With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

Catherine Rocks The Cleveland Way Part 2 June 7, 2018


Regular readers and people who know me will by now be aware that my wonderful wife Catherine has embarked on a mammoth 109 mile charity walk on the Cleveland Way in the North East of England. I posted about it recently click here for part 1. Why is she doing this? Well four years ago Catherine and I were totally devastated by the loss of two children as a result of an adoption disruption. It was clear to us that the support needed by vulnerable children was just not available. There was no money and no urgency to the long-term support that was needed. It is incredibly important to both of us that the children and young people in our community have access to the support they need to thrive and to grow into happy and resilient adults. We know that we are unable to do anything now for the children we lost, but we want to try to make a difference to the lives of other children and young people. We want to do whatever we can to try to prevent what happened to our children from happening again. Please feel free to contribute toward Catherine’s target of £10,000. Her efforts so far means that she is already at 85% of that total. Click here for the link to donate.

Anything you can add to that will be invaluable to the two charities we are supporting. Those charities are The Island (Enhancing the quality of life for vulnerable children and young people in York) and SASH (Working to prevent homelessness in young people aged 16-25 in York, North Yorkshire & East Yorkshire).

The Island offers support to vulnerable 8-13 year-olds in York who are struggling to cope at home, at school, or in the wider community, or who are experiencing difficult transitions in their lives. The Island links these young people with volunteer mentors with whom they meet on a weekly basis over the course of a year (or longer if required). This allows them to develop supportive, ongoing relationships, whilst also providing them with the undivided attention and the ‘islands of space and time’ they need to increase their confidence and self-esteem, participate in worthwhile recreational activities, and move forward in their lives.

SASH run supported lodgings schemes which help young people develop the skills they need to live on their own. They provide an emergency nightstop service that makes a difference to young people’s lives when most needed.

The final leg of her journey is tomorrow, Friday 8th June where she is due to take the final step of those 109 miles at around 5:30 pm. I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of this very special lady. I love her down to her bones and apparently those bones are aching like hell at the moment! So dig deep and contribute whatever you can 🙂 To spur you on here are a few walking related songs.

 

“It’s time for the good times, forget about the bad times, oh yeah” August 6, 2014


34065_1249362578348_440_460Madonna‘s “Holiday” has been in the UK top ten singles chart on three separate occasions; 1984, 1985 and 1991. It’s highest place came in 1985 when the song reached number two. It was also included on Ms. Ciccone’s first album. The song was written by Curtis Hudson and Lisa Stevens. But it was not actually written with Her Royal Madgeness in mind. It had previously been offered to and rejected by Phyllis Hyman and former Supreme Mary Wilson. Madonna’s version of “Holiday” was produced by her boyfriend at the time DJ/ Producer John ‘Jellybean’ Benitez. Does anyone know what happened to him?

funny-Madonna-old-happy

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“Round the squares, huddled in storms, some laughing, some just shapeless forms” – Advent day 8 December 8, 2013


advent-day-8_2075493aIt’s the 8th December already. Is time moving faster at the moment? Is there something amiss within the space-time continuum? On top of that can you believe that it is 23 years to the day that John Lennon was gunned down in New York? Which brings me to the first song choice in todays number themed With Just A Hint Of Mayhem Advent post. I bring you a classic Beatles track, “Eight Days A Week”.

cartoon_beatle_santasThe song was I believe a first for rock music in that it began with a fade-in intro. It was taken from 1964’s Beatles For Sale’ album. Whilst it was never released as a single in the UK it was in the USA where it went to number one in 1965. It also hit the top spot in Canada and the Netherlands. Back in the 60s there was also an Extended Play (EP) chart and the ‘Beatles For Sale’ EP including “Eight Days A Week” went to number one on that chart in the UK in 1965. It wasn’t a popular song among the Beatles themselves. John Lennon apparently once called it lousy. The band never played it live, although Paul McCartney has played it on his ‘Out There’ tour earlier this year. It has been subject to many cover versions including; Procol Harum, Libertines, Joan Jett, the Supremes, the Runaways and Alma Cogan.

The+Byrds+The500ByrdsThe second song for today is another 60s smash hit. “Eight Miles High” by the Byrds. It was taken from their 1966 album ‘Fifth Dimension’ which was their third long player and was written by Gene Clark and Roger McGuinn. It went to number 14 in the USA and number 24 in the UK in 1966. Some American radio stations refused to play the song because they claimed it was laden with drug references. The band strongly denied that at the time but later suggested that there was some truth in the story. A drug that could get you eight miles high? Wow that might be worth a shot! Don McLean’s classic track “American Pie” refers to the Byrds song in its lyrics with the following line; “The Birds  flew off with a fall-out shelter/Eight miles high and falling fast”. It has also been covered by a number of acts including; Roxy Music, Husker Du, Ride, Robyn Hitchcock and Golden Earring. The latter recorded a 19 minute version of the song.

 

“He’d like to come and meet us, but he thinks he’d blow our mind” November 26, 2013


milkyHave you ever heard of Milky Edwards and the Chamberlings? No? Nor had I until recently. They (if indeed they are a they) come across as a classic ‘lost’ Motown band, perhaps in the mold of the Four Tops. From what I have discovered on-line Milky Edwards first appeared on YouTube last year with a video showing a record playing a cover version of some classic early 70s rock with the supposed album cover propped up behind. The album cover is very reminiscent of a 1960s Supremes album cover (see below).

Supremes-1968-reflectionsIt never really took off until the links were posted last month on David Bowie’s Facebook page. Why were they published on Bowie’s page? Well largely because the cover versions were all taken from the Ziggy Stardust album. The songs published so far are; “Starman”, “Moonage Daydream” and “Soul Love“. Mark Ronson and Tom Jones have denied any involvement in the recordings as have Bowie’s camp. But for me I would be very surprised if Bowie himself has played no part in this. I also believe that it is a wonderful hoax. There is even a website with the strap-line ‘rediscover the music of Milky Edwards, click here to see it. What do you think of all this? Have any of you got the inside track on these recordings? Personally I bloody love these tracks!

ziggy

 

“I wait in the darkness of my lonely room, filled with sadness, filled with gloom” a.k.a five gold rings December 17, 2012


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It’s now day 5 of my 12 days of Christmas series and that can only mean one thing right? Well five things actually and all of those are gold rings. Yes, on the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me five gold rings. Go on admit it you sang that line in your head just like it goes in the tune didn’t you? Had you bought your five gold rings in 1970 they would now be worth considerably more. In December 1970 gold was valued at £15.64 an ounce, earlier this month its value was £1,060.95 an ounce. Some interpretations of the 12 days of Christmas suggest that the gold rings are in fact goldspinks which as old name for a goldfinch. However I have based my choice of songs on the gold rings and I have two great songs for you.

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Firstly we go to the King, kind of appropriate for Christmas don’t you think? Yes it’s Elvis Aaron Presley with “Wear My Ring (Around Your Neck)”. The song was written by Bert Carroll and Russell Moody and was released in 1958. Up to that point Elvis had achieved a string of ten consecutive number ones on the Billboard Hot 100, but this song stalled at number two. It made it to number three in the UK. Did you know that Elvis’ father Vernon’s middle name was Elvis or that his mother Gladys’ middle name was Love? You didn’t? Well you do now. It has been said that Elvis once entered an Elvis lookalike contest and only came third. However whilst this is a great story that is probably all it is. It was an item printed in the Weekly World News which is about as reliable in the truth department as the National Enquirer or perhaps the Sunday Sport in the UK.

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Freda+Payne

The second of this posts songs is the soul classic “Band Of Gold” by Freda Payne. It was a million seller in 1970 where it reached number one in the UK but only number three in the US. It was also her biggest hit on both sides of the Atlantic. It was released on the Invictus label which had been set up by the Holland Dozier Holland team after they left Motown. “Band Of Gold” was written by Edythe Wayne and Ron Dunbar but it was produced by Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier. The lead guitar on the song comes from Ray Parker Jr and two former Motown backing vocalists provided vocal backing for Freda. Those backing vocalists were Joyce Vincent Wilson and Telma Hopkins, both later went on to join Tony Orland as part of Tony Orlando and Dawn. Did you know that Freda’s sister Scherrie was a member of the post Diana Ross Supremes for a while? When I began as a mobile DJ back in the 70s some of the advice I received from an old sage of a DJ was to never play this song at a wedding reception as it is all about break up. That’s true but hell it’s a great dance track isn’t it. So I must confess to the world that I have indeed played the song at wedding receptions.

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Two Goldfinches, the whereabouts of the other three are currently unknown!

Two Goldfinches, the whereabouts of the other three are currently unknown!

 

“We’ll laugh and I’ll tell you the story of love, how it is and the happiness in it baby” December 21, 2011


Just days away from the big day now. It’s nearly Christmas people and I hope you’re still being good or at least hiding your being bad evidence very well. It’s Day 21 of my ABC of Motown Advent Calendar which I believe makes it 21st December and therefore the letter U. So today we’ll be going somewhere where Santa will be very soon; your roof! Yes it’s the delightfully uplifting “Up The Ladder To The Roof” from the Supremes.

The song was the first single showcasing the vocal talents of new lead singer Jean Terrell who had replaced the departing Diana Ross. Which meant it was also the first single to be credited to the Supremes (i.e. minus the ‘Diana Ross and the’ bit) since “The Happening” in 1967. It was released in February 1970 and reached 10 in the US charts and number 5 in the UK. Coincidentally it was the first UK top ten hit for the group since “Reflections” from 1967.

The song was produced by Motown house producer Frank Wilson who featured on this advent calendar himself on December 4th, click here to read that post. Wilson co wrote the song with Vincent DiMarco and once again the music track was provided by those heroes of Motown the Funk Brothers. Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong were the other two Supremes. personally I have always thought that this was the best incarnation of the group, much better than the Diana Ross version. I have a liking for some songs that mention my name, not all of them though. But the B Side to “Up The Ladder To The Roof” was a pretty good example of a ‘Bill song’ it was called “Bill When Are You Coming Back”

Jean Terrell the lead vocalist for the song was often thought to be related to another Motown star, Tammi Terrell. But Tammi’s real surname was Montgomery and she was no relation to Jean Terrell. However Jean was related to Ernie Terrell a boxing champion who once went in the ring with Muhammad Ali. Ernie was her brother and he was WBA heavyweight champ, a crown he lost to Ali in 1967. Jean sometimes sang with his group Ernie Terrell and the Heavyweights.

 

“Red light, green light, speeding through the dark night” December 7, 2011


We’re up to the letter G in my ABC of Motown Christmas Advent Calendar, which means that today is December 7th. Todays song is from the, in my opinion, very much underrated Richard Dean Taylor. He is better known. He is a Canadian and was born in Toronto in 1939, which makes him 72, just like yesterday’s featured artist Jimmy Ruffin.

Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, R. Dean Taylor, Don Gooch

Taylor signed with Motown in 1964 as a songwriter. His first single was scheduled to be”My Ladybug (Stay Away From That Beatle)” which was deemed unworthy of release. His biggest success as a writer or cowriter at the label was with songs such as “I’ll Turn To Stone” by the Four Tops and “I’m Livin’ In Shame” from Diana Ross and the Supremes. One of his biggest hits was actually one that he didn’t have a hand in writing. It was “There’s A Ghost In My House” which was written by the classic Tamla Motown writing team of Brian and Eddie Holland and Lamont Dozier aka Holland Dozier Holland.

Strangely enough todays song in the advent calendar is “Gotta See Jane” which Taylor wrote with Brian Holland. It reached number 17 in the UK charts in 1968. It has been covered by both the Fall and Golden Earring (enjoy those versions below). The song was released on Motown’s Rare Earth subsidiary in the USA.

 

“You can call me up and have a date any old time” February 1, 2011


I know I’m a little late with this post but last week saw the death of Gladys Horton. She died on 26th January aged just 65 after suffering a stroke last year. She was the lead singer of the Marvelettes and was just 15 when she recorded “Please Mr Postman” with the group. Sadly they were never as successful as that other Motown girl group in the UK, I mean the Supremes. But Gladys had a very strong and distinctive voice. Gladys was orphaned aged only one year old and was brought up in foster care in Detroit.

The group was originally called the Marvels until Berry Gordy advised that they change it to the Marvelettes. The group was also the first Motown act to be offered what went on to become on of Holland, Dozier, Holland‘s biggest hits. The girls turned it down, the song was “Where Did Our Love Go” which was recorded by the Supremes and the rest as they say is history. The group may always be best known for “Please Mr Postman” (famously covered by the Beatles in 1963 and the Carpenters in 1975) but they also recorded some classic Motown songs, some of which you can enjoy below. My particular favourite is “Beechwood 45789“. Who knows how things had turned out if the Marvelettes had recorded that Supremes song? Farewell and RIP Gladys Horton.

 

“Well, here’s a poke at you, you’re gonna choke on it too” October 30, 2010


Almost certainly the world's scariest job

I chanced upon an amazing video the other day. It shows the two guys who make up the maintenance crew for a 1,786 foot radio antenna. If your scared of heights then you might not want to watch it. I can take any height as long as there is a good barrier between me and the drop, this tower doesn’t have that. Much of it is free climb and you have to take your toolbox which weighs 30 pounds with you. Frankly, and I apologise for being a bit crude here, but I could feel my testicles contracting with every step the guy took! I reckon I can live with any problems with public transport on my daily commute, because even the UK rail system is safer and more comfortable than these tower guys!

To be fair though, Batman and Robin always climbed without a safety rope too!

Like I’ve said so many times before this is a music blog, so I couldn’t finish without leaving you with a few very loosely related songs

“Stairway To Heaven” – Rolf Harris – The obvious choice would have been the Led Zep original, but that gets played quite a lot and Rolf’s version really is good fun don’t you think?

I Can See For Miles” – The Who – According to the narrative in the tower video the climbers can see 55 miles to the horizon. The song was written by Pete Townshend and was the only single to be taken from the band’s 1967 album ‘The Who Sell Out

Up The Ladder To The Roof” – Supremes- This song was written by Frank Wilson and Vincent DiMirco. It was the first Supremes single to feature new girl Jean Terrell who replaced Diana Ross. Personally I always thought Diana was the weakest vocalist in the group anyway. It reached the top 10 in the US and the UK. This video is worth watching for the costumes and dance moves even if you don’t like the song! I used to have this on 7 inch vinyl American import and I played it to death, even the B Side which was an ego boost for a young lad, as I was at the time. It was called “Bill, When Are You Coming Back

 

“When you’re sure you’ve had enough of this life, well hang on” October 3, 2010


A recent survey undertaken by PRS for Music sought to discover the songs that make us men cry. A total of 1,700 men were polled and the results make somewhat interesting reading I think. The top ten is shown below, with a few comments from me. Click here to read a report on the results in the UK free newspaper, the Metro.

1. Everybody Hurts – REM – A great REM song taken from the classic ‘Automatic For The People‘ album. It was written by drummer Bill Berry, although he didn’t play drums on the track, that was done by a drum machine. He also said that the song was aimed at teenagers. In 2006 the song was voted 4th in a poll by Channel 5 to discover ‘Britain Favourite Break Up Songs’
2. Tears in HeavenEric Clapton – A very sad song in many ways. Clapton wrote it with Will Jennings after the death of his four-year old son Conor in 1991. The boy fell from the window of a friend’s apartment in New York
3. Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen – Now this one is a classic and has been covered by many artists. X Factor winner Alexandra Burke reached number one in the UK with, at best a very mediocre working of the song and at its worst would easily make music purists cry. In my opinion the best version is easily that of the late, great Jeff Buckley and that version can indeed bring tears to my eyes
4. Nothing Compares 2 USinead O’Connor – She will always have my respect for tearing up a photo of the pope on US TV, I bet that made a few people cry with rage though. It reached number one in the UK in 1990. The song is actually a cover version of a song written by his royal purpleness, Prince. It was recorded and released by the Family in 1985, this was simply a vehicle to enable Prince to release more of his material.
5. With or Without YouU2 – This was the first single from ‘The Joshua Tree’ in 1987 and became their first US number one song.
6. The Drugs Don’t Work – The Verve – This was the band’s most successful UK single and reached number one in 1997, having been released the day after Princess Diana died. It was written by lead singer Richard Ashcroft about his own drug habit and also about the death of his father.
7. Candle In The WindElton John – I really do prefer the original version of this song, it was about Marilyn Monroe and was taken from the album ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road‘ However, sadly, in my opinion, the version that most people remember is the rewritten version for Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997, although in its defence it did raise millions for charity. Incidentally I reckon that must be the first time Princess Diana has been mentioned more than once in any of my posts.
8. Streets of Philadelphia – Bruce Springsteen – Bruce wrote this for the first mainstream movie to tackle HIV/ AIDS, ‘Philadelphia’ from 1993. The song won the best original song Oscar. It reached number one in many countries, although not in the US or UK. It has also been known to occasionally open my tear ducts too.
9. Unchained Melody – Todd Duncan – whilst the article lists the Todd Duncan version, which was taken from the 1955 prison film; ‘Unchained’ it is probably the Righteous Brothers version that most people know. That version was recorded in the sixties but became a massive hit again when it was used in the 1990 film ‘Ghost’. It has been recorded by more than 500 artists including, Jimmy Young, Elvis Presley, the Supremes, U2, the Smashing Pumpkins and there was also an excruciatingly bad version by Pop Idol muppet Gareth Gates.
10. AngelsRobbie Williams – As regular readers of this blog know, I am definitely not a Robbie fan and I particularly dislike this song. I really don’t get it, I mean “I’m loving angels instead”? Instead of what exactly?

There are a few songs that can make me blub, many by Johnny Nash, Bob Marley and Jeff Buckley. But perhaps the one that does it the most is “Sailing” by Rod Stewart. It was always my Dad’s favourite song and we played it as his funeral back in 2001. What songs make you cry?

Finally let me finish with a classic video for one of my favourite songs about crying. It’s “Cry” by Godley and Creme

 

 
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