Sunday, 10 September 2017

The Glorious 10th - My Top Ten Hello Songs

Hello. It's the Glorious 10th.

Time to reveal My Top Ten Songs called Hello, and just Hello... or a repeated use of that word... or Hello (with something extra in brackets). Once again, I was overjoyed with the response. Thanks to all who played along and trawled their record collections for suitable suggestions (and unsuitable ones). I'll do my best to tally up the points below...

First off the incorrect answers...

(Remember, I will award bonus points for songs I own that didn't make the Top Ten and any that I didn't know but might have given a place to if I had.)

Straight off the mark, C can have a bonus point for suggesting The Rentals, a band created by former Weezer bassist Matt Sharp. I'd never heard it before, but it's not half bad.

C was then first to suggest Adele, which I do own... mainly because I ripped the other half's copy of 25... so that gets a point too. I like Adele and if this had been recorded in 1975, it might have made the chart. I just don't like the modern production sheen that's slopped over it... and most other 21st Century chart hits. It saps the soul from what is otherwise a rather nice tune. In my humble opinion. Similarly Charity Chic's suggestion of Beyoncé. I don't mind a bit of Beyoncé, but this one sounds a bit Beyoncé-by-the-numbers. (I'm very impressed that Beyoncé is such a big star that autocorrect automatically adds an accent to her name. You know you've arrived, etc.) And because I like Mark Owen best out of all the remaining Take Thatters, I'm going to give Alyson a bonus point for this. Because it's quite chipper.

The Swede can also have a bonus point for D.R. Hooker, which I had to listen to the whole album to hear because the single track wasn't on youtube... but it is suitably mental. I'm tempted to deduct a point for his suggestion of Oasis... but then loads of other people went and suggested it too. The chances of Oasis ever cropping up on this chart are somewhere in the remote territory between slim and feck all. Just so you know.

George can have a bonus point for Terry & Gerry, which I can't find anywhere on t'internet, but I'm assuming it's great. Because George suggested it. Or maybe his point is for reminding us how great Hello Walls by Faron Young is. It's a point, anyway: treasure it, George.

Lynchie can have a bonus point for being first to suggest Hello Hello by Talk Show, which I'd never heard before. Apparently they were very big in 1997... in Brazil. Not bad for its era though.

Last month's winner, Martin, can also have a bonus point for suggesting Bic Runga - Hello Hello. I love a bit of Bic, but hadn't heard this one before. Nothing for Evanescence though. I liked the piano, but I kept waiting for it to get going. I'm going to be vicious though and deduct a point for his suggestion of Elton John and Lady Gaga, because a) it's awful; and b) it comes from a film called Gnomeo & Juliet. Neither of them needed the money that much. Martin also can't have any points for Matthew Sweet (and Susannah Hoffs), but only because their cover of the old Todd Rundgren track in question has other words in its title: Hello, It's Me. Otherwise, it's a decent track.

Walter can have a bonus point for Eminem. This is in my collection, but it's mid-period Eminem which is pretty weak. I prefer his earlier stuff and the comeback album.

Jez can't have any bonus points for Martin Solveig Feat. Dragonette (although the video is rather entertaining) or the Stafford Brothers feat. Lil' Wayne & Christina Milian (which is a great example of the mystery of modern chart pop: how can so many people want to put their name to such utter dribble?). Jez also wins the coveted Worst Suggestion Of The Month award (minus two points) for Hello Hello by Twinkle... which my boss caught me watching at work, and now I'm looking for a new job.

Final bonus points go to my old Aussie pal Deano for bringing The Cat Empire, Dan Zanes and Merril Bainbridge to my attention. Good work, even though none of them make the list below...

10. Henry Rollins

Nobody got this one, even after I gave a clue. I'm not the biggest expert on Henry Rollins, and I do find his music a bit shouty at times, but he seems like a decent enough bloke on the radio. Found the album this comes from (Nice) in a charity shop and it's been well worth the 95p I paid for it.

9. ELO Part 2

I know, I know. It's hard enough getting people to admit to liking ELO. What chance have I with the Jeff Lynne-less Part II formed in the late 80s by original drummer Bev Bevan? They released two albums of new material in the 90s, following the ELO template of orchestrated Beatles shenanigans, but without Jeff's magic touch. Still, not bad if you like that kind of stuff.

8. Seahorses

Nobody got this one either... until I gave a partially accurate clue: "A forgotten Britpop band formed by half of a more famous group." C then did her research and came up with John Squire's short-lived Stone Roses replacement, a band that split up after one album in the late 90s due to "creative differences" and the fact that Squire thought their new material sounded "shit".

7. Something Happens - Hello Hello Hello Hello Hello (Petrol)

C suggested this first, even though she couldn't remember what it was called. Then she did remember, so two points for that. 1 point for everyone else who remembered it: bonus point to Jez for remembering that it had a bracketed Petrol on the end. This is from 1990, a pretty awful year for music so I'm not surprised it wasn't a hit. Surely poodle rock haircuts were out by then too? Couldn't lead singer Tom Dunne keep up with fashion and buy himself a pudding bowl?

The lyrics make this for me...
She wears diamonds, she wears rubies
She wears stones as big as my ones
That came from the coliseum
And she says "D'you wanna see them?"
She came from Greece, she had a thirst for knowledge?

6. James

Millionaires is, to me at least, the great unsung James album. This is one of the tracks. It's rather lovely. Apparently it was also used in the soundtrack to a movie I've never seen called The Consequence of Love.

Jez was the first (and only!) person to suggest this. That gets him 2 points. It's not my Number 1 though, Jez.

5. Shakespear's Sister (Turn Your Radio On)

If you were in any doubt that I would choose this song, the brackets should have tipped you over the edge. 2 points to Rigid Digit for suggesting this first. 1 point to anybody else who suggested it.

4. My Pleasure

Here's the one I didn't think anyone would guess... and guess what? Nobody guessed it.

To be honest, I knew chuff-all about My Pleasure until I saw an advert on facebook suggesting I might like his music. I seem to remember there was an offer from his record company (Adult Teeth) to get a free EP, so I sent away for this... and then didn't listen to it all for a year. Until I came to compile this chart, in fact. When I did listen to it, I thought it was great. Lo-fi indie "weird pop" with shades of Jarvis, Half Man Half Biscuit, Denim et al. Worth your listening time if you're into any of those.

(Oh, but if you look back at the clue I gave for this one, you'll see that I couldn't have been more obvious if I'd tried!)

As obscure as this was, it wasn't quite as obscure as The Swede's suggestion of this Beatles "track". He gets one point for Most Obscure Suggestion of the Month.

3. Lionel Richie

Perhaps I should start a new series here called Defending The Indefensible, seeing as though so many of you expressed an aversion to this fine tune (even Alyson!). The Swede was first to hint at it, though he couldn't bring himself to speak its name so doesn't get any points. C named it but refused to make it an official suggestion, preferring to guess at Adele instead. Lynchie was the first one to suggest it seriously, even though he thought The Swede had beaten him to it. 2 points to Lynchie. 1 point to the rest of you, no points for the haters.

Anyway, the point is, I can see why this song causes so much upset. Of course I can. Big slushy 80s ballads are never going to be cool (unless you were a very uncool 12 year old in 1984). But I think this song deserves appreciation for being something else entirely. Indeed, if I wasn't featuring it here, I would have to squeeze it into Volume 2 of My Top Ten Stalker Songs, because it's creepy as hell... much more so than Every Breath You Take. Plus Lionel will always be cooler than Sting. (Cat: meet pigeons.) And don't even start me on the (yes, much-parodied) video in which Lionel proves, undisputedly that stalking DOES pay... but maybe only if you're stalking blind girls.

The proof of a good song though often comes in its re-interpretations. So if the big synthy strings and over-produced 80s echo of Lionel's original might stick in your throat, can I suggest versions by Me First & The Gimme Gimmes (pop punk), Richard Cheese (lounge), Paul Anka (swing*) or even Lionel himself, paired with Jennifer Nettles (country... or so it says on the label).


Your loss.

(*Sez Jez: "from Anka’s 'Rock Swings', which shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the phrase 'Rock'")

2. Prince

Here's a little clue to help you with future editions of The Glorious 10th. If Prince has a song with the word/s of the month, chances are it'll be near the top. Hello was the b-side to Pop Life, available on the peerless 3CD Prince: The Hits & B-Sides compilation, but also (as Jez points out) there's a somewhat different Hello backwards at the end of Side 1 of Purple Rain.

C was the first to guess this. 2 points. 1 to the rest of you: though many of you seemed to think it would be my Number 4, perhaps because those of you were only familiar with the backwards version thought I was being sneaky. Which I would have been...

1. The Beloved

I have something of a love-hate relationship with the whole baggy era (and indeed, I'm not even sure The Beloved fit into the baggy category, though they're from that era and the sound and look fit). There were undeniably some great songs recorded by those bands, but they were always a bit cool and laddy for me to cherish the way I would the Britpop bands a couple of years later. Of course, the worst excesses of Britpop were even laddier, but at least they weren't flirting with dance music and rave culture as much: both of which left me cold.

Hello is my favourite tune by The Beloved despite its Church of Rave qualities, because the lyrical choices are so gleefully uncool. It sounds like Paul McCartney's far-worthier Let 'Em In has been rewritten by a bunch of cheeky 6th Formers... which is exactly what I was in 1989. Where else will you find Willy Wonka, The Supremes, Cannon & Ball, Desmond Tutu, Mork & Mindy, Billy Corkhill, Salman Rushdie, Kym Mazelle, Zippy, Bungle and Jeffrey Archer all in the same song? (Plus Vince Hilaire, who Rigid Digit describes as "Crystal Place and Portsmouth midfield maestro", thereby answering a question I have pondered for 27 years.)

Congratulations (and 2 points) to CC for being the first to guess this one, and (5 points) to my old pal Dave for being the first to guess it would be Number One. Although Dave has an advantage in that we are the same age and we survived the 90's gigging scene together, plus he likes Zippy & Bungle. And probably even Jeffrey Archer. 1 point to everyone else who mentioned it.

OK, so time for the scores on the doors. (RIP, Bruce.) I've added these up as best I can, taking into account all the arcane rules I made up for such things. Apologies if I miscalculated your score, but I'm sure you'll live.

1 point - George (Although last month when I gave George 1 point, he protested that I shouldn't have.)

2 points - Alyson, The Swede, Martin (how the mighty have fallen) and Walter.

3 points - Lynchie, Deano & Rigid Digit.

4 points - Jez.

5 points - Dave and Charity Chic.

But this month's undisputed winner, with a majestic NINE points, has to be...

Well done, C. You win the glory of being a real winner. Enjoy your prize.

Now, I know what you're all waiting for. What you really came here for. Never mind the answers to last month's Glorious 10th... what about this month's?

Come on back tomorrow. I'm knackered now. I had to marshall a birthday party for 20 hyperactive 4 year-olds yesterday, you know!


  1. Rats! I missed out - too late now, but I would have submitted 'Hello Hello' by Sopwith Camel and Jerry Lee Lewis's bluesy 'Hello Hello Baby.'

    1. The first one might have been in with a chance; the latter would have lost out because of baby.

  2. I was about to deny suggesting Beyonce (no auto correct here!) until I looked back at the comments!
    Hope you've recovered from the party

    1. Just about.

      You will henceforth be known as the Blogger Who Suggested Beyonce. (Hmm. No accent when I use my tablet.)

  3. Epic post and lots of work must have gone into it so well done you and thanks for doing it. Well done to C too for winning all those points - Still can't quite believe I got any at all but thanks for being kind. Not sure about the "(even Alyson)" remark but I think we all know now where my musical allegiences lie so if I suddenly managed to come up with lots of cool and obscure choices you would know I'd cheated!

    A party for 20 four-year-olds - You deserve a medal but these memories will now be in the bank, so well worth it.

    1. I merely thought that you might show some solidarity over my Lionel love, Alyson. But I was all alone this time!

    2. It usually is the case isn't it - Sorry, not this time!

  4. Blimey, thank you - more luck than judgement I think! Was such great fun I couldn't stop chipping in on that one! Thank you for my lovely prize which is settling in well after the initial shock of being let out of its box and which I will remember to feed and water on a regular basis.

    Congrats to you for all the work compiling all this and for keeping score. Looking forward to the next one once you've recovered from the hyperactive toddler marshalling. And I thought that was just us lot!

  5. Hello. I feel much better, having finished in the top 3.

  6. I will be accepting the point awarded this week, Thanks.


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