Those who are quick to dismiss Pet Shop Boys have got it all wrong. I reckon they’re about as great a singles act as has ever been, and not just in my lifetime, and they have confounded just about everyone with the truly groundbreaking and breathtaking live tours over the years.

And let’s not forget that some of the lyrics penned by Neil Tennant are as poetical and beautiful as anything that the great singer/songwriters armed with an acoustic guitar have ever produced.

mp3 : Pet Shop Boys – Rent

One of my favourite singles of theirs dates from 1993.  It was their 13th Top Ten hit in the UK and took the storyline of a man refusing to accept his gay tendencies and thus finding himself trapped inside a loveless, useless and cruel relationship where he is continually being mocked by his wife or girlfriend….a plot that has been used every now and again by soap operas the world over.

mp3 : Pet Shop Boy – Can You Forgive Her?

It also has a very lovely b-side….with a lyric Morrissey himself might have penned, or at the very least inspired:-

Hey, headmaster, what’s the matter with you?
Why you always so serious? Why so blue?
All the kids in the school have seen you
being patient with the boys who fool you
when you used to hit them with your ruler
so independent too

Hey, headmaster, what’s the matter with you?

There’s a crisis rumoured in the school
The boys have cut their hair short to look cool
Examination time is drawing near
Disintegration of the football team
No one seems to want to play for real
in classroom, club or pool

Hey, headmaster, what you gonna do?

There’s an invitation in the post
to a reading party on the coast
Pack your bags up, you old bibliophile
Get together with your friends
who will give you time to think and time to kill
with independent hosts

Hey, headmaster, aren’t you gonna go?
Hey, headmaster, aren’t you gonna go?

mp3 : Pet Shop Boys – Hey, Headmaster




I stated yesterday that today’s posting would look at covers recorded by Cinerama…and I’m going to be as good as my word.

Peel Session 2 : recorded 15 August 1999, broadcast on 2 November 1999

mp3 : Cinerama – Elenore

A cover of a 1969 single by The Turtles; the song has a very interesting back story as it was composed as a riposte to the band’s record label who were desperate to be given a happy-go-lucky pop song in the style of the #1 hit Happy Together.

Peel Session 3 : recorded 13 May 2001, broadcast on 24 May 2001

mp3 : Cinerama – Yesterday Once More (Peel Session)

There’s no doubt that the young David Gedge listened to the radio waiting for his favourite songs to sing along.  So it’s no real surprise that this 1973 single by The Carpenters became one of the dozens of covers he’s recorded over the years

Peel Session 6 : recorded 27 November 2003 , broadcast on 6 January 2004

mp3 : Cinerama – Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love)

The smash hit club/dance single from 2003 is turned into a real heart-tugger of a love song, so much so it sounds like a Gedge original

b-side of Manhattan single, 2000

mp3 : Cinerama – London

In which the frantic and electric Morrissey/Marr composition is given a very fine and melodic makeover.

b-side of Superman single, 2001

mp3 : Cinerama – Yesterday Once More

Every sha-la-la-la, every whoa-o-whoa (etc)

b-side of Health and Efficiency

mp3 : Cinerama – Diamonds Are Forever

Well, if the call from the Bond folk to compose an original ain’t gonna come then you’re as well to show them what they’re missing.






I’m a huge fan of Take Fountain which was the 2005 ‘comeback’ album by The Wedding Present in the sense that it was the first music released under that moniker in nine years. But during that hiatus, David Gedge had been very busy writing and recording music as part of Cinerama, a band which released three albums and twelve singles of incredibly and consistently high quality. There were also, you’ll not be surprised to know, a whole bundle of Peel Sessions and as was always the case with David Gedge, the opportunity was usually taken to air what were the unreleased tracks as well as having a stab at an unusual unexpected cover.

I’ll actually look at some covers in tomorrow’s posting but for today I’m focusing on some Peel session songs by Cinerama that wouldn’t see light of day until TWP laid them down for Take Fountain.

There’s two sessions involved – the first was recorded on 8 May 2003 and broadcast on 4 June 2003 and included these two tracks:-

mp3 : Cinerama – Edinburgh
mp3 : Cinerama – Larry’s

The former would be renamed as I’m From Further North Than You but in a tribute to its original title the promo video for its release as a single was shot entirely on location in Scotland’s capital.

mp3 : The Wedding Present – I’m From Further North Than You
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Larry’s

The other cuts are from the band’s sixth and final Peel Session, recorded on 27 November 2003 but not broadcast until 6 January 2004:-

mp3 : Cinerama – Always The Quiet One
mp3 : Cinerama – Mars Sparkles Down On Me
mp3 : Cinerama – Why Are Nickels Bigger Than Dimes?

Both sessions are unlike all the previous Cinerama material as they are arranged, more or less, for a more basic lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass and drums rather than the more complex style involving strings, brass and woodwind. So it made perfect sense just to take the songs and record them under the TWP moniker. Incidentally the last of the tracks on this second session was also given a different title and while it didn’t make the cut for Take Fountain it did appear as a b-side:-

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Always The Quiet One
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Mars Sparkles Down On Me
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Nickels and Dimes




Continuing with the run of bands that I’m surprised to see on CD86.

I don’t think too many readers will need any lessons on the history and timeline of The Jesus and Mary Chain. If you do, then I’ll refer you to this wiki page which is extremely detailed and comprehensive.

I’m assuming that Bob Stanley has included the boys from East Kilbride (the same town as Roddy Frame was raised) on the basis that they would go on to be the best known and among the most sustainable indie bands to emerge from the era in question with all sorts of celebrity fans the world over. I don’t think anyone who watched the continual chaos and violence around the early gigs, combined with a total ‘fuck you’ attitude from the band members would ever have imagined they would enjoy such a long and incredibly successful and rewarding career in the music industry.

CD86 contains Upside Down, the debut single which actually came out on Creation Records in November 1984 when the line-up was Jim Reid (vocals), William Reid (guitar), Douglas Hart (bass) and Murray Dalglish (drums).  The first 1.000 copies were in black with red writing and included a contact address for the band. and were printed by future band drummer and all-round superstar Bobby Gillespie. Later initial versions had a multitude of colours (red, yellow, blue or pink) but no contact address; nor where they printed by Bobby.  Such was the demand for the single that Creation re-released in it 1985 with a totally different sleeve but with the same b-side, a cover of a Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd number:-

mp3 : The Jesus and Mary Chain – Upside Down
mp3 : The Jesus and Mary Chain – Vegetable Man





Not to be confused with Love of The Common People by Paul Young. Nor indeed the cover version that was later recorded by William Shatner.

Common People by Pulp is one of those songs that your instincts tell you the first ever time you catch it that it will become a timeless classic you will never grow tired of. And then you listen more closely as you get more familiar with the song and you realise that there is so much more to it than a catchy ditty that sound great on the radio or coming out of your telly on Top Of The Pops or whatever.

For me, this was the song that propelled Jarvis Cocker from talented but mostly unappreciated wordsmith into the people’s poet. At the time, I thought it was a fantastic bit of imaginary writing, but some years later, Jarvis revealed that the main protagonist was not a figment of his imagination – there really had been some upper-class toff at St Martin’s Art College in London who fancied a bit of rough (I suppose its makes a difference from the usual which seems to be a gap year traipsing round India seeking self-enlightenment).

This is a song that has a great storyline, fantastic lyrics, a catchy tune that you can dance to and an unforgettable sing-a-long chorus. And yet…..

……the version that was best known was the shorter 7″ version which omitted a few lines in the middle of the song when the tempo changed ever so-slightly, including what I reckon are the most telling lyrics:-

‘You will never understand
How if feels to live your life
With no meaning or control
And with nowhere else to go’

Jarvis Cocker’s life was never the same after this. He became a tabloid regular with his outspoken views and acidic one-liners – a genuine working-class hero who captured exactly how so many folk felt after nearly two decades of successive Tory governments in the UK. Then he waved his bum at Michael Jackson at the Brits the following year…….but that is another story.

Released in June 1995, Common People reached #2 in the UK charts, kept from the top spot by Robson & Jerome‘s cover of Unchained Melody.

(For those not familiar with the #1 act, they were two acts in a popular TV series who were encouraged to cash-in by the record industry. Nowadays, things like that have largely been overtaken by the myriad of talent shows that make new ‘stars’, but the effect is the same. Can anyone nowadays recall what Robson or Jerome looked like?)

I have what is described as CD2, which contains the full-length version of the song and three acoustic versions of older Pulp tracks.

mp3 : Pulp – Common People
mp3 : Pulp – Razzmatazz (Acoustic Version)
mp3 : Pulp – Dogs Are Everywhere (Acoustic Version)
mp3 : Pulp – Joyriders (Acoustic Version)

Oh and it also came with an unforgettable video.

All of this and it only made #45 in this countdown??



leeds754The story is thus.

Back in 2003, Cinerama released a single called Don’t Touch That Dial. Like all other releases by the band, it didn’t sell in any great numbers.

A few months later David Gedge, decided it was time to put Cinerama on hold and resuscitate The Wedding Present.

Fast forward to 2005 and the release of the TWP comeback album, Take Fountain, and track 7 turns out to be a song called Don’t Touch That Dial.

Both versions are rather splendid in their own right.  One sounds like Cinerama (with keyboards to the fore)and the other sounds like The Wedding Present (with backing vocals and much more guitar). They simply have a lead singer (and songwriter) in common.

mp3 : Cinerama – Don’t Touch That Dial
mp3 : The Wedding Present – Don’t Touch That Dial (Pacific Northwest Version)




Back in the early days, during the promotion of the first couple of albums, whenever PJ Harvey took to the stage for a gig or made a rare live TV appearance her appearance wasn’t that far removed from a 20-something indie-student going to the local union. Hair swept back and held in place by an Alice band and everyday clothes such as baggy black jumpers, leggings or jeans, all rounded off with a pair of trainers or Doc Martens.

She was determined to let the music do the talking and image was secondary.

But that all changed dramatically during the recording of the LP To Bring You My Love which was released in February 1995. I don’t think I was alone in being gobsmacked when I first caught sight of the promo for the lead-off single.

Long flowing black hair. Bright red lipstick around a mouth that pouted at the camera. A ruby-red designer dress that showed a vamp with a gorgeous figure. High heels. Slinky dancing. PJ submerged underwater. A vision of absolute loveliness.

It really should have been a massive hit and deserved much more than the paltry #38 it achieved in the UK.

mp3 : PJ Harvey – Down By The Water

Over in the States, it was a different story – the single was massive on the US Modern Rock chart partly because the video, unsurprisingly, was on heavy rotation on MTV. It was clear that PJ Harvey had decided to play along with the game, and the image was every bit now as important as the songs.

Here’s your b-sides:-

mp3 : PJ Harvey – Lying In The Sun
mp3 : PJ Harvey – Somebody’s Down, Somebody’s Name

Oh and interesting to note that the sleeve of this single would probably get banned nowadays thanks to the cigarette in Polly Jean’s right hand. Strange how much some things have changed in the past 20 years.