With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

2014 in review December 30, 2014

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 7:21 am

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 130,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 6 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

“Cleans her teeth ten times a day scrub away scrub away scrub away” Blog Advent Calendar Day 24 December 24, 2014


This is it good people in Blogland, just one more sleep left until the big day. It’s Christmas Eve a.k.a 24th December a.k.a day 24 of this years Advent calendar Blog posts. As this is the last advent post of 2014 from me it will cover the final three letters of the ABC of British bands. So that’ll be ‘X, Y & Z’ then. before I reveal who the lucky bands are let me take this opportunity to wish al of you a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous 2015. If you don’t celebrate Christmas then I hope that you have a very long and very happy life anyway.

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So onto the bands for today; Ladies and Gentlemen please allow me to introduce X-Ray Spex, Yazoo and the Zutons. This won’t be a long post because I will shortly be starting my own festive celebrations. So firstly it’s X-Ray Spex. Lead singer Poly Styrene was born Marianne Joan Elliott-Said and as Marie Elliott she issued a reggae singled called “Silly Billy” in 1976 which sadly failed to chart. The band’s highest charting UK single was “Germ Free Adolescents” which reached number 19 in 1978.

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Sow how about Yazoo? Or you may know them as Yaz in the USA after a spot of legal wrangling with Yazoo Records. Yazoo was made up of soulful vocalist Alison Moyet and Synth Supremo Vince Clarke. Vince’s talents know no bounds and he had hits as part of Yazoo, Depeche Mode, The Assembly and Erasure. Yazoo had four UK top 20 singles from 1982 to 1983. “Don’t Go” took them to number one in Belgium in 1983 and they had three US dance chart number ones from 1982 to 1983. They also won a Best Breakthrough Artist Brit award in 1983.

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And finally those Scouse Scallywags the Zutons. The band took their name from a member of Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band; Bill Harkleroad was known as Zoot Horn Rollo, but this was often shortened to Zuton. Many people now see their song “Valerie” as an Amy Winehouse classic, which it is. However it was also the Zutons tenth single release and their joint highest chart position in the UK. It made number 9 in 2006 as did “Why Won’t You Give Me Your Love?” in the same year. Winehouse’s version of “Valerie” was recorded with Mark Ronson and reached number two in the UK in 2007.

And finally a special Amy Winehouse bonus 🙂 Happy Christmas!

 

 

 

“Look out! Look out! Your Momma will shout You might as well go home” Blog Advent Calendar Day 23 December 23, 2014


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Only two more sleeps, wow that’s gone quick hasn’t it? Winter solstice is over for another year and the days are getting longer again, well in the northern hemisphere at least. Any how that means that it must be December 23rd and day 23 of this years Advent Calendar blog post. Regular readers will have quickly worked out that the 23rd letter of the alphabet is ‘W’. This years subject is the ABC of British bands and for today I have chosen a band who once recorded a true Christmas classic, ladies and gentlemen please welcome Wizzard to this years advent calendar posts!

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Roy Wood, the founder of Wizzard was also a leading light in the Move and co-founder along with Jeff Lynne of the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). After the first ELO album Roy was moving apart from jeff Lynne both personally and musically. he left the band to form Wizzard and the The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits says, ‘Wizzard was Roy Wood just as much as Wings were Paul McCartney‘. Given that Jeff Lynne clearly wanted to be in the Beatles maybe there are some parallels.

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The band had six UK top ten hits from 1972 to 1974, including two number ones with “See My Baby Jive” and “Angel Fingers (A Teen Ballad)”. Both of those songs hit the top spot in 1973, “See My Baby Jive” was also number one in the Irish chart. Many people probably only know Wizzard for the rather excellent “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” a song which only reached number 4 in the UK on its initial release in 1973. It has re-entered the top 50 ten times since then, obviously every Christmas time. On that Christmas single the band are credited as Wizzard featuring vocal backing by The Suedettes plus The Stockland Green Bilateral School First Year Choir with additional noises by Miss Snob and Class 3C. Whatever happened to Miss Snob?

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Their first two albums made the UK album top 30 in 1973 and 1974. “Wizzard Brew”, number 29 in 1973 and “Introducing Eddy And The Falcons”, number 19 in 1974. Roy Wood is a multi instrumentalist who plays keyboards, horn, cello, guitar, bass and bagpipes. he also wrote some songs that were dedicated to his one time girlfriend, Lynsey De Paul, one of which, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Winter (Looney’s Tune)” reached number 6 in the UK singles charts.

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“There are concrete mountains in the city and pretty city women live inside them” December 22, 2014


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I was saddened to hear of the death of true music legend Joe Cocker aged just 70. Joe had one of the finest rock and blues voices in music history. He appeared at the historic and iconic Woodstock Festival in 1969 and his Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour shortly afterwards gave a big break to Leon Russell. In fact he had a big hit with Russell’s song “Delta Lady”. His early musical influences were Lonnie Donegan and Ray Charles.

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He showed his range and excellent song interpretation throughout his career including his duet with Jennifer Warnes from the ‘Officer And A Gentleman’ soundtrack, “Up Where We Belong“. The song was a massive hit in 1982, reaching the top of the US singles chart. But many people including myself remember his amazing cover of the Beatles song “With A Little Help From My Friends” which topped the charts in the UK, Switzerland and the Netherlands in 1968. Incredibly it only made it to number 68 in the USA.

Joe Cocker In Concert At Zenith In Paris

My thoughts are with Joe’s family, friends and fans. RIP Joe Cocker, one of Sheffield’s and the world’s finest voices.

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“Stepping out from a backdrop poster wishing life wouldn’t be so dull” Blog Advent Calendar Day 22


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It’s the 22nd December and I reckon some kids can already hear the reindeer pulling hard on the old bearded weird one’s sleigh. That means of course that we are now up to Day 22 of this years advent calendar blog posts. The 22nd letter of the alphabet is ‘V’ so todays entry in the ABC of British bands is Visage.

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Visage were formed in 1978 by Steve Strange and Rusty Egan after the pair had hosted club nights at the Blitz night club in London. They were really keen to find new music to play to their paying punters and finally they opted on producing their own. Egan recruited Midge Ure who he had worked with in the Rich Kids and the three of them recorded a cover of the Zager and Evans one hit wonder from 1969, “In The Year 2525”. The band’s line-up was then enhanced with keyboard player Billy Currie off of Ultravox and three former members of Magazine; John McGeoch, Barry Adamson and Dave Formula.

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Their first album, entitled ‘Visage’ was released in November 1980. It made the top 20 in Austria, France, New Zealand and the UK. It also climbed to the top of the German album charts. The band’s highest charting album in the UK was 1982’s ‘The Anvil’ which reached number 6. “Tar” was their first single and it failed to chart when released in 1979. However the second single was “Fade To Grey” which was a hit across the world. It made the top ten in Austria, France, Italy, Belgium, New Zealand, Ireland and the UK. It hit the number one spot in Germany and Switzerland. None of their other singles have been anywhere near as successful.

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Earlier this month the band released an album called ‘Orchestral’ which has reworkings of their best songs by a symphony orchestra. In 2009 Rusty Egan and Steve Strange appeared in Living TV’s ‘Pop Goes The Band’ where former bands are given a make over and return the favour by undertaking a one-off performance. Strange also appeared in an episode of classic TV series ‘Ashes To ashes’ playing “Fade To Grey” in the Blitz club with Visage II keyboard player Sandrine Gouriou. That episode was set in 1981. Steve can also be seen, along with other Blitz regulars, in the 1980 video for David Bowie’s UK number one, “Ashes To Ashes”. Now it’s time for you to relive those Blitz days and maybe get yourself blitzed with eggnog while listening to Visage.

 

 

“You wanted the best and you got the best” Blog Advent Calendar Day 21 December 21, 2014


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The 21st December you say? really? Blimey where did the time go? Anyway I just knew that something good was going to happen now that it is Day 21 in this years Advent calendar blog post series. regular readers will know that the theme this festive period is the ABC of British bands. Some of you may already have guessed who todays band is as I incorporated a clue earlier in this paragraph. Today is the turn of the Utah Saints who despite their name actually come from Leeds.

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The band played live often between 1991 and 2001 although their appearances since then are largely as DJs. Although they are still writing and recording and are supposedly working on their next album at the moment. Jez Willis and Tim Garbutt are the Utah Saints core and they really pioneered the use of sampling in pop music. they met when they were both music promoters and DJs for the Mix nightclub in Harrogate. In his inimitable style Bill Drummond off of the KLF described the Utah Saints as  “the first true stadium house band”. I’m not entirely sure what that means but it sounds good doesn’t it? They also built their own recording studio on the outskirts of Leeds which opened in 2008.

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The band’s first three singles all made the UK top ten from 1991 to 1993. Those releases were; “What Can You Do For Me” (1991), “Something Good” (1992) and “Believe In Me” (1993). Willis and Garbutt described these songs as their vocal sample trilogy. The songs sampled Gwen Guthrie, Eurythmics (“What Can You Do For Me”), Kate Bush (“Something Good”) and the Human League, Crown Heights Affair, Sylvester (“Believe In Me”). Despite persistent press stories these samples were all legally cleared. Kate Bush also let the band use clips from her video for “Cloudbusting” which is where the sample for “Something Good” comes from.

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“Something Good” is their biggest hit to date. It peaked at number 4 in the UK singles chart and made the top 10 in Australia and Ireland. Interestingly it also made it to number seven in both the US Dance Charts and the US Modern Rock charts. does this make them truly genre-defying? I’d like to think so. They have released two albums so far (not including a mix album). The first was ‘Utah Saints’ which reached number 10 in the UK album charts in 1992. The follow-up was rather unimaginatively called ‘Two’. Sadly that one failed to chart when it came out in 2000. Now you can enjoy some of the Utah Saints finest beats and I hope that you enjoy them.

 

 

“If you criticize them I’ll know that you can see” Blog Advent Calendar Day 20 December 20, 2014


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Here we are in December’s 20’s already, it’s December 20th and Day 20 of this years advent calendar blog posts. Regular readers will know that this years theme is the ABC of British bands. The 20th letter of the alphabet as I hope all of you know is ‘T’. As a big fan of a certain fellow called Julian I have chosen the Teardrop Explodes for this post.

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Wikipedia describes the Teardrop Explodes as post-punk/ neo-psychedelic; what the fuck does that mean when it’s at home? Can a band not just be a good band or great band? I am guilty of slotting music into genres on occasions, but post-punk/ neo-psychedelic? That is more pretentious than a thousand Nigel Farage clones.

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Head Teardrop was Julian Cope, an artist who I really love. Dave Balfe was in the band, he went on to set up Food Records. Troy Tate who later produced the Smiths was also a Teardrop. The band formed in the rather incestuous music scene in Liverpool in 1978. The band signed to Zoo Records which was run by Dave Balfe and future KLF man Bill Drummond. Part of the appeal of the Teardrop Explodes for me was the eccentricity and fragility of Julian Cope. He once said “”I was goaded into becoming a rock star by Bill Drummond and the pseudo-intellectual side of me thought it would be quite charming.”

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They were always more of a cult band given their limited chart success. Although their single “Reward” is a mainstay of many 80s compilation albums. It was also the bands highest charting single, reaching number 6 in the UK charts in 1981. Their first album, released in 1980 was ‘Kilimanjaro’ from which they eventually released five singles. Aside from compilations they released another two albums; ‘Wilder’ in 1981 and after the band came together again briefly in the late 80s ‘Everybody Wants To Shag The Teardrop Explodes’ in 1990.

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The band took their name from a frame in a Marvel comic. Daredevil # 77 to be precise. Will the band ever get back together? Probably not, when Julian Cope was asked that question some years ago he replied; “Would you ever return to having your mother wipe your asshole?”. The Freshies featuring Chris Sievey who went on to become Frank Sidebottom released a single in 1981 called “I Can’t Get ‘Bouncing Babies’ By The Teardrop Explodes”.

 

 

 
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