With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music reviews, gig reviews, fun trivia and extra added random stuff!

“Robin Hood and William Tell And Ivanhoe and Lancelot” Blog Advent Calendar Day 5 December 5, 2014


December 5th has arrived and it’s therefore day 5 of this years advent blog posts. As you know this years theme is the ABC of British bands, which means today we arrive at the fifth letter of the alphabet; ‘E’. My choice for today is the Electric Light Orchestra a.k.a ELO. The band was initially an offshoot of the Move and they set out to combine orchestral sounds with rock music. It may well have been Roy Wood‘s idea but he left early on to form Wizzard. Meanwhile Jeff Lynne made ELO into a world straddling colossus.


The band’s first UK hit was “10538 Overture“. The song was originally a b-side for the Move. Wood, Lynne and Bev Bevan (also off of the Move) added orchestral strings to it. After John Lennon heard one of my favourite ELO songs, “Showdown” he began referring to them as Beatles Junior. The band had number one singles across the world; and “Turn To Stone” and “Shine A Little Love” were number one in Canada and “Living Thing” topped the charts in South Africa. Sadly, in my opinion at least, there only UK number one was the rather dreadful “Xanadu” which also featured Olivia Newton John. That song was also a number one in the Netherlands, Germany and Ireland. The band had 15 UK top ten hits in the UK between 1972 and 1981. This was only bettered by their eighteen top ten hits in France from 1972 to 1986.


So now it’s time for you to enjoy a selection of ELO songs, apologies but I have not included the aforementioned “Xanadu”.



“And you know I’m so wired up I don’t need any more tea in my cup” July 30, 2012

This post is my 501st, so I thought to myself what can I do to celebrate such a milestone? Actually the 500th post would have been a better one to celebrate but I missed that with all the excitement of the Olympics clouding my view. So is the number 501 meaningful in any way? well yes it is; it’s the score that most darts matches count down from. So does that help me come up with a theme for a celebratory 501st post on this blog? A darts theme on a music blog? Is it possible? Can it be done? Will this idiot stop rambling and get on with it? Well indeed I will. Welcome to my special darts themed post to celebrate issue 501! Let me add that when I say darts-themed I do mean that in the loosest sense possible!

So I thought I’d choose three darts related songs, one to represent each of three darts used in every turn at the oche. With the first dart I have hit, rather obviously, Darts the group. This band had quite a bit of chart action in the late 70s. They had a run of seven consecutive UK top 20 hits from 1977 to 1979. This included three that stalled at number two, sadly this meant they never reached the top spot. Those nearly number ones were; “Come Back My Love”, “The Boy From New York City” and “It’s Raining”, all from 1977. Their cover of the classic “Duke Of Earl” was produced by none other than Roy Wood off of the Move, Electric Light Orchestra and Wizzard. Another glam period connection is that Rob Davis the guitarist from Mud was briefly a Dart. That was before he went on to reach amazing heights as a songwriter including song such as Kylie’s “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”. The song I have chosen from Darts is one that also sums up summer so far in the UK this year; “It’s Raining”

For my second dart I am selecting Franz Ferdinand, the band as opposed to the famous Archduke. Their first single was released in 2003 and was called “Darts Of Pleasure“. Interestingly it was released on the Domino label, another popular pub game. Alex Kapranos of the band has said in interviews that the song is actually about seduction and that the darts of pleasure that hit you are in fact words. It was written by Kapranos and band colleague Nick McCarthy. The single peaked at number 44 in the UK charts in 2003. however their follow-up, the festival friendly “Take Me Out” was a smash. It was their biggest UK hit reaching the heady heights of number three. It also made the top twenty in Canada, Ireland and New Zealand, along with a creditable number 66 on the US Billboard chart. So now you can enjoy “Darts Of Pleasure”

For my last dart I had no other option in my opinion other than Dexys Midnight Runners. In 1982 the band released a cover version of Van Morrison’s song in praise of the late, great Jackie Wilson; “Jackie Wilson Said” (I’m In Heaven When You Smile)” The song reached number 5 in the UK charts, Morrison’s version was never a hit in the UK but did make the US top 75. Dexys played the song on the BBC’s Top Of The Pops show in 1982 and the screen behind them displayed a picture of darts player Jocky Wilson rather than supreme soul singer Jackie Wilson. For many years it was thought that this was a cock-up on the part of the Top Of The Pops production team. However Kevin Rowland has subsequently revealed that it was the band who asked for a picture of Jocky Wilson. Apparently they often referred to the song as Jocky and if this is true it just goes to prove that underneath that supposedly serious demeanour Mr Rowland has a damned good sense of humour! So here is my final dart, hitting a double top to win with a classic from Dexys!


“I just can’t believe you could forget me , after all those happy hours we spent together” June 1, 2010

BBC Radio 2 recently ran a countdown of the top 60 best-selling songs of the 60s in the UK. Presented by Tony Blackburn who was the first person ever to appear on BBC Radio 1 back in September 1967. Without knowing the results I think many of us would have guessed that the Beatles would have figured quite prominently and they did, with 5 songs in the top 10 and 18 in the top 60. While the Rolling Stones could only muster 5 entries and none of those made the top 30. The first record Blackburn ever played on Radio 1; “Flowers In The Rain” by the Move didn’t make the cut. There was also sadly no room for any Motown songs either.

But the biggest surprise for me was who made it to number three, beaten only by the Beatles, it was Ken Dodd. His 1965 UK number 1 “Tears” was amazingly the 3rd best-selling single of the 60s in the UK. I must admit that I was guilty of helping the song a little bit by buying a copy as a present for my Nan, she loved the song.

Ken, like the Beatles, was a scouser, which means that Liverpool provided the whole top 5. Unlike their football clubs who were barely in sniffing distance of the top 5 this year in the Premier League!

Ken had never seen so many queens in one room before!

Here is the top 10 (so much for all that ground breaking 60s rock!);

1. She Loves You – The Beatles
2. I Want To Hold Your Hand – The Beatles
3. Tears – Ken Dodd
4. Can’t Buy Me Love – The Beatles
5. I Feel Fine – The Beatles
6. The Carnival Is Over – The Seekers
7. We Can Work It Out/Day Tripper – The Beatles
8. Release Me – Engelbert Humperdink
9. It’s Now Or Never – Elvis Presley
10. Green Green Grass Of Home – Tom Jones

Check out the BBC news story here and also the Radio 2 site here

Personally I’m looking forward to the top sellers of the 70s now!


“I can’t bear to see the sun go down, casting stormy shadows all around” January 11, 2010

I guess no one missed it, as for every snow flake being unique it's all very well saying it but let me see the proof!

As I trudged through the slush and snow this morning I got to thinking about winter songs. There really aren’t too many of them are there? Especially if you discount all the Christmas and December specific songs and also songs that by default are associated with Christmas such as Winter Wonderland. I also thought that as this is the UK’s coldest winter for 30 years I ought to at least mark it with a post!

So during my break today I thought of five winter songs which you can find below, hopefully these will help you get through the cold and boredom, especially if you are still stuck indoors. I spoke to someone yesterday who hasn’t been able to leave the house since last Tuesday, hello Mum! I’m also damned sure that you can send me many more winter songs too, so that’s your challenge dear readers! No Christmas or December songs though and whilst all mine have Winter in the title that doesn’t have to be the case

Rock And Roll Winter” – Wizzard. This band were formed by the very talented Roy Wood who initially found fame with the Move and went on to form ELO with Jeff Lynne and Bev Bevan, also off of the Move. Wood bailed out in 1972 to form Wizzard just a couple of years before ELO went stratospheric! This song ended up being release in the Spring in the UK owing to some kind of dispute with the label I believe

Winter” – Tori Amos – Ms Amos is a fantastic singer songwriter whose music I really enjoy, although not as much as Kate Bush, someone she is often compared too. She is also a good friend of one of my favourite authors; Neil Gaiman. Tori began composing her own instrumental pieces at the age of just 5

Winter Melody” – Donna Summer I find it a little ironic that one of my favourite songs from someone named Summer is actually about Winter! This song is taken from Donna’s Four Seasons Of Love album released in 1976. It contained just four tracks; Spring Affair, Summer Fever, Autumn Changes and Winter Melody. there is also a reprise of Spring Affair at the end. The album length was just over 30 minutes

Hazy Shade Of Winter” – Simon And Garfunkel – This song was written by Paul Simon and recorded by the duo for their Bookends album released in 1968. The Bangles later covered the song for the soundtrack of the 1987 film Less Than Zero 

It May Be Winter Outside (But In My Heart It’s Spring)” – Love Unlimited – These ladies began by providing backing vocals for the late great Walrus Of Love himself, Mr Barry White. The trio included his wife Glodean James and also his sister-in-law Linda James. This song reached the UK top 20 in 1975

Just to round this post up one casualty of this bad weather has been the cancellation of a number of gigs. My son’s band Steal The Smile were due to play at the FaceBar in Reading last Thursday, but the snow meant that the gig was cancelled. So if you were looking forward to seeing them last week here is a little something for you. Click here and go straight to their MySpace page, do not pass go and do not collect $200, just click and listen to some great songs from an excellent young band. They might not be winter songs but they are bloody good songs!

Swine Flu gets to the 100 Acre Wood


“Woke up one morning half asleep with all my blankets in a heap” March 16, 2009

Hello again people here we are halfway through March, well thereabouts anyway. It’s the 16th so technically it’s slightly over halfway. Anyway enough of that crap let’s get on with the show. Did any of you in the UK get the Sunday Times this week? It came with a free CD of Noel Gallagher’s appearance at the Teenage Cancer Trust Concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, I think it was recorded 2007. It’s an excellent CD with acoustic versions of a number of Oasis songs plus an excellent cover of the Smiths “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” . He is also joined by Paul Weller for a version of the Jam’s “Butterfly Collector” and the Beatles “All You Need Is Love”. Do everything in your power to get hold of this CD it’s bloody good! Here are Paul and Noel with the aforementioned “Butterfly Collector

Noel made Liam promise that he would never try the Superglue on the Tea Cup trick again

Noel made Liam promise that he would never try the Superglue on the Tea Cup trick again

Firstly with just the one birthday for today. It’s the 61st birthday of Michael Bruce, guitarist with the original Alice Cooper Group. When the band broke up in 1974 Michael went on to form a band called the ‘Billion Dollar Babies’ named after an Alice Cooper album, a rather good album in fact. The new band were stuck in a legal row over the use of the name and eventually managed to release just one album, “Battleaxe” in 1977. Michael in fact sang lead vocals on a few tracks on the first Alice Cooper album. Here are the Alice Cooper Group with “Billion Dollar Babies

Alice realised that with the high risk of follow through white was the wrong colour to wear in a curry restaurant

Alice realised that with the high risk of follow through white was the wrong colour to wear in a curry restaurant

To make up for just one birthday there are three ‘onthisdays’ today. Starting in 1969. ‘Popworld 69’ took place on March 16th some 40 years ago today. The artists appearing at the Empire Pool in Wembley (now known as the Wembley Arena) were; Fleetwood Mac, the Move, Amen Corner, Peter Sarstedt, the Tymes, Geno Washington and Harmony Grass. I’ve never heard of the last one, have you? They do have a mention on Wikipedia though,
click here to see it. In the interests of keeping todays post down to the usual length I intend to briefly focus on just one of these acts, the Move.

I have a story which relates to a cover version of the Move’s song “Fire Brigade”. This is one you will never find on the internet or indeed anywhere else. I was in my last year at Primary school and aged just 11. I got together with my four best friends and we decided that we would form a band for the final school assembly. The fact that none of us could play an instrument wasn’t going to stand in our way either! It was 1970 and we had that punk ethos way before anyone else, does that mean history needs to reflect that we indeed invented punk? Somehow I don’t think so. Anyway on the big day after at least three rehearsals we were ready. Deano on vocals, Duffy (not the current female one) on his brothers guitar, Billy D on a very rudimentary drumkit (cake tins mainly!), Terry on Bongoes and me Billy A on tambourine, backing vocals and record player. Yes to beef up our amazing sound we played the 45 of the Move single! I would love to say that we sounded great, to us it felt like it, but the benefit of hindsight and a conversation with my old headmaster a few years later I can confirm that we definitely sounded crap. I would also love to say that all of us went on to glittering musical careers, but we didn’t unless I can count my time as a Mobile DJ? All bookings considered by the way, but unless you’re in reasonable driving distance of York in the UK then the travel charge may be a little prohibitive!

My old school (1965 -1970)

My old school (1965 -1970)

As for the real band they formed in the 60s. Many of their 60’s and early 70s hits were written by Roy Wood, although Carl Wayne was the lead singer on many hits. Jeff Lynne had joined the band by the time they broke up around 1973 and went on to form the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) with Roy Wood. Roy left ELO and went on to record some excellent stuff with Wizzard, but their success was somewhat eclipsed by the levels that Jeff Lynne took ELO. The Move had the honour of having the first single ever to be played on Radio 1 in the UK when it began broadcasting on 30th September 1967. The single which was spun by Tony Blackburn was “Flowers In The Rain”. The song was written by Roy Wood and neither he nor the band have ever received any royalties for it. When it was originally released their management in order to promote it produced a postcard of then UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson in bed with his secretary Marcia Williams. He was alleged to have been having an affair with her. Wilson sued for libel and the band paid all court costs and the royalties for the song went (and indeed still go) to a charity of Wilson’s choice. This has continued even after Wilson’s death. Here are the Move boys with “Flowers In The Rain

The band were longing for the day when the audience members would outnumber the band members

The band were longing for the day when the audience members would outnumber the band members

This day in 1970 was a very sad occasion, it saw the death of the wonderfully talented Tammi Terrell from a brain tumour aged just 24. She was born in Philadelphia as Thomasina Winifred Montgomery. Many of you will remember her for the excellent duets that she recorded with Marvin Gaye. One of the first public signs of her illness was when she collapsed in Marvin’s arms while the two were performing together on October 14th 1967. This was one of the events in Marvin’s life that had a profound effect on him and ultimately led to him recording the landmark album “What’s Going On”. The environmental message of this album still, sadly, rings true today almost 40 years later. It has often been thought that the Jean Terrell who was at one time a member of the Supremes was Tammi’s sister, this is not the case, Jean was the sister of WBA Boxing Champion Ernie Terrell who once fought Cassius Clay. This is Tammi duetting with Marvin on the classic “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” this knocks spots of the Diana Ross version I reckon, how about you?

Tammi Terrell - I think she was gorgeous!

Tammi Terrell - I think she was gorgeous!

And finally on this day in 1973 David Cassidy played the first of six sold out shows at the Empire Pool Wembley. Cassidy first came to prominence as Keith Partridge in the TV sitcom the Partridge Family. His mother was played by Shirley Jones who coincidentally was also his Stepmother in real life. In an attempt to break away from his clean cut image David posed nude for a Rolling Stone Magazine photo shoot by Annie Leibowitz. I liked some of his songs but when he was a teen idol in the early 70s it really wasn’t cool for me to like him 😉 Watch David singing “Rock Me Baby” here.

David thought it had been a good idea to pose nude, but he hadn't really considered where the staples would go.........ouch!

David thought it had been a good idea to pose nude, but he hadn't really considered where the staples would go.........ouch!


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