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Live It Up 37: Marlene on the Wall

This song was the inspiration for a character in one of the short stories I had published in the late lamented Spectrum SF. I didn’t actually spell that out though.

Suzanne Vega: Marlene on the Wall

Reelin’ In the Years 134: Blockbuster

That siren sound announced the change from the Sweet’s previously bubble-gummy sound to something more hard-edged. It gave them their only UK no 1.

Surprisingly it wasn’t as big a hit in the US as the totally bland Little Willy had been.

The Sweet: Blockbuster

Friday on my Mind 150: Captain Zeppos Theme – Living It Up

A curio.

For some reason the 60s TV import Captain Zeppos came into my head recently. The series was made in Belgium and as such was a very unusual thing to be shown in Britain where foreign-made programmes were very thin on the ground (bizarre animated shorts from Eastern Europe apart.)

I vaguely remembered Captain Zeppos as a sort of detective show but it seems it was much odder.

The tune was performed by Bert Kaempfert and his Orchestra. Kaempfert was a German band leader of the easy-listening type.

This is very typically European in its style.

Bert Kaempfert and his Orchestra: Living It Up

Live It Up 36: Warm Wet Circles

A piece of late flowering Fish-era Marillion, the third single from Clutching at Straws, the last album to feature Fish as singer and lyricist.

Marillion: Warm Wet Circles

Friday on my Mind 149: Foot Tapper. RIP Brian Matthew

It was with great sadness I heard on Sunday of the death of Brian Matthew, one of the voices of my youth and, through the BBC Radio 2 programme Sounds of the Sixties, also of my recent adulthood.

This came only a few days after the BBC had mistakenly reported his death.

Despite his apparent dismay at a crass decision by the powers that be to replace him, and his stated intention to make further programmes for Radio 2, Mathew was obviously not as hale and hearty as he once was (none of us are.) There had been another lengthy absence from the programme a couple of years ago so the final news was merely a confirmation of what I had feared.

Whatever, Sounds of the Sixties is not – and never can be – the same without him. The new incumbent, Tony Blackburn, is far too chatty (what is all that stuff with Dermot O’Leary, who follows him on air? Just play the music and give us the information about the acts) and always sounds fundamentally unserious about the show’s contents. It’s Blackburn’s style and has always been his style but it grates somehow.

So. Here is the tune that will forever now be associated with Matthew – the one with which Sounds of the Sixties played (and plays) out every episode and which I will never in future be able to hear without a further tinge of sadness.

The Shadows: Foot Tapper

Brian Matthew: 17/9/1928 – 8/4/2017. So it goes.

Live It Up 35: Reward

What a striking opening line. “Bless my cotton socks I’m in the news.”

This, the biggest hit from The Teardrop Explodes, screams 1980s but is somehow also timeless – and the brass was an unusual touch.

Reward is also notable for having a definite ending and not fading the way most pop songs do. Anything else though would have been a travesty.

Herewith is a live version.

The Teardrop Explodes: Reward

Reelin’ In the Years 133: Comin’ Home

A guitar heavy one from 1970.

Delaney and Bonnie – under whose name along with their friends – this song was released formed a rotating ensemble using many musicians among whom was Eric Clapton who features on this recording.

Delaney and Bonnie and Friends featuring Eric Clapton: Comin’ Home

Chuck Berry

Reading his obituary and a piece in the Guardian’s G2 brought home to me how important Chuck Berry was to the development of rock and roll and the music that followed it.

His heyday was in the 50s so I had kind of missed all that by being too young. I must have been aware of him somewhere in the background via the paltry amount of rock music on the radio in those times but I didn’t really come into contact with his music till the mid to late 60s when some of his singles were in the pile beside the record player at a youth club I went to. It’s therefore No Particular Place to Go and Memphis Tenessee I remember most particularly. It wasn’t actually till years later that I discovered No Particular Place to Go was a reworking of a 1957 song, School Day (Ring! Ring! Goes the Bell).

Not the least of his accomplishments was to irritate Mary Whitehouse with his ding-a-ling. (Well, it seems it was Dave Bartholomew’s ding-a-ling, but it was Chuck who annoyed Whitehouse.)

His personal life may not have been unblemished but he certainly has an impressive musical back catalogue, and that’s only the singles.

So here are those two Berry singles the second in a later live version.

Chuck Berry: No Particular Place to Go

Chuck Berry: Memphis Tenessee

Go Johnny go! Tell Tchaikovsky the news.

Charles Edward Anderson “Chuck” Berry: 18/10/1926 – 18/3/2017. So it goes.

Reelin’ In the Years 132: Changes

Following last week’s offering from Black Sabbath here’s a more famous Changes – the Bowie song, here taken from BBC sessions. To my mind there’s a lot more energy in this live version than the LP track.

David Bowie: Changes

Reelin’ In the Years 131: Changes

A most un-Black Sabbath-like Black Sabbath song, I include this not only for the mellotron but the similarity of the piano chords to those in Birth by The Peddlers and Elton John’s Border Song.

Black Sabbath: Changes

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