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Thursday, 30 June 2011

The Alarm The Sound and The Fury CD

Seems almost fitting that on the 20th Anniversary of The Alarm splitting up in 1991 that through my letter box this morning should come the brand new album by The Alarm entitled 'The Sound and the Fury - 30th Anniversary Edition' on CD/DVD.

Just finished watching the DVD. Have to say that it was a really well made film by Andy Labrow documenting the making of the album. Running for an hour and a half it was loaded with insightful footage and wee interviews spots with Mike Peters.

So what of the music on the CD? Well, this is where it gets a little bit interesting. Many of the songs are of course built on 'The Alarm' sound of acoustic guitars and powerful drums, and then a nice few touches of Electric are added to fill them out (some nice work by James Stevenson from what I gathered from the DVD). Mike said that the album was born whilst out on the road with the 'Direct Action Acoustic Tour' from last year when he would step on stage without a setlist and take his cues from what songs the crowd shouted out to him. This often meant him playing some more obscure songs that rarely got an airing at an Alarm show

I'll go through it track by track and pass some comment as I go along. The * next to each title will be my rating out of 5

01 Unbreak the Promise ***
There are a few folks in Alarm world who are not overly fussed with the new rendering of this song, I have to admit I'm not one of them. I think it's not bad and it is bolstered by the singing of The Alarm Choir from The Gathering back in January this year. By the way, everyone who attended The Gathering gets a name check on the DVD and in the album artwork (another fine job done by Karl Parsons). This song is also out as single that includes a live version from The Gathering and three Alarm/Mike Peters medleys that encompass the history of the man and his band.

02 Shelter *****
I like the fact that on this album they have chosen not to go with the more well known songs of The Alarm (I guess that would have been the easy thing to do) but have taken album tracks, a couple of obscure tracks and given them a reworking. 'Shelter' actually sounds much better I think than it's original incarnation.

Shelter (Live in Bristol 19th May 2011)

03 The Rock ****
I remember this as being quite a quiet track but it's got a much beefier sound with some crunching guitars and quality drumming from Smiley.

04 Peace Agreement ***
Originally recorded as part of The Bond series (#3 Trafficking) and I guess kind of lost when putting together the 'Poppyfields' album (but then again there are a few brilliant tracks from that series which have not seen light of day - 'In The Beauty Of My Surroundings' is one I thought they would have put on either 'In The Poppyfields' or 'Under Attack'). It's not a bad song.

05 Fade In Fade Out Fade Away *****
One from the Coloursound catalog and I think this one sounds just brilliant. I hope Billy Duffy gets a chance to hear this because I think even he would be impressed by the updated sound.

06 Who's Gonna Make The Peace? **
The first of a few tracks from Mike's solo years. This was originally on the 'Breathe' album from 1995. On the original it starts off with a Cello (I think) but this new version is just Mike and his acoustic guitar until two thirds of the way through when the band kicks in. Probably not my favourite of Mike's solo but it does sound fresh on this album.

07 Strength To Strength ****
Interesting choice this one because it was never released before (though it was on the 'Change Acoustic Demos'). What I liked about this one is that it gets a full band treatment and sounds really good. The 'Demo' version showed it as song that had some potential to be good but for some unknown reason they never took it any further. I'm pleased that they included this one as today's Alarm give it the justice it deserved.

08 Back Into The System **
Released as a single as long ago as 1994 and the drum intro on this sounds better than the feedback guitars that graced the single. Not my favourite track from the album.

09 How The Mighty Fall ***
Was first released as part of the 'Change' album and it is a little bit similar to that version, though far more acoustic (and a few nice keyboard touches from Mark Taylor). Not bad at all.

10 For Freedom *****
Taking it right back to the beginning. One of the interesting things about this song is that it is actually only the second time it's ever been on an 'Studio' album by The Alarm. The first time was on the 'BBC Radio Sessions' album that came out in 2008. The song itself dates back to the 80's and so it's a miracle that it has never been recorded in the studio for release before now (it has been on several Alarm albums/collections but as a live version only). On many of the early setlists 'For Freedom' would follow 'Declaration'. The new recording actually has an original Alarm feel to it and sounds pretty impressive. Lyrically it could have been written just yesterday such is the contemporary nature of the song.

11 Only The Thunder ****
This is one song I really thought deserved to be be redone. Listening to the older version on the 'Strength' album after hearing this is like night and day.

Only The Thunder (The Gathering, Acoustic Set)

12 Howling Wind ***** (if I could give it 6 I would!)
Of all the tracks on the new album this one was the one I was actually most hesistant about. It is probably my favourite track off of the 'Declaration' album. I was pleased when watching the DVD because he said that the inspiration to do this for the album came from playing it at Rhondda Rocks at the suggestion of someone in the crowd of people who did that walk. Prior to the walk I had asked him about playing the song, so inadvertently my suggestion (and maybe someone else on that walk) contributed something to the album! Anyway, I diverted from what I was going to say. For me this is the standout track of the whole album. Everything about the way it has been recorded brings the song to life in a new and fresh way. Great drums, superb backing vocals, wonderful guitar sound and still some of the finest lyrics ever been penned for an Alarm song!

June 30th 1991

On this day in history, 20 years ago to be exact, The Alarm played their final show at Brixton Academy.

I had been living up here in Scotland for three years and so never got to see it (though I have seen a video of the show). Was mighty glad though when Mike Peters got the band up and running again (but with a different line-up of course)!

The Setlist
Blaze of Glory (Acapella)
Rockin' in the Free World
The Road
Knife Edge
68 Guns
The Wind Blows Away My Words
God Save Somebody
Absolute Reality
Devolution Workin' Man Blues
Howling Wind
Rain in the Summertime
Sold Me Down The River
Spirit of '76
Rescue Me
Where Were You Hiding When the Storm Broke
The Stand
Moments in Time
Blaze of Glory

68 Guns

Howling Wind

Moments In Time

 Download the Complete Show Here

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Bruce's Eulogy for The Big Man Clarence Clemons

This is a slightly revised version of the eulogy I delivered for Clarence at his memorial. I'd like to thank all our fans and friends who have comforted us over the past difficult weeks. FOR THE BIG MAN

I've been sitting here listening to everyone talk about Clarence and staring at that photo of the two of us right there. It's a picture of Scooter and The Big Man, people who we were sometimes. As you can see in this particular photo, Clarence is admiring his muscles and I'm pretending to be nonchalant while leaning upon him. I leaned on Clarence a lot; I made a career out of it in some ways.

Those of us who shared Clarence's life, shared with him his love and his confusion. Though "C" mellowed with age, he was always a wild and unpredictable ride. Today I see his sons Nicky, Chuck, Christopher and Jarod sitting here and I see in them the reflection of a lot of C's qualities. I see his light, his darkness, his sweetness, his roughness, his gentleness, his anger, his brilliance, his handsomeness, and his goodness. But, as you boys know your pop was a not a day at the beach. "C" lived a life where he did what he wanted to do and he let the chips, human and otherwise, fall where they may. Like a lot of us your pop was capable of great magic and also of making quite an amazing mess. This was just the nature of your daddy and my beautiful friend. Clarence's unconditional love, which was very real, came with a lot of conditions. Your pop was a major project and always a work in progress. "C" never approached anything linearly, life never proceeded in a straight line. He never went A... B.... C.... D. It was always A... J.... C.... Z... Q... I....! That was the way Clarence lived and made his way through the world. I know that can lead to a lot of confusion and hurt, but your father also carried a lot of love with him, and I know he loved each of you very very dearly.

It took a village to take care of Clarence Clemons. Tina, I'm so glad you're here. Thank you for taking care of my friend, for loving him. Victoria, you've been a loving, kind and caring wife to Clarence and you made a huge difference in his life at a time when the going was not always easy. To all of "C's" vast support network, names too numerous to mention, you know who you are and we thank you. Your rewards await you at the pearly gates. My pal was a tough act but he brought things into your life that were unique and when he turned on that love light, it illuminated your world. I was lucky enough to stand in that light for almost 40 years, near Clarence's heart, in the Temple of Soul.

So a little bit of history: from the early days when Clarence and I traveled together, we'd pull up to the evening's lodgings and within minutes "C" would transform his room into a world of his own. Out came the colored scarves to be draped over the lamps, the scented candles, the incense, the patchouli oil, the herbs, the music, the day would be banished, entertainment would come and go, and Clarence the Shaman would reign and work his magic, night after night. Clarence's ability to enjoy Clarence was incredible. By 69, he'd had a good run, because he'd already lived about 10 lives, 690 years in the life of an average man. Every night, in every place, the magic came flying out of C's suitcase. As soon as success allowed, his dressing room would take on the same trappings as his hotel room until a visit there was like a trip to a sovereign nation that had just struck huge oil reserves. "C" always knew how to live. Long before Prince was out of his diapers, an air of raunchy mysticism ruled in the Big Man's world. I'd wander in from my dressing room, which contained several fine couches and some athletic lockers, and wonder what I was doing wrong! Somewhere along the way all of this was christened the Temple of Soul; and "C" presided smilingly over its secrets, and its pleasures. Being allowed admittance to the Temple's wonders was a lovely thing.

As a young child my son Sam became enchanted with the Big Man... no surprise. To a child Clarence was a towering fairy tale figure, out of some very exotic storybook. He was a dreadlocked giant, with great hands and a deep mellifluous voice sugared with kindness and regard. And... to Sammy, who was just a little white boy, he was deeply and mysteriously black. In Sammy's eyes, "C" must have appeared as all of the African continent, shot through with American cool, rolled into one welcoming and loving figure. So... Sammy decided to pass on my work shirts and became fascinated by Clarence's suits and his royal robes. He declined a seat in dad's van and opted for "C's" stretch limousine, sitting by his side on the slow cruise to the show. He decided dinner in front of the hometown locker just wouldn't do, and he'd saunter up the hall and disappear into the Temple of Soul.

Of course, also enchanted was Sam's dad, from the first time I saw my pal striding out of the shadows of a half empty bar in Asbury Park, a path opening up before him; here comes my brother, here comes my sax man, my inspiration, my partner, my lifelong friend. Standing next to Clarence was like standing next to the baddest ass on the planet. You were proud, you were strong, you were excited and laughing with what might happen, with what together, you might be able to do. You felt like no matter what the day or the night brought, nothing was going to touch you. Clarence could be fragile but he also emanated power and safety, and in some funny way we became each other's protectors; I think perhaps I protected "C" from a world where it still wasn't so easy to be big and black. Racism was ever present and over the years together, we saw it. Clarence's celebrity and size did not make him immune. I think perhaps "C" protected me from a world where it wasn't always so easy to be an insecure, weird and skinny white boy either. But, standing together we were badass, on any given night, on our turf, some of the baddest asses on the planet. We were united, we were strong, we were righteous, we were unmovable, we were funny, we were corny as hell and as serious as death itself. And we were coming to your town to shake you and to wake you up. Together, we told an older, richer story about the possibilities of friendship that transcended those I'd written in my songs and in my music. Clarence carried it in his heart. It was a story where the Scooter and the Big Man not only busted the city in half, but we kicked ass and remade the city, shaping it into the kind of place where our friendship would not be such an anomaly. And that... that's what I'm gonna miss. The chance to renew that vow and double down on that story on a nightly basis, because that is something, that is the thing that we did together... the two of us. Clarence was big, and he made me feel, and think, and love, and dream big. How big was the Big Man? Too fucking big to die. And that's just the facts. You can put it on his grave stone, you can tattoo it over your heart. Accept it... it's the New World.

Clarence doesn't leave the E Street Band when he dies. He leaves when we die.

So, I'll miss my friend, his sax, the force of nature his sound was, his glory, his foolishness, his accomplishments, his face, his hands, his humor, his skin, his noise, his confusion, his power, his peace. But his love and his story, the story that he gave me, that he whispered in my ear, that he allowed me to tell... and that he gave to you... is gonna carry on. I'm no mystic, but the undertow, the mystery and power of Clarence and my friendship leads me to believe we must have stood together in other, older times, along other rivers, in other cities, in other fields, doing our modest version of god's work... work that's still unfinished. So I won't say goodbye to my brother, I'll simply say, see you in the next life, further on up the road, where we will once again pick up that work, and get it done.

Big Man, thank you for your kindness, your strength, your dedication, your work, your story. Thanks for the miracle... and for letting a little white boy slip through the side door of the Temple of Soul.


I'm gonna leave you today with a quote from the Big Man himself, which he shared on the plane ride home from Buffalo, the last show of the last tour. As we celebrated in the front cabin congratulating one another and telling tales of the many epic shows, rocking nights and good times we'd shared, "C" sat quietly, taking it all in, then he raised his glass, smiled and said to all gathered, "This could be the start of something big."

Love you, "C".


Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Gems From My Collection - The Godfathers

If there is one band that I really wished had made it to the big time it was The Godfathers. Back in the day they were a totally class act that made some of the finest rock and roll records that have ever been released in the UK.

I have a few albums of theirs. The debut 'Hit By Hit' is just classic and contains a number of their singles prior to signing to Epic Records. Included are 'Lonely Man', 'This Damn Nation', 'I Want Everything', 'I Want You' and a great version of 'Cold Turkey'. The reissue of the album contains a number of live tracks and studio sessions from the Janice Long Show and the Andy Kershaw Show (BBC Radio 1).

Lonely Man (Live in Kilburn 1989)

I Want Everything

This Damn Nation

I Want You

From the 'Birth, School, Work, Death' Album
Cause I Said So

Birth, School, Work, Death

She Gives Me Love

Unreal World

How Does It Feel To Feel (February 2010)

I'm Lost Then I'm Found

They are actually still around today strutting their stuff around the globe and from time to time releasing new material.

Back Into The Future (Live in Spain 2011)

Their latest single is called 'The Outsider' and is available from iTunes.

I Can't Sleep Tonight (Live in London 2010)

Friday, 17 June 2011

Thirty Five Years of The Damned

To celebrate 35 years of The Damned the band have announced a UK tour where they will perform in their entirity the debut album 'Damned Damned Damned' and 'The Black Album'.

The 11 dates happen in November:

Wed. 09: Bristol Academy
Thu.  10: Birmingham Academy
Fri.   11: Cambridge Corn Exchange
Sat.  12: London Roundhouse
Sun. 13: Brighton East Wing
Mon.14: Norwich UEA
Tue. 15: Nottingham Rock City
Thu. 17: Newcastle Academy
Fri.  18: Leeds Academy
Sat. 19: Manchester Academy
Sun. 20: Edinburgh Picturehouse

A few snippets from 'Damned Damned Damned' 

New Rose

Neat Neat Neat 

1 of the 2

I Feel Alright

And from 'The Black Album'

Wait For The Blackout

History Of The World

Curtain Call

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Gems From My Collection - The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead

25 years ago today The Smiths released their 3rd album, 'The Queen Is Dead' on Rough Trade Records. Ten songs, 37 minutes and 7 seconds of pure pop class. Now, I'm not be any stretch of the imagination a massive fan of The Smiths. There are many singles of theirs that I think are quite remarkable but I recall going to see them not long after their debut album was released and I have to admit I didn't really get it. All these dudes waving flowers around and looking like their hearts had been shattered into a million tiny pieces, a tragic sight indeed! But I kept on listening and I couldn't deny just how brilliant songs like 'Hand in Glove', 'What Difference Does It Make', 'How Soon Is Now', and 'Bigmouth Strikes Again' (to name a few) were.

Their previous album 'Meat Is Murder' (released in 1985) didn't really appeal to me at all. I'm not a Veggie and no amount of listening to the six minute & six seconds of the title track was going to make me one! I recall getting a free EP in NME I think it was that had a storming live version of 'What She Said' and that was about all I could bring myself to like on that album. Hard to believe that 'Meat' actually went to #1 in the UK album charts!

So when 'The Queen Is Dead' came out I wasn't really expecting anything different. The single that was released prior to the album I didn't think was up to much 'The Boy With The Thorn In His Side')..

But once hearing the opening and title track I was hooked! Here's a wee trip through the whole album.
 01. The Queen Is Dead (Album Track)

02. Frankly Mr Shankly

03. I Know It's Over (Live)

04. Never Had No One Ever (Live)

05. Cemetry Gates (Live)

06. Bigmouth Strikes Again/08 Vicar In A Tutu (Old Grey Whistle Test)

07. The Boy With The Thorn In His Side (Promo)

09. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out (Album Track)

10. Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others (Album Track)

With the exception of 'The Boy With The Thorn In His Side' I think that all in all it's a brilliant album. Morrissey & Marr favour 'Strangeways, Here We Come'.

The album has had a lot of praise heaped on it over the years since its release and in 2006 the NME named as the 2nd Greatest British Album of All - Time! That's a bit of a stretch but it still sounds good today.

Gems From My Collection - Some Favourite Singles

Metal Urbain - Hysterie Connective (1978 Radar Records)

French Punk Rock at it's finest. This was their 3rd single release on UK's Radar label.

Wire - I Am The Fly (1978 Harvest Records)

The Members - Solitary Confinement (1978 Stiff Records)
The video below is not the original version of the song that was released on Stiff. Rather it is a stonkingly good live version filmed live somewhere in 1979.

The Saints - This Perfect Day (1977 Harvest Records)
This is quite easily one of the finest releases from 1977. The Saints were from Australia and already blown us away with the fantastic debut 'I'm Stranded'. 'This Perfect Day' even got them on to Top of the Pops here in the UK.

The Raincoats - Fairytale In The Supermarket (1979 Rough Trade Records)

The Mo-dettes - White Mice (1979 Mode Records)

A brilliant Debut single by The Mo-Dettes that stayed on top of the Indie charts for 5 weeks.

The Adverts - One Chord Wonders (1977 Stiff Records)

Probably best known for their single 'Gary Gilmour's Eyes' but this single is far better I think. Their debut release on Stiff before signing to Anchor Records. Frontman Tim TV Smith is still out gigging and releasing new music.

Penetration - Danger Signs (1979 Virgin Records)

'Danger Signs'
was the fourth single released by Newcastle based Penetration featuring Pauline Murray on vocals. I love 'Don't Dictate' and 'Firing Squad' but this one is the standout single for me. Their debut album 'Moving Targets' is in my Top 10 albums of all time!

The Ramones - Swallow My Pride (1977 Sire Records)

Probably not the single that everyone would stand up and shout about (they'd probably say 'Blitzkrieg Bop' or 'Sheena Is A Punk Rocker') but I love this and what a great b-side as well in 'Pinhead'.

The Ramones - Pinhead

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Gems From My Collection - John Peel

I was thinking about John Peel today. I tend to do that from time to time especially when playing music and a tune pops up and says that it's taken from a Peel Session. I have quite a few in my collection that I prize very highly (Adam & The Ants, The Models, Stiff Little Fingers, The Ruts, Penetration, That Petrol Emotion, The Slits, Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Specials, Madness, The Jam, The Cure, The Shop Assistants and The Darling Buds to name just a few).

I remeber meeting John Peel a couple of times in my life when he was DJ at Reading Festival and a show I was working at with a band called the Disco Zombies in Northampton. That Northampton show was the first time I met him and I asked him if he could play a UK Subs record for the some of my mates on his show. The following Monday night show he did indeed play the UK Subs and gave the dedication to our little gang known as the Forest Hill Punks. A top bloke indeed.

He was in my mind one of the most important people on Radio because he played music that you would never hear during the daytime and he showcased so many great bands down through the years that you wonder if we ever would have heard of them had they not been given the platform of the John Peel Session.It wasn't only those who had sessions of course that benefitted from getting airplay because Peel played everything on his show from Death Metal, Reggae, Belgian House, Hip Hop, Indie, Punk, World Music and a whole lot more. His influence on the business is outstanding and he just saw himself as someone who loved music and wanted to share it with others.

When John Peel passed out of this world the BBC Radio 1 put together a fantastic show presented by Jarvis Cocker entitled 'Teenage Dreams So Hard To Beat' that includes tributes and stories of Peel and some funny moments of Peel playing tracks at the wrong speed. I had a wee listen to it again today and it set me thinking a lot about the man. If you want to listen to the show Then Click Here to Download It.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Gems From My Collection - The Ruts

Paul Fox (Guitar,Vocals), Segs (Bass, Vocals) Malcom Owen (Vocals) & Dave Ruffy (Drums, Vocals)

First time I ever saw The Ruts was one Saturday afternoon when riding the number 12 bus home from a trip to Rough Trade. We passed through Peckham and as we did we noticed that there was a band setting up their equipment on one of the housing estates. So we jumped off the bus and made our way to where the band was now playing. It was The Ruts and the first song we hear them play was their soon to be released debut single, 'In A Rut' (released on the People Unite label). We learned that Segs and Ruffy lived in Forest Hill and that certainly made them to be favourites among the Forest Hill Punks.

In A Rut (Live in Paris 1980)

They signed to Virgin Records and released some of the finest singles of the whole Punk/New Wave era. First up was 'Babylon's Burning'

Backed by the brilliant 'Society' this single peacked at #7 on the British Charts.
Babylon's Burning (Top of the Pops 1979)

That was followed by 'Something That I Said'
Something That I Said (Promo Video)

September 1979 saw the release of the debut album from The Ruts entitled 'The Crack'

The album peaked at #16 in the Charts and was loaded with so many good songs. Listening back to it recently I thought that there was not a single song on there that was worth skipping over. Some of the guitar work on tracks like 'SUS', 'It Was Cold' and 'Savage Circle' is just amazing and showed just how good an axeman Paul Fox was.

In November 1979 'Jah War' was next single release but for some reason it failed to chart. Maybe the politics were considered to be a bit too heavy!

Jah War (Single Version)

'Staring At The Rude Boys' would be the final release from The Ruts whilst Malcom was still alive. The single was released in March 1980 but by July the same year Malcom would be dead from a drug overdose.

Staring at the Rude Boys (final Top of the Pops appearance)

Love In Vain (B-Side to 'Staring At The Rude Boys')

The final single ever by The Ruts just happens to be one of their finest ever - 'West One (Shine On Me)'. It was released a month after Malcom had died (aged 26).

West One (Shine On Me) - Single Version

Virgin would release a second album by The Ruts but it was really a compilation of singles, b-sides, Peel Sessions and Live material entitled 'Grin and Bear It'
With Malcom gone, the remaining three members carried on as The Ruts DC and released an album 'Animal Now' and a number of singles.
On July 16th 2007 Segs, Ruffy and Fox came together and performed for the first time in 27 years to play a special show for Cancer Research and for Fox who had been diagnosed with lung cancer. The main vocalist for the show would be Henry Rollins and what a brilliant job he did that night.
Three months later on 21st October Paul Fox lost his battle against cancer and died.
I end this blog with one of the performances from that show. 

Henry Rollins and The Ruts performing 'West One (Shine On Me)'

Monday, 13 June 2011

Gems From My Collection - All Change by Cast

Released in 1995 'All Change' the debut release by Cast still sounds brilliant. Four of the twelve tracks were released as singles:

Live @ T in the Park 1996

Live @ T in the Park 1996


Live @ T in the Park 1996

Live in Buckley November 2010

16 years on from it's release it still sounds like the perfect pop/rock album to me.

Other tracks from the album:
Promised Land @ Barrowlands, Glasgow 2010

Mankind @ Buckley 2010

Tell It Like It Is @ O2 Academy, Liverpool 2010

Four Walls @ O2 Academy, Liverpool 2010

Back Of My Mind @ Academy, Manchester 2010

Reflections @ Academy, Manchester 2010

History @ Rehearsals For All Change Reunion Tour 2010

Two Of A Kind @ Academy, Oxford 2010

Gems From My Collection - Simple Minds

My Top Ten Simple Minds Tracks

10. Promised You A Miracle

09 Colours Fly and Catherine Wheel

08 Love Song

07 Life In A Day

06 Speed Your Love To Me

05 See The Lights

04 Ghostdancing

03 Sanctify Yourself

02 Chelsea Girl

01 Alive And Kicking

Friday, 10 June 2011

Gems From My Collection - The Go-Go's

Formed in 1978 The Go-Go's began life playing their part in the LA Punk Community. By 1980 they were touring the UK and had a minor hit with 'We Got the Beat' on Stiff Records.

We Got the Beat (Stiff Version)

1981 they released their debut 'Beauty and the Beast' that contained two singles (Our Lips Are Sealed, We Got The Beat).
Our Lips are Sealed

We Got The Beat (Old Grey Whistle Test)

'Beauty and the Beast' was a #1 album in the US and it's hard to believe it never charted in the UK. The follow-up 'Vacation' reached #75 in the UK and only #8 in the US. The 1984 'Talk Show' album saw their sales slipping even more.

Head Over Heels

Since the 90's the band have got together to do various reunion shows. Their last single in 2001 was actually co-written with Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong!


The Go-Go's will be out and about this year playing live to celebrate 30 years since the release of 'Beauty and the Beast'.

Gems From My Collection - The Shangri-las

Inspired after listening to The Donnas I went hunting to see what other great Chick Rock I have in my collection. So here goes.

The Shangri-Las

Formed in Queens, New York in 1963, The Shangri-Las consisted of two sets of Sisters, Mary & Betty Weiss and Marge & Mary Ann Ganser who were identical twins). On stage The Shangri-Las often performed as trio due to Betty not touring with the group until 1965.

'Wishing Well' was their first single in 1964 and as far as I'm aware it failed to chart.

Remember (Walking In The Sand) on the other went to #5 in the US charts and #14 here in the UK.

Leader of the Pack is probably their most famous song and back in 1964 it hit the top spot in the USA, but failed to reach the top 10 in the UK (stalled at #11), though when reissued in 1973 it reached #3 and in 1976 it got to #7.

Not sure why it happened but after Leader of the Pack no more singles were issued in the UK. A real shame because some of their best songs were to come.
Great Big Kiss

Out in the Street

Give Us Your Blessing

Past, Present and Future

Gems From My Collection - The Donnas

Last night I was stumbling around the computer when I came across a video of The Donnas that was looking at the making of their excellent album 'Spend the Night.
That led me to powering up the iPod and having a blast through their 7 album back catalogue (their 8th album is a Greatest Hits released on their own Purple Feather Records).
The Donnas Are:
Brett Anderson – Vocals, Keyboards, Allison Robertson - Guitar, Vocals, Maya Ford - Bass, Vocals, Torry Castellano - Drums, Percussion, Vocals (1993-2010) and new Drummer Amy Cesari - Drums, Vocals.

Formed whilst they were at school and going under the name Ragady Anne they released their EP in 1995 and as The Donnas they issued their debut album 'The Donnas' in 1997 on Super Teem though it was reissued a year later containing 9 bonus tracks that had been singles prior to the album's release.

Let's Go Mano

In 1999 two more albums by The Donnas would surface, in January 'American Teenage Rock 'n' Roll Machine' followed in June by 'Get Skintight'.

Rock 'n' Roll Machine (Live)


Livin' After Midnight

After the release of 'Turn 21' in 2001 The Donnas got signed to Atlantic Records where their next masterpiece would be released a year later.
'Spend The Night' certainly raised the game for the band. The single 'Take It Off' propelled them onto TV and festival shows.
Take It Off (Acoustic)

'Gold Medal' came in 2004 and would be their final album for Atlantic as in 2006 they parted ways and set up their own label 'Purple Feather Records'.

Fall Behind Me (Live)

 In 2007 the first release on their new label saw The Donnas almost sounding like The Runaways, very metal at times. It's a great album I think.
Don't Wait Up For Me

Drummer Torry left the band in 2010 due to continual shoulder problems and was replaced by Ami Cesari of the band The Demonics. Torry had been unable to play any of the dates of the 2009 tour supporting Blondie/Pat Benatar.

Here's a few more vids from The Donnas

Wasted (Live)

Do You Wanna Hit It

Don't Break Me Down

Who Invited You

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