Very, very late indeed, but here comes the sixth monthly Mayhem Top 20 Song Chart, this time for August 2022, and it remains as eclectic as most of our previous charts. There are some weird and wonderful strange bedfellows in this list, just like those charts of my youth. The number one for August is the rather splendid Newcastle act, Cat Ryan with their incredible single “Rex Mundi”. They are followed closely by four acts who have not appeared in the song chart before, Trunky Juno, Thrillhouse, Matt James, and Lynx Deluxe. The latter made it into the artist chart for August. Check out Matt James’ new album, ‘Breaking The Fall’, a set of fine songs from a former member of one of my favourite bands, Gene! Politics and passionate, powerful opinions are represented by Captain Ska with “Blood On Your Hands” at number 6, Muse with “Will Of The People” at number 19, and the magnificent current single full of monumental power, passion, and anger from Delilah Bon, “Dead Men Don’t Rape” at number 10. Vaquelin, one of York’s finest bands have appeared in the song chart four months in a row now, their latest single “Broken Window” is at number 20. Classic soul and reggae are represented by Holland and Dozier and Junior Byles. The Streets, Arctic Monkeys, Just Jack, Yungblud, and Pale Waves are all here. Early Italian House Disco music is at number 17 with Silvetti’s “Spring Rain”. Tom Waits is at ten, while classical music gets a look in with the beautiful and haunting piano piece “Metamorphosis No. 4” composed by Philip Glass at number 16. Hannah Robinson has featured in the Mayhem charts a few times and she returns as the voice of J.A.G. on “Fools Lie”. We would love to hear your thoughts on the Mayhem Song Top 20 Chart. Check out the complete list below and click here to access a Spotify playlist of the whole top 20!
1 Rex Mundi – Cat Ryan 2 Oxford English Dictionary – Trunky Juno 3 Cruel Twist Of Fate – Thrillhouse 4 Champione – Matt James 5 Jane Goodall – Lynx Deluxe 6 Blood On Your Hands – Captain Ska 7 Why Can’t We Be Lovers – Holland and Dozier 8 Brexit At Tiffany’s – The Streets 9 Tom Traubert’s Blues (Four Sheets To The Wind In Copenhagen) – Tom Waits 10 Dead Men Don’t Rape – Delilah Bon 11 Curly Locks – Junior Byles 12 Starz In Their Eyes – Just Jack 13 Fools Lie – J.A.G 14 Star Treatment – Arctic Monkeys 15 Tissues – Yungblud 16 Metamorphosis No. 4 – Philip Glass/ Jenny Lin 17 Spring Rain – Silvetti 18 Lies – Pale Waves 19 Will Of The People – Muse 20 Broken Window – Vaquelin
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Click here to read my review of day 1 of the 2017 Leeds Festival on the Hype Media site. I would like to thank those jolly nice folks at the Hype Media for giving me the opportunity to be there! Words by me and pictures (apart from Queen Vee & the Sasstones, that was by me) by rock photographer extraordinaire John Hayhurst of snapagig.
Matt Bellamy off of Muse came up with the title of the band’s classic song “Muscle Museum” in a rather strange way, by looking at a dictionary. In most English dictionaries, the word ‘Muscle’ comes before ‘Muse’ and ‘Museum’ precedes it. Pretty strange huh?
Upstate New York residents Broken Bellows have their first EP lined up for release on 25th August on Fervor Records. It is full of masterfully mellow rock with harmonies to die for and everyone one of the five songs could stand on their own as a single. I can hear influence from everyone from the National to Muse and the softer side of pop punkers Panic At The Disco. The duo’s second single “Misery” is also the second track on the EP and it is stunning. On this evidence Broken Bellows are a band that are now on my must see live list! I reckon Cory Brent and Will Prinzi are ready to blow you away at a festival stage very soon! Check them out, you will not be disappointed. A large thank you to those very nice people at Noisy Ghost PR for giving me the chance to hear this excellent EP.
Click here to check out second single “Misery” on Soundcloud.
Apparently Wacko Jacko was at one time lined up to take the lead role in a film version of Doctor Who in 1988. Personally I am so very glad that it didn’t happen. What do you folks think? I suspect he would have had a 12-year-old boy as his assistant though. Quite topical given that his daughter Paris was supposedly turned down for a role in the TV series. Bill Cosby was also considered for the Doctor Who role in 1988 as well. Click here to read the story on the NME site.
So the London 2012 Olympics is over, at least until the Paralympics anyway. I truly believe that this has been an amazing Olympics and for me usurps England winning the 1966 football world cup as our greatest sporting achievement. What do you think? OK I know the Scots won’t agree with that in the first place, but I would still like to hear your thoughts.
I realise that this post comes some 24 hours after the closing ceremony, but given the musical nature of that ceremony I felt I had to post something. The Olympic stadium was once again amazing; decked out to show a London skyline that included the London Eye, Big Ben and the Gherkin to name but a few. It all kicked off with the delicious voice of Emilie Sande accompanied only by a pianist, who was playing a piano covered in newspaper. After that the tempo really took off with forty members of the cast of Stomp dancing, drumming and percussing (is that a word?) on the recreated mini London Eye in the stadium. On top of all this there was a choir singing Beatles songs.
Next up was cellist and Churchill appearing out of the top of Big Ben and reciting words from Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ which was a great link back to the superb Opening ceremony. Obviously it wasn’t really Churchill, it was Timothy Spall. This was followed by newspaper clad crowds depicting the hubbub of London. The whole thing then slowed a little for the arrival of the VIPs; Jacques Rogge (President of the IOC) who seems to make even the dullest accountant I have ever met seem exciting and prince Harry representing the Royal family. Clearly he was never going to match his grandmother’s arrival at the opening ceremony! Obviously this was followed by our rather uninspiring, in my opinion, national anthem.
The whole show was a celebration of Britain and the next vignette was real class. It was the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 countdown by Michael Caine from the ‘Italian Job’ and then the iconic three-wheeled van of Trotter’s Independent Trading blew apart and out jumped, yes you guessed it, Del Boy and Rodney in their Batman and Robin costumes. A sublime moment and a nod to one of Britain’s greatest ever comedy shows; Only Fools And Horses.
The mood then turned very much to party as madness were driven around the arena playing “Our House” from the back of a truck. This tempo was kept up by the Massed Guards Bands with a wonderful rendition of Blur’s “Parklife”. Just when you thought it couldn’t get better the stadium was filled with cyclists wearing the most amazing geometric and fluorescent hats. Two of them on tricycles which had Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe as passengers. So we were treated to a fabulous version of “West Ends Girls” on bicycles and tricycles. Could this happen anywhere but the UK? I doubt it!
One Direction were next, like Madness they were on the back of a truck, which sadly wasn’t headed to the tip. OK I have to begrudgingly admit they were at least in tune, but I still don’t like them. Interestingly they were one of just a few acts whose name was flashed onto the screen when they appeared. After that it was back to another great number from the cast of Stomp. That percussion sounded like “Spice Up Your Life” to me. was that deliberate? Who knows? An incredibly talented dance troupe who I think were called Spelbound were next to take the stage. They performed a great routine to the Beatles Sergeant Pepper classic “A Day In The Life”
To keep up the 60s vibe Kinksmeister Ray Davies came on to sing his timeless and classic love song to London; “Waterloo Sunset”. eliciting some great ‘sha la la-ing’ from the audience in the process. Emilie Sande made a return next, minus the newspaper piano and sang over a film montage of some of London 2012’s most tearful moments. The three hundred or so flag bearers entered the arena after that, including super sailor Ben Ainslie fo Britain. Elbow soundtracked this whole piece with a great little set that included the beautiful “Open Arms”. The athletes followed the arrival of the flag bearers and they were corralled into the sections of the union jack which formed the floor of the stadium. Apparently this version of the flag was designed by Damien Hirst. Indian drummers then accompanied the construction of a large structure made up of more than three hundred white boxes. One to represent each Olympic event. The backing track to this was Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill”. I had momentary butterflies while wishing and hoping that Kate might actually appear herself. But alas she didn’t.
Apparently one of the traditions of the closing ceremony is that it contains the last medal presentation. It is for the Mens Marathon which took place earlier in the day and was won by Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda. This was followed by a thank you and recognition for all the volunteers, or Games makers as they were known from all the athletes. This was followed by a spectacular light show to the unmistakable sound of Queen’s mighty “Bohemian Rhapsody” followed by a children’s signing choir singing John Lennon’s “Imagine”. This segued into a film clip of Lennon singing the song himself. Apparently Yoko Ono commissioned a special remaster of the song for the ceremony. At the same time a 3D image of John Lennon’s face was built on stage. This was a prelude to the main musical events.
George Michael took to the stage for his first live performance since his life threatening illness he sang “Freedom 90” his new single “White Light” which is in fact all about his brush with death. He seemed fit and well and on really good form. I’m not sure I like the new facial hair style though, perhaps it will grow on me! Ricky off of the Kaiser Chiefs was driven to the stage as a scooter pillion passenger singing “Pinball Wizard”. I have gone off the Kaisers of late, by I must admit they did a storming version of the Who’s classic. The next part had me positively tingling with anticipation; A series of short film and audio clips of David Bowie. Would he actually appear? Surely not? And surely he didn’t. But his 1980 hit “Fashion” was used as a backdrop to a showcase of British fashion which included a weird march around the stadium from a series of models including Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss.
George couldn’t master Mo Farah’s Mobot so he invented the Georgebot
A huge skeleton of what might have been a viking boat was pulled on stage and the hidden figurehead was none other than Annie Lennox. She performed “Little Bird” which was used on the soundtrack of Coppola’s film version of Bram Stoker’s classic story Dracula. The much rumoured Pink Floyd appearance turned out to be nothing more than Ed Sheerhan, Nick Mason and Mike Rutherford doing the Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” accompanied by a tightrope walker who recreated the Floyd album cover with the flaming man.
Russell Brand arrived on stage in what looked like the Scooby Doo van and he was singing, he’s not a bad singer either. He got out of the van to perform the Beatles’ “I Am The Walrus”. The van begat a giant inflatable octopus from which Fatboy Slim did a brief DJ set featuring his own hits “Right Here Right Now” and “Rockerfeller Skank”. Jessie J then sang “Price Tag” in an open top car she was joined by Tinie Tempah then Taio Cruz with “Dynamite”. All in open top cars. Then all three of them took the stage for a creditable performance of the Bee Gees disco classic “You Should Be Dancing”. As they were performing in front of a drum kit marked up with the name of Beady Eye it was obvious who was going to be on later!
A group of London Black cabs entered stadium and performed a kind of synchronised dance. Then five of them moved to the centre of the arena and were lit up with some spectacular lighting arrays. This wasn’t the best kept secret of the show, but guess who the passengers in these five cabs were? Yes it was Scary, Sporty, Baby, Ginger and Pouty…. oops sorry I mean Posh. It was the return of the Spice Girl. They kicked off with possibly one of the greatest pop singles of the 90s (OK that doesn’t mean you have to like it); “Wannabe”. They followed this with the samba rhythmed “Spice Up Your Life” which they performed while being driven around the stadium atop the cabs that brought them in. As expected after seeing their drum kit earlier Beady Eye were next. Thankfully they didn’t play any of their own stuff, just a cover of “Wonderwall” which seemed to go down really well as a sing along with the crowd. Liam seemed quite nervous to me and is his voice a little rough these days?
ELO’s “Mr Blue Sky” was played as a backdrop for a section pioneering flight. This included flying bikes and a failed human cannonball who just happened to be Monty Python star Eric Idle who led the audience in a marvellous sing-alonga-python version of “Always look On The Bright Side Of Life”. he even made a great comedic attempt to join in with some Bollywood style dancing. This whole piece was perhaps the equivalent of the Mr Bean set in the opening ceremony. It ended with the real and successful firing of a human cannonball.
Matt Bellamy and the boys from Muse were the next to appear and they performed their song “Survival” which was commissioned for the Olympics. It’s good and their performance was excellent as usual but this is a long way from being my favourite Muse song. Interestingly, as some have likened Muse to Queen they were followed by a film clip of Freddie Mercury performing some improv jazz scat and despite being dead for more than twenty years the audience were enraptured and joined in the whole Freddie call and response thing. This proved to be the overture to Brian May’s appearance and it’s fair to say that he’s quite a good guitarist isn’t he? 😉 As the unmistakable riff to “We Will Rock You” began and Brian was joined by Roger Taylor I was briefly worried that Adam Lambert or someone similar might step onto the stage. Thankfully it was Jessie J, and inspired choice in my opinion. She did a great vocal on the song which never tried to emulate the late, great Mr Mercury.
It was then time to return to the formal activities which meant the Greek national anthem followed by a Welsh Male Choir version of the Olympic Anthem. This was sealed with the Brazilian national anthem and a formal handing over of the Olympic flag from London’s Mayor Boris Johnson to the Mayor of Rio De Janeiro via Jacques Rogge. The Brazilians then put on a samba fuelled show to let the world know what to expect in 2016. This culminated in an appearance by one of their greatest sports ambassadors; Pele. Then we had more formal stuff with speeches from Seb Coe and Jacques Rogge. Seb was quite inspiring Jacque was once again the definition of dull in my opinion. The remaining action was the extinguishing of the flame. This began with Take That (thankfully without Robbie) performing the appropriate “Rule The World”. It continued with Darcy Bussell flying in as a Phoenix to join two hundred other ballet dances for an exciting modern ballet.
The petals of the cauldron where the Olympic flame burned were then lowered and were slowly extinguished and at this point I thought that was the end. However there was more to come in the shape of the Who. They were on top form and for a pensioner Roger Daltrey’s vocal power is still damned good. They closed with a rousing version of “My Generation” accompanied by yet another magnificent firework display.
I fell a little deflated after such a brilliant two weeks but so very proud to be British. I truly believe that we really showed the world what we are capable of as a country. Not just in the Olympic events but by how we put on such a brilliant event in itself. In spite of the little hiccups before the start (G4S etc) we really delivered this in style and won a whole treasure box of medals too. So let me take this opportunity to congratulate and thank everyone in Team GB, the organisers, all the other competitors, the BBC, the volunteers/ Games Makers and anyone else who was involved in this remarkable event.
Was this the best Olympics ever? I believe it as. Rio follow that!
Most of the film clips from the ceremony are IOC copyright and therefore difficult to show. So here are two songs that sum things up in a simple way.
So many people will be writing about the Olympics in the coming weeks so I thought I’d get my mention out-of-the-way in advance of the opening ceremony. Personally I have been a little bored with the journey of the Olympic flame, especially after discovering that there are thousands of torches and not just a handful. The constant news stories about the whereabouts of the flame; ‘the flame has now passed through the arse end of nowhere carried by A N other’ have left me completely underwhelmed. How do you feel?
however, the good news is I am really looking forward to the opening ceremony. Has Danny Boyle arranged the weather? Will David Beckham kick a flaming football? Will Olly Mursspontaneously combust to light the flame? I really don’t care, I’m sure it will be one of the most spectacular Olympic openings there have ever been.
Anyway in the spirit of this being a music blog here are a few of appropriate tunes for the Olympics (starting with one of my favourite songs of all time) and while I’m here I want to wish the GB team all the best and I hope they win more medals than they have ever done!
We’re all looking forward to women’s beach volleyball aren’t we?
And finally how about a Billy bonus of another song from the rather excellent and sadly missed Gene!
XFM listeners recently took part in a poll to name the greatest front man of all time. So many great blokes to choose from and they went for Liam Gallagher. Now don’t get me wrong Liam has been very good in the past, particularly in the early days of Oasis, but the greatest front man of all time? I don’t think so. The full top 20 was;
Musicradar.com readers have voted Muse’s “Hysteria” as the greatest bass line of all time. The full list including song, band/ artist and bass player is;
01. “Hysteria” – Muse (Chris Wolstenholme)
02. “YYZ” – Rush (Geddy Lee)
03. “Another One Bites The Dust” – Queen (John Deacon)
04. “Under Pressure” – Queen & David Bowie (John Deacon)
05. “Money” – Pink Floyd (Roger Waters)
06. “Orion” – Metallica (Cliff Burton)
07. “Billie Jean” – Michael Jackson (Louis Johnson)
08. “Roundabout” – Yes (Chris Squire)
09. “My Generation” – The Who (John Entwistle)
10. “Schism” – Tool (Justin Chancellor)
11. “Give It Away” – Red Hot Chili Peppers (Flea)
12. “The Lemon Song” – Led Zeppelin (John Paul Jones)
13. “Taxman” – The Beatles (Paul McCartney)
14. “Good Times” – Chic (Bernard Edwards)
15. “The Chicken” – Jaco Pastorius
16. “Walk On The Wild Side” – Lou Reed (Herbie Flowers)
17. What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye (James Jamerson)
18. “Stand By Me” – Ben E King (Wendell Marshall)
19. “The Guns Of Brixton” – The Clash (Paul Simonon)
20. “Sweet Emotion” – Aerosmith (Tom Hamilton)
21. “Super Freak” – Rick James (Oscar Alston)
22. “Pusherman” – Curtis Mayfield (Joseph “Lucky” Scott)
23. “These Boots Are Made For Walkin'” – Nancy Sinatra (Carol Kaye/Chuck Berghofer)
24. “In The Midnight Hour” – Wilson Pickett (Donald “Duck” Dunn)
25. “Make It Funky” – James Brown (Fred Thomas)
Click here to check it out on the musicradar site. I was really pleased to see that my three favourite bass players are in there; James Jamerson, Donald “Duck” Dunn and Bernard Edwards. Who is your favourite bass player and what songs do you think are missing from this list? While you’re thinking about it enjoy the top 5 below;
So here we are then just hours away from the kick off of the Reading and Leeds festivals which means you’ll shortly get to hear my opinions on all that I see this weekend. Well I suppose that to some degree does depend on exactly what I see; some things that go on at festival stay at festival. So perhaps I won’t mention scotch eggs! I reckon some of you could put 2 and 2 together about that and not many of you would reach an answer of 4. I will be at the Reading end of the festival, despite living very close to the Leeds site. Why would I do this I hear you ask? Well because
Reading for me is the original annual rock festival. Plus it is my annual meet up with my good friend Nick Horslen. A kind of Grumpy Old Men do the festival kind of vibe.
The headliners are My Chemical Romance, Pulp/ The Strokes (joint headliners) and Muse. Of that bunch I am mostly looking forward to Pulp. Muse will be playing the whole of their ‘Origin of Symmetry’ album. It’s the 10th anniversary year of the release of that one. I have seen Muse three times before and loved them every time. However I am a little torn this time as their set clashes with a headline set in one of the tents by 2 Many DJs. I love their mash-up mix tape efforts and I have always wanted to see them.
I always like to check out bands with interesting names that I have never heard of as well. So this year I shall definitely try to get to see She Keeps Bees.
If there is anyone you think I should check out feel free to let me know and if you’re going to be at Reading yourself come and say hello.
It’s adios for now while I go to the darkest recesses of the shed to try to find my steel toe-capped wellies!