With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“I’m just about at the end of my rope, but I can’t stop trying, I can’t give up hope” December 15, 2011


Smokey and the Miracles really tried their best to help out in the promotion of my ABC of Motown Advent Calendar

Have you been good? Will Santa bring you lots of goodies (I mean as in presents as opposed to Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie of course)? I hope you are getting excited anyway as we’re now on day 15 of my ABC of Motown Advent Calendar, yes folks it’s December 15th and it’s the letter O. the song is from one of my favourite Motown voices, Smokey Robinson. It comes from his days with the Miracles and it is “Ooo Baby Baby

The song was written by Smokey and Pete Moore of the Miracles. The strings were arranged by Pete Moore. As is usual with almost all Motown hits it was the supremely talented Funk Brothers who provided the backing. “Ooo Baby Baby” reached number 16 in the US chart in 1965. A cover version of the song by Linda Ronstadt hit number 7 in the US in 1979. sadly it never charted in the UK. It has been covered by many other artists in addition to Ronstadt; including Todd Rundgren, Ella Fitzgerald and Shalamar who covered it as part of their “Uptown Festival” hit from 1977. That recording was actually a medley of classic Motown hits.

Smokey’s real name is William Robinson Jnr. His Uncle Claude gave him the nickname ‘Smokey Joe’ when Smokey was a boy. Smokey initially thought of it as his cowboy name, but as he got older his Uncle explained that as young Master Robinson was quite light-skinned it was a name to remind him of his roots. He dropped the Joe part of the nickname when he was a teenager. A couple of Smokey’s children also have interesting names too. There is a son called Berry, named after Motown President Berry Gordy. Smokey was Vice President of the label from 1961 until 1988. He also has a daughter called Tamla named after a label from the Motown portfolio. Those Motown fans from the UK will be very familiar with the amalgamated name the label took in Europe where it was known as Tamla Motown.

He also gets a mention in a couple of hit songs too. Firstly there is the sublime “Genius Of Love” from Talking Heads offshoot the Tom Tom Club in 1981. Most notably though he was the main man in ABC’s 1987 hit “When Smokey Sings”

 

“I’m only payin’ the price for a trip I took to paradise” May 8, 2010


Dave. Can he fix it? Probably not

So now all the hype and spin of the UK General Election is over for the time being. Maybe for just a short period too, given that we have a hung parliament there might be another election as soon as later this year, just like 1974. I was thinking earlier that all three main parties must be thinking about how badly they have done this time around and maybe about the recriminations associated with that performance. The Tories must have hoped to have won an overall majority, Labour might have expected to fare a little better (I wonder what influence bigotgate had on their result) and the Lib Dems surely would have wished for a massive improvement rather than going backwards in terms of number of seats. I also feel that this country is crying out for electoral reform. How is it fair that a party like the Lib Dems can win 23% of the votes but les than 10% of the parliamentary seats? That can’t be right, can it? To quote Mr Rotten from San Francisco in 1978 ‘ever had the feeling you’ve been cheated?’ I feel very cheated in this election. How does everyone else feel? Still there was a modicum of good news; the Green Party won their first seat in Brighton and the BNP still have no MPs. The BNP also lost 12 council seats in Barking, now that is very, very good news. 

Gordon makes it clear what he thinks of his opponents. It certainly doesn't look like an 'I agree with Nick' hand gesture does it?

So back to thoughts of failure, recrimination and blame, with heavy emphasis on the blame element. As I have said plenty of times before this is a music blog so here come some blame songs, please feel free to add your own through the comments option. 

I Don’t Blame You At All” – Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. In this clip the song soundtracks the UK chart rundown on the BBCs Top Of The Pops hosted by Jimmy Saville. Just dig that crazy fashion sense and dancing skills among the audience daddyo! Was that really my generation? Surely not. Back in my younger days I first heard this song on a Motown Chartbusters album, Volume 6 in fact. It was the one with the excellent Roger Dean cover of a Fly/ Spaceship hybrid. What do you think of it? 

Motown Chartbusters Volume 6 cover - I reckon they should have called this superfly, although Curtis Mayfield may have been upset!

“Blame It On The Boogie” – Jacksons. The Jackson as they became after leaving Motown, they weren’t allowed to be called the Jackson 5 as Motown owned the name rights. They also left Jermaine at Motown and replaced him with brother Randy. Does anyone know what the ectoplasm going on in the video is? Confusingly this song was written by a British chap who rather confusingly was called Mick Jackson (not Jacko), click his name to hear his version. Either way it’s a brilliant disco song even after all these years 

Blame It On The Sun” – Stevie Wonder. Taken from Stevie’s excellent ‘Talking Book’ album from 1972. I really had to include this for other reasons as well. In particular the UK tabloid the Sun, a part of Mr Murdoch’s empire back Cameron and the Tories to win. So maybe Dave will blame it on the Sun. At least there wasn’t the old headline of ‘It was the Sun wot won it!’ 

Blame Canada” – South Park. Before I am inundated with comments from angry Canadians, let me just state categorically that I love Canada and certainly don’t blame them for the election result in the UK. Although I am sure that a conspiracy could be woven around that if required. This song is taken from the excellent South Park Movie from 1999, was it really that long ago? Oh Boy! Have you seen it before? If not then click here to buy it. 

Blame It On The Pop” (Top 25 songs of 2009) – Various Artists. Nothing much to say about this mixtastic, medleytastic bunch. It features 25 artists (and in  some cases I use the term lightly) including Black Eyed Peas, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Keri Hilson, Flo Rida, Pitbull, Beyonce, Katy Perry, Jay Sean, Lil Wayne, All American Rejects, Kanye West, Justin Timberlake, Jamie Foxx, Kelly Clarkson, Rihanna and Jason Mraz 

OK very funny, which one of you b*stards put super glue on the table?

 

100th Post =100 songs December 1, 2009

Filed under: Observation,Trivia — justwilliam1959 @ 11:02 pm
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Well this is it then, my 100th post and as promised here are the 100 songs currently in my top 10 (ok I know that sounds stupid, but regular readers will understand!) If I were to do this again say for the 200th post there would be quite a few differences. This list is in no particular order, although Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry” probably still remains my most favourite song ever! I would love to see your comments on the list; is there anything you really like or really don’t like on here, is there anything really embarrassing perhaps. What is your top 10 or top 100? Incidentally I can already think of many more that didn’t make the cut!

As usual you will find the usual trivia content or comment along with the songs

No Woman No Cry        Bob Marley – Obviously I love this song but it has to be the live version and then preferably the one from the 1975 London Lyceum concerts. That album was called simply ‘Live’ and I wore out my vinyl copy completely

Police And Thieves        Junior Murvin – A classic reggae song, well covered by the Clash. Sadly the song is still all too pertinent today

Licking Stick     Desmond Dekker – Fun reggae at it’s best from the late great Mr Dacres

Cottage In Negril           Tyrone Taylor – Don’t ask me why but this is probably one of my favourite reggae songs ever. It makes me want to go to Negril

Rebel, Rebel     David Bowie – The first single from the wonderful Diamond Dogs album. A glorious Rolling Stones pastiche on which, unusually, Mr Bowie plays lead guitar

Heroes  David Bowie – Inspirational and also a song that I will have played at my funeral in 50 years. You should check out the versions he recorded in both French and German

Strawberry Letter 23       Brothers Johnson – Regular readers will know just how much I love this song. ‘Nuff said

I Want You Back           Jackson 5 – That opening piano run still sends shivers down my spine and frankly how can you not want to dance to this

Superstition      Stevie Wonder – Stevie rocks out more than many on this one which was originally written for Jeff Beck. More than enough to forgive Mr Wonder for “I Just Called To Say I Love You”

White Man In The Hammersmith Palais    Clash – In my humble opinion the finest song by the finest band ever!

London Calling  Clash – If my memory serves me well this is the only Clash song ever to feature in a Bond movie

Complete Control          Clash – A venomous attack on CBS, far more venomous than the Sex Pistols “EMI” in my view

Don’t Let Me Down        Beatles – My favourite Fab Four song which in fact was only a B Side! Also a song that I sing very badly at full volume when I’m drunk

Revolution        Beatles – Another moptops classic that I also sing very badly whilst under the influence of alcohol

Instant Karma    John Lennon – Karma is a powerful thing and Instant Karma is a powerful song!

Do Anything You Wanna Do      Eddie And The Hot Rods – In my teens this was probably one of the most meaningful and uplifting songs I knew. Even at the old age of 50 it still does it for me

Gary Gilmore’s Eyes      Adverts – For subject matter alone this would be in the top 100. Mr Gilmore was executed in the US in the mid 70s and he donated his eyes to an anonymous someone. That someone is the subject of the song!

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

Wild Is The Wind           David Bowie – Not a Bowie original but one written for a 50s movie, perhaps more of a torch song and one of Bowie’s best ever cover versions. It certainly makes up for his bloody awful cover of the Beach Boys “God Only Knows” in the 80s

What’s Going On?         Marvin Gaye – Great song from a great album, such a shame that it still rings true after nearly 40 years

September        Earth, Wind And Fire – E, W & F at their best, probably my favourite Saturday night song

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 is a major contender for the UK’s new national anthem!

Public Image     Public Image Limited – So many people thought that Lydon would do nothing after the Pistols, how very wrong they were.

Suspicious Minds          Elvis Presley – Elvis gets his mojo back after all those years of shit movie songs

She’s Gone    Hall & Oates – Taken from the Abandoned Luncheonette album, one of the saddest songs I know. I always play this when I’m in a melancholy mood. I also believe that Daryl Hall has the finest white soul voice in history. And what the bloody hell is a luncheonette?

Mack The Knife   Bobby Darin – I love story songs and this is easily one of the best. You have to tap your feet and click your fingers to this don’t you?

Karma Police    Radiohead – Probably the best band in the world today

Bernadette        Four Tops – Levi Stubbs RIP, I believe Mr Stubbs was the finest soul singer there ever was and ever will be. is this the only song about a Bernadette too?

Still Water (Love)           Four Tops – Relaxing, powerful, beautiful, ethereal, there simply aren’t enough words to describe this gorgeous song

Into My Arms    Nick Cave – As love songs go this might be quite strange but it is undoubtedly beautiful too

Talk Show Host    Radiohead – My favourite song from the ‘Head by a long way. just a B Side and als on the soundtrack of Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Romeo And Juliet’ movie

Take Me Girl I’m Ready  Junior Walker – My favourite ever juke box record. In the late 70s this was number 77A on the jukebox in the Windmill pub in Ruislip

Woman To Woman        Shirley Brown – A real torch song, sets the hairs on the back of my neck on end

If Loving You Is Wrong   Millie Jackson – and the classic soul torch diva has to be Ms Jackson. I saw her live at the Victoria Apollo in the 70s

Ms Jackson      Outkast – Talking of Ms Jackson (although this is actually about Erykah Badu’s Mum) here is my favourite Outkast song. Don’t you think it sounds a little reminiscent of ‘Strawberry Letter 23’?

I Know What I like (In Your Wardrobe)     Genesis – Personally I think Genesis went downhill after Peter Gabriel left, what do you think? But this Gabriel era song is just sublime and what a fantastic title too

Metal Guru        T Rex – A song I used to mime to with my tennis racquet as a teenage wannabe rock star. So why did I go on to become a bloody accountant?

One Nation Under A Groove       Funkadelic – The ultimate dance song. I saw them live with companion band Parliament in 1978 at the Hammersmith Odeon. Still one of the best concerts I have ever seen

I Can See Clearly Now   Johnny Nash – This man has the voice of an angel, why are so few of his albums available on CD. Definitely one of my heroes, I reckon I would be lost for words if I met him

There Are More Questions Than Answers            Johnny Nash – A Texan singer that sings reggae? it shouldn’t work should it? But it does doesn’t it?

Solsbury Hill     Peter Gabriel – If I ever feel a bit down this is the song I play to pull myself back up. Written about his decision to leave Genesis just before they went towards mega stardom

I Was Watching You      Rosanne Cash – Regular readers will know that I have mentioned this song before. I do cry most times I listen to it and although it was released after his death it makes me think of my Dad

Hurt      Johnny Cash – Mr Cash covers a Trent Reznor off of the Nine Inch Nails song. You must be pretty hard if this doesn’t make you at least a tad emotional

The Man Who Sold The World    Lulu – One of the better covers of a Bowie song. If their respective labels had sanctioned it Mr Bowie was ready to record a whole album with Lulu. Sadly that didn’t happen

All The Young Dudes     Mott The Hoople – The greatest Bowie cover, in fact one of his greatest songs and he simply gave it to Mott!

Wishing Well     Free – Forget all the stuff he’s done with Queen, this was one of Paul Rodgers finest vocal performances

You Get What You Give        New Radicals – One of the most short-lived bands of the 90s, but what a legacy. Gregg Alexander also wrote (or co wrote) Ronan Keating’s ‘Life Is A Rollercoaster’ which I kind of like!

A Town Called Malice    Jam – Paul Weller. probably the greatest English rock star of his generation. I saw him live at the MEN in Manchester last year and he is even better in concert. Indeed he played this Jam classic too

The Look Of Love         ABC – For all my criticism of the 80s this song and the album it comes from (The Lexicon Of Love) is one of my favourites. Produced by the great Trevor Horn

Sheena Is A Punk Rocker          Ramones – 1, 2, 3, 4 and off da bruvvers go. Hey Ho Let’s Go is there really anything else to say?

Wuthering Heights         Kate Bush – Oh Kate my Lionheart, I love this woman and want to have her babies

The Man With The Child In His Eyes        Kate Bush – OK maybe I wouldn’t really do the male pregnancy thing with Kate, but she is definitely my favourite female singer

5.15      Who – My favourite song from the Who from my favourite of their albums, the classic ‘Quadraphenia’

Sugar Sugar      Archies – This was the first single I ever bought. I got it from Uxbridge market in 1969

Suedehead       Morrissey – For me Stephen can be a bit hit or miss but this is definitely on the hit side

William It Was Really Nothing     Smiths – How could I not include the Smiths in this list and yes I am being just a tad egotistical with this choice

New Years Day  U2 – The piano refrain is haunting in a rock kind of way. Also more ego coming out here too, my birthday is on new years day!

Justified And Ancient    KLF and Tammy Wynette – There will never be anyone like the KLF. Were they a band or just art terrorists? Who knows and frankly who cares when they left songs and collaborations like this behind!

You Got The Love         The Source Featuring Candi Staton – Another uplifting song, although personally I tend to ignore the religious aspects! Recently Florence And The Machine have recorded a great cover of this song

Gimme Shelter  Rolling Stones – For me this song, especially the riff, evokes the 60s

It’s Only Rock N Roll     Rolling Stones – Now this is another I used to mime to as a teenager, well ok I still do! It might not be a pretty sight but I love doing it!

Hurricane          Bob Dylan – Dylan at his best, when riled or when he gets political he is untouchable. This song was about the plight of wrongly imprisoned boxer Reuben Carter

You Wear It Well            Rod Stewart – Most people I know would opt for Maggie May from his early 70s hits, I always preferred this one. Possibly even worth forgiving him for the awful ‘Baby Jane’ for

Wish You Were Here        Pink Floyd – One of the Floyd’s greatest and another song that gets me just a little emotional

You Can Make Me Dance Sing Or Anything        Rod Stewart And The Faces – I bet you can’t not dance to this. It’s one of the last songs the Faces recorded before Ron Wood and Rod the Mod left. It shows them going in a direction which I think would have been so good

Itchycoo Park    Small Faces – I actually remember hearing this on the radio as a kid. I didn’t have a clue what the lyrics were about then and I don’t think I’m much wiser now! Don’t go near the atrocious cover version by M People

Lowdown          Boz Scaggs – Taken from the excellent Silk Degrees album from 1976 and the track I use to soundcheck any new hi-fi equipment even now

I’m Your Puppet            James And Bobby Purify – This was actually a rerecording of their original 60s song. Guilty pleasure or great soul song? I’ll let you decide, but either way I love it!

Olympian          Gene – probably the best of the ‘Britpop’ bands, well in my opinion anyway. Sadly the band are no longer around, but I did manage to see them three times while they were. Another song that I will have played at my funeral in the very distant future too

Born To Run      Bruce Springsteen – I was always going to include something from the Boss and it was always going to be this song

Lose Yourself   Eminem – In my opinion Mr Mathers is the greatest rapper, although Jay Z does push him close

Too Late To Turn Back Now       Cornelius Brothers And Sister Rose – It took me more than 20 years to track down this song and now when I listen to it I reckon it is definitely a guilty pleasure

Stay Together   Suede – The most Bowie influenced of the 90s British bands. The combination of Brett Anderson’s lyrics and vocals along with Bernard Butler’s guitar is truly awesome

Skin Trade        Duran Duran – A Duran Duran song in my top 100? Yeah that surprised me too

1999     Prince – I love a lot of Prince’s stuff, but this remains a great party track

Susan’s House  Eels – Mark Everett is a superb songwriter and this for me is one of his best. His autobiography is bloody good too

Take A Look Around      Temptations – A terrific Norman Whitfield production and that intro still blows me away!

Let’s Get It On   Marvin Gaye – This great song has recently been sullied by it’s use to advertise pizzas on UK TV (I think it might have been Dominoes) But it still remains a great song for seduction and lurve 😉

The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage          Smokey Robinson And The Miracles – Bob Dylan once described Smokey as the worlds greatest living poet. Listen to this song and you can see why!

Gimme A Little Sign       Brenton Wood – A great example of 60s soul and the song I sing most in the shower (along with the Monkees ‘I’m A Believer’)

The Love You Save       Jackson 5 – Another classic written for the boys by the Motown house writers billed as the Corporation

Staggerlee        Lloyd Price – Another story song and I reckon the best version by far

Once In A Lifetime         Talking Heads – The ‘Heads finest moment for me. This song has everything and makes me happy everytime I hear it

Pyjamarama      Roxy Music – Roxy before they became bland and frankly shit!

Song 2    Blur – Funny isn’t how the songs with barely any lyrics often sound so good. Whoo Hoo indeed!

Double Barrel    Dave And Ansel Collins – Another slice of superb reggae. For years I thought these guys were brothers, they’re not. Actually it’s Ansel Collins and Dave Barker.

Sorted For E’s And Whizz          Pulp – Jarvis Cocker is a lyrical genius and this is Pulp’s best example of his way with words

Spinning Around           Kylie Minogue – OK so there is a certain appeal to the gold hot pants, but as modern disco goes this is brilliant. Gotta love Kylie!

Love Rollercoaster        Ohio Players – One of my favourite funk songs, expertly covered by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers but it wasn’t a patch on the original

Hey Hey My My        Neil Young – A great song and one which found a degree of infamy as it was quoted in Kurt Cobain’s suicide note

Grace     Jeff Buckley – How big a star would he have been had he lived? Probably one og=f the biggest I think

Satellite Of Love           Lou Reed – Taken from the Transformer album which was produced by Bowie and Mick Ronson. Listen carefully and you’ll hear Bowie on backing vocals

Hey Ya      Outkast – The ultimate party record of recent times, a great video too

Since I Left You            Avalanches – Aussie DJs/ dance act, I can’t believe that this wasn’t a bigger hit

Seven Nation Army        White Stripes – Jack White has recently been named man of the decade by some UK publications, perhaps with some justification. The riff alone on this is worth the top 100

White Horses      Jacky – OK clearly this theme from a 60s TV show (strangely enough it was called White Horses) is very much a guilty pleasure but I really love it. I think Jacky’s only other hit was ‘Rupert The Bear’

D’Yer Make ‘Er  Led Zeppelin – Taken from Houses Of The Holy and in many peoples opinion Zep’s worst song. But I like to be different and this piece of cod reggae is wonderfully irreverent

Wild Wood        Paul Weller – England’s finest living rock star perhaps? Well after Mr Bowie anyway

Stay With Me    Lorraine Ellison – How much emotion can you squeeze into a song, not much more than Lorraine Ellison does in fact. Ignore the David Essex cover of this song at all costs!

Young Americans    David Bowie – What he himself described as plastic soul and one of the songs I can recite the whole lyric of

 

 
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