Tuesday 30 April 2019

Hot 100 #42

No prizes for guessing that week 42 of our countdown would be illustrated by Level 42, though Walter did suggest Love Games as a less obvious song choice than Running With The Family or Lessons in Love.

Level 42 took their name from Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy in which an enormous supercomputer called Deep Thought took 7.5 million years to work out "the meaning of life, the universe and everything". The answer it came up with was 42.

The songs my own giant super-computer (i.e. you guys) came up with for the number 42 were as follows...

C kicked us off with a certain lady whose measurements were 42-39-56 (I never understood lady's measurements, but very little imagination is needed here)...

AC\DC - Whole Lotta Rosie

Next up was Lynchie, with a couple of suggestions I'd earmarked as potentials this week...

The Rolling Stones - Undercover of the Night  

Hear the screams from Centre 42
Loud enough to bust your brains out...

Johnny Cash - I Will Rock and Roll With You

A new sun risin' on the way we sing
And a world of weirdo's waitin' in the wings
But I love you and though I'm past 42
There are still a few things yet I didn't do
And baby I will rock and roll with you
(If I have to...)

That reminded me of another song about the age 42...

Stephen Duffy - Oh God

And at the time I was a young, young boy
Barely 42
I didn't know only love could break your heart
I didn't know what love could do

Now before we get onto the main theme of today's post, here's a few other random 42 songs my own library chucked up...

Gil Scott Heron & Brian Jackson - The Summer of '42

Sonny Carntyne - 42(A)

Coldplay - 42 (shh!)

Jens Lekman - Friday Night At The Drive-In Bingo

So this is what they do out here for fun?
They play bingo and let their engines run?
Tonight's jackpot is a pig, hey that's criminal!
G-42! Ooh, I'm going diagonal!

It was Alyson, however, who raised the issue of 42nd Street, so certain I wouldn't be making a stop there this week. As she says...
Of course I know it's not going to be your pick, but the song 42nd Street has been around for nearly ninety years and was written by Harry Warren, who has been mentioned often over at my place as he certainly was prolific, and wrote many of the songs covered by other artists over the decades (I Only Have Eyes For You a favourite of mine). Also the Ruby Keeler story is one that never goes away, it just gets updated for a new generation.
Although Alyson is correct that the original 42nd Street song won't be this week's selection, I did find a number of other songs that stopped off on that particular thoroughfare, including...

Johnny Cougar - Taxi Dancer

Well, I don't know how long or how far her fortune did take her
But I heard she sits alone, drunk in a bar down on 42nd Street
And sometimes an old butch will slip a quarter into the jukebox
And she'll stagger to the bar and dance with that girl for free

(That's very early in his career, before he added the Mellencamp and eventually dropped the Cougar altogether.)

Todd Rundgren - Heavy Metal Kids

It's like a normal Times Square day on 42nd Street
I feel like trashing some windows and crunching some feet
I watch society crumble and I just laugh
They soon will see what it's like to be the other half

Bob Dylan - Talkin WWIII Blues (missed you this week, Swede... I love Talkin' Blues songs)

Well, I seen a Cadillac window uptown
And there was nobody aroun'
I got into the driver's seat
And I drove down 42nd Street
In my Cadillac
Good car to drive after a war

Janis Ian - 42nd Street Psycho Blues

But it was Rigid Digit who came up with the strongest 42nd Street contenders. First this...

Don McLean - Sister Fatima

The spirit of Fatima still rules the Earth
She knows your future, she knows what it's worth
Sister Fatima has God given powers
And on 42nd Street a shop that sells flowers
Is her palace come and be healed

And then this week's undisputed winner, a long-time favourite of mine. Why is it the winner? Because you don't mess around with Jim...

Uptown got it's hustlers
The bowery got it's bums
42nd street got big Jim walker
He's a pool shootin' son of a gun
Yeah, he big and dumb as a man can come
But he stronger than a country hoss
And when the bad folks all get together at night
You know they all call big Jim "boss"

41 next week... More slim pickings? Over to you guys...

Monday 29 April 2019

2019 Contenders: The Railway Prince Hotel

I owe this one to Brian, who introduced me to the delights of Tullycraft a couple of months back. I've been listening to their latest album, The Railway Prince Hotel, ever since.

Here's 7 reasons you should also give it a go...

1. The opening line to the album (on the track Mini Midinette) goes like this...

In captivating dishabille

And who doesn't enjoy a little captivating dishabille every now and then? Nothing wrong with that.

Even better, they then go on to rhyme dishabille with glockenspiel, which is a definite winner in my book.

2. Tullycraft sound a bit like mid-period Belle & Sebastian to me. Some of these songs would fit well on Dear Catastrophe Waitress, my favourite B&S album.

3. Track 2 is called We Couldn't Dance To Billy Joel, yet it's not a trendy "isn't Billy Joel uncool?" song. It's quite respectful. Plus, the lyrics then reveal the band learned to dance and dress from listening to Pulp. So Billy and Jarvis in the same song. These guys might as well be raiding my record collection for reference points.

4. And as if that wasn't enough... track 3, Goldie & The Gingerbreads shamelessly steals the ending to the Meat Loaf classic Paradise By The Dashboard Light. Jim Steinman be praised!

5. It's Not Explained, It's Delaware

6. The chorus of Vacaville speaks for itself...

What’s your favorite band and who taught you to kiss that way?


Sunday 28 April 2019

Saturday Snapshots #81 - The Answers

(Steady on ladies Part 2. Etc.)

Welcome, Planet Earth, I know you're Hungry Like The Wold for this week's answers... ahem, I honestly didn't set out to make this Duran Duran weekend on Saturday Snapshots, but when I found photos of both Simon Le Bon Bon and Nick Toady Rhodes with cameras, I thought I may as well get them both out of the way in the same weekend rather than inflicting them on you two weeks running.

Suppress your gag Reflex... here come the answers. It was neck and neck yesterday morning between Walter and Rigid Digit - I think RD just scooped the prize.

10. Wake up feeling tearful, with two spoonfuls of sugar.

This is just one of those things you put down to experience...

Sweet Sensation - Sad Sweet Dreamer

9. Nodding off listening to Johnny & June, after sucking blood at Ascot.

Johnny & June sang Jackson, right?

The Sleepy Jackson - Vampire Racecourse

8. No STDs in South Yorkshire? An admiral approach.

Apologies to Phyllis for adding SY to her name to make an awful pun. Sometimes they're just too good to resist though.

Admiral Nelson is moving closer...

Phyllis Nelson - Move Closer

That's one I remember having to play quite a lot on The Love Zone!

7. Conductor of P.E.

Tough one if you didn't know it... which I guess a lot of people don't. Pretty straightforward clue if you do know the artist though... well done to Lynchie for the late save!

Lightning Rod - Sport

Top tune!

6. Deluding yourself over an oriental emergency.

China Crisis - Wishful Thinking

5. Monarchs of the Men's Room meet a poisonous lady.

Kings of Convenience - Toxic Girl

4. Inching tariff finds romance at the corner shop.

Inching tariff was an anagram.

Nanci Griffith - Love At The Five & Dime

3. Scary TV leads to lack of consciousness.

Ooh-wop, bop ba... I used to love this one!

Terrorvision - Oblivion

2. Kula shaken when Leonard's lady meets Lyra's star.

Leonard Cohen sang about Suzanne.

Lyra is a constellation which contains one of the brightest stars in the night sky. That star is called Vega.

Shake up Kula and you get...

Suzanne Vega - Luka

1. Neverland Captain receives PhD from Ted Hughes' mum-in-law.

Captain Hook gets a doctorate?

Ted Hughes was married to Sylvia Plath, so his mum-in-law would be...

There may be a New Moon On Monday, but the new Snapshots will be next Saturday. Until then, enjoy your Ordinary World and try not to Come Undone...

Saturday 27 April 2019

Saturday Snapshots #81

(Steady on ladies. Form an orderly queue.)

Welcome, Planet Earth, I know you're Hungry Like The Wold for this week's Saturday Snapshots, the Notorious quiz in which you have to identify ten artists and ten top tunes from just a bunch of wonky snapshots and the ramblings of a madman.

Without further ado then, let's take a look at the boys and Girls On Film below...

10. Wake up feeling tearful, with two spoonfuls of sugar.

9. Nodding off listening to Johnny & June, after sucking blood at Ascot.

8. No STDs in South Yorkshire? An admiral approach.

7. Conductor of P.E.

6. Deluding yourself over an oriental emergency.

5. Monarchs of the Men's Room meet a poisonous lady.

4. Inching tariff finds romance at the corner shop.

3. Scary TV leads to lack of consciousness.

2. Kula shaken when Leonard's lady meets Lyra's star.

1. Neverland Captain receives PhD from Ted Hughes' mum-in-law.

Is There Something I Should Know? Leave your answers in the usual place... Save A Prayer for those who can't identify them all, because the answers will be revealed tomorrow morning.

Friday 26 April 2019

The United Kingdom of Song #28: Peterborough

We arrive in the Cambridgeshire city of Peterborough this week, birthplace of Erasure's Andy Bell, Maxim Reality & Gizz Butt from The Prodigy, and Ashton Merrygold from JLS. Me neither.

Not to be confused with the Canadian Peterborough, which both the Barenaked Ladies and Moxy Früvous sang about.

One of my favourite Sheffield bands, The Long Blondes, wrote the following tune about Peterborough, which is never very far, they tell us, although they do conclude "I'd rather be in Sheffield than Peterborough".

Thursday 25 April 2019

Radio Songs #62: Playlist

Where did it all go wrong?

With the playlist.

In 1988, when I started worked in radio, there was a box of 45 singles in the studio that represented the current playlist. It was a selection of the latest hits and new releases which had been decided upon by committee (the programme controller, head of music and the jocks) and was updated weekly. Three or four times an hour, the on-air presenter would choose a disc from the front of the box (not necessarily the first one, they could flip through a handful and find the right one for right then), play it, then put it to the back of the box when they were done (to prevent the same tune being played in consecutive shows). Beyond that, presenters had free choice in the music they played. They were given a basic pattern to try to stick to - big hit at the start of the hour, 70s oldie, current, 80s, oldie, recurrent etc. - but they could mine the record library for whatever they wanted to fill those gaps. If they ran a music feature in their show, they could (with agreement from the boss) go off-piste completely, given the right justification.

The best DJs used this to make endlessly engaging radio - "Ooh, I haven't heard that in ages" moments followed by big, comfortable hits, followed by "What's this? Never heard that before, but I like the sound of it..."

(The laziest DJs grabbed a pile of old Now compilations and picked from those. But those guys were the exceptions rather than the rule.)

In the early 90s, with our first takeover (or the first one I'd experienced), all this changed. The new management decreed that listeners didn't want unpredictability from their radio shows - they wanted familiarity. DJ choice was almost completely gone, overnight, replaced by computer-generated playlists that rotated oldies, often with a frequency only marginally less than the rotation of current chart hits.

How were these songs selected for addition to the playlist? By audience testing. Someone would call up a random selection of people who were roughly the right age and socio-economic profile as the station's target audience and play them a bunch of 30 second song clips down the phone. Those that got the thumbs up went in the computer. Those that didn't get an immediately positive reaction were confined to the dustbin of history.

Now, apparently I'm in the minority, but even at a young age, I never listened to radio to hear the same old songs over and over again. Yes, I wanted to hear my favourites - new and old - but many of those favourites had only been discovered because some DJ with free choice and an extensive musical knowledge had ventured beyond the predictable. In short, I wanted a mix of the familiar and the unfamiliar - where else would I discover my new favourites?

With the exception of new releases (and those were only selected based on their "heat" in industry mags like Music Week... and a little bit of playlist discussion, of which, more later), local radio listeners were deprived the joy of discovering something "new" (i.e. something they'd never heard before) sometime in the early 90s.

And radio would never be the same again.

There were two songs that cried out to be featured this week, although both of them have appeared in this series before...

Mark Germino & The Sluggers - Rex Bob Lowenstein

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - The Last DJ

...but here's one that hasn't featured here before, not as classic as the two above, but I can't argue with the message.

Will someone tell me why we even listen?
Airwaves are filled with repetition.
What ever happened to selection?
Tune in and they will waste your time.
Is anybody bored yet?

Wednesday 24 April 2019

My Top Ten Cricket Songs

Summer is coming and with it, the sound of leather on willow will echo again through country villages. I'm not really a cricket fan, but I'd rather sit and watch it on a hot day than be anywhere near a football stadium, that's for sure. Here's ten songs about cricket... with no songs about crickets and nothing by Buddy Holly's old band, I'm afraid.

10. The Duckworth Lewis Method - Jiggery Pokery

Neil Hannon of the Divine Comedy and Tom Walsh from Pugwash (pictured above) recorded two complete cricket-themed albums (or "kaleidoscopic musical adventures through the beautiful and rather silly world of cricket"). Their band was named after a mathematical formula used to calculate cricket scores.

This particular song is about the infamous "ball of the Century" played by Aussie cricketer Shan Warne against English batsman Mike Gatting in 1993.

I took the crease to great applause and focussed on me dinner.
I knew that I had little cause to fear their young leg spinner.
He loosened up his shoulder and, with no run-up at all,
He rolled his right arm over, and he let go of the ball.

9. Squeeze - It's Not Cricket

OK, maybe this one's not about cricket, just the expression. Still, it's always good for a chuckle.

She used to do a topless down at the Surrey Docks 
With tassels on her whatsits she did a t'riffic job 
Of raising all the eyebrows of every lunchtime mob 
She went with all the tossers who kick about a ball 
They say their club's the greatest, and she has kissed them all 
At the Arndale Center, she's up against the wall 
I can't name names cause that's not cricket 

See also Electric Trains.

8. Sherbet - Howzat

The famous cricketing expression turned into a love song by Australian band Sherbet... became an anthem at cricket grounds around the world.

You messed about
I caught you out

7. The Go-Betweens - I Just Get Caught Out

Here's another song about getting caught out, from another (albeit far superior) Aussie band.

6. Half Man Half Biscuit - Fuckin 'Ell, It's Fred Titmus

A song about bumping into a cricketing legend in your local shop while looking for ten pence off Lenor...

Oh, Dracula comes from Transylvania
Stevie nicks books about kleptomania
Johnny looked out of his bedroom window
And shouted to his mum: “Fred Titmus!”

5. The Kinks - Cricket 

The Kinks, of course, being a quintessentially English band, mentioned cricket rather a lot in their songs. See also Do You Remember Walter? and, of course, The Village Green Preservation Society.

4. Pet Shop Boys - Can You Forgive Her?

Speaking of quintessentially English bands...

Remember when you were more easily led
Behind the cricket pavilion and the bicycle shed
Trembling as your dreams came true
You looked right into those blue eyes and knew...

3. 10CC - Dreadlock Holiday

I don't like cricket...
I love it!

I've explained the origins of this song (and its rather odd video) before, in My Top Ten Hairstyle Songs. It's amusing that the video wasn't filmed in either Jamaica or Barbados... but Charmouth, Dorset.

2. Shirley Lee - When An Old Cricketer

A song about our Number One song today, which also happened to be one of John Peel's favourites. Here Shirley takes the theme of Roy Harper's classic and adapts it into a heartfelt tribute to the legendary DJ.

1. Roy Harper - When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease

Quietly heartbreaking. A song about nostalgia and how it was never quite as good as we remember it. More apt than ever given current events.

When the moment comes and the gathering stands and the clock turns back to reflect
On the years of grace as those footsteps trace for the last time out of the act
Well, this way of life's recollection, the hallowed strip in the haze
The fabled men and the noonday sun are much more than just yarns of their days.

Any cricketers in your collection?

Tuesday 23 April 2019

Hot 100 #43

Farenheit 43 are an Australian rock band who cite their influences as The Eagles, John Mayer and the Goo Goo Dolls.


(Except, you know, I like the Eagles. And John Mayer made a couple of good tunes once upon a time. And Iris... Iris was a half-decent song. Still, the cool ones among you are, I'm sure, recoiling in horror despite all that.)

Anyway, Number 43 in our countdown caused a little bit of head-scratching from the gallery... but you still managed to come up with the following...

Lynchie started us off this week with...
The Pretenders - I Hurt You
I been crying like a woman 
Because I'm mad, mad, mad like a man 
If you'd been in the S.S. in '43 
You'd have been kicked out for cruelty

Wow. That Chrissie Hynde. Doesn't pull her punches, does she?

Rigid Digit was up next, offering these...
Jethro Tull - Hymn 43
David Crosby & Graham Nash - Page 43
Both acceptable to my ears.

Then came C, with a track that featured on Saturday Snapshots a few weeks back...
Wolf Alice - Bros
Jump that 43
Are you wild like me?
Raised by wolves and other beasts

The Swede, meanwhile, only managed one suggestion this week...
Shrimp Boat (Sam Prekop's pre-Sea and Cake band) - Drought of '43
No link, I'm afraid. Couldn't find that one anywhere. Maybe The Swede made it up... No, I'm sure he wouldn't do that.

Finally, Douglas McClaren offering one of my favourite songs by this particular band, "a timely reminder of a very fine fine group that will sadly record no more." Indeed.
Frightened Rabbit - Old, Old Fashioned
So give me the soft, soft static
Of the open fire and the shuffle of our feet
We can both get old fashioned
Do it like they did in '43
Oh, let's get old fashioned
Back to how things used to be
If I get old, old fashioned
Would you get old, old fashioned with me?

Before we get to this week's clear winner though, here's a couple more my own library threw up...
Country Joe & The Fish - Section 43 
Rufus Wainwright (and Bill Shakespeare) - Sonnet 43 
Ian McNabb - German Soldier's Helmet Circa 1943
Skint & Demoralised - 43 Degrees
(That last one is this week's runner-up - well worth a click.)

However, as I stated at the end of last week's post, there really was only one obvious winner for me this week, and Jim in Dubai was the one to correctly identify it... definitely my favourite song by this band.

Lovely stuff.

Next week... the answer to life, the universe and everything. What might that be?

Monday 22 April 2019

Neverending Top Ten #2.3: I Hate To Tell You, Leroy...

Sam has the habit of getting two or three lines from a song stuck in his head and then singing them over... and over... and over again... while he's playing with his cars.

Easter Sunday, 2019, here's the earworm / mondegreen he planted in all our heads...

"I hate to tell you, Leroy...
 I wanna be a boy!"

I did tell him what the real lyrics should be, and he even sang them... once... before reverting to his own version. And quite rightly too - after all, what does the 20th Century mean to someone born in 2013? It's where all the old fogies came from.

"I hate to tell you, Leroy...
 I wanna be a boy!"

I think I now prefer this to the original. No idea who Leroy is though.

Enjoy your Easter bank holiday.

Sunday 21 April 2019

Saturday Snapshots #80 - The Answers

Hey Ya! If you've been Outkast for not knowing the answers to Saturday Snapshots, don't be Unhappy. Yesterday was a 3-all tie for the Early Bird prize between Lynchie & Alyson, but I'm going to award the actual prize to C who spotted those that turned out to be the hardest this week, #5, #1 (with a lot of help from Chris) and especially #10.

It's time to shake it like a Polaroid picture...

10. Bowie's tenant says goodbye.

Most obscure band ever featured here?

David Bowie had an album called Lodger.

"Lodger was formed in 1997 by Supergrass drummer Danny Goffey and his girlfriend Pearl Lowe, the former vocalist with Powder. The line-up was completed by co-vocalist Neil Carlill and guitarist Will Foster, both of Delicatessen."

Lodger - I'm Leaving

No, I'm not familiar with Powder or Delicatessen either, but I did quite like this tune at the time.

9. Catching up with Estefan - death is not an option.

Bit easier this one.

If you were catching up with Estefan, you would be a Gloria Gainer.

Gloria Gaynor - I Will Survive

8. Reclusive Munsters suffer calcium deficiency.

Herman Munster, reclusive, would be a Hermit.

Herman's Hermits - No Milk Today

7. Enemies of Brexit near their end.

Those in support of Brexit consider themselves enemies of Europe.

(And if anyone is any doubt about where I stand on that: Brexit is the worst thing to happen to this country since WWII.)

Europe - The Final Countdown

Ms. May, of course, seems to allow herself as many final countdowns as she wants until everybody votes her way. Sigh.

6. Leonardo DiCaprio visits Spanish grocer's.

Bodega - Jack In Titanic

Good spot from Chris.

5. Casserole painting & petroleum relation plan a gathering.

Stew-art and Gas-Kin?

Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin - It's My Party

(Up until putting this post together, I honestly thought this was Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics. Turns out he was actually the keyboardist in a number of prog bands: Uriel, Egg, Khan, Hatfield and the North, National Health, and Bruford. Gaskin was in some of those bands too.)

4. Fairytale brothers tell cruel stories about cursed beavers.

The Brothers Grimm tell fiendish stories about damned dams?

The Damned - Grimly Fiendish

3. Charlie's cherubs complain about sweetheart's rear.

Charlie's Angels, obviously.

The Angels - My Boyfriend's Back

2. Confused eel gas helps you chill out.

Eel gas is a confused anagram of Eagles.

The Eagles - Take It Easy

1. Old detective magazines get mashed up within house of Eels.

Old detective magazines were pulp, so is mashed up wood.

Eels sang about Susan's House.

This was the first Pulp song I ever heard. After this, there was no going back...

I'm sorry, Ms. Jackson, you'll have to wait till next Saturday for any more of these...

Saturday 20 April 2019

Saturday Snapshots #80


Is it Saturday Snapshots you're looking for?

Then here's ten more clues that will have you Truly Dancing on the Ceiling. Identify artist and song, please. Hopefully they won't take you All Night Long...

10. Bowie's tenant says goodbye.

9. Catching up with Estefan - death is not an option.

8. Reclusive Munsters suffer calcium deficiency.

7. Enemies of Brexit near their end.

6. Leonardo DiCaprio visits Spanish grocer's.

5. Casserole painting & petroleum relation plan a gathering.

4. Fairytale brothers tell cruel stories about cursed beavers.

3. Charlie's cherubs complain about sweetheart's rear.

2. Confused eel gas helps you chill out.

1. Old detective magazines get mashed up within house of Eels.

After you've been out Running With The Night, I Truly hope you'll join me here tomorrow morning when My Destiny is to give you all the answers...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...