Ladies and gentlemen and those that aren’t quite sure it is now December 14th and that means that my Christmas advent blog posts for 2014 have reached Day 14 which in turn means that we are at the letter ‘N’. With that in mind I have decided to pick a band from Scotland for todays ABC of British bands entry. Please allow me to welcome the mighty Nazareth to this post.
The band formed in 1968 and the original members were Manny Charlton (guitar), Pete Agnew (bass), Darrell Sweet (drums) and Dan McCafferty (tonsil-shredding vocals). The band still tours although Pete Agnew is the only one of the original members still with the band. There are no middle east or biblical overtones to the band’s name. They are named after a town that is mentioned in the classic song “The Weight” from the Band. That town is Nazareth, Pennsylvania. The line is “I pulled in to Nazareth, I was feeling about half past dead”
The band was probably at its commercial peak in the early 70s when they had three UK top 20 albums from 1973 to 1974. I used to own two of those on vinyl; ‘Razamanaz’ and ‘Loud ‘N’ Proud‘. They also reached the top 20 of the album charts in Norway six times between 1980 and 1989. Their latest album ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Telephone’ has charted in four countries this year; Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Austria. This is probably the last Nazareth album to feature McCafferty’s vocals as he retired due to ill-health last year.
Their biggest success in the UK singles chart was with “Broken Down Angel” which peaked at number 9 in 1973. Their cover of Joni Mitchell‘s “This Flight Tonight” made it to number one in Germany that same year. In 1975 they released a cover version of the classic ballad “Love Hurts” it made it to the top of the charts in Canada and South Africa. Dan McCafferty has released a few solo recordings over the years and his cover of the Rolling Stones “Out Of Time” almost made the UK top 40 in 1975, stalling at number 41, I used to have a vinyl copy of that too. In 1994 Guns ‘N’ Roses covered Nazareth’s “Hair Of The Dog” on their covers album ‘The Spaghetti Incident’. Supposedly Nazareth had previously turned down an invite to play at Axl Rose‘s wedding. They might not have entertained guests at Mr Rose’s wedding, but you can enjoy Nazareth now.
Already we’re into double figures in December. How did it get to become December 10th so quickly? Anyway that means that it is now Day ten in my advent calendar blog posts. The theme this year is the ABC of British Bands for those of you who are not regular readers? What’s that I hear you say? You’re not a regular reader? In that case feel free to sign up and join the millions of others who read this blog everyday! OK so I exaggerated, sign up and join the few hundred that come here everyday. More importantly join the 700+ who actually follow it. December 10th means it’s day 10, which in turn means that we have reached the letter ‘J’. Who will it be? That’s easy, it’s Jamiroquai.
The band was formed in 1992. The lead singer and main man of the band is Jason Luis Cheetham, although I’m sure that you know him better as the crazy hat wearing Jay Kay. His mother Karen Kay was a television personality in the UK and a cabaret singer. Jay Kay originally started the band along with Toby Smith, Stuart Zender, Nick Van Gelder and Wallis Buchanan. They played keyboards, bass, drums and didgeridoo respectively. Has there ever been another British band that featured a didgeridoo player? Well let’s not count disgraceful kiddie fiddler any longer. The band’s name comes from an amalgamation of jam session and the Iroquois tribe of North America.
Some of Jay Kay’s hats were made by his mother and emulating her TV career he has also appeared on many TV shows including Top Gear, Strictly Come Dancing, The Naked Chef and the X-Factor. The band had three UK number one albums between 1993 and 2001. Their albums have also hit the top of the charts in Mexico, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and in the US Dance Chart. Their only UK number on single so far has been “Deeper Underground” from 1998. The song appeared on the soundtrack for that years ‘Godzilla’ film. They have been very popular across Europe and have had number one singles in four other countries in addition to the UK. They also climbed to the top of the US Dance Singles chart an impressive five times between 1994 and 2006.
Now it is time for you to enjoy a selection of classic Jamiroquai cuts. I hope that you enjoy them.
I knew that late, great Swiss artist H.R. Giger had produced a number of LP/ album covers, but I hadn’t appreciated just how many there were. Many of you must know Giger from his amazing designs for the ‘Alien’ films, but check out his album art and let me know what you think. I reckon there is some great stuff there.
Usually the most entertaining part of the Eurovision Song Contest is the voting and checking how many countries hate us Brits and show it by giving us nul points. But this year I really feel that we are in with a shout. Molly’s “Children Of The Universe” strikes me as classic Eurovision. I wonder how the votes will be split between Russia and the Ukraine? Anyway I should warn you that I am typing this post as I watch the show. So let’s get on with the 59th Eurovision Song Contest shall we?
Ukraine are up first with a typical Euro song title; “Tick Tock”. Why is there a bloke in a hamster wheel on stage? Singer Mariya Yaremchuk looks good and the song, in spite of its title is not too shabby. Belarus are up next represented by Teo with “Cheesecake”. He has a monster quiff does that Teo. It’s an ok kind of song with some good synchronised dancing in the performance, but no hamster wheel.
Azerbaijan are next and they are trying to “Start A Fire” as sung by Dilara Kazimova. While there is no hamster wheel there is a trapeze. What is that all about? Anyway in my opinion this is a bit of a dirgeful ballad with a singer who seems a little too earnest for me. In Dilara’s favour Catwoman likes her dress. Pollaponk are representing Iceland and one of their backing vocalists is an Icelandic MP. Their suits are all primary colours but as the song says let’s show them “No Prejudice”. The song is a little pop punk with more emphasis on the pop. I’ll probably be wrong as usual, but I think this could win.
Carl Espen is trying to whip up a “Silent Storm” for Norway. He is not an established singer and keeping it in the family the song was written by his cousin. Not my kind of song. It strikes me as a bit forgettable. Paula Seling and Ovi are hoping for a “Miracle” as they sing for Romania. This song can’t make up its mind as to whether it’s a power ballad or just another piece of Euro Disco. It does feature a round piano though.
Armenia are putting up a comedian called Aram MP3 with “Not Alone” which didn’t sound particularly funny to me. Have I missed the punchline. I also felt his voice was a bit flat and out of tune at times. It definitely sees itself as an 80s power ballad though. Montenegro are the first country tonight that are singing in their native tongue. The singer is Sergej Cetkovic with “Moj Svijet”. It sounds like classic mid table Eurovision fodder to me, which given my track record probably means it’ll win. It is backed up with a roller skating dancer, why? Don’t ask me.
We are Slavic washerwomen
“We Are Slavic” is the Polish entry and is sung in English and Polish by Donatan and Cleo. Is it really a feminist anthem? Why are they all dressed as milkmaids? Greece are about to “Rise Up” performed by Freaky Fortune featuring RiskyKidd. The Kidd is actually a rapper from London. It strikes me as the first song of the night to really get the place rocking. Not a hamster wheel in sight, just a bloody huge trampoline.
Now it’s Austria with a bearded drag artist, Conchita Wurst singing “Rise Like A Pheonix”. He/ She looks a little scary to me. It’s a good song but the whole appearance puts me right off. Germany ask “Is It Right” with a female trio called Elaiza. It features an accordion and has a bit of an oompah feel about it. I really don’t like this song!
Can Sanna Nielsen“Undo” the competition for Sweden 40 years after Abba won the contest? Possibly as it is this years favourite. Actually it’s a bloody good sung and Sanna has a great voice. If a ballad wins this year it might be “Undo”. TWIN TWIN perform the French entry “Moustache”; a song about a man who can’t grow a moustache. The singer can certainly grow a cartoon comedy haircut though. I can only assume that France don’t want to win. This song is shit!
TWIN TWIN – you cocks!
The Tolmachevy Sisters have interlocking hair and they are singing “Shine”. Their hair has come undone, well at least that will make going to the toilet easier. But wait now they’re on a see saw; why? It was ok but they’re hardly Pussy Riot. Emma sings in Italian for Italy with a rocking little ditty called “La Mia Citta” a.k.a “My City”. The costumes are a bit Roman Empire. Not a bad song though.
Tinkara Kovac is singing “Round And Round” for Slovenia. Sung in Slovene and English in a rather shouty way with added flute. We’re hoping for “Something Better” from Finland from Softengine. They sound a bit like a discofied Aha.
Ruth Lorenzo once came 5th in the X Factor and she is singing her own composition for Spain. It’s called “Dancing In The Rain”. Knowing my luck a former X Factor contestant will win it. It hurts terribly to admit it but the song is alright, not great just alright. The shouty bit at the end kills it a bit though. Those perennial neutrals Switzerland have a song called “Hunter Of Stars” by Sebalter. It has far too much whistling for my liking with a backing track that sounds like a speeded up “Duelling Banjos“.
Andras Kallay-Saunders is “Running” for Hungary. He runs around the stage a bit too. A good pop song methinks. Malta are “Coming Home” with Firelight. Two siblings in the band have a mother from Yorkshire. But the song is so Mumford it hurts. Is that style popular across Europe? I don’t know and frankly I hope not! But just to provide a balanced view, Catwoman likes this song apart from the female vocals.
Next up is “Cliche Love Song” by Basim singing for hosts Denmark. Blimey is he miming to Bruno Mars? This is possibly one of the best entries of the night. The Danish TV executives must be shitting themselves. It costs a packet to put this show on. After Denmark the Netherlands provide the “Calm After The Storm” as song by the Common Linnets. Who knew that the Dutch do Country and Western? They can though and it’s quite a good song.
San Marino are the penultimate country with “Maybe” sung by Valentina Monetta. It sounds like the theme song to a late 60s James Bond spoof. Was that meant to be a giant sea shell behind her? Finally it’s time for the UK entry which is “Children Of The Universe” from Molly. I really do think she’s in with a chance. Not sure about her boots but for me Molly nailed it!
Before the scoring starts my tips are Sweden, Denmark and the UK and I reckon France ought to finish last. Now for the scoring which as you might have guessed featured all the usual political voting. Molly came 17th out of 26th so not as bad as many UK entries. The runaway winner was Conchita Wurst from Austria a.k.a the bearded lady with “Rise Like A Phoenix”. I really don’t get it, although to be fair on second hearing the song isn’t too bad! As for my tips; Sweden were third and I was right about France who finished last!
Sir Michael Philip Jagger has turned down an invitation to partake afternoon tea in Davos, Switzerland with ‘Call me Dave’ Cameron and Boris Johnson among others. The meeting was allegedly set up to help promote Britain and British industry. However Sir Mick has claimed that inaccurate comments and suggestions have been made about his political allegiances. This is the reason he has subsequently declined the offer.
The whole thing smacks of hypocrisy to me. Why take a knighthood in the first place if you are not prepared to be a tool of the highest order for the government, the royal family and associated flunkies? What has happened to the anti-establishment, rebellious nature of rock n roll? Would Mick argue that he is trying to change things from within? Maybe, but turning down a chance to imbibe warm milky drinks and crust free sandwiches with a bunch of toffs is not that rebellious is it? It’s hardly like depicting the Queen with a safety-pin through her nose or emptying an ice bucket over John Prescott.
What happened to the Stones of old? What about some “Sympathy For The Devil” or “Gimme Shelter” instead of ‘Sympathy For The Coalition’ and ‘Gimme Earl Grey’. Mick you chose to wear the ermine robes you must have known this kind of thing would happen. Keef would never have found himself in this position he remains a true rock n roller who would almost certainly publicly turn down a royal award if it were ever offered!
Does rebellion still have a place in rock music? I believe it does, what do you think? In the meantime click here to read more about it on the BBC site.
The UK number one single this week is “Loca People” by SpanishDJ Sak Noel. It has already made the top spot in Denmark, Holland and Belgium and top 5 in Sweden, Switzerland and Austria. It seems to be the first holiday hit in ages that has hammered the UK charts after getting played all over Europe. Frankly it’s a lot better than some of the crap that achieved the same in the 70s. Does anyone remember “Y Viva Espana”?
The vocal and indeed the superb ‘what the fuck’ line is delivered by Esthera Sarita. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the track, personally I’m loving it!