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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

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

Live it Up 34: Rip George Michael

This category’s title is horribly inappropriate given today’s subject.

I didn’t take too much to Wham! Being a schoolteacher relatively new to the game in the early 1980s it was a mystery to me why certain acts inspired adolescent devotion. From the perspective of thirty years later this frothy concoction is more understandable. It exudes the exuberance of youth.

Wham!: Freedom

A more thoughtful sound soon appeared though. I heard Michael accorded Andrew Ridgley a writing credit on the song below despite him not being involved. The royalties have stood Ridgley in good stead ever since. Only one among Michael’s many charitable acts.

George Michael: Careless Whisper

Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou (George Michael:) 25/6/1963 – 25/12 /2016. So it goes.

Live It Up 33: (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang

I wasn’t one for dance music (and we’ll forget the outrageous but intentional misspelling in the song’s title for the moment) but the title of this has become very to the point this month.

As has the lyric. Just replace “Reagan’s” with “Trump is” and “Generals tell him what to do” with “white supremacists tell him what to do”.

This is Heaven 17 in a live performance from a few years ago of their 1981 hit.

Heaven 17: (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang

Live It Up 32: You Spin Me Round (Like A Record): RIP Pete Burns

The obituary of flamboyant front man of Dead or Alive, Pete Burns, appeared on the same page of the Guardian as that of Bobby Vee.

1980s music wasn’t generally to my taste, especially the output overseen by Stock, Aitken and Waterman under whom Burns’s band Dead or Alive had their biggest hit but Burns himself was certainly distinctive. He apparently claimed that Boy George modelled himself on him.

Burns’s career as a pop star was relatively brief and he later became more famous for being Pete Burns and less than an ideal advert for plastic surgery.

Dead or Alive: You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)

Peter Jozzeppi Burns, 5/8/1959-23/10/2016. So it goes.

Live It Up 30: Dear Prudence

A reference to Siouxsie and the Banshees in Andrew Greig’s In Another Light (review to come) reminded me of the band’s treatment of this Beatles’ song.

Siouxsie and the Banshees: Dear Prudence

RIP Prince

Another total shock. Another untimely death. Prince was even younger than Victoria Wood.

There was a lot going on in my life around the time he started to make his way in the music business so it wasn’t till the single Purple Rain that I really became conscious of his work.

There were rumours he was very prolific; Wikipedia lists no less than 39 studio albums 17 more of various stamp. There are also rumoured to be hundreds of unreleased tracks hidden away in Paisley Park.

Prince was very protective of his intellectual property so there’s no video in this post.

Hum Raspberry Beret to yourselves.

Prince Rogers Nelson: 7/6/1958 – 21/4/2016. So it goes.

Live It Up 28: Letter From America

The Proclaimers’ first statement to the world; an unlikely hit considering it’s a protest song about both the Highland clearances and industrial decline in late twentieth century central Scotland.

The original track was produced by Gerry Rafferty whose unmistakable stamp is all over the instrumental coda.

The good lady rather likes this video starring the 2 little Colins – or the Wee Proclaimers as she calls them:-

This is the lads themselves appearing on the Dutch TV show TopPop whose producers seem to have taken the song’s title a bit too literally.

The Proclaimers: Letter From America

Live It Up 27: Nothing Has Been Proved

The second of Dusty’s collaborations with the Pet Shop Boys (after What Have I Done to Deserve This?) but this one doesn’t really feature them except as writers and producers. On the face of it a song about the Profumo affair would perhaps have been an unlikely hit except it of course appeared over the end credits of the film Scandal.

Dusty Springfield: Nothing Has Been Proved

Live It Up 26: Lavender

I haven’t had Marillion here for a while. This is a clever reworking of the nursery rhyme, with a sly Yardbirds reference thrown in. As I recall when the band appeared on Top of the Pops with this Fish had a sore throat and was unable to sing so he held up the lyrics on cards à la Bob Dylan. Not that he needed to as I’m sure miming was prevalent in those days.

Marillion: Lavender

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