Quite a few news feeds are reporting that HMV are on the brink of collapse again, for the second time in six years. As a former employee and one who went through the first administration I know how horrible it will be. The store I worked in was scheduled for closure, but was rescued at the last minute – by which time I’d found another job. A few of my friends still work in the store so I’m thinking of them in particular today.
Years ago I had a book that provided a short biography for many bands from the late 50s. At the top of every biography was a ‘classic line-up’. For some (e.g. The Beatles, Led Zeppelin or Queen) this is easily agreed upon. For others (The Rolling Stones, The Byrds, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd) the decision is not so apparent.
So my question is, can we agree on the most important line-up for all these bands with a revolving door policy of members?
Recently I listened to ‘Bummed’ by the Happy Mondays and it made me think how lucky Bez is to have made a career out out of dancing with a pair of maracas. There was also talk a few months ago about Andy Fletcher’s role in Depeche Mode.
There must be more than a handful of band members who appear to contribute very little/nothing to a band, yet still receive the associated perks. I’m thinking of those who are officially members rather than backing musicians.
Mrs Japanese and I are currently in the process of moving out of our tiny, one-bedroomed flat into a much bigger multi-bedroomed house. With that comes the inevitable sorting of junk we have accumulated over the time spent living in our current residence.
Perversley, despite the apparent spacial opportunity for more, it was decided by Mrs Japanese that we owned too many CDs and needed to ship some off to the local Charity Shop. For a someone who has spent the last three months buying second-hand albums from Music Magpie as they make their way through the 1001 Albums book, this wasn’t entirely unexpected. After numerous discussions about the merits of still owning the Klaxons’ debut album, we decided to combine our CD collections and relegate my ‘lesser’ albums to a folder (more about that later). In the meantime, she removed any duplicates from her collection that I already owned and ceremoniously dumped the ones she no longer desired.
So now we have two towers of CDs ranging from Abba to the Zutons. She has agreed to accept my filing strategy of putting solo artists under their surnames, rather than their first names (like she chose to). We have both » Continue Reading.
I have slowly been working my way through the 1001 Albums… book and have recently listened to Slayed? by the Wolverhampton Quartet. Reading reviews by people who have already started this challenge, I find that they are often ridiculed, dismissed as stupid and compared to darts players etc. Yes, the ‘spelling’ is a gimmick that doesn’t work anymore, but is it really worth getting hung up about?
I was born a generation too late to appreciate the band at their peak, but my Dad loved them, and so did many, many people. They are, in terms of sales, the most successful singles band of the 70s and yet they are hardly ever mentioned these days, expect in reference to that Christmas hit.
By 1975 of course, they were past their peak. But perhaps their death knell was the explosion of punk, or was it the Reeves and Mortimer pisstake, or even the fact they were adored by Oasis.
These days, when discussing Glam Rock (of which they were surely one of the leading lights?) they appear to be dismissed as a footnote, purely for not being T-Rex or David Bowie (i.e. fashionable)
There’s not a lot of Beatlespeak on this blog, so I thought I’d try and bring them into the conversation as I’m sure there a few fans of the Fab Four.
As it is the anniversary of his death, where were you when you found out about it and to what extent did it affect you?
Personally, I was six years away from being born so I can’t say I was affected by it at all. I imagine (pun intended) I was first aware of him and them in about 1993/94 when Britpop was a thing and the Beatles at the BBC albums came out.
When I was a child, weekends spent indoors would often culminated in a boardgame of some description. As well as carrier bags, a hoover and some dressing-up costumes, the cupboard under the stairs contained a smorgasbord of Waddington’s, Parker Bros and MBs finest (all part of Hasbro now according to Wikipedia) – Monopoly, Cluedo, Downfall, Connect 4, Mouse Trap, Totopoly et al.
What board games did you enjoy as a child, or which ones do you continue to play?
It is a truth, unversally acknowledged, that rock ‘n’ roll is full of peaks and pitfalls; and that band members come and go through pop’s revolving door of time. Some musicians are replaced out of necessesity (such as those who fall victim to drugs or alcohol, or those who choose to persue other opportunities), whilst some are ousted unceremoneously at inopportune momements, just as they’re driving out of the car dealer’s in their brand new Ferrari.
When Brian Jones left the Stones, they carried on under that moniker. But what if Mick had left the band in the 1980s? Would you still go and see Keith, Charlie, Ronnie and [Guest Singer] perform as The Rolling Stones? If George Harrison had quit the Beatles in 1968 and been replaced by Eric Clapton, would you accept the changeover without quarrel? If Chris Difford left Squeeze and Glenn Tilbrook carried on performing as the band, would you care? What if it was the other way round?
There are bands that have always had leaders, and they are often the songwriter(s)/singer (The Smiths – Morrissey/Marr, Oasis (Noel and Liam) and The Jam (Paul Weller) – If these bands reformed without any of those people » Continue Reading.
Three things have inspired me to write this post. I have been watching repeats of the Adam and Joe Show on All 4, where you will remember they had a segment in the show called ‘Vinyl Justice where they go through the record collection of a ‘famous’ musician and remove all the embarassing LPs; one of esteemed members commented that Abba weren’t cool until 1992, and finally The Police have recently been described as ‘much maligned’.
I want to know which bands were considered naff/unhip/not cool (choose whichever vernacular suits you best) while they were in the past, but have since had a resurgance of critical/commercial praise and which bands are you embarrased to admit you had posters of on your bedroom wall?
Last week, the future Mrs Japanese and I decided to play a game to whittle away the time during a long car journey. We decided to explain the first lines in a song as a brief synopsis, without using any of the actual lyrics.
These should be easy to guess, and additions are encouraged.
1. A gentleman addresses a married woman belonging to a fruit drink manufacturing business.
2. Set in the north of England, a jealous impresario recalls the moment he was first aquainted with a front-of-house employee at Revolution Bar. Sixty months later, things aren’t so promising.
3. A Rayleigh lies, temporarily out of action, upon the Moors, overlooking the city below. Our lonely narrator longs for a romantic liaison.
4. Two men meet in a pub which is far from empty. The latter of the two gentlemen is privately educated and a wine conniseur. He yearns for a career in the criminal underworld.
5. Between the hours of sunset and sunrise, two lovers are entwined in an intimate embrace. Anxious, the girl is keen to know if her feelings will be reciprocated the following day.
6. Our lusty narrator is equally impressed with the fashions of » Continue Reading.
What does it sound like?:
‘Nothing is Ok, I’m going through a phase’
These days it must be very difficult being in a band. How high do you aim? What translates as success? These days, most indie bands would probably be happy with a top 20 single and a top 10 album, such is the way that ‘guitar-driven’ music has fallen out of favour. Still, no matter what you think, there is always something different – not necessarily new – to say when you’re in a band,
Neon Waltz are an indie-sextet, hailing from every long-distance charity cyclist’s favourite place in Scotland. Their debut album, ‘Strange Hymns’ was released on Friday, just in time for their non-appearance at Reading or Leeds. Its production duties are spread liberally between five different sets of people, including Mike Rowe and Howie Payne, presumably as a result of recording in different studios.
The album begins with a short interlude of haunted-rumbling (like ‘Down in the Tube Station’ walking through the Necropolis) before the opening notes of ‘Sundial’ burst into life. It is a strong track to introduce the album and the first thing that grabs your attention are Jordan Shearer’s » Continue Reading.
It is no stretch of the imagination to consider that The Lady in Red is Chris De Burgh’s crowning achievement. Back in 1986, the irish sex-symbol seduced a nation of willing men and women in 4 minutes 6 seconds with this schmaltzy ballad; its popularity ensuring it was number one when I was born, beating long-forgotten, now charity-bin regular singles such as ‘Papa Don’t Preach’ and ‘Panic’, ‘Venus’ and ‘Happy Hour’ to the honour.
I’ve always (in the last fifteen minutes) wondered whether anybody has really considered the lyrics and what they mean. Inspired by ‘The Poetry Thread’ I invite you lot to analyse the words of Monsieur De Burgh and let me know what this song is about. Who is the Lady in Red if not Melisandre of Asshai? Is Chris De Burgh the nom-de-plume of Stannis Baratheon?
I’ve never seen you looking so lovely as you did tonight I’ve never seen you shine so bright I’ve never seen so many men ask you if you wanted to dance They’re looking for a little romance, given half a chance And I have never seen that dress you’re wearing Or the highlights in your hair that catch your eyes I » Continue Reading.
I own some folk music – lots of Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, a couple of Unthanks albums, the best of Fairport Convention, some Nick Drake et al. and I’ve always been vaguely interested in its ability to tell a story. But there’s so much of it about that I’ve no idea where to start when it comes to exploring any further. Therefore, I would like you lot to give me a few tips as to where I could next go on my quest for good versions of traditional ballads, shanties and protest songs etc.
As a guide, the two Fairport songs that always stick in my mind are ‘Meet on the Ledge’ and ‘Matty Groves’, I really like Nick Cave’s ‘Murder Ballads’ and The Decemberists ‘Hazards of Love’ albums so I think I want songs with a bit of controversy in them, and I don’t think I’m too bothered about Celtic music as such.
I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed seeing this advert yesterday.