With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

“It Ain’t Nothing But A Heartbreaker, Friend Only To The Undertaker” June 23, 2011


I may have missed quite a few music related deaths recently, well certainly in regarding to posting on this blog anyway. One of the biggest of those was the late, great Clarence Clemons long time sax player and personality in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. He also played a few tracks with Lady Gaga recently. So whilst much has been said about the passing of such a great man I will not add much to that right now. However if you click here you will be taken to the excellent Barely Awake In Frog Pajamas blog which contains, for me, the best write-up of Clarence Clemons I have read since his sad passing.

 But there was another non music related death last week which I would like to say something about; Brian Haws passed away from cancer aged 62, he spent most of the last 10 years protesting outside the Houses Of Parliament in Westminster. His protest began in June 2001 as a voice against the sanctions imposed on Iraq and gained popularity (although not among some politicians) in a post 9/11 world where Blair cosied up to Bush and took us into a pointless war. I am not religious in any way, shape or form so I wouldn’t agree with Brian Haws Christian beliefs, however I have immense respect, admiration and support for what he did. The law makers of Westminster did their best to move him from his prime Westminster position and failed abysmally. Essentially Haws won his legal argument to remain when his lawyer pointed out that the new law, which was essentially designed to move Brian on, had a clause in it that said such protests were only permitted if the police were informed before the protest started and agreed to let it happen. As Brian started his protest before the law came into being he was exempt. Which begs the question exactly how bright are our politicians and their lawyers? It’s nice to know that the little man still has an opportunity to stick one to ‘the man’

As a footnote I once met Brian Haws, albeit very briefly. I had been to a business meeting in Westminster and as I was walking to the underground station and I was just across the road from Brian’s spot. I had heard that a number of supporters stopped by for a chat and gave him sandwiches and such. I decided that I couldn’t let the opportunity pass so I decided to cross the road and speak to him. It was very brief but I expressed my support for his stance and wished him well. I also gave him a Mars Bar which was all I had on me food wise. I think that was in 2004. Brian Haws RIP I hope that there are many more individuals in the world with that kind of courage of conviction.

As usual I would like to bring this back to music as after all it is a music blog. So enjoy the following songs in the spirit of Brian Haws protest;

 “War” – Bruce Springsteen

Two Tribes” – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

“Taxi For Mr Blair” – Sicknote

Give Peace A Chance” – Plastic Ono Band

“War” – Edwin Starr

 

“I write “I’m sorry” but my letter keeps coming back” December 2, 2010


Here we are on December 2nd and the second day of my Christmas Advent Calendar. As I said yesterday, this year it’s all about UK Christmas number ones, next up is one of my favourite Elvis songs. It may not be classic Sun Records or Elvis or Memphis Sessions Elvis, but it’s definitely not Fat Elvis! It’s a truly classic pop song and it’s “Return To Sender”. It was the UK Christmas number one for 1962, just before my 4th birthday (wow that’s bloody old!) it held the top spot for three weeks. The session player who provided the baritone saxophone sound was in fact Bobby Keys. He has played with the Rolling Stones for years and also played on George Harrison‘s ‘All Things Must Pass’ album.

Elvis clearly didn't trust the US Postal Service so he delivered this one directly to President 'Tricky Dicky' Nixon

and here is an extract from that very letter to Nixon

On January 8th 1993, what would have been Presley’s 58th birthday the US Postal Service released a set of Elvis stamps. Apparently many people bought them and used them to send letters to fictitious addresses in the hope that they would be returned stamped ‘RETURN TO SENDER‘!

Here is Elvis performing the song as Ross Carpenter in the film ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’

Here is a later period (Fat Elvis) with a live version of the song

I’d like to finish with two postal related songs for your further pleasure. Starting with “Blame It On The Pony Express” from Johnny Johnson and the Bandwagon. I love that song. After that you’ll get the Box Tops with “The Letter”

 

“Get your face off the Facebook and turn off your phone” May 4, 2010


Squeezing into that little box was easy, but Gordo, Dave and Nicky realised it was going to be bloody difficult to get out!

As I have said many times before this is ostensibly a music blog and therefore pretty much everything I write about gets taken in that direction. This post is no exception. Thursday 6th May sees another General Election in the UK, the 8th one that I have been eligible to vote at, having reached official voting age before the 1979 election.

If only it were true 🙂

I have never failed to cast my vote and I urge you to do the same. It is the apathetic voters that allow the extremists into power, we cannot let that happen with evil and deluded parties like the BNP. But this week those of us in the UK should also vote for change. I know that voting for change is somewhat of a cliché, however I believe that our first past the post system has now had its day. A system that would allow the party with fewer votes to win more seats in parliament is not right, is it?

Most of the fake posters for this election have been better than the real ones don't you think?

In many ways I don’t care who you vote for, but I do care that people actually get off their arse and use theirs. So don’t let the country down, let’s mobilise for a massive turnout!

While you consider who you vote for here are some alleged trivial facts about the leaders of the three main parties; Nick Clegg once set fire to a very rare cactus. Gordon Brown apparently eats nine bananas a day and David Cameron is a direct descendent of King William IV

As I said at the start this is not a vehicle to voice my political opinions, (well perhaps apart from my dislike of the BNP) it’s a music blog. So here are twenty political type songs for you to enjoy while watching the remaining election coverage this week. Enjoy! You can follow the election on the BBC or the Guardian(I will be). Oh and there is also a hidden track somewhere in this post, have you found it? The usual crap prize, subject to postage awaits the first person to tell me what it is and where it is!

Ball Of Confusion – Temptations. This song reminds me so much of my youth and for me is one of the greatest songs Norman Whitfield produced for the Temptations. There was also a pretty good cover produced for Tina Turner by Glenn Gregory and Martyn Ware off of the British Electric Foundation (BEF), also off of Heaven 17 and also once off of the Human League! Click here to listen to Tina’s version.

Elected – Alice Cooper. Probably one of my favourite Alice Cooper songs. Did you know he actually ran for the US Presidency in 1972? With a hook line of “They’re changing guards at President Palace, out goes Nixon and in comes Alice” Why I remember that line I don’t know, but it has been stuck in my head now for nearly 40 years! There was a cover of this song a few years ago in aid of Comic Relief which I believe was credited to Mr Bean and Bruce Dickinson off of Iron Maiden. Click here for that one!

Electioneering – Radiohead. Taken from the classic ‘OK Computer’ album and seen by many as one of the greatest political songs. It also takes a nice dig at the IMF too

Election Day – Arcadia. The Duran Duran offshoot that wasn’t the Power Station, well that’s my view. I would always prefer a band with Robert Palmer as vocalist rather than Simon Le Bon. Which one did you prefer?

The Politics Of Dancing – Re-Flex. In this list purely for the title! You know how low my opinion of most 80s stuff is! ‘Nuff said!

You Haven’t Done Nothing – Stevie Wonder. Now this is a superb song and so true of today’s politicians. If you listen carefully you can hear Stevie bringing the backing vocalists in when he says “Jackson Five come sing along” Yes, it was the Jackson clan providing the ‘doo do wops’ on this song

Abraham, Martin And John – Marvin Gaye. Motown really started to get politics in the late 60’s and early 70’s didn’t it, this was in advance of Marvin’s classic ‘What’s Going On’ album, more of which later. I believe that Dion off of Dion and the Belmonts also had a hit with this

Stand Down Margaret – The Beat. In the event her own party stood her down. Whilst I was really pleased that it happened it was pretty disloyal wasn’t it?

A Design For Life – Manic Street Preachers. For me the opening line says everything about when the working class really moved forward. “Libraries gave us power”

Police And Thieves – Clash. I will never tire of hearing this excellent cover of Junior Murvin’s brilliant song, oh and did I tell you that I consider the Clash to be the best band there has ever been? I did? I thought so

So Much Trouble In The World – Bob Marley And The Wailers. No political song list would be complete without Mr Marley in my opinion and there are so many good ones to choose from.

The President Wore Pearls – Lisa Simpson. What can I say about this? Lisa is trying to get elected but doesn’t think she will be cool enough

Anarchy For The UK – Sex Pistols. Well we may not have anarchy by Friday but we will probably have a hung parliament as opposed to some parliamentarians who should be hung. Duck islands and moats indeed!

Rocking In The Free World – Neil Young and Pearl Jam. Great combination which gives Mr Young extra added rock power, also a bloody good song too

Vote Baby Vote – Lady Kier off of Deee Lite. This was put together for an MTV special ‘Rock The Vote’ show, so it’s perhaps more a jingle than a song, but the message is very clear

I Wanna Grow Up To Be A Politician – Roger McGuinn off of the Byrds. I wonder if this is when politics became a career? I don’t know about you but the term career politician seems to be an oxymoron, with the emphasis on the moron bit for many of them!

Wake Up The Nation – Paul Weller. Is there no stopping this bloke? His last album ’22 Dreams’ was fantastic and the new one ‘Wake Up the Nation’ is even better in my opinion. Nice to hear him getting a tad angry too. How weird is it that Old Etonian David Cameron claims ‘Eton Rifles’ by the Jam as one of his favourite songs? Surely he can’t have listened to the lyrics can he?

Ghost Town – Specials. Reached number one at the height of Thatcher’s early years and amidst all the inner city rioting across the UK. It really summed up the nation at the time I think. It was the night the band performed this on Top Of The Pops that Terry Hall, Lynval Golding and Neville Staple told Jerry Dammers that they were leaving the band to form the Fun Boy Three. Whose first hit was, and still is, appropriate for politicians; “The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum

What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye. Taken from one of my favourite albums of all time and the lyrics and message are still sadly relevant today, nearly 40 years after it’s release

Arrogance, Ignorance And Greed – Show Of Hands. One of Catwoman’s favourite bands and she has got me into them too. The message on this one fits pretty well all modern politicians and perhaps bankers too. Most of them are arrogant, ignorant greedy bastards aren’t they?

 

 
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