With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“You ask how much I need you, must I explain?” – Advent day 12 December 12, 2013


5978003639_50e93ae9fbI’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.

250px-Johnny_NashFirst 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’.

strokesThe 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!

 

“While shepherds watch their flocks by night, they see a bright new shining star” December 22, 2010


So very nearly there now and definitely onto Christmas songs in my UK Christmas Number Ones Advent Calendar, it’s December 22nd people, are you excited yet? You’re not? Why not? Maybe checking out NORADs Santa Checker will help, click here to find it. In the meantime let me take you back to Christmas 1957, another one from before I was born. This is one of only three songs to reach the Christmas Number One spot more than once. It was also the first song to achieve it. The song in question is “Marys Boy Child” and at Christmas 1957 it was number one in the UK courtesy of the supremely talented Harry Belafonte.

Harry Belafonte with Martin Luther King Jr and Sammy Davis Jr

I remember my Uncle Ben, who incidentally had nothing to do with rice, playing “There’s A Hole In My Bucket” to me on his ukulele. Harry Belafonte had a hit with the song in 1961 as a duet with, according to Wikipedia, Odetta Holmes. However I thought he did the song with Eartha Kitt. My first experience of Eartha Kitt was as her sultry performance in the camp 60s TV version of Batman where she played Catwoman. With hindsight maybe that was the seeds of my sexual awakening!

Anyway Harry’s version of “Mary’s Boy Child” was number one for 7 weeks. Harry first recorded the song in 1956, although it wasn’t released as a single until the following year. The Caribbean island of St Kitts issued postage stamps featuring the song in 1983. It has been covered by many acts, including; Andy Williams, Roger Whittaker, Bryn Terfel, Harry Connick Jr, Three Degrees, Nat King Cole, Jim Reeves, Rolf Harris, Charlotte Church, Juice Newton and of course Boney M.

They didn't have much of a clothing allowance did they?

It was Boney M who took the song back to the Christmas number one spot in the UK at Christmas 1978, their version which formed a medley with “Oh My Lord” was number one for 4 weeks. Boney M were an incredibly successful band in the late 70s, but I really disliked them. They came to prominence when I first started out as a mobile DJ with my good friend Glen Voisey. Thanks to Glen’s brother Gary we were known as Bill & Glen the Disco Men. The group were really the brainchild of German record producer Frank Farian. Their first big hit was “Daddy Cool” which was just about ok, but for me “Brown Girl In The Ring” still resonates as one of my least favourite songs. What do you think of Boney M?

 

 
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