Wednesday 31 October 2018

My Top Ten Movie Murderer Songs

Last week's post on Infamous (real life) Murderers was really only a warm up for this, my Halloween special for 2018. I spent far too many Friday and Saturday nights when I was growing up watching gruesome horror movies about some very unpleasant bad guys. And despite what Mary Whitehouse said, it never did me any harm...

...or did it? Mwuh-ha-ha-ha-haaaa!

Here's ten songs dedicated to the bloodthirsty "heroes" of my youth...

10. Jon English - The Shining

Be afraid. Be very afraid. I'm not sure what's scarier... Jack Nicholson in The Shining, or Jon English in this.
Looks like hell, like hell, Jack Torrance knows it well
Look at it bubblin' in the boiler at the Overlook Hotel

9. Bloodhound Gang - Take The Long Way Home

The greatest trick the devil ever played... was getting you to listen to a song by the Bloodhound Gang.

Did you ever read Voltaire's "Candide"?
He says live life at Benny Hill freak out speed
Not a quote of what he wrote but a paraphrase
Make it up as you go, Keyser Soze

8. Alice Cooper - He's Back (The Man Behind The Mask)

Credit to the producers of Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives... quite a coup getting Alice Cooper to put on the hockey mask.

7. The Ramones - Chainsaw

The Ramones were evidently fans of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and its gruesome killer Leatherface. Though he doesn't get mentioned by name here, he play a big part in the song. For an actual Leatherface namecheck, check out The Wonder Years - Suburbia.

The Ramones also had a song called Pinhead... long before this dude arrived on the scene.

6. Sammy Davis Jr. - Candyman

The movie came a long time after Sammy's song... but it's still pretty damned scary.

5. Landscape - My Name Is Norman Bates

They're weren't just about Einstein.

See also Blondie - Kidnapper... a very dark turn for Debbie.

Hey, you've got an unnerving face
And twitching eyes like Norman Bates

4. Manic Street Preachers - Patrick Bateman

Patrick Bateman wasn't all bad. He was a big fan of Huey Lewis & The News, for one thing.

By the way, if you've never seen it before, I seriously recommend watching Huey's response to that scene (along with Weird Al Yankovich). No, seriously. You owe it to yourself.

3. Sleeper - Nice Guy Eddie

One of many amoral psychos in the Reservoir Dogs community. Any excuse for a bit of Louise Wener.

2. Space & Catatonia - The Ballad of Tom Jones

No, I'm not suggesting that the Welsh Wonder is a serial killer on the side, but Cerys certainly accuses Tommy Scott of being a scary psycho...

You're worse than Hannibal Lecter,
Charlie Manson, Freddy Krueger

1. The Meteors - Michael Myers

Pure psychobilly from the early 80s, paying tribute to the daddy of all movie murderers... the one who famously wears a William Shatner mask... Michael Myers. Happy Halloween!

Now I'm just going down into the cellar. Don't worry, I'll be right back...

Tuesday 30 October 2018

Hot 100 #60

A couple of fine 90s / 00s indie bands illustrate our feature this week as we reach one of those number with loads of great options...

Walter opened proceedings with this cheery lyrical offering from the Manics - Nostalgic Pushead

One two three four five six seven eight
I am the raping sunglass gaze
Of sweating man and escort agencies
60's alienation the anthem of care

Bet you feel better about your day already.

Next came The Swede who suggested a bit of early Elton John (can't go wrong with early Elton John):

Elton John - Sixty Years On

The Swede also reminded us of a song that got a mention last week due to one of its b-sides…

Sixty Minute Man' by Billy Ward & The Dominoes

That's another of those song that claims to be the first rock 'n' roll record ever (there are hundreds of them). Brian seconded The Swede's suggestion... and Alyson thirded it. But I swore no more peer pressure this week.

The Swede also directed us back to the aforementioned Bonnie Prince Billy' cover... "or preferably the first version I ever heard of the song by The Trammps - discotastic!" I'll throw in this country version by Roberta Lee & Hardrock Gunter from my own collection. I'm sure there are many more. (You may prefer Rigid Digit's suggestion of Ivor Biggun's version... or maybe not.)

Finally, The Swede wondered, "lyrically, how about 'Glam Racket' by The Fall?"

You post out sixty-page computer printouts on the end of forests,
All the above will come back to you and confirm you as a damn pest

Great opening line to that one too. If Mark E. Smith tells you to stop eating all that chocolate... well, I reckon it's time to start the diet.

Lynchie was up next, with one of those songs that just keeps giving to this feature...

The Incredible String Band - Way Back in the 1960s

(I'm gonna have to use that as a Grumpy Old Man song very soon.)

And then this bluesy gem...

Ev'ry 60 seconds, of ev'ry minute
Ev'ry 60 minutes, of the hour
Ev'ry twenty-four hours of the day
I just sit a-round an' pray.

Jim then sent us these two suggestions, all the way from Dubai...

Audio Deluxe - 60 Seconds

Tight Fit - Back to the 60s

(Guess which of those I preferred. I know. I need to get a life.)

And then Jim remembered this old favourite, getting its second mention on this feature... with a third still to come...

Bow Wow Wow - C30 C60 C90 Go!

From Dubai to Canada next, welcoming new player Douglas McLaren, who hit the ground running with these fine suggestions...

As a Canadian, may I suggest Gowan - 60 Second Nightmare?

Ah, gowan then. (See what I did there?)

Or to dig into lyrics, my Scottish heritage prompts me to suggest

Train arrive, sixty minutes gone
Whoo-ooh train arrive, sixty minutes gone
Well I ain't seen my baby, he's been gone so long

We're always ready for a bit of Eddi round these parts. Thanks, Douglas.

Alyson then came back with two more...

60 Miles An Hour by New Order and Sixty Mile Smile by 3 Colours Red, the first of which breaks my No New Order rule, while the second reminded me how much I liked 3 Colours Red for about 5 minutes back in the day.

Once Rol's No New Order rule had been broken, it seems only right that Rigid Digit comes along to break Rol's other big rule... No U2.

U2 - Sixty Seconds In Kingdom Come

More of Bono's God Complex there, if you ask me.

Much more palatable was RD's second suggestion...

Bruce Springsteen - The Rising

How far I've gone, how high I've climbed
On my backs a sixty pound stone
On my shoulder a half mile of line

Finally from you guys this week, Martin got very excited...

Wahey, I get to pitch a song by The Vapors - 60 Second Interval (live, studio).

That would have been one of my suggestions, but not the winner... because a quick trawl through my own music library produced loads of contenders...

Kenickie - 60s Bitch

The Dead Weather - 60 Feet Tall

America - 1960

Jeff Rosenstock - Pietro, 60 Years Old (Could have been one of my < 40 Seconds Songs)

Neil Young - Crime In The City (Sixty To Zero, Pt 1)

Black Box Recorder - Jackie 60

Rose McDowell - Sixty Cowboys

My Top Three for this week though goes like this...

3. The Indelicates - Julia, We Don't Live In The 60s

"We've never had it so good!"

2. Death Cab For Cutie - 60 & Punk

Already featured here as one of my 2018 contenders.

This week's winner was chosen as a rebuttal to all those many, many posts I write about growing older, sharing my Mid-Life Crisis with you all. It might also cheer up those of you who are a good few years older than me... or perhaps not, if you listen too closely.

Nils Lofgren - 60 Is The New 18

There's an obvious winner for next week in my head... and a less obvious runner-up. I'll be interested to see what you can come up with for 59 though...

Monday 29 October 2018

2018 Contenders: Tom Petty Karaoke

A week or so ago, Swiss Adam posted that J Mascis, lead singer of Dinosaur Jr, is about to release a new solo record. Curiously, the day before I read that, I'd heard the new song from Amy Rigby, Tom Petty Karaoke. Amy wrote the song after seeing the video below, which recently went viral, featuring Mascis singing Tom Petty's Don't Do Me Like That in a Massachusetts karaoke bar...

It's hardly the performance of his career, but that's not the point. As Amy Rigby points of in her song, there's a freedom here, a release, a complete lack of inhibition or rock star hutzpah that is gloriously refreshing. I reckon we could all use a little bit of Tom Petty karaoke every now and then...

I’m kind of empty tonight
Nothing feels right
Nothing feels right

I’m going out on my own
Can’t stay home
No I can’t stay home

When I ‘m holding the microphone
It’s like I’m holding on
To something that’s gone

When I sing I Won’t Back Down
I don’t feel down
Yeah I’m alright
And when I do Don’t Do Me Like That
Hey I’m back
Walking into the light
And when I’m bringing She Went Down Swingin
I ain’t just singing
I’m coming on
American Girl, take me outta this world

Tom Petty Karaoke isn't on the excellent new Amy Rigby album, The Old Guys (which I already wrote about here), but it is available for download from her bandcamp page... so why wouldn't you?

And I can hardly post all this without playing the song and paying respect to the great man who inspired it all, so here it is...

Sunday 28 October 2018

Saturday Snapshots #56 - The Answers

Picture this - a Sunday morning without any answers to Saturday Snapshots. No need to Call Me OR go Atomic... they're here!

I'm going to call this one a draw between Charity Chic and Lynchie, because even though Lynchie got half a point more than CC, Charity Chic was typing his answer to Number 4 at the same time as Alyson, who beat him to it by seconds. (To be fair, he then beat her to Number 2 by seconds. What a close match!) Plus, CC got Number 9 and Number 5, which were definitely the hardest to identify this week.

10. The clue's in the picture... and in the pack.

Wink Martindale - Deck of Cards

Lynchie called this "one of the most horrible songs to grace the pop charts", but it's one I remember Terry Wogan playing in my youth (with his own little wink as he did it) and I'll always have a special fondness for it, despite... or perhaps because of... the supreme cheese. I even found myself listening to a whole album of Wink's earnest talky songs the other day...

"And friends, the story is true. I know... I was that soldier."

9. Put your tongue between your lips and blow - you'll be a star by tomorrow!

The Raspberries - Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)

8. "One Spider-Man is enough!" says can of rotations.

A tin of turners. A tin a' turner.

Tina Turner - We Don't Need Another Hero

7. Scouse lads lose the first day of the war while chasing a runaway lass.

A lad in Liverpool in Liverpool is a La, minus the D from D-Day.

The Las - There She Goes

6. Basil Brush flees Jelly Baby.

The Sweet - Fox On The Run

5. Three times Trio's lady (and Kenneth's, carry on) doesn't like Medium Wave.

Trio sang Da Da Da.

Kenneth Williams did Carry On.

Medium Wave was AM. If you don't listen to AM, you probably prefer FM.

Dar Williams - FM Radio

4. Where Gary Numan's friends live, with help from a whirlpool subsidy.

Whirlpool = eddy.

Subsidy = grant.

Gary Numan's friends are electric.

Eddy Grant - Electric Avenue

3. Snoop, Nate & Bonzo can't play out this evening, says their mum.

Three dogs' mama's told them not to go out at night.

Three Dog Night - Mama Told Me Not To Come

2. Photoshop can cheer you up.

Photoshop alters images.

Altered Images - I Could Be Happy

1. Chubby Snorer, at home on the stove. Can't change that.

Chubby Snorer is an anagram.

Home on the range.

A range is a stove.

Can't change that?

One Way Or Another, Saturday Snapshots will return next week. And it'll be our Halloween Special, so get up nice and early!

Saturday 27 October 2018

Saturday Snapshots #56

The Beat Goes On, and Saturday Snapshots rolls around again. I Got You (10 more clues), Babe so why not try and solve them all? Artist and top tune for each one, please.

Bang Bang - off you go!

10. The clue's in the picture... and in the pack.

9. Put your tongue between your lips and blow - you'll be a star by tomorrow!

8. "One Spider-Man is enough!" says can of rotations.

7. Scouse lads lose the first day of the war while chasing a runaway lass.

6. Basil Brush flees Jelly Baby.

5. Three times Trio's lady (and Kenneth's, carry on) doesn't like Medium Wave.

4. Where Gary Numan's friends live, with help from a whirlpool subsidy.

3. Snoop, Nate & Bonzo can't play out this evening, says their mum.

2. Photoshop can cheer you up.

1. Chubby Snorer, at home on the stove. Can't change that.

Baby Don't Go - the answers will be here tomorrow morning!

Friday 26 October 2018

The United Kingdom of Song #8: Rotherham

Just a few miles south of the town I work in is sunny Rotherham. I skived off work one afternoon in the summer a few years back and went to have a look round their charity shops. (CC would be proud.) I recognise the buildings in the picture above, although to be fair it's not representative of the rest of the town.

Rotherham is the birthplace of Pulp drummer Nick Banks; Jo Callis, guitarist from The Rezillos, and later The Human League; Chris Wolstenholme, the bassist from Muse... and The Chuckle Brothers.

I could only find two tunes that mention Rotherham, but both a worth a spin. First there's this...

In Yorkshire near Rotherham, he had been on the ramble
Weary of traveling, he sat down to rest
By the foot of yon' mountain
Lays a clear flowing fountain
With bread and cold water he himself did refresh

And then, perhaps more obviously, there's this classic Rotherham rhyme...

And yeah, I'd love to tell you all my problem
You're not from New York City, you're from Rotherham
So get off the bandwagon, and put down the handbook

(Shout out to all residents of Hunter's Bar in Sheffield who also get a nod in this song.)

186 miles down to the West Country next week for a truly spiritual experience...

Thursday 25 October 2018

My Top Ten Infamous Murderer Songs

Pretty gruesome subject matter this week... but real life murderers have often inspired some fine pop songs as their legacy. Rap and metal are full of tributes to serial killers and mass murderers, but here's ten more mainstream tunes inspired by macabre murderers...

10. Sun Kil Moon - Richard Ramirez Died Today Of Natural Causes

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Mark Kozelek is obsessed with true crime stories. Later, in the song Stranger Than Paradise, he even checks into a hotel where Richard Ramirez stays and starts creeping around like a shoddy detective.

9. Elliot Smith - Son of Sam

David Berkowitz shot a number of people in New York City, 1977, taunting the police with letters while he did it. Some believe he was also the inspiration for Psycho Killer by The Talking Heads, though apparently David Byrne has denied this.

See also Diddy Doo Wop (I Hear The Voices) by Hall & Oates. No, really.

8. Sufjan Stevens - John Wayne Gacy Jr.

The sweetest song about a serial killer you'll ever hear. The very definition of "haunting".

7. The Indelicates featuring Jim Bob - McVeigh

Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people in the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing, in direct reprisal to the goverment for the way they handled The Waco Siege two years earlier. All of which is retold in blistering satirical fashion in the Indelicates' 2011 musical David Koresh Superstar, featuring guest contributions from (among others) Carter USM singer Jim Bob.

6. The Adverts - Gary Gilmore's Eyes

Imagine you woke up in hospital after a transplant operation to find out you'd been given the eyes of a murderer...

5. The Rolling Stones - Midnight Rambler

Albert DeSalvo, The Boston Strangler gets the full Stones treatment here...

Well, you heard about the Boston...
It's not one of those
Talkin' 'bout the midnight... shit!
Run and close the bedroom door
I'm called the hit and run raper, in anger
The knife sharpened, tippy toe
Or just a shoot 'em dead, brainbell jangleur

4. Luke Haines - Leeds United

Peter Sutcliffe, The Yorkshire Ripper. Another ghost who haunted my childhood.

No leads for the West Yorkshire police
In Victorian Leeds, concrete Leeds
There's a killer on the terraces, better call in Doris Stokes
The devil came to Yorkshire in the silver Jubilee
It could be Kendo Nagasaki, Jimmy Savile or the Queen

3. The Boomtown Rats - I Don't Like Mondays

Brenda Spencer. Killed two people and injured 9 more at the Grover Cleveland Elementary School shooting in January 1979. When a reporter asked her why she did it, she replied, "I don't like Mondays. This livens up the day."

The silicon chip inside her head
Gets switched to overload
And nobody's gonna go to school today
She's going to make them stay at home...

2. Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska

Charles Starkweather and his girlfriend Caril Ann Fugate inspired the movies Kalifornia and Natural Born Killers. They also led to one of Bruce's darkest moments...

I saw her standin' on her front lawn just twirlin' her baton
Me and her went for a ride sir and ten innocent people died
From the town of Lincoln Nebraska with a sawed-off .410 on my lap
Through to the badlands of Wyoming I killed everything in my path

They declared me unfit to live, said into that great void my soul'd be hurled
They wanted to know why I did what I did
Well, sir, I guess there's just a meanness in this world

1. The Smiths - Suffer Little Children

Myra Hindley & Ian Brady. Where I come from, just a stone's throw from Saddleworth Moor, their crimes will never be forgotten. They had a pretty big impact on Morrissey too... but at least he cheers himself up with the idea that the ghosts of their victims will haunt the Moors Murderers forever.

Oh, find me...find me, nothing more
We are on a sullen misty moor
We may be dead and we may be gone
But we will be, we will be, we will be, right by your side
Until the day you die
This is no easy ride
We will haunt you when you laugh
Yes, you could say we're a team
You might sleep
You might sleep
You might sleep
But you will never dream...

The world would definitely have been a better place without the evil, loathsome individuals described above. But would it have been a better place without these ten tunes? When life gives us lemons, the least we can do is try to make some lemonade...

Wednesday 24 October 2018

Radio Songs #46: Anxiety Dreams

Some people dream about forgetting their lines in the school play. Or doing a speech and realising you're naked halfway through. Or taking a course and realising right at the end, while everybody else is ready to graduate, that there's one essential class you've never attended. (I have that last one myself, from time to time.)

However, my two most common anxiety dreams both have their roots back in my radio days.

In the first, I'm driving a taped show and desperately trying to back-time the tape so it'll finish in time for the news. Then I realise I've missed out a whole section of the show, or I'm going to have five minutes of dead air and there's nothing I can use to fill, or the tape snaps and there's no way to get it going again (which would be annoying, but not impossible to remedy).

In the second, and by far the most common of the two, I'm playing in songs from a stack of CDs when I realise there are no even remotely appropriate tunes left on any of the CDs I have out and that I'm going to have to run all the way down to the record library to get something else to play... but I only have 30 seconds left on the song that's currently playing. 29. 28. 27. And I can't even get out of the chair. 26. 25. 24. And there's not even any ads or promos I can play. 23. 22. 21. And I can't even open the mic, because I'm not the presenter of this show: but the presenter isn't actually here!

I doubt any of these dreams trouble present-day DJs or "technical operators" since everything they need is stored in one computer and so much of it can be automated. Their biggest fear is probably that computer going down, which you do occasionally hear happening on live radio shows, forcing the presenters to go old school.

Here's an actual radio song to go along with this week's post... remember when I actually used songs about the radio, not just something tenuously linked to whatever I was babbling on about? It just occurred to me that there's still hundreds of great radio songs I haven't got around to playing yet, so here's an Irish indie band from the early 90s that somebody on youtube calls "Morrissey sings Steeleye Span". Well, you've got to give that a listen, haven't you...?

Tuesday 23 October 2018

Hot 100 #61

I feel almost the victim of peer pressure this week. The song everyone thinks should be the obvious winner isn't one of my favourites from the gentleman in question, but really... can anything else challenge it?

The Swede suggested Sixty-One, the b-side of Sixty Minute Man by Bonnie 'Prince' Billy... wonder if that'll make a return visit next week?

Martin came up with three suggestions...

How about A Dustland Fairytale by The Killers, with the lyric:

A dustland fairytale beginning
Or just another white trash country kiss?
In '61, long brown hair and foolish eyes...

And The Fray have a somewhat forgettable song called 1961.

And new to me, a slice of mid-80s power-pop called 61 Seconds by The Outfield.

All worthy of some merit, but none of them a Giant Killer.

C was closer to toppling the Nobel Prize winner with her suggestion...

Even if just to hear Feargal sing, "I wanna wanna be a male model", you can't go wrong with
The Undertones - Male Model:

When I was young I never wanted toys
Things like that were for little boys
My mamma got me clothes for her favourite son
Freeman's item A page 61

Meanwhile, Rigid Digit offered the following...

Not bad. But could The Levellers ever stand in the same ring as the Patron Saint of Zimmerframes?

In the end then, it seemed inevitable... until the South Western Correspondent made a rare venture north to suggest an alternative take on the same song. Far be it from me to steal an idea from Charity Chic, but as he's not using it at the moment... you can decide which version of Highway 61 Revisited you prefer this week.

For me, Polly Jean might just be edging it...

Next week... number 60! Any ideas will be gratefully received... peer pressure might well be ignored.

Monday 22 October 2018

2018 Contenders: Dancing With The Beast

Write me a good story song and you've got a fan for life. Nashville-based singer songwriter Gretchen Peters has just written 11, every one a perfect short story, full of character, detail, warmth and tragedy.

Take the elderly lady in the cocoon waiting for her Disappearing Act...

Or the 12 year old girl, desperate to protect her little sister in Wichita...

Or the weary prostitute struggling to make ends meet via freezing parking lots and seedy bars in Truckstop Angel... that one in particular will hit you in the heart.

Or how about the best mid-life crisis song (though late-life crisis might be a better description) you'll hear this week...?

There's a picture on the wall
We got married in the fall
Now I don't know those kids at all
There's a picture on the wall

Sunday 21 October 2018

Saturday Snapshots #55 - The Answers

If you wannabe my lover, you've gotta get solving my Saturday Snapshot clues. Luckily, none of these proved Too Much for you...

First out of bed yesterday morning was Rigid Digit, narrowly beating Lynchie to the crown by half a point.

Actually, I don't think these clues need a lot of explaining this week...

10. Admiral Johnson goes out for another drive.

Admiral Nelson.

"We'll cut off your Johnson, Lebowski!"

Willie Nelson - On The Road Again

(Or it might be Martin Freeman.)

9. Easy to solve even if you don't know the answer... Lady Liberty.

The Guess Who - American Woman

8.  A Drama II: Take your clothes off and she might fancy you.

Ida Maria - I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked

7. Charlie's band makes a killing with their sex-change.

Charlie Mansun was a killer.

(Yes, Mansun had more songs than just Wide Open Space. Quite a few of them were better too!)

Mansun - Being A Girl

6. Bumbling coach refuses to release Bob's farmer.

Bob Dylan sang about Maggie's Farm.

Honeybus - I Can't Let Maggie Go

Not Honeybuns, although that might have been a better name.

5. Mend your jeans with Cooper and a bow tie.

Lee Cooper jeans. You mend jeans with patches. Well, unless you're a young person. Don't get me started on that.

A bow tie is a dickie.

Dickie Lee - Patches

4. Old Nick is scared of four Italians stealing his car, so adds extra security.

Old Nick is the devil. If he wanted to protect his car, he might put a gate on his drive.

Four in Italian is Quattro.

Suzi Quatro - Devil Gate Drive

3. The do of the century, from fabulous dawn to brilliant dusk.

Haircut 100 - Fantastic Day

Video of the week.

Have I mentioned how I met Nick Heyward once?

Have I mentioned what a nice man he was?

2. Rings like a legendary marksman, but suffers an amnesiac heart.

The legendary marksman would be William Tell.

William Bell - I Forgot To Be Your Lover

Bloody classic, that is.

1. I am called Chocolate Peanuts.
Too easy.

Goodbye. But only until next week. Say You'll Be There for more Saturday Snapshots then...zigazig ah!

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