With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“The rabbits rush, around the brush” January 7, 2014


LandscapIn 1942 during World War 2 the BBC banned a rather innocuous little song. The tune was deemed to be ‘too catchy’ (an early earworm perhaps?) and the ‘powers that be’ thought that it would distract factory workers when it was played on the wireless. This of course would significantly damage the war effort. So what was that demonic song that might have caused Britain to lose the war? It was Bing Crosby’s version of “Deep In The Heart Of Texas”.

bing crosbyWhere are these people when you need them to ban such drivel as anything by One Direction, Matt Curdle, Olly Murs, Westlife and Boyzone to name but a few. However it is quite amusing that the Bing Crosby song is joined on the list of songs banned by the BBC by “Relax” – Frankie Goes To Hollywood, “Je T’Aime (Mois Non Plus)” – Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg, “Fuck You” – Eamon, “God Save The Queen” – Sex Pistols and “Give Ireland Back To The Irish” and “Hi Hi Hi” both by Wings. These songs were variously banned for being about sex or drugs, containing profanities or being too political. All Bing’s little ditty did was simply be ‘too catchy’!

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“Darning his socks in the night when there’s nobody there” January 6, 2014


beatlesDid you know that the Beatles released one single that none of the band played on? It’s kind of obvious when you think about it. The song is “Eleanor Rigby” which was released on the same single as “Yellow Submarine” in 1966. It reached number one in many countries including the UK, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Australia and Austria. The musicians who played on the track were;

On Violin – Tony Gilbert, Sidney Sax, John Sharpe and Juergen Hess.

On Viola – Stephen Shingles and John Underwood

On Cello – Derek Simpson and Norman Jones.

beatles pantoIt makes you wonder how many other bands didn’t play on their big hits. It would be fair to assume that the likes of the Bay City Rollers, Westlife, Boyzone, the majority of X Factor muppets and many others didn’t play on any of their hits wouldn’t it? But then again even Ringo didn’t feature on the Beatles initially released version of “Love Me Do” in 1962. Sid Vicious‘ bass playing featured on hardly any Sex Pistols recordings, most of those were completed by Glen Matlock or Steve Jones. Listening to some bootlegs of the band from late 1977 to the ill-fated US tour of January 1978 suggests that there was a good reason Sid didn’t contribute bass to many songs, he just wasn’t very good at it!

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“Ronnie Biggs was doing time ’til he done a bunk” December 18, 2013


ronniebiggs_460x276OK I know he was a criminal and I know that a man died as a result of the violence used in the Great Train Robbery back in 1963. But if only the gang had not coshed the driver of the train they would surely have become folk heroes for taking so much without really hurting anyone. Anyway I thought I would mark the passing of Ronnie Biggs the most obvious way I can given that this is a music blog. Here is Ronnie from 1978 as guest vocalist for the Sex Pistols. McLaren never shied away from bad publicity did he?

Sex-Pistols-Punk-prayerRonnie died earlier this week aged 84. He recorded a track with the Pistols while he was holed up in Brazil and they were in free fall after the departure of Johnny Rotten/ John Lydon. The B Side of the “No One Is Innocent (A Punk Prayer By Ronnie Biggs)” single was the Sid Vicious version of “My Way”. The single made it to number 7 in the UK charts.

RIP Ronnie Biggs

 

“We don’t care about long hair” – Advent day 17 December 17, 2013


advent-day-17_2084082aIt seems like just days since I started this years With Just A Hint Of Mayhem Advent blog posts and yet here we are at Day 17 already. More than two-thirds of the way through. So not only is it December 17th it is also the day that you get two songs with seventeen in the title. I’m getting a little concerned that I’ll be able to find two at least half decent songs for each day up to 25th December. But I think I can!

At_seventeen_(Janis_ian_single_cover)Anyway enough of my mindless prattling, what is the first song for today I hear you cry. Well it is a beautiful song from 1975; it is Janis Ian with the Grammy winning “At Seventeen”. The song failed to chart in the UK although I seem to recall that it got a lot of airplay in 1975/ 76. It went to number three on the US Billboard chart and remains her biggest hit. Janis didn’t want to release the song at first as she felt it was too personal. The song has been covered by Celine Dion for her current album ‘Loved Me Back To Life’. In addition to piano and guitar Janis also plays organ, harpsichord, French horn and flute. She had mastered all of these by the time she reached her teens. Janis also writes science fiction and has had a number of short stories published.

4541100486The second song today comes from punk icons the Sex Pistols and is called “Seventeen”. The song was the first track on side two of their only studio album; the timeless punk classic ‘Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols’. The bass on the album was played by either Glen Matlock or Steve Jones as Sid Vicious was not a particularly competent bassist. However it seems that Mr Vicious may have played his bass on the album’s eighth track; “Bodies”. “Seventeen” was one of 15 songs that the band played at their final gig (not including reunions) at the Winter Ballroom in San Francisco on January 1978. US hardcore punk band Total Chaos have covered the song for the ‘Never Mind The Sex Pistols, Here’s The Tribute’ album in 2000.

 

“I have held the hand of a devil” July 18, 2013


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Paul Hewson a.k.a. Bono Vox off of U2 has recently been awarded one of the highest cultural honours available in France. This was in recognition of his services to music and committment to humanitarian aid. he was given the honour; Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters by French Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti in Paris. He dedicated the award to his band, saying, ‘I’ve got the biggest mouth and the loudest voice but the music we make comes from each other’. The award was first presented in 1957 and has been awarded to other musicians including; Bob Dylan (1990), David Bowie (1999) and Patti Smith (2005). Two James Bond actors Sean Connery (1987) and Roger Moore (2008). Donald Sutherland, Bruce Willis, Clint Eastwood and Audrey Hepburn are also in that exclusive club along with writers T.S. Eliot and Julian Barnes.

Pope steals Bono's glasses in effort to look cool........ FAILS!

Pope steals Bono’s glasses in effort to look cool…….. FAILS!

While we are talking about awards it has been announced that the BMI, the music rights organisation, will present a special icon award for his contribution to music to one-time enfant terrible of the UK tabloids John Lydon formerly Johnny Rotten. Lydon will receive the award in October this year. Since those ‘The Filth And The Fury’ headlines from 1976 when Lydon was known as Rotten and fronted the Sex Pistols he has achieved bigger musical success albeit with a little less notoriety with Public Image Limited (PiL). perhaps in a step away from the rather typecast image that the British press have of him he has also appeared on the UK reality TV show ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here’  on ITV in January 2004 and later fronted a few wildlife programmes. He is currently touring with PiL and recently took to the stage at Worthy Farm, Glastonbury with the band. So it now remains for me to congratulate Hewson and Lydon on their awards. For me the Lydon award is more appropriate and at least neither is some poxy award from our blood sucking UK royal family!

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“And didn’t I go and shout it when you walked into my room” a.k.a. A Partridge in a Pear Tree December 13, 2012


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Some of you may recall my Christmas advent calendar posts in recent years; these included UK Christmas number ones, Cover versions and an ABC of Motown. This year I have gone for something slightly different but one that sticks with a Christmas tradition at least. I will be making a series of posts influenced by the items in the song “The 12 Days Of Christmas”. I recognise that this won’t mirror the 12 days strictly according to dates as I am starting today, 13th December.

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You know the first line of the song I’m sure. But here it is anyway “On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree”. So what can I give you musically that relates to that line? Well two songs actually, first “I Think I Love You” from the Partridge Family. This song was a number one in the USA and Canada in 1970 and only managed number 18 in the UK. The song featured in the TV show ‘The Partridge Family’ in the same year, but only David Cassidy and Shirley Jones from the show performed on the recording.

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The song was written by Tony Romeo who wrote a number of other hits in the 60s and 70s, including Lou Christie’s “I’m Gonna Make You Mine”. “I Think I Love You” has been covered by a diverse group of artists that include; Perry Como, Voice Of The Beehive and Less Than Jake. David Cassidy’s daughter Katie also covered the song when she was just 15.

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The second song for the first day of Christmas comes from another music TV series, this time the Monkees. The song “Apples, Peaches, Bananas And Pears” was featured in the show but only found commercial release on the compilation ‘Missing Links’ from 1987. Monkee Mickey Dolenz was the lead vocalist on the song. It was written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. They wrote a number of other Monkees songs including “(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone” which was originally recorded by Paul Revere and the Raiders and later covered by the Sex Pistols. The pair also wrote the following Monkees classics; “Last Train To Clarksville”, “Valleri” and the “(Theme From) The Monkees”.

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So now you can enjoy the two songs from the first day of Christmas and I dedicate them to my own true love, Catherine a.k.a Catwoman. Incidentally did you know that the Partridge in the UK is becoming an endangered species with a fall in numbers of around 30% in the five years to 2010.

 

 

“If I Only Could I’d Make A Deal With God” August 15, 2012


I must confess that I was a tad disappointed that a number of my favourite British artists never appeared at the Olympic Closing Ceremony.Notably David Bowie and Kate Bush. There was a strong rumour in the week before the show that Kate would appear. This appears to have been driven by a remix of “Running Up That Hill” being made available to buy on-line last week. That remix was played during the show. It was never likely that Bowie would play the show given the low profile he has taken since his heart problem back in 2004. But I did get my hopes up when a medley of his songs and associated film clips were played. However it turned out to be just a precursor to the celebration of British fashion element of the closing spectacle which itself was soundtracked rather obviously by the Dame’s 1980 hit “Fashion”.

Apparently David Bowie, Kate Bush, the Sex Pistols and the Rolling Stones all turned down the chance to appear at the Olympic Stadium last Sunday night. John Lydon said  a while back that he had been asked if the Pistols would play and turned the organisers down flat. I wonder if they would have expected the Pistols to play “God Save The queen”? It is also alleged that the Who only agreed at the third time of asking. Who else would you have liked to have seen on the bill? Personally I’m surprised that Adele or Paul Weller wasn’t there or any of the beknighted music stars; Tom Jones, Macca, Elton, Cliff or even Rod Stewart who probably longs to be knighted. Personally I’m glad Cliff wasn’t there as his Jubilee appearance was truly awful. The same goes for Paul McCartney who I didn’t think was particularly good at the Opening ceremony.

Kate fills the long jump pit by hand

So let’s finish with what we might have missed some Kate and some Bowie.

 

“I don’t need it don’t need your blah blah” July 11, 2012


It seems that the new leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un, has his own song. He doesn’t sing it, but it’s lyrics seem to draw from one of his speeches around the time he became leader. The song is called “Onwards Towards The Final Victory” and as you might expect it is getting significant airplay on the countries radio and TV networks. His father Kim Jong-Il also had a song, his was called “There Is No Motherland Without You“.

The only way is Up!

Personally I find all this a little strange, I mean I know our own British national anthem, which incidentally is far less rousing than Kim Jong-Un’s little tune, is an awful ode to the power of the monarchy, but imagine if all of our Prime Ministers had their own song! So obviously I thought how about finding some possibly appropriate songs for our head public servants. I know that they see themselves as leaders, but actually they are really servants aren’t they?

David Cameron “Running The World” – Jarvis Cocker (Although I’m sure that ‘Call Me Dave’ would prefer “Eton Rifles

Gordon Brown “Jilted John” – Jilted John (Mostly for the ‘Gordon Is A Moron’ line)

Tony Blair – “Liar” – Sex Pistols

John Major – “Fade To Grey” – Visage

Margaret Thatcher – “Bitch” – Rolling Stones

And finally special mention to Nick Clegg “I’m A Winker (Misprint)” – Ivor Biggun and the Red Nosed Burglars

So there you have my selections, how about yours?

 

“I use the best I use the rest I use the NME” March 7, 2012


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 whilst the old mag might not be as influential as she was, she is still very popular. I am now a subscriber who has bought it from when it was a newspaper style ‘inkie’ back in 1971. I have seen some great writers come and go; Nick Kent, Charles Shaar Murray, Danny Baker, Tony Parsons, Julie Burchill and Barbara Ellen to name but a few.

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.

 

“dis regime is racist we know dis regime is bent” January 26, 2012


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this man is a Knight of the Realm................ no seriously, he is!

I think it would be fair to say that there is one area of my life that my Mother may be disappointed in me. That is my dislike of the institution of the British Royal family and all condescending pomposity it has. Yes in case you hadn’t noticed I am very much a Republican (not in the US political sense obviously) and most definitely not a Royalist. Having posted recently about Mick Jagger (aka Sir Michael Philip Jagger) turning down afternoon tea with ‘Call Me Dave’ Cameron and Boris Johnson it’s strangely appropriate that a story about those who turned down Royal Honours appeared in the news today. Following a freedom of information request by the BBC a list of those now deceased who have turned down various Royal Honours form 1951 and 1999 has been published. There are 277 people on the list including artists Henry Moore, Francis Bacon and LS Lowry and authors Roald Dahl and Aldous Huxley. There are no rock or pop stars on the list. Read the full story on the BBC site by clicking here.

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Sir Tom shows off his first house

However it got me thinking about those rock and pop stars who have accepted honours and those that haven’t. The obvious list of those who have are the rock and pop ‘Sirs’ Paul McCartney, Cliff Richard, Elton John, Mick Jagger, Tom Jones and Bono and Bob Geldof who as Irish citizens are Honorary Knights of the British Empire (KBE). Add to that list Dame Shirley Bassey. A large number of British musicians have received the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), which is the highest honour a British subject can receive below a knighthood or damehood. Those include: Annie Lennox, Roger Daltrey, Eric Clapton, Sting, Robert Plant the Bee Gees and Rod Stewart. It was alleged that at the time of Elton receiving his knighthood Rod was just a little jealous.

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Macca ponders his failure to win top score in Rate My Mullet

What really interests me though are those rock and pop stars who turned down Royal honours. David Bowie turned down a CBE in 2000 and a knighthood in 2003 and was quoted as saying that “was not what he spent his life working for”.  George Melly and Paul Weller also turned down the offer of a CBE in 2001 and 2007 respectively. Thankfully Keith Richards also turned down a CBE; I’d have been gutted if he had accepted! His comment on Jagger’s knighthood was that he felt it was ludicrous. Influential guitarist and stalwart of the Shadows Hank Marvin turned down an OBE as did Dub Poet Benjamin Zephaniah. At the time Zephaniah publicly stated ‘I get angry when I hear the word ’empire’; it reminds me of slavery, it reminds me of thousands of years of brutality, it reminds me of how my foremothers were raped and my forefathers brutalised’ An MBE was offered to John Lydon who turned it down. I’m pretty amazed that they offered him one really.

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Never a Knight of the realm but the only one who came close to looking the part as opposed to looking like an anagram of part

The four Beatles all received the MBE in 1965. John Lennon later returned his to the Queen in 1969 accompanied by a note which read ‘I am returning this MBE in protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam, and against Cold Turkey slipping down the charts’. It has been alleged that his Aunt Mimi who brought him up and upon whose mantelpiece the award lived was not amused!

 

 
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