All of you loyal UK subjects who pledge allegiance to Queen Elizabeth are obviously now very busy preparing your street parties and other events aren’t you? Well did you know that she shares her Diamond Jubilee with another British institution that is celebrating a 60 year anniversary? Today, 7th March 2012, is the 60th birthday of the New Musical Express, better known these days as the NME.
Now the last remaining weekly news magazine in the UK the NME has moved on considerably since 1952 when it replaced the ‘Accordion Times and Musical Express’. The nme.com website was launched way back in 1996 and is now the biggest stand-alone music site in the world with more than seven million users every month.
So happy 60th birthday to the NME and all of those who write for it and read it. Many years ago I had a name check in the NME when I sent a copy of an advert for the Sylvanian Family toys. One of the characters was called Roger Waters, which made me think it was both appropriate and amusing. Now celebrate with a couple of NME related songs. One that mentions the NME and two from the excellent C81 cassette issued by the NME in 1981.
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 if I were to say to you that earlier tonight I went to see a 68-year-old pensioner perform a thirty odd year old album it wouldn’t sound particularly exciting would it? But if I said that I’d been to see Roger Waters (off of Pink Floyd) perform the classic Floyd double album ‘The Wall‘ in it’s entirety backed by a superb band, amazing light show, pyrotechnics, massive marionettes, incredible film and animation and a flying pig you might think otherwise right? (But then you’ve probably already read the title of this post anyway!)
Firstly let me thank my friend and work colleague Grant who gave me a ticket for the show. He had already attended last week on the night that remaining Floyd members David Gilmour and Nick Mason joined Mr Waters on stage. So whilst I may have missed the mini Floyd reunion I did see the show and it was something else. Regular readers know that I have been going to gigs now for nearly 40 years and this show is probably straight into my top 5.
Roger Waters performance was commanding and immaculate. The projections on the wall and the other special effects made it more than just another rock show. This was a rock spectacle, a truly spectacular show. I have been listening to the album again these past few days and seeing it performed live makes you realise what a stupendous album it really is. It contains my second favourite Floyd song ever in “Comfortably Numb” My favourite is actually “Wish You Were Here” But ‘The Wall’ is an album I can still listen to end to end. All I needed tonight was a good spliff and it would have been perfect. Snowy White‘s guitar playing was stupendous, especially the solo on “Comfortably Numb”
Many people see the Who as a band who are Rock Opera experts and with ‘Tommy’ and ‘Quadrophenia’ they clearly are damned good. However in the annals of rock opera ‘The Wall’ stands with the best and for an album released nearly 32 years ago really stands the test of time. essentially it’s Waters’ first solo album that just happened to be recorded with Pink Floyd. It is very much about his life and the experiences that shaped him as a man. He is clearly more comfortable in his own skin now than he was all those years ago, but he still tells the story well.
If you get a chance to see this show do whatever it takes; sell your granny, pimp out your budgie or send your kids out to sweep chimneys, anything but make sure you don’t miss the opportunity!
Please note that none of the videos or pictures are from the show I saw, just in case you wondered. Mainly because my camera skills are pretty crap!
Yet more Gaga news for you today, she certainly knows how to create a media stir for herself doesn’t she. I guess I’m as guilty as the rest too as she does appear here quite a bit. She has become the first celebrity to reach ten million Twitter followers. She tweeted this message to her followers; “10 Million Monsters! I’m speechless, we did it! It’s an illness how I love you. Leaving London smiling”. She was the first to reach nine million in March having overtaken Britney Spears last year. She has 24 million ‘likes’ on Facebook although in terms of celebrities Eminem is ahead of her as is Texas Hold ‘Em Poker.
She also appeared at Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Carlisle this weekend. She dedicated a song to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (aka Wills and Kate) and played a couple of jazz numbers. In her continuing quest to make an entrance unlike any other star she arrived on stage in a coffin. She was dressed in black and apparently wearing a prosthetic pregnancy. Unless of course it was real! Before Gaga’s super injunction takes effect I would like to state categorically that I am not the father! I would like to thank my good friend Nick Horslen for sending me the clip of her stage entrance. Incidentally Nick also categorically denies that he is the father. Nick also came up with a pun to describe the Gaga entrance that is up there with my worst puns. It went something like this ‘Lady Gaga had a bit of a coffin fit I hear…’ keep taking the tablets Nick!
Now for some non Gaga news. Last week Roger Waters played a few shows at the O2 Arena in London as part of The Wall tour. I would have loved to have gone but I never got around to booking early enough. But a work friend of mine was there and not only was it a great show, but also for the first time since Live 8 in 2005 the remaining members of Pink Floyd (David Gilmour and Nick Mason) joined Waters on stage. To say that I was envious of my friend Grant would be an understatement, being there for that particular performance is one to tell your grandchildren isn’t it? Click here to check it out on the BBC
And finally time for more mondegreens aka misheard lyrics. These were posted in the Rock Of Ages Yahoo Group and there are some real doozies there!
“I bless the rains down in Africa.” (Toto – Africa)
People sing: “I left my brains down in Africa.”
“Might as well face it, You’re addicted to love” (Robert Palmer – Addicted to love)
“Might as well face it, you’re a dick with a glove.” (some people have suggested that they thought this was about Michael Jackson!
“Body’s aching all the time.” (Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody)
“but he’s naked all the time.”
“And as we wind on down the road.” (Led Zeppelin – Stairway to heaven)
“There’s a wino down the road.”
“And kept her apart from the things that she loved.” (The Beatles – Getting Better)
“And kicked her apartment of things that’s Sheila.”
“Excuse me while I kiss the sky.” (Jimi Hendrix – Purple Haze)
“Excuse me while I kiss this guy.”
“See that girl, watch that scene, dig in the dancing queen” (Abba – Dancing Queen)
” See that girl, watch her scream, kicking the dancing queen.”
“Like a virgin, touched for the very first time” (madonna – Like a Virgin)
“Like a virgin, touched for the thirty-first time”
“We built this city on rock and roll.” (Starship – We built this city)
“We built this city on log and coal.”
“I’ll never be your beast of burden.” (Rolling Stones – Beast of Burden)
“I’ll never leave your pizza burnin’.”
“Here we are now, entertain us.” (Nirvana – Smells like teen spirit)
“Here we are now, in containers.”
“The answer, my friend,
is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.” (Bob Dylan – Blowin’ in the wind)
“The ants are my friends,
they’re blowin’ in the wind
The ants are a-blowin’ in the wind.”
“Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road.” (Green day – Time of your life)
“Another turnip boy, the Ford stuck in the road.”
“Got my mind set on you.” (George Harrison – Got my mind set on you)
“Thought my mom sat on you.”
“There’s a bad moon on the rise.” (Creedence Clearwater Revival – Bad Moon Rising)
“There’s a bathroom on the right.”
Just because I love the song and it doesn’t get played too much here is “Beast Of Burden” by the Stones.
Purely another opportunity for me to show this picture, nothing else!
December 14th. Are you getting excited yet? Maybe you will when you help me open todays little cardboard door on my UK Christmas Number Ones Advent Calendar. It’s a real doozie. It was number one at Christmas 1979 and stayed at the top for 5 weeks. It was the bands only official post Syd Barrett UK single as well. It was the mighty Pink Floyd with “Another Brick In the Wall – part 2” taken from the album ‘The Wall’ which was pretty close to a Roger Waters solo album, allegedly. In my opinion it is truly a brilliant album and to give the Floyd their only UK singles number one, well that is amazing!
This is certainly how I felt at school, how about you?
The song is a protest song against the rigid education system, mostly from a private schools perspective. But when I was was at school in the 70s I must admit it was a very rigid system, certainly in the sense that no one really explained what my purpose was. Why did I have to sit these exams, why did I have to go to 6th form and why was I supposed to go to University? At the time I never really understood and actually left school aged 16. I was however a little lucky as I went to Grammar School, this meant that I took (and passed) my ‘O’ Levels in Maths and English a year early! But after that I dropped out and bunked off most days. I managed to fail 7 ‘O’ Levels in the 5th Form, largely because I didn’t try and didn’t attend. However I was gutted that I failed Art as I really did turn up and put a lot of work into it! Anyway it’s all done now and luckily it did me no harm.
In the end I felt I was able to walk away from the mincer by leaving school at 16
In 1980 the apartheid regime banned the song in South Africa as it was used by people protesting against the racist education system. the Islington Green School Choir appeared on the song at the behest of producer Bob Ezrin. The school was not far from Britannia Studios where ‘The Wall’ was recorded. The song also hit the top of the US charts and was number one in many European countries as well.
As a footnote I just had to mention this. Many of you will be aware of the recent student riots in the UK in protest against University fees. Well it seems that Dave Gilmour’s son Charlie was a naughty boy during the protests. Well more of a total twat really, he swung off the flag on the Cenotaph thus denigrating the memories of millions of war dead. Charlie you twat! Anyway there was a letter to the Guardian today from a Mr Alan Cripps of London and it goes like this ‘ David Gilmour‘s son In University fees protest? Surely he don’t need no education? Top man Mr Cripps, I loved that letter. Read the Charlie Gilmour story in the Guardian by clicking here.
Is this country finally waking up? Are the downtrodden finally kicking back? Are those that consider themselves middle class no longer ignoring the obvious? Are our students finally in control of their rebellious gene? Let’s hope so! This week saw more than 50,000 people on the streets of London to protest at the raising of student fees. This follows protests about the schools building programme cuts in July, another anti cuts rally in Sheffield last month and the occupation of an RBS bank last week. OK I know the Daily Mail readers out there will be getting all sanctimonious about the violence and to a large extent I agree. (Yep me agreeing with a Daily Mail opinion, fucking hell am I getting old?) I do not condone violence of any kind and I truly believe that this was caused by just a small minority as is often the case.
With Nick Laurel and Dave Hardy at the wheel we can't go wrong....... can we?
Bear in mind that these protests have all taken place before the coalition cuts have begun to bite, so I think things will get much worse before they get better. Just look at the housing benefit plans, sure a great way of saving money in the short-term, but with private rents rising far quicker than the government are predicting a recipe for disaster. If it goes to plan it will lead to an exodus of people from London as they can no longer afford to live there. Where will that exodus take them? Why probably into all the areas in the country where there will be no jobs! Now that really makes sense doesn’t it? I do not disagree that cuts are needed in expenditure but there are far better ways of doing it. Over a longer period, with more considered plans etc.
Cameron prepares to throw the baby out with the bathwater
As for those of you that aspire to be or consider yourselves to be middle class, get over it! There are two classes in this country; the filthy rich and the rest of us! Just remember that the current cabinet contains 18 millionaires among its members. These are the people who believe they are leading the country, a mistake which many politicians make (Thatcher, Blair and more). They do not lead us, they serve us and it would be wise of them to remember this.
Clearly this picture proves that Nick Clegg has been David Cameron's ventriloquist dummy all along
I do not believe that this government will see out its full term and therefore we will have the opportunity to voice our opinions through the ballot box again. When the time comes do not bow to apathy, get off your arse and vote. Let’s show the politicians whose country this really is. Anyway, rant over and let me get back to the music. Obviously I have chosen some appropriate stuff for you!
“White Riot” – The Clash. The song is not about race war as many pundits suggested at the time. According to Joe Strummer it is in fact a call to arms of the white youth of Britain to riot against things that were oppressing them in the same way that black youth in the 70s did.
“Let’s Start A Riot” – Three Days Grace. These guys are an Alternative Canadian band who released their 3rd album, ‘Life Starts Here’ last year.
“Panic” – The Smiths This Morrissey/ Marr composition is not really about social unrest, it’s actually about the poor state of pop music at the time. But frankly it still fits on both levels. It was the first Smiths single to feature new member Craig Gannon.
“Walls Come Tumbling Down” – Style Council This is a superb attack on those that govern and I love it. Weller often gets criticised for the Style Council, but I think they were far better than the press thought they were. This song reached number 7 in the UK charts.
“Another Brick In The Wall” – Roger Waters The Wall album is seen by many as close to being Roger Waters solo album. This video is from his current tour playing The Wall in its entirety.
“Going Underground” – The Jam. This song did not feature on any of the bands studio albums although it has been on most Jam compilations. I almost took the title for this post from the song. The couplet, “their lies let you down and their promises rust” would have worked well. This went straight into the UK charts at number 1.
“I Predict A Riot” – Kaiser Chiefs Formed in Leeds in 1997 the band took their name from a South African football team; the Kaizer Chiefs. The band are Leeds United supporters and former Leeds player Lucas Radebe used to play for the Kaizer Chiefs.
“Fight The Power” – Isley Brothers. Written by Ernie Isley this is a really funky protest song. Public Enemy were inspired by it a few years later.
“You Haven’t Done Nothing” – Stevie Wonder This clip appears to be taken from the Andy Williams show. It’s an excellent piece of protest from Mr Wonder. Did you know that the backing vocals on the original studio version were recorded by Motown stablemates at the time, the Jackson 5.
I do worry sometimes that Jedward may be a little more intelligent than Nivid or Dick
This is all that's left of the last person who did a bad cover version of one of my songs, so take heed Cowell!
Travesty hardly does it justice in my opinion, but frankly I am both saddened and angered that the X Factor Finalists charity single this year will be their version of David Bowie’s “Heroes”. OK I haven’t heard it yet, but I really can’t imagine it will be anything better than mediocre at best. The only redeeming feature is that it will be raising money for the Help For Heroes charity. Incidentally I do find it sad that the soldiers who get injured in pointless wars like the one in Iraq have to rely on our charity for a better life. I don’t begrudge them that at all, I just think that the government should do much more for them. By the way, just because I don’t support the war in Iraq and other places doesn’t mean I don’t support our soldiers that are out there risking their lives. Anyway rant over for now. read about this awful cover version at the NME and the BBC.
The Division Bell goes Lego
In some more encouraging news Nick Mason, sticksman for the Floyd has said that charity could lure the band back on stage together at some point in the future. Their last appearance on stage together was at Live 8 in 2005. But Roger Waters and David Gilmour did play together in Oxfordshire in July this year in aid of the Hoping Foundation which supports Palestinian children. Let’s hope Mr Mason is correct and that it happens soon. How about Pink Floyd at Glastonbury? Read all about it here on the BBC and NME.
Rob Dickins former boss of Warner Records for 15 years up to 1998 has claimed the way to save the industry and really hit back at piracy is to reduce album prices to just £1. Personally I totally agree with him. I believe that there is no greater reason for people to illegally download than the current price of music, particularly downloads which require no physical product to support them. Here is the story on the BBC. What do you folks think? What percentage of your downloads are illegal?
The Inbetweeners boys raid the NME
Finally for this post, this week’s NME was taken over and edited by the boys from superb British comedy the Inbetweeners. If you haven’t seen it yet, what are you waiting for? I also understand that the rights have been sold to the US, I really cannot imagine how the hell it will translate for a US audience. Click here for pictures of their takeover of the NME.