You will not be disappointed. There are still plenty of dates left rolling into January. These are in Scandinavia, Japan and the USA. His merchandise stand was selling a ‘Live In The UK 2010′ CD which showcases just how good the band are in live performance. So while you’re waiting for that next tour get your hands on a copy of that CD. I have one final question how can Mr Hunter look so fit and young into his 70s? I need that secret! For another great review of Ian Hunter on this tour go to the backseatmafia blog who was at the Holmfirth show. I should add that none of the videos or pictures or videos on this post were taken by me and in fact none are from the Sheffield gig.

 

“I watched it for a little while I love to watch things on TV” October 27, 2013


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I am sure that many of you have now heard of the sad passing of music icon Lou Reed aged 71. The Associated Press have said that he died of a ‘liver related ailment’ following a liver transplant earlier this year. Two of my favourite albums of all time are Lou Reed related. Firstly ‘The Velvet Underground And Nico‘ and the classic solo album ‘Transformer‘ from 1972.

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Being a Bowie fan I came across Lou Reed after Mr Bowie mentioned him often in interviews and then went on to produce ‘Transformer’ along with Mick Ronson. Lou has always in my opinion been very much his own man and often refused to play the music industry game. Personally I think he should be commended for that.

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Brian Eno once said ‘The first Velvet Underground album only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band’ to try to describe the wide influence that Lou Reed had on many fellow musicians. My thoughts go to Lou’s wife Laurie Anderson, his family, friends and fans. RIP Lou Reed you will be greatly missed.

 

“For here am I sitting in a tin can” September 13, 2012


I still have heroes, do you? You might have guessed that David Bowie is one of mine and so is Neil Armstrong. Both men were in the news for very different reasons recently. Firstly there was the sad death of Neil Armstrong a true pioneer. Secondly the supposedly retired Mr Bowie has opened his archives to the Victoria & Albert museum in London for a massive exhibition of costumes, set designs, lyrics and many other delights next year. Click here to read the Bowie story.

I know I am a bit late posting about Neil Armstrong but a public memorial service has just been held to honour him in Washington. Click here to read about it on the BBC website. He is a man who I am sure will be remembered in thousands of years as the first human ever to walk on a body that wasn’t earth. Coincidentally he served as a pilot in the US Air Force in Korea in the early 1950s. Which was exactly the same time another of my heroes, my Dad saw active service there in the Royal Navy on board the HMS Belfast. Neil Armstrong RIP.

For this post I thought I’d choose a few space related Bowie songs and one that was produced by him for Lou Reed.

 

“Oh man! Wonder if he’ll ever know he’s in the best selling show” January 8, 2012


It’s January 8th 2012 which means that David Robert Jones is now a pensioner; yes, Mr Bowie is officially an old bloke aged 65. I have made many posts about David Bowie since I started this blog and indeed I have posted on his birthday before as well. So what can I say that I haven’t said before about the Dame? Well how about some trivia about him that you may or may not have heard?

He left school with just one GCE O Level, which means that I left school with twice as many O Levels as he did. The lack of even minor academic qualifications hasn’t held him back though has it?

It is widely known that he shares a birthday with Elvis Presley who was born 12 years before Bowie in 1935. But did you know that he shares that birthday with a number of other music stars as well?

On top of that it is also the same date that the new North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un was born in either 1983 or 1984 and Stephen Hawking in 1942.

I am in the middle of reading Peter Doggett’s book ‘The Man Who Sold The World – David Bowie And The 1970s’ which is a journey through the 70s song by song of everything Mr Bowie recorded. Parts of it are a little too muso for me, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an excellent book. I have learnt some new things about Bowie, which is really something for a moderately obsessive fan! Did you know that Bowie had wanted Phil Spector to produce the ‘Aladdin Sane‘ album? I certainly didn’t, but it would have been a fascinating mix of styles. That album sold less than half of the nearly 11 million sales achieved by the ‘Lets Dance’ album in 1983.

It would be fair to say that “Rebel Rebel” from the ‘Diamond Dogs’ album is a brilliant pastiche of the Rolling Stones. Did you know that Bowie also provided backing vocals and hand-claps on the Stones hit “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll” from 1974? Live Aid in 1985 prompted Bowie and Mick Jagger to record together again with a cover of Martha and the Vandellas “Dancing In The Street”. Not the best cover version in the world in my opinion. In a survey by the PRS last year it was voted as the song that most people would play at street parties to celebrate last years Will and Kate Royal nuptials.

As well as being a musician David has always been a music fan as well and has often championed some of his favourite acts. Back in the early 70s he heard that Mott The Hoople were about to break up so he got in touch and offered them a song to persuade them to stay together. The band went on to have a massive hit with Bowie’s “All The Young Dudes” but did you know that the first song he offered them was “Suffragette City”? They turned it down saying that it didn’t really suit them. Bowie went on to produce Mott’s ‘All The Young Dudes’ album with Mick Ronson. In 1975 Ronson became a member of the band for a short while and recorded what became their farewell single “Saturday Gigs” with them.

So that’s enough of my drivel and it just remains for me to wish David Bowie a fantastic 65th birthday and to share with you the most played Bowie tracks on Spotify in descending order;

 

“New York’s a go-go and everything tastes nice” December 21, 2011


Regular readers and Bowie fans who have found their way here by accident will know that footage of Mr Bowie performing “The Jean Genie” on Top Of The Pops in 1973 has recently been unearthed. I posted about it on December 13th, just click here to read that one.

Anyway, first reports said that the BBC would air the film on BBC4 next year. Then last week some news reports suggested that it would be shown today at 19.30 UK time on BBC4. Then on Monday it was confirmed that it would be included in the Top Of The Pops 2 Christmas special broadcast at 19.30 on BBC2 earlier today.

I’m pleased to say that the song appeared reasonably early in the 90 minute show and it was superb. It was recorded live in the BBC studios on January 3rd 1973 and broadcast the following day. Bowie was backed by the Spiders; Mick ‘Woody’ Woodmansey, Trevor Bolder and the late great Mick Ronson. Bowie wore something far less loud than you might expect for the period; a very glam era jacket and trousers combo. Ronson had the jump suit and Bolder had those amazingly ridiculous sideburns. Mr Bowie also showed his prowess on the harmonica, even throwing in a short burst from a Beatles tune. Was it “Love Me Do“. It’s amazing that this is almost 39 years to the day that the single entered the UK charts. It went on to become his biggest hit up to that point when it peaked at number 2.

Bowie was sporting the classic Ziggy cut, the only time a slightly mullet style has ever been cool in my opinion. Was this the last TV appearance by the Spiders? Does anyone know? Bear in mind that this was just a few months away from the famous Hammersmith Odeon gig ‘retired’ and broke up the band. I’d love to hear what you thought of the clip and hopefully if you’re not in the UK you won’t have too long to wait. In the meantime click here to hear an interview with cameraman John Henshall (apologies for saying that he was retired in my earlier post about this story, apparently he isn’t) on BBC Radio Oxford and the audio of “The Jean Genie” from that show.

 

“Talking ’bout Monroe and walking on Snow White” December 13, 2011


You may have heard recently that two of the 108 lost Doctor Who episodes have now been discovered, featuring William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton respectively. Well did you know that a former TV cameraman from Oxfordshire has discovered a very rare clip of David Bowie performing “The Jean Genie” on the BBCs Top Of The Pops?

John Henshall was the cameraman when Bowie and the Spiders recorded the clip on January 3rd 1973. It was broadcast the following day and hasn’t been seen since. Henshall had kept a copy because he had used a number of new techniques and some new equipment during the shoot. Notably the fish eye lens. Click here to read the story on the BBC.

The film will now be shown in full on BBC4 next year. Along with many other Bowie fans I am a little excited by this news. Enjoy this clip of the song taken from the 1973 US TV Special ‘The 1980 Floor Show’ while you wait for that elusive Top Of The Pops footage to air next year.

 

“I was walking through the park looking for strangers” February 23, 2011


There was an excellent science story in the news this week, not only that but it gives me an opportunity to bring you a couple of my favourite songs! It’s about a dinosaur, the story not the songs! The remains of the beast, in fossil form obviously, were found in a quarry in Utah. It’s been name Brontomerus from the Greek words Bronto which means thunder and Merus which means thighs. Yes this animal will now forever be known as Thunder Thighs. It has been blessed with that name because it would appear that it probably had the most powerful legs in the whole dinosaur community.

Just a brief note to any chubby chasers who have arrived here whilst searching for the object of their carnal desire, you’re in the wrong place fellas! You need to go elsewhere to sate your appetites! You can read about it on the BBC by clicking here. So how does this allow me to bring you one of my favourite songs? well back in the 70s there was a trio of female singers who all possessed quite a few curves and they too were known as Thunderthighs. Their parents named them Karen Friedman, Dari Lalou and Casey Synge.

You may not realise it but they appeared on some classic songs in the 70s. noticeably two of my favourite songs; “Roll Away The Stone” from Mott The Hoople and also “Walk On The Wild Side” by Lou Reed. They provide the “sha la la la push push” refrain for the Hoople and the “do do do, do do, do do do” vocal for Mr Reed. The spoken bridge on “Roll Away The Stone” however was not provided by one of th Thunderthighs girls, but by Lynsey De Paul. She also wrote Thunderthighs first single in their own right “Central Park Arrest” which reached number 30 in the UK charts in 1974. Of course being a big fan of David Robert Jones I should add of course that the Lou Reed song was produced by none other than Bowie and Ronson!

So without further ado go ahead and immerse yourself in some prime tasty 70s cuts!

Incidentally if you are a chubby chaser who has stayed the course and reached the end of this post just click here and you will be rewarded. However I would strongly advise non chubby chasers to steer well clear of this link!

 

“They take some brain away, then turn my face around” January 8, 2011


Bowie was an early adopter of the guitar string floss method

OK perhaps a tad late, but it is still just about 8th January where I am. Anyway I would like you all to join me in a quick chorus of Happy Birthday for David Robert Jones, better known as David Bowie to most of you and possibly even the Dame to longstanding NME readers. I became a Bowie fan in September 1972 after that now legendary performance of “Starman” on Top Of The Pops. Many, many people had their Bowie epiphany from this performance, understandably too, it was otherworldly and alien. Even now it is quite a striking performance, especially subtle touches, like Bowie draping his arm around Mick Ronson‘s shoulders. It might all seem quite innocuous and tame nowadays, but in 1972 it was so very far out there.

That performance was shown on a Thursday night and two days later I raided my piggy bank and purchased four Bowie albums on cassette; “Space Oddity”, “The Man Who Sold The World“, “Hunky Dory” and “The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars“. After about 18 months I had worn them all out! I first saw Bowie in 1976 and have now seen him 8 times in total, although if the rumours are to be believed we may never see him in concert again. However if you’re reading this David, can we at least have another album or two?

I have another piece of very slightly related Bowie news. My good friend Nick Horslen appeared on BBC Radio Berkshire earlier this week to do an interview about his life as a business coach, small business supporter, charity volunteer and many other things. He chose a few songs to play during his slot, notably Mr Bowie’s “Heroes” alongside “Harvest For The World” from the Isley Brothers and “We Can Work It Out” by the Beatles. He interviewed really well and I would also like to thank him for the excellent shout he gave this very blog. You can still hear the interview on the BBC iPlayer for a few days at least. Click here for the link and wind it forward to around 2 hours and 4 minutes and you’ll be able to listen to Nick’s interview on BBC Radio Berkshire’s Phil Gayle Show.

Now take some time out to enjoy a couple of Bowie classics and a couple that don’t get played much. Happy 64th birthday Mr Jones!

 

 
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