With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music reviews, gig reviews, fun trivia and extra added random stuff!

“And they’re just dancing along to a perfect song at the disco” March 9, 2012

I have yet more sad news to report, Jimmy Ellis the iconic voice of Disco and Soul outfit the Trammps has died at a nursing home in South Carolina aged 74. His family has said that he had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. He still sang live with the band as recently as 2010.

Ellis was the band’s stalwart against a backdrop of quite a few personnel changes. The last time the original members sang together was when they performed the classic “Disco Inferno” during their induction into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Many of you probably know them for that song alone, which benefited from its appearance on the soundtrack of the ‘Saturday Night Fever‘ movie. But they had many more great hits; including some classics that you can enjoy at the end of this post.

Incidentally their Dance Music Hall of fame took place on September 19th 2005 which would have been my Dad’s 74th birthday, but sadly he died in 2001.I often used to joke with my Dad before he died that we would play “Disco Inferno” at his cremation. In the end that didn’t happen, but we did laugh about it a lot. “Disco Inferno” was the band’s biggest US hit reaching number 11 on the Billboard chart and number 9 on the US R & B charts. Their biggest UK hit was “Hold Back The Night” which reached number 5 in 1976.

The extra ‘m’ in the band’s name allegedly came from the days when they used to sing on street corners. The police called them tramps and Jimmy Ellis said that he would prefer that they were high-class tramps and so added that extra ‘m’. Jimmy whose real name was James Thomas Ellis II began his singing career in a church gospel choir like many of his contemporaries. He went on to sing in a few bands including the Volcanoes and the Exceptions.

This is yet another sad loss for music and my thoughts go to Jimmy’s family, friends and fans. RIP Jimmy Ellis.


“Could it be the devil in me or is this the way love’s supposed to be?” August 10, 2010

This option would have been one hell of a lot safer

There is every possibility that some of you may see this as a sick choice of subject, so for that let me apologise up front. But as my good friend Fraser Matthews once said to me “Billy Boy, you are one sick puppy!” Anyway the story concerns this years 12th (and almost certainly last) annual Sauna World Championship. Basically it’s about who can stay in the sauna for the longest at temperatures of 110C. The two men who got through the heats (pardon the pun) this year were the reigning champion and five time winner Timo Kaukonen from Finland and Vladimir Ladyzhenskiy of Russia. After six minutes in the final officials noticed that there was something wrong. Ladyzhenskiy was dead and Kaukonen had suffered severe burns. Are people so bored that they have to see this as a sport? It’s bloody mental in my opinion. But here’s the sick part, it got me thinking about heat songs, so after you’ve read the story on the Beeb and the Guardian I hope you enjoy my heat selection!

Click here to read the story on the BBC

Click here to read the story on the Guardian

Some Like It Hot” – Power Station. Featuring one of the best white soul voices ever in my opinion, Robert Palmer and some random dudes off of Duran Duran (John Taylor and Andy Taylor) and some more randomers from Chic (Tony Thompson and Bernard Edwards)

The Heat Is On” – Glenn Frey. Frey co wrote many of the Eagles greatest songs with Don Henley and also sang lead vocals on plenty of them. He once fronted a duo with J D Souther (in 1969) who were known as Longbranch Pennywhistle. “The Heat Is On” is taken from Beverly Hills Cop which starred Eddie Murphy

Hot, Hot, Hot” – Arrow.  An excellent party song which was written and produced by Montserrat musician, Arrow (aka Alphonsus Cassell). It has been covered by many people including David Johansen off of the New York Dolls using his Buster Poindexter alter ego

(Love Is Like A) Heatwave” – Martha & The Vandellas. A classic Motown track and one of the many hits penned by the Holland Dozier Holland writing team. The song was well covered by Linda Ronstadt. It was also used to great effect in the blood collection scene in the movie adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘Carrie’ which starred John Travolta.

Drop It Like It’s Hot” – Snoop Dogg featuring Pharrell. Snoop was known as Calvin Broadus although his parents did give him the nickname Snoopy because they felt there was a resemblance to the Charles Schultz creation.

Melt” – Siouxse & The Banshees. Her parents named her Susan Janet Ballion (although I have seen it noted as Dallion). Her Mum was a bilingual Secretary but her Dad had what must have been quite a unique job, he was a laboratory technician who milked serum from venomous snakes in the Belgian Congo!

Burning Love” – Elvis Presley. The song was written by Dennis Linde and first recorded by Arthur Alexander. Presley’s version came out in 1972. It is one of my favourite Elvis songs from his later years

Canned Heat” – Jamiroquai. Taken from the album ‘Synkronized’ the song reached number four in the UK Chart and made it to the top of the US Dance Chart. It was also used prominently in the film ‘Napoleon Dynamite’

Hot In Herre” – Nelly. Also known as Cornell Haynes Jr, Nelly had quite a prolific output in the noughties. This song title was somewhat deliberately misspelled a little like most of Slade’s early 70s output. The song uses the hook from Chuck Brown’s 1979 hit “Bustin’ Loose”

Disco Inferno” – Trammps. A classic disco song which was also featured on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. I remember once talking to my Dad about having this song played at your funeral if you were being cremated. Well we never played it at my Dad’s funeral, but who knows? There might be room for it at mine! 😉


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