The Electric Light Orchestra’s 4th album “Eldorado – A Symphony” is officially known as simply Eldorado. Did you know that the cover was designed by one Sharon Arden? She is now more widely known as Sharon Osbourne (Ozzie’s wife and reality show star and judge). I can’t believe that it took much effort to design though as the cover picture is simply a still of the ruby slippers from the 1939 cinematic classic ‘The Wizard of Oz’.
I guess most of you have already heard of the sad passing of the great Andy Williams. I can remember watching his show when I was a kid; he introduced the Osmonds to the world and who from my generation can forget the Cookie Monster? I went through a period in my teens where I told myself I didn’t like Andy Williams’ music because it was classed as Easy Listening and my Mum and Dad liked it. As a teenager, certainly in those days, it was just really uncool to like the music your parents liked, although I did let Elvis through that cool versus uncool sieve.
But as I got older I began to realise just how talented a singer Mr Williams was. He could take a song that was completely identifiable with another artist and make it his own. Notably “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons classic. (I do still love Frankie’s version as well). He could take a song and sing it so well that any cover would pale into insignificance, I’m mostly talking of “Can’t Get Used To Losing You” here. Then of course there is his truly sublime version of the beautiful “Moon River“.
People will say that to leave this mortal coil at 84 is a good innings and maybe it is, compared to many, but Andy Williams will be sadly missed. So my feelings go out to his family, friends and his legions of fans across the world. RIP Andy Williams, you were a true icon.
Those of you that are regular readers of this blog will know that I really don’t like UKtabloid newspapers and I hold a particular disdain for The Daily Mail and the Mail On Sunday. However I was watching a review of the papers on TV this morning and a wonderful Mail On Sunday story was referred to.
It concerns the senior German NATO official who had a bit of a fling with Russian spy Katia Zatuliveter. The paper has been banned from revealing his name. All they are able to print is that he is a 56-year-old grandfather and a picture of him dressed as a banana.
Zatuliveter is also alleged to have had an affair with a Liberal DemocratMP; Mike Hancock. Is this not a brilliant story? A German NATO official gets it on with a young blonde Russian spy and he wears a Banana costume. Who would have Geest it! Could it be more fruity? read the Mail coverage by clicking here. As usual let me get back to music, here are three banana related songs to honour this hapless German bloke!
I took the opportunity to visit Fibbers in York on Friday night for an excellent gig organised as a benefit for York Hospital Radio by a young man who I think will go a long way and be very succesful in band management and music promotion. His name is Simon Pattinson, this is the third gig organised him that I have attended and frankly he has a great record in getting hold of some terrific bands and tonight was no exception. So when you hear him described as the new Harvey Goldsmith, remember where you read it first!
First band up was The Deep State Collective. They had to limit themselves to a relatively hastily arranged acoustic set after their guitarist had to pull out due to illness. I heard a whisper that the singer wasn’t feeling too good either. If the latter was true then this dude is a real trouper! Their set was pretty accomplished and they clearly have some good songs. Jules and Chris, I thought you did an excellent job, I really enjoyed your set. As for the litmus test, well I would definitely go and see this band again. Check them out if you get a chance!
Deep State Collective
I was joined at the gig by another friend of mine; big shout to another Simon and his lovely wife Marie. Hello Mr & Mrs Hernaman. They missed the first band but arrived in plenty of time for IO who were next on stage. This was apparently their first live gig, which is kind of hard to believe given how well they played. The singer is Ollie Webb formerly of Swimwear Juniors and the drummer is Sam Ford once of the band One Night Only. Sam is a truly wonderful drummer, like Keith Moon spliced genetically with Animal from the Muppets and I mean that in a really good way. The band was really tight and seemed bloody well rehearsed. The singer was also a rather spiffing percussionist too. Do they sound like anyone else? Possibly, Simon H reckoned he detected an element of Echo & the Bunnymen. We also agreed that they would be a great draw at Freshers week in any University town in the country. I hope these guys go on to bigger things and personally I believe they will.
It was a tough choice but I think the next band just shaded it from the headliners as my favourite band of the night. They were a York based band known as Stone Ugly. This female fronted quartet know a lot about stagecraft, production values and image. They built their entrance up with a piece of the Willy Wonka movie (starring Gene Wilder) and some dry ice (or maybe a smoke machine). The whole band also had some fab red stripes running the length of their faces from hairline to chin along the line of their right eye. Pretty damned effective too. In a bizarre twist of fate I was actually drinking Red Stripe beer all night too! What did they sound like? Well for me there was a big helping of Prog Rock served up with a dollop or two of New Wave and Post Punk sounds. I loved their song “Can A Leopard Change It’s Spots” Jenna, the lead singer has a really versatile and powerful rock voice. Does she sound like anyone else? To me maybe Siouxse Sioux, Hazel O’Connor (thanks to Simon H for that one) and possibly Karen O off of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I reckon these guys would go down a storm at Reading and Leeds.
The headliners were Maven Fiction. Their mainman was the lead singer from the Shadracks when I saw them a while back. Maven Fiction’s sound is much less jangly indie pop and much more electronic with a possible heavy influence from Mike Skinner off of the Streets. Regular readers will know that I have long been a big fan of the Streets. The counter vocals from the female vocalist were a brilliant counterpane for the lead vocal of Mr Maven Fiction himself. That can’t be his real name can it? His Mum was also there and there was even a suggestion that she might do a Pans People, sadly she didn’t! Back to the music though, I really like this new direction and I rushed to buy the CD they were selling at the end. An E.P. for just £1, that’s a real bargain. It’s bloody good too, it’ll be on my iPod very soon. The band was joined briefly by Jenna off of Stone Ugly on tambourine.Mr Fiction also has some has some real balls; he finished his set by stepping out into the audience with just an acoustic guitar. He didn’t only sing bloody well but he even got us all singing along. They have a few gigs lined up in New York. Good luck with those shows guys and I’ll be back to see you again some time I’m sure.
All in all an excellent night, just a pity too many of you didn’t make it. You’d better be there next time, because we know where you live! 😉
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.
I have a small selection of oddities for you in this post. Starting with the Arctic Monkeys, no I’m not suggesting that the Monkeys are oddities, but a funny little story about what rude boys they are! Apparently their new album will suffer the indignity of having a sticker placed over its title when it goes on sale in a large US supermarket chain. Not because it has nudity, pornography, swearing or anything like that on the cover, but because the title is said to be very suggestive. I don’t agree at all. So what is that offending title? Why it’s a phrase I have often used myself. It’s ‘Suck It And See’ Now I can hear all of you with an honours degree in double entendre sniggering, but frankly what’s the point in stickering (stop sniggering again ok) that? I thought it was pretty stupid when a pretty tasteful naked girl on the cover of the first Darkness album was covered with a sticker in US supermarkets. But the funniest for me was that the todgers on the classic statues on the cover of the Dame’s second Tin Machine album were removed for the US supermarkets. What a pathetic bunch of arseholes! Tipper Gore this is your legacy!
Liam shows just how much he enjoys lay lady lay by laying down
Now for some Gallagher brother news. It would appear that Liam Gallagher is not a big fan of Robert Zimmerman aka Bob Dylan. Liam likes Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay” but thinks that Bob is a ‘bit of a miserable c*nt’. He also has a dig at 60s and 70s bands that reform to rake in festival money with greatest hits sets. read what he had to say by clicking here for the NME site. In another piece of Gallagher news it appears that Noel and Liam’s Mum is ready to bang their heads together. She says that the only way she expects Liam to miss Noel’s forthcoming nuptials is if both his legs are broken. If I were Liam I’d be afraid, I’d be very afraid. Read about that in the NME as well by clicking here.
So tell us Gaga, how many Muppets were harmed or killed in the making of this outfit?
It appears that Amazon have had one of the biggest loss leader products in recent years. They have been charging just 99 cents for the download of the new Lady Gaga album ‘Born This Way’, but they have been paying her record label 9 dollars per album downloaded! It is estimated that in about a week they have lost around 3 million dollars. Now is that just pure waste or some kind of reverse greed? Click here to read the story.
And finally, Catwoman and I went to see the new Marvel movie Friday evening; ‘X Men: First Class‘ I won’t be doing a full review as it’s not really a music related movie. But it is an excellent film and for me one of the best Marvel adaptations so far, go and see it if you get the chance. But there is a small music link as the song that is played over the closing credits is the new Take That single “Love Love”. In spite of the fact that Robbie is involved and regular readers will know I really don’t like his stuff, I sadly really like this song. Do I need therapy?
A random selection of news is heading your way in this post. Starting with the sad news that Don Van Vliet also known as Captain Beefheart has died aged 69 from complications brought about by multiple sclerosis. Read the BBC report here. It would be fair to say that he wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s hard to deny his influence and innovation. It took me a while as a teenager but I did get into ‘Trout Mask Replica‘ indeed I now have a CD copy of the album. He was a contemporary of Frank Zappa and Zappa Plays Zappa played “Willie The Pimp” in his honour the night his death was announced.
Lady Gaga possibly not everyone's cup of tea either
At least we know what she did with Santa's beard 😉
I haven’t posted about Lady Gaga for a while so here goes with news on the Lady GG. She is set to appear in the new Muppets movie along with the likes of Dave Grohl off of Nirvana and the Foo Fighters, Jack Black and Ricky Gervais. She has also been named MTV Woman Of The Year for the second year in a row. She also had an Ozzy Osbourne moment at her London O2 show the other night. A stuffed Santa toy was thrown on stage by a fan, she picked it up and made a comment about hating Christmas and then bit the toys head off! I don’t know about you but I love rock and pop stars to be real fruitloops like Lady Gaga. Read the Santa murder story here.
It seems like a long while ago that I posted my first UKChristmas Number Ones Advent Calendar post, but it’s not even three weeks. Today is December 18th which is obviously Day 18. That means that this time next week the jolly, fat, old, bearded bloke with a penchant for bright red suits will have been and apart from a few more days of turkey related meals Christmas will be over. But fear not, that still leaves room for 8 more Advent Calendar posts from me including todays. I can also promise you that there will actually be some Christmas songs coming up in a few days.
Mr Mercury had more royalty than the royal family!
Anyway behind the little perforated door today you will find a song that has been UK Christmas number one on two occasions. It has been at the top for a total of 14 weeks! Firstly in 1975 for 9 weeks and then again in 1991 for 5 weeks. Probably an easy one to guess (especially as the pictures above give it away just a little bit), it’s the magnificent “Bohemian Rhapsody” from Queen. On paper it’s a song that would surely never work. It consists of some ballad, some opera, some heavy rock, a classic guitar solo, great harmonies, some nonsense lyrics and probably the kitchen sink as well. So if it shouldn’t work on paper it sure as hell does work on record. Listening to it again for this post caused me to horripilate (thanks to dictionary.com‘s daily post yesterday for that one, it means to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, well something like that anyway).
I don't believe that there is anyone else who could get away with some of the things Freddie wore on stage. Can you picture Westlife dressed like this? You Can? You need a cold shower and quick!
Whilst it spent a long while at the summit of the UK charts it only reached number 2 in the US and that was after a rerelease tied in with the ‘Wayne’s World’ movie in 1992. It originally went to number 9 in the US in 1976. The song was accompanied by what many consider to be the first ever pop video, some years before the birth of MTV. According to Brian May the band wrote most of their songs in the studio, but he says that this one was all in Freddie’s head beforehand. Mercury had wanted to record what he called a Mock Opera song. I presume this is some punning word play on the Rock Opera concept. When it was first a UK Christmas Number One in 1975 it was like nothing we had heard before. It’s second Christmas Number One appearance however was tinged with sadness as it came shortly after the death of Freddie Mercury in November 1991.
Not many people knew that Freddie actually quite liked pussy..................................................cats!
At just under 6 minutes it is also has one of the longest durations of UK number ones. This is probably the longest of all my Advent Calendar posts this year too, although that really wasn’t planned! The song has been covered by quite a range of acts, including; the Muppets, Pink, Rolf Harris (who also had a UK Christmas Number One himself with “Two Little Boys” in 1969), Flaming Lips and the Cast Of Glee. But the latter bunch cover anything and everything don’t they? You can see and hear all the above mentioned covers below after the original Queen version of the song and a medley of “Bohemian Rhapsody/ Radio GaGa” from their Live Aid set in 1985.
It’s December 1986 and a song that was recorded nearly 30 years before makes it to the top of the chart and also 3 years after it’s singer died. Can you guess what we’ll find when we open the December 11th Cardboard flap on my UK Christmas Number Ones Advent Calendar? It’s the truly stupendous Jackie Wilson with “Reet Petite”. Back in the 70s this was always one of the favourite songs of my mate Glen’s Dad Bill Voisey.
Jackie meets Elvis
Jackie Wilson was a truly gifted vocalist. How can people not be moved by “Your Love Has Lifted Me Higher And Higher” and “I Get The Sweetest Feeling“. In 1985 Wilson was mentioned in the post Lionel Richie Commodores hit “Night Shift” along with the likes of Marvin Gaye. Wilson was mentioned in quite a few songs and in fact “Reet Petite” was given reference in David Bowie’s “Red Money” from the 1979 album ‘The Lodger’. “Reet Petite” was number one for 4 weeks including the Christmas of 1986. Jackie’s cousin was Levi Stubbs Jr off of the Four Tops, probably one of my favourite vocalists of all time and very sadly missed.
The song also made the top slot in Ireland and Holland, enjoy the video below, after some other Jackie Wilson classics
A collection of randomness awaits you in today’s post. Starting with a rather bizarre picture that was sent to me last week. Now obviously I read a lot of conspiracy theories (I don’t believe most of them though) and I have also read Ira Levin‘s ‘The Boys From Brazil‘ So from all that wealth of knowledge I have gleaned that most of the top Nazis from the 2nd World War disappeared to South America after the war, possibly including Adolf Hitler himself. Personally I never believed that at all and I believe that the picture below, which was taken on a London Bus recently clearly proves that Hitler is not in South America, but that he is in fact residing in Shepherds Bush in London. Is that Eva Braun with him or is it his Mother?
Hitler Hiels a bus!
OK so like I’ve said loads of times this is a music blog so here is a song that mentions Mr Hitler. It’s one of my favourite songs and this is undeniably a great excuse to play it, please enjoy the Clash with “White Man In The Hammersmith Palais”
Some rather sad news now, Sony is finally retiring the Walkman after 30 years of sterling service, I owned one in the early 80s although I can only imagine that a Walkman in a cupboard must feel like Woody in Toy Story when Buzz Lightyear arrives. In this case of course Buzz Lightyear represents the MP3 player or iPod. I read a brilliant post about the demise of the Walkman on the Barely Awake In Frog Pajamas blog. Click here to check it out, you’ll find some top tunes there too! You can also read about it in the Guardians Music Blog.
RIP - the Sony Walkman
What better song to play at the Walkman wake than “C30, C60, C90 Go” by Bow Wow Wow which includes wonderful lyrics such as “C30 C60 C90 Go, off the radio I get a constant flow, hit it, pause it, record it and play, turn it, rewind, and rub it away”
Did you know that Tina Turner once advertised Pearl Drops, way back in 1972? She should have sponsored fright wigs, especially at Halloween!
It’s not too late to save the 100 Club, just click here and contribute, I have! There has been live music at the venue since 1942 when it opened as the Feldman Swing Club. In 1976 it hosted the International Punk Festival which featured the Sex Pistols, Siouxse and the Banshees, Buzzcocks, the Damned and the Clash. More recently bands such as Gallows and the Automatic have released tracks recorded at their gigs at the 100 Club. Click here to see a comprehensive list of acts that have played the club. Watch the Jam performing at the 100 Club in 1977 below.
Sir Elton found writing pop songs a real pig these days, so he decided to leave to those X Factor muppets
Sir Elton John has said that he will no longer be releasing singles, he says that he is not able to compete in the singles Pop Charts with the likes of JLS and Lady Gaga. He says he will continue with what he calls fun side projects, like with the Scissor Sisters. He will also explore elements of his own musical heroes, like his current release with Leon Russell. Click here to read details of the story, which is taken from a GQ interview, on the BBC site.