With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“My hunger burns a bullet hole” January 8, 2016


thom-yorke-spectre

Given that Radiohead recently shared what might have been the theme to the latest James Bond film, ‘Spectre’ I was reminded of some other Bond theme trivia. The theme song to 1979’s ‘Moonraker’ was originally issued to Frank Sinatra and Kate Bush. Not as a duo, although that might have been somewhat intriguing. Eventually it was recorded by Shirley Bassey.

moonraker

Rita Coolidge released “All Time High“, the theme to ‘Octopussy’ in 1983. That song had previously been turned down by Mari Wilson. Whatever happened to her?

Octopussy Poster

Then in 2008 Jack White and Alicia Keys provided the frankly unforgettable “Another Way To Die” for ‘Quantum Of Solace’. But I wonder what might have been had Amy Winehouse recorded it as per the original plan?

quantum-of-solace-poster

 

Amy – The Girl Behind The Name – City Screen York Tuesday 7th July 2015 July 7, 2015

Filed under: Film,Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:53 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

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I had looked forward to seeing the Amy Winehouse documentary and I really hoped that it would be good. Well in my opinion it was a marvellous documentary of a modern tragedy. It portrayed what I would imagine was the real Amy Winehouse; a very talented and very vulnerable girl. I was moved to tears on a couple of occasions. The recording of the song “Back To Black” was one and hearing her take on fame was another. It was an emotional roller coaster because I also felt great anger at the way the scummy, tabloid paparazzi hounded this poor troubled woman when she was possibly at her lowest ebb.

Amy Winehouse

Tabloid journalists (is that an oxymoron?) and the paparazzi ought to be ashamed of themselves, although I doubt that they are. It felt to me that apart from her two friends since childhood, her first manager and her bodyguard she had no ‘real’ friends. Plenty of people who wanted a piece of her but not many who truly loved her. I may be doing them a disservice, but her parents seemed at best misguided about how to handle her. As for her final gigs, which she clearly didn’t want to do, who the hell made the decision to bundle her on a private jet to do the gig in Serbia? She was wasted and lost and clearly in no fit state to perform. Amy also had a lifelong issue with bulimia. A former girlfriend of mine died as a result of that horrible disease many, many years ago and I can still recall how awful that was.

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Amy Winehouse had what seemed to be a natural talent. Tony Bennett said that she was one of the best jazz singers that he had ever worked with. Her death is a tragic end to such a talented life and it has stolen a massive and enduring talent from the music world. Amy was not only a talented singer and interpreter of songs she was also an exceptionally talented songwriter. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I would urge you to do so.

square

 

Live At Leeds – Saturday 2nd May 2015 May 5, 2015


live-at-leeds

This year was the first time I have been around for Live At Leeds and thanks to my good friend John Hayhurst I even got a cheap ticket. On top of that John’s research on the bands, singers and venues was immaculate. After collecting our wrist bands at the First Direct arena we headed to the Key Club. The first band on stage were Forever Cult. I would describe them as a bit grunge, a bit indie and a bit classic rock. They were bloody good, “Yasmin” is a great song. All three were excellent musicians but the drummer attacked his kit like a reincarnated John Bonham. He even had a look of the great Bonzo about him too.

forever cult

We were entertained on the same stage next by the Treason Kings. They are full on heavy, hard and hairy rock at its best. Maybe with even a bit of a prog twinge. I mean who else but someone with an awareness of prog history would write a song about their chest of drawers called “Chest Of Drawers”? An excellent band in my opinion.

treason kings

After that it was a brisk walk to the O2 Academy for Gaz Coombes. I have seen him a few years ago when he was still with Supergrass, now they were a great band weren’t they? Mr Coombes solo is different from Supergrass but still su-fucking-perb.

gaz coombes

The Belgrave Rooms took us in next. We caught the last pert of Alex Burey’s set. He is a young london singer songwriter who is a bit like a jazzed up and more funky Jake Bugg with an extra added Orange Juice/ Edwyn Collins. Chloe Black was what drew us to the Belgrave. She owned the stage with her striking monochrome look and wowed us with just an iPad and a keyboard. For me she has a range of influences from Amy Winehouse to Bjork via Ballad Madge (a.k.a Madonna) She seemed a little nervous at first but it was a really packed house.

chloe black

We made a dash to get to a small bar called Milo’s for the highly recommended Crybabycry. The bar is quite small and rammed to the rafters with punters. That might have helped or hindered a performer or band. But I believe Crybabycry raised themselves for it. They are a truly stupendous band. Their songs are often underpinned by a classic glam rock drum beat from a very talented drummer. All three are very talented musicians and their songs are wonderful. I can hardly wait to see them again, but I will see them next month at the Apollo Festival in York.

crybabycry

After this and a brief burger stop we whizzed over to the Holy Trinity Church where we stayed for the rest of the afternoon and evening. Being an old church the acoustics are fabulous. Frances was first on for us. Great voice – Tick, great pianist – Tick, Great songs – tick. She clearly ticks all the boxes for me and has the gifts and talent to be really successful.

frances

The second act we saw in the Holy Trinity Church was Freddie Dickson and the Guard. What a fucking amazing find they were. I thought that I was detecting shades of Coldplay and Radiohead and then I thought nope these guys are very much of their own making. I believe that they are probably one of the best young bands that I have seen in years and believe me I have seen some great young bands; Avalanche Party and the Tuts to name but two. Freddie’s voice is off the scale of phenomenal rock voices. This band really ought to be huge!

freddie dickson and the guard

Having settled in to our prime spot on the pew just in front of the stage we were next entertained by Seafret. They might look a little like Simon and Garfunkel but they come across like a turbo charged and folky McAlmont and Butler. They are from Bridlington, they are Seafret and they are bloody marvellous.

seafret

 

The penultimate performer for our time at Live At Leeds was Laura Doggett. She has a brilliant band, an amazing voice and her songs are truly captivating. I felt there were quite a few influences in her songs and performance; Florence, Kate Bush and Stevie Nicks. It was a superb set, the one thing that didn’t work for me though was the often very twee between song conversation.

laura doggett

Finally it was time for Lucy Rose, or perhaps it wasn’t time. The were a multitude of equipment problems for which Lucy apologised, although clearly it wasn’t her fault. Eventually she had the techie set up a microphone and an acoustic amp, whereupon she came out and took requests, from her first album. Not many artists would have the commitment and the balls to do this, let alone actually pull it off. But Lucy Rose really did make it work. Eventually the equipment problems were sorted and she was able to perform some of her planned set. Lucy Rose; a trouper, a true performer and a great singer-songwriter. The packed audience loved her and frankly so did I.

lucy rose

 

And finally it’s the public service announcement. All the videos ( a selection of artists that we saw on the day) are courtesy of YouTube and all the photos are courtesy of rock photographer John Hayhurst. (I borrowed them from your Facebook page Mr H)

 

“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.

xrayspex

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.

yazoo

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.

zutons2

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!

 

 

 

“You made me feel alive, but something died I fear” October 1, 2012


Curses! Tin foiled again!

The Official Charts Company have released details of the biggest selling CDs in the UK since the format was included in album sales. The list probably holds no real surprises, but clearly has a few disappointing entries in my opinion. The fact that James Blunt, Dido, Leona Lewis and David Gray are in the top 10 shows how bland the UK’s music tastes have become in my opinion. Is this a result of many people buying their CDs from large supermarkets these days? Who knows, but surely that plays a part. Anyway here is the top 10;

1- Gold Greatest Hits – Abba: 4m

2 – 21 – Adele: 3.5m

3 – What’s the Story Morning Glory – Oasis: 3.4m

4 – Back to Black – Amy Winehouse: 3.225m

5 – Back to Bedlam – James Blunt: 3.209m

6 – No Angel – Dido: 3.031m

7 – Come on Over – Shania Twain: 3.02m

8 – Spirit – Leona Lewis:2.95m

9 – Urban Hymns – The Verve: 2.9m

10 – White Ladder – David Gray 2.8m

There are clearly some classic albums in the list from Oasis, the Verve and Amy Winehouse. But the current top-selling UK CD is Abba Gold, probably soon to be overtaken by Adele’s ’21’. One thing that surprised me was that Dire Straits’ ‘Brothers In Arms’ , the first million selling CD was not in the top 10 or even the top 30. Dido has one more album in the list at number 11. Robbie Williams and Coldplay have three albums each in the top 30. The Beatles’ compilation ‘1’ is at number 12 and there is no entry for Queen in the top 30 either.

 

Eurovision Song Contest 2012 May 26, 2012


So here we are again the cultural peak that is the Eurovision Song Contest. This is the 57th contest and it is being held in Baku, Azerbaijan. There are 26 entries in tonight show, with Sweden favourites and the UK fifth with the bookies. I will be writing this blog as it happens and I won’t be going back to edit it, especially my predictions! So you will be getting my first thoughts on each and every song in this years contest. At this stage I’m sticking my neck out and going for Engelbert to make the top three along with the singing grannies from Russia

First up it’s the traditional dancing and singing, that happens in every show doesn’t it? Guess who’s up first? It’s only the Hump himself a.k.a Engelbert Humperdinck with “Love Will Set You Free”. A truly consummate performer but he looks a bit plastic doesn’t he?  But he is 76 now, which for me makes it quite amusing that the song has plummeted down the UK charts, apparently because those ‘silver surfers’ of the Hump’s generation don’t seem able to download it! Actually it’s not a bad song for Eurovision either and I reckon plenty more CD versions will be produced for next week if it does well.

Compact Disco performed the Hungarian entry. Not very compact or very disco really. Very 80s and very power ballad is “The Sound Of Our Hearts”. Are leather coats back in vogue? Rona Nishliu sang next for Albania, she is an experimental jazz vocalist, do I need to say more? Other than perhaps was that a real beehive on her head and a snake on her neck? Don’t give up the day job love!

Donny Montell sang “Love Is Blind” for Lithuania, with an oh so contrived blindfold which appeared to have been made from one of Michael Jackson’s old gloves. He whipped it off with a Bucks Fizz skirt type flourish. Bosnia and Herzegovina had a unmemorable ballad, I can’t recall the artist either!

They’re here, it’s those awesome Russian Grannies with “Party For Everybody”. Stop the contest now and hail them the winners. Absolutely spot on Eurovision entry. Twenty million YouTube hits can’t be wrong can they? They’re also raising money to rebuild a church that Stalin destroyed 70 years ago.

Iceland’s entry was a quite interesting song, but not winning material methinks. the song was “Never Forget” by Greta Salóme & Jónsi. A return to very traditional Eurovision Eurodisco values came next from Ivi Adamou for Cyprus. It was called “La La Love”, see what I mean by traditional contest values? She also danced on a table constructed from books, what was that all about?

It’s France with Anggun singing “Echo (You And I)” surrounded by topless male gymnasts. I wonder if it put her off at all? It was hard to tell for me, largely because the song was pretty crap. But there were some English lyrics in it, quite a departure for France. Italy, with their second performance after 14 years away gave us a fabulous Amy Winehouse pastiche from Nina Zilli. I quite like this, probably now my dark horse for winner. The English version is called “Out Of Love”. Great song, great look, great style and no gimmicks!

“Kuula” from Ott Lepland did the business for Estonia. An ok kind of song, reminiscent of many 70s ballads. The voice was very good, but those eyebrows had a life of their own. I’m sure they’ll be preparing to become moths or butterflies very soon. Tooji represented Norway with “Stay”. Apparently he was born in Iran. He also had a hoodie look going on, no chance of him getting into our corner shop then. He’d probably end up with an ASBO or a CRIMBO as they’re now known. The song was identikit and formulaic 80s disco.

Here come the locals! It’s Sabina Babayeva with the rather unfortunately titled “When The Music Dies” Of course the cost means they might not want to win two in a row. The song was pretty lightweight, so unlikely to win. Apparently she is a big fan of the Hump. Sabina is a very nice looking woman, but what was going on with the dress? Did she get dressed during a hurricane in a pillow factory? Mandinga were the Romanian entry and the group is made up of Romanians and Cubans. the song was an everything but the kitchen sink Eurodisco oompah sound production called “Zaleilah”. Was that really bagpipes? Surely not.

Denmark was represented by Soluna Samay with “Should’ve Known Better”, for some reason she was wearing a sailor’s hat, with some manky feathers in it. But the song was good, her voice is strong too. Shades of KT Tunstall. Soluna was supposedly once a busker. This is one of my favourites so far, but as Catwoman pointed out to me; Soluna is probably better than the song. Now is the time for Greece, surely they can’t afford to win can they? Will the IMF bail out the Eurovision Song Contest next year. Somehow with this song I don’t believe the Greek Government or the IMF need to worry. Incidentally the song was “Aphrodisiac” by Eleftheria Eleftheriou.

It’s time for the favourite, here come the Swedes led by Loreen with “Euphoria” which has already been a smash in many European countries. Her performance was clearly influenced by Florence off of Florence and the Machine and perhaps some Kate Bush mime dance moves. But I think I agree with the bookies, this has winner written all over it. But me saying that is probably the kiss of death for the song. But it really is a classy dance track. Can Bonomo sang next for Turkey with “Love Me Back”. I can only assume he is a big fan of English band sailor from the 70s. Well apart from the fact that his song was odd, bewildering and frankly shit! But yes clearly long leather coats are back!

Pastora Soler is a seasoned performer with quite a few albums under her belt, probably not as many as the Hump though. She sang “Quédate Conmigo” for Spain. She does have a superb voice, but this is not really my kind of song. Roman Lob (what a great name that is) stepped up to the plate for Germany with a pretty good song, “Standing Still” which was co written by Jamie Cullum along with Wayne Hector and Steve Robson.

Malta’s representative was Kurt Calleja, does that make him a Malteser? A reasonably competent dance track is what “This Is The Night” is for me. Kurt had a pretty trendy and funky suit and shirt combo, but why was he wearing a driving glove? And was that the ghost of Rick Astley on guitar? The Macedonians pushed forward Kaliopi to sing “Crno I Belo” That title looks like a Welsh road sign to me. The song struggled to make it’s mind up about what it was; ballad, pop song, rock song, dance track? Who the hell knows, but more importantly who cares?

Bloody hell it’s Jedward, their career can’t have much more life left in it surely. But “Waterline” is a pretty good song, so why did the writers waste it on these two talentless dorks? Jedward winning this contest would be on a par with a dog winning Britain’s Got Talent wouldn’t it? “Nije Ljubav Stvar” was the Serbian song from Željko Joksimović. Do you suffer from insomnia? This song might help you to sleep. Were those wellies or cowboy boots he was wearing?

Gaitana was next with a song she had cowritten, that song was “Be My Guest” and was the Ukrainian entry.  Not a bad song and a damned good voice. But the dancers were camper than a row of pink tents. The brass intro and sometime refrain in the song did sound a bit like an elephants call though. Moldova had Pasha Parfeny singing “Lăutar” which was no more than just alright for me. As for his supporting dancers, a chimp with wooden legs could have done better.

So that’s it folks, now it’s results time. I won’t bore you with any commentary about the results though. But I will tell you about them in the next few lines. But right now I think the top two might be Sweden and Russia. Well I was right with that last line although some of my earlier predictions were way out! Sweden won the contest with 372 points followed by Russia with 259 and Serbia with 214. The UK finished second from last with just 12 points. Norway were bottom with only 7 points. Luckily Sweden are one of the few countries that can comfortably afford to put the show on in the current economic climate. So next year it will be from Sweden.

 

“I’m gonna paint you by numbers and colour you in” aka The Brit Awards 2012 (February 21st) February 22, 2012


It’s that time of year again, the annual celebration and all round back slap of the UK music industry that is the Brits. There are 46 nominees this year including Adele who comes to the party already the proud owner of six Grammys. In a slight departure from my live typing last year I am doing this from the recording of the show. This meant I was able to spend a great night with Catwoman and some of our best friends and their lovely daughter Amelia. (Incidentally if you’d like to read the blog I write monthly for Amelia just click here)

So on with the show. A great and bombastic opener, “Charlie” from Coldplay. As with last year the event is presented by James Corden. The little clips introducing the best album nominees began with Adele’s ’21’ which is appropriately enough the best-selling album in the UK so far this century. As expected there was a film montage in memory of Whitney Houston which preceded the live appearance of Florence and the Machine. I am always blown away by that girl’s voice and tonight was no exception with a superb performance of “No Light No Light”. She seemed encased in a white light prison at one point. A prism prison if you will!

The first award was for Best British Female, presented by the beautifully proportioned Kylie Minogue. Whilst I would have liked to have seen Kate Bush win it there was really no surprise to see Adele be announced as a very worthy winner. She gave a really amusing acceptance speech including suggesting that she felt like a drag queen next to Kylie. The Best International Male award was presented by Jessie J and Jack Whitehall (who the fuck is he?) The winner was Bruno Mars with a bouffant hair do that seemed to add about a foot to his stature. His thank you speech was probably the blandest and least controversial there has ever been at the Brits.

The next live act was Olly Murs with the Rizzle Kicks. This is a real dilemma for me, I love the Rizzle Kicks but Olly Murs voice makes me want to eat my cats vomit with a side order of fresh road kill. It was a big dance production of Olly’s “My Heart Skips A Beat” including an attempt at Murs robotic dancing. At least his Mum and Simon Cowell would be proud of him.

The Critics Choice award went to Emeli Sande and was known in advance, this was given to the wonderful Jessie J last year. Mr Ed Sheerhan was the next turn to take to the stage with a wonderfully sparse version of his superb song “Lego House”. Just how good was that? The next award was for Best British Single presented by the immensely talented Tinie Tempah. Sadly the winner was the rather insipid attempt at anthemic; “What Makes You Beautiful” from X Factor Pop Muppets One Direction. Did they get dressed in a James Bond costume shop?

Jenson Button was chosen to present the award for International Female, not for his musical talents presumably. Still he’d make a better James Bond than One Direction, probably a better singer too. The award went to Rihanna, possibly one of the sexiest women on the planet in my opinion. To make up spectacularly for Olly Murs Noel Gallagher appeared with his High Flying Birds with the stupendous “AKA What A Life” with Chris Martin off of Coldplay on keyboards. I think it’s now very clear that Noel was and is the more talented Gallagher brother.

Next was a tribute to Amy Winehouse. Quite fittingly interspersing some of her brilliant songs with some great interview clips all shown in black and white. Losing Whitney was very sad but losing Amy was a tragedy. Best British Male was the next gong and it was presented by the sharp dressed and edgy Plan B. The award went to Ed Sheerhan who has now ditched the green T Shirt for a suit and tie.

Huey Morgan and Jo Whiley presented the Best British Group award. This one has been taken home by Coldplay twice before (in 2001 and 2003) and this year they make it a third. It was voted for by BBC Radio Two listeners. A really sincere acceptance speech though. James Corden then interviewed, very briefly, Kylie Minogue. He really should stick to his day job! The stage was owned by Adele for the next live performance, a storming “Rolling In The Deep”. She looked stunning, I wonder if that pretentious twat Karl Lagerfeld was watching.

The International Group award was presented by two of the remaining members of Queen, Brian May and Roger Taylor. The Foo Fighters were very worthy winners and were the first recipients of the evening not able to be there to collect their award. They did supply a great little video clip though. Nicole Scherzinger was joined by none other than musical superstar, sorry I meant football superstar Cesc Fabregas to present the Best Breakthrough act award. It was the second of the night for Ed Sheerhan. An interesting acceptance speech, apparently his manager could do with a new sofa.

Bruno Mars performed “Just The Way You Are” dressed like a tuxedoed James Bond lookalike. Except that the hair is probably an explosive secret weapon presented to this pint-sized warbler by Bond Boffin Q. Then we had another awkward Corden interview, this time with the prepubescent One Direction. A bizarre pairing of Rob Brydon and Will.i.Am presented the Best International Breakthrough act which unsurprisingly went to the talented and somewhat astral Lana Del Ray. She also won the award for blubbiest acceptance speech of the night, but I do love her album.

“We Found Love” from Rihanna was a live performance to be reckoned with. Only she could make a kind of painters smock sexy whilst performing in front of a gang of dancing painter decorators. Her hair had grown immeasurably from her earlier appearance. Has she taken the same follicle elixir as Bruno Mars or was it just a really classy syrup?

Finally it came to Ray Winstone to present the Outstanding Contribution To Music Award to Blur aka Graham, Dave , Alex and Damon. Next was the MasterCard British Album of the year award, presented by the man with talent oozing out of his pockets, George Michael. This had Adele’s name on it months ago didn’t it? That girl will need a bigger shelf for all these awards. How the fuck did they end up curtailing her acceptance speech in such an abrupt way.

Blur were on stage to close the show kicking off their set with “Girls And Boys” and then appropriately “Song 2”. They were then joined on stage by Phil Daniels for a great rendition of “Parklife” Sadly that is where the TV coverage ended, I would love to have seen the whole set from Blur. I hear that they finished off with “Tender” and “This Is A Low”, but somehow I imagine this was quite a high for them!

 

 
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