45 45s @ 45 : SWC STYLE (Part 8)

A GUEST SERIES

40. Hotel Yorba – The White Stripes (2001 XL Recordings)

Released as a single in November 2001 (Reached Number 26)

In December 2001 I was asked (Ok I offered) to DJ for an hour or so at the staff Christmas party.

I turned up, had my dinner, (weirdly this was at an Italian restaurant and Christmas Dinner featuring pasta and not roast potatoes), and then took to the DJ Booth (I say booth it was a table with a machine on it). Back then it was all about CDs still, and I used a double CD player to throw down a few tunes as the boss plied me with free alcohol. The CDs were supplied by the restaurant and consisted mainly of that years ‘NOW’ releases, although I had bought a few of my own.

As the alcohol flowed I got a bit more daring, and started to stray of away from the stack of NOW CDs and that is when I dropped ‘Hotel Yorba’ by The White Stripes to bunch of bemused middle aged drunk people. Straight After ‘9 to 5’ by Dolly Parton and just before ‘Kung Fu’ by Ash.

‘Hotel Yorba’ was the first White Stripes single to really impact on the British Music scene. It was the lead single from their album ‘White Blood Cells’. It was certainly the first single of theirs to trouble the UK charts. At the time the NME were really hyping the band and this helped to increase their exposure.

Most of you probably know that the Hotel Yorba actually exists, it can according to Wikipedia, be found on the I75 in Detroit and is now a housing project. According to Jack White, the Beatles once stayed at the Hotel Yorba, a story that is sadly untrue.

The band also filmed most of the video outside of the building because again according to rumour, the band were banned for life from the building…..despite which the single version of ‘Hotel Yorba’ claims to have been recorded live in Room 206 of the Hotel Yorba!

The B Side was a track called ‘Rated X’ which I can’t find my version of – what I do have though is an acoustic version of ‘Hotel Yorba’ in which Meg White apparently plays ‘Cardboard Box’ again its recorded live at ‘The Hotel Yorba’

Hotel Yorba (live at the Hotel Yorba)

A few months later The White Stripes went global and went on to be on the biggest and best bands of the first decade of the century. I picked Hotel Yorba because it came at a time when music was a little stagnant. They, The Strokes and a couple of others all spearheaded a new wave of bands that dragged British music into that new century.

SWC

JC adds (from wiki):-

“Rated “X”” is a 1972 single written and recorded by Loretta Lynn. “Rated ‘X'” was Lynn’s sixth number one country single as a solo artist. The single spent one week at number one and a total of fourteen weeks on the chart. The song dealt with the stigma faced by divorced women during the early 1970s, and was regarded as somewhat controversial at the time, due to its frank language.

In 2001, a live version was used as the B-side of the “Hotel Yorba” single by The White Stripes.

mp3 : The White Stripes – Rated X (live at the Hotel Yorba)

THE SINGULAR ADVENTURES OF LUKE HAINES (20)


Television in the 1970s was a completely different beast to what it is today, with just the three channels available in the UK to entertain the masses, none of which broadcast very early in the morning or very later at night. Saturday afternoons saw BBC1 and ITV offer up sports programmes, while BBC2 would carry an old movie, more often than not from the era when Hollywood churned out Westerns and John Wayne was a global star.

ITV’s offering was a show called World of Sport, hosted by Dickie Davies whose name would later feature in a song by Half Man Half Biscuit.

mp3 : Half Man Half Biscuit – Dickie Davies Eyes

Worth mentioning, in passing, that Brian Moore, who was another stalwart of World of Sport as the main football presenter, gets namechecked in the lyric of the above song.

Anyways, I can hear you wondering what the hell all this has to do with Luke Haines, so let me explain….and I’ll get there in the end.

World of Sport followed a formula each week. It started at 12.15 and ended five hours later, opening with a segment on football and closing with the all the football results from across the country, along with some reports of the games where cameras had been present and would feature on highlights programmes the following day. Much of the afternoon was taken up by horse-racing, with seven races from two or more tracks shown back-to-back, always destined to finish by 3.45 when the half-time football scores were read out.

The key time for World of Sport was the 4-4.45pm slot, the period in which they wanted to retain their viewers who only tuned in for the football scores and news. They chose to do this by offering up 45 minutes of wrestling in which you tuned in to the antics of a group of middle-aged men where the theatrics and story-lines were more important than the sport itself. In many ways, it was like being allowed to watch a pantomime, once a week, from the confines of your living room, complete with a cast of regular good guys and villains, with the latter inevitably being on the receiving end for the most part, albeit sometimes they were allowed to win to enable a new storyline to emerge or develop.

Luke Haines spent much of his young childhood watching the wrestling, and to be fair he wasn’t alone. At its very peak, the wrestling attracted 12 million viewers, which was around 25% of the viewing public in the UK. I was something of a devotee, spending every other Saturday afternoon between the ages of 5 and 12, when I wasn’t at the football with my dad, in the company of my maternal grandparents, and my nan loved the wrestling like nothing else on the telly. The names and faces of the participants are still fresh in my memory and I can still hear the mid-Atlantic twang of the commentator, Kent Walton, who covered the sport for more than 30 years until a new controller of the channel decided it had run its course and pulled World of Sport from the schedules.

Luke Haines took his childhood memories and turned them into a concept album that he released in 2011. In a career packed with strange and bold statements, 9 ½ Psychedelic Meditations on British Wrestling of the 1970s & Early ’80s is among the most bizarre….(to this point in time at least – there’s a few things just around the corner as will be revealed)

I said earlier that this was a concept album, but that would tend to suggest it had some sort of story line with a beginning, a middle and an end. Instead, the album offers up songs/tunes/spoken word numbers, all of which are in some way related to the characters who appeared on the television screens on Saturday afternoons in the 70s and early 80s between 4pm and 4.45pm, but which have their own narrative rather than then being interlinked.

It’s an incredible piece of fictional work, albeit memories of Haines’s upbringing are woven into the imaginary and fantastical tales of real-life characters such as Rollerball Rocco, Gorgeous George, Catweazle, Mick McManus, Count Bartelli, Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks and Kendo Nagasaki. There’s one thing I can tell you and that it’s not an album that would translate to a show in the west end of London or on Broadway.

The release of 9 ½ Meditations stirred up a huge amount of debate. Was Haines being particularly thrawn (a Scottish word for crooked or perverse)? Had he gone too far with his efforts to demonstrate that he was not your archetypal bloke with a record contract, far removed from those who every breath and bit of energy was devoted to commercial and mainstream success? Or was he genuinely, having just passed his 40th birthday, doing what so many do at that age and reflect back on more innocent and perhaps happy times? After all, jumping on the nostalgia train has made many a pretty penny for its passengers…..

The debate may have been wide-ranging but the conclusion of almost all reviewers was that the album was very much worth a listen, with most folk giving it a solid, 7 or 8 out of 10. Maybe the best summary of it all came from J.R. Moore writing for Drowned in Sound:-

The first thing that makes an impression is the humour. This is not a comedy album, however. It is a very personal project, inspired by a childhood enthusiasm for the sport and by watching wrestling with his father. The first lines “I was trying my best to understand / How a beautiful bouncing baby becomes an ‘orrible man / As a child I thought I’d grow up to become a dancer / But I became a fighter”, could apply as much to Haines as to any wrestler, and also evoke universal feelings of lost youth and innocence. As well as Haines’ own past, it is also about history in a larger sense; he is analysing a version of Britain that no longer exists.

J.R Moore? Surely it wasn’t his old mate from Black Box Recorder providing a leg-up?????

It’s an album that wasn’t really ever going to win him any new fans, but it was one that appealed greatly to those of us who had followed him with interest through the years or those re-attracted to him as a result of reading the hilarious and enlightening (and occasionally score-settling) Bad Vibes. It also felt as if Luke Haines, for the first time in a while, was seemingly enjoying being a recording artist again, that is if it can ever be said that Luke Haines is capable of enjoying anything via the creative process.

No singles were taken from the album. Here’s a track in which one of the wrestlers from the era grapples with a new piece of musical gadgetry:-

mp3 : Luke Haines – Big Daddy Got A Casio VL Tone

JC

 

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #200 : MAGIC EYE

Here’s an intro you might be familiar with:-

The hard drive contains a substantial number of singers/bands of whom I have the foggiest. They are there because they have:-

(a) contributed to a compilation album/CD that I’ve got in the collection; or

(b) been downloaded from another blog or site and I’ve been too lazy or stupid to keep note of the original posting.

And once again, today’s one-off is in the former camp. I do actually have three of their songs on the hard drive, courtesy of two being included within a split 12” single and the other offered as part of a sampler given away by Matthew Young, the owner of Song, By Toad Records in 2013.

Magic Eye were from Edinburgh, and there was a really good write-up of them in a broadsheet paper published in that very city, on 6 July 2012:-

If you can say one thing about Edinburgh’s Magic Eye, it’s that they are aptly named.

They make music that seems vague and opaque on a first listen but rewards close attention with the emergence of points of reference, texture and new angles.

The band themselves describe their sound as ‘aquarium rock’ and it’s not a bad way of illustrating the heady mix of reverb, phaser, flanger and chorus that swamps their recordings. Don’t mistake their use of effects as reliance or a crutch though – there are real songs in there, with proper hooks to get under your skin.

Formed by three flatmates – Alex Johnston, Bek Oliva and Roma Galloway – the line-up was completed by Francis Dosoo on drums and they set about recording their first EP. Released just last month on New York label Animal Image Search, the band also went on a UK tour to support it, playing gigs in London and Brighton with Female Band and finishing up with some Scottish dates alongside Tangles and Mother Ganga.

In terms of influences, Alex says that they “really like The KLF, Keith Sweat, and Delia Derbyshire” but that “the Durrutti Column informed the sound at the start because that’s what we were listening to”. While traces of the Mancunian post-punks can certainly be detected in the guitar tones and overall aesthetic, you can also hear shades of the Cocteau Twins in the atmospheres and melodies.

Alex believes the future looks bright for the Scottish music scene, principally because it is becoming less parochial. “The Scottish music scene is good, but all the good stuff feels more worldwide than Scottish which is cool,” he says. “LuckyMe do super good club nights and releases in Scotland. Rustie and Hudson Mohawke blow our minds!”

It’s clear from the way the band talks about music that they are not only creators but voracious consumers too, leading you to conclude that there is nothing accidental about their sound, and that they know exactly how they want to be heard.

The future looks busy for the group too, with a split 12” coming out in November on the reliable barometer of taste that is Song, By Toad Records, and a full album which is going through the mixing process now.

Judging by what’s available on Discogs, the optimistic future envisaged didn’t quite pan out. The split 12” was followed not by any full album on vinyl but by a limited edition cassette in 2014, after which they appear to have called it a day.

Here’s the song that Matthew made available via the sampler.

mp3 : Magic Eye – Golden Circle

JC

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #240 : BEASTIE BOYS

This is a first in the ICA series.

The download is just one track, but it has a running time of 60 minutes and 30 seconds. If you give it a listen, you’ll find it is made up of 17 tunes as my stab at including the Beastie Boys in the series.

I’ve given it a particular title in homage to both the New Yorkers and to the district of Glasgow in which I have gone to work for the past 12 years.

It is also the 2,500th post on this reincarnated version of the blog.

The rest of today’s words have been sampled.

NO SLEEP TILL BRIDGETON


(a) Check It Out

Acting as the opener to their first album of the ’00s, ‘To The 5 Boroughs’, the band showed no signs of growing up on this bombastic hit. While the mainstream embraced a new generation of rap heroes like 50 Cent and Kanye West, this 2004 hit showed that The Beasties could still hang with the best and have way more fun while doing it.

(b) Shake Your Rump

This is music from another plane entirely, where ideas and sound-pictures collide, shatter and are reassembled into something new, all in an instant. It’s a sample collage, but it’s also a sculpture. There’s no way it should work with those three voices weaving in and around the different fragments of old records, lyrical visions jousting with musical innovations to the point where you feel like the whole thing could be about to collapse in on itself under the sheer weight of the different thoughts that it’s built out of. And yet it’s perfect. Try to work out why by unpicking it and the whole thing unravels.

(c) Make Some Noise

The Beastie Boys’ last truly great song, this was released in April 2011, a year before Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch’s death from cancer. It also acts as a fitting finale for a musical force that could still leave their younger contemporaries in the dust, despite being in their mid-40s. Built around a squelching beat, it’s a feral blast of swagger and cockiness – one they were so happy with that they felt it worthy to create a sequel to their iconic ‘Fight For Your Right To Party’ video for.

(d) Intergalactic

A transfixing space odyssey is crammed full of robotic vocoder and synth fragments that shatter in an astral euphoria. The Beasties fork together a beatific concoction here of lyricality that reroutes their hip-hop into a mesmerizing, head-banging dance groove. Don’t blame me if you’re suddenly in another dimension still humming the non-verbal instrumentals.

(e) Paul Revere

Paul Revere tells the story of the Beasties, complete with early collaborator Rick Rubin on production. Sure, it’s a cheesy story that involves a horse with a historically significant name and ends with robbery and murder that pales in comparison to older records when it comes to skill and creativity, but it also introduced the world to the goofy fun of the Beastie Boys — not to mention that Michael “Mike D” Diamond, Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, and Adam “MCA” Yauch introduced a lot of people to rap in general.

(f) Sabotage

Sabotage, the seemingly anti-authority anthem was, in fact, inspired by their recording engineer, Mario Caldato Jr being a nag.

The band were totally indecisive about what, when, why and how to complete songs and Mario would blow a fuse and scream that they just needed to finish something, anything, a song, pushing them towards instrumental tracks just to have something moving toward completion. Sabotage was apparently the last song completed on the latest album and went through multiple iterations before it was decided to roast their engineer on track, of how he was trying to mess it all up, sabotaging great works of art.

(g) Get it Together

A Tribe Called Quest’s leader Q-Tip jumps on the mic for perhaps the a rare featured spot in the Beastie Boys catalogue. The Boys’ vocals are typically abrasive, but the mellow delivery of Q-Tip’s bars and subtle production means that both halves of the East Coast rap styles are well represented here.

(h) Hey Ladies

Admittedly, the only hit single from ”Paul’s Boutique” was a return to the frat-boy ethos of ”Licensed to Ill,” but it’s infectious and funny enough that we forgive such sexism as ”Sucking down pints till I didn’t know/Woke up in the morning with a one-ton ho.” It also features the greatest — and possibly only — cowbell break in hip-hop history.

(i) Rhymin’ & Stealin’

The Beastie Boys didn’t invent rap-rock, but on guitar-flooded tracks like ”Rhymin”’ they and producer Rick Rubin invested the hybrid with the energy and (obnoxious) attitude that helped suburban kids develop a taste for hip-hop. Incorporating samples from both Led Zeppelin (”When the Levee Breaks”) and Black Sabbath (”Sweet Leaf”), ”Stealin”’ offers hilariously unconvincing pirate/gangsta fantasies: ”Skirt chasing, free basing/Killing every village/We drink and rob and rhyme and pillage.”

(j) Jimmy James

Denied permission by Jimi Hendrix’s estate to use a variety of samples from the guitarist’s catalogue, including snippets of Foxy Lady, Still Raining, Still Dreaming and EXP, on this tribute track on Check Your Head, the Beasties’ improvised by crafting sound-a-like riffs in the studio. The song is prefaced with a sample from a live album by Cheap Trick.

(k) A Year and A Day

Paul’s Boutique was audacious, described before its release by one exec at the Beasties’ label Capitol as “the Sgt Pepper’s of its era.” The album’s final track was its most avant stroke, the Beasties’ answer to the medley that closed labelmates the Beatles’ Abbey Road. Across its kaleidoscopic 13 minutes, B-Boy Bouillabaise segued through nine vignettes, fragments and experiments, with their erstwhile home of New York as a loose theme. At its heart lay A Year And a Day, a thrilling showcase for MCA that saw Yauch rapping through a mic rigged to a pilot’s helmet, his verses bragging with a philosophical flair he’d hone on later tracks, over a furious beat chopping up Ernie Isley’s blistering guitar lick from Who’s That Lady?

(l) Too Many Rappers

On June 12 2009, Adam Yauch took the stage at the Bonnaroo Festival for what would prove the Beastie Boys’ final live performance. Their new album, Hot Sauce Committee Pt 1, was scheduled for September, but Yauch’s cancer diagnosis – made public a month after Bonnaroo – delayed its release by almost two years; it finally surfaced in April 2011 as Hot Sauce Committee, Part Two, a return to the more anarchic, gleeful style of yore following their stark post 9/11 album To the Five Boroughs. The Beasties debuted Hot Sauce Committee’s highlight onstage at Bonnaroo that night, alongside guest MC Nas. And while it’s perhaps not Nas’s finest moment, Too Many Rappers caught the Beasties sounding sharper than they had in years, while hearing Ad-Rock and Nas riff on Public Enemy’s Night of the Living Bassheads – for even a bar or three – is an undeniable treat.

(m) Pass the Mic

A tune like “Pass the Mic” does it all: It invokes one of the holiest hip-hop phrases (“yes, yes y’all”), name-drops Jimmie Walker, Clyde Frazier and Stevie Wonder and finds the Beasties both deconstructing, then rebuilding their own mythology. It includes one of the all-time great Beastie lines in which Mike D rhymes “commercial” with “commercial.”

(n) Sure Shot

As the Beastie Boys grew in power and experience, their goofy shtick became incredibly witty jokes and sublimely dada nonsense. The references became knotted and intricate, far more cerebral than details on how to party with some orange juice-based cocktails. From the barking dog at the track’s open through the last couplet, “Sure Shot” is jammed with essential lines, the kind of song that thousands and thousands of teenage boys memorized. It also features a real turning point in their active role as feminist allies: “I want to say a little something that’s long overdue/ The disrespect to women has got to be through,” MCA begins. “To all the mothers and the sisters and the wives and friends/ I want to offer my love and respect to the end.” But just when you’re afraid that they’ll get all sappy, MCA reminds you that he uses elastic to keep his underwear up — keeping it Beastie.

(o) Shardrach

The Beastie Boys were students — of the genre, of music history, of history in general, of society. On the excellent “Shadrach”, they do a little bit of it all. Musically, the track samples everyone from Sly Stone to James Brown to the Sugarhill Gang, paying homage to those that laid the groundwork. Lyrically, the three Boys dig in and compare themselves to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, three Biblical characters thrown into a furnace for refusing to bow down to the king. Both are prominent trios of men with Jewish heritage, and the Beasties had to have seen something they like in the story of men surviving being thrown into a fire. The track also shows the group’s increasing comfort with more experimental beats. Co-written by the Dust Brothers, the track’s slinky guitar, funky horns, and out-of-this-world soul vocal sample are miles ahead of Licensed to Ill, running into far deeper veins of artistry. It also should be mentioned that it reveals just how seriously they took rap.

(p) Triple Trouble

No New Yorker was unaffected by the terrorist attacks of 2001, and the Beasties were no exception. Released in 2004, To the 5 Boroughs was reflective, in part, but just as much a part of their challenge to the darkening mood was to get back to what they do best – revelling in rhyme and having fun with music and words, celebrating New York as the place where all these things became possible, and defending it by carrying on as before. ‘Triple Trouble’ went back to hip-hop’s early days, sampling the opening of ‘Rapper’s Delight’ while the trio traded gallumphing brags and outrageous boasts back and forth over the infectiously bouncing beat.

(q) So What’cha Want

The only Beastie Boys song covered by The Muppets.

mp3 : Beastie Boys – No Sleep Till Bridgeton

JC

STUFF BOUGHT IN 2019 (4)

I’ve already mentioned that The Twilight Sad released my favourite album of 2019, but surprisingly they didn’t, for once, provide the best live experience of the year.

Step forward Otoboke Beaver. As I said, last May in a review of the gig:-

But nothing had prepared me, or indeed Aldo or Mike G, for Otoboke Beaver. I’ve been going to watch live music for more than 40 years now, and so I will have been to at least 1,000 shows in my time. But I have never experienced anything quite as dynamic, uplifting and plain bonkers as the hour of entertainment provided by these four ridiculously talented women, Accorinrin (Lead Vocal & Guitar), Yoyoyoshie (Guitar & Vocals), Hiro-chan (Bass & Vocals) and Kahokiss (Drums & Vocals). The studio recorded stuff is fine, but it doesn’t come anywhere close to capturing the magic of actually seeing them and picking up on the energy they generate with each performance.

It was a genuine jaw-dropper of an evening.

Here’s the thing…..I’ve listened more and more to the studio stuff and it is more than fine. The live experience was such a mind-fuck that it was impossible to be properly objective about the album Itekoma Hits that I purchased at the end of the gig.

14 songs in 27 minutes. If you’re not fond of something, then don’t worry as something else will be along before you know it.

Otoboke Beaver first released music as long ago as 2011 but it wasn’t until Damnably Records signed them in 2016 that their material became more widely available beyond Japan. All the band members held down full-time jobs which restricted their abilities to record and tour – indeed their visits to the UK have been for what they have called Golden Week tours, using up precious annual leave from their employers. Such tours were underatken in 2017 and 2019 while other holidays were used for shows in the USA at events such as SxSW in Austin, Texas.

They are coming back to Glasgow tonight and I’ll be there again. There’s a major difference in that the band have now all quit their jobs and are going to have a real go at making a success of their music. I’m fairly confident that they will, not just based on the live shows and the compilation album I picked up but that some newer material, in the form of a 5″ red vinyl single, released at the end of last year, was equally wonderful. And at 1 minute 40 seconds, it faithfully followed everything that had gone before.

I’ll just post one song from Itekoma Hits but offer up a few videos so that you get the idea:-

mp3 : Otoboke Beaver – Datsu. Hikage no onna

At 2 mins and 5 seconds, it’s one of their longer efforts!

 

JC

 

THE BIG HITS…..30 YEARS ON (2)

The second month of the new feature. Many thanks to those of you who commented last time out and for joining in with the fun by revealing your own ages.

As I mentioned previously, 30 years no longer feels like a long time ago, although back in 1990 it was impossible to not think of 1960 as being anything other than ancient history. The top of the singles chart in February 1990 was dominated by Sinead O’Connor and it was heart-warming to read there remains a great deal of affection for Nothing Compares 2 U, notwithstanding it becoming one of those songs that suffered from over-exposure at the time, and as FFF deftly pointed out, has subsequently been lost to revisionist wankery by nonentity talking-heads.

Of the hits that first entered the charts in February 1990, none have proven to quite have any similar longevity, although there is a more than decent track that later went all the way to the #1 slot and is still wheeled out for consideration by the sorts of talking-heads whom FFF called out previously, but this time in terms of ‘guess what he did next’ sort of way. I’ll get to that in due course……let’s start things off with an indie classic:-

Shine On – House of Love

Three years after it had been released on Creation Records to critical acclaim and commercial failure, a new version of Shine On was recorded and released on Fontana Records. It was A-listed on Radio 1 and crashed into the charts at #22 on 3 February 1990, providing The House of Love with, by far, their biggest hit. It climbed two places and thus ensured the label, could boast of having a Top 20 band on its rota. Still sounds great all these years later doesn’t it?

Sleep With Me – Birdland

A high number of music-paper championed bands enjoyed a modicum of success in 1990. A lot of this could be linked back to 1989 when the likes of Happy Mondays, Stone Roses and James burst onto the mainstream after years of being restricted to small, often derogatory coverage in NME/Melody Maker/Sounds/Record Mirror and nobody wanted to be accused of missing the boat this time around.

Birdland were very much a music papers band to begin with and a couple of singles in early ’89 had brushed the outer edges of the charts. Out of nowhere, Sleep With Me was played on daytime Radio 1 as well as being championed on the early evening shows, leading to it selling enough copies to enter the chart at #32 on 3 February, only to drop out of the Top 40 the following week. It remains the only time the band got mentioned in the weekly rundown on Top of The Pops.

Probably A Robbery – Renegade Soundwave

Another of the bands that had been championed by the music papers. The difference between this and the Birdland 45 was that Probably A Robbery entered the charts on 3 February at #48 and actually climbed a few places and hung around for a bit, eventually reaching a peak of #38 three weeks later. There’ll be a few of you out there who danced a lot to Renegade Soundwave, but I have to admit to knowing next to nothing beyond this hit, which itself was mentioned on the old blog back in 2008 and repeated in 2016, thanks to my old friend ctel (aka acidted).

No Blue Skies – Lloyd Cole

Lloyd Cole had pulled the plug on The Commotions with ambitions to make it big as a solo artist. His record label, Polydor, believed in him too, making a fairly decent sized recording budget available for the debut album which was recorded in New York. The sound was a huge departure from the indie-pop of his old band, offering a harder more rock-orientated edge to go with the all-knowing lyrics to which we had become accustomed, but it didn’t go down well with the record buying public. No Blue Skies limped in at #64 on 3 February and thanks to a bit of intensive marketing and some airplay, climbed to #42 the following week before it began a rapid descent. A huge disappointment for all concerned, and it would take until 1995 before any solo LC songs bothered the Top 40….and even that proved to be a one-off.

Dub Be Good To Me – Beats International

This entered the chart at #15 on 10 February 1990. It went to #3 the following week, then up to #2 and finally to #1 at the beginning of March, taking over from Sinead O’Connor. It spent four weeks at the top and didn’t drop out of the Top 40 until the month of May.

The samples include Just Be Good To Me by the SOS Band, The Guns of Brixton by The Clash, Once Upon a Time in The West by Ennio Morricone, and Jam Hot by Johnny Dynell. Lead singer Lindy Layton would enjoy a solo chart hit later in the year with a cover of the lovers-rock classic Silly Games. Composer and mixer Norman Cook became very rich and very famous in subsequent years.

Bikini Girls With Machine Guns – The Cramps

I had to shut my eyes and open them again as I thought I was seeing things. And I still can’t believe that The Cramps had a single which went Top 40 in the UK. A full eleven years after they had become the second live act I’d ever seen in my life, they could have appeared on Top of The Pops after Bikini Girls entered the charts on 10 February at #35. If only……………………………..

This soon dropped down the charts and disappeared altogether after three weeks. The Cramps hadn’t cracked the Top 75 previously and wouldn’t do so again.

Enjoy The Silence – Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode have been hugely popular and successful for decades, but for the most part I’ve struggled to see the attraction. I enjoyed the disposable electro-pop of some of the early singles and a few of the later 45s have been passable, but I don’t have any vinyl or CDs in what is an extensive collection in Villain Towers. I don’t think that makes me a bad person but some of you may violently disagree.

Enjoy The Silence entered the charts at #17 on 17 February and was the band’s 17th single to make the Top 40. I was hoping that I could add they would have a further 17 singles do the same to create a perfect bit of symmetry, but the fact is they would enjoy 18 more Top 20 hits, the last being Martyr in November 2006.

Brassneck – The Wedding Present

In at #24 on 17 February and featured extensively just a couple of weeks ago on the blog including the legendary Top of the Pops appearance that saw the song plummet out of the charts the following week.

96 Tears – The Stranglers

Got to be honest and say that I couldn’t recall this one which came into the charts at #31 on 17 February and in climbing to #17 the following week would give The Stranglers their 12th Top 20 hit. Yes, it’s a cover of the 60s cult classic of by ? and the Mysterians and it would prove to be the final time The Stranglers enjoyed such mainstream success….coinciding with the departure of Hugh Cornwell.

Talking With Myself – Electribe 101

In at #33 on 24 February. It climbed to #23 the following week. I know next to nothing about house music, so please feel free to fill in the gaps via the comments section. All I do know is that this, like The House of Love song which opened up this posting, was the re-release of an earlier flop single from the late 80s. Oh, and there’s a connection with Depeche Mode as Electribe 101 provided support on a 38-date European tour from September – November 1990….an experience that proved to be less than a stellar one.

Tune in next month for a look back at March 1990.

JC
(aged 56 years and 8 months)

PS : Posted today to enable SC from Florida to drop in and say he is 54 years exactly.  Happy birthday bro.

45 45s @ 45 : SWC STYLE (Part 7)

A GUEST SERIES

33. Something for your M.I.N.D – Superorganism (2017 Domino Records)

Released January 2017 (Reached the Top 30 I think)

A song that always reminds me of KT, because it was in her car that I first heard it.

Seems appropriate to hand over to her……..

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So Dom and I have got through a whole year without forgetting that we had a child.

I’ve not managed to leave her in the pub, Dom hasn’t forgotten to get her out of the swing in the park. We’ve not yet run out of nappies, we’ve not lost it when, after spending literally hours making, blending, pureeing and serving up, hand-made organically grown food, she has just totally ignored it and decided that she wants ‘bic bic’ – this is because Heinz make some baby biscuits that are to be honest, bloody tasty.

Our daughter has also, already, at the tender age of 14 months, got a mortal enemy (like Maggie Simpson and the monobrow baby I suppose). This child, Emily, and her clash every week at an event called ‘Treasure Baskets’. A kind women in a chunky knit jumper puts a load of blankets down and fills it with general crap, shiny things and lots of dried pasta and we parents observe what happens.

What happens is more often that not, my daughter and Emily squabble over who gets to play with the shiniest necklace that is on offer that week. Emily will find one, and my daughter will lamp her with a sponge until she drops it. She will then pick it up and Emily will do the same thing back. This repeats itself. For an hour.

Emily’s mother and I are really good friends.

In September I went back to work, part time, and it was really hard, firstly and the only reason really was because Tim wasn’t there. There is some new bloke in his office which seems wrong, and I find it hard to talk to him because, he’s not Tim. Stupid and selfish of me really, it’s not his fault.

I miss the stupid emails about irrelevant things, I miss his smile, I miss him swearing at the printer (“Fucking stupid, gadgetry contraption, no I don’t want following I just want you to sodding print you BASTARRRDDD”) and I miss his support, his reliability, his humour and his brilliance.

I was pushing a pram when I heard the news about him, and I kind of just sat in a park and cradled my daughter for ages – I experienced a numbness I haven’t felt for such a long time. There are still no words to describe it, so I’m not going to try, it was just so desperately, desperately sad.

Sorry I wasn’t planning on going there, I guess what the events of 2019 taught me is that you get 75 odd summers on this planet, if you are lucky. Don’t waste them, don’t put off telling that person that you love them, don’t put off trying that new thing you’ve been meaning to do, don’t ignore your parents, your friends, read books, listen to music, write stories, try new food, have children, look after each other.

Can I leave you with a song that I’ve playing loads recently, not for any reason I just like it?

Let Me Be Him – Hot Chip

KT

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I’ve got something in my eye, don’t know about you.

SWC