With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“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.

 

“See that girl she does something to my chemistry” July 12, 2010


These two music deaths almost passed me by, they certainly didn’t seem to get much in the way of column inches in the UK press. But on July 6th Harvey Fuqua died of a heart attack aged 80 and on July 10th Sugar Minott died aged just 54, the cause of his death has not yet been announced but he was diagnosed with a heart condition in 2009. So I won’t let their passing go unmarked in my blog!

Harvey Fuqua in the Moonglows along with a very young Marvin Gaye

Harvey Fuqua first came to prominence in a group called the Moonglows along with a certain Mr Marvin Gaye. He had quite a musical pedigree. His Uncle, Charlie Fuqua was a member of the Ink Spots and he was also married to Berry Gordy’s sister Gwen. he was responsible for bringing the Spinners (aka the Detroit Spinners and the Motown Spinners in the UK) and Johnny Bristol to Motown. He went on to produce quite a few hits with Bristol. He worked closely with Marvin Gaye and it was Fuqua’s idea that Marvin record a series of duets with Tammi Terrell. He was the producer on Gaye’s first post Motown album ‘Midnight Love’ which featured the classic “Sexual Healing” In the late 70s Harvey discovered the late, great Disco artist Sylvester and produced two of his biggest hits; “Dance (Disco Heat)” and “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” My favourite Slyvester cut though is “Was It Something That I Said?” Mr Fuqua had such a rich musical history and career he will be sadly missed. Click on the song title to hear a great duet he did with the wonderful Etta James, called “If I Can’t Have You” (which incidentally is not the same as the Yvonne Elliman song of the same name from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.

Harvey Fuqua with Stella Ragland and Smokey Robinson

Lincoln Barrington Minott began his career as a member of the African Brothers in 1969. Here they are with “Hold Tight” from 1970. He went on to record with top Jamaican producers; Clement ‘Coxsone’ Dodd and Rupie Edwards. He relocated to the UK from Jamaica in 1980 and had his biggest UK chart success with  a cover of an old Michael Jackson song “Good Thing Going” which reached number 4 in 1981. He recorded hundreds of tracks during his career. In 2006 he appeared on the Easy Stars album of Radiohead covers, titled ‘Radiodread’. He provided guest vocals on the track “Exit Music (For A Film)” Click on the song title for one of my favourite Minott songs, “Lovers Rock“. So like Mr Fuqua the music industry has lost another very talented man.

The late, great Sugar Minott

 

“Whenever blue teardrops are falling…” April 2, 2009


Hello again good people and the bad ones too, I don’t discriminate! England beat the Ukraine last night, what a great result. But Gareth Barry was somewhat shite wasn’t he? Ooops sorry let’s get back to music, this is not a football (or soccer if you live across the big pond) blog. But Peter Crouch does do the Robot Dance as a goal celebration so I think I’m justified. If you want to do the Robot Dance click here

Crouchy scores one of England's goals last night in the World Cup Qualifier against Ukraine

Crouchy scores one of England's goals last night in the World Cup Qualifier against Ukraine

Let’s kick off with a birthday for 2nd April. I promised yesterday there would be more of the late great (welcome back l’s & g’s) Marvin Gaye and today there is. He would have reached the ripe old age of 70 today. I’ve enjoyed Marvin’s music since I first started collecting singles in 69/70. I bought a copy of the “Save The Children” single which was taken from his classic album “What’s Going On?” in about 1971. I then pooled all the spare cash I had and undoubtedly borrowed some from my folks too, because I had to have that album. I got it second hand and it cost me around £1.50 I think. It remains one of my favourite albums of all time. I hope everyone reading this owns a copy, if you don’t then why not? Go out and buy it right now and send photographic evidence which I will be happy to print here for you! I reckon in the UK you can buy the CD for around £5, so I’ll make you a deal. The person that comes up with the best way of making £5 from next to nothing, which does not include stealing, borrowing or begging will receive a copy of the CD. The judges decision will be final and if you’re outside the UK you will need to pay postage.If you don’t win just click here to buy it from Amazon! I think it’s a real shame that the message of this album is still so relevant today, almost 40 years after it was recorded. The planet is still dying and there is still more than enough war to go round.

Another Marvin favourite of mine is “Let’s Get It On“. The song itself is a classic and the album is damned good too. What really irks me though is that it is being used in a UK TV Advertising campaign for bloody pizza’s! That’s how you ruin the feel of such a great song in my opinion.

Marvin always felt this way after too much pepperoni and chilli on his pizza

Marvin always felt this way after too much pepperoni and chilli on his pizza

Marvin originally joined Motown as a session drummer after a stint with Doo Wop act the Moonglows. His drumming can be heard on many Motown hits, notably “Please Mr Postman” by the Marvelettes and the live version of Little Stevie Wonder’s “Fingertips” Marvin’s first songwriting success also involved the Marvelettes, he co wrote their hit “Beechwood 45789“. Perhaps the biggest hit of his early Motown career was “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” which was originally recorded and taken into the US charts by Gladys Knight and the Pips. Click here for their version. I like both versions although I think Marvin’s just shades it for me. Marvin also recorded a number of duets with Tammi Terrell (discussed in a earlier post), Mary Wells, Kim Weston and Diana Ross. How many people know that Kim Weston also recorded a duet with my all time favourite black singer Mr Johnny Nash? It was in the late 60s and I used to have a copy on vinyl. does anyone else own it?

Despite buying the boots Marvin still didn't the part of the Pinball Wizard in the film version of the Who's "Tommy", he lost out to Elton John

Despite buying the boots Marvin still didn't the part of the Pinball Wizard in the film version of the Who's "Tommy", he lost out to Elton John

For me Marvin was never as good after he left Motown although the highlight of those post Motown years has to be “Sexual Healing” which incidentally has been covered by another one of my all time favourite artists, Kate Bush. Click here for her version of the song. Kate is currently getting the most searches from people who arrive at this very blog. More than 350 in total in just the last two days. As seems to be usual lately that includes two searches for Kate Bush naked!

And finally for you fact fans out there and those who know that I am a big fan of Stephen King, did you know that in King’s ‘The Dark Tower III: The Wastelands’ Jake’s father has a Marvin Gaye poster hanging in his study? well now you do!

Did you know that Marvin Gaye gets a mention in this? The train on the cover if you're interested is called 'Blaine The Mono' - nothing to do with David Blaine!

Did you know that Marvin Gaye gets a mention in this? The train on the cover if you're interested is called 'Blaine The Mono' - nothing to do with David Blaine!

 

“Woke up one morning half asleep with all my blankets in a heap” March 16, 2009


Hello again people here we are halfway through March, well thereabouts anyway. It’s the 16th so technically it’s slightly over halfway. Anyway enough of that crap let’s get on with the show. Did any of you in the UK get the Sunday Times this week? It came with a free CD of Noel Gallagher’s appearance at the Teenage Cancer Trust Concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, I think it was recorded 2007. It’s an excellent CD with acoustic versions of a number of Oasis songs plus an excellent cover of the Smiths “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” . He is also joined by Paul Weller for a version of the Jam’s “Butterfly Collector” and the Beatles “All You Need Is Love”. Do everything in your power to get hold of this CD it’s bloody good! Here are Paul and Noel with the aforementioned “Butterfly Collector

Noel made Liam promise that he would never try the Superglue on the Tea Cup trick again

Noel made Liam promise that he would never try the Superglue on the Tea Cup trick again

Firstly with just the one birthday for today. It’s the 61st birthday of Michael Bruce, guitarist with the original Alice Cooper Group. When the band broke up in 1974 Michael went on to form a band called the ‘Billion Dollar Babies’ named after an Alice Cooper album, a rather good album in fact. The new band were stuck in a legal row over the use of the name and eventually managed to release just one album, “Battleaxe” in 1977. Michael in fact sang lead vocals on a few tracks on the first Alice Cooper album. Here are the Alice Cooper Group with “Billion Dollar Babies

Alice realised that with the high risk of follow through white was the wrong colour to wear in a curry restaurant

Alice realised that with the high risk of follow through white was the wrong colour to wear in a curry restaurant

To make up for just one birthday there are three ‘onthisdays’ today. Starting in 1969. ‘Popworld 69’ took place on March 16th some 40 years ago today. The artists appearing at the Empire Pool in Wembley (now known as the Wembley Arena) were; Fleetwood Mac, the Move, Amen Corner, Peter Sarstedt, the Tymes, Geno Washington and Harmony Grass. I’ve never heard of the last one, have you? They do have a mention on Wikipedia though,
click here to see it. In the interests of keeping todays post down to the usual length I intend to briefly focus on just one of these acts, the Move.

I have a story which relates to a cover version of the Move’s song “Fire Brigade”. This is one you will never find on the internet or indeed anywhere else. I was in my last year at Primary school and aged just 11. I got together with my four best friends and we decided that we would form a band for the final school assembly. The fact that none of us could play an instrument wasn’t going to stand in our way either! It was 1970 and we had that punk ethos way before anyone else, does that mean history needs to reflect that we indeed invented punk? Somehow I don’t think so. Anyway on the big day after at least three rehearsals we were ready. Deano on vocals, Duffy (not the current female one) on his brothers guitar, Billy D on a very rudimentary drumkit (cake tins mainly!), Terry on Bongoes and me Billy A on tambourine, backing vocals and record player. Yes to beef up our amazing sound we played the 45 of the Move single! I would love to say that we sounded great, to us it felt like it, but the benefit of hindsight and a conversation with my old headmaster a few years later I can confirm that we definitely sounded crap. I would also love to say that all of us went on to glittering musical careers, but we didn’t unless I can count my time as a Mobile DJ? All bookings considered by the way, but unless you’re in reasonable driving distance of York in the UK then the travel charge may be a little prohibitive!

My old school (1965 -1970)

My old school (1965 -1970)

As for the real band they formed in the 60s. Many of their 60’s and early 70s hits were written by Roy Wood, although Carl Wayne was the lead singer on many hits. Jeff Lynne had joined the band by the time they broke up around 1973 and went on to form the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) with Roy Wood. Roy left ELO and went on to record some excellent stuff with Wizzard, but their success was somewhat eclipsed by the levels that Jeff Lynne took ELO. The Move had the honour of having the first single ever to be played on Radio 1 in the UK when it began broadcasting on 30th September 1967. The single which was spun by Tony Blackburn was “Flowers In The Rain”. The song was written by Roy Wood and neither he nor the band have ever received any royalties for it. When it was originally released their management in order to promote it produced a postcard of then UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson in bed with his secretary Marcia Williams. He was alleged to have been having an affair with her. Wilson sued for libel and the band paid all court costs and the royalties for the song went (and indeed still go) to a charity of Wilson’s choice. This has continued even after Wilson’s death. Here are the Move boys with “Flowers In The Rain

The band were longing for the day when the audience members would outnumber the band members

The band were longing for the day when the audience members would outnumber the band members

This day in 1970 was a very sad occasion, it saw the death of the wonderfully talented Tammi Terrell from a brain tumour aged just 24. She was born in Philadelphia as Thomasina Winifred Montgomery. Many of you will remember her for the excellent duets that she recorded with Marvin Gaye. One of the first public signs of her illness was when she collapsed in Marvin’s arms while the two were performing together on October 14th 1967. This was one of the events in Marvin’s life that had a profound effect on him and ultimately led to him recording the landmark album “What’s Going On”. The environmental message of this album still, sadly, rings true today almost 40 years later. It has often been thought that the Jean Terrell who was at one time a member of the Supremes was Tammi’s sister, this is not the case, Jean was the sister of WBA Boxing Champion Ernie Terrell who once fought Cassius Clay. This is Tammi duetting with Marvin on the classic “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” this knocks spots of the Diana Ross version I reckon, how about you?

Tammi Terrell - I think she was gorgeous!

Tammi Terrell - I think she was gorgeous!

And finally on this day in 1973 David Cassidy played the first of six sold out shows at the Empire Pool Wembley. Cassidy first came to prominence as Keith Partridge in the TV sitcom the Partridge Family. His mother was played by Shirley Jones who coincidentally was also his Stepmother in real life. In an attempt to break away from his clean cut image David posed nude for a Rolling Stone Magazine photo shoot by Annie Leibowitz. I liked some of his songs but when he was a teen idol in the early 70s it really wasn’t cool for me to like him 😉 Watch David singing “Rock Me Baby” here.

David thought it had been a good idea to pose nude, but he hadn't really considered where the staples would go.........ouch!

David thought it had been a good idea to pose nude, but he hadn't really considered where the staples would go.........ouch!

 

 
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