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Live It Up 82: Ashes to Ashes

Despite the 1970s being Bowie’s break-through decade (his first No. 1 Space Oddity in 1969 was something of a false dawn and for a time he had looked to be a one-hit wonder) he didn’t have a No. 1 in that decade, having to wait till 1980 for this song to be his second to top the UK charts, helped by a distinctly weird video, which was made to look like it had been filmed on another planet and whose lyric referred back to Space Oddity and gave a fresh angle on that earlier song

For myself I think it was the sound of a mellotron in the mix that made it.

David Bowie: Ashes to Ashes

Something Changed 48: Sit Down

Like the good lady, in the 1990s I had a bit of a soft spot for James.

Sit Down was the band’s biggest hit.

An acquaintance of mine once complained he hated that when it came to the middle eight of this song people listening to it would start to sit down. As if it was the group’s fault.

My feeling is that artists aren’t responsible for the way people react to their creations. George Orwell couldn’t have foreseen folk saying, “it’s like 1984, isn’t it?”

James: Sit Down

This is the originally released version from 1989. It doesn’t have quite the bite of the later release and the video is a bit unimaginative.

Reelin’ in the Years 192 – Make It With You

I mentioned here that David Gates of Bread somehow managed to write love songs that just hit the spot.

From 1970, this was the group’s first UK hit.

Bread: Make It With You

Friday on my Mind 207: The Price of Love. RIP Don Everly

Don Everly, half of pioneering rock music duo the Everly Brothers, who had an undeniable impact and influence on musical acts who succeeded them, including The Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel, died earlier this week. (I noted his brother Phil’s passing in 2014.)

Don was 81. (Astonishingly, the obituary in the printed edition of the Guardian said he was survived by his mother, who has therefore reached a very good age)

By the time I got to listening to music in the mid-60s the Everlys star had waned somewhat but their harmonies still had a distinctive edge.

This song, written by the brothers, was the Everlys last big hit in the UK.

The Everly Brothers: The Price of Love


Isaac Donald (Don) Everly: February 1/2/1937 –21/8/2021. So it goes.

Charlie Watts

Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, never really one to seek the limelight so it’s a bit ironic he was a member of one of the biggest entertainment acts of the last 60 years, has died. He was a key contributor to that act’s sound.

I was of course aware of The Rolling Stones from frequent TV appearances before 1966 but that was the year my family finally got a transistor radio and I could listen to the radio on my own. As a result Let’s Spend the Night Together was the first Stones track that really made an impact on me.

This is a clip I remember vividly from Top of the Pops and shows Mick Jagger’s ability to sell a song. He’s moving around so much that the cameraman’s close-up fails to keep him in shot. Charlie drum rolls on this are delicious, though, and make the track.

As I recall some DJs and radio stations in the US objected to the implication in the song’s title and demanded it be changed to Let’s Spend Some Time Together.

The Rolling Stones: Let’s Spend the Night Together

That single’s double A-side, Ruby Tuesday, features some more signature drumming by Charlie.

The Rolling Stones: Ruby Tuesday

Charles Robert (Charlie) Watts: 2/6/1941 – 24/8/2021. So it goes.

Live It Up 81: Freaks

A stop-gap single to promote Marillion’s live album The Thieving Magpie released after Fish had left the group, though he was on vocals for this.

Marillion: Freaks

Something Changed 47: If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next

I would wager there haven’t been many songs written in English about the Spanish Civil War.

Still fewer have been chart hits.

This one made number 1 in the UK.

Sadly its message is even more relevant today than it was in the 90s.

Manic Street Preachers: If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next

Not Friday on my Mind 67: Lodi

This was Creedence Clearwater Revival’s immediate follow up to their no 1 hit Bad Moon Rising. It failed to chart in the UK. I still have a soft spot for it, though.

Creedence Clearwater Revival: Lodi

Friday on my Mind 206: Western Union

This is a very typical USian mid-60s sound. I certainly hear echoes of the Monkees.

The sentiments of the song are a rewriting of Return to Sender though.

The Five Americans: Western Union

Reelin’ in the Years 191: Gaye

Following the last song in this category another one with gay in its title but this time it’s the girl’s name.

One of Clifford T Ward’s understated (but the more effective for it) love songs.

Clifford T Ward: Gaye

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