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Live It Up 59: Drive

I saw from The Guardian that Ric Ocasek, song-writer for the US band The Cars, has died.

The group’s highest UK chart placing was at no. 3 with My Best Friend’s Girl in 1978, a song which was of a piece with those punkish times.

The much less abrasive Drive reached no. 5 in 1984 but its use the next year in the Live Aid concert of 1985 to background scenes of the famine the concert was designed to help alleviate led to a reissue where it climbed to no. 4. Since then it’s been almost impossible to hear the song without those images coming to mind.

This, though, is the official video from the original release.

The Cars: Drive

Richard Theodore Otcasek (Ric Ocasek): 23/3/1944 – 15/9/2019. So it goes.

Live It Up 58: Twist in my Sobriety

The second single – and second hit – from the laconic Tanita Tikaram.

It’s unusual to hear an oboe so prominently in a pop song.

Tanita Tikaram – Twist in my Sobriety

Something Changed 26: Disco 2000

Another of Pulp’s mid-decade classics from the Different Class album.

Let’s all meet up in the year 2000? It’s 2019 now. How did that happen?

This must be the single version though as the track on the album had a descending guitar line in the chorus that isn’t audible here.

Pulp: Disco 2000

Friday on my Mind 182: On the Road Again

An authentic blues song (it might not start, “Well I woke up this morning,” but each verse’s first line is repeated,) Canned Heat adapted On the Road Again from a Floyd Jones song which was itself derived from older blues material. Everything builds on everything. The drone effect (cf bagpipes) is as old as time. Well, as old as written music.

At the time it was released in the UK in 1968 it stood out from its surroundings.

Canned Heat: On the Road Again

Reelin’ In the Years 163: Home Thoughts from Abroad

Another from Clifford T Ward. In fact the one I referred to in this category’s 147th post.

Here’s Clifford in a live BBC TV performance.

Clifford T Ward: Home Thoughts from Abroad.

Something Changed 25: All You Good Good People

There was just something about this that I liked.

Maybe it was because the sound reminded me of Badfinger, as I’ve mentioned before, specifically Day After Day.

Embrace: All You Good Good People

Friday on my Mind 181: I’m the Urban Spaceman

A piece of one-off absurdism from 1968. One-off in the sense that the Bonzo Dog (Doo-Dah) Band didn’t trouble the charts again. The brackets I put in the name are because the band changed it – dropping the Doo-Dah (which had originally been Dada) – at around the time Urban Spaceman was released.

Yes, they were bonkers, but in a Monty Pythonish way. There was something in the air in Britain in the late sixties.

The song’s writer Neil Innes was a genius as his later work with The Rutles and The Innes Book of Records proved.

I remember a TV appearance where Viv Stanshall “played” the last musical phrase of Spaceman on a hose-pipe, while whirling it around his head.

The recording was produced by one Apollo C Vermouth (otherwise known as Paul McCartney.)

The Bonzo Dog Band: I’m the Urban Spaceman

Reelin’ In the Years 162: Locomotive Breath

Tull in their pomp. An acknowledgement of their bluesy origins in the intro leading into a complete rock-out and then one of Ian Anderson’s trademark flute solos. The mix of blues and rock also pointed to Prog Rock leanings but Tull always denied they ever purveyed Prog.

Edited to add. This video has the LP track overdubbed onto concert footage.

Jethro Tull: Locomotive Breath

Something Changed 24: Man on the Moon

It’s a day early for the fiftieth anniversary of the real moon landing and the lyric actually has nothing to do with it, but hey, it’s a good song.

REM: Man on the Moon

Live It Up 56: Don’t Talk to Me About Love

In the sixties and seventies Scottish pop acts who had success in the wider world weren’t all that numerous. By the eighties things had improved a bit. Altered Images were to the forefront.

Here’s a Top of the Pops appearance of theirs from 1983. I didn’t remember quite how much electronic instrumentation there is in this.

Altered Images: Don’t Talk to Me About Love

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