With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“Rock’n’roll with all my friends, hopin’ the music never ends” March 20, 2014


mr happyI might be a little late with this but today is the United Nations second International Day of Happiness. So let me help you celebrate with a few Happy and Happiness songs. Enjoy them and feel free to contribute some of your own.

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happiness

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“None of them received a heroes welcome” – Advent day 19 December 19, 2013


slide_19_2087154aDefinitely on the home straight now, we’re on the 19th December. So day 19 of the With Just A Hint Of Mayhem Advent posts brings two songs with the number 19 in their title. Can you guess what the f-f-f-f-first one is going to be?

Paul+HardcastleI’ll put you out of your misery the first tune is Paul Hardcastle‘s “19″ which was his fifth solo single. It went to number one in the UK in 1985 and made the top spot in Ireland, Switzerland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Austria and Italy. It was also number one on the US Dance charts. Hardcastle was inspired to compose “19″ after watching a documentary about the Vietnam war called ‘Vietnam Requiem‘. he was shocked that the average age of the US combat soldier killed in Vietnam was 19. That was his age when he saw the documentary. The song may have performed better in the US had it received more airplay. It stalled at number 15 in the Billboard charts after many US radio stations refused to play it as they considered the song to be anti-American. Hardcastle has always denied this and I believe he is right. He is quoting statistics. Although the average age of 19 statistic has been challenged and various sources have suggested that between 20 and 23 are more realistic. That is still bloody young though! Paul Hardcastle’s 1986 single “The Wizard” became the theme tune to Top Of The Pops from April 1986 to September 1991. He also produced Rory Bremner‘s parody recording of “19″; “N-N-Nineteen Not Out” which was released under the name the Commentators and reached number 13 in the UK charts in 1985.

1349963354063_1483409The second song on day 19 comes from those ancient geezers the Strolling Bones, well that’s what they look like these days right? I am talking of course about the Rolling Stones with their 1965 UK and US Billboard number two hit “19th Nervous Breakdown” It broke a run of five consecutive UK number ones for the band that stretched from April 1964 to September 1965. Those five songs were; “It’s All Over Now”, “Little Red Rooster”, “The Last Time”, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and “Get Off Of My Cloud”. The number 19 is an important number in Stephen King’s ‘Dark Tower Series‘ and this song is referenced a few times within those tales. The song has been covered by the Standells and the Wedding Present. On the US TV show Saturday Night Live in 2012 Mick Jagger performed the song with the Foo Fighters.

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“From the Queen of England to the hounds of hell” – Advent day 7 December 7, 2013


sevenWell that’s it, the first week of December is almost over and now it’s just over eighteen days until the big old bloke in the red coat parks his venison on your roof and somehow manages to squeeze his excessive girth down your chimney! That means of course that today is December 7th and that in turn means that todays choices that sit behind the advent calendar door feature the number seven in their titles.

Queen-To-Appear-In-Lego-Rock-Band-2First I bring you the mighty Queen with a magnificent slice of rock, “Seven Seas Of Rhye” taken from the album ‘Queen II‘. It was the bands first single and their first UK hit. It reached number ten in 1974 which was far better than their first two singles none of which charted. They were “Keep Yourself Alive” and “Liar”. It was the success of “Seven Seas Of Rhye” that supposedly inspired Freddie Mercury to take up Queen as his full-time job. The band made their first Top Of The Pops appearance performing the song in February 1974. The album version of the song fades into a few people singing an old British Music Hall song; “I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside”. It was written by John A Glover-Kind and first recorded by Mark Sheridan in 1909.

s7ev123340The second song for today remains one of my favourites. It is “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes. Is this perhaps Jack White’s finest hour so far? Very possibly in my opinion. It was released in 2003 and comes from the album ‘Elephant’. It reached number 7 in the UK chart, number 4 in Germany and number 3 in Italy. While it only made it to number 76 on the US Billboard chart it did climb to number one on the US Alternative Songs chart. It became their second biggest UK hit after “Icky Thump” from 2007. “Seven Nation Army” which was written by Jack White has been covered by many artists including; Living Colour, Flaming Lips, Metallica, Alice Russel, the Oak Ridge Boys, Kate Nash and Kelly Clarkson. It was also massacred (in my opinion) by X Factor runner-up Marcus Collins in 2012.

 

“You been coolin’ and baby, I’ve been droolin’” July 24, 2013


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The pa-pa pa-pa theme tune, played in cinemas before the ads to promote the Pearl and Dean company, is called Asteroid. The tune was composed by Peter Moore. I never knew it had a name; did you?

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It was certainly an ear worm for UK cinema goers and provided a great sample for Goldbug‘s cover of Led Zeppelin‘s “Whole Lotta Love” from 1996. The song reached number 3 in the UK charts. Of course an earlier cover of the song by CCS became the Top Of The Pops theme for many years too. Goldbug took their name from a computer virus.

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“And you know I’m so wired up I don’t need any more tea in my cup” July 30, 2012


This post is my 501st, so I thought to myself what can I do to celebrate such a milestone? Actually the 500th post would have been a better one to celebrate but I missed that with all the excitement of the Olympics clouding my view. So is the number 501 meaningful in any way? well yes it is; it’s the score that most darts matches count down from. So does that help me come up with a theme for a celebratory 501st post on this blog? A darts theme on a music blog? Is it possible? Can it be done? Will this idiot stop rambling and get on with it? Well indeed I will. Welcome to my special darts themed post to celebrate issue 501! Let me add that when I say darts-themed I do mean that in the loosest sense possible!

So I thought I’d choose three darts related songs, one to represent each of three darts used in every turn at the oche. With the first dart I have hit, rather obviously, Darts the group. This band had quite a bit of chart action in the late 70s. They had a run of seven consecutive UK top 20 hits from 1977 to 1979. This included three that stalled at number two, sadly this meant they never reached the top spot. Those nearly number ones were; “Come Back My Love”, “The Boy From New York City” and “It’s Raining”, all from 1977. Their cover of the classic “Duke Of Earl” was produced by none other than Roy Wood off of the Move, Electric Light Orchestra and Wizzard. Another glam period connection is that Rob Davis the guitarist from Mud was briefly a Dart. That was before he went on to reach amazing heights as a songwriter including song such as Kylie’s “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head”. The song I have chosen from Darts is one that also sums up summer so far in the UK this year; “It’s Raining”

For my second dart I am selecting Franz Ferdinand, the band as opposed to the famous Archduke. Their first single was released in 2003 and was called “Darts Of Pleasure“. Interestingly it was released on the Domino label, another popular pub game. Alex Kapranos of the band has said in interviews that the song is actually about seduction and that the darts of pleasure that hit you are in fact words. It was written by Kapranos and band colleague Nick McCarthy. The single peaked at number 44 in the UK charts in 2003. however their follow-up, the festival friendly “Take Me Out” was a smash. It was their biggest UK hit reaching the heady heights of number three. It also made the top twenty in Canada, Ireland and New Zealand, along with a creditable number 66 on the US Billboard chart. So now you can enjoy “Darts Of Pleasure”

For my last dart I had no other option in my opinion other than Dexys Midnight Runners. In 1982 the band released a cover version of Van Morrison’s song in praise of the late, great Jackie Wilson; “Jackie Wilson Said” (I’m In Heaven When You Smile)” The song reached number 5 in the UK charts, Morrison’s version was never a hit in the UK but did make the US top 75. Dexys played the song on the BBC’s Top Of The Pops show in 1982 and the screen behind them displayed a picture of darts player Jocky Wilson rather than supreme soul singer Jackie Wilson. For many years it was thought that this was a cock-up on the part of the Top Of The Pops production team. However Kevin Rowland has subsequently revealed that it was the band who asked for a picture of Jocky Wilson. Apparently they often referred to the song as Jocky and if this is true it just goes to prove that underneath that supposedly serious demeanour Mr Rowland has a damned good sense of humour! So here is my final dart, hitting a double top to win with a classic from Dexys!

 

The Woman In Black March 11, 2012


Earlier this evening we went to the local Vue multiplex, which frankly isn’t as nice as the Picturehouse City Screen cinema in York. However putting that aside the film we saw was ‘The Woman In Black‘, it is an adaptation of Scarborough born Susan Hill‘s 1983 novel of the same name. Incidentally the book is bloody good too. It is the first production from a newly reincarnated Hammer Studios.

Daniel Radcliffe plays the main character, Arthur Kipps. He is a lawyer sent to a desolate coastal town in the north-east of England to close the estate of a recently deceased woman. I won’t add any spoilers in this post but if you like classic horror in a gothic style take a trip to the cinema as soon as you can. In the UK it is a 12A certificate, but I’m not sure I can think of any 12 year olds that wouldn’t be scared shitless!

Was it scary? Well there were a few ‘make you jump’ moments but personally a film has never scared me and this one was no exception. It did scare the living daylights out of my beautiful wife Catherine a.k.a Catwoman. It is a great film though; excellent acting, brilliant script, perfect casting and wonderful locations and cinematography. On this showing there is clearly a long life after Harry Potter for Mr Radcliffe, he has the makings of an award-winning actor.

Hammer is back with a vengeance with this slice of classic British Horror. (My late uncle, Ron Jackson, would have been proud. He was Production Manager of many of the great Hammer Horror films).  Hollywood couldn’t have made this and let’s hope they don’t try. This is not a musical nor is it a music related film, but I felt the need to talk about it. So in keeping with this being a music blog please enjoy a few appropriate songs. Also click here to see a great spoof based on the film.

 

“I don’t wanna know your name, cause you don’t look the same” March 5, 2012


This is a record-breaking but sad kind of story. One of the largest foxes ever found in the UK was shot on a farm in Aberdeen. It wasn’t killed because it was large, but simply because it was allegedly attacking lambs on a farm. At least it was killed by a working farmer and not some bunch of red jacketed toff twats supported by a cast of hundreds and packs of vicious dogs. Click here to read the story on the BBC site.

Anyway what is this story doing on my music blog? Well it gives me a chance to share some of my favourite fox related songs :-) Feel free to submit your own fox songs.

Sorry bunnies, my aim is better now, next time the farmer gets it

Fox On The Run – Manfred Mann – A UK number 5 hit from 1968. The lyrics were from English writer Tony Hazzard who wrote quite a few hits, including another smash from the Manfreds in “Ha Ha Said The Clown”

Fox On The Run – The Sweet – The same title as the Manfred Mann song, but definitely not the same song. This reached number 2 in the UK chart in 1974. It also hit number 5 in the US and was an Australian number one. The song is about groupies as in the women were foxy ladies.

Foxy Lady – Jimi Hendrix – Talking of foxy ladies, this is taken from the Jimi Hendrix Experience album ‘Are You Experienced’ which was released in 1967. The US and Canadian version of the album had the titled incorrectly spelled as “Foxey Lady”

Foxy Foxy – Mott The Hoople – This is one of my favourite songs from this fabulous British band. It reached number 33 in the UK charts in 1974 and never featured on a Mott The Hoople album, other than compilations. It ended a run of 5 top 20 hits in the UK for the band. The group took their name from a Willard Manus novel about someone who worked in a circus freak show.

Reynard The Fox – Julian Cope – This was the opening track from Julian’s 1984 album ‘Fried’. It is apparently a mix of an English folk tale and an incident where Cope had slashed his stomach on stage back in 1983.

 

“Yesterdays shatter, tomorrows don’t matter” December 30, 2011


I always used to think that it was TV stars whose careers had faded considerably that turned up in pantomime roles each year. Maybe the Milkman from Eastenders or the Lollipop Lady from Coronation Street. That of course is still the case, but now the list includes a few music related stars. One of whom is very talented in my opinion the others are probably the most talentless act to have arisen in the entertainment industry.

Firstly the beautiful Clare Grogan once off of Altered Images has appeared in the Glasgow production of Sleeping Beauty at the Kings Theatre. Meanwhile those talentless pop muppet X Factor rejects Jedward are appearing in a version of Jack and the Beanstalk in Dublin. It is called Jedward and the Beanstalk. To be fair there may be some typecasting there as Jack was a bit thick wasn’t he? One half of Jedward even crowd surfed the young fans at the stage door. Oh what joy it would be for them to appear at Reading and Leeds in 2012. I can almost picture the bottles of piss being loaded as soon as that announcement is made!

Anyway to finish enjoy a couple of excellent songs from the beautiful Clare Grogan in her days with Altered Images and cover your ears for an excruciatingly bad cover of Blink 182′s “All The Small Things” by Jedward.

 

“Poor little greenie” December 22, 2011


OK this is the third and final post about the missing footage of David Bowie doing “The Jean Genie” on Top of the Pops in 1973.  Click here and here to see the earlier posts. The reason for this last post is that the video has now thankfully found its way onto YouTube. You can see it below.

This whole episode brought back one memory about the similarity between Bowie’s “Jean Genie” and the Sweet’s “Blockbuster“, in particular the riff. The latter made it to the top of the chart whilst “Jean Genie”, which only made number two, was still in the top ten. The Sweet‘s single, which was written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman was released shortly after the Bowie song. As a teenager and a big Bowie fan I could never bring myself to like “Blockbuster” but I have mellowed with age and I’m ok with it now, although I obviously prefer “Jean Genie” to “Blockbuster”.

Nicky Chinn has said that all the writers, including Bowie, were convinced that the whole thing was a coincidence. However Chinn has mentioned a  conversation with Bowie about the coincidence.  He said Bowie “looked at me completely deadpan and said ‘Cunt!’ And then he got up and gave me a hug and said, ‘Congratulations’.

Anyway now you can enjoy that clip (along with the Sweet and an old clip of Bowie doing “The Jean Genie” on the US TV Special ‘The 1980 Floor Show’ recorded in 1973 which regular readers will have seen before) and I promise I won’t post about it again………probably!

 

“New York’s a go-go and everything tastes nice” December 21, 2011


Regular readers and Bowie fans who have found their way here by accident will know that footage of Mr Bowie performing “The Jean Genie” on Top Of The Pops in 1973 has recently been unearthed. I posted about it on December 13th, just click here to read that one.

Anyway, first reports said that the BBC would air the film on BBC4 next year. Then last week some news reports suggested that it would be shown today at 19.30 UK time on BBC4. Then on Monday it was confirmed that it would be included in the Top Of The Pops 2 Christmas special broadcast at 19.30 on BBC2 earlier today.

I’m pleased to say that the song appeared reasonably early in the 90 minute show and it was superb. It was recorded live in the BBC studios on January 3rd 1973 and broadcast the following day. Bowie was backed by the Spiders; Mick ‘Woody’ Woodmansey, Trevor Bolder and the late great Mick Ronson. Bowie wore something far less loud than you might expect for the period; a very glam era jacket and trousers combo. Ronson had the jump suit and Bolder had those amazingly ridiculous sideburns. Mr Bowie also showed his prowess on the harmonica, even throwing in a short burst from a Beatles tune. Was it “Love Me Do“. It’s amazing that this is almost 39 years to the day that the single entered the UK charts. It went on to become his biggest hit up to that point when it peaked at number 2.

Bowie was sporting the classic Ziggy cut, the only time a slightly mullet style has ever been cool in my opinion. Was this the last TV appearance by the Spiders? Does anyone know? Bear in mind that this was just a few months away from the famous Hammersmith Odeon gig ‘retired’ and broke up the band. I’d love to hear what you thought of the clip and hopefully if you’re not in the UK you won’t have too long to wait. In the meantime click here to hear an interview with cameraman John Henshall (apologies for saying that he was retired in my earlier post about this story, apparently he isn’t) on BBC Radio Oxford and the audio of “The Jean Genie” from that show.

 

 
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