With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Mayhem’s Unsung Heroes – Betty the Tea Lady at Wessex Studios March 12, 2019


 

Betty the lady that made Big Tea with the Boyz That Made Big Noize

This is the first in what I hope will be a reasonably regular feature to give some airtime to those unsung folks that played an important part in music history. Back in July 2017 I posted an article about the recording of the Queen classic “We Will Rock You” after reading a piece in Classic Rock magazine. Click here to read that post. The band and Producer Roy Thomas Baker wanted to get a full and powerful stomp to back it up. Everyone in the studio was rounded up to provide that now familiar stomping and clapping refrain, essentially everyone stamped their feet twice and clapped their hands on the offbeat. Incidentally no drums were used on the track. Now not only was everyone in the studio involved but so was Betty the Tea Lady. No one remembers much about her other than her name was Betty, she made the tea at Wessex Sound Studios in North London and that she lived next door to the studio. Well after adding a plea for information about Betty I have heard from two of her five children. Sadly, Betty passed away eleven years ago. However, I had a long and delightful telephone conversation with Betty’s daughter Rosemary. It was Rosemary that drew the short straw and was nominated to do the interview on behalf of herself and her four siblings (a.k.a. “The Other Four”). She walked me through a wonderful potted history of her mother.

Mike Batt at Wessex Studios with the Kursaal Flyers

The studio itself used to be a Sunday School and one of the main recording areas used to be a classroom. It first became a studio in the 1960s and at various times it was owned by Bill Price, songwriter Les Reed, Chrysalis Records and George Martin was a director for a time. Betty worked at Wessex Studios for 27 years after replying to an advert that was posted on a tree. Many famous and successful bands and singers recorded at Wessex including the Sex Pistols, King Crimson, the Clash, Theatre of Hate, XTC, Slade, Queen, Talk Talk, the Rolling Stones, Pete Townshend and The Damned. Betty, who in addition to carrying out the tea lady duties, also covered the reception desk and met many of them. She got on particularly well with King Crimson. There was always a picture of Queen on the serving hatch. According to her daughter Betty was one of those sadly too rare people who have an innate ability to get on with anyone. Betty and her family, she had five kids including one set of triplets, lived in a flat very close to the studio.

Never Mind The Sex Pistols Here’s the Lapsang Souchong

Rosemary said that she sometimes went to the studio to help her Mum and on one occasion Betty asked her to take a tray of tea to the Sex Pistols. Apparently, Rosemary really wasn’t impressed by the band and told her Mum. Betty’s response was that in her experience the Sex Pistols were always very polite and always behaved respectfully towards her. Betty was invited to many award ceremonies as a part of the studio team and to all the studio parties. For one fancy dress party Betty dressed as a punk in bin liners and safety pins. British comedy legend Roy Kinnear filmed some film scenes in Betty’s flat. On another occasion Mike Batt could be found watching The Wombles on the TV in Betty’s flat. Mike, a big cricket fan, bought one of Betty’s sons a cricket bat. People who worked or recorded at the studio really loved Betty. The Singing Nun of “Dominique” fame sang at Rosemary’s wedding. Many of the acts who recorded at Wessex gave Betty a thank you credit on their albums. Slade even named their 1987 album ‘You Boyz Make Big Noize’ after Betty had heard them and uttered that very phrase, albeit probably not spelled the Slade way. Betty loved music and particularly loved to dance. In her younger days she would often visit the Palais. I am sure that Wessex Studios would not have been the same without Betty, she truly is an unsung music history hero!

Public Service Announcement: If Any of the pictures are yours and you would like a credit or would like them removed please let me know

 

With Just A Hint Of Mayhem is ten years old! Part 10b (The Singles) February 9, 2019


With Just A Hint Of Mayhem’s birthday celebrations are nearly over. Today is day 10 and it is February 9th which is the official 10th birthday…. WOO HOO, here’s to ten more years! Today you get two top tens in two separate posts this one is my top ten favourite singles and part 10a features my top 10 albums.

Regular readers will know that so far I have shared with you top ten most viewed posts on the blog since it began back in February 2009, the top ten countries that have given With Just A Hint Of Mayhem the most views, rock/ music related books, biographies and autobiographies, my top 10 Bowie songs, my 10 favourite bands of all time, my top ten favourite male artists, the ten greatest gigs that I have been to, my ten favourite music related films and yesterday my top ten favourite female artists.  (Click here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here to view those again). So this is it for the 10th birthday celebrations but there is, I hope, much more to come from With Just A Hint Of Mayhem in the coming months and years, watch this space!

Don’t forget that you can also find us on Twitter  and FaceBook .

So here are my top ten favourite singles of all time, ask me next week and the list may change, although almost certainly not the number 1. I did deliberately ignore David Bowie for this list otherwise he might have occupied three or four places. If you are interested my favourite Bowie single at the moment is “Where Are We Now?”

1. No Woman No Cry (Live) – Bob Marley and the Wailers – In my opinion the greatest song and the greatest version. This will be my funeral song, unless of course I turn out to be immortal!
2. Strawberry Letter 23 – Brothers Johnson – The great Shuggie Otis wrote this but the Brothers Johnson made it their own.
3. I Want You Back – Jackson 5 – This is possibly one of the finest pop songs ever committed to vinyl. That opening piano flourish is magical.
4. White Man In The Hammersmith Palais – The Clash – For me this was the Clash’s finest hour both musically and lyrically.
5. Don’t Let Me Down – Beatles Amazing to think that this was just a B Side. It is my go to song to sing at volume when I am very drunk.
6. Do Anything You Wanna Do – Eddie And The Hot Rods – A truly inspirational song which still inspires me even in my advanced years!
7. God Save The Queen- Sex Pistols – Fear and conspiracy kept this from the number one spot in the Queens Silver Jubilee week in 1977. For me this should be the true UK national anthem.
8. Theme From A Summer Place – Percy Faith Orchestra – You might say that this is one of my guilty pleasures, well maybe, but it is a beautiful piece of music. It was also used to great effect in the TV adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘Rose Red’.
9. Mack The Knife – Bobby Darin – I love story songs and this is easily one of the best. The law says that you have to tap your feet and click your fingers to this, right?
10. Into My Arms – Nick Cave – As love songs go this might be quite strange but it is undoubtedly beautiful too. This was also the first dance at my wedding to my wonderful wife Catwoman a.k.a Catherine.

 

 

With Just A Hint Of Mayhem is ten years old! Part 10a (The Albums)


With Just A Hint Of Mayhem’s birthday celebrations are nearly over. Today is day 10 and it is February 9th which is the official 10th birthday…. WOO HOO, here’s to ten more years! Today you get two top tens in two separate posts this one is my top ten favourite albums and part 10b features my top 10 singles.

Regular readers will know that so far I have shared with you top ten most viewed posts on the blog since it began back in February 2009, the top ten countries that have given With Just A Hint Of Mayhem the most views, rock/ music related books, biographies and autobiographies, my top 10 Bowie songs, my 10 favourite bands of all time, my top ten favourite male artists, the ten greatest gigs that I have been to, my ten favourite music related films and yesterday my top ten favourite female artists.  (Click here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here to view those again). So this is it for the 10th birthday celebrations but there is, I hope, much more to come from With Just A Hint Of Mayhem in the coming months and years, watch this space!

Don’t forget that you can also find us on Twitter  and FaceBook .

So here are my top ten favourite albums of all time, ask me next week and the list may change, although almost certainly not the number 1. I did deliberately ignore David Bowie for this list otherwise he might have occupied three or four places. If you are interested my favourite Bowie album is ‘Diamond Dogs’

1. Live At The Lyceum 1975 – Bob Marley and the Wailers – If I had a time machine I would go back to 1975 and be there for this gig. Probably the finest live album ever.
2. OK Computer – Radiohead – There are still some people out there who don’t like, or maybe don’t get, Radiohead. Why the fuck not? This LP is a work of genius.
3. Dog Man Star – Suede – I loved Suede’s first album but this took them to a whole new level. Were they BritPop? If so then they were one of the best BritPop acts by far.
4. My Merry Go Round – Johnny Nash – This man, for me, has the most beautiful voice that I have ever heard in my life. This album from 1973 has remained among my favourite albums since its release.
5. Skeleton Tree – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – How can anyone put so much emotion, empathy and sadness in a small collection of songs? I have no idea but Nick Cave certainly achieved it with this album.
6. Abbey Road – Beatles – I love many albums from the Fab Four, but this is the one I always come back to.
7. Never Mind The Bollocks – Sex Pistols – An incendiary début from one of the best punk bands ever. What might have happened if they had stayed together? Who knows but an album like this as your legacy is a great thing!
8. Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too – New Radicals – There is not a track I would skip on this album. The band is effectively the genius that is Gregg Alexander who wrote and produced all the songs.
9. What’s Going On? – Marvin Gaye – Probably the best protest and message album in history and one which is sadly still very pertinent today
10. Desire – Bob Dylan – It took me a long while to acquire a taste for Mr Zimmerman, but this album clinched it.

 

 

 

With Just A Hint Of Mayhem is ten years old! Part 8 February 7, 2019

Filed under: Film,Trivia — justwilliam1959 @ 10:43 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Well nearly all the candles are blown out on the With Just A Hint Of Mayhem 10th birthday cake. Today is day 8 and I am giving you a list of my ten favourite music related films.

Regular readers will know that so far I have shared with you top ten most viewed posts on the blog since it began back in February 2009, the top ten countries that have given With Just A Hint Of Mayhem the most views, rock/ music related books, biographies and autobiographies, my top 10 Bowie songs, my 10 favourite bands of all time, my top ten favourite male artists and yesterday the ten greatest gigs that I have been to. (Click here, here, here, here, here, here and here to view those again). Stay tuned, there are only two top tens to come after this! What will they be? Well sign up, follow or just check out this site regularly to find out! I can tell you that the remaining top tens will be my favourite female artists, my favourite albums and my favourite singles. Yes I know that makes eleven in total, but you’ll get a double whammy on the actually birthday itself 🙂

Don’t forget that you can also find us on Twitter  and FaceBook .

The list of films is not in any order of preference, simply chronological. What is your favourite music related film?

Let It Be (1970) worth it just for the footage of the last live show on the roof of the Apple building
American Graffiti (1973) maybe not really a music film as such, but it evokes a feeling of the early days of rock ‘n’ roll with a soundtrack to die for
Phantom Of The Paradise (1974) Directed by Brian De Palma and scored by Paul Williams. Very underrated in my opinion, it is a rock take on the Phantom Of The Opera
Tommy (1975) Ken Russell goes full wacko in this fabulous cinematic adaptation of the Who’s great opus
The Last Waltz (1978) An epic documentary showcasing the Band’s last concert
Quadrophenia (1979) One of my favourite Who albums turned into a full on story of mods, rockers, clothes, drugs and life
This Is Spinal Tap (1984) The definitive rock mockumentary and still funny even 35 years down the line……. smell the glove!
Almost Famous (2000) If I lived my life again I would do anything that I could to write for Rolling Stone or even the NME
The Filth And The Fury (2000) Julien Temple’s stunning documentary of the rise and fall of the Sex Pistols
Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) I really did not want to like this, but I bloody love it!

 

With Just A Hint Of Mayhem is ten years old! Part 5 February 4, 2019

Filed under: News,Trivia — justwilliam1959 @ 11:15 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

More 10th birthday list shenanigans for With Just A Hint Of Mayhem. Today it is my ten favourite bands of all time, although as with other lists this might be different if I did it again next week! Obviously this is in no particular order. Regular readers will know that so far I have shared with you top ten most viewed posts on the blog since it began back in February 2009, the top ten countries that have given With Just A Hint Of Mayhem the most views, rock/ music related books, biographies and autobiographies and yesterday my top 10 Bowie songs. (Click here, here, here and here to view those again). Stay tuned, there are still five top tens to come after this! What will they be? Well sign up, follow or just check out this site regularly to find out! What are your favourite bands, be they current, ancient or defunct?

Don’t forget that you can also find us on Twitter  and FaceBook .

My current top ten bands of all time are; Radiohead, the Beatles, U2, Avalanche Party, Gene, the Clash, KLF, Sex Pistols, Nirvana, the Eels

 

“For you things, seem to turn out right I wish they’d only happen to me instead” December 6, 2018


I guess it must be my age in that so many people who were a part of my younger years have left us. I am sure many of you are now aware that northern punk stalwart Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks passed away at just 63 after a suspected heart attack. The Buzzcocks were a classic British band in so many ways. They did not ape the US vocalisation of some, they stuck to their guns, remembered their roots and produced some amazing music along the way. Contrary to popular belief the band were probably not named after a slang term for a vibrator. But supposedly about the buzz or the happening with cock being English north-western slang for mate, pal or friend. The band formed in Bolton in 1976 in a coming together of Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto. Both became early fans of the Sex Pistols, travelling down to London to see them play in February 1976. After that Devoto and Shelley were the instigators of the Pistols now infamous and iconic show at Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall in June 1976. The pair was unable to get a band together to get on the bill for that gig, but with the addition of Steve Diggle and John Maher the Buzzcocks opened the second Sex Pistols Manchester show in July 1976. By the end of that year they had recorded and released their ‘Spiral Scratch’ EP. The following year they signed for the United Artists label and released the punk classic “Orgasm Addict” a song that was very risqué for the time.

The Buzzcocks embraced punks DIY attitude and principles even though they signed to a major label. the band disbanded in 1981 but got back together later that decade. Shelley and Diggle were the constant members overseeing a number of personnel changes. Over the years the Buzzcocks released nine studio albums and a string of compilations. For me they were best remembered as an incredible singles band. How can anyone not love “What Do I Get” and their biggest hit (a UK number 12 in 1978) “Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)”. I was lucky enough to see them a couple of times in London in 1978 and then once again in York on the Buzzcocks 40 tour just a few years ago. My thoughts are with Pete Shelley’s family, friends and fans, he will be very sadly missed. RIP Pete Shelley.

 

 

“It’s my entrance, my own creation, my grand finale, my goodbye” May 24, 2018


Shortly after the Sex Pistols played their last show, until the 90s reunion, in January 1978 John Lydon found himself in Jamaica, courtesy of Virgin Records. He was there to help source some reggae acts and tracks for Virgin’s Front Line operation. At this point Public Image Limited was still a little way off. Richard Branson had some other ideas for the former Mr Rotten. He flew Devo‘s Mark Mothersbaugh and Bob Casales out to Jamaica to persuade them to take John Lydon on as the next Devo lead vocalist. Obviously that didn’t happen but PIL did and personally I find that quite a fascinating what if from rocks rich history.

 

 

 
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