“Mr Brightside” is the only song that the Killers have played at every one of their live shows. It was also the first song that Dave Keuning and Brandon Flowers wrote together. It was the first single to be taken from the band’s ‘Hot Fuss‘ album in 2003. It reached number 10 in both the UK and the US charts that year. The song has been covered by quite a few artists including Paul Anka (I love that version), McFly and Fall Out Boy.
“You ask how much I need you, must I explain?” – Advent day 12 December 12, 2013
I’m getting just a little bit more excited now it is the 12th of December after all. In keeping with this years With Just A Hint Of Mayhem advent posts I have two diametrically opposed songs for you today. But obviously two that have the number twelve in their titles.
First up is the timeless song “Twelfth Of Never” which was initially recorded by Johnny Mathis in 1957. He apparently didn’t like the song and it was demoted to the B Side of “Chances Are”. The song has been recorded by many, many artists since then. The Mathis version made it to number 9 in the US charts and Donny Osmond took it to number one in the UK and number 8 in the USA in 1973. The list of cover versions is almost endless and includes; Nina Simone, Barry Gibb, Cliff Richard, Tammy Wynette, Chi-Lites, Glen Campbell, Cher, Dolly Parton, Roger Whittaker, Barry Manilow, Andy Williams, Olivia Newton John, Hank Marvin and Jeff Buckley. Jeff’s version can be found on the Legacy edition of ‘Live At The Sin E’ and remains very faithful to the Nina Simone version of the song. The regular readers among you will know that I am a big fan of Texan crooner Johnny Nash. In fact I would go as far as saying that his singing voice is my favourite voice ever. Anyway I haven’t posted about Mr Nash for quite a while so I thought I would use his version of the “Twelfth Of Never” taken from his 1968 album ‘Soul Folk’.
The second song today flows from the Julian Casablancas post from yesterday. It is “12:51” by the band that Julian is a big part of; the Strokes. The song was written by Mr Casablancas and was the first single released from the bands second album ‘Room On Fire’ in 2003. The song made it to number 7 in the UK and reached the top 40 in Ireland, Canada, the Netherlands and Sweden. The songs original title was “Supernova”. The video for the song was directed by Roman Ford Coppola, the son of Francis Ford Coppola and the cousin of Nicolas Cage. It has a theme that is very reminiscent of the ‘Tron’ the 1982 movie. When the band played a number of Japanese dates to support the release of the ‘Room On Fire’ album in 2003 they included a cover of the Frank Sinatra classic written by Paul Anka “My Way”, only they sang it with Japanese lyrics!
“And now as tears subside I find it all so amusing” April 25, 2010
This one will be a bit of a random post, kind of the post with absolutely no theme whatsoever. Now there’s an idea, how about a future post all about TV and movie themes? Me likes that!
First up is a great clip of Talcy Malcy’s funeral winding its way through London. Truly an entertainer to the very end. Cash from Chaos indeed (actually that sounds a bit banking industry related, only for them it was chaos from cash I suppose!) Click here to see my recent post on the death of Mr McLaren
One of the songs played at Malcolm McLaren’s funeral was Sid Vicious’ version of the Paul Anka penned Frank Sinatra classic “My Way” Check it out below
I would also like to remind you that you can still get an exclusive Steal The Smile track “Two Years On” from my recent post about this superb young band. Click here to go to that post and download the song. Trust me, you WILL NOT be disappointed! You can also click here to view some video footage of the STS boys (Henry, Johnny, Luke & Oli) hard at work and having plenty of fun in the studio. They also have another gig coming up in a couple of weeks at the FaceBar in Reading. I’ll be there, why don’t you get your arses down there too? Check out the boys playing the FaceBar from a couple of years back, with an excellent cover of Pendulum’s “Blood Sugar”
OK I said this would be random and indeed it is. Do you have any idea what John Squire off of the Stone Roses and the Seahorses has been up to lately? Well he has been doing new designs for the covers of classic Penguin books. How rock ‘n’ Roll is that? Click here to see his handiwork.
The Sunday Times has published a list of the richest young UK music stars, all under thirty. Joint top are Charlotte Church, Katherine Jenkins and Leona Lewis, all worth an alleged £11m each, followed by Katie Melua and Cheryl Cole, both worth a measly £10m each. Craig David is the highest placed man at a lowly 7th place with just a tiny £8m in the piggy bank, bo selecta indeed! I wonder if the other girls off of Girls Aloud are envious of Cheryl being worth twice as much as each of them? Click here to read more. The full list is;
1. Charlotte Church £11M
1. Katherine jenkins£11M
1. Leona Lewis £11M
4. Cheryl Cole £10M
4. Katie Melua £10M
6. Joss Stone £9M
7. Craig David £8M
8. Natasha Bedingfield £6M
9. Lily Allen £5M
9. Nadine Coyle £5M
9. Sarah Harding £5M
9. Nicola Roberts £5M
9. Kimberly Walsh £5M
9. Jamie Cullum £5M
9. Duffy £5M
9. James Morrison £5M
9. Paolo Nutini £5M
9. Amy Winehouse £5M
“and the more I find out the less I know” May 4, 2009
This is the first in a not particularly regular series of posts covering some of my most favourite and in some cases poorly recognised artists. First up it’s Mr Johnny Nash. Johnny, despite his greatest success coming with reggae was actually born in Houston Texas on August 19th 1940. Like many of his contemporaries he sang in the choir at his local Baptist Church in his childhood and youth. He became a regular on a local television show called ‘Matinee’ in 1953 where he mainly performed covers of current hits. In another potential big break he entered a talent contest in the early 50’s where he eventually lost out to none other than the mighty Joe Tex. In 1956 he began a seven-year run of appearances on Arthur Godfrey’s radio and tv shows. Godfrey claimed to have ‘discovered’ Nash. Perhaps in the same way that Diana Ross ‘discovered’ the Jackson 5, she didn’t and it was in fact Gladys Knight. Johnny’s recording career began in the fifties when he signed a deal with ABC-Paramount and released his debut single “A Teenager Sings The Blues” Indeed he even had some US hits. Notably a cover of the Doris Day song “A Very Special Love” in late 1958 and also “The Teen Commandments” The latter was actually a collaboration with Paul Anka and George Hamilton IV. ABC had tried to market Johnny as another Johnny Mathis which led to him becoming disillusioned and did nothing to enhance his fledgling career. In my opinion this suggests that even in the 50’s the record labels would still opt for the easy route. ABC had a handsome black crooner on their books so they thought the easiest step would be to market him just like another handsome black crooner; Johnny Mathis. I feel that both had very distinct voices and should have been developed and promoted as individuals.
This disillusionment with the record industry saw Nash take his first steps in what could have been a very successful parallel career as an actor with a starring role in the film “Take A Giant Step”. It turned out to be his only starring role. He played a black teenager raised in white neighbourhood who struggles to fit in. Johnny won a Silver Sail award from the Locarno International Film Festival for his performance. The film’s Executive Producer was Burt Lancaster. It was filmed in 1958. As far as I am aware there has never been a DVD release. In 1960 he appeared in the movie ‘Key Witness’ alongside the supremely talented Dennis Hopper which received some good reviews and a degree of critical acclaim in Europe. After this he made a return to the recording studio where he recorded a string of middle-of-the-road tunes. None of these singles (which included releases on the Warner Brothers, Groove and Argo labels amongst others) were able to even dent the charts so once again his singing career began to tail off. Eventually he recorded the R & B song “Let’s Move And Groove Together” in 1965. This reached the dizzy heights of the US R & B top 5. But perhaps much more significantly for Nash the record became a massive hit in Jamaica. He embarked on a promotional tour of Jamaica in 1967. In a follow up trip he recorded the single “Hold Me Tight” which was based around a very strong reggae groove. This recording was made at Byron Lee’s (off of Byron Lee and the Dragonaires) Federal Studios. The single was released on the JAD label, which Nash had set up with producer Arthur Jenkins and businessman Danny Simms. The label’s name was made up of the first letter of the owner’s first names. The song reached the top 5 in both the US and the UK. He also reached the top 40 again with a reggae cover of the late great Sam Cooke’s “Cupid” which has more recently been covered by the talented Miss Amy Winehouse. In the same period he also had a hit with a cover of the Bill Johnson song “You Got Soul” Sadly JAD folded in the early 70’s. Click here to listen to Johnny’s “(I’m So) Glad You’re My Baby” from 1967 and a cover of “Ole Man River” which I had never heard until I started researching this post, just click the title for that one 🙂
After “Cupid” went higher in the UK chart (no. 6) than it did in the US (no. 39) Nash decided to move to the UK in 1971. That year he became the first artist to have a major hit with a Bob Marley composition, the classic “Stir It Up” This was the first Johnny Nash single I ever bought and it also made me search for more of Bob Marley’s music too. Nash had met the Wailers while visiting Jamaica in the late 60’s. Nash was impressed enough to sign Bob, Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh to an exclusive deal with JAD records. He also produced a number of songs for the band. By the time he released “Stir It Up” Nash was signed to CBS/ Epic Records. The follow up was the classic “I Can See Clearly Now” which was a top ten hit in the UK and went to the top of the charts in the US where it stayed for four weeks. Click here to see Johnny performing the song on Bert Sugarman’s Midnight Special TV Show in 1973. Many people have covered the song. Notably Jimmy Cliff for the movie ‘Cool Runnings’ and perhaps rather strangely, given that he was blind, Ray Charles. Following his success with a reggae influenced sound Johnny moved to Jamaica in 1972 where I believe he still owns a recording studio. The Wailers had backed Johnny on some of the recordings he made in 1971/72 and John ‘Rabbit’ Bundrick who also played with Free was a contributor to the ‘I Can See Clearly Now’ album. One of Bundrick’s songs and indeed one of my favourites from that album was “The Fish And The Alley Of Destruction” This has strangely been left off the extremely hard to find CD reissue of the album. Click here to listen to Johnny perform the excellent “Cream Puff”
After this success in the early 70’s Nash had yet another chart hiatus despite releasing what I believe to be his best album “My Merry Go Round” in 1973. This has now been reissued on CD, you really should make every effort to buy it! He was back in the charts in July 1975 where he reached number one in the UK with the song “Tears On My Pillow” Contrary to some sources on the internet this was not a cover of the Little Anthony And The Imperials song of the same name nor is it the same song that Kylie Minogue released a few years back. The song was originally called “I Can’t Take It” and was written by Ernie Smith a Jamaican singer/songwriter
Johnny had a few more chart hits in the 70’s, notably with another Sam Cooke cover “(What A) Wonderful World” he was known to be recording with engineer Andy Bradley at Sugarhill Studios in Houston in 2006, although this might have been remastering old material rather than recording anything new. He seems to have retired now although I would love to hear from someone who can tell me that isn’t the case. In the meantime I think it’s a travesty that his back catalogue has largely been ignored for CD reissue. “My Merry Go Round” and “Tears On My Pillow” were both reissued in 2007 and apart from a number of compilations that’s about it. Surely it’s about time all of the Nash albums were reissued on CD I for one would buy them all! Those reissues should also include an album he recorded with Kim Weston in the late 60s and also the score he recorded for a Swedish movie in 1971. Who knows if it hadn’t have been for Johnny maybe Bob Marley and indeed reggae wouldn’t have proved so successful and durable as it did. I’m not religious in any way but if I did believe in angels I reckon they would sing with a voice like the wonderfully talented Johnny Nash!
I would like to finish this post with my favourite Johnny Nash single “There Are More Questions Than Answers”
If you’re a fellow Johnny Nash fan feel free to get in touch 🙂
“We were barely 17 and we were barely dressed” March 11, 2009
Hello dear readers and welcome to the 11th March, coming up there’ll be one birthday and four ‘onthisdays’. But just before those here is yet another blatant plug for my son’s band ‘Steal The Smile‘ check them out and tell me what you think of them, add them as a friend on MySpace too if you haven’t done so already, click their name for the link.
So in yet another attempt to post a short one (oooooerr missus!) here comes that birthday.
Today is the 59th birthday of Bobby McFerrin who had a massive hit in 1988 with the rather excellent “Don’t Worry Be Happy” (UK 2, US 1 that is it’s respective chart positions and not an international soccer score in case you were wondering). It was the first a capella song to reach the top of the Billboard charts in the US. The phrase “Don’t Worry Be Happy” comes originally from the teachings of Meher Baba. His teachings were followed at times by Pete Townshend of the Who
On this day in 1967 the music publisher Dick James announced that the Beatles song (well it’s Macca’s really) “Yesterday” had been recorded by 446 acts at that point. Considering the song was only released in 1965 that’s pretty good going It is now believed that there are more than 3,000 recorded versions. The song is believed to have been performed more than 3 million times in the last century according to the BMI. Paul McCartney gave the tune the working title of “Scrambled Eggs” before he wrote the lyrics. Here are two cover versions of the song, firstly from Dogpatch Debbie, it’s certainly different and then a great version from the late great (oh yes they’re back!) Ray Charles
On this day in 1978 there was some shocking news (geddit?). French singer Claude Francois was electrocuted while changing a light bulb when he was standing in his bathtub, presumably with water in. he had a UK hit in 1976 with “Tears On The Telephone” Claude is perhaps most famous for writing the song “Comme D’Habitude” which became a standard after English lyrics were written by Paul Anka and the song with those new lyrics was recorded by ole’ blue eyes himself Mr Frank Sinatra (or as I like to call him Frank Sinister). That song ladies and gentlemen is “My Way” Incidentally David Bowie (yet another DB reference) was the first person to write an English lyric for the tune but nobody took his words up! Here is Claude with “Comme D’Habitude” and here Mr Bowie explains his encounter with the song, it’s impact on “Life On Mars” and how he met Marc Bolan.
Also on this day in 1978 Meat Loaf’s “Bat Out Of Hell” album began a 416 week run in the UK album charts and selling 2 million copies in the process. Mr Loaf is actually called Marvin Lee Aday, his Meat Loaf name allegedy came from an incident when he stood on the foot of his high school football coach. Jim Steinman wrote the ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ album and many claim that it shows his love of Bruce Springsteen, Phil Spector and Wagner. The album was produced by Todd Rundgren. The album supposedly still sells around 200,000 copies per year even now. Is there anyone reading this that doesn’t own the album? Here is Mr Loaf himself with the classic “Paradise By The Dashboard Light” ably assisted by Ellen Foley.
And yet again in 1978 the debut single from the wonderful Kate Bush, “Wuthering Heights” Kate was only 15 when EMI’s interest was sparked by a demo tape of hers was passed to their A & R man Bob Mercer by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd. Gilmour actually plays guitar on the song too in particular that wonderful solo on the fade out. The company spent nearly 3 years on developing Kate as an artist. Sadly with the awful rise of X Factor and Idol shows that kind of thing is almost unheard of these days. She undertook, dance, vocal and mime classes. Her mime teacher was none other than Lindsay Kemp, who also taught David Bowie his mime skills (there you go, yet another Bowie reference). “Wuthering Heights” was originally scheduled for release in November 1977 but the company deemed it to be not radio friendly, it was eventually issued in January 1978. The song was inspired by Emily Bronte’s book of the same name, Kate is a big Bronte fan and even shares her birthday, July 30th. (Kate in 1958 and Emily 140 years earlier in 1818) Here is Ms Bush with that wonderful song and yes “Wuthering Heights” is certainly one of the 50 songs in my top 10
And finally here’s another picture of Kate, simply because I’ve always had a thing for the delectable Ms Bush 🙂