December 11th, what a kinky day this is going to be. It is day 11 in this years advent calendar blog post series which regular readers will know is the ABC of British bands. The 11th letter of the alphabet is ‘K’ so todays band is the Kinks and that is why it is a Kinky day!
Brothers Ray and Dave Davies along with friend Pete Quaife formed the band in Muswell Hill, London in 1963. In spite of the sometimes acrimonious relationship between the Davies brothers the band kept going for more than 30 years before finally calling it a day in 1996. The band had their first UK chart hit in 1964 with “You Really Got Me” which went to number one. This song is often credited with being the first heavy metal riff. (Although the phrase ‘heavy metal’ was allegedly first heard a few years later in the lyrics of Steppenwolf’s “Born To Be Wild”). The Kinks had two further UK number one singles; “Tired Of Waiting” in 1965 and “Sunny Afternoon” in 1966. They also climbed to the top of the singles charts in Germany, Canada, Netherlands, Belgium and New Zealand. I can only assume that the band were a little too English for the Americans. Their first US singles chart hit came in 1981.
Ray and Dave Davies were the 7th and 8th children in their family, the first six were all girls. Their sister Rene died on Ray’s 13th birthday. She had given him his first guitar as a present that day. The band took their name after hearing the word kinky used in British 1960s TV show ‘The Avengers’. Pete Townshend off of the Who once said that Ray Davies was his favourite songwriter of all time. Whilst Marianne Faithfull said that Ray was ‘Very Gothic, creepy and silent. Uptight and fearful of everyone’. Either way I am definitely a fan of the Kinks and I would like you to take some time out to enjoy a selection of their best songs.
Already we’re into double figures in December. How did it get to become December 10th so quickly? Anyway that means that it is now Day ten in my advent calendar blog posts. The theme this year is the ABC of British Bands for those of you who are not regular readers? What’s that I hear you say? You’re not a regular reader? In that case feel free to sign up and join the millions of others who read this blog everyday! OK so I exaggerated, sign up and join the few hundred that come here everyday. More importantly join the 700+ who actually follow it. December 10th means it’s day 10, which in turn means that we have reached the letter ‘J’. Who will it be? That’s easy, it’s Jamiroquai.
The band was formed in 1992. The lead singer and main man of the band is Jason Luis Cheetham, although I’m sure that you know him better as the crazy hat wearing Jay Kay. His mother Karen Kay was a television personality in the UK and a cabaret singer. Jay Kay originally started the band along with Toby Smith, Stuart Zender, Nick Van Gelder and Wallis Buchanan. They played keyboards, bass, drums and didgeridoo respectively. Has there ever been another British band that featured a didgeridoo player? Well let’s not count disgraceful kiddie fiddler any longer. The band’s name comes from an amalgamation of jam session and the Iroquois tribe of North America.
Some of Jay Kay’s hats were made by his mother and emulating her TV career he has also appeared on many TV shows including Top Gear, Strictly Come Dancing, The Naked Chef and the X-Factor. The band had three UK number one albums between 1993 and 2001. Their albums have also hit the top of the charts in Mexico, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and in the US Dance Chart. Their only UK number on single so far has been “Deeper Underground” from 1998. The song appeared on the soundtrack for that years ‘Godzilla’ film. They have been very popular across Europe and have had number one singles in four other countries in addition to the UK. They also climbed to the top of the US Dance Singles chart an impressive five times between 1994 and 2006.
Now it is time for you to enjoy a selection of classic Jamiroquai cuts. I hope that you enjoy them.
Usually the most entertaining part of the Eurovision Song Contest is the voting and checking how many countries hate us Brits and show it by giving us nul points. But this year I really feel that we are in with a shout. Molly’s “Children Of The Universe” strikes me as classic Eurovision. I wonder how the votes will be split between Russia and the Ukraine? Anyway I should warn you that I am typing this post as I watch the show. So let’s get on with the 59th Eurovision Song Contest shall we?
Ukraine are up first with a typical Euro song title; “Tick Tock”. Why is there a bloke in a hamster wheel on stage? Singer Mariya Yaremchuk looks good and the song, in spite of its title is not too shabby. Belarus are up next represented by Teo with “Cheesecake”. He has a monster quiff does that Teo. It’s an ok kind of song with some good synchronised dancing in the performance, but no hamster wheel.
Azerbaijan are next and they are trying to “Start A Fire” as sung by Dilara Kazimova. While there is no hamster wheel there is a trapeze. What is that all about? Anyway in my opinion this is a bit of a dirgeful ballad with a singer who seems a little too earnest for me. In Dilara’s favour Catwoman likes her dress. Pollaponk are representing Iceland and one of their backing vocalists is an Icelandic MP. Their suits are all primary colours but as the song says let’s show them “No Prejudice”. The song is a little pop punk with more emphasis on the pop. I’ll probably be wrong as usual, but I think this could win.
Carl Espen is trying to whip up a “Silent Storm” for Norway. He is not an established singer and keeping it in the family the song was written by his cousin. Not my kind of song. It strikes me as a bit forgettable. Paula Seling and Ovi are hoping for a “Miracle” as they sing for Romania. This song can’t make up its mind as to whether it’s a power ballad or just another piece of Euro Disco. It does feature a round piano though.
Armenia are putting up a comedian called Aram MP3 with “Not Alone” which didn’t sound particularly funny to me. Have I missed the punchline. I also felt his voice was a bit flat and out of tune at times. It definitely sees itself as an 80s power ballad though. Montenegro are the first country tonight that are singing in their native tongue. The singer is Sergej Cetkovic with “Moj Svijet”. It sounds like classic mid table Eurovision fodder to me, which given my track record probably means it’ll win. It is backed up with a roller skating dancer, why? Don’t ask me.
We are Slavic washerwomen
“We Are Slavic” is the Polish entry and is sung in English and Polish by Donatan and Cleo. Is it really a feminist anthem? Why are they all dressed as milkmaids? Greece are about to “Rise Up” performed by Freaky Fortune featuring RiskyKidd. The Kidd is actually a rapper from London. It strikes me as the first song of the night to really get the place rocking. Not a hamster wheel in sight, just a bloody huge trampoline.
Now it’s Austria with a bearded drag artist, Conchita Wurst singing “Rise Like A Pheonix”. He/ She looks a little scary to me. It’s a good song but the whole appearance puts me right off. Germany ask “Is It Right” with a female trio called Elaiza. It features an accordion and has a bit of an oompah feel about it. I really don’t like this song!
Can Sanna Nielsen“Undo” the competition for Sweden 40 years after Abba won the contest? Possibly as it is this years favourite. Actually it’s a bloody good sung and Sanna has a great voice. If a ballad wins this year it might be “Undo”. TWIN TWIN perform the French entry “Moustache”; a song about a man who can’t grow a moustache. The singer can certainly grow a cartoon comedy haircut though. I can only assume that France don’t want to win. This song is shit!
TWIN TWIN – you cocks!
The Tolmachevy Sisters have interlocking hair and they are singing “Shine”. Their hair has come undone, well at least that will make going to the toilet easier. But wait now they’re on a see saw; why? It was ok but they’re hardly Pussy Riot. Emma sings in Italian for Italy with a rocking little ditty called “La Mia Citta” a.k.a “My City”. The costumes are a bit Roman Empire. Not a bad song though.
Tinkara Kovac is singing “Round And Round” for Slovenia. Sung in Slovene and English in a rather shouty way with added flute. We’re hoping for “Something Better” from Finland from Softengine. They sound a bit like a discofied Aha.
Ruth Lorenzo once came 5th in the X Factor and she is singing her own composition for Spain. It’s called “Dancing In The Rain”. Knowing my luck a former X Factor contestant will win it. It hurts terribly to admit it but the song is alright, not great just alright. The shouty bit at the end kills it a bit though. Those perennial neutrals Switzerland have a song called “Hunter Of Stars” by Sebalter. It has far too much whistling for my liking with a backing track that sounds like a speeded up “Duelling Banjos“.
Andras Kallay-Saunders is “Running” for Hungary. He runs around the stage a bit too. A good pop song methinks. Malta are “Coming Home” with Firelight. Two siblings in the band have a mother from Yorkshire. But the song is so Mumford it hurts. Is that style popular across Europe? I don’t know and frankly I hope not! But just to provide a balanced view, Catwoman likes this song apart from the female vocals.
Next up is “Cliche Love Song” by Basim singing for hosts Denmark. Blimey is he miming to Bruno Mars? This is possibly one of the best entries of the night. The Danish TV executives must be shitting themselves. It costs a packet to put this show on. After Denmark the Netherlands provide the “Calm After The Storm” as song by the Common Linnets. Who knew that the Dutch do Country and Western? They can though and it’s quite a good song.
San Marino are the penultimate country with “Maybe” sung by Valentina Monetta. It sounds like the theme song to a late 60s James Bond spoof. Was that meant to be a giant sea shell behind her? Finally it’s time for the UK entry which is “Children Of The Universe” from Molly. I really do think she’s in with a chance. Not sure about her boots but for me Molly nailed it!
Before the scoring starts my tips are Sweden, Denmark and the UK and I reckon France ought to finish last. Now for the scoring which as you might have guessed featured all the usual political voting. Molly came 17th out of 26th so not as bad as many UK entries. The runaway winner was Conchita Wurst from Austria a.k.a the bearded lady with “Rise Like A Phoenix”. I really don’t get it, although to be fair on second hearing the song isn’t too bad! As for my tips; Sweden were third and I was right about France who finished last!
Another random selection of music news for you in this post. Starting with the sad news of the death of soul legend Solomon Burke. He died today at Schipol Airport in Amsterdam on his way to play a gig in the city. He was only 70 and leaves behind a staggering 21 children and 90 grandchildren. He was in possession of a truly wonderful voice and will perhaps be best remembered by most people for writing and performing the now classic song, “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love“. The song has been covered by many artists and was used to great effect in the Blues Brothers movie. Click here for the BBC report on this sad news. You can view the great man’s performance on Top Of The Pops from 2003 below.
It was never one of my favourite songs, largely due to the bagpipes, but Paul McCartney and Wings million selling single from 1978; “Mull Of Kintyre” is back in the news. The 7,360 Carskiey estate which forms the Mull Of Kintyre is up for sale. So if you have £2.95 million stashed under the blanket you have a chance of getting your hands on it. The BBC report is here.
Dido is being sued by Bruce McCandless II an astronaut on the Space Shuttle Challenger. The picture on the cover of Dido’s album ‘Safe Trip Home’ features McCandless on an untethered space walk in 1984. He claims he never gave permission for it to be used. I have tried really hard to like Dido’s stuff, but to me this is the most exciting thing relating to her in ages. The NME’s take on the story can be found by clicking here. Here is the lady herself with “White Flag“, something she may have to wave against the might of NASA.
"Oi Dido, I can see your house from here!"
A sale of Michael Jackson memorabilia in Macau in China has fetched in excess of $1 million. It includes one of his many black crystal studded gloves and also a basket ball signed by Jacko and Michael Jordan which fetched $180,000 and $245,000 respectively. Amazing isn’t that stars become so much more valuable and marketable after they die. The BBC carries the story here.