Happy New Year from Top Ten Towers. After all the excitement of my 2015 countdown, we now return you to your regular programming: random Top Tens plucked from my record collection. Although the first tune this week kinda breaks that rule.
2016 is a leap year, which means there's one extra day. But although February will now have 29 days, there will be no 8 day weeks... no matter what the Beatles would have you believe. All of which is an extremely tenuous way of introducing this lot...
10. Sting - Seven Days
I was genuinely surprised to discover that there is NO Sting in my record collection. And, as this blog will often demonstrate, I have some UTTER TAT in my record collection. But no Sting. Yeah, I've got The Police, and a few random collaborations, but not one solo Sting tune. I'm not quite sure why. I mean, yes, I do consider him a bit of a tosser, but it's not as though I actively dislike him in the way I actively dislike Bono or the Gallaghers. (And I own music by all three of those idiots.) My favourite Sting song is his version of Spread A Little Happiness from the soundtrack to Brimstone & Treacle, but sadly (some kind of rights issue?), this has never featured on any Sting compilations... otherwise I might have been tempted to buy it.
Anyway, Sting's Seven Days is perfectly adequate Radio 2 filler, and it would have been churlish not to have given it at least a mention once I remembered it.
9. Kenny Chesney - Seven Days
A country holiday romance. Reminds me a bit of Richard Marx or Marc Cohn.
First Sting, then Richard Marx. No a very cool way to start the New Year, is it?
8. Frank Black - Seven Days
Frank Black might help re-establish my indie credentials a little. This doesn't sound anything like the Pixies, but it's unmistakably Black Francis. Strange, that.
7. Cracker - Seven Days
When Camper Van Beethoven called it a day, David Lowery decided to play it a little more straight with his next band, Cracker. But the old lyrical oddities still crept in...
Bug's got a job in the Catskills6. David Bowie - Seven
Met some Fraulein along the way
Took her home, but then she had an episode
Though it did disturb him, he was strangely compelled
Hours isn't a classic Bowie album, but this track wouldn't have been out of place on Ziggy Stardust. The guitar certainly has a Mick Ronson flavour. And even though the title doesn't mention days, the chorus does...
I've got seven days to live my life5. Feeder - Seven Days In The Sun
Or seven ways to die...
Feeder were always a band I kind of half-liked (always loved the singles) but I never bought any of their albums. My newfound love of charity-shopping (inspired, in part, by Charity Chic's excellent blog) has increased my Feeder collection greatly. All for a quid a pop! And they say CDs are dead...
Anyway, this one was obviously made for the US market. It's not a spiky as many of their earlier tracks, but the chunky, Blink 182-esque guitars are fun.
4. Queen - In Only Seven Days
Freddie had a typically flamboyant way of playing the piano, perfectly demonstrated on the intro to this John Deacon-written album track from the 1978 album Jazz. I've got a lot of time for John Deacon, he seems the only surviving Queen member to have kept his self-respect intact, refusing to get involved in any of the band's ridiculous post-Freddie shenanigans.
3. Elvis Costello & Jimmy Cliff - Seven Day Weekend
Taken from the soundtrack of the justly forgotten 1986 "comedy" Club Paradise starring Robin Williams, Peter O'Toole (who was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor) and Jimmy Cliff himself. Not sure how they roped Elvis in, but the song still works well. I reckon Elvis's voice was at its absolute best around the mid-late 80s and it blends well with Jimmy's here. I first heard this as a bonus track on the special edition one of my favourite Costello albums, Blood & Chocolate.
Seven Day Weekend is a very popular song title: a few more and I could have done a full Top Ten just based on this title. Examples include Seven Day Weekend by Foghat, Seven Day Weekend by Gary US Bonds (written by Pomus & Schuman), Seven Day Weekend by ABC, Seven Day Weekend by Grace Jones, and probably some others I don't know about.
2. Dexys Midnight Runners - Seven Days Too Long
A cover of the old Northern Soul song by Chuck Wood from 1967... and Chuck's is a pretty damned good version... but I just love me the Dexys. This is from their first ever album, which will soon be 36 years old.
Such facts make me feel ancient and very, very tired. A good way to start the new year.
1. Animals That Swim - Seven Days
Animals That Swim were a curiously beguiling little band formed in the late 80s, though this is from their third (and final... to date) album from 2001. They remind me a lot of the quirky, literate, real life indie written by Stuart Murdoch (Belle & Sebastian) or Shirley Lee (Spearmint). This song tells of a life counted off in ten year birthdays, beginning with my favourite kind of lyrical detail...
On my tenth birthdayAnd thus it continues till the narrator abruptly expires on his seventieth, followed by a pithy observation about certain special birthdays...
I danced naked on the lawn
Making rain fall from a red watering can.
On my twentieth birthday
Slumped in the corner
Wearing Rhiannon's make up and pearls
Clamouring 'Give me attention, please!'
It seems every time
It gets easier and easier to die.
What a cheerful start to 2016! I'll see you all in 7 days. Or 6. Or 8. Depending.
Please leave a comment before then!