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Little Richard

By the time I started listening to popular music Little Richard had passed his heyday. It was still obvious though that he had been important in the development of rock’n’roll – an influence on so many popular musicians of the 1960s and later. Sadly he joined the roll call of the departed this week.

There is really only one phrase with which to sign him off.

Awopbopaloobop alopbambom!

Little Richard: Tutti Frutti

Richard Wayne Penniman (Little Richard) 5/12/1932 – 9/5/2020. So it goes.

Live It Up 67: Tour de France – RIP Florian Schneider

It’s not given to many musicians to change the course of popular music, but Kraftwerk certainly did. While not inventing electronic music (Delia Derbyshire and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop did that) they were the first to consider it as a new form of popular music. Sadly, founding member Florian Schneider died late last month.

I first heard of Kraftwerk in that famous Tomorrow’s World piece. At the time I thought their sound was a little soulless and wouldn’t catch on. It did.

Kraftwerk: Tour de France

Florian Schneider (Florian Schneider-Esleben:) 7/4/1947 – 21/3/2020. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 189: My Boy Lollipop (RIP Millie Small)

Millie, as Millie Small was known on her records, who has died this week, had one of the most distinctive hits of the early 1960s. My Boy Lollipop was the first bluebeat/ska song to be a hit but it was Millie’s delivery that really caught the ear. She just sounded so joyous.

Sadly that hit was more or less her only one and she did not gain much benefit from it.

Millie: My Boy Lollipop

Millicent Dolly May (Millie) Small: 6/10/1947 – 5/5/2020. So it goes.

Live It Up 66: Golden Brown – RIP Dave Greenfield

I wasn’t really much into the Stranglers. They were/are however my brother-in-law’s favourite band.

It was nevertheless sad to hear of Dave Greenfield’s death, especially since he contracted coronavirus while in hospital with a heart problem.

Golden Brown however I found very much to my taste.

The Stranglers: Golden Brown

David Paul (Dave) Greenfield: 29/3/1949 – 3/5/2020. So it goes.

Something Changed 33: Babylon

The one that broke Gray in the UK as far as singles were concerned. I remember watching him playing his set (I think at Glastonbury) that year and introducing this by saying, “I suppose it’s time we played our hit.”

David Gray: Babylon

Reelin’ in the Years 172: Wuthering Heights

This was the song that introduced Kate Bush to the world.

And over forty years later I finally got round to reading the book which inspired it.

Kate Bush: Wuthering Heights

The Cruiser Aurora, St Petersburg

The Cruiser Aurora is now the Russian Navy’s Ship No 1. It’s anchored by the Petrogradskaya Naberezhnaya (Petrograd Embankment) on the Bolshaya Nevka River, an offshoot of the River Neva, in St Petersburg. (The embankment link has a cracking aerial photo.)

The cruiser fired the blank shot which signalled the start of the October Revolution in 1917. It was also one of only three Russian ships to survive the Battle of Tsushima in the Russo-Japanese War.

I was really looking forward to seeing it again. I don’t remember the green paint at the waterline from when I visited in the 1960s, but we did hear someone say it had recently been repainted. It’s looking in very good nick.

Stern of Aurora:-

The Cruiser Aurora

Saltire:-

Saltire flown on the Cruiser Aurora

Gangplank and public access. There was a big queue at the ticket gate but we had only a short time at the quay anyway before we had to reboard the coach:-

Gangplank and Cruiser Aurora

Looking towards bow:-

The Cruiser Aurora Looking Sternwards.

View showing bow:-

Aurora

Flag at prow. It looks like a bit like a reconfigured Union Jack. It’s the Jack and fortress flag of the Russian Navy:-

Aurora flag

Aurora memorial stone on the quayside:-

Cruiser Aurora Memorial Stone

The St Petersburg Naval Academy is also on the embankment opposite the Aurora. This statue outside the St Petersburg Naval Academy is of the famous (in Russia) Admiral Pavel Stepanovich Nakhimov, for a further picture on the net see here:-

Statue of Admiral, St Petersburg Naval Academy

Just round the corner on the the Petrovskaya Embankment was this monument to the three-hundredth Anniversary of the Russian Navy. Cruiser Aurora to right and Naval Academy in background in first picture:-

Russian Navy Three-Hundredth Anniversary Monument, St Petersburg

St Petersburg, Russian Navy's Three-Hundredth Anniversary Monument,

THe plaza between it and the Naval Academy had a nice fountain. The lamp standards are a good design too:-

A Fountain, St Petersburg,

Live It Up 65: Leningrad

Well, Leningrad is what St Petersburg (see surrounding posts) was once named – and was so the first time I visited it. And when Billy Joel did.

The song is perhaps a bit too sentimental but also lies in that vein of historiography that was true of the same singer’s We Didn’t Start the Fire.

Billy Joel: Leningrad

Reelin’ in the Years 171: Ain’t No Sunshine. RIP Bill Withers

Another 1970s songwriter gone.

Writing a love song, or at least a good love song, is a difficult trick to pull off. That Bill Withers managed to tread the line between enuine feeling and mawkish sentimentality on the right side speaks of his talent.

He had very few hits but the songs for which he’ll be remembered in the UK, Lean on Me, Just the Two of Us, Lovely Day and Ain’t No Sunshine, do just that. Lovely Day is one of the few examples of a feel-good song that is pitch perfect.

The last of those four seems more appropriate to mark his passing though.

Bill Withers: Ain’t No Sunshine

William Harrison (Bill) Withers: July 4/7/1938 – March 30/3/2020. So it goes.

Not Friday on my Mind 60: From Home

From home is where we’re all doing things at the moment. It brought this to mind.

(Not that the song has anything to do with coronavirus. Keep safe everyone.)

It was the B-side of Wild Thing, at least in the UK.

There’s that earthy very Troggy quality to this and listening to it again it presages both punk and Adam and the Aunts.

There’s a video clip here of the group performing it live in 1967.

The Troggs: From Home

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