"Sometimes there's a song in my brain/
And I feel that my heart knows the refrain/
I guess it's just the music that brings on nostalgia
For an age yet to come" - Pete Shelley (Nostalgia - Buzzcocks)
On this day in 1968 Decca Records released what has been called The Rolling Stones most
political song, 'Street Fighting Man', written after Mick Jagger
attended a March 1968 anti-war rally at London's US embassy, during
which mounted police attempted to control a crowd of 25,000. The single
was kept out of the US Top 40 (reaching No.48) because many radio
stations refused to play it based on what were perceived as subversive
The song has been covered down through the years by:
Born on this day in 1939, John Peel, BBC radio DJ. journalist and TV presenter,
born John Robert Parker Ravenscroft. He was the longest running BBC
Radio 1 and the most influential British DJ ever. He was one of the
first broadcasters to play psychedelic rock and progressive rock records
on British radio, and is widely acknowledged for promoting artists
working in various genres, including pop, reggae, indie rock,
alternative rock, punk, hardcore punk, breakcore, grindcore, death
metal, British hip hop, and dance music. Peel died in Cuzco, Peru of a
heart attack on 25th October 2004 aged 65.
Born on this day in 1919 Ellen Muriel Deason who became known as Kitty Wells. Her June 1952 hit 'It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels', made her the first female country singer to top the US country charts (it spent 6 weeks at #1), and turned her into the first female country star. The song was an answer to Hank Thompson's 'Wild Side of Life', that had been released in March 1952 (and had spent 15 weeks as #1 on the Billboard Country Charts).
We begin the second part of this reflection of the music of The Mod Revival (and I think I might have to stretch to a third part as well) with a band that I had the pleasure of working with briefly back in early '80's - Long Tall Shorty.
Click on the links to enjoy the music.
Their first single was released on Warner Brothers as part of a collection of bands signed up by Jimmy Pursey of Sham 69 (the others were Angelic Upstarts and The Kidz Next Door), but due some dodgy tactics by the label the single never really got the shot it deserved.
What I liked about LTS was their ability to not only draw upon the great weight of fine 60's tunes but also their nack of writing great songs themselves clearly inspired by the whole Punk scene (something that many a Mod would never admit to!). When they got back together again in 2000 it was not uncommon for them to be playing songs by The Heartbreakers and Angelic Upstarts.
The Purple Hearts were another band I really liked and they managed to release a few cracking singles starting with the anthemic 'Millions Like Us'. They were another band who had their roots in the Punk movement, they had formed in 1977 as The Sockets and changed their name and sound in 1978 heavily influenced by The Jam of course.
In support of their debut single they hit the road with Secret Affair and Back To Zero on 'The March of The Mods Tour'.
Quite a number of the bands from back in 1979-80 are still out playing today, Purple Hearts are among them.
Billy Idol is set to release his first album in almost decade in October. The album is produced by Trevor Horn and is entitled 'Kings and Queens of the Underground'.
1. Bitter Pill
2. Can’t Break Me Down
3. Save Me Now
4. One Breath Away
5. Postcards From The Past
6. Kings and Queens Of The Underground
7. Eyes Wide Shut
8. Ghosts In My Guitar
9. Nothing To Fear
10. Love And Glory
11. Whiskey And Pills
On this day in 1965, Sonny & Cher were at
No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'I Got You Babe', the duo's only UK
No.1. Sonny Bono was inspired to write the song to capitalize on the popularity of the term "babe," as heard in Bob Dylan's 'It Ain't Me Babe.
There's been a few good covers of the song down through the years and this one by Holly and Joey is my favourite.
This is a reposting of a couple pieces I did a couple of years back (and stuck together for effect). I have edited it a bit and added some new links.
Between January 1974 and July 1975 Bruce Springsteen was in the studio with The E Street Band trying to create his third album. His first album ('Greetings From Asbury Park , N.J.') did not sell so well - only 25,000 copies in the first year alone! Neither for that matter did the follow up ('The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle'), which hit the streets 8 months later and was dogged by slow sales.
There are two things that stand out to me about Springsteen
at this time. Firstly, his record company signed him with an awful lot
of hype that he was the "New Dylan", but Bruce has never been the "New
Anyone", he's always been himself no matter what the expectations of his
label or the music press were. Secondly, the first two albums, whilst
good, fail to actually capture the true nature of Springsteen's music,
for that you would have to rely on his live shows to get a real feel for
how these first 16 studio creations should sound. I've heard quite a
number of bootlegs from these days and they are phenomenal (for 1973 shows click here. For 1974 shows click here. And for 1975 shows click here. Can't be totally sure that the links to the bootlegs are actually still working but it's worth having a shot at them).
The songs that made up the first two
albums became another lifeforce when played live and maybe as he entered
the studio in January 1974 to begin work on the new album that was in
the back of his mind because he was about to create an album that was a
sonic assault on the senses after the fashion of Phil Spector's Wall of Sound!
With a bigger budget to "play with" and
the added pressure of his record company expecting to claw some money
back after the first two failures (in their eyes, though both albums
garnered critical praise) he began crafting the songs and finely tuning
them to become the 8 songs that make up the release, surely one of the
best 39 minutes and 26 seconds ever carved out on Vinyl! The process
probably took a lot longer than he wanted (14 months) and it didn't help
that he got stuck for six months working on the title track alone!
On it's release it finally broke the top
ten in the USA peaking at #3 (it had entered the Billboard Charts at
#84 on September 13th 1975 and the following week had a massive jump to
#8) whilst in the UK it reached #17.
All of this success elevated Bruce Springsteen
to such dizzy heights - appearing on the cover of both Time and
Newsweek in the same week and his record company almost went into
overdrive to see the album gain international success (most of this type
of hype though was quite despised by Springsteen himself).
I was 10 years old when Springsteen's
first two albums came out (ok, technically for the first one I was still
9 years old) and although I really didn't have much of a clue what he
was singing about half the time, I mean did you know what a "month long vaction in the stratosphere" (from 'Growin' Up') was when you were 9? Neither did I but I remember hearing songs like 'Blinded by the Light'
and being totally amazed at the amount of words he was using in a song
and I was hooked. And when the second album came around I probably still
hadn't matured enough to even begin to know what he was talking about
in 'Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)' when he sang, "The only lover I'm ever gonna need's your soft sweet little girl's tongue Rosie you're the one," but it sounded a little exciting!
On August 25th 1975 I was 12 years, 3
months and 19 days old (or young), I was heading for my teenage years
fast and on that day Bruce released the album by which set the standard
he would be judged by the rest of his career. Eight songs about going
places, cars, and girls (I had pretty much discovered them at such a
tender age and they weren't smelly like we thought and they were
actually really nice to kiss without running away!). I think I even knew
at that age that the place I lived would not confine me the rest of my
days and so when the final line of 'Thunder Road' kicks in - "It's a town full of losers/And I'm pulling out of here to win,"
- I know exactly what Bruce is saying and he's telling me that there's a
road to be travelled that you'll never discover it if you stay!
I wanted friends like Bruce had in 'Tenth Avenue Freeze-out' like "Scooter and the Big Man" and I had a feeling that I'd know by experience quite soon that "Somewhere tonight you run sad and free/Until all you can see is the night" (from 'Night'), and that desire in 'Born to Run' - "I want to know if love is wild/girl I want to know if love is real" - I didn't realise then that it would take many, many years to have that one answered! I
was still on the journey of discovery and there was a word of hope that
seemed to stick with me like a friend throughout all of those days,
months and years:
"Someday girl I don't know when
we're gonna get to that place
Where we really want to go
and we'll walk in the sun
But till then tramps like us
baby we were born to run"
I don't know about you but it's hard to imagine if this album would have been as successful had 'Born to Run' not been included! Also, and Heylin doesn't mention this, I wonder what the album title would have been?
It also throws up the question whether Bruce would ever actually know the kind of success he enjoys today had he left the track off of the album.
Setlist: 01 - Moving On 02 - Misery Business 03 - Decode 04 - Now 05 - Renegade 06 - Pressure 07 - Ain't It Fun 08 - Fast In My Car 09 - Ignorance 10 - Looking Up 11 - Anklebiters 12 - Thats What You Get 13 - Proof 14 - Brick by Boring Brick
Setlist: Still Into You That's What You Get For a Pessimist, I'm Pretty Optimistic Ignorance Pressure Decode The Only Exception Last Hope Brick by Boring Brick Misery Business Let the Flames Begin Part II Proof Ain't It Fun
Bank Holiday Weekends always remind me of times down at a beach town (especially Brighton and Hastings). I found myself there a few times back when I was younger. Firstly for a UK Subs show on Hastings Pier with local Mod band Teenbeats as support. Another time it was Brighton when I accompanied seasoned DJ Jerry Floyd for a huge show on The Lambrettas Beat Boys in the Jet Age tour. Another time it was for a show by The Chords. The music of the Mod Revival of 1979 is a bit of a pick and mix, not all of it was great but there were a few bands who were fantastic live and just happened to make brilliant records. I thought I'd share a few bits and pieces that I have in my own collection that still thrill me when I hear them today. Click on the links to enjoy the music. You cannot really focus on The Mod Revival without actually thinking about The Jam. They popped up in the nation's conciousness back in May 1977 with their ground breaking debut album 'In The City' on Polydor records.
Another band in 1977 who were destined to play an important part in The Mod Revival of 1979 are Power Pop's New Hearts featuring Ian Page and Dave Cairns. They only released two singles on CBS before regrouping and forming what would be one of the stand out bands of the time in Secret Affair.
Their debut on I-Spy Records, 'Glory Boys' I still think stands the test of time and is loaded with brilliant songs including the excellent 'Days of Change' and 'I'm Not Free (But I'm Cheap)'. After another two albums they packed it all in back in 1982 but are currently back on the circuit and released a new album 'Soho Dreams' (Listen to 'Walk Away' here) in 2012.
The Chords were another at the forefront of the new Mod movement and they released some cracking material. Their debut album, 'So Far Away' doesn't have a single track on it that you would skip over (the whole album used to be on You Tube but I can't seem to find it now).