With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“Lonely This Christmas” – The Kecks December 5, 2021

Filed under: Christmas,Review — justwilliam1959 @ 11:26 pm
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The Kecks are back to wish you a rad Christmas with their take on the Mud classic “Lonely This Christmas”, a Christmas number one in the UK in 1974. This is probably one of my favourite Christmas songs and the Kecks are faithful to the original while adding the stamp of their dirty garage rock ‘n’ roll. Good songs never die do they and the Kecks keep this one alive really well in their inimitable style. Les Gray and yes Elvis too would be proud of those Kecks lads! This is my first Christmas post of 2021, there will be more!

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“All I own is just a picture in a broken frame” February 5, 2017


That marvellous 70s pop band Mud were once known as the Mourners and to promote themselves in the most ghoulish and appropriate way they could the band even had black business cards printed that carried the phrase ‘we’re dead with it’. Actually I kind of like the name the Mourners, but I guess Mud sticks, right?




“And the only things I see are emptiness and loneliness and an unlit Christmas tree” Blog Advent Calendar Day 13 December 13, 2014


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’.

mud (1)

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.



“Well you know you’re the dance hall cutie that you love to be” February 10, 2013

Filed under: Trivia — justwilliam1959 @ 11:43 pm
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Did you know that the Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman penned “Tiger Feet” was originally offered to the Sweet? Those famous ‘navvies in drag’ turned it down apparently saying it was rubbish. Given the more heavy rock direction the band took after their UK number 2 “Teenage Rampage” it was not surprising with hindsight. But I can’t really imagine that a version by the Sweet would have sounded much different to Mud‘s. What do you think?


The song was Mud’s biggest seller and in fact sold more copies that any other UK single in 1974. It was the first of their three UK number ones and the first of five UK top ten hits for them in 1974. So go ahead and enjoy yourself with a couple of fine slices of British Glam Pop from the 70s.


“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!


“You’re delicious and if my wishes can all come true” January 23, 2011

Have you seen the news about the newly discovered species of big cat? The Sunda Clouded Leopard was only discovered in 2007, it was thought to be the same as other clouded leopards. But now scientists have found out that there are two quite distinct types of Sunda one living in Sumatra and the other in Borneo. It is thought that the two species separated a million years ago. They are genetically different after being based on islands all that time. I bet that must have confused the hell out of Noah, how many Sunda Cloud Leopards made it on to the Ark anyway? Frankly if there are supposedly 5 million or so species, give or take a Sunda, then the Ark must have been one enormous boat! Click here to read the story on BBC Earth News.

Anyway this is a music blog and this story gives me an opportunity to hit you with some cat related songs;

“What’s New Pussy Cat?” – Tom Jones. This song was composed by Burt Bacharach and Hal David and was the theme tune of the film of the same name starring Peter Sellers. It has featured a couple of times in the Simpsons, notably in an episode where Marge worked at the Nuclear Power Station and requested that Tom Jones’ music was played over the tannoy.

“Cool For Cats” – Squeeze. This is one of just two singles from the band that had a lead vocal from Chris Difford, it was usually Glenn Tilbrook. It reached number 2 in the UK charts in 1979.

“Honky Cat” – Elton John. This song was taken from Elton’s 1972 album ‘Honky Chateau‘ It features no guitar, but it does feature Elton’s regular 70s guitarist Davey Johnstone. He played banjo on this track.

“The Cat Crept In” – Mud. This was the follow-up to another cat related song from Mud; “Tiger Feet” which reached number 1 in the UK in 1974. “The Cat Crept In” just failed to match that performance later in 1974, peaking at number 2.

“Stray Cat Strut” – Stray Cats. This song reached number 11 in the UK in 1981. Singer Brian Setzer went on to even greater things with his Brian Setzer Orchestra.


“Does your granny always tell ya that the old songs are the best” December 25, 2010

Happy Christmas everyone and thank you so very much for reading my blog, especially for those of you who have hung in their for all of my UK Christmas Number Ones Advent Calendar posts. With today being December 25th that as they say is that. But I am signing off the Advent Calendar with a real Christmas classic. It still gets played regularly these days as well. It’s from 1973 and it’s Slade with “Merry Xmas Everybody”. It was number one for 5 weeks in 1973/1974.

It was the bands 6th and final UK number one, following “Coz I Luv You” (1971), “Take Me Bak ‘Ome” (1972), “Mama Weer All Crazee Now” (1972), “Cum On Feel The Noize” (1973) and “Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me” (1973). The song was the third of Slade’s UK number ones to enter the charts at the top. Noddy Holder expressed amused surprise when the song remained at number one until mid January asking “who is still buying a Christmas single after Christmas?”

All very amusing indeed, but Rudolph would like his nose back!

Unlike contemporaries like Mud and the Sweet Noddy and the boys wrote their own songs and this one was written by Noddy Holder and Jim Lea. In 2007 “Merry Xmas Everybody” was voted the UKs favourite Christmas song. The song was recorded at the Record Plant in New York during a small summer US tour for the band. Apparently it was a very hot day in an August heat wave. The echo sound you can hear on the chorus was achieved by recording it in the studio corridor.

So that’s it for this years Advent Calendar, any ideas or suggestions for next years advent calendar theme would be welcomed. In the meantime I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas and a fabulous New Year.


“My tears could melt the snow” December 24, 2010

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’sOh 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.


“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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