Monday 31 July 2023

Celebrity Jukebox #101: Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett had a pretty good innings, didn't he? Over 70 years as a recording artist, working with everyone from Frank Sinatra to Lady Gaga, he always maintained his cool. Look at this performance from just a year ago... 95 and still delivering the goods. Wow.

The Jukebox obviously has lots of tributes to pay. Let's start with a track from an album called Did I Shave My Legs For This?

Hold your racing horses just one minute
A funny feeling coming over me
I'm hearing violins and Tony Bennett
Boy if this is love then I'm in it

It turns out Tony is an easy metaphor for all kinds of love and romance...

If you were my girl
We'd slow dance in a bar to Tony Bennett's "Sweet Lorraine" 
While I sang you every word

...all across the genres...

You drove up in a powder blue corvette, it was a stingray
With Tony Bennett on the stereo and a rose stickin' out of the ashtray
You jacked up your shades and you smiled at me
You said "Hello." I said, "Oh no, here we go again..."

...the agony and the ecstasy... yes, even the XTC...

Float up with the songbirds I'll croon and how we'll fill skies
Tony Bennett says he'll harmonise

It's a great day for loving you
Just loving you

Beyond the hearts and flowers stuff though, we find a more intriguing reference...

And when I'm next in line I'm in it to win it
Playin' the lotto dreamy eyed like I was Tony Bennett
When I lose consolation rolls up in a minute
Toothless meth head offerin', mad clinic

Plus the weird, obscure titular mentions...

Although I was rather disappointed that the title below was actually a "featuring Tony" credit rather than a song about how Doc finds the old smoothy a bit objectionable...

And I was most disappointed to not be able to find this anywhere online...

The Untanned Hide Of A Young Cow - Tony Bennett

Our final lyrical reference comes in a song about another, slightly less famous, Tony, former Arsenal player and self-confessed alcoholic, Tony Adams. Joe Strummer's song is about finding a way out of addiction, and it's probably not the best tribute to Mr. Bennett out there... but it was my favourite tune today... 

I'm lost in a world beyond the lost city
I'm looking for a phone and I can't find one
Got a Tony Bennett eight-track in the hotel, pity
The moon turned around and shot someone

Sunday 30 July 2023

Snapshots #303: The Lord's Prayer In Song

This is Father Francis Browne, Irish priest and photographer, famous for his photos of the Titanic on its maiden voyage... though lucky for him, he only sailed from Southampton to Queenstown in Ireland, before getting off to go develop his film. 

Father Browne is going to lead us in the Lord's Prayer this Sunday morning. Please bow your heads...

17. Severe.

Extreme - Our Father

"Our Father..."

16. University club for disco and ballroom.

The Danse Society - In Heaven

"Who art in heaven..."

15. Mix-up at Omani Diner.

Omani Diner anagram!

Iron Maiden - Hallowed Be Thy Name

"Hallowed be thy name..."

14. Man in the box.

The box being a Television...

Tom Verlaine - Kingdom Come

"...Thy kingdom come..."

13. Shared by Omar Sharif and Tanita Tikaram.

Omar Sharif and Tanita Tikaram.

Martika - Love... Thy Will Be Done

"...Thy will be done..."

12. The answers always come on...

The answers to this quiz always come on Sundays.

The Sundays - On Earth

"On Earth..."

11. Don and Clyde follow Postlethwaite.

Don & Clyde are rivers. Add that to Pete Postelethwaite and you get Pete Rivers, or...

Peter Ivers - In Heaven

" it is in heaven..."

10. Janet needs a snooze.

Ms. Jackson is sleepy.

The Sleepy Jackson - This Day

"Give us this day..."

9. The best and the worst.

Tina sang The Best. Ike wasn't very nice.

Ike & Tina Turner - Daily Bread

"...our daily bread..."

8. Mercury on a car's wing.

Freddie Mercury on a fender...

Freddy Fender - Forgive

"And forgive us..."

7. Easter eccentric.

She sang about Easter and she'd pretty damn eccentric...

"...our trespasses... as we forgive those who trespass against us..."

6. Found Inside A Clockwork Orange.

"Inside" was the fictional hit song by a band in The Clockwork Orange that gave its name to...

Heaven 17 - Temptation

"And lead us not into temptation..."

5. Shot from the heart.

Bullet For My Valentine - Deliver Us From Evil

"...but deliver us from evil..."

4. Fashionable man in the news.

Depeche Mode means "fashion news". This is their lead fashionista...

Dave Gahan - Kingdom

"For thine is the kingdom..."

3. Big softies.

Gentle Giant - The Power & The Glory

"...the power and the glory..."

2. Don't cry over spilled oil, Grace.

Spilled oil can make a slick, like Grace Slick.

"...forever and ever..."

1. Luke, Flash and Buck. 

Three spacemen...

Spacemen 3 - Amen

Let us pray again next Saturday.

Saturday 29 July 2023

Saturday Snapshots #303

The Lord Chamberlain commands you to enjoy this week's edition of Snapshots... but why are there 17 clues instead of 10? Actually, the number isn't important... but all the songs are linked by a specific theme. I just needed a few more than ten to do it justice.

(Kil)Dare you have a go?

17. Severe.

16. University club for disco and ballroom.

15. Mix-up at Omani Diner.

14. Man in the box.

13. Shared by Omar Sharif and Tanita Tikaram.

12. The answers always come on...

11. Don and Clyde follow Postlethwaite.

10. Janet needs a snooze.

9. The best and the worst.

8. Mercury on a car's wing.

7. Easter eccentric.

6. Found Inside A Clockwork Orange.

5. Shot from the heart.

4. Fashionable man in the news.

3. Big softies.

2. Don't cry over spilled oil, Grace.

1. Luke, Flash and Buck. 

Answers tomorrow morning, which will be just the right time for them.

Friday 28 July 2023

Celebrity Jukebox #100: Sinéad O'Connor

To mark the hundredth edition of Celebrity Jukebox, I'd prepared a special tribute to Glen Campbell, the man responsible for my all-time favourite song. I figured I'd run that ahead of Tony Bennett and whoever else might leave us in the meantime...

And then we lost Sinéad O'Connor.

The thing about Sinéad is, at just 56 years of age, she was an artist from my generation. She was only 21 when she released her debut album in 1987, as I turned 15. Then, just three years later, the Number One hit that would cement her global fame was still in the charts on the day of my 18th birthday. So through all the tragedy and controversy that would follow, I always felt like she was one of our gang, and I felt closer to her because of that. I didn't follow her career religiously, but there were touchpoints over the years, and her last album, I'm Not Bossy, I'm the Boss... well, I really hoped that would be the beginning of a renaissance. Sadly, it was not to be. Hard to believe it's 9 years since I first heard this...

I didn't know what to expect from the Celebrity Jukebox, but I should have known Sinéad's influence ran far and wide, starting in her home country...

My Ireland needs to go back to the source
The initial trickle, a spring and tickle out its flow
My Ireland needs to let go
My Ireland saw Sinéad ripping up the Pope
And isn't able to cope

Stephen James Smith - My Ireland

...over into Europe...

Afeitada como la Sinéad O'Connor 
La vi dejar el pub envuelta en humo de moto. 

(which translates as...)

Shaved like Sinéad O'Connor
I saw her leave the pub enveloped in motorbike smoke.

Ana Belén - Nadie Sabe

...and across the Atlantic...

Mary was a good ol' gal
She didn't deserve this shit
She wrote her lines out one at a time
And she didn't complain one bit

She saw Sinéad cover Loretta on Saturday Night Live
Like every good virgin does
But she spent most her time just sittin' round wondering
Where in the hell Jesus was

Elizabeth Cook - Mary, The Submissing Years

Lovely John Prine tribute there. And as to Sinéad covering Loretta...

Sinéad sang that song on Saturday Night Live in 1992. Later in the show, she tore up a picture of the Pope in protest at the cover-up of child sex abuse in the Catholic Church. This action alone guaranteed her immortality in all manner of songs, including plenty of rebellious rap tunes...

I plead guilty, your honor
Cause I dissed the Pope more times than Sinéad O'Connor

Ice Cube - My Skin Is My Sin

...and, of course, in this...

I rip shit like Sinéad O'Connor
I wear my vag as a badge of honour

Pussy Riot - Straight Outta Vagina

But even without the controversy, it's clear that Sinéad O'Connor deserved her place in the pantheon of rock goddesses...  

Tori Amos, Liz Phair
Sinéad  O'Connor, Suzanne Vega
Jill Sobule, Melissa Etheridge
Tracy Chapman, Ani Difranco
Michelle Shocked, everyone of them has
Something kind of special that I like

There's an awful lot of women
In whose honor I would like to raise my glass to in a toast
Some of them are still alive
And some I hear their voices like a ghost

Dan Bern - Chick Singers

...and among the legends of Irish music...

I went backstage, I couldn't even think
Christy Moore, Sinéad O'Connor, somebody give me a drink

The Mahones - Queen & Tequila

Still, the best tribute I could find was this one...

Read a book by Sinead O'Connor
Stained the pages and stared out at the water
I took a note when she said that songs are ghosts
I guess if anybody knows she knows

Melanie MacLaren - Summer In Sweden

...a song which leads us nicely to my all time favourite Sinéad O'Connor performance. "She had the voice of an angel," is such a cliché... but when you hear this, it's pretty hard to dispute. Especially when she's duetting with an old devil like Shane...

Rest in peace, Sinéad. I choose to believe you're with the angels now.

Thursday 27 July 2023

TV On The Radio #14: Dynasty

We watched Dynasty back in the 80s, but nobody in the family really enjoyed it that much. It was always a poor man's Dallas, without a JR or a Bobby or even a Cliff Barnes to engage your empathy. Joan Collins was Joan Collins and the rest of them kind of faded into the wallpaper. Apart from Heather Locklear, but she was much sweeter in The Fall Guy.

The word "Dynasty" gets mentioned in thousands of songs, so I limited myself to references that were definitely about the show. Most of them pronounce it "die-nasty", as the Americans do, rather than our softer British "din-asty".

As a starter, I offer you Estelle...

I grew up in the 1980s
In a four bedroom house
My family, my grandma, three or four aunties
Uncles and brothers in and out of prison daily
Certain times when there was no heat you stay under covers

So then we moved up
Thought I was the Fresh Prince
Dynasty was re-runs and Dallas was faded
With three beds this time and six kids still
We got a dog and yes that dog loved to shit

I think they edited the version on youtube to make that last line more radio friendly.

Next, here's Weird Al, with a parody of a Soul Asylum song (not the one you know)...

Think I'm losin' my sanity
I'm addicted to Regis and Kathie Lee
Forever I will always be
Glued to my TV

Love "The Partridge Family"
And "Dynasty"
And "Laverne and Shirley"
And "Hard Copy"

John Kay was the lead singer of Steppenwolf, a band you probably didn't know were still going in the 90s... by which time, John had got his name on the posters.

I want the high life on TV
Just like they do on Dynasty
To live a life fit for a king
And have the best of everything

Here's a song I really didn't like in the 80s, mainly because Karel Fialka got his young step-son in to do some of the vocals, and as a teenager, "I hated little kids".

I see Dallas, Dynasty, Terrahawks,
He-Man, Tom and Jerry, Dukes of Hazzard,
Airwolf, Blue Thunder, Rambo, Road Runner,
Daffy Duck, The A-Team, The A-Team, I see the A-Team.

(That's the next 12 weeks sorted.)

More 80's PTSD flashbacks right here...

Dallas dollars limousines
Debutantes and Dynasty
Here's a dream that money buys
Late to bed and late to rise

Shout out to Linda Evans, Joan Collins' arch nemesis on the show...

She told her friends that one day she would be the movie queen
Like Krystle Carrington
And pay her weekly visit to the top beautician

And to Joan herself, of course...

Alexis Carrington wouldn't give her love to Blake
Without a warning sign, no
So what makes you think that I
Would give my love to you one more time

And here's one for old John Forsythe...

Girls on the block call me a black Blake Carrington
Handsome as hell, I dress real swell
By the tone of my voice maybe you can tell that I
Shampoo with Prell and live life well

Once again, there was an obvious winner today...

You don't have to watch Dynasty
To have an attitude...

Looking for a perfect 80's pop song? I'm sure you'll agree this is hard to beat. Prince's record company didn't quite agree though. They didn't want to release it as a single. Which makes me want to start a new feature called, "Record Companies Are Idiots". That one could run and run.

Wednesday 26 July 2023

Mid-Life Crisis Songs #99: One Day Soon, I Will Get Punched In The Supermarket

Sometimes, I think I'm a bit too honest on this blog. I reckon it's lost me readers over the years. People who read some of my self-pitying whinging or cantankerous outbursts and figure, "why am I wasting my time on this goon?" Come back, guys - I'll pretend to be a nicer person if you give me a serotonin hit comment every now and then... I'll even pretend to like the bands you like or not like the ones you don't think are cool. New Order rule! Billy Joel's a loser. That kind of thing...

Sorry. I can't do it. Got to be myself. Although sometimes being myself will inevitably get me in trouble, and there's nowhere this is more likely to happen than in the supermarket. Now it's an undeniable fact that you do meet a lot of rude people in the supermarket... the trouble is, I've become one of them. Admittedly, I'm only rude to people who I think are rude to me, but that's not really a defence, is it? Two wrongs don't make a right. That's one of the most important things my dad ever taught me.

I've developed a kind of involuntary response when I think someone's out of line - it's the kind of thing I might previously have thought but kept to myself. Except now I find myself saying it out loud. It started  off with me making a comment to Sam, along the lines of, "there's a lot of rude people in here today", or "this person is clearly more important than we are". Again, I'm not particularly proud of this, because I'm supposed to be modelling good social interaction for my son, but it tends to happen before I can help myself. If I stopped and thought, I wouldn't sat it, but it just comes out. And it's got to the point where Sam doesn't even have to be present, so now I guess I'm talking out loud to myself.

The apotheosis of this came on Saturday when I was pushing my trolley to the check-out and had to stop myself suddenly to make way for another customer who was barging along the aisle at full speed, irregardless of anyone else in the shop. 

"Oh, watch out," I said to no one in particular, "this man is clearly far more important than everyone else in the shop." By which point he was past me, so I continued to the checkout. But he didn't continue. Clearly he'd heard my comment, stopped his trolley, and was thinking seriously about whether or not to lamp me. I could feel his eyes burning holes in the back of my neck as I began to unload my shopping onto the conveyor belt, and I was steeling myself for the confrontation. After a few moment, he let it go. But it's only a matter of time...

The thing is, I hate confrontations. I go out of my way to avoid them under normal circumstances. So why is it I can't stop myself making these comments? It's like I'm suffering some king of non-sweary Tourette's. Except Tourette's Syndrome doesn't usually cause swearing, just non-verbal tics...  blurting out obscenities only occurs to 1 in 10 Tourette's sufferers, and is known more specifically as "Coprolalia", which iffypedia defines thus: "involuntary swearing or the involuntary utterance of obscene words or socially inappropriate and derogatory remarks." Now I'm not swearing at these people in the supermarket, but I'm usually able to limit my use of obscene language to appropriate settings, from years of working in radio and as teacher. It's worrying though that I don't seem to be able to stop myself. Or am I just using that as an excuse? No, because I really do not want to get into a confrontation, particularly with someone ruder and more obnoxious than me. I'd rather keep off their radar all together. But it's the injustice of it all, that some people go through life putting themselves first, never considering anyone else in society, lacking any basic human empathy. In my head, these are the people who come out on top - the politicians and the business leaders and the Audi drivers! And they get away with it because the rest of us don't ever speak up and challenge them. And after 51 years of this shit, I feel like Peter Finch in Network...

And then I take a step back. And I look at myself. I read back the ranting screed I've just hammer-typed onto this page and it makes me want to go back and press delete. I think about the effect it's having on my son, seeing his dad behaving in this way every week, the lessons I'm subconsciously teaching him. And I think about my own dad's lesson: "two wrongs don't make a right". And I'm ashamed. And I want to stop myself. And all I can think is, if I leave this here, if I don't dilute it or make it jokey or smart or sympathetic, maybe it'll help me stop. Because I do need to stop. Or else... One Day Soon, I Will Get Punched In The Supermarket. And where do I go from there?

Salim Nourallah is a Texas-born alt-country singer songwriter with a witty turn of phrase. I've been digging him a lot lately.

She's a lovely girl but she's a misanthrope
She's sick of the world, she's at the end of her rope
She's had it up to here with everyone but me
Cowboys, bankers, bikers too
She hates 'em all and she might hate you
But when we're alone, she's as sweet as she can be
It's why it feels so good when she takes my hand
When she tells me I'm her man
So good when she holds me tenderly
I'm the only one that she don't mind
The one man out of all mankind
She hates everybody but me

Tuesday 25 July 2023

Namesakes #44: The Beatles


You're kidding, right?

No. It's true. 

Turns out that John, Paul, George and Thomas The Tank Engine aren't the only act to have ever released music under the name "The Beatles". I'm not even counting alternate spellings like Beatless or Beetles. And none of these are tribute acts either. 

Roll up, roll up for the mystery tour...


Somewhat over-rated wags from Liverpool. Most famous for keeping Sir Thumbs Aloft off the streets until he had time to form Wings, and for inspiring the character of Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy.


In 1966, Philadelphia DJ, Jerry Blavat, aka "The Geator with the Heater" and "The Big Boss with the Hot Sauce" got a bunch of guys from two local bands together (the Ly-Dells and Quotations) and released this track as "The Beatles".  They also recorded as the Five Shits.

I'm still laughing at that last sentence two days after I copied it from discogs.

Just guessing now, but I think this will be George's favourite. And I don't mean George Harrison.


Found this on a Dead Headgehog Enterprises compilation released in 1980. Sadly, that's all I know about the band, but then I didn't look very hard. I'm sure Ernie will enlighten us. I'm just happy the track was available on the tube of you...


One from Bandcamp which also made me chuckle. From Atlanta, Georgia in 2017, this "experimental" track uses The Beatles name and a karaoke performance of Michael Jackson's Human Nature to produce... well, you be the judge. You can download the song for $420.69 if you like it. 

Which Beatles make you want to hold their hand... and which ones make you cry Help!?

Monday 24 July 2023

Celebrity Jukebox #99: Jane Birkin

Je t'aime, je t'aime
Oh oui, je t'aime

I can't have been the only person to hear those words echoing in my ears the moment I read about the sudden death of Jane Birkin last week. There's not many pop stars who can claim to have had a record condemned by The Vatican.

Although most will remember her for that song, and her tumultuous relationship with Serge, the English woman who became a French icon also recorded with everyone from Franz Ferdinand to Ian McCulloch, as well as being a successful actress, political activist and giving her name to a designer handbag. The number of rap songs that refer to the "Birkin bag" made compiling this feature an arduous task... but here's a few tunes that pay tribute to Jane herself instead...

Ed Harcourt - Blondes, Brunettes And Redheads (Demo For Jane Birkin)

Ed Harcourt is almost old enough to remember Jane at her peak (but he's still younger than me). Charlie Hickey, on the other hand, doesn't look old enough to know Jane's daughter Charlotte... 

Dressed like Jane Birkin, but you look like a kid
Wish you lived in a decade when you didn't exist

Charlie Hickey - Notre Dame

Momus, on the other hand, was born in 1960. Clearly Jane Birkin had a huge effect on him growing up, hence why she appears in two of his tunes...

When bubblegum and glam rock reigned
A young Momus dug the J5
And Jane Birkin's shapely legs

Momus - Not Intended For Children

I play Charlotte Gainsbourg, Bambou and Jane Birkin at my party
But when the radiant night is over and the sun begins to shine
I kiss the simple lover who is mine

Momus - Radiant Night

Unloved is a collaboration between soundtrack maestro's David Holmes (yes, that one) and Keefus Ciancia (no, me neither), along with singer Jade Vincent, who clearly has been chanelling a little of the Birkin mystique...

She dreams of Jane Birkin and talks in Serge's voice
Mother's been a bad girl
Mother had no choice

Unloved - Mother's Been A Bad Girl

But nobody does it better than Jane herself... and here she is supported by French band, Mickey 3D.

Sunday 23 July 2023

Snapshots #302: A Top Ten Dollar Price Songs

I've been dying to feature The Six Million Dollar Man on TV On The Radio, but I haven't been able to find any decent tunes that mention him. (A lot of tunes do, just no decent ones. Unless you know different...?) 

Anyway, here's the man with the Bionic Eye, which the interweb tells me "has a 20:1 zoom lens and infrared capabilities", so there must be a camera in there too, right? And here are ten songs which also proclaim their value in dollars...

10. Stuck in your bottom, and in Iowa itself. 

Stuck in your bottom, and in Iowa itself. 

Tom Waits - $29.00

9. The Prodigy, in a patriarchy. 

Prodigies are young geniuses (google it - it's not genii). In a patriarchy though, they would only recognise the smart boys. Although the lads don't even know how to use capital letters, so what hope is there?

boygenius -$20

This one was specially for CC.

8. Discotheque that only plays A Horse With No Name.

That would be a Club that only plays Music by America.

American Music Club - $1,000,000 Song

7. Goes with Vera and Betty.

Aloe Vera and Black Betty...

Aloe Blacc - I Need A Dollar

6. Slain rain.

One of Jack White's many diversions...

The Dead Weather - Three Dollar Hat

5. Pig home, inventory, spasms.

Sty + list + tics...

Stylistics - $7000 & You

4. Where a Flashy actor goes to buy sable. 

I've not been a big fan of recent movies based on DC Comics, but I thought The Flash was OK... despite being a box office bomb. It was good to see Michael Keaton back in the Batsuit, and the Nicolas Cage cameo was worth the ticket price alone. Controversial star Ezra Miller was rather irksome though... I doubt they'll be back.

If Ezra wanted to buy some sable though, they'd probably go to the fur man.

Ezra Furman - Maraschino Red Dress $8.99 at Goodwill

3. Throw him on a bonfire with Joni.

Guys are made to be thrown on the bonfire. Never do that to Joni Mitchell.

Guy Mitchell - A Dime And A Dollar

2. Mrs. Paragons gets in a kerfuffle with Raoul Shimmery.

Two anagrams, un-kerfuffled...

Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris - $1000 Wedding

A grand probably wouldn't even pay for the dress these days.

1. Tommy, in chains.

It never ceases to amaze me that we're now healthily into the 300s, and I'm still discovering big name artists who have never appeared in Snapshots before. Even more incredible is when it's artists I actually like. 

Above is a young Vincent Furnier, and his puppy, before he adopted his more distinctive stage persona...

Tommy Cooper + Alice In Chains =

Alice Cooper - Billion Dollar Babies

I bet you a dollar you come back for more next Saturday...

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