100 best Tracks of the 1970’s (Repost, just because)

I have no idea why I started this bloody list as it’s proven to be really difficult. I’m looking at mostly 45’s but have had to throw a few album tracks in there as well. Back in the 70’s I had a few 45’s, not that many though, so the majority of these I didn’t have. I heard most of them either on the radio in the kitchen, in the car or at a friends place, some I heard much later. We consumed music differently back then. Music was not as available as it is now and when a song hit it big it received lots of radio play, then that tailed off and then you’d hear it now and again, making it almost a special treat, unless you had bought the single or the album it came from of course, particularly on Top Of The Pops type albums which were compilations of the hits of the day.

Anyway, here goes, it’s my personal list so I’m sure there will be some ridiculous exclusions, but I make no apologies for that, they just hadn’t entered my life at the time or much since. Also, they are not in any particular order, they are numbered for convenience not to show preference. Let’s not forget that in the seventies I was 3 years old, and thirteen years old, and all the ages in-between.

100 Steely Dan – ‘Reelin In The Years’

I heard this on ‘The Friday Rock Show’, presented at the time by Tommy Vance, but I never heard the introduction so I had no idea who it was, and when the record was over, he never repeated it so I was left in the dark for quite a while. Some months later I found out who it was and have liked Steely Dan ever since, helped somewhat my my friend Dave, who loves them and whose brother, Pete, had several albums that we listened to in Dave’s bedroom. Bedrooms were where music was most often shared in the days before MP3’s, Before Spotify and youtube, you went to somebody’s house and they played you stuff.

99 The Pretenders – ‘Brass In Pocket’

I’d heard this on the radio several times before I ever saw them and I remember being quite confused by the whole waitress thing, but it was, and probably still is, my favourite Pretenders track, not that I’m a big fan.

98 James Brown – ‘Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine’

This was a re-issue that found the charts again in the 70’s. Who could not love it really, all that energy and he groove it finds, though I’ve no idea what prompted it to be re-released it was all over the radio.

97 Bob Marley & The Wailers – ‘No Woman, No Cry’

This was probably the first time I became consciously aware of who Bob Marley was and I remember well that the video for the song was the lyceum concert. I’d heard Marley before, I’m pretty sure of that, but it was being combined with the visuals and it being played on Top Of The Pops that really made me sit up and take notice. I think this was 1975 so I was only 8 at the time and I’m convinced it was re-released at a later date but can’t find any record of it.

96 Kate Bush – ‘Wuthering Heights’

I, like many others, thought ‘What the fuck is this?’ when I saw it on TOTP and there followed much lampooning from comedians of the day, Kenny Everett and such like, but when you listened closely it changed, from what seemed like a one off novelty song to something with more substance and it grew on you until it, and subsequent releases, became part of the musical landscape at the time.

95 Siouxsie And The Banshees – ‘Hong Kong Garden’

Now here is a single that I actually owned and which I’d owned for some time before I even realised it was about a Chinese take-away, I had thought it all rather exotic until I listened properly.

94 The Undertones – ‘Teenage Kicks’

This has become a rather important song since it’s release, helped by John Peel naming it as his faviourite song, although I think he had many and just named this one to shut people up because they were always asking him. I liked it, Feargal Sharkey was rather odd looking and it had energy.

93 Dead Kennedys – California Über Alles

I actually found this track ( and the album it came from) in the early eighties, influenced by a group of Punks I hung out with then. Punk had long passed but these guys had yet to realise it and were trying to support a whole local punk scene that was dying on its arse to be honest. They were 4 years too late at least, but they seemed happy to be part of something.

92 The Jam – ‘David Watts’

At the time I had no idea this was a Kinks cover but I thought it was a great track, and either it was the songwriting or the performances or maybe both that caught my attention. At this point I had no idea what I liked, I’d listen to anything if I thought it was good while sticking strictly to a single genre if ever questioned (this was a sort of rule back then)

91 Free – ‘Alright Now’

This single was in our house and it was played to absolute death, partly because it was good, but also because we didn’t actually have that many records so there wasn’t much choice. This was a time for me, where the possibility of playing what I wanted to listen to when I wanted to listen to it was starting to become, in a small way, a reality. We had a record player, the old sort with the built in speaker that you could stack 10 singles on and they would drop one after the other and later, we had a stereo, with a turntable, radio and a cassette player. Our next door neighbour had an 8 track in his car, which was crazy, listening to something other than radio in the car? Wow! Then we had a cassette player in the car and it really was revolutionary.

90 Madness – ‘One Step Beyond’

This was huge at my comprehensive school with loads of people getting into the whole ska revival thing, and some just liking the songs but not adopting the fashion. I seem to remember liking ‘Night Boat To Cairo’ more later but this was my first hit of Madness.

89 The Specials – ‘A Message To You Rudy’

The song that really got me interested in The Specials was ‘Too much too young’ which was a 5 track E.P consisting of ‘Too Much Too Young’, ‘Guns of Navarone’, ‘Skinhead Symphony’, ‘Longshot Kick The Bucket’, ‘Liquidator’ and ‘Skinhead Moonstomp’, it was released in 1980 though so I can’t include it, ‘A Message To You Rudy’ is a great track though so that’s OK.

88 The Kinks – ‘Lola’

I’m pretty sure that we had this 45 in the house and it got played an awful lot for the same reason as before, not having that many records. I had no idea what it was about of course.

87 Stiff Little Fingers – ‘Nobody’s Hero’

There were a load of SLF tracks that I could have thrown in here, ‘Alternative Ulster’, ‘Suspect Device’ etc but this was probably my favourite. I didn’t have a copy but a friend did and it was another track repeatedly listened to in a bedroom.

86 The Undertones – ‘My Perfect Cousin’

I feel sure I had this single, although memory is hazy. It certainly had the piss taken out of it at school, mostly by my friend Dave who liked to push his nose to the side with one finger and sing it in a terrible Feargal Sharkey expression, in fact, he still does that nowadays.

85 Buzzcocks – ‘Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)’

Vague memories of this track as I wasn’t that aware of The Buzzcocks, but I liked it.

84 Joni Mitchell – ‘Big Yellow Taxi’

Another track that we had on 45 in the house, there were actually 3 singles that I played the most, which were this, ‘Behind Closed Doors’ by Charlie Rich and return To Sender’ by Elvis. All three would go on the record player, drop one by one and then I’d put them on again, and again, and again.

83 Althea & Donna – ‘Uptown Top Ranking’

This was a rather odd track at the time, at least for me as it was a genre that I rarely came into contact with, but one has to admit, it’s catchy as hell.

82 Jean Michel Jarre – ‘Oxygene part IV’

I’ve lost count of the number of times I heard this track, it seemed to be everywhere at one point. I seem to remember it even being the theme for a Science Show. I just looked it up, apparently it was alled ‘Where There’s Life’, which I remember now.

81 Chic – ‘Le Freak’

Well it’s a classic, and remains relevant with the latest Daft Punk release drawing heavily on the sound of Nile Rodgers, well, he actually plays on the Daft Punk album so you can’t really draw more heavily than that. This would be a track that I listened to without actually admitting I liked it, but how could I not like it?

80 Blondie – ‘Picture This’

Like so many teenage boys I had a planet sized crush on Debbie Harry, but she was more than just a look, and the band as a whole weren’t just bubblegum. I’ve harped on about just how good ‘Parallel Lines’ is before and I could easily include the whole damn thing, but will, instead, just pick a few tracks, this being one of my favourites.

79 The Jam – ‘The Eton Rifles’

Much like Boris Johnson I had little idea what this song was about, I thought it a song about war as I had never really listened to the lyrics closely. “The song recounts a street battle Paul Weller had read about in the newspapers concerning elements of a right-to-work march through Slough in 1978 breaking off to attack pupils from Eton who had been jeering the lunchtime marchers (hence “Hello, Hooray, an extremist scrape with the Eton Rifles”)”

78 The Stranglers – ‘Peaches’

There’s no official video for this so above is a live version. The single was a double A-side with pub rock song “Go Buddy Go” which was played on UK radio at the time and also on the band’s BBC TV Top of the Pops appearance because the sexual nature of the lyrics of “Peaches” caused the BBC to ban it. Hilarious really, but what a bass line.

77 Justin Hayward – Forever Autumn’

I was a huge fan of Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds back around ’78 or ’79 and I’m pretty sure we had a copy, possibly on cassette. This was a track from it that made the charts sung by Moody Blues front man, Justin Hayward. I think it was preceded on the album by the voice of Richard Burton, which gave it a certain gravitas.

76 Supertramp – ‘The Logical Song’

It would appear there has been some litigation as the original video is not available. Another album that we had at some point, it was probably my brothers. I do remember that I listened to it a lot and I think we had it on vinyl. It has a good set of tracks on it, the ones I best remember being the title track, ‘Breakfast In America’, ‘Goodbye Stranger’ & ‘Take The Long Way Home’.

75 10cc – ‘Good Morning Judge’

Oh how I loved this album (Deceptive Bends) and played it to death, we had the cassette version and now I have the vinyl version which I picked up at a record fair for £3.50. It’s an undervalued piece of work I think and 10cc were pretty huge at one point but sort of faded away when they were expected to be bigger than Zeppelin.

74 Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – ‘Blinded By The Light’

This is from the album ‘The Roaring Silence’ which you may recall is the one where the cover has an ear with a screaming mouth in it. I didn’t know at the time that it was written by Bruce Springsteen and thought it was their own song, which doesn’t actually matter, it’s a really good performance. It was another of my brothers albums I think but I have my own copy now, which, again, was £3.50 from a record fair.

73 XTC – ‘Making Plans For Nigel’

Nigel, what a dick, or that’s pretty much how I saw it when this single was out, also, his parents, dicks. The truth was that nobody was making pans for me and nobody seemed to want only what was best for me. Sad really.

72 The Who – ‘Who Are You’

I suppose I must have seen this on TV and heard it on the radio, I definitely didn’t own it, although I did later get ‘Face Dances’ which contains a good opening track and nothing else, I defy anybody to try and defend ‘Don’t let go the coat’. The song is one of those that always seems to have been there.

71 The Rolling Stones – ‘Fool To Cry’

This was on a tape that we had in the car and ‘Fool to cry’ was quite an appropriate truth at the time.

70 Bob Marley & The Wailers – ‘Jamming’

I completely fail to see how anybody could not love this song, and yes, it is how I like my doughnuts. It was all rather exotic at the time as I had never met anybody who wasn’t white at this point, it was another world.

69 Sparks – ‘No 1 Song In Heaven’

Now I’m pretty sure we had this in the house as a 12″ single, when it was number one. This was the first thing I ever heard by Sparks and it was very different, I think I was 12 at the time.

68 The Clash – ‘Tommy Gun’

A friend of mine had the 7″ of this and I feel reasonably sure that I somehow ended up with it at some point. What I do know is that the damn thing got played to death, and I’m still not bored of it.

67 Blondie – ‘Denis’

and on the 7th day God made Debbie Harry. Did I care that this was somebody else song? Nope. Do I care now? Nope. This was the first time I both saw and heard Blondie and I was, and still am, captivated.

66 Ram Jam – ‘Black Betty’

Didn’t everybody love this? It was only later that the guitar solo started sounding to me like the music from the Benny Hill Show during the inevitable chase sequence.

65 George Harrison – ‘My Sweet Lord’

I was 4 when this reached number 1, so I probably re-discovered it later, and when I did I played it until there was nothing left in the grooves to play. I remember being young and how some music felt rich and full and it just needed to be played time and again to keep experiencing the pure joy of it. I also remember that I thought the outro was too long.

64 Peter Gabriel – ‘Solsbury Hill’

1977, 10 years old, ‘Grab your things I’ve come to take you home’ were lyrics I found very pertinent.

63 Van Halen – ‘Runnin’ With The Devil’

Their debut album was, and still is, just brilliant. I never saw this video at the time as it wasn’t played anywhere that I had access to. All I knew was what was on the album cover, which all seemed very glamorous.

62 Gary Numan – ‘Cars’

Carefour, the first big supermarket in Britain, I was at one in Caerphilly and we bought the album there, although I think I wanted ‘Slow Train Coming’ by Bob Dylan, but this  was all very futuristic. I still listen to it today and for me, it really hasn’t aged a moment.

61 Sex Pistols – ‘Pretty Vacant’

This was in my singles collection and was played a hell of a lot. I’ll talk later about exactly what happened to my 7″ singles, but this was definitely one of my favorites, and I loved the cover as well!2654066

60 Elvis Costello – ‘Oliver’s Army’

I listened to this only this morning in an Apple playlist ‘Hits of 1979’ which also contains things like ‘Peaches & Herb’ & ‘Abba’ with ‘Chiquitita’, which highlights the wide variety of different genres that used to populate the singles charts back then.

59 The Ruts – ‘Babylons Burning’

I actually have no idea why I liked this as much as I did. I actually bought a Ruts best of CD just for this track and was somewhat disappointed when I played it (some 20 years after it was originally released) because it wasn’t as I remembered it. It’s here anyway because I know I loved it at the time.

58 Genesis – ‘Follow You Follow Me’

From the album ‘and then there were three’, which followed the departure of guitarist Steve Hackett, it was about the first proper hit that Genesis ever had and seeing them on TV was a real rarity until this point. Clearly when it came to picking a musical clan to hang my flag to, I went for the several flags option, it was a good single though, and album.

57 Squeeze – ‘Up The Junction’

Difford & Tilbrook wrote some really fabulous songs, but at the point this hit the charts it felt a little bit like a novelty single. Yes it spoke of teenage pregnancy and was hardly bubblegum, but nobody new then what the band was going to be and how good their future output would be. There was also ‘Cool For Cats’ which had a siniliar vibe, both reached number 2 in the UK charts, but probably my favourite track is coming up in a while.

56 The Police – Can’t Stand Losing You’

I had this in Blue vinyl, loved that, loved the cover and loved the song, including the B Side, ‘Dead End Job’. While many might pick ‘Reggatta de Blanc’ as their faviourite album, it will always be ‘Outlandos d’Amour’ for me, there’s only one bad song on it, which is ‘Sally’, it’s shit. I guess this is because, as I remember it, we were buying the singles before the album came out, with Roxanne, Can’t Stand Losing You and So Loneley having originally been released in 1977, the album came out in 78 and the first two singles were re-issued.
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55 David Dundas – ‘Jeans On’

I was 9, it was 1976 and I loved this and I seem to recall it was used to advertise Brutas Jeans, which possibly don’t exist as a company anymore. It is a pretty good song actually, I think I still love it. I’m sure I had a copy and it the cover was tied in with the advert, I’m going to look for it now……..I didn’t find it, but just because the internet doesn’t have it doesn’t mean it didn’t exist.

54 Elton John – ‘Rocket Man’

I didn’t really appreciate this at all initially, until my brother and his friend recorded an instrumental version of it on a Revox Reel to Reel that I thought sounded really good, so I gave the original more attention and, despite not being a huge Elton John fan, particularly his later work, I do really like this one.

53 Ian Dury & the Blockheads – ‘Reasons to be Cheerful (Part 3)’

A list of things Ian Dury liked, what could be simpler? And what a song:

“Summer, Buddy Holly, the working folly
Good golly Miss Molly and boats
Hammersmith Palais, the Bolshoi Ballet
Jump back in the alley and nanny goats
18-wheeler Scammels, Domenecker camels
All other mammals plus equal votes
Seeing Piccadilly, Fanny Smith and Willy
Being rather silly, and porridge oats
A bit of grin and bear it, a bit of come and share it
You’re welcome, we can spare it – yellow socks.”

My mate Dave had the lyrics on his wall, it’s always good to have happy things on the wall.

52 Queen – ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

Obviously this was massive, it was everywhere and it, possibly, marketdthe beginning of the music video era, or at least gave it a big leg up. It isn’t my faviourite track by Queen as I have always felt, with some justification, that they had 3 unfinished songs and just stuck them together, but it does seem to work.

51 The Stranglers – ‘No More Heroes’

The stranglers released 4 singles in 1977 and they were all brilliant, Rattus Norvegicus is a brilliant album, but this wasn’t from that,it was from the next album, it has Leon Trotsky, Lenny Bruce, William Shakespeare and Sancho Panza mentioned. which you did’t tend to get in most singles of the time, and the keyboard riff is just wonderful. This is the track that Elastica’s ‘Waking Up’ was taken to court for being overly influenced by.

50 Elvis Presley – ‘Way Down’

I do believe that had Elvis not died this track would probably have sunk without making much of an impact, maybe appearing at number 40 in the charts for a week and then it’s gone, however, it went to number 1. From my perspective it was deserved regardless of increased sales due to his passing. I had been an Elvis fan since I was a small kid, rather proud of knowing all the words to ‘Return To Sender’, even though I actually didn’t, I just thought I did.

49 The Clash – ‘London Calling’

The best this track did in the charts was number 11 back in ’79 when it was released but that really didn’t matter as that was enough to cause it to still be around today and widely considered as a classic, because it bloody well is.

48 Bob Dylan – ‘Stuck inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again’

I bought this in a newsagents as a 45″, I can’t remember what the b-side was (I just looked it up, it was called ‘Rita May’ and I don’t remember it at all). This got played a little bit at the time and it was much later that I actually started to like it. The version I bought was released in 1977.

47 Nick Lowe – ‘I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass’

I remember the ‘Live Stiffs Tour’ and I think Lowe was on it with Ian Dury and maybe Elvis Costello, so I paid attention tot his and really rather liked it. I do have the 7″ of this but not in a picture sleeve.

46 ELO – ‘Mr Blue Sky’

I could and possibly should have picked more ELO songs, but this was THE ONE, above all others that I liked. I could include any of the following, “Livin’ Thing”, “Telephone Line”, “Turn to Stone”, “Wild West Hero”, “Sweet Talkin’ Woman”, “It’s Over”, “Shine a Little Love”, “The Diary of Horace Wimp”, “Don’t Bring Me Down”, “Confusion” or “Last Train to London”, they had a lot of hits in the 70’s and I loved all of these.

45 Blondie – ‘Hanging On The Telephone’

‘I’m in the phone booth, it’s the one across the hall, If you don’t answer, I’ll just ring it off the wall’ Another Blondie hit that turned out to not be their own song, but I don’t care, I heard this version first and they sort of own it.

44 Deep Purple – ‘Smoke On The Water’

Oddly enough I don’t actually like this song that much, not any more anyway. This will be the first time I’ve listened to it in years. It was great for the long haired denim clad kid I once was, but two pf those things are no longer true so it just doesn’t fit. At the time of course, the riff was so easy to play, everybody did, including me. It made me feel like a proper guitarist.

43 The Cure – ‘A Forest’

At the same newsagent I bought the Dylan single ‘Stuck inside of mobile….” I bought this, I think they may have been ex-jukebox singles as some were in picture sleeves, some weren’t, and there was a series of singles which I think were called ‘Old Gold’, there were a few of them, so a mish mash really. When I got this home and played it I found it all rather creepy, because it was, and still is.

42 T. Rex – ‘Get It On’

I have a really vague memory of watching the Marc Bolan TV show, I’ve seen it on youtube since but I’m sure that I saw it broadcast live. I also once decorated an entire apartment on my own while listening to Marc Bolan greatest hits on cassette, it was the only cassette I had with me at the time and it took me a week to decorate, so the songs are ingrained in my brain now. I probably should have chosen 20th Century Boy.

41 The Jam – ‘Down In The Tube Station At Midnight’

This is still a favourite of mine, it is all rather British and the picture it paints is so vivid. “”Hey boy” they shout, “have you got any money?”
And I said, “I’ve a little money and a take-away curry
I’m on my way home to my wife.”

40 The Knack – ‘My Sharona’

Oh how Kurt Cobain and I loved The Knack, although Kurt probably loved them more than me as I still really only know this one song, but what a song!

39 Bee Gees – ‘Stayin’ Alive’

1977 and Saturday Night Fever was everywhere, although I really only saw clips of it in music videos as I was only 11 and wasn’t allowed in to the cinema to see it. This added some mystery to the whole thing and of course, John Travolta was the coolest cat in the world then. The follow up movie, well, he was then the least cool cat on the planet.

38 Sex Pistols – ‘Anarchy In The UK’

John Lydon is a fairly inflammatory character, as evidenced by this slice of rebellion, which, in it’s day, really was quite a revelation. It was an angry, anti-establishment rant, and though I probably didn’t understand it in full at the time, I do think it managed to, in a diluted fashion, make me distrustful of large corporations and governments in general, along with George Orwell’s ‘1984’.

37 Public Image Limited – ‘Death Disco’

I thought this was a pile of shit after seeing it performed on Top of the Pops, it was a million miles away from the debut single and absolutely not connecting in any way with what I thought of as listenable music, and then, all of a sudden, it wasn’t. I had a copy of the 7″ from somewhere, it may have been somebody else’s even and it was a wholly different listen to the TOTP performance. I loved it.

36 Squeeze – ‘Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)’

I’m not absolutely sure when I started liking this, it wasn’t immediately, but it wasn’t recently either, so at some point in the last 30 something years I started looking back on it fondly and was able to appreciate the quality of the song writing.

35 The Police – ‘Roxanne’

I was a huge fan of the Police, the first two albums at least, they lost me with Zenyatta Mondatta, specifically “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da”, but this, well this was something else. I would have been 11 or 12 when I first heard it and and loved everything about it, even the single cover, there was, at the time, just something quite captivating about the sound.

34 Dave Edmunds – ‘Girls Talk’

I don’t have a huge amount to say about this, I just liked it, along with Nick Lowe, I think they were on the same label or something.

33 The Boomtown Rats – ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’

Everybody knows this one don’t they? It was a huge number 1 of course and it had an interesting, although macabre, back story. They had a two year run of hits from 1977 to 1979 but everything after that was a bit crap I thought. I’d be surprised if many people could name any single from 1980 onwards. This though, well, it was pretty damn good.

32 Black Sabbath – ‘Paranoid’

This seemed, to me, to be the first rock/metal (or whatever) track that had any success as a single, and it was so damn heavy in comparison with everything else that was around at the time. Also, I could just about play it on guitar, so that was a plus.

31 Gerry Rafferty – ‘Baker Street’

This was special, and I still think it is. Great songwriting, instrumentation and delivery, it really deserved to be as massive as it was. It’s instantly recognisable and that saxophone, and the guitar sole, just brilliant. It was always worth waiting through the chart run down to get to this at number one. The album, ‘City to City’ is pretty good as well.

30 The Buggles – Video Killed The Radio Star’

I have a tale to tell of this song. So a mate of mine and I bumped into a guy who was a year older than us, in the park, and got talking. He told us he had a load of singles and we went over to his place to listen to some of them, the first of which was ‘Video killed the radio star’, we then listened to a few more and while doing so his younger brother came in, went to the corner of the room, dropped his trousers, took a shit on the carpet, and left the room. Nothing was said, absolutely nothing, so we made some excuse about having to be somewhere and left. Never went back.

29 Dr. Feelgood – ‘Milk & Alcohol’

Pub Rock done exactly right. I’m so glad I remembered this one. Things were confused from a genre perspective at the time, not that it really mattered, but this sort of fell in with punk somehow, at least in my mind it did.

28 Kraftwerk – ‘The Model’

It was so different both in sound and presentation, I seem to recall not knowing if they were even a group or not or whether it was all created by a computer (which were highly mystical things back then). I’m still listening to it all these years later and it still somehow feels futuristic.

27 BA Robertson – ‘Bang Bang’

Another single I had, I thought it the greatest thing ever at the time and ate up all Robertson related information from TV and magazines. He turned out to be pretty much a one hit wonder, I think there was also ‘Kool in a Kaftan’ or something like that. My interest faded quickly.

26 Joe Jackson – ‘Is she really going out with him’

Jackson didn’t really sit well in the genres of the time, it was sort of New Wave but not quite, however, he did put out some great songs and I still listen to this now and again having bought the vinyl, another £3.50 album at a record fair.

25 David Bowie – ‘Life On Mars?’

So different, so special. I hadn’t exactly forgotten about this track but it was revived for me by the TV series of the same name. It really is incredibly moving despite seemingly being complete gibberish.

24 AC/DC – ‘Highway To Hell’

It was this or ‘whole lotta Rosie’.

23 Tubeway Army – ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’

That this still sounds fresh to me even today is testament to the impact it had when it was originally released. There has been much talk about Numan appropriating this or that from various places, but nobody did this like he did this. He’s still going strong and still releasing good music.

22 Siouxsie And The Banshees – ‘Christine’

She is not playing that guitar. I was quite the fan of Siouxsie and the Banshees, and almost went for ‘The Staircase Mystery’ but this one resonated with me a bit more I think, probabaly becasue I like the line “Christine, the strawberry girl,
Christine, banana split lady” and no, I have no idea why.

21 M – ‘Pop Muzik’

This popped up the other day in a documentary about Electronic Music, apparently it was all originally written on guitar. It still pops up on Radio 6 now and again and was just a damn fine single.

20 The Specials – ‘Gangsters’

Ska, Pop, Punk, it’s all in there and they are the best band ever to come out of Coventry. I had a drink in the same bar they were in once, in Coventry, I never said hello, though I wish I had. Terry Hall wasn’t there.

19 Queen – ‘We Are the Champions / We Will Rock You’

I had a chopper bike and a little tape recorded. I would ride up and down the street with the tape player strapped tot he handlebars playing a cassette of ‘News Of The World’, which contained both of these tracks almost as one. It’s probably still my favourite Queen album.

18 Ian Dury – ‘Hit Me With Your Rythm Stick’

Genius, pure and simple. I have loved it since the first moment I heard it and was delighted when I saw him live and he didn’t turn his back on his hits. “In the deserts of Sudan/ And the gardens of Japan/ From Milan to Yucatan/ Every woman every man”, hearing those opening lyrics is still a joy, and it has a really bloody good guitar solo.

17 Donna Summer – ‘I Feel Love’

It’s Giorgio Moroder and it’s infectious. This did so much for shaping the music that was to come and is arguably the best Disco song ever created.

16 Stealers Wheel – ‘Stuck In The Middle With You’

I didn’t hear the original first, I heard a version by Denis Waterman on his 1976 album ‘Down Wind Of Angels’ that belonged to my mum. Yes, the Denis Waterman who “wrote the theme music, sang the theme music”. This caused me to find the original, which is far superior, and included Gerry Rafferty again.

15 Stevie Wonder – ‘Superstition’

I think it was the keyboard part that really got me on this, it sounds like a funky bass. I seem to remember that Wonder actually played all the instruments on this, great song, very talented bloke.

14 Pink Floyd – ‘Another Brick In The Wall Part 2’

Despite the double negative in the lyrics, “we don’t need no education”, it is a tiny bit of genius. I suspect Roger Waters knew all about the double negative and it is meant ironically. As I was at school at the time it resonated and was not at odds with the punk and new wave songs that were also around at the time. Not to me anyway.

13 Terry Jacks – ‘Seasons In The Sun’

This is just one of those that was on the radio all the time, possibly during a ridiculously long and hot summer, and I’m stuck with it in the memory bank.

12 John Lennon – ‘Imagine’

Although I think it is overrated as a song, that doesn’t mean I think it is bad, I just don’t think it is the greatest song ever written, which is a title it has claimed a few times.

11 Fleetwood Mac = Tusk

I wanted the album that this came from so badly, but it was a double, and it cost more, and I had no money whatsoever to buy it. This track made the whole thing seem very mysterious and I just wanted to hear the rest of it to find out what was going on.

10 Wings – ‘Band On The Run’

I was very into this at the time but it’s interesting now to see the celebrities that were on the album cover, many haven’t really endured and I doubt that most young folk would know who they all were. Other than the band they were James Coburn, John Conteh, Clement Freud, Kenny Lynch, Christopher Lee & Michael Parkinson.

9 Sex Pistols – ‘God Save The Queen’

Am I remembering right but didn’t this get to number 1 in the charts but was never officially acknowledged as such. Maybe there were fixing allegations. I know BBC radio wouldn’t play it. Understandable at the time really but it just made more people buy it. The cover was amazing, I definitely remember having a copy of this one.

8 The Motors – ‘Airport’

Another from when music was accessible mostly via the radio, we were at the mercy of the BBC. It was a cross over period where I started defining what I did and didn’t like and began to see that being told what is good and what isn’t was limiting, and I didn’t always agree of course.

7 Public Image Ltd – ‘Public Image’

I still think this is one of the greatest 45’s ever released, though few would probably agree with me, but I remember being in Woolworths and picking it up. It had a fake newspaper cover and, again, I really wanted to buy it, but couldn’t. I have followed P.I.L ever since and have every album on vinyl nowadays. Sometimes bands just connect with the listener, there is no explaining it really.

6 Blondie – ‘Heart Of Glass’

I care not for the ‘Sold Out’ accusations that were thrown around at the time, this is a brilliant single taken from a brilliant album and just served to deepen further my crush on Debbie Harry.

5 Lindisfarne – Run For Home

I appropriated a cassette from my Dad of Lindisfarne Live and fell asleep listening to it every night for years, so they have a special place in my memory. This wasn’t on the live album, but it is my favourite track they released as a single.

4 David Bowie – ‘Ashes to Ashes’

What the hell is this? Oh my god this is amazing, look at the visuals – were some of the things I may have said when this was out. In hindsight the video is a bit crap, but not at the time, it was all rather groundbreaking. It was an extraordinary single for a singularly extraordinary artist.

3 The Clash – ‘London Calling’

Well it’s the Clash, and it is London Calling and it had to be here somewhere. There are many many songs I’ve left out that could easily have made up another 100, but not this one, the song along with the video, well, it’s bloody iconic.

2 Plastic Bertrand – Ca Plane Pour Moi

Yeah, I know, Plastic indeed, but at the time I loved it and still do to some degree, it is catchy as hell, and no, I’ve no idea what it is about. It was this or ‘Gordon Is A Moron’ by Jilted John

1 City Boy – 5709

I have been singing this in my head for about 35 years off and on and have never been able to remember who it was by, I had to look it up for this. It isn’t number 1, these aren’t ranked. I’m not even sure if this was much of a hit but I must have heard it a lot at some point for it to stick in my brain for so long.

Here are all of them in a playlist, just in case anybody wanted to play them all at once, I can’t imagine why anybody would except me, it is the soundtrack to my childhood I guess ater all:

So what happened to all my records? I moved from Didcot to Leamington Spa when I was 16 and I gave everty single one of them away, for free. What a fucking idiot.

Top 30 Albums of 1974

This is a difficult year to put into a best of order, there’s so much and, like a lot of music, what is a favourite today might be less so tomorrow. At the time of writing this is what I think but am always open to suggestions about where things appear and any omissions. So here we go, a subjective changeable top 30 of 1974’s album releases (And yes, the year of release is debatable at times but don’t worry about it).

Oh, and at the end there are the albums considered and not included, feel free to demand that they go in, but you have to also demand that an album is removed. So let us begin with the top album, just for a change:

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1 Kraftwerk – Autobahn Not just the best album of 1974 but quite possibly the best album of the decade. You can trace genres back to this album, such as Eurotrance, dance, techno, hip-hop and house, even Disco owes a debt to the drum machine beat of Kraftwerk, their influence can be seen in much more than the aforementioned though.

Autobahn is really listenable and futuristic sounding even now, 44 years later, and I have repeatedly stated my love of repetition, which is apt, and this fits the bill very nicely thank you, with the title track clocking in at just under 23 minutes of travel, wir fahr’n fahr’n fahr’n auf der Autobahn. If you’ve heard the 7″ single then forget it, it doesn’t do the full length version justice, from the first slamming of car doors and the starting of the car Kraftwerk are taking the listener on journey, one that is too long for 45.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. “Autobahn” (“Motorway”) 22:43
Side two
No. Title Length
2. “Kometenmelodie 1” (“Comet Melody 1”) 6:26
3. “Kometenmelodie 2” (“Comet Melody 2”) 5:48
4. “Mitternacht” (“Midnight”) 3:43
5. “Morgenspaziergang” (“Morning Walk”) 4:04
Total length: 42:26

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2 Steely Dan – Pretzel Logic Well, let’s be honest, these guys have never made a bad album and this, like all the others, is jam packed with great songwriting and composition performed by an incredibly tight and precise band. Opening with Ricky Don’t Lose That Number and including Any Major Dude Will Tell You, Barrytown and With A Gun, it’s a wonderful listen from start to finish.

I’m not one to look behind I know that times must change
But over there in Barrytown they do things very strange
And though you’re not my enemy 
I like things like they used to be
And though you’d like some company 
I’m standing by myself
Go play with someone else
I can see by what you carry that you come from Barrytown
Don’t believe I’m taken in by stories I have heard 
I just read the Daily News and swear by every word 
And don’t think that I’m out of line 
For speaking out for what is mine 
I’d like to see you do just fine
But look at what you wear 
And the way you cut your hair
I can see by what you carry that you come from Barrytown
In the beginning we recall that the word was hurled 
Barrytown people got to be from another world
Leave me or I’ll be just like the others you will meet 
They won’t act as kindly if they see you on the street 
And don’t you scream or make a shout 
It’s nothing you can do about 
It was there where you came out 
It’s a special lack of grace 
I can see it in your face
I can see by what you carry that you come from Barrytown


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3 Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway I listened to this again at the weekend and if you take it track by individual track I don’t think it deserves to be at number 3 in this list, but if you take it as a whole, complete with the accompanying story and factor into that how bloody much I loved it as a kid, then I have no choice but to bung it in the top 3. It is one of rock’s more elaborate, beguiling and strangely rewarding concept albums, it has Peter Gabriel as Rael, a Puerto Rican street punk who descends into the New York underground to experience a series of surreal adventures, including, if I’ve read it right, having his bollocks cut off and stolen and put in a tune, which is stolen by a Raven. Just another day at the office then.


 

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4 Joni Mitchell – Court And Spark The sixth album from Joni Mitchell which was an immediate commercial and critical success, and is still her most successful album. it infuses her folk rock style with jazz inflections that would dominate her next release, The Hissing of Summer Lawns. It’s one of my favourite Mitchell albums, with great tracks like Help Me and Free Man in Paris being surrounded by more of Mitchells great compositions and performances.


 

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5 David Bowie – Diamond Dogs This ain’t rock ‘n’ roll, this is genocide Still in the Glam Rock period but post Ziggy Stardust this was a UK number one fuelled by the upbeat hit Rebel Rebel, but it’s actually a bloody depressing album at its heart. Tracks like We are the dead, 1984 & Big Brother are not exactly fun subjects but, even so, it makes foran interesting song collection, and it is Bowie after all. It’s also the album with the controversial album cover, the one where Bowies bottom half is a dog showing his bollocks, which was later changed.

6 Tom Waits – The Heart Of Saturday Night Recorded with jazz trio (drums, bass and tenor sax) and an orchestra here and there, this album is really solid for a second release from a relatively new artist at the time. The title track is in itself quite brilliant, and it contains some of my favourite lyrics:

Is this the crack of the pool balls, neon buzzin’?/Telephone’s ringin’, it’s your second cousin/And the barmaid is smilin’ from the corner of her eye/Magic of the melancholy tear in your eye

Added to this are Diamonds on my Windshield and a load of other great tracks and you have a great album.

7 Robert Wyatt – Rock Bottom In 1974, ‘Rock Bottom’ won the French Grand Prix Charles Cros Record of the Year Award, I’ve no idea if that is important or not but it is a fact now shared. It also has Mike Oldfield on it, for one track, which some suggest was an effort to boost sales by association, but I suggest that this is bollocks.

8 Bob Marley – Natty Dread Here is an album that could be considered a failure have barely touched the charts upon its release, but for me it is still one of their best, although I could say his best as this was the first album where it wasn’t just the Wailers but became Bob Marley & the Wailers. The opening 3 tracks are worth buying it for alone, Lively Up Yourself, No Woman, No Cry and Them Belly Full (But We Hungry) and the rest of the tracks are brilliant as well.

9 Yes  – Relayer Considered by some to be the best thing they ever did, me, I’m not so sure, but it is a fine album. It has three tracks, with side 1 being taken up by the 20 minute long ‘Gates of Delirium’ and side 2 has ‘Sound Chaser’ and ‘To Be Over’. The cover is certainly one I remember well even though I was only 7 when it the album was released, the Roger Dean covers were quite the thing for a good while with kids in art classes at school ripping them off left right and centre.

10 Stevie Wonder – Fulfilingness’ First Finale well it’s Stevie and this one is considered to be from his ‘Classic’ period. The brilliant No. 1 hit “You Haven’t Done Nothin'” launched a pointed criticism of the Nixon administration bolstered by clavinet, drum machine, and a Jackson 5 cameo. The album also won 3 Grammy’s, which is nice.

11 Gentle Giant – The Power And The Glory I have a great fondness for this album. I think one of Dave’s brothers had it and we did play it sometimes at Dave’s house. Everything about the music was all a bit odd to my ears, which were probably about 12 years old at the time, so 5 years after the album was released. I’m no Gentle Giant expert but from what I have heard, this was the pinnacle.

12 Rush – Rush It’s Rush, I grew up with them and this is their first album, certainly not their best but it was the first step for a lot of great albums that came later and it is actually very good in its own right. For some reason it does remind me of Led Zeppelin 1 though. This album was recorded before Neil Peart joined the group so who knows what would have happened if he hadn’t as he did become the main songwriter.

13 Tangerine Dream – Phaedra I’ve only been listening to Tangerine Dream for the last couple of years, perhaps because I couldn’t appreciate what they did before, but now am more open to different things. They’ve released a lot of albums over the years and many I’m not that keen on but this is a fabulous album. I used to be in a band and the Dad of the drummer had loads of Tangerine Dream albums, I discounted them out of hand, bad move by me.

14 King Crimson – Starless And Bible Black  I’ve had this for years having bought my copy some time in the eighties, several years after its release but even then it was rather odd, both of its time and wildly futuristic. A couple of the tracks were recorded live and then overdubbed in the studio with the crowd noise being filtered out, so they were, essentially live improvisations that made it to a studio album. The musicians involved were so good that this was a perfectly acceptable method for them. The title track itself is like 6 different tracks that are melded together into a whole but possibly don’t belong together at all, yet it works.

15 Funkadelic – Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On This is the sixth studio album by Funkadelic on which the lyrics generally take a backseat to the music and the jamming. It is one of the most popular Funkadelic albums among fans apparently and considered an essential album for fans of lead guitarist Eddie Hazel who co-wrote all of the album’s songs. The title track is a banger and the performance below is odd and brilliant.

16 Bob Dylan – Planet Waves It’s Dylan, so there’s going to be some good tracks on it. I would put opener A Night Like This and Forever Young as a couple of Dylan classics but for an artist who has had a few suspect albums during his career this is a solid set. Many of the songs take on darker overtones, with lyrics suggesting “death (‘Dirge’), suicide (‘Going, Going, Gone,’ a song that doesn’t toy around with the idea), and the brick wall that love collides with when possessiveness curdles into obsession (the overstated contradictions of ‘Wedding Song’).

17 Status Quo – Quo This is not quite as obvious a choice as it might have been a couple of decades ago. There was a time when Quo were less pop and more rock and roll, and the whole three chords thing hadn’t arisen. They were a bloody good band, I even went to see them at the Hammersmith Odeon and it was a great gig. This album doesn’t have recognisable singles on it but it opens with live show regular ‘Backwater’ and continues in a similar vein right through the album.

18 Ann Peebles – I Can’t Stand The Rain I love this album and have love the title track since I was eight years old. It was on the radio a lot then and it became a firm favourite of mine which has not waned at all. The album is more than just that one song though, there’s the brilliant I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down (Covered with chart success by Paul Young and a few others) and it is a really solid set of songs. It’s been on my want list for a while and I will find a copy eventually.

19 Brian Eno – Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) I do love the work of Brian Eno, including now his contributions to early Roxy Music. This is an album I’d heard but was not really that familiar with, but listening to it again I think it is very much a grower and it has recently been re-issued so I may very well get my own copy, although the ones I saw a little while back may have been deluxe editions or somesuch as they were pretty expensive.

20 Roxy Music – Country Life I had never really liked Roxy Music until a couple of years ago, on a whim, I bought a job lot of 6 albums based solely on an Old Grey Whistle Test performance that had been repeated on BBC2. I’m glad I did though as I was completely wrong about them. The album that changed my mind was For Your Pleasure, which put me in the right frame of mind for this, their next release. I think I’d first really noticed them in the 80’s which was a bit lounge pop and not at all what they had originally been.

21 Mike Oldfield – Hergest Ridge I grew up with this album which was the difficult second album after the massive success of tubular bells and and album, by his own admission, that Oldfield sort of threw together as he was having difficulty with the success that his debut album had brought him. I listened to it a hell of a lot and loved it, along with Ommadawn which I may have actually worn out it got so many plays. I liked pretty much everything up to and including the live album Exposed released in 1979 but became a little more distant from it all when the tracks became shorter and things were coming out as singles. I’ve picked copies of a few albums up in recent years though and I was probably a bit hard on it originally.

22 Stanley Clarke – Stanley Clarke One of my favourite Stanley Clarke albums, this and School Days I should think are my top two. Clarke is an amzing bass player but alos a composer and the quality of the playing on this album is right up there with the very best. A particular favourite of mine sees out side 2 of the album, the 4 part Life Suite, have a listen, it’s really very good.

23 Average White band – AWB An album that I do actually own, and a bit of a classic really. They are a Scottish funk and R&B band that had a series of soul and disco hits, mainly between 1974 and 1980. They are most likely best known for their million-selling instrumental track “Pick Up the Pieces”, and this album in particular. They have been sampled by various musicians including the Beastie Boys, TLC, The Beatnuts, Too Short, Ice Cube, Eric B. & Rakim, Nas, and A Tribe Called Quest, Christina Milian, as well as Arrested Development– making them the 15th most sampled act in history.

24 Hatfield And The North – Hatfield And The North I’d heard of them and heard a track on Radio 6 several months ago but I only recently listened to this album in full and really rather liked it, it’s prog and they are one of the Canterbury bands along with Soft Machine, Caravan, Gong and a few others, so perhaps it is an acquired taste or maybe it would have been necessary to grow up with this sort of music. In case you were wondering, the band name is taken from a road sign that used to be on the A1 out of London.

26 Eric Clapton – 461 Ocean Boulevard I’m not a big fan of Clapton, I just don’t get it at all. I appreciate that he’s a good guitarist but a lot of what I’ve listened to over the years sounds somewhat sterile to me, including one of the tracks on this album, the Bob Marley cover, I Shot The Sheriff,  play the original and then the cover and I think that explains what I mean. It’s here in this chart because we had it at home when I was a kid, it may have been mine, or maybe I borrowed it but I played it a lot and really liked it at the time and there are some really good tracks on it, just not the Marley cover.

26 Toots & The Maytals – In The Dark Probably best known for tracks such as Pressure Drop and Monkey Man, the latter of which I think I first heard when it was covered by The Specials, but they turned out great track after great track and this album is just wonderful. It includes a cover of John Denver’s Take Me Home Country Roads and it’s brilliant, as well as 54-46 was my number which is also brilliant. Another album now on my wantlist, which is an ever growing beast!

27 King Crimson – Red There isn’t much that King Crimson have released that I haven’t mostly liked, or at least there’s something on every album for me to like. This is one of the albums I don’t actually own, (I just checked, I have eight) so have never given it a good listen and I wasn’t disappointed. The album opens with the title track, which you can listen to below, and is a driving, hard rock instrumental featuring multiple time signatures including 5/8, 7/8 and 4/4. Its polyrhythmic melodies use octatonic and whole tone scales. That almost makes me sound as though I know what I am talking about (Don’t be fooled, I don’t)

28 Shuggie Otis – Inspiration Information Another album that I knew nothing about but damn, it is so good, even on the first listen and another that I just must get a copy of. Inspiration Information gained a huge cult following during the 1990s with the emergence of rare groove and acid jazz. It was lauded by such musicians as Prince and Lenny Kravitz. Due in part to this regained interest, the album was re-released on April 3, 2001, by David Byrne’s independent label Luaka Bop Records.

29 Fela Kuti & Africa 70 – Alagbon Close When putting this top 30 together I listened to loads of albums, and this was one that I’d never heard of before. I was absolutely blown away by what I was listening to and this is definitely an album that I will be looking out for in the future.  Fela Kuti was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, musician, composer, pioneer of the Afrobeat music genre, human rights activist, and political maverick. He has been called “superstar, singer, musician, Panafricanist, polygamist, mystic, legend.” During the height of his popularity, he was often hailed as one of Africa’s most “challenging and charismatic music performers.”

30 Kiss – Kiss There was a period in the early eighties where I was absolutely fascinated with Kiss. I had Alive II I think, no idea whatsoever what happened to it, and at some point I had Unmasked, it’s whereabouts are also a mystery. I don’t think I ever saw anything of them and only had the album covers to go by although I seem to recall seeing Kiss in an episode of Scooby Doo. I think I would almost certainly buy a copy of Alive II again if I saw it. I may even have a little look on Ebay or something to see if I can pick it up cheap.

And these were the ones that didn’t quite make it in, although any of them could have, on another day:

Neil Young – On The Beach
Supertramp – Crime Of The Century
Queen – Sheer Heart Attack
Queen – Queen II
Big Star – Radio City
Van Morrison – Veedon Fleece
Frank Zappa – Apostrophe
I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight – Richard & Linda Thompson
Electric Light Orchestra – Eldorado
Sparks – Kimono My House
Deep Purple – Burn
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Second Helping
Lou Reed – Rock N Roll Animal
10CC – Sheet Music
The Rolling Stones – It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll
Leonard Cohen – New Skin For The Old Ceremony
John Lennon – Walls And Bridges
Sparks – Propaganda
Deep Purple – Stormbringer
Miles Davis – Get Up With It
Cluster – Zuckerzeit
Betty Davis – They Say I’m Different
Herbie Hancock – Thrust
New York Dolls – Too Much Too Soon
Harmonium – Harmonium
The Beach Boys – Endless Summer
The Meters – Rejuvination
Can – Soon Over Babaluma
Gil Scott-Heron / Brian Jackson – Winter In America
Abba – Waterloo
Slade – Slade In Flame
Eagles – On The Border
Renaissance – Turn Of The Cards
Harmonia – Musik Von Harmonia
J. J. Cale – Okie
Jackson Browne – Late for the Sky

Spinning some 45’s

Sunday afternoons are a good time to spin a few 45’s, starting with this one:

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Tricky ft PJ Harvey – Broken Homes (B-Side)
Gary Numan – I Die You Die
The Sisters of Mercy – Temple of Love (1992)
The Dickies – Banana Splits
Talking Heads – Once In A lifetime
Depeche Mode – Just Can’t Get Enough
Blondie – Dreaming
The Tubes – White Punks On Dope
The Raconteurs – Steady As She goes
Sinead O’Connor – Jump In The River (B- Side)
The Cure – The Exploding Boy (B-Side)
David Bowie – Cracked Actor – (B-Side)
Echo & The Bunnymen – The Killing Moon
Martha & The Muffins – Echo Beach
Black Uhuru – The Great Train Robbery
Spiritualized – Soul On Fire
Bjork & David Arnold – Play Dead
Siouxsie & The Banshees – Christine
John Foxx – Underpass
Mogwai -Party In The Dark
Lena Lovich – Joan
Catatonia _ Game On
David Bowie – DJ
Killing Joke – Sanity
P.I.L. – Rise
Prince – When Doves Cry
The Smiths – The Boy With The Thorn In His Side

https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/1136278651/playlist/1MiMPfu9CXy8hQitsl7Kvv

This is why I’ve never been asked to DJ at a wedding, the dance floor would rarely be occupied, which, in a way,I’d be quite pleased about.

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OGWT – My Episode

Having watched the OldGrey Whistle Test the other night I put together my own episode of some favourite performances from lots of different eras. There’s plenty more so I may do another.

The Retro Store – Parcel 3

Finishing of this three part series which ties up with the three month subscription I purchased I present you the final three records I received ( a while ago, just catching up).

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I have this already, now I have two copies. As a reminder these were the genres I stated I was interested in:

CULT FILM SOUNDTRACKS
AMBIENT
DRONE
ELECTRONICA
HOUSE
POST-ROCK
EXPERIMENTAL
MODERN CLASSICAL

I don’t have anything much to say about the next two, other than that I have no idea why I was sent them:

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And that’s it. I received 9 records in total and they were:

Hello this is Paul Evans – Paul Evans
MCGUINNESS FLINT ‎– MCGUINNESS FLINT
DAVID BOWIE – THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD
The Psychedelic Furs – Forever Now
Eric Clapton – Slowhand
The Story Of Star Wars – Original Cast With Narration By Roscoe Lee Browne

and the three above. So that was £50. I wanted only one of them. It wasn’t worth the money.

I do think that if you have very small record collection then it is probably a good way to discover new things, but I don’t, so it isn’t.

 

The Brit Awards – meh

So the Brit awards will soon be upon us and, having had a look at the nominees I am increasingly of the opinion that it is all bollocks really. I haven’t watched it since I discovered James Corden was presenting it, let me look that up and see when it was………………. 2009, that’s longer than I thought. I did see the Bowie tribute last year on youtube though, Corden wasn’t in it.

I’ve always had issues with the Brit Awards, many of which are probably entirely unreasonable. For instance, I dislike it because it is populist.  I have long been of the opinion that just because something sells by the bucketload doesn’t mean it is actually good, often it means that it is composed of the lowest common denominator to appeal to the most people. I think that the fact that  Robbie Williams holds the record for the most Brit Awards, 13 as a solo artist and another five as part of Take That, is indicative of this. One of those is essentially a Brit awards for winning the most Brit awards, or The Outstanding Contribution to Music/BRITs Icon award. He won this in 2017, he also won it in 2010, I assume as the BRITs Icon as he hasn’t made an outstanding contribution to music, quite the opposite in my opinion. I just had a look back at some of the awards, I think this is probably my favourite, from 1993, Best British single.

Could It Be Magic
Take That
Winner
A Million Love Songs
Take That
Nominee
Stay
Shakespears Sister
Nominee
Good Night Girl
Wet Wet Wet
Nominee
It Only Takes a Minute
Take That
Nominee

All of the above are a bit crap but it seems a pretty sure thing if you are 3 of the 5 nominations. The winner was a cover version of a Barry Manilow song. All these were also eligible for the award:

The KLF featuring Tammy Wynette – Justified And Ancient
The Prodigy – Everybody In The Place (EP)
Eric Clapton – Tears In Heaven
George Michael – Toofunky
The Shamen – Boss Drum
The Shamen – LSI
Marc Almond – The Days Of Pearly Spencer
Annie Lennox – Why
Soul II Soul – Joy
Annie Lennox – Walking On Broken Glass

In the same year, Curtis Steigers was nominated for two awards. I’m not commenting on that, I’m just telling you.

I think this is the only Brit Award thing I can remember having liked:

Anyway, this years nominees, with the best of them highlighted (in my opinion), are:

British Male Solo Artist

Ed Sheeran
Liam Gallagher
Loyle Carner
Rag’n’Bone Man
Stormzy

British Female Solo Artist

Dua Lipa
Jessie Ware
Kate Tempest
Laura Marling
Paloma Faith

British Group

Gorillaz
London Grammar
Royal Blood
Wolf Alice
The xx

International Group

Arcade Fire
Foo Fighters
Haim
The Killers
LCD Soundsystem

British Breakthrough Act

Dave
Dua Lipa
J Hus
Loyle Carner
Sampha

Album of the Year

Dua Lipa – Dua Lipa
Ed Sheeran – ÷
J Hus – Common Sense
Rag’n’Bone Man – Human
Stormzy – Gang Signs & Prayer

British Single of the Year

Calvin Harris featuring Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry and Big Sean – “Feels”
Clean Bandit featuring Zara Larsson – “Symphony”
Dua Lipa – “New Rules”
Ed Sheeran – “Shape of You”
J Hus – “Did You See”
Jax Jones featuring Raye – “You Don’t Know Me”
Jonas Blue featuring William Singe – “Mama”
Liam Payne featuring Quavo – “Strip That Down”
Little Mix – “Touch”
Rag’n’Bone Man – “Human”

International Male Solo Artist

Beck
Childish Gambino
DJ Khaled
Drake
Kendrick Lamar

International Female Artist

Alicia Keys
Björk
Lorde
Pink
Taylor Swift

British Video of the Year

Anne-Marie – “Ciao Adios”
Calvin Harris featuring Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry and Big Sean – “Feels”
Clean Bandit featuring Zara Larsson – “Symphony”
Dua Lipa – “New Rules”
Ed Sheeran – “Shape of You”
Harry Styles – “Sign of the Times”
Jonas Blue featuring William Singe – “Mama”
Liam Payne featuring Quavo – “Strip That Down”
Little Mix – “Touch”
Zayn and Taylor Swift – “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever”

Overall it doesn’t look like a great year for British music, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t, just that the BRITS doesn’t look beyond what is right in front of their noses. If I may throw the following into the arena:

Slowdive – Slowdive
Four Tet – New Energy
Baxter Dury – Prince of Tears
Ghostpoet – Dark Days + Canapes
Bonobo – Migration
Tricky – Ununiform
Kelley Lee Owens – Kelley Lee Owens
Gorillaz – Humanz
Public Service Broadcasting – Every Valley
Mogwai – Every Country’s Sun
Forest Swords – Compassion
Hidden Orchestra – Dawn Chorus
Morrissey – Low in High School (Not really sure about this one but it’s eligible at least)

Anyway, these are interesting releases but, of course, don’t get a sniff. Perhaps that’s actually a good thing.

After watching the Cure video above I dId go and have a search for BRITS performances that I actually did like, there were more than I remembered to be fair.

This is with some hindsight but back in 1997 the Bee Gees did a medley, it’s quite sad to watch it now and realise there is only one guy left:

On the other hand, the Brit awards throws up crap like this:

I do remember liking this Manics performance form 1997, the album was absolutely everywhere of course, massive:

A couple of interesting Bowie performances:

There’s lots from the past that was pretty good I guess, and Madonna falling over was funny the other year of course. I won’t watch it this year either though, I’ll see the results online and they will undoubtedly make me angry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 31 Albums of 1977

This list was for a Radio Show that I never recorded. As it was 40 years since 1977 it seemed a good time to look back and see what was really the best, album wise, from that time. Now that it is 2018, 41 years doesn’t seem quite the same milestone so it is now a list instead, and like all lists of this nature it is entirely subjective, based on my own experiences, likes and dislikes. If I’ve missed something obvious do let me know though, it can always become a top 32, or 33 or 34.

31  Abba – The Album
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I don’t think that anybody can really deny that Abba were a hit making machine and, that they were damn fine songwriters and performers. They aren’t for everyone of course and, if I recall correctly, they never really made it massive in the US as they did in Europe. I’m not the biggest fan at all and I find a lot of it a bit too saccharine for my liking, on the other hand, some of it is actually very dark indeed

 

 

30 Ennio Moriccone – Excorcist ii
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A genuinely terrible fim that mamages a 20% rating at rotten tomatoes, and quite rightly. I think the majority of the budget was spent on Richard Burton and getting Morricone to do the score, which is really excellent, unlike Burton in this role, although, he will always find some redemption with his voice.

 

 

29 Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
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I can understand why some folk might think that this album should have a higher position but I think it has worn me down over the years. There are several albums to come that I would just rather listen to, in fact, I can’t remember when I last put this on the turntable and gave it a spin. It is undeniably a great album, but maybe too FM Radio friendly for my tastes nowadays, still, I’ll undoubtedly contradict that later.

 

28 Vangelis – Spiral 
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Apparently, this album is based on a dancer’s appreciation of the universe and how it spirals into infinity, a concept which came to Vangelis through his own pirouettes. That may be true but what is certain is that this is one of Vangelis’ most accessible recordings, and remains essential listening for fans of electronic music in general, in my opinion.

 

 


27 Joan Armatrading – Show Some Emotion

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I have repeatedly spoken of the quality of Armatrading’s songwriting and of her vocal delivery, she is underrated I think, or if not that, then somewhat forgotten. Her early output is great and pretty much unwanted with albums in perfect condition selling for a £1. It’s no risk, pick a few up if you see them.

 

 


26 10CC – Deceptive Bends

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We had this on cassette when it came out and it was played to death.  ‘Good Morning Judge’ is a great opener followed by the single, ‘The Things We Do For Love’. There are a couple of iffy tracks on it but I loved it as a kid and, for the most part, still do.

 

25 Motorhead – Motorhead
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I can’t claim to have known much about Motorhead back in 1977, I think my first experience was with ‘Bomber’ in 1979, but that opened the door to the two earlier albums and this, the debut, is rock solid.

 

 

 

24 Junior Mervin – Police & Thieves
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I heard the Clash first which led back to this, backed by The Upsetters , produced by Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, it’s a winner. The title track is well known of course but every track on the album is quality, if you haven’t checked it out already give it a go.

 

 

23 Elvis Costello – My Aim Is True
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This is what you get for £2,000 worth of recording sessions. VH1 named it as the 80th greatest album of all time, and Rolling Stone 168th. I think that represents good value for money. The original release did not include ‘Watching the Detectives’, it was added on subsequent pressings after it became a hit single. I’m not sure if it is better with or without to be honest.

 

22 Blondie – Plastic Letters
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The album before the one that sent them stratospheric, but the one where they first came to my attention with the cover Randy & the Rainbows Denise, re titled Denis. I loved Blondie, I was a teenage boy, so of course I did. It was Parallel Lines where I really got into the music, but this album has some real high points as they move towards the Disco-Pop-Punk that was to come.

 

21 Queen – News of the world
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I had this on cassette and I would tape my portable cassette player to the handlebars of my chopper pushbike playing it as loud as it would go as I cycled up and down the street. The neighbours must have bloody well hated me. I know the album so well and the two opening tracks, perhaps the most obvious to like, are not my favourites from it, if pushed I’d pick Sheer Heart Attack and Spread Your Wings. Best album Queen made I think.

20 ELO – Out Of The Blue
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I absolutely coveted this album in ’77. Every track that was released as a single and made the charts I taped off the radio, there were 5 I think. I never owned it back then, although I did get the next release (Discovery) from WH Smith’s in Didcot, I had to take it back twice as it was scratched in the same place both times.

 

19 Grace Jones – Portfolio
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I am of the opinion that Ms Jones is rather undervalued. Some of the albums she has released during her career are quite brilliant but I get the sense that she is better remembered by her antics than the music, although one does inform the other a little.  On this album there is a 7 minute 27 second version of the Edith Piaf track La Vie En Rose, and it is an absolute belter.

 

18 Rush – A Farewell to Kings
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I discovered this one a few years after it was released, probably in ’79 but saw them perform several of the tracks on the ‘Exit Stage left Tour’ back in the 80’s. The era of Rush is not my favourite really but, well, it’s still Rush and I do remember how big a deal they were among myself and my peers at the time, including the back panels of denim jackets having Rush artwork painted on them with airfix paint.

17 Talking Heads – 77
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I have convinced myself that I watched the Old Grey Whistle Test where Talking Heads performed Psycho Killer. I’ve seen that performance so many times since that the memory is smudged, but it is possible even though I would only have been 11, actually, 12 as it was ’78.

 

16 Yes – Going for the One
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An album we had in the house, it was my brothers but it spent some time on the downstairs turntable so I played it a lot. At the time I was mostly interested in the shorter tracks on this but over time I’ve grown to enjoy the whole thing and do still listen to it on a regular(ish) basis.  Wonderous Stories made the charts of course and at that age that was my main source of music.

15 David Bowie – Low
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Part of the Berlin trilogy of albums and considered by many to be his best album, though not by me. Probably the reason for that is that I haven’t really given it enough of a chance, which I really should do. I missed it when released and have had just a few occasional listens over the years, it’s extremely good, of course it is, and the cover is a pun, which is funny.

14 John Martyn – One World
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A masterpiece, simple as that. The album is notable for parts of it having been recorded outdoors. In particular, “Small Hours” was recorded late at night in the English countryside. The sweeping soundscapes on the album are partly due to the consequential presence of ambient sounds (such as water from a nearby lake) and natural reverb, there’s also a collaboration with Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, and Steve Winwood was on there as well.

13 Television – Marquee Moon
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Another album I totally missed at the time but I’ve played it to death since I stumbled across it. The title track itself at 9:58 is worth buying it for on its own, quite where that came from at that time from this group I don’t know but it is rightly regarded as a classic nowadays.

 

 

12 The Damned – The Damned
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What can I say? Ilike the damned, that they didn’t seemto take themselves too seriously nd that they are credited with releasing the first UK punk single in New Rose, which is on this album and is great. If  you ever want to know what pure unadulterated rock ‘n’ roll is then play them this album.

 

 

11 Peter Gabriel – 1 (Car)
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The first four Gabriel solo albums are brilliant, and this is number one of the four, not as commercial, containing experiments that perhaps don’t quite work, but when they do, they are a glorious thing to behold. It is the one with ‘Solsbury Hill‘, that’s on side 1, but I prefer the whole of side 2. ‘Here Comes The Flood‘ is probably my top track from it.

 

10 Iggy Pop – The Idiot
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I’ve grown to like Iggy more since listening to his Radio 6 show fairly regularly, but this album, co-written with David Bowie (except for one track where guitarist Carlos Alomar is also credited) is packed with quality tracks that I find myself repeatedly going back to. I’ve been streaming it asI don’t have a copy but I will be on the look out for one.

 

9 The Clash – The Clash
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The album opens with one of my favourite Clash tracks, Janie Jones and is packed with great tracks, there’s the Junior Mervin cover, Police & Thieves, White Riot, Career Opoortunities, it’s a great album and speaks to what was happening to music at the time as the mainstream was being challenged.

 

 

8 The Stranglers – Rattus Norvigicus
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I’ve had a copy of this for at least 35 years and love it as much today as I did when I first heard it. It is dark, visceral even at times and seems to have a coating of grime over every track, and that is what makes it great. Anybody whohas never listened to this album all the way through needs to go away and do so right now.  I saw them live in 1983, loved it.

 

7 Kraftwerk – Trans Europe Express
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Kraftwerk always seemed to be years ahead of everybody else and this still sounds as though it could have been released yesterday, in 2014, the LA Times called it “the most important pop album of the last 40 years.” which is high praise indeed, but it is a claim not without merit. I tried to get tickets to the recent tour but the damn things sold out in seconds.

 

6 Pink Floyd – Animals
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I understood Dark Side of the Moon but it took me a lot longer to figure out Animals, It was a concept album that provides a scathing critique of the social-political conditions of late 1970s Britain, I was 11, I couldn’t really be expected to figure that out for myself really. I read Animal Farm at school in 78 or 79 and then started to make some connections. Now I love it.

5 David Bowie – Heroes
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The second Bowie album of 1977 and the one of the two that I’ve connected with more. The album was marketed with the strap line “There’s Old Wave. There’s New Wave. And there’s David Bowie …” which pretty much summed up most of his career.

 

 

4 The Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks
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I had several of the singles back then, but not the album. My friend had it and I got to listen to that when I went round his house. To be honest, it was the perfect album for a somewhat rebellious 12 year old. It is now pretty much the same for a not so rebellious 50 year old. Every track a classic.

 

3 Steely Dan – Aja
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The peak of their album output in my opinion, everything that had gone before had been leading to this.  Fagan ands Becker were an incredible writing partnership, absolutely precise in what they were doing and able to sound like nobody else. Brilliant album.

 

 

2 Ian Dury & the Blockheads – New Boots and Panties
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I’ve written about this album extensively before. It’s an all time great and it is a very thing dividing line between what is at number 1 and this. It could have gone either way.

 

 

 

1 Bob Marley & The Wailers – Exodus
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Every home should have one. In 1999, Time magazine declared Bob Marley’s Exodus, released on June 3, 1977, the best album of the 20th Century. I’m not sure about that, but it’s down as my best of ’77 for sure. This album is on the turntable a lot, even after 40 years, it just doesn’t get old.

 

And what would yours be?

David Bowie Shelf collapse shocker!

One of the shelves holding my records collapsed, it was not a very strong shelf and it was holding rather a lot of albums, so it was not entirely unexpected, it was just a matter of time. Nothing fell out, the whole shelf just dropped and rested on the 7″ singles beneath, but it did mean I had to re-arrange everything and in doing so I was surprised by how many David Bowie singles I had. I knew I had several but this was more than I thought:

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And in list form they are:

A Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
B Because You’re Young

A Dancing In The Street (Clearmountain Mix)
B Dancing In The Street (Instrumental)

A Modern Love
B Modern Love (Live Version)

A Cat People (Putting Out Fire)
B Giorgio Moroder – Paul’s Theme (Jogging Chase)

A Fashion (Edited Version)
B Scream Like A Baby

A Ashes To Ashes
B Move On

A John, I’m Only Dancing (Again) (1975)
B John, I’m Only Dancing (1972)

A Breaking Glass
B1 Art Decade
B2 Ziggy Stardust

A Absolute Beginners
B Absolute Beginners (Dub Mix)

A Wild Is The Wind
B Golden Years

A David Bowie / Pat Metheny Group – This Is Not America
B Pat Metheny Group – This Is Not America (Instrumental)

A Beauty And The Beast
B Sense Of Doubt

A D.J.
B Repetition

A Blue Jean
B Dancing With The Big Boys

A China Girl – 4:11
B Shake It – 3:49

A Tonight
B Tumble And Twirl

A White Light/White Heat
B Cracked Actor

A Let’s Dance
B Cat People (Putting Out Fire)

Hmmmmmm, now then, what if all those lovely B-Sides were put together to form an entirely new Bowie album? Ridiculous, why would anybody do that? Why? Because I love that sort of thing that’s why.

Let’s see, some rules, if the track is both an A-side and a B-Side then choose one of the A-Sides in it’s place. If it isn’t on Spotify then it doesn’t get in and no live versions. There, enough rules, this album is going to be called:

Just add water and stir

(“I’m an instant star. Just add water and stir” – David Bowie, 1975)

Well, I reckon that’s a pretty bloody good album. Party because it makes no sense and yet, for that reason, it does.

 

The Man Who Sold The World – David Bowie

Another from the job lot and the best known track from it, the title track, I know best from the Nirvana MTV Unplugged performance. I did know it was a cover of a Bowie song though, unlike some folk who later thought Bowie was covering Nirvana.

I have a re-release so it’s a different cover, this one:

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Which makes it look more like a live album, rather than the original cover, which was this one:

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I’ve no idea why the record company decided to change it. Anyway, there were a number of things about the album that went on to shape Bowie’s future work, not least the addition of Mick Ronson on guitar but also the musical direction he chose to pursue, moving away from the psychedelic folk of his previous release, and a change in his vocal performance style.

It is a rock album, no doubt about it, and it is somewhat odd at times, almost prog, and though the title track is not that representative of the album as a whole, it is probably the stand out track with really interesting lyrics, particularly the opening lines:

We passed upon the stair
We spoke of was and when
Although I wasn’t there
He said I was his friend
Which came as a surprise
I spoke into his eyes
I thought you died alone
A long long time ago

The above is from a much later performance of course but I liked it so that’s why it is there.

Another important person who was to play a major part in Bowies career was Tony Visconti, who, on this album is listed as  – bass guitar; piano; guitar; recorder; producer; backing vocals. That’s really rather a lot but I can’t tell how heavily he did or didn’t influence the final outcome to be honest, but the album has been compared to Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath at various points due to its heaviness and its themes, such as insanity with All the Madmen, gun-toting assassins and Vietnam War in Running Gun Blues, an omniscient computer  in Saviour Machine (though the timelines may not fit it feels like it could have come from Godspell at times to me, in style if not subject matter). The Supermen seems to be about some sort of Lovecraftian Elder Gods and, The Width of a Circle is, possibly, a sexual encounter with God, the Devil or both somewhere in the depths of Hell. These align quite well with the idea that the album is heavy metal/rock at its heart, but in this instance with a poet writing the songs. 

Interestingly, when released the album peaked it number 24 in the charts (1972-73) and when re-released in 1990 it managed number 66. In 2016, after bowie passed away it was re-issued and reached its highest ever chart position of 21, death sells, that’s for sure. I can’t complain though I guess, I bought it after he died, although, in my defence, I was buying albums and singles while he was still around.

I’ve been listening to it a lot in the last week and I really do rather like it. It is almost as though he and the band aren’t trying too hard and that there is a sort of casual abandon about the whole thing. I like it, which is why I’m going to give it an 8.5 with marks dropped only because it does feel rather ‘of its time’ in places, but not throughout. It rocks for the most part.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. “The Width of a Circle” 8:05
2. “All the Madmen” 5:38
3. “Black Country Rock” 3:32
4. “After All” 3:52
Total length: 21:07
Side two
No. Title Length
5. “Running Gun Blues” 3:11
6. “Saviour Machine” 4:25
7. “She Shook Me Cold” 4:13
8. “The Man Who Sold the World” 3:55
9. “The Supermen” 3:38
Total length: 19:22 40:29

Did you known that in 1974 Lulu released The Man Who Sold The World as a single with Bowie doing the backing vocals? Well she did:

David Bowie – Diamond Dogs

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Another Bowie album from the job lot of 5 I picked up, and one I don’t really know much about. I’ve heard the title track and Rebel Rebel appears on all the greatest hits type releases, I may even remember it from when it was originally released in 1974 as I would have been 7 at that point. The good thing about this is that I get to hear brand new Bowie material to me at least, even though it is 43 years old.

I’m a big fan of the works of George Orwell and list 1984 as one of my favourite books ever written, so to find that, thematically, Diamond Dogs is part Orwell’s 1984 and part Bowie’s own vision of a post-apocalyptic world is quite a bonus. Apparently Bowie had wanted to create a theatrical production of the book but the author’s estate denied the rights. The songs that Bowie had already written after Pin Ups ended up on the second half of Diamond Dogs instead, which is the 1984 bit..

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This ain’t Rock ‘N’ Roll this is genocide 

It is a bit odd that the Ziggy Stardust character had been killed off but seems to make a bit of a return here, as though reports of his demise were greatly exaggerated. It does feel a little that, for this album, Bowie had returned to a familiar area and there is always the possibility that Diamond Dogs is not as fully formed as it might be as a result of it being the basis for an unrealised show.

The songs are good though, no doubt about that, with side two feeling more fully realised to me, although there are no tracks there that might stand up as a single, it is very much a series of album tracks, which is no bad thing. Not the jolliest of albums but still maintaining the high quality writing that Bowie always seemed to manage.

A1a Future Legend – 1:00
A1b Bewitched
A2 Diamond Dogs – 5:50
A3 Sweet Thing – 3:29
A4 Candidate 2:39
A5 Sweet Thing (Reprise) – 2:32
A6 Rebel Rebel 4:21
B1 Rock ‘N Roll With Me – 3:54
B2 We Are The Dead – 4:48
B3 1984 – 3:24
B4 Big Brother – 3:25
B5 Chant Of The Ever Circling Skeletal Family – 1:48

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Rating this album is quite difficult from as one would expect these songs to be well embedded into the Bowie history even for the casual listener, but they aren’t so I am almost certain that in weeks and months to come I will like it more and more, but for now I’m going with an 8.0.

David Bowie – Hunky Dory

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It’s quite a trip all the way back to 1971 through the Bowie back catalogue to when Hunky Dory was released, and the journey back from then to now makes it difficult to cast a critical eye over work that was an integral part of what he developed through and into. Luckily, Hunky Dory is, for the most part, a very good album, apart from a couple of tracks, which I’ll get to in a little while.

I have expressed a preference previously for his later work, partially due to familiarity, but an opportunity arose to pick up a job lot of 5 Bowie albums at a good price, so I took it and one of the 5 was Hunky Dory, an album I’d heard before but many of the tracks only ever received one listen while others are an integral part of the Bowie canon.

The album is considered as either the 3rd or 4th official album depending on who you choose to believe and followed ‘The Man Who Sold The World“. Looking at reviews from 1971 it seems to be accepted in some quarters that this is the album where Bowie found his voice and sound, in hindsight it is pointing to what was to follow with Ziggy Stardust only 6 months or so later.

Changes and Oh!You Pretty Things are quite brilliant album openers, to be followed by Eight Line Poem, which I find disposable, and then Life on Mars. Take out Eight Line Poem and put it after Life on Mars and it would probably be a nice break from brilliance.

Eight Line Poem

The tactful cactus by your window
Surveys the prairie of your room
The mobile spins to its collision
Clara puts her head between her paws
They’ve opened shops down the West side
Will all the cacti find a home
But the key to the city
Is in the sun that pins
The branches to the sky, oh, oh, oh

Kooks is a nice tune in an appropriately kooky way. Bowie wrote this song to his newborn son Duncan Jones. The song being a pastiche of early Neil Young as Bowie was listening to a Neil Young record at home on 30 May 1971 when he got the news of the the birth.

Kooks (Excerpt)

We bought a lot of things
To keep you warm and dry
And a funny old crib on which the paint won’t dry
I bought you a pair of shoes
A trumpet you can blow
And a book of rules
On what to say to people
When they pick on you
‘Cause if you stay with us you’re gonna be pretty Kookie too

Quicksand is, lyrically, in a similar vein to much of Bowie’s work around this time, influenced by Buddhism, occultism, and Friedrich Nietzsche’s concept of the Superman. The song refers to the magical society Golden Dawn and name-checks one of its most famous members, Aleister Crowley, as well as Heinrich Himmler, Winston Churchill and Juan Pujol,  apparently under the code name Garbo.

Kicking off side 2 is Fill Your Heart, a cover of a song by Biff Rose, who I’ve never heard of, so I went and looked it up and if you are of a mind to you can listen to it below:

and you can compare with the Bowie version as well:

and there was even. version by Tiny Tim:

That’s quite enough of that, although I will say I prefer the Bowie version.

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I was really surprised listening to Andy Warhol again as  think it really paints a picture of him extremely well, particularly this expert:

Andy walking, Andy tired
Andy take a little snooze
Tie him up when he’s fast asleep
Send him on a pleasant cruise
When he wake up on the sea
He sure to think of me and you
He’ll think about paint and he’ll think about glue
What a jolly boring thing to do

It just sounds like a film that Warhol would make and it creates Super 8 Black and white images in my mind of the man himself, which is difficult thing for a song to do. In complete contrast I find Song for Bob Dylan to be completely fan boy and rather cringe inducing in places, a track I could do without.

Fortunately, the album ends with a pair of great tracks, Queen Bitch is heavily influence by the Velvet Underground and is a bit Glam Rock, again suggestive of what was to come with Ziggy Stardust and a couple of months ago I heard  on Radio 6 and didn’t remember having heard it before, it was like being given a brand new, previously unreleased track. Bowie named his publishing company in the late 1970s Bewlay Bros. Music and used the name as a pseudonym for himself, Iggy Pop and Colin Thurston as producers of Pop’s 1977 album Lust for Life. Bowie admitted that the lyrics made absolutely no sense and is quoted as saying in 2008, “I wouldn’t know how to interpret the lyric of this song other than suggesting that there are layers of ghosts within it. It’s a palimpsest, then.” I spent years listening to the Cocteau Twins, loved it, and never understood a word so I don’t find that a particular problem. 

I almost forgot to mention Rick Wakeman, he play son the album, most notably on this:

 

Tracklist

A1 Changes – 3:33
A2 Oh! You Pretty Things – 3:12
A3 Eight Line Poem – 2:53
A4 Life On Mars? – 3:48
A5 Kooks -2:49
A6 Quicksand 5:03
B1 Fill Your Heart – 3:07
B2 Andy Warhol -3:53
B3 Song For Bob Dylan – 4:12
B4 Queen Bitch – 3:13
B5 The Bewlay Brothers – 5:21

I was quite sure that Oh! You Pretty Things was released as a single but when I checked it wasn’t, which, after further investigation means that I actually know it from the Peter Noone (of Hermansd Hermits) version, which Bowie apparently played piano on.

Anyway, it’s a really good early career album and I’m going with an 8.4

Here is the album, performed at various times and locations;

 

100 best Tracks of the 1970’s

I have no idea why I started this bloody list as it’s proven to be really difficult. I’m looking at mostly 45’s but have had to throw a few album tracks in there as well. Back in the 70’s I had a few 45’s, not that many though, so the majority of these I didn’t have. I heard most of them either on the radio in the kitchen, in the car or at a friends place, some I heard much later. We consumed music differently back then. Music was not as available as it is now and when a song hit it big it received lots of radio play, then that tailed off and then you’d hear it now and again, making it almost a special treat, unless you had bought the single or the album it came from of course, particularly on Top Of The Pops type albums which were compilations of the hits of the day.

Anyway, here goes, it’s my personal list so I’m sure there will be some ridiculous exclusions, but I make no apologies for that, they just hadn’t entered my life at the time or much since. Also, they are not in any particular order, they are numbered for convenience not to show preference. Let’s not forget that in the seventies I was 3 years old, and thirteen years old, and all the ages in-between.

100 Steely Dan – ‘Reelin In The Years’

I heard this on ‘The Friday Rock Show’, presented at the time by Tommy Vance, but I never heard the introduction so I had no idea who it was, and when the record was over, he never repeated it so I was left in the dark for quite a while. Some months later I found out who it was and have liked Steely Dan ever since, helped somewhat my my friend Dave, who loves them and whose brother, Pete, had several albums that we listened to in Dave’s bedroom. Bedrooms were where music was most often shared in the days before MP3’s, Before Spotify and youtube, you went to somebody’s house and they played you stuff.

99 The Pretenders – ‘Brass In Pocket’

I’d heard this on the radio several times before I ever saw them and I remember being quite confused by the whole waitress thing, but it was, and probably still is, my favourite Pretenders track, not that I’m a big fan.

98 James Brown – ‘Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine’

This was a re-issue that found the charts again in the 70’s. Who could not love it really, all that energy and he groove it finds, though I’ve no idea what prompted it to be re-released it was all over the radio.

97 Bob Marley & The Wailers – ‘No Woman, No Cry’

This was probably the first time I became consciously aware of who Bob Marley was and I remember well that the video for the song was the lyceum concert. I’d heard Marley before, I’m pretty sure of that, but it was being combined with the visuals and it being played on Top Of The Pops that really made me sit up and take notice. I think this was 1975 so I was only 8 at the time and I’m convinced it was re-released at a later date but can’t find any record of it.

96 Kate Bush – ‘Wuthering Heights’

I, like many others, thought ‘What the fuck is this?’ when I saw it on TOTP and there followed much lampooning from comedians of the day, Kenny Everett and such like, but when you listened closely it changed, from what seemed like a one off novelty song to something with more substance and it grew on you until it, and subsequent releases, became part of the musical landscape at the time.

95 Siouxsie And The Banshees – ‘Hong Kong Garden’

Now here is a single that I actually owned and which I’d owned for some time before I even realised it was about a Chinese take-away, I had thought it all rather exotic until I listened properly.

94 The Undertones – ‘Teenage Kicks’

This has become a rather important song since it’s release, helped by John Peel naming it as his faviourite song, although I think he had many and just named this one to shut people up because they were always asking him. I liked it, Feargal Sharkey was rather odd looking and it had energy.

93 Dead Kennedys – California Über Alles

I actually found this track ( and the album it came from) in the early eighties, influenced by a group of Punks I hung out with then. Punk had long passed but these guys had yet to realise it and were trying to support a whole local punk scene that was dying on its arse to be honest. They were 4 years too late at least, but they seemed happy to be part of something.

92 The Jam – ‘David Watts’

At the time I had no idea this was a Kinks cover but I thought it was a great track, and either it was the songwriting or the performances or maybe both that caught my attention. At this point I had no idea what I liked, I’d listen to anything if I thought it was good while sticking strictly to a single genre if ever questioned (this was a sort of rule back then)

91 Free – ‘Alright Now’

This single was in our house and it was played to absolute death, partly because it was good, but also because we didn’t actually have that many records so there wasn’t much choice. This was a time for me, where the possibility of playing what I wanted to listen to when I wanted to listen to it was starting to become, in a small way, a reality. We had a record player, the old sort with the built in speaker that you could stack 10 singles on and they would drop one after the other and later, we had a stereo, with a turntable, radio and a cassette player. Our next door neighbour had an 8 track in his car, which was crazy, listening to something other than radio in the car? Wow! Then we had a cassette player in the car and it really was revolutionary.

90 Madness – ‘One Step Beyond’

This was huge at my comprehensive school with loads of people getting into the whole ska revival thing, and some just liking the songs but not adopting the fashion. I seem to remember liking ‘Night Boat To Cairo’ more later but this was my first hit of Madness.

89 The Specials – ‘A Message To You Rudy’

The song that really got me interested in The Specials was ‘Too much too young’ which was a 5 track E.P consisting of ‘Too Much Too Young’, ‘Guns of Navarone’, ‘Skinhead Symphony’, ‘Longshot Kick The Bucket’, ‘Liquidator’ and ‘Skinhead Moonstomp’, it was released in 1980 though so I can’t include it, ‘A Message To You Rudy’ is a great track though so that’s OK.

88 The Kinks – ‘Lola’

I’m pretty sure that we had this 45 in the house and it got played an awful lot for the same reason as before, not having that many records. I had no idea what it was about of course.

87 Stiff Little Fingers – ‘Nobody’s Hero’

There were a load of SLF tracks that I could have thrown in here, ‘Alternative Ulster’, ‘Suspect Device’ etc but this was probably my favourite. I didn’t have a copy but a friend did and it was another track repeatedly listened to in a bedroom.

86 The Undertones – ‘My Perfect Cousin’

I feel sure I had this single, although memory is hazy. It certainly had the piss taken out of it at school, mostly by my friend Dave who liked to push his nose to the side with one finger and sing it in a terrible Feargal Sharkey expression, in fact, he still does that nowadays.

85 Buzzcocks – ‘Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)’

Vague memories of this track as I wasn’t that aware of The Buzzcocks, but I liked it.

84 Joni Mitchell – ‘Big Yellow Taxi’

Another track that we had on 45 in the house, there were actually 3 singles that I played the most, which were this, ‘Behind Closed Doors’ by Charlie Rich and return To Sender’ by Elvis. All three would go on the record player, drop one by one and then I’d put them on again, and again, and again.

83 Althea & Donna – ‘Uptown Top Ranking’

This was a rather odd track at the time, at least for me as it was a genre that I rarely came into contact with, but one has to admit, it’s catchy as hell.

82 Jean Michel Jarre – ‘Oxygene part IV’

I’ve lost count of the number of times I heard this track, it seemed to be everywhere at one point. I seem to remember it even being the theme for a Science Show. I just looked it up, apparently it was alled ‘Where There’s Life’, which I remember now.

81 Chic – ‘Le Freak’

Well it’s a classic, and remains relevant with the latest Daft Punk release drawing heavily on the sound of Nile Rodgers, well, he actually plays on the Daft Punk album so you can’t really draw more heavily than that. This would be a track that I listened to without actually admitting I liked it, but how could I not like it?

80 Blondie – ‘Picture This’

Like so many teenage boys I had a planet sized crush on Debbie Harry, but she was more than just a look, and the band as a whole weren’t just bubblegum. I’ve harped on about just how good ‘Parallel Lines’ is before and I could easily include the whole damn thing, but will, instead, just pick a few tracks, this being one of my favourites.

79 The Jam – ‘The Eton Rifles’

Much like Boris Johnson I had little idea what this song was about, I thought it a song about war as I had never really listened to the lyrics closely. “The song recounts a street battle Paul Weller had read about in the newspapers concerning elements of a right-to-work march through Slough in 1978 breaking off to attack pupils from Eton who had been jeering the lunchtime marchers (hence “Hello, Hooray, an extremist scrape with the Eton Rifles”)”

78 The Stranglers – ‘Peaches’

There’s no official video for this so above is a live version. The single was a double A-side with pub rock song “Go Buddy Go” which was played on UK radio at the time and also on the band’s BBC TV Top of the Pops appearance because the sexual nature of the lyrics of “Peaches” caused the BBC to ban it. Hilarious really, but what a bass line.

77 Justin Hayward – Forever Autumn’

I was a huge fan of Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds back around ’78 or ’79 and I’m pretty sure we had a copy, possibly on cassette. This was a track from it that made the charts sung by Moody Blues front man, Justin Hayward. I think it was preceded on the album by the voice of Richard Burton, which gave it a certain gravitas.

76 Supertramp – ‘The Logical Song’

It would appear there has been some litigation as the original video is not available. Another album that we had at some point, it was probably my brothers. I do remember that I listened to it a lot and I think we had it on vinyl. It has a good set of tracks on it, the ones I best remember being the title track, ‘Breakfast In America’, ‘Goodbye Stranger’ & ‘Take The Long Way Home’.

75 10cc – ‘Good Morning Judge’

Oh how I loved this album (Deceptive Bends) and played it to death, we had the cassette version and now I have the vinyl version which I picked up at a record fair for £3.50. It’s an undervalued piece of work I think and 10cc were pretty huge at one point but sort of faded away when they were expected to be bigger than Zeppelin.

74 Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – ‘Blinded By The Light’

This is from the album ‘The Roaring Silence’ which you may recall is the one where the cover has an ear with a screaming mouth in it. I didn’t know at the time that it was written by Bruce Springsteen and thought it was their own song, which doesn’t actually matter, it’s a really good performance. It was another of my brothers albums I think but I have my own copy now, which, again, was £3.50 from a record fair.

73 XTC – ‘Making Plans For Nigel’

Nigel, what a dick, or that’s pretty much how I saw it when this single was out, also, his parents, dicks. The truth was that nobody was making pans for me and nobody seemed to want only what was best for me. Sad really.

72 The Who – ‘Who Are You’

I suppose I must have seen this on TV and heard it on the radio, I definitely didn’t own it, although I did later get ‘Face Dances’ which contains a good opening track and nothing else, I defy anybody to try and defend ‘Don’t let go the coat’. The song is one of those that always seems to have been there.

71 The Rolling Stones – ‘Fool To Cry’

This was on a tape that we had in the car and ‘Fool to cry’ was quite an appropriate truth at the time.

70 Bob Marley & The Wailers – ‘Jamming’

I completely fail to see how anybody could not love this song, and yes, it is how I like my doughnuts. It was all rather exotic at the time as I had never met anybody who wasn’t white at this point, it was another world.

69 Sparks – ‘No 1 Song In Heaven’

Now I’m pretty sure we had this in the house as a 12″ single, when it was number one. This was the first thing I ever heard by Sparks and it was very different, I think I was 12 at the time.

68 The Clash – ‘Tommy Gun’

A friend of mine had the 7″ of this and I feel reasonably sure that I somehow ended up with it at some point. What I do know is that the damn thing got played to death, and I’m still not bored of it.

67 Blondie – ‘Denis’

and on the 7th day God made Debbie Harry. Did I care that this was somebody else song? Nope. Do I care now? Nope. This was the first time I both saw and heard Blondie and I was, and still am, captivated.

66 Ram Jam – ‘Black Betty’

Didn’t everybody love this? It was only later that the guitar solo started sounding to me like the music from the Benny Hill Show during the inevitable chase sequence.

65 George Harrison – ‘My Sweet Lord’

I was 4 when this reached number 1, so I probably re-discovered it later, and when I did I played it until there was nothing left in the grooves to play. I remember being young and how some music felt rich and full and it just needed to be played time and again to keep experiencing the pure joy of it. I also remember that I thought the outro was too long.

64 Peter Gabriel – ‘Solsbury Hill’

1977, 10 years old, ‘Grab your things I’ve come to take you home’ were lyrics I found very pertinent.

63 Van Halen – ‘Runnin’ With The Devil’

Their debut album was, and still is, just brilliant. I never saw this video at the time as it wasn’t played anywhere that I had access to. All I knew was what was on the album cover, which all seemed very glamorous.

62 Gary Numan – ‘Cars’

Carefour, the first big supermarket in Britain, I was at one in Caerphilly and we bought the album there, although I think I wanted ‘Slow Train Coming’ by Bob Dylan, but this  was all very futuristic. I still listen to it today and for me, it really hasn’t aged a moment.

61 Sex Pistols – ‘Pretty Vacant’

This was in my singles collection and was played a hell of a lot. I’ll talk later about exactly what happened to my 7″ singles, but this was definitely one of my favorites, and I loved the cover as well!2654066

60 Elvis Costello – ‘Oliver’s Army’

I listened to this only this morning in an Apple playlist ‘Hits of 1979’ which also contains things like ‘Peaches & Herb’ & ‘Abba’ with ‘Chiquitita’, which highlights the wide variety of different genres that used to populate the singles charts back then.

59 The Ruts – ‘Babylons Burning’

I actually have no idea why I liked this as much as I did. I actually bought a Ruts best of CD just for this track and was somewhat disappointed when I played it (some 20 years after it was originally released) because it wasn’t as I remembered it. It’s here anyway because I know I loved it at the time.

58 Genesis – ‘Follow You Follow Me’

From the album ‘and then there were three’, which followed the departure of guitarist Steve Hackett, it was about the first proper hit that Genesis ever had and seeing them on TV was a real rarity until this point. Clearly when it came to picking a musical clan to hang my flag to, I went for the several flags option, it was a good single though, and album.

57 Squeeze – ‘Up The Junction’

Difford & Tilbrook wrote some really fabulous songs, but at the point this hit the charts it felt a little bit like a novelty single. Yes it spoke of teenage pregnancy and was hardly bubblegum, but nobody new then what the band was going to be and how good their future output would be. There was also ‘Cool For Cats’ which had a siniliar vibe, both reached number 2 in the UK charts, but probably my favourite track is coming up in a while.

56 The Police – Can’t Stand Losing You’

I had this in Blue vinyl, loved that, loved the cover and loved the song, including the B Side, ‘Dead End Job’. While many might pick ‘Reggatta de Blanc’ as their faviourite album, it will always be ‘Outlandos d’Amour’ for me, there’s only one bad song on it, which is ‘Sally’, it’s shit. I guess this is because, as I remember it, we were buying the singles before the album came out, with Roxanne, Can’t Stand Losing You and So Loneley having originally been released in 1977, the album came out in 78 and the first two singles were re-issued.
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55 David Dundas – ‘Jeans On’

I was 9, it was 1976 and I loved this and I seem to recall it was used to advertise Brutas Jeans, which possibly don’t exist as a company anymore. It is a pretty good song actually, I think I still love it. I’m sure I had a copy and it the cover was tied in with the advert, I’m going to look for it now……..I didn’t find it, but just because the internet doesn’t have it doesn’t mean it didn’t exist.

54 Elton John – ‘Rocket Man’

I didn’t really appreciate this at all initially, until my brother and his friend recorded an instrumental version of it on a Revox Reel to Reel that I thought sounded really good, so I gave the original more attention and, despite not being a huge Elton John fan, particularly his later work, I do really like this one.

53 Ian Dury & the Blockheads – ‘Reasons to be Cheerful (Part 3)’

A list of things Ian Dury liked, what could be simpler? And what a song:

“Summer, Buddy Holly, the working folly
Good golly Miss Molly and boats
Hammersmith Palais, the Bolshoi Ballet
Jump back in the alley and nanny goats
18-wheeler Scammels, Domenecker camels
All other mammals plus equal votes
Seeing Piccadilly, Fanny Smith and Willy
Being rather silly, and porridge oats
A bit of grin and bear it, a bit of come and share it
You’re welcome, we can spare it – yellow socks.”

My mate Dave had the lyrics on his wall, it’s always good to have happy things on the wall.

52 Queen – ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

Obviously this was massive, it was everywhere and it, possibly, marketdthe beginning of the music video era, or at least gave it a big leg up. It isn’t my faviourite track by Queen as I have always felt, with some justification, that they had 3 unfinished songs and just stuck them together, but it does seem to work.

51 The Stranglers – ‘No More Heroes’

The stranglers released 4 singles in 1977 and they were all brilliant, Rattus Norvegicus is a brilliant album, but this wasn’t from that,it was from the next album, it has Leon Trotsky, Lenny Bruce, William Shakespeare and Sancho Panza mentioned. which you did’t tend to get in most singles of the time, and the keyboard riff is just wonderful. This is the track that Elastica’s ‘Waking Up’ was taken to court for being overly influenced by.

50 Elvis Presley – ‘Way Down’

I do believe that had Elvis not died this track would probably have sunk without making much of an impact, maybe appearing at number 40 in the charts for a week and then it’s gone, however, it went to number 1. From my perspective it was deserved regardless of increased sales due to his passing. I had been an Elvis fan since I was a small kid, rather proud of knowing all the words to ‘Return To Sender’, even though I actually didn’t, I just thought I did.

49 The Clash – ‘London Calling’

The best this track did in the charts was number 11 back in ’79 when it was released but that really didn’t matter as that was enough to cause it to still be around today and widely considered as a classic, because it bloody well is.

48 Bob Dylan – ‘Stuck inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again’

I bought this in a newsagents as a 45″, I can’t remember what the b-side was (I just looked it up, it was called ‘Rita May’ and I don’t remember it at all). This got played a little bit at the time and it was much later that I actually started to like it. The version I bought was released in 1977.

47 Nick Lowe – ‘I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass’

I remember the ‘Live Stiffs Tour’ and I think Lowe was on it with Ian Dury and maybe Elvis Costello, so I paid attention tot his and really rather liked it. I do have the 7″ of this but not in a picture sleeve.

46 ELO – ‘Mr Blue Sky’

I could and possibly should have picked more ELO songs, but this was THE ONE, above all others that I liked. I could include any of the following, “Livin’ Thing”, “Telephone Line”, “Turn to Stone”, “Wild West Hero”, “Sweet Talkin’ Woman”, “It’s Over”, “Shine a Little Love”, “The Diary of Horace Wimp”, “Don’t Bring Me Down”, “Confusion” or “Last Train to London”, they had a lot of hits in the 70’s and I loved all of these.

45 Blondie – ‘Hanging On The Telephone’

‘I’m in the phone booth, it’s the one across the hall, If you don’t answer, I’ll just ring it off the wall’ Another Blondie hit that turned out to not be their own song, but I don’t care, I heard this version first and they sort of own it.

44 Deep Purple – ‘Smoke On The Water’

Oddly enough I don’t actually like this song that much, not any more anyway. This will be the first time I’ve listened to it in years. It was great for the long haired denim clad kid I once was, but two pf those things are no longer true so it just doesn’t fit. At the time of course, the riff was so easy to play, everybody did, including me. It made me feel like a proper guitarist.

43 The Cure – ‘A Forest’

At the same newsagent I bought the Dylan single ‘Stuck inside of mobile….” I bought this, I think they may have been ex-jukebox singles as some were in picture sleeves, some weren’t, and there was a series of singles which I think were called ‘Old Gold’, there were a few of them, so a mish mash really. When I got this home and played it I found it all rather creepy, because it was, and still is.

42 T. Rex – ‘Get It On’

I have a really vague memory of watching the Marc Bolan TV show, I’ve seen it on youtube since but I’m sure that I saw it broadcast live. I also once decorated an entire apartment on my own while listening to Marc Bolan greatest hits on cassette, it was the only cassette I had with me at the time and it took me a week to decorate, so the songs are ingrained in my brain now. I probably should have chosen 20th Century Boy.

41 The Jam – ‘Down In The Tube Station At Midnight’

This is still a favourite of mine, it is all rather British and the picture it paints is so vivid. “”Hey boy” they shout, “have you got any money?”
And I said, “I’ve a little money and a take-away curry
I’m on my way home to my wife.”

40 The Knack – ‘My Sharona’

Oh how Kurt Cobain and I loved The Knack, although Kurt probably loved them more than me as I still really only know this one song, but what a song!

39 Bee Gees – ‘Stayin’ Alive’

1977 and Saturday Night Fever was everywhere, although I really only saw clips of it in music videos as I was only 11 and wasn’t allowed in to the cinema to see it. This added some mystery to the whole thing and of course, John Travolta was the coolest cat in the world then. The follow up movie, well, he was then the least cool cat on the planet.

38 Sex Pistols – ‘Anarchy In The UK’

John Lydon is a fairly inflammatory character, as evidenced by this slice of rebellion, which, in it’s day, really was quite a revelation. It was an angry, anti-establishment rant, and though I probably didn’t understand it in full at the time, I do think it managed to, in a diluted fashion, make me distrustful of large corporations and governments in general, along with George Orwell’s ‘1984’.

37 Public Image Limited – ‘Death Disco’

I thought this was a pile of shit after seeing it performed on Top of the Pops, it was a million miles away from the debut single and absolutely not connecting in any way with what I thought of as listenable music, and then, all of a sudden, it wasn’t. I had a copy of the 7″ from somewhere, it may have been somebody else’s even and it was a wholly different listen to the TOTP performance. I loved it.

36 Squeeze – ‘Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)’

I’m not absolutely sure when I started liking this, it wasn’t immediately, but it wasn’t recently either, so at some point in the last 30 something years I started looking back on it fondly and was able to appreciate the quality of the song writing.

35 The Police – ‘Roxanne’

I was a huge fan of the Police, the first two albums at least, they lost me with Zenyatta Mondatta, specifically “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da”, but this, well this was something else. I would have been 11 or 12 when I first heard it and and loved everything about it, even the single cover, there was, at the time, just something quite captivating about the sound.

34 Dave Edmunds – ‘Girls Talk’

I don’t have a huge amount to say about this, I just liked it, along with Nick Lowe, I think they were on the same label or something.

33 The Boomtown Rats – ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’

Everybody knows this one don’t they? It was a huge number 1 of course and it had an interesting, although macabre, back story. They had a two year run of hits from 1977 to 1979 but everything after that was a bit crap I thought. I’d be surprised if many people could name any single from 1980 onwards. This though, well, it was pretty damn good.

32 Black Sabbath – ‘Paranoid’

This seemed, to me, to be the first rock/metal (or whatever) track that had any success as a single, and it was so damn heavy in comparison with everything else that was around at the time. Also, I could just about play it on guitar, so that was a plus.

31 Gerry Rafferty – ‘Baker Street’

This was special, and I still think it is. Great songwriting, instrumentation and delivery, it really deserved to be as massive as it was. It’s instantly recognisable and that saxophone, and the guitar sole, just brilliant. It was always worth waiting through the chart run down to get to this at number one. The album, ‘City to City’ is pretty good as well.

30 The Buggles – Video Killed The Radio Star’

I have a tale to tell of this song. So a mate of mine and I bumped into a guy who was a year older than us, in the park, and got talking. He told us he had a load of singles and we went over to his place to listen to some of them, the first of which was ‘Video killed the radio star’, we then listened to a few more and while doing so his younger brother came in, went to the corner of the room, dropped his trousers, took a shit on the carpet, and left the room. Nothing was said, absolutely nothing, so we made some excuse about having to be somewhere and left. Never went back.

29 Dr. Feelgood – ‘Milk & Alcohol’

Pub Rock done exactly right. I’m so glad I remembered this one. Things were confused from a genre perspective at the time, not that it really mattered, but this sort of fell in with punk somehow, at least in my mind it did.

28 Kraftwerk – ‘The Model’

It was so different both in sound and presentation, I seem to recall not knowing if they were even a group or not or whether it was all created by a computer (which were highly mystical things back then). I’m still listening to it all these years later and it still somehow feels futuristic.

27 BA Robertson – ‘Bang Bang’

Another single I had, I thought it the greatest thing ever at the time and ate up all Robertson related information from TV and magazines. He turned out to be pretty much a one hit wonder, I think there was also ‘Kool in a Kaftan’ or something like that. My interest faded quickly.

26 Joe Jackson – ‘Is she really going out with him’

Jackson didn’t really sit well in the genres of the time, it was sort of New Wave but not quite, however, he did put out some great songs and I still listen to this now and again having bought the vinyl, another £3.50 album at a record fair.

25 David Bowie – ‘Life On Mars?’

So different, so special. I hadn’t exactly forgotten about this track but it was revived for me by the TV series of the same name. It really is incredibly moving despite seemingly being complete gibberish.

24 AC/DC – ‘Highway To Hell’

It was this or ‘whole lotta Rosie’.

23 Tubeway Army – ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’

That this still sounds fresh to me even today is testament to the impact it had when it was originally released. There has been much talk about Numan appropriating this or that from various places, but nobody did this like he did this. He’s still going strong and still releasing good music.

22 Siouxsie And The Banshees – ‘Christine’

She is not playing that guitar. I was quite the fan of Siouxsie and the Banshees, and almost went for ‘The Staircase Mystery’ but this one resonated with me a bit more I think, probabaly becasue I like the line “Christine, the strawberry girl,
Christine, banana split lady” and no, I have no idea why.

21 M – ‘Pop Muzik’

This popped up the other day in a documentary about Electronic Music, apparently it was all originally written on guitar. It still pops up on Radio 6 now and again and was just a damn fine single.

20 The Specials – ‘Gangsters’

Ska, Pop, Punk, it’s all in there and they are the best band ever to come out of Coventry. I had a drink in the same bar they were in once, in Coventry, I never said hello, though I wish I had. Terry Hall wasn’t there.

19 Queen – ‘We Are the Champions / We Will Rock You’

I had a chopper bike and a little tape recorded. I would ride up and down the street with the tape player strapped tot he handlebars playing a cassette of ‘News Of The World’, which contained both of these tracks almost as one. It’s probably still my favourite Queen album.

18 Ian Dury – ‘Hit Me With Your Rythm Stick’

Genius, pure and simple. I have loved it since the first moment I heard it and was delighted when I saw him live and he didn’t turn his back on his hits. “In the deserts of Sudan/ And the gardens of Japan/ From Milan to Yucatan/ Every woman every man”, hearing those opening lyrics is still a joy, and it has a really bloody good guitar solo.

17 Donna Summer – ‘I Feel Love’

It’s Giorgio Moroder and it’s infectious. This did so much for shaping the music that was to come and is arguably the best Disco song ever created.

16 Stealers Wheel – ‘Stuck In The Middle With You’

I didn’t hear the original first, I heard a version by Denis Waterman on his 1976 album ‘Down Wind Of Angels’ that belonged to my mum. Yes, the Denis Waterman who “wrote the theme music, sang the theme music”. This caused me to find the original, which is far superior, and included Gerry Rafferty again.

15 Stevie Wonder – ‘Superstition’

I think it was the keyboard part that really got me on this, it sounds like a funky bass. I seem to remember that Wonder actually played all the instruments on this, great song, very talented bloke.

14 Pink Floyd – ‘Another Brick In The Wall Part 2’

Despite the double negative in the lyrics, “we don’t need no education”, it is a tiny bit of genius. I suspect Roger Waters knew all about the double negative and it is meant ironically. As I was at school at the time it resonated and was not at odds with the punk and new wave songs that were also around at the time. Not to me anyway.

13 Terry Jacks – ‘Seasons In The Sun’

This is just one of those that was on the radio all the time, possibly during a ridiculously long and hot summer, and I’m stuck with it in the memory bank.

12 John Lennon – ‘Imagine’

Although I think it is overrated as a song, that doesn’t mean I think it is bad, I just don’t think it is the greatest song ever written, which is a title it has claimed a few times.

11 Fleetwood Mac = Tusk

I wanted the album that this came from so badly, but it was a double, and it cost more, and I had no money whatsoever to buy it. This track made the whole thing seem very mysterious and I just wanted to hear the rest of it to find out what was going on.

10 Wings – ‘Band On The Run’

I was very into this at the time but it’s interesting now to see the celebrities that were on the album cover, many haven’t really endured and I doubt that most young folk would know who they all were. Other than the band they were James Coburn, John Conteh, Clement Freud, Kenny Lynch, Christopher Lee & Michael Parkinson.

9 Sex Pistols – ‘God Save The Queen’

Am I remembering right but didn’t this get to number 1 in the charts but was never officially acknowledged as such. Maybe there were fixing allegations. I know BBC radio wouldn’t play it. Understandable at the time really but it just made more people buy it. The cover was amazing, I definitely remember having a copy of this one.

8 The Motors – ‘Airport’

Another from when music was accessible mostly via the radio, we were at the mercy of the BBC. It was a cross over period where I started defining what I did and didn’t like and began to see that being told what is good and what isn’t was limiting, and I didn’t always agree of course.

7 Public Image Ltd – ‘Public Image’

I still think this is one of the greatest 45’s ever released, though few would probably agree with me, but I remember being in Woolworths and picking it up. It had a fake newspaper cover and, again, I really wanted to buy it, but couldn’t. I have followed P.I.L ever since and have every album on vinyl nowadays. Sometimes bands just connect with the listener, there is no explaining it really.

6 Blondie – ‘Heart Of Glass’

I care not for the ‘Sold Out’ accusations that were thrown around at the time, this is a brilliant single taken from a brilliant album and just served to deepen further my crush on Debbie Harry.

5 Lindisfarne – Run For Home

I appropriated a cassette from my Dad of Lindisfarne Live and fell asleep listening to it every night for years, so they have a special place in my memory. This wasn’t on the live album, but it is my favourite track they released as a single.

4 David Bowie – ‘Ashes to Ashes’

What the hell is this? Oh my god this is amazing, look at the visuals – were some of the things I may have said when this was out. In hindsight the video is a bit crap, but not at the time, it was all rather groundbreaking. It was an extraordinary single for a singularly extraordinary artist.

3 The Clash – ‘London Calling’

Well it’s the Clash, and it is London Calling and it had to be here somewhere. There are many many songs I’ve left out that could easily have made up another 100, but not this one, the song along with the video, well, it’s bloody iconic.

2 Plastic Bertrand – Ca Plane Pour Moi

Yeah, I know, Plastic indeed, but at the time I loved it and still do to some degree, it is catchy as hell, and no, I’ve no idea what it is about. It was this or ‘Gordon Is A Moron’ by Jilted John

1 City Boy – 5709

I have been singing this in my head for about 35 years off and on and have never been able to remember who it was by, I had to look it up for this. It isn’t number 1, these aren’t ranked. I’m not even sure if this was much of a hit but I must have heard it a lot at some point for it to stick in my brain for so long.

Here are all of them in a playlist, just in case anybody wanted to play them all at once, I can’t imagine why anybody would except me, it is the soundtrack to my childhood I guess ater all:

So what happened to all my records? I moved from Didcot to Leamington Spa when I was 16 and I gave everty single one of them away, for free. What a fucking idiot.

Albums Of The Year – 2016

I really never do this sort of thing, at least not that I remember, but I thought I would for once. The list is only based on what I’ve heard so there are quite probably some amazing albums out there but as I haven’t listened to them I can’t include them. I’d be quite happy to be pointed towards anything that is a ‘Must Listen’ from this year though. Oh, and there may be some debate around which year some of these were actually released, but they are near enough.

I really can’t rank them so they are alphabetical by artist.

1
Arca – Mutant
Writing for Exclaim!, Daryl Keating said Mutant“is an album that is eventually rewarding, but only to those who are determined to follow its scattered pathway to the satisfying, aggregate end.”

beone.jpg
Be – One
ONE is the soundtrack to artist Wolfgang Buttress’ multiple award winning UK Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo – an installation that highlighted the plight of the honeybee, focusing on the importance of pollination. The music on the record is a constantly changing and evolving symphony – the sound of a dialogue between bee and human.

2
Björk ‎– Vulnicura Live
A live version of Björk’s highly-acclaimed, Grammy nominated, eighth studio album, ‘Vulnicura‘. I was unsure of it at first, but grew to love it, the original, and the Strings version.

3
Carl Matthews – Mirage – Tape – Years
Sent to me as part of my subscription to ‘That Special Record’, information was sparse, to the point that I had to create the Discogs entry for it myself. As I wrote after first listening to it : I played the album as soon as I arrived home with it, and my expectations were entirely wrong, it is absolutely brilliant and having listened twice now I cannot fathom why this isn’t massive, I like it that much. Imagine for a moment that Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream were asked to get together and produce a soundtrack to a movie of a Philip K. Dick novel whose main theme is how our increasing reliance on technology is eroding our humanity. That, to me, is this album. It has the sweeping vistas of Tangerine Dream but also the intricacies of Kraftwerk and the repetitiveness of both (Note to reader: I love repetitiveness).

4
David Bowie ‎– ★ (Blackstar)
My first press vinyl copy is mint, still in the wrapper, I can’t bring myself to open it, though I have listened to it on other formats a lot this year. Losing Bowie was a shock, but the songs on this album somehow help to deal with that loss. I have found myself liking his later work much more than the earlier albums perhaps because they are not as familiar, but since ‘Earthling’ I really loved what he was doing.

5
De LA Soul – And The Anonymous Nobody
I had the chance to see them, I did, at the Assembly in Leamington Spa, a small venue, but I couldn’t go on that day, then this came out and by god I regret not going. In my head it was going to be all ‘Me, Myself & I’ but this is another thing altogether. Why it isn’t appearing in everybodys 2016 list is a mystery to me.

6
Eluvium – False Readings On
A worj of stunning beauty. Do you ever not play albums too much because you don’t want to get so familiar with it that it stops making you feel the way you did when you first heard it? I do, with this album. I’ve heard it a dozen times since I bought it but could easily have listened to it much more than that, but I ration it, because it makes me e

7
Explosions In The Sky ‎– The Wilderness
‘The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place’ is one of my faviourite albums, and I’ve liked almost all the output of Explosions In The Sky, which makes me somewhat biased as I know this album did not get rave reviews from all quarters, though it duid get an 80 at Metacritic, which is pretty good. I have the Deluxe edition, red vinyl, transparent vinyl with one side etched, fold out cover and poster, it’s a lovely thing and the music is brilliant.

8
FP-Oner – 6
Another from ‘That Special Record’, one that I really wasn’t sure about at first but over time I have certainly grown to love it and not that much time either. I often wonder how profesional critics can make a judgement so quickly on some records, as there are many that a couple of plays is not enough to make an accurate judgement. In case you are wondering the genre is Deep House, though I don’t really know what that is.

910
Future Sound Of London – Environments Six & 6.5
Technically two albums, but released at the same time and I have the rest of the series that are availablae on vinyl (annoyingly, one of them isn’t). I have loved FSOL since Elizabeth Frasier sanf on the Lifeforms 12″, they create music that always interests me in some way. It’s full of textures and odditiues and it just somehow works, it so often fits right in with what I want to listen to.

11
Ian William Craig – Centres
Pitchfork said: Ian William Craig’s Centres is a swirling and alchemical blend of drone, keyboards, and manipulated vocals. The more time you spend with it, the further you will want to get lost in it. – I agree

13
Ital Tek — Hollowed
There’s a cohesiveness here hard to miss, an emotionally-charged aura and elegantly precise feel that runs from Hollowed’s surging opening notes to its final, poignant fade. –  Somebody else wrote that, but I agree. I’ve only recently been listening to this but even so, its good enough to go straight into my albums of the year.

55
Jherek Bischoff ‎– Cistern
This is Neo-Classical, again, no idea exactly what that means but I saw it in store and picked it up without having heard a single note. Well, limited edition of 500 on Gold Vinyl with a die cut inner sleeve is quite the bait for me. I looked it up – Neoclassicism in music was a twentieth-century trend, particularly current in the period between the two World Wars, in which composers sought to return to aesthetic precepts associated with the broadly defined concept of “classicism”, namely order, balance, clarity, economy, and emotional restraint.  I don’t think it matters to be honest, I like it, that’s what matters.

1415
Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein ‎– Stranger Things – Volume One & Two
I don’t think I’ve made any secret of my love for ‘Stranger Things’ and it was an easy step to move from watching the TV series to picking up the soundtracks, which are so evocative of the time the show is set, recalling Tangerine Dream in particular but alos John Carpenter and others.

16
Mark Pritchard – Under the Sun
I don’t have this album on vinyl, I do have the 12″ that Thom Yorke sings on though and I’ve streamed this album a lot. The music is  deeply atmospheric and richly impressionistic. It includes vocal performances from the aforementioned Thom Yorke as well as Linda Perhacs, Bibio,

17
Mogwai ‎– Atomic
This is technically a soundtrack, made up of reworked music from contributions to the BBC 4 documentary Storyville – Atomic: Living in Dread and Promise, which was a chronological history of nuclear disaster from Hiroshima onward. it is music of life and death, hope and fear, war and peace, atomic and organic. Stand out track for me is the opener, Ether, but I do love Mogwai and there’s little of theirs, if anything, that I dislike.

20
Nicolas Jaar – Sirens
Housed in a ridiculous scratch card cover, complete with 5 cent piece, this is the seond of Jaars albums I’ve really liked (The other being ‘Space Is Only Noise’). I say ridiculous only becasue it is almost guaranteed to be ruined, which is how I look t it, just by the coin moving about inside the plastic sleeve, perhaps that’s the point.The music is electronic, both odd and familiar at the same time, and has a political message running through it.

21
Poliça ‎– United Crushers
This is not considered to be their best effort by many reviewers, and it is overtly political, but I liked it a lot. It has tunes, catchy ones despite the sometimes awkward/difficult subject matter, and plenty of hooks. Sometimes I just want to listen to songs and this gives me that.

23
Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
It’s Radiohead, it’s brilliant, I love it.

25
Roger Goula – Overview Effect
The ‘overview effect\ of the album title is a cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from orbit or from the lunar surface, referring to the experience of seeing the reality of the Earth in space. There before them is this tiny planet, filled with life that is only protected by a fragile and thin atmosphere. When viewed from space there are no national boundaries, no politics, no conflicts, there is just this “pale blue dot” that gives us life and we must do everything we can to protect it. This album is a beautiful creation.

29
Saåad ‎– Verdaillon
Another from ‘That Special Record’, upon listening to this I wrote the following: through my own imagination or by design, I am transported to catacombs, to a room in the back of a church where there is water being scooped from a font, to the end of a service where a full house lays their bibles down on the pews in unison. Workmen repair something broken in an out of the way apse, monks, hoods up with faces hidden in shadow chant as an old but magnificent church organ sustains long chord changes. And then there is the ambience. It sounds almost ridiculous to me as I write it but much of this music is constructed around a church organ, an instrument I never thought would dominate any album I would ever own, but the sound of it, in it’s original setting with giant reverberations make it a powerful, dark, brooding thing at times, but at others it invokes all those memories of church services attended as a boy where everything was so very serious, and mysterious, to the child dressed up in his Sunday best and not knowing what was going on, only that it must be very important. At other times the organ is uplifting, spiritual even, bringing light to the dull lives of the listening congregation.

30
SKEPTA – Konnichiwa
An album that takes no prisoners. In his own words: “They tried to steal my vision/This ain’t a culture/This is my religion”. ‘Shutdown’ is brilliant, in fact the whole thing is. I don’t know much abut grime, but I know when I hear something exceptional.

31
Swans ‎– The Glowing Man
This is supposed to be the final album for this iteration of Swans and it is both delicate and diamond hard in equal measure. Swans have in their time drawn from no wave, art-rock, industrial, sludge, drone, folk, and many more while disregarding genre boundaries. It’s a glorious piece of work spread over six sides of vinyl.

33
Tricky Featuring Dj Milo* & Luke Harris ‎– Skilled Mechanics
Here we are with Tricky, who I find it difficult to be objective about having pretty much been into everything he’s ever released, even those albums that were somewhat panned by critics, like Vulnerable which includes covers of The Cure’s “Love Cats” and XTC’s “Dear God.” Both of which I liked. Everything he does is always compared to Maxinquaye, which really was a masterpiece, but we have to look beyond that and this is an album of great tracks.
40
Xiu Xiu ‎– Plays The Music Of Twin Peaks
The 
Angelo Badalamenti score for Twin Peaks is pretty much perfect and this years re-release in damned fine coffee coloured vinyl was a wonderful thing, so this album that covers the whole score by Californian band Xiu Xiu had a lot to live up to, and it does a great job, It’s a different perspective and already well known pieces that, while not exactly breathing new life into the music, offers a different perspective on it. It was released for Record Store Day, and then re-released afterwards, presumably because it sold well. 


Thee majority of albums that appear in all the Best Of 2016 lists that are popping up all over the place about now aren’t here. Metacritic collects most of these lists and combines them into one big list, this is what they have:

Rank Points/Album / Artist
1 87 Blackstar by David Bowie
2 92 Lemonade by Beyoncé
3 87 Blonde by Frank Ocean
4 89 A Seat at the Table by Solange
5 88 A Moon Shaped Pool by Radiohead
6 90 Coloring Book by Chance the Rapper
7 95 Skeleton Tree by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
8 75 The Life of Pablo by Kanye West
9 89 We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service by A Tribe Called Quest
10 87 My Woman by Angel Olsen
11 87 22, A Million by Bon Iver
85 Malibu by Anderson .Paak
13 83 Hopelessness by Anohni
86 Teens of Denial by Car Seat Headrest
15 92 You Want It Darker by Leonard Cohen
16 87 Puberty 2 by Mitski
17 73 Anti by Rihanna
79 Post Pop Depression by Iggy Pop
19 75 I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It by The 1975
20 73 Hardwired… To Self-Destruct by Metallica
Hero by Maren Morris

I only have two from the above list, wich i see as a good thing actually. Of those there I’ve listened to ‘Puberty 2’ by Mitsky, didn’t like it much, “We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service” by A Tribe Called Quest which I did like but I haven’t listened to it enough, and that’s it. Over the chrismas period I’ll try and listen to the others to see what, if anything, all the fuss is about.

Bring Back The Old Grey Whistle Test

I miss OGWT, there is nothing like it on TV today, in fact, music in general is sadly under represented on TV nowadays. BBC Four and Sky Arts have the odd programme that is worth a watch but so much is a load of talking heads being nostalgic interspersed with too short clips. MTV should re-brand itself, Music Television it is not.

OGWT was the album version of Top of the Pops. The 45’s appeared on TOTP but it was 33 1/3 on OGWT and much the better for it. The first time I ever saw the show was in the Seventies, when presented by ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris, who it is fair to say, had difficulties with the punk scene around 1977 as it developed on independent label 45’s on bob_1943392cnot on the major labels, and not albums. He left in 1978, or was more likely moved on, to be replaced by Annie Nightingale, who I thought did a marvellous job of presenting the show. Not so her replacements though. From 1982 the show was presented variously by  Andy Kershaw, David Hepworth, Mark Ellen and Richard Skinner but I never really took to them. Not that there was anything I could put my finger on about them exactly, I think it was more to do with it being different from what I had first seen and I never really got used to it.

There were some amazing performances on this show, the sort of thing you couldn’t really see anywhere else at the time. I put the following forward as an example (and don’t forget, there were only 3 TV channels available in 1973):

Where else could you see this? I would suggest nowhere. I had a look at a 1973 top 30 chart run down, 29 white acts and the Detroit Spinners at number 10 (Gary glitter was number 1, oh dear) and not just that, the style of music wasn’t really represented either, along with others. Here’s the chart run down which you can see for yourself if you like:

Although unless you are already immune to the cheesiness of Tony Blackburn it might be better not to watch it.

There is a huge amount of music out there currently which is massively under represented. I know we have youtube and other places to view things now, but I have always liked a show, properly structured, along the lines of ..Later With Jools Holland but including some documentary and on location films. The OGWT could really fill that gap.

Here are some performances from the show that I’ve liked, not all of them, there are loads, just some:

There’s a list of who was on which show here if you are interested:

http://www.edensongs.com/recordings/setlists_3/OGWT_AllInfo.txt

#bringbackOGWT

What’s In The Bag? (104)

David Bowie – The Next Day

thenextdayIt’s quite odd now to listen to this album again knowing that there is every possibility that Bowie didn’t know at the point of its release in 2013 that he was terminally ill, or perhaps at this point he wasn’t. Although only 3 years apart (and it had been 10 years since his previous release, “Reality”) the differences between this and ‘Blackstar’ are obvious. There is a darkness that permeates everything on “Blackstar”, and this is not hindsight as I’d been listening to the album for the few days before Bowie’s death was announced and there was a feeling that the songs drained much of the light from around the listener and took them to a place where the shadows were weighed down and the light was struggling to get through. It’s difficult to describe, and yes, there has to be an element of hindsight I suppose but that feeling was definitely there, even if I couldn’t quite identify what it was.

‘The Next Day’ was announced on Bowie’s sixty-sixth birthday, 8 January 2013. Bowie’s website was updated with the video for the lead single, “Where Are We Now?”, and the single was immediately made available for purchase on the iTunes Store. There was much talk at the time around the sudden nature of the release but this was all very successfully managed by a PR company, guided by Bowie, who as in much of his career, wanted to do something different. It was rather counter-intuitive as an exercise but it worked spectacularly.

The recording of the album was kept secret, which must have been difficult even when b9886365only using a skeleton crew in the studio, and was overseen by regular producer Tony Visconti. During breaks from the studio, Visconti would walk the streets of New York listening to music from “The Next Day” on his earphones: “I was walking around New York with my headphones on, looking at all the people with Bowie T-shirts on—they are ubiquitous here—thinking, ‘Boy, if you only knew what I’m listening to at the moment.”

My vinyl edition has a few extra tracks that are not on the original CD release, “So She”, “Plan” and “I’ll Take You There”. I haven’t actually played the vinyl copy yet, it only arrived yesterday so I can’t really tell you anything about these tracks but let’s assume they are good!

The cover is, of course, the ‘Heroes’ cover with a white square on it, and there were other images also with white squares on used for the promotion of the album. The cover was designed by Jonathan Barnbrook who explained the cover, saying: “If you are going to subvert an album by David Bowie there are many to choose from but this is one of his most revered, it had to be an image that would really jar if it were subverted in some way and we thought “Heroes” worked best on all counts.”

The obscuring of the photograph connotes “forgetting or obliterating the past”, however, lead single “Where Are We Now” is all about the past, relating as it does to Berlin, where Bowie wrote and recorded his trio of ‘Low’, ‘Heroes’ and ‘Lodger’. The man loves being contradictory.

Having streamed the ‘Basic’ version of the album several times now I find that the absolute stand out track is “Where Are We Now.” It is, simply, one of the best songs he’s written. This, of course, does mean that judging the rest of the album based on a career high is difficult, but it’s a very good album as a whole, trailing off a little at the end perhaps, but in these modern times of albums with a couple of minor singles and generic filler, it’s fair to say that quality control is high, and the first 6 tracks are wonderful, the rest very good. I do reserve the right to revise this opinion as sometimes I do a complete U-Turn after repeated listening.

At the weekend I will remove the plastic covering and get the discs on the turntable so that I can have a proper listen. Streaming into ear buds is not the best way to listen to anything.

9/10

Bowie

Everybody should be able to remember what the very first album they bought with their own money was, I do, it was ‘Lodger’ by David Bowie. Up until that time we had family records or ones that were my Brother’s but that I got to listen to, either in the same room or through the wall of my bedroom. ‘Lodger’ was my own, to keep in my room and to play whenever I wanted, which was quite often as it was the only one I had. If you are wondering which album it is, it has ‘Boys Keep Swinging’ and ‘DJ’ on it although I think ‘Fantastic Voyage’ may have been my favourite track from it.

Yesterday I was in the record shop in town holding a vinyl copy of ‘Blackstar’ and trying to decide if I actually had £22 that I could spare to buy it. I had my sensible head on and decided against, it would have to wait until pay day. I met up with my wife and we went for a coffee where she asked me if I’d bought anything and I rather proudly declared how sensible I’d been in not buying the album. We then talked about how good he looked for his age and google imaged recent Bowie pictures on our phones.

Then there was this morning’s news, which saddened me deeply. I had envisaged a whole series of albums over the next 10 or so years, which sit in, what for me, is my favourite period if his, from 1999’s ‘Hours…’ up to today.  Perhaps there is more to come, it seems clear that he felt he had more to do and I hope very much that there are a couple more properly completed albums just waiting to be released. I feel that is just the sort of thing he would do.

After lunch today I received a call from my wife, let’s call her Pip, because that’s her name. She had called the record shop as soon as it opened and had a vinyl copy of ‘Blackstar’ put behind the counter, which she picked up at lunchtime for me. They had 6 copies and the other 5 had sold before she got there. Today’s sad is therefore tempered to a degree by this little joy.

So, at this point, my first and last albums bought were both by Bowie. Which, I think, as a tribute, speaks for itself.

Thanks David.

David_Bowie-06

Albums to look out for in 2016

What is there to look forward to on the album release front in 2016? Well, there will be loads, but these are the ones I’m most interested in, should they actually happen.

David Bowie – Black Star

david-bowie-blackstar-album-cover-art-500x500This is only a couple of days away, 8th January, and I’m hoping that it is amazing. I’m a fan of later period Bowie, ‘Heathen’ in particular, which was released 14 years ago! But ‘Reality’ is also good. I did wonder if there was to be anything else, then ‘The Next Day’ appeared in 2013. Which, overall was good, with “Where Are We Now?” being the stand out track for me.

‘Blackstar’ has already received favourable pre-release reviews with a score of 84 at Metacritic. I like both the ‘Blackstar’ Single and ‘Lazarus’, which are, sonically, adjacent to ‘The Next Day’. Here is the track listing:

1.”Blackstar”
2.”‘Tis a Pity She Was a Whore”
3.”Lazarus”
4.”Sue (Or in a Season of Crime)”
5.”Girl Loves Me”
6.”Dollar Days”
7.”I Can’t Give Everything Away”

PJ Harvey – As Yet Untitled

ef70caeb-987f-464f-b5c2-c22fe12a6909PJ Harvey recently wrote and recorded a new album at Somerset House in London in front of members of the public who were able to watch Harvey during 45-minute intervals as she and her band recorded. Harvey has claimed that she thinks the experiment will “help tap into a different level of consciousness”.

I loved the last two albums and don’t mind at all that from one album to the next you don’t know what you’re going to get, that’s part of her appeal I think.

Possible Track Names (Written on a blackboard at Somerset House)

‘River Anacostia’
‘Homo Sappy Blues’
‘Medicinals’
‘Imagine This’
‘Chain Of Keys’
‘The Ministry Of Defence’
‘Near The Memorials To Vietnam & Lincoln’
‘The Boy’
‘A Dog Called Money’
‘A Line In The Sand’
‘The Ministry Of Social Affairs’
‘Dollar Dollar’
‘The Age Of The Dollar’
‘I’ll Be Waiting’
‘The Community Of Hope’
‘The Orange Monkey’
‘The Wheel’
‘Guilty’

Radiohead – As Yet Untitled

screen-shot-2015-02-04-at-3-23-33-pmRadiohead spent the month of September holed up in the studio working on their ninth studio album. It appears the sessions were a success, as guitarist Jonny Greenwood has told a Russian radio station that the band has all but finished the record.

“We have finished recording of the new album but we keep reevaluating the work we’ve done,” Greenwood told Russia’s Silver Radio (via Reddit). “We hope we’ll get it right soon, and after that we’ll start planning the next year’s tour.”

The above is not quite true, Greenwood has clarified his comments on Twitter. He said lots of material has been recorded and “the band is about to go through it all to see if it’s any good.” Additionally, he said the band hopes to tour, but no plans have been confirmed.

I’d love a new Radiohead album but am happy to wait if it means getting the absolute best they can do than otherwise, just to fulfil a contractual obligation or other pressures to put something out.

M.I.A. -Matahdatah

miaI don’t know much about this other than it is apparently being released this year and it’s called ‘Matahdatah’ but I’ve been a big fan of M.I.A since her first release and have really liked almost everything she’s ever put out. I thought it great that she got more press than Madonna for the Super bowl half-time show.

Bonobo – As Yet Untitled

bonoboA new release, the follow up to The North Borders, should be out on Ninja Tunes this year. I do hope so as I have a couple on vinyl and play them rather more often than I thought I would.

The other I play quite a lot is the 2000 release of ‘Animal Magic’, which may be 16 years old now, but it still sounds current to me and I’d recommend it to just about anybody.

Primal ScreamChaosmosis

tab_widthThis should happen in March as it’s been created using Pledge Music. I think I will sign up for a vinyl copy after pay day. I’ve been on the lookout for a vinyl ‘Screamadelica’, but the re-issue, when I’ve come across it, is £25 which just seems a bit on the pricey side to me.

It doesn’t come up that often on ebay, not at a reasonable price anyway, it’s quite often more expensive than just buying a brand new copy, especially when you factor in postage and packaging.

Gary Numan – As Yet Untitled

card_avatarAnother Pledge music campaign, but I’ve already signed up for this one and have been following progress with the included Access Pass. This includes posts from Numan, videos of songs as they are being written/recorded, photographs and suchlike. So far so good and if it is finished by the end of the year then another Numan vinyl to add to the many I already have.

Is there anything else on the horizon that I should be looking out for?

Now That’s What I Call Music Minus 17

This is an addition to the other load of these I’ve done. The premise was:

‘Now! that’s what I call Music’ is not really my thing, however, I started making up my own, going backwards from the first Now! released in 1983 and have been rather enjoying it. Full of guilty pleasures? sure. Showing my age? sure. worth sharing? Yeah, I think so, the first is numbered 0 and they will go -1, -2 etc. as we move further and further back from 1983, I ended up somewhere in the 1970’s but might keep on going a bit longer.

I’m actually in 1977, the next one, when/if I get to it will be the end of 76 into early 77.

They are all HERE

MIX TAPE: VOLUME 1 – SIDE 2 – TRACK 12

Side 2, Track 12:

Total Run Time: 50:00

catpeople

David Bowie/Giorgio Moroder: Cat People: 6 Minutes 39 Seconds: 1980

There are a lot of Bowie singles that I could have chosen but this one has always resonated with me for some reason. It may well not be the best choice, actually, it probably isn’t, but I’ve chosen it now and that’s that.

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What’s in the bag? (75)

I was in town today not looking for records, nor intending to look, but as I was passing the david-bowie-lets-dancerecord shop I thought I’d just nip in, and I found ‘Let’s Dance’ by David Bowie for £4, which is about right as it isn’t exactly rare, but I didn’t have it, now I do. I did have a copy when it was originally released back in 1983 but have no idea what happened to it. At some point, when I put all my records away, I must have misplaced it, along with several others. They may turn up some day.

It’s an odd one as an album. I know that Bowie sat down with Nile Rodgers and wanted hits, which there were of course and it was, in many ways, another comeback for Bowie in a career full of them. It had been 3 year since the release of Scary Monsters and Let’s Dance was quite a departure, but my favourite track has always been ‘Cat People’, which doesn’t really seem to fit on the album, and may well have been included only due it appearing on the soundtrack to the film. The album is Bowie’s biggest selling to date, with around 7 million copies sold, which, to be honest, doesn’t seem that many as it felt like everybody had a copy in ’83, though obviously not.

I remember sitting up late one night recording music videos on VHS from the BBC who used to have late night Old Grey Whistle Test style music shows that would go on for several hours. I recorded ‘Let’s Dance’ amongst others, and have seen the video so many times I probably never need to see it ever again, but I’ve included what I could find at the bottom of this post.

Overall it’s a pretty good album, but even after all these years, I am so familiar with it from over playing that I have trouble really appreciating it. I did quote like hearing ‘Ricochet’ again though as I don’t recall liking it all that much at the time, but now, I rather do.

7/10