With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“And the only things I see are emptiness and loneliness and an unlit Christmas tree” Blog Advent Calendar Day 13 December 13, 2014


Mud-In-London-009

Are you excited yet? You must be right? There are only 12 more big sleeps to the big day. Have you bought all your presents? What did you get for me? I hope that it was something expensive. Anyway it’s December 13th a.k.a Day 13 a.k.a the letter ‘M’ of this years advent blog post. Regular readers will know that this year it is the ABC of British bands. If you’re not a regular reader please feel free to waste an hour catching up on the letters ‘A’ to ‘L’.

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In the meantime though let’s get back to todays band; it’s Mud. That’s neat, that’s neat, that’s neat, that’s neat isn’t it? Although the band formed in 1966 they didn’t have their first chart hit until 1973 with “Crazy”. That kicked off a run of UK 10 UK top 20 hits lasting up until 1975. This included three UK number one hits; “Tiger Feet“, “Lonely This Christmas” and a cover of Buddy Holly’s “Oh Boy”. Ellie Hope off of Liquid Gold who had a big hit with “Dance Yourself Dizzy” in 1980 sang backing vocals on Mud’s version of “Oh Boy”.

mud

Band members were Rob Davis (guitar), Ray Stiles (bass), Dave Mount (drums) and Les Gray on vocals. Sadly Les and Dave are no longer with us having passed away in 2004 and 2006 respectively. The last time the four of them played together was at Dave Mount’s wedding in 1990. Rob Davis has had a lot of success as a songwriter in recent years co-writing hits for Kylie Minogue (“Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”) and Spiller (“Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love)”) among others. But enough of the recent activity, take yourself back to the 70s and enjoy some Mud classics.

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“And you know I’m so wired up I don’t need any more tea in my cup” July 30, 2012


This post is my 501st, so I thought to myself what can I do to celebrate such a milestone? Actually the 500th post would have been a better one to celebrate but I missed that with all the excitement of the Olympics clouding my view. So is the number 501 meaningful in any way? well yes it is; it’s the score that most darts matches count down from. So does that help me come up with a theme for a celebratory 501st post on this blog? A darts theme on a music blog? Is it possible? Can it be done? Will this idiot stop rambling and get on with it? Well indeed I will. Welcome to my special darts themed post to celebrate issue 501! Let me add that when I say darts-themed I do mean that in the loosest sense possible!

So I thought I’d choose three darts related songs, one to represent each of three darts used in every turn at the oche. With the first dart I have hit, rather obviously, Darts the group. This band had quite a bit of chart action in the late 70s. They had a run of seven consecutive UK top 20 hits from 1977 to 1979. This included three that stalled at number two, sadly this meant they never reached the top spot. Those nearly number ones were; “Come Back My Love”, “The Boy From New York City” and “It’s Raining”, all from 1977. Their cover of the classic “Duke Of Earl” was produced by none other than Roy Wood off of the Move, Electric Light Orchestra and Wizzard. Another glam period connection is that Rob Davis the guitarist from Mud was briefly a Dart. That was before he went on to reach amazing heights as a songwriter including song such as Kylie’s “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”. The song I have chosen from Darts is one that also sums up summer so far in the UK this year; “It’s Raining”

For my second dart I am selecting Franz Ferdinand, the band as opposed to the famous Archduke. Their first single was released in 2003 and was called “Darts Of Pleasure“. Interestingly it was released on the Domino label, another popular pub game. Alex Kapranos of the band has said in interviews that the song is actually about seduction and that the darts of pleasure that hit you are in fact words. It was written by Kapranos and band colleague Nick McCarthy. The single peaked at number 44 in the UK charts in 2003. however their follow-up, the festival friendly “Take Me Out” was a smash. It was their biggest UK hit reaching the heady heights of number three. It also made the top twenty in Canada, Ireland and New Zealand, along with a creditable number 66 on the US Billboard chart. So now you can enjoy “Darts Of Pleasure”

For my last dart I had no other option in my opinion other than Dexys Midnight Runners. In 1982 the band released a cover version of Van Morrison’s song in praise of the late, great Jackie Wilson; “Jackie Wilson Said” (I’m In Heaven When You Smile)” The song reached number 5 in the UK charts, Morrison’s version was never a hit in the UK but did make the US top 75. Dexys played the song on the BBC’s Top Of The Pops show in 1982 and the screen behind them displayed a picture of darts player Jocky Wilson rather than supreme soul singer Jackie Wilson. For many years it was thought that this was a cock-up on the part of the Top Of The Pops production team. However Kevin Rowland has subsequently revealed that it was the band who asked for a picture of Jocky Wilson. Apparently they often referred to the song as Jocky and if this is true it just goes to prove that underneath that supposedly serious demeanour Mr Rowland has a damned good sense of humour! So here is my final dart, hitting a double top to win with a classic from Dexys!

 

“My tears could melt the snow” December 24, 2010


Almost over for this year then, it’s the penultimate day of my UK Christmas Number Ones Advent Calendar, it’s December 24th, Christmas Eve. So as we are that close to the big day I have decided to take you back to the Christmas of 1974 and I hope you won’t be lonely at Christmas because todays song is from Mud and it’s “Lonely This Christmas”. It stayed at number one for 4 weeks. Like many of the big pop hits of the 70s it was written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, whose publishing company was known as Chinnichap. A bit like a pre Jedward melding of names there methinks.

“Lonely This Christmas” was the second of their UK number ones following “Tiger Feet” earlier in 1974 and a cover of Buddy Holly’sOh Boy” in 1975. Singer Les Gray was well-known for his Elvis soundalike vocal, in fact at the time many people believed that “Lonely This Christmas” was by Elvis himself! Sadly Les Gray died of a heart attack in 2004. Drummer Dave Mount died in December 2006.

Of the two remaining band members bass guitarist Ray Stiles joined the Hollies. However lead guitarist Rob Davis has carved out a very successful career as a songwriter. He has written dance hits for Kylie Minogue and Spiller featuring Sophie Ellis Bextor. The latter hit the number one spot with a song that Davis co wrote, it was “Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love)” it also, thankfully, prevented Victoria Beckham from having a solo number one. She remains the only former Spice Girl never to have a solo number one.

 

 
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