After eventually clicking on The Jam documentary that’s been sitting on TiVo for a couple of years I’ve spent the last week re-living the band that meant the world to when I was miserable schoolboy. Of course, those were the precious years when singles ruled the musical landscape, and coolest bands didn’t put all of them on their LPs, so you didn’t end up paying twice for the same song. The tune I’ve been humming is Strange Town – Weller’s bittersweet tribute to the capital that he’d loved from afar, and then seemingly fallen out of love with after rubbing up against the big boys of ‘76 and ‘77. Ignoring later greatest hits round-ups, let’s have some love for stand-alone 45s.
40th anniversary Jam box set coming in October. Looks quite reasonably priced for what’s included too.
The recent retirements of Richie McGaw and Dan Carter, together with the anniversary of George Best’s death got me musing about the phrase ‘going out at the top’, and how this seems to be more difficult in music than sport. Best’s CV (in)famously included Fulham and several US soccer teams in a long tail. Surely today he would have been a shoe-in as a pundit and walked away at the top in the early seventies.
In music – where age does not tap you in the shoulder in the same way as sport – it seems to be extra-ordinarily difficult to go out at the top never to announce a comeback tour or have that 3-star ‘return to form’ review after a decade away. So, your bands or solo artists who have done exactly that. No reforming, no comeback albums. And you have to have some kind of ‘top’ to get out of. This doesn’t mean that your last album was your best, but a clear sense that your powers are undimmed. Here’s my three for starters, or starters for three:
ABBA – surely the ultimate ‘going out at the top’ , as the tide of music and their » Continue Reading.
To celebrate 25 years of Mrs P tutting about how much nicer our front room would be without the records and more of her stuff, we are off to Bruges tomorrow for five days on the occasion of our silver wedding anniversary.
She chose the destination, and I’ve read up about the city online and been through a couple of guide books.
But I really want to make this a special trip for her, so I’m throwing myself at your collective mercy with a plea to the hive mind for recommendations, hidden gems, advice, top tips, restaurants we just have to eat at, record shops, flea markets, awe-inspiring sights, anything we simply shouldn’t miss.
Meanwhile, as Mrs P is out working late architecting, I’m listening to The Jam while make sauce with last of all the tomatoes and basil that can be mustered in a London garden.
wasn’t Weller weird when he was on ToTP? Remember the backwards Heinz tomato soup apron, how about the banjo and accordion in the Style Council days? This performance is well-weird. It’s Beat Surrender, the final single. The band is lined up backwards – drums to the front, Weller has decided to forego the guitar and frug with the young Tracie who seems to be wearing one of his nice jumpers. He’s a very poor dancer, she pretends not to notice. Foxton mimes the alternate lines – even though it’s Paul’s voice. He mimes more convincingly than Weller, yet Weller can’t hide his smirk after Bruce’s first line. Perhaps weirdest of all is the delivery of the line ‘that bullshit’s just bullshit – it just goes by different names’ from the first verse. If I remember correctly the radio edit went ‘that rubbish is rubbish’ – in this version Weller has re-recorded the line as ‘that bullfrog’s a bullfrogs they just go by different names’. I don’t know what my point is. I suspect this will be a very short thread.
Very simple. The worst track by your favourite artist. I was listening to All Mod Cons in the car today and yet again barely made it through English Rose. It’s just so awful. The weedy acoustic arrangement and insipid melody. The waves-on-shore effects straight from Bobby Goldsboro’s Summer the First Time. Weller’s gruff bark tortuously unsuitable for such a ballad. And the lyrics oh man. ‘For no bonds can every keep me from she’. A key change that would get Westlife off their stools. It goes on and on. This is on the same album as Tubestation, In The Crowd and A-Bomb in Wardour Street. It’s clearly the worst song recorded by The Jam.
So a few rules. No skits, intros or covers. We’re after original stinkers. Less interested in hearing why English Rose is the best song ever than finding out what is the worst Dylan, Stones, Smiths, Richard Thompson, Van the Man track ever.
Beatles fans – http://www.heartachewithhardwork.com/2006/05/beatles-from-worst-to-first-1-206-191.html
is every single song recorded by the Fabs rated from 206 to 1.