The Official Charts Company have released details of the biggest selling CDs in the UK since the format was included in album sales. The list probably holds no real surprises, but clearly has a few disappointing entries in my opinion. The fact that James Blunt, Dido, Leona Lewis and David Gray are in the top 10 shows how bland the UK’s music tastes have become in my opinion. Is this a result of many people buying their CDs from large supermarkets these days? Who knows, but surely that plays a part. Anyway here is the top 10;
There are clearly some classic albums in the list from Oasis, the Verve and Amy Winehouse. But the current top-selling UK CD is Abba Gold, probably soon to be overtaken by Adele’s ’21’. One thing that surprised me was that Dire Straits’ ‘Brothers In Arms’ , the first million selling CD was not in the top 10 or even the top 30. Dido has one more album in the list at number 11. Robbie Williams and Coldplay have three albums each in the top 30. The Beatles’ compilation ‘1’ is at number 12 and there is no entry for Queen in the top 30 either.
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 Heaven – Eric 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 U – Sinead 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 You – U2 – 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 Wind – Elton 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. Angels – Robbie 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
Hello once again dear readers. I haven’t posted for a while but this week’s furore over the NHS drew me back to the keyboard. Essentially many right wing politicians in the US who clearly don’t understand Obama’s health reforms have been scaremongering by pointing out the terrible state of the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK. Many of the comparisons they have made between US Healthcare and the NHS are at best inaccurate and at worst outright fabrication! The argument was then compounded by a complete twat (copyright Dave Cameron) of a Tory MEP garnering himself an appearance on US TV to criticise the NHS. Before you wade into this debate from an American point of view I would suggest that you complete just a modicum of research. Firstly read this article from the Guardian which answers a number of the points raised by Republican politicians, click here to read it.
You should also watch Michael Moore’s movie “Sicko” which offers a brilliant comparison of US versus European Healthcare. But then if you’re a right wing politician in the US you certainly won’t watch anything from Michael Moore will you? Wasn’t the best right wing criticism of Moore a couple of years ago that he was a rich, fat, white man? Hold on a cotton picking minute here, that description could apply to many Republican politicians as well surely.
Also for those of you who fell for the argument that Stephen Hawking would not have survived if he had not been American. He is British, his voice box happens to have an American accent! He himself has said that he would not be here if it wasn’t for the NHS.
In my opinion the NHS does a fantastic job. If I were to fall ill in the UK I know I would be treated regardless of whether I have health insurance. That would not be the case in the US. Millions of people in the US are unable to afford private healthcare. If we consider ourselves part of a caring society we should not even consider leaving these people outside the system!
The doctors and nurses from the NHS that treated my father before he died from Lung Cancer back in 2001 did a fantastic job. I have a friend who is an A & E nurse in the north, you would be hard pressed to find a more dedicated healthcare professional. The NHS like any large organisation is not perfect, however before you jump to conclusions get your facts right!
OK rant over, this is essentially a music blog after all and I thought I’d link to a few medical related songs to tie in. I hope you like them! Oh and as usual there is a tidbit of trivia for each one!
“Doctor Doctor” – Thompson Twins. Did you know that no one in the band was called Thompson? In fact they took their name from the two detectives in Herge’s Adventures Of Tin Tin. I’m looking forward to the movie adaptation of that, are you? Is it true that along with Poirot, Tin Tin is the only other famous Belgian ever? If any Belgians are reading this please add a comment to put me right, name some famous Belgians that aren’t fictional characters
“The Medicine Song” – Stephanie Mills. Stephanie was married to Jeffrey Daniel off of Shalamar for a short period. Jeffrey is the man who taught Michael Jackson to Moonwalk and Stephanie was also romantically linked to Jacko when they appeared together in the late 70s adaptation of the Wizard of Oz called the Wiz! Now that’s what I call a link!
“Night Nurse” – Gregory Isaacs. The Cool Ruler in my opinion had the potential to be a third world superstar along the lines of Bob Marley. However it was the lines that put paid to it, Gregory had a serious cocaine addiction which badly affected his voice at times and also caused the loss of most of his teeth.
“Knocking On Heaven’s Door” – Bob Dylan. Mr Zimmerman wrote this song for the soundtrack of the 1973 film ‘Pat Garrett an Billy the Kid” and it is one of his most covered songs. Perhaps the best known covers are from Eric Clapton and Guns ‘N’ Roses although let’s not forget that Ruth Lorenzo also covered it on X Factor. On second thoughts let’s forget!
“Sexual Healing” – Marvin Gaye. Following my earlier comments about Belgium I should point out that this song was in fact recorded in Ostend in Belgium! It has also been covered by many people from Phish to Kate Bush. Click here to hear Kate’s wonderful version.
“The Drugs Don’t Work” – The Verve. This song gave the band their first UK number one single. At various times Richard Ashcroft has said that the song is about his addiction, the death of his father or his love for his wife.
“Heal The Pain” – George Michael. My favourite George Michael album is ‘Patience’ (I guess that kind of fits with the medical theme too…………. think about it!) One of the tracks from the album caused a great deal of controversy when the video was released. The track was “Shoot The Dog” and it showed Tony Blair as George W Bush’s poodle. Hmmmmmm so what’s wrong with that then, it was true wasn’t it? Click on the song title to check out the video and make up your own mind. Incidentally there might be a prize for the first person to tell me which song George samples on the track
“Doctor My Eyes” – Jackson Browne. This song has been covered a few times, most notably by the Jackson 5 in 1973, click here to hear their version. Jackson Browne himself recently won his case against John McCain and the Republican party for using his song “Running On Empty” without his permission.
“Bad Medicine” – Bon Jovi. Jon BonJovi played in a band called Raze at school and later he went on to play in a covers band called Atlantic City Expressway. Also when he first left school he worked in a women’s shoe shop. Is that a fetish thing maybe?
“Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors” – Editors. The video was shot around Prague in the Czech Republic. The band were once named as the second biggest band of the decade by the Mail On Sunday. Actually I’m not sure that’s an accolade I’d want! Incidentally those cheeky chappies from Sheffield, the Arctic Monkeys were first