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Reelin’ In the Years 126: It’s a Game

For some reason the chorus of this song has been running through my head for the past week or so. Originally performed by String Driven Thing (composed by Chris Adams of the group) and released as a single in 1973 it was a hit later in that decade for a different group which shall remain nameless.

The String Driven Thing version is better by miles in any case.

String Driven Thing: It’s a Game

Edited to add: this one didn’t go on as scheduled either. Looks like all the other ones I’ve scheduled won’t be appearing as planned.

Reelin’ In the Years 125: It Must Be Love

As well as songs written by Prince Buster, Madness also covered this one which was composed and first performed by Labi Siffre, becoming his first UK hit after his previous release Pretty Little Girl (Make My Day) failed to make the charts.

Labi Siffre: It Must Be Love

For comparison purposes here is Madness’s version.

Madness: It Must be Love

Friday on my Mind 137: Al Capone; Madness; One Step Beyond

Prince Buster, who has died recently, was one of the instigators of ska and rock-steady and hence of course influential on the eventual development of reggae.

He only had the one hit in the UK in the 1960s though.

Prince Buster: Al Capone

His music was of course an inspiration for the group Madness who not only took their name from one of Buster’s songs (which they performed as the B-side to their first hit) –

Prince Buster: Madness

– but also covered his One Step Beyond for their second UK chart entry.

Prince Buster: One Step Beyond

Cecil Bustamente Campbell (Prince Buster): 24/5/1938-8/9/2016. So it goes.

Reelin’ In the Years 124: Political Science (Let’s Drop the Big One)

Superb piece of satire from Randy Newman.

Astonishing to think this was the B-side of Sail Away. Even more astonishing it didn’t dent the UK charts.

Randy Newman: Political Science

Not Friday on my Mind 43: Darling Be Home Soon

The Lovin’ Spoonful’s Summer in the City was the second song I featured in my Friday on my Mind spot. This song could hardly be more different, wistful rather than joyful, restrained as opposed to exuberant.

Whether the story is apocryphal or not I recall reading that guitarist Zal Yanovsky didn’t like the direction the group was taking hence his hamming up on TV appearances such as this one.

The Lovin’ Spoonful: Darling Be Home Soon

Reelin’ In the Years 123: Ballroom Blitz

I remember my father having a fit at the sight of men in make-up and flirting with the camera on Top of the Pops.

The Sweet: Ballroom Blitz

Friday on my Mind 136: White Bird

From last week’s slightly ridiculous to the more sublime, a 1969 effort from the idiosyncratically named band It’s a Beautiful Day one of whose members, David LaFlamme, favoured a five stringed violin.

It’s a Beautiful Day: White Bird

Live It Up 31: Heart of Lothian

I think singer and lyric writer Fish, a lifelong Hibby (or Hibee, delete according to taste,) came to regret using the phrase heart of Lothian in this song as it was prone to misinterpretation.

The single included at its start Windswept Thumb, the conclusion to the Bitter Suite sequence which immediately preceded Heart of Lothian on the LP Misplaced Childhood.

I believe this is the official video. Check out those 80s hairstyles!

Marillion: Heart of Lothian

Not Friday on my Mind 42:- Sam

Keith West’s follow-up to Excerpt From “A Teenage Opera” was also inspired by that song’s creator Mark Wirtz but perhaps explains why the full project didn’t appear for nearly thirty years as it barely scratched the lower reaches of the charts. The similarities to the earlier hit are there but the song doesn’t cohere in quite the same way. The children’s chorus isn’t as catchy and the sequencing has more than a touch of the galloping hiccups (a complaint I have seen levelled against Bohemian Rhapsody.)

Keith West: Sam

Friday on my Mind 135: Excerpt From “A Teenage Opera”

I mentioned this song once before. Its singer Keith West also had an incarnation with the band Tomorrow.

The Teenage Opera from which this was an excerpt did not make its full appearance until thirty years or so later.

As you can imagine being named Jack and at school at a time when a song with the refrain “Grocer Jack” became a hit wasn’t an unalloyed joy.

Keith West: Excerpt From “A Teenage Opera”

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