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Friday, 31 July 2015

Soundtrack4Life: B-Sides Special

A little something for the weekend. Have been trawling my collection and have put together a Playlist of Thirty of the best Punk/New Wave B-Sides!

The Prisoner - The Clash.
Flip side of (White Man) in Hammersmith Palais and just one of many great B-Sides by The Clash.

The Butterfly Collector - The Jam.
Strange Town was the A-Side and like a lot of bands around these times The Jam had some brilliant B-Sides.
The video is a live performance from Paris in 1981.

Society - The Ruts.
A real gem of a B-Side. Babylon's Burning is the A-Side and this track is a fine compliment to it. Also worth checking out is a version of this with Henry Rollins on lead vocals and also a performance from a couple of years ago of the Ruts DC playing it live when they were out supporting The Damned.

Soda Pressing - They Boys.
B-Side of I Don't Care and like a number of other B-Sides by The Boys it could quite easily have been an A-Side.

Bored Teenagers - The Adverts.
This probably could have been an A-Side because it is a real cracker of a song. It ended up on the flip side of Gary Gilmore's Eyes. The video is from a performance on the BBC's Old Grey Whistle Test.

I Wanna Be Sedated - Ramones.
From the Road to Ruin album and on the B-Side of She's the One. A real classic Ramones tune this one and deserved better than to be a humble B-Side.

Can't Keep My Eyes On You - The Heartbreakers.
One of the tracks on the B-Side of One Track Mind, it also featured on The Heartbreakers one and only Studio album L.A.M.F.

20th Century Boy - Siouxsie and the Banshees.
B-Side of The Staircase (Mystery) and a great rocking version of a fab T-Rex tune.

Noise Annoys - Buzzcocks.
Buzzcocks were another band who had great B-Sides and this one is the flip to Love You More. This particular version is actually the John Peel Session version which I think is superior.

Noise Noise Noise - The Damned.
B-Side of Smash It Up and another great B-Side from The Damned. I actually can't think of a bad one that they released back in those days between 1976-1979.

My Mind Ain't So Open - Magazine.
B-Side to the most excellent Shot By Both Sides. Howard Devoto at his finest.

Pills - The Lurkers.
B-Side to I Don't Need To Tell Her that came in four different picture sleeves (one of each member of the band Howard Wall - vocals, Pete Stride - Guitar, Esso - Drums and Nigel Moore - Bass). It was the 9th single released on Beggars Banquet label back in 1978 (The Lurkers have the honour of the first two releases on the label set up by the a South London record shop in 1977)
Action - 999.
 This was on a Free 7" given away with Mail Order copies of 'Seperates', the second studio album from 999. It was essentially a Double A-Side with Waiting.

Down in Flames - Dead Boys.
This one's the B-Side to one of the all-time classic Punk singles Sonic Reducer. The Dead Boys often get a mention when talk turns to CBGB's etc but I think there's not nearly enough respect given to them that they deserve.

Runaway - Slaughter and the Dogs.
Runaway actually first appeared on the The Roxy London WC2 album that was released in 1977 on Harvest Records (EMI). The single You Ready Now came out in November 1979 and should have been a hit.

I Heard It Through The Grapevine - The Slits.
I cannot think how many times I saw The Slits before they got signed but they were always a sight to behold, blessed chaos and some cool songs. Their first Peel Session still stands as a great record of what they were like prior to getting a decent producer in their lives. This probably should have been the A-Side but Typical Girls won out on that.
No Faith - Suburban Studs.
Questions was the A-Side of the debut single from Birmingham band Suburban Studs on Pogo Records. There's actually two versions of the B-Side No Faith, the second one has a Saxophone in it. They only released two singles and an album before splitting.
No No No - Generation X.
B-Side to Ready Steady Go the third single from Generation X. Not all their singles had great B-Sides but the first three releases were great in my opinion.

You're Not Blank - The Dils.
I Hate The Rich was a cracking little slice of Vinyl from early Californian Punk band The Dils. I can remember buying this from HMV in Oxford Street as an Import when it was released.

Fade Away and Radiate - Blondie.
B-Side to Picture This and great gem from New Yorkers Blondie. Once again (as with a lot of the bands at the time) they had quite a number of brilliant B-Sides in their early days.

Solitary Confinement - The Members.
I always loved the Stiff Records version of this song that was originally released in 1977. This got a nice reboot when it showed up on the reverse of Offshore Banking Business and on their debut album At Chelsea Nightclub.

Do The Rat - Boomtown Rats.
Second Single by The Boomtown Rats was Mary of the 4th Form and this sat on the flip side. I did love some of their early singles and the first album still sounds great to my ears.

I'll Have To Dance Then (On My Own) - The Mekons.
Surprisingly this was a Double A-Side with Where Were You but hardly ever got played and therefore it was treated pretty much like a B-Side. Giving it the kudos it deserves by being part of this playlist.

Love Like Anthrax - Gang of Four.
Damaged Goods EP on Fast Product is a classic release and housed on the B-Side alongside Armalite Rifle is our chosen track. First saw these in 1978 supporting Buzzcocks at the Lyceum in London.

Never - Penetration.
Firing Squad is one of my favourite Penetration singles (though Danger Signs tops the list) and they always had these little pithy B-Sides that could be deemed as just throwaway tracks but I'm quite taken with Never myself and wouldn't think of tossing it in the bin!

12XU - Wire.
Another band who first turned up on The Roxy London WC2 album were Wire and 12XU was one of their two tracks. B-Side to the single Mannequin on Harvest Records from 1977.

Man of the Year - The Models.
Back when Punk was in its infancy there seemed to be a lot of bands who made a record and then promptly broke up. The Models were one of those bands. Freeze was the third single released by Step Forward Records and I contend that Man of the Year is probably one of the greatest B-Sides to stem from these times.

Ignore Them (Always Crashing in the Same Bar) - Eddie and the Hot Rods.
The flip side to one of the many excellent singles by Eddie and the Hot Rods - I Might Be Lying. It's almost criminal having a song this good only as a B-Side!

I'm Waiting For The Man - UK Subs.
Decided not to go for the usual B-Sides that get thrown up when talking about the UK Subs and have gone for their version of the Velvets classic that appeared as the B-Side to Warhead.

Blockheads - Ian Dury and The Blockheads.
B-Side of Wake Up and a real belter it is to. The anthem for The Blockheads set against the backdrop of real stomper of a tune.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Rewind: 2002 - Springsteen Gathers E Street Band For The Rising!

The Rising - Bruce Springsteen
Released 30th July 2002
Produced by Brendan O'Brien
US Chart #1
UK Chart #1

E Street Band

    Bruce Springsteen – lead guitar, vocals, acoustic guitar, baritone guitar, harmonica
    Roy Bittan – keyboards, piano, mellotron, Kurzweil, pump organ, Korg M1, crumar
    Clarence Clemons – saxophone, background vocals
    Danny Federici – Hammond B3, Vox Continental, Farfisa
    Nils Lofgren – electric guitar, Dobro, slide guitar, banjo, background vocals
    Patti Scialfa – vocals
    Garry Tallent – bass guitar
    Steven Van Zandt – electric guitar, background vocals, mandolin
    Max Weinberg – drums

Additional musicians
    Soozie Tyrell – violin, background vocals
    Brendan O'Brien – hurdy-gurdy, glockenspiel, orchestra bells
    Larry Lemaster – cello
    Jere Flint – cello
    Jane Scarpantoni – cello
    Nashville String Machine
    Asuf Ali Khan and group
    Alliance Singers
    The Miami Horns

Click on the links to enjoy the music from The Rising.

Singles Released From The Rising
  1. "The Rising"
    Released: June 24, 2002
  2. "Lonesome Day"
    Released: December 2, 2002
  3. "Waitin' on a Sunny Day"
    Released: April 22, 2003

The twelfth studio album by Bruce Springsteen and the first since 1995's The Ghost of Tom Joad. A lot of things had happened since that album namely the return of the E Street Band in 1999 for a lengthy Reunion Tour of 132 dates starting in Spain on the 9th April and would end in New York City at Madison Square Gardens on 1st July 2000. A Double Live Album would be released in April 2001 along with a DVD of the New York Show. The there was that devasting day 11th September 2001 when the world kind of changed for all of us, especially those living in New York City!

It's also the first album since Born in the USA that the East Street Band has all been present and accounted for in the studio. Some of the songs predated 9/11 and the rest were written according to Springsteen between September 2001 and March 2002.

The first song written after the attacks was Into the Fire and Springsteen was going to premiere this at the America: A Tribute to Heroes Telethon but chose instead My City of Ruins, which in itself is quite a prophetic and uplifiting song.

Sarfraz Manzoor writing for Uncut Magazine in the September issue of 2002 (and he puts it better than I ever could) said of the album that it's:

"Springsteen's attempt to offer illumination and inspiration amid that darkness. It is a brave and beautiful album of humanity, hurt and hope from the songwriter best qualified to speak to and for his country." 

A couple of days after the release of the album Springsteen and the E Street Band appeared on Letterman playing The Rising and Lonesome Day.

On the 7th of August Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band set out on The Rising Tour that would amass 120 shows taking them across America, Europe, America again, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, back to Europe and back to America for a final swing ending up at Shea Stadium New York for a three night stand in October 2003.

Full Live Shows on The Rising Tour 2002-2003
United Center Chicago (25th September 2002)
HSBC Arena Buffalo (7th October 2002)
Wembley Arena, London (27th October 2002)
US Bank Arena Cincinnati (12th November 2002)
Pepsi Arena Albany NY (13th December 2002)
San Siro, Milan Italy (28th June 2003)
 FedEX Field Landover (13th September 2003)
Shea Stadium New York (3rd October 2003)
Shea Stadium New York (4th October 2003) 


Rewind: 1991 - The Psychedelic Furs Release World Outside

World Outside - The Psychedelic Furs
Released 30th July 1991
Produced by Stephen Street and The Psychedelic Furs
UK Chart #68
US Chart #140

    Richard Butler – vocals
    John Ashton – guitar
    Tim Butler – bass guitar

Additional personnel
    Don Yallech aka 'Wild Don' – drums
    Knox Chandler - guitar
    Joe McGinty - keyboard

World Outside is the Seventh Studio Album from The Psychedelic Furs and indeed their last Studio Album because since it's release to date The Furs have not issued another new Studio Album.

Two singles were issued from the album:

There have been plenty of Compilations (7 infact) and a couple of live albums, but NOTHING, NADA, ZIP when it comes to a brand new album! This point I have to confess is incredibly sad. They are out touring almost every year, and yes they still sound pretty great live but seriously there has to come a point when you just stop churning out the same setlist every tour with a few deviations and sit down and write new material.

As a fan this is all a little frustrating so I thought I'd pen an open letter to Richard Butler:

Dear Richard
As a fan of your band since before your debut album was released and having seen you live in concert many times I thought I'd drop you a wee note from Scotland. Fear not, I'm not one of those crazed fans who turns up at every gig on the tour, stands down the front and holds a sign saying "I Want You To Have My Babies!" - that would be quite difficult to achieve as we are both men! Rather I'm the fan who counts it a great joy to have had the music of The Psychedelic Furs form part of my very own Soundtrack4Life.

Today is the anniversary of your last studio album World Outside. 1991, that was a long time ago and surely it must be time for another Studio album from you and the band. 

Yes it was nice when you came back from your hiatus and released the live album  Beautiful Chaos: Greatest Hits Live (2001),  and on it was a new song "Alive (For Once In My Lifetime)" both studio and live version (and on the Live at The House of Blues DVD another three songs that were unreleased - "Anodyne (Better Days)", "Cigarette" and "Wrong Train"). That held out some hope that there might be new material in the pipeline and possibly a new album but 14 years on there has been silence on that front!

I know you have been busy with your art (and for the record it's pretty good as well) and that you and the band are out on tour quite a bit but surely you must think at some point that new material needs to be added to the set and to get that music out to the fans (in this digital age it's not too difficult to do I hear!).

Maybe the non-stop touring has actually taken up precious time and there's just not enough hours in the day to get into a recording studio. Also there's the harsh reality that making records is not where the money is these days and that if your lives depended upon record sales alone you'd be a very hungry and destitute band (this is probably a reality for 98% of bands out there at the moment)!

Have you ever thought of going the route of the Kickstarter or Pledge campaigns to get a possible new album out? A lot of bands seem to do it these days and the fact that you would have complete control over what you recorded and how it was produced, and what the artwork and packaging would be like is surely a huge plus for you guys.

I know that as a fan I shouldn't expect you to write to order or anything like that, it's just that I would love to hear about the things that are inspiring you today and the best way of communicating that is through song.

I don't know if you'll get to read this (I hope you do). I wish you and the band well for the up and coming tour dates and I hope that amid the pleasure of playing songs from your vast back catalogue you might just give a little thought to making something new.

Yours sincerely

Note: Thanks to Lily from New Jersey for providing some balance to my thoughts.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Whole Wide World - Wreckless Eric (1977) + 14 Cover Versions!

Stiff Records
Buy 16
August 1977

Released on their Learning English, Lesson One album and featured Wreckless Eric. This particular link was filmed at King Tuts in Glasgow in 1994.

For the movie Stranger Than Fiction

Live in Dublin

Rewind: 1979 - Boomtown Rats Hit #1 For the Second Time

On this day in 1979 the Boomtown Rats followed their #1 Single Rat Trap with yet another #1 single with I Don't Like Mondays.

 Bob Geldof wrote the song after reading a report on the shooting spree of 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer, who fired at children playing in a school playground across the street from her home in San Diego, California. She killed two adults and injured eight children and one police officer. Spencer showed no remorse for her crime, and her full explanation for her actions was "I don't like Mondays, this livens up the day."

Bob Geldof and Johnnie Fingers
The Secret Policeman's Other Ball

Saturns Pattern - Paul Weller (May 2015)

Saturns Pattern - Paul Weller
Released May 18th 2015
UK Album Chart #2

Not one of Paul Weller's Studio Solo albums have ever been outside the Top Ten. I'm never sure if that's because he's brilliant or because he has a lot of fans but it's worth pointing out that not all the albums are fantastic.

He thinks that this is the best thing that he's done and whilst his view is respected I have to say that on the latest album there are some high points and some, erm...not so high points! Have a listen for yourselves because ultimately it's not what I say or what the critics say that will determine if the album is any good.

Saturns Pattern Live

Monday, 27 July 2015

Music is the Doctor #12: The Solar System and Beyond

The Planets and Space is always a popular theme on the news as Pluto has been much in the news of late with pictures being sent back from the dwarf Planet relayed on our TV screens so I thought it would be a good idea to see what music had to say about The Solar System, and there's enough to fill a good few playlists but I've stuck with 20 tracks as is the custom of Music is the Doctor.

On The Playlist
Planet Clare - The B-52's
A live version from 1980 at the Capitol Theater.

Space Station #5 - Montrose.
"Start, with the sun
And move on out
The future's in the skies above
The heavens unfold
A new star is born
Space and time makin' love"
Released in 1973 by a band that featured Sammy Hagar on guitar. The opening riff has a familar ring to it (listen to Suspect Device by Stiff Little Fingers!).

Between Planets - Jesus and Mary Chain.
Turns out that it's nothing really to do with Planets according to the lyrics. It's a great track though from their 1989 Automatic album. Worth including for the title alone.

Girl From Mars - Ash.
"Do you remember the time I knew a Girl From Mars?
I don't know if you knew that.
Oh we'd stay up late playing cards,
Henri Winterman Cigars.
Though she never told me her name,
I still love you, Girl From Mars."

Howling at the Moon - Ramones.
Single from the most excellent Too Tough to Die album. 

Drops of Jupiter - Train.
"Now that she's back in the atmosphere
With drops of Jupiter in her hair, hey, hey, hey
She acts like summer and walks like rain
Reminds me that there's a time to change"

Mercury is Just a Planet (Now You've Gone) - Joe Bone and the Dark Vibes.
Joe Bone and the Dark Vibes hail from Glasgow. This is what Joe said about the song:
"Mercury is one of the few planets that can be seen from earth, a man points this out to the woman he loves who is fascinated that it wasn't a star as it didn't flicker and was so beautiful,a magic moment of love caught in time. But now she's, gone so has the magical memory, and Mercury is now just a planet he can see from earth a place he wishes no longer to belong."

Another Girl Another Planet - The Only Ones.
The John Peel Session version because Peter Perrett says he prefers this version. The song was covered recently in the UK by The Replacements as a closer to their shows.

Telstar - The Tornadoes.
Still stands as one of the great instrumental tracks ever I reckon.

Satellite - P.O.D.
"But only time will tell, if it's truly for real
Can't change your mind, all I know this is what I feel
Whether I'm wrong or right, please keep my life in sight
And never take you eyes off me

As I look up to the sky today
Well I can see you looking down on me
It brings a smile to my face again
Title track to their excellent 2001 album on Atlantic Records.

Comet - Bouncing Souls
"Old world's burning in our minds
Watch it fall away and die
We begin to lose our minds as we open up our eyes
Chasing stars all through the sky
Comet's on it's way tonight setting all the world alight"

Space Oddity - David Bowie
 "This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I'm stepping through the door
And I'm floating in the most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today
Here am I sitting in my tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue
And there's nothing I can do"
There's a hat load of songs by Bowie spotlighting Space etc and as we've already had the Ash track about Mars I've decided to go with this one.
Hard to imagine that this was released in 1969 just a few days before the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

Saturns Pattern - Paul Weller
Title track from the 12th Solo Album by Paul Weller released recently.

Venus - Bananarama
Bit of cheesy pop as the girls pull off a worthy cover of Dutch band The Shocking Blue's Venus.

Sun - Aztec Camera
Great single from the truly under appreciated Frestonia album.

Neptune - InMe
 "You seduce me, you abuse me, you frustrate me and amaze me,
What is wrong with me?
It's bad enough that you could say that, It's bad enough,
I wish that I could trade these eyes,
Because now I only despise my own lies,
You sedate me, elevate me, incarcerate me, you hate me,
Neptune in the sea"
Hadn't heard this one before but it fitted with the theme.

Pluto - Bjork
I know, strange stuff but what can you do!

Uranus - Sleeping at Last.
Quietly meditative.

The Earth Gave Me You - Delays.
I like this band a lot, shame that they were never bigger.

Champagne Supernova - Oasis.
From the excellent (What's The Story) Morning Glory? album and a superb album closer.

Rewind: 1987 - 10,000 Maniacs Release In My Tribe

In My Tribe - 10,000 Maniacs
Released 27th July 1987
Produced by Peter Asher
US Chart #37

All songs written by Natalie Merchant, except where noted.
  1. "What's the Matter Here?" (Robert Buck, Natalie Merchant) – 4:51
  2. "Hey Jack Kerouac" (Buck, Merchant) – 3:26
  3. "Like the Weather" – 3:56
  4. "Cherry Tree" (Buck, Merchant) – 3:13
  5. "The Painted Desert" (Jerome Augustyniak, Merchant) – 3:39
  6. "Don't Talk" (Dennis Drew, Merchant) – 5:04
  7. "Peace Train" (Cat Stevens) – 3:26
  8. "Gun Shy" – 4:11
  9. "My Sister Rose" (Augustyniak, Merchant) – 3:12
  10. "A Campfire Song" – 3:15
  11. "City of Angels" (Buck, Merchant) – 4:17
  12. "Verdi Cries" – 4:27
10,000 Maniacs
    Natalie Merchant – vocals
    Robert Buck – guitars, mandolin, pedal steel guitar
    Steve Gustafson – bass guitar
    Jerome Augustyniak – drums, percussion
    Dennis Drew – keyboards

Additional musicians
    Michael Stipe – vocals on 10
    Don Grolnick – piano
    David Campbell – string arrangements on 12
    Dennis Karmazyn – cello on 12
    Bob Magnusson – acoustic bass guitar on 12
    Novi Novog – viola on 12

Back in the 1980's I had a pen friend  in the USA, Michelle from Denver, Colorado (yikes do you remember when we actually used to write letters? Can't think of the last time that I did!) . One time she sent me a cassette featuring some of the music she had been listening to and one of the tracks on it was 'City of Angels' by 10,000 Maniacs and thus began a lifetime love with the music of the Maniacs and in particular Natalie Merchant. If I didn't say it before I'll say it now, thanks Michelle.

They had released their first full album independantly in 1983 (The Secrets of the I Ching) and it caught the attention of John Peel, DJ at BBC Radio One in the UK. My Mother the War was a bit of a hit on the Indie Charts in the UK. In November 1984 they signed to Elektra Records and a year later they released their 2nd album The Wishing Chair to critical acclaim.  In 1986 co-founder of the band John Lombardo left, he had been the songwriting partner to Natalie Merchant on previous recordings and so now the band had to step up and they collaborated on a number of tracks for In My Tribe, but the writing partnership of Merchant and Robert Buck really began to flourish here with four tracks (What's the Matter Here, Hey Jack Kerouac, Cherry Tree and City of Angels). Jerome Augustyniak co wrote The Painted Desert and My Sister Rose, Keyboardist Dennis Drew co-wrote Don't Talk and apart from the Cat Stevens cover Peace Train the rest was solely written by Natalie Merchant (Like the Weather, Gun Shy, A Campfire Song and Verdi Cries).

On release the album hit the charts peaking at #37 and then stayed on the charts for a total of 77 weeks. In 1989 Peace Train was removed from the album in the US following comments from Yusef Islam (Cat Stevens) that seemed to indicate his support for Fatwa against author Salman Rushdie.

The two singles released from the album (Like the Weather and What's the Matter Here) dented the lower reaches of the Billboard Hot 100.

In My Tribe Live
What's the Matter Here (Milano 1987)
Hey Jack Kerouac (New Haven 1989)
Like the Weather (The White Room Channel 4) 
Cherry Tree (New Haven 1989)
The Painted Desert (New Haven 1989)
Don't Talk (The White Room Channel 4)
Peace Train (Unknown TV Show)
Gun Shy (New Haven 1989)
My Sister Rose (New Haven 1989)
A Campfire Song (Milano 1987)
City of Angels (New Haven 1989)
Verdi Cries (Natalie Solo on Jonathan Ross Show 199?)
Oh, and just in case you are wondering I'm still in touch with Michelle via the wonder of Facebook.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Rewind: 1979 Epic Finally Release The Clash Debut in America!

The Clash - The Clash
26th July 1979
Produced by Mickey Foote, Lee Perry, The Clash, Sandy Pearlman, Bill Price
US Chart #126

It took two years to do but Epic Records in America finally released The Clash Debut album (Give 'Em Enough Rope was the first album by The Clash to get a US release in 1978). They had deemed the album as "not radio friendly" and chose not to release it beforehand and with the release they ended up giving it a total makeover!

More than 100,000 copies of the 1977 original had been imported to the States prior to the release of the Epic version!

Listening to the album with this new sequence is a very odd experience because the intensity of the original CBS release has totally vanished I think. 

The problem with the added singles etc to the mix is that they sound so polished and amazing but by comparison, the original tracks produced by Micky Foote, come off sounding just a little better than demo versions!

Also this new tracklisting knocked out of kilter the chronology of the band's music as it jumps from one year to another without any explanation and ends up looking like a Jigsaw Puzzle where none of the pieces fit together! That's just my view on it, others might perceive it as different.

Omitted from the US version were the following tracks:
    "Protex Blue"
    "48 Hours"
    "White Riot" (original version)

 Added were the following tracks:
  • "Clash City Rockers" - Initially released as a single (A-side) in the UK in February 1978
  • "Complete Control" - Initially released as a single (A-side) in the UK in September 1977
  • "White Riot" (re-recorded version) - Initially released as a single (A-side) in the UK in March 1977
  • "(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais" - Initially released as a single (A-side) in the UK in June 1978
  • "I Fought the Law" - Initially released as a track on the Clash EP The Cost of Living in the UK in May 1979
  • "Jail Guitar Doors" - Initially released as the B-side to "Clash City Rockers" in the UK in February 1978  
Tracklist for US Release
1. Clash City Rockers
2. I'm So Bored With The U.S.A.
3. Remote Control
4. Complete Control
5. White Riot
6. White Man In Hammersmith Palais
7. London's Burning
8. I Fought The Law
9. Janie Jones
10. Career Opportunities
11. What's My Name
12. Hate And War
13. Police And Thieves
14. Jail Guitar Doors
15. Garageland 

A free single was given away with the US version of the album and the two tracks 'Gates of the West' and 'Groovy Times' had both been released in the UK on 'The Cost of Living EP' alongside 'Capital Radio' and 'I Fought the Law' two months earlier in the UK.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Rewind: 1970 - CCR Unleash Their Very Best

Cosmo's Factory - Creedence Clearwater Revival
Fantasy (US)
Liberty (UK)
Released 25th July 1970
Produced by John Fogerty
US Chart #1
UK Chart #1
The Album was also #1in Australia, Canada, France and Norway.

John Fogerty – lead guitar, lead vocals, piano, saxophone, harmonica, producer, arranger
Tom Fogerty – rhythm guitar
Stu Cook – bass
Doug Clifford – drums

Side One
 1. "Ramble Tamble"
2. "Before You Accuse Me" (Ellas McDaniel)
3. "Travelin' Band"
4. "Ooby Dooby" (Wade Moore, Dick Penner)
5. "Lookin' Out My Back Door"
6. "Run Through the Jungle"
Side Two        
1. "Up Around the Bend"
2. "My Baby Left Me" (Arthur Crudup)
3. "Who'll Stop the Rain‡"
4. "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" (Norman Whitfield, Barrett Strong)
5. "Long as I Can See the Light"

This was CCR's fourth Top Ten Album and their second Number One (Green River from 1969 had made it to the top in the US). It is by far the best album the band had ever made and it's popularity is such that in 1990 it had received the honour of going Four Times Platinum by selling Four Million copies.

The title of the album is taken from the warehouse in Berkley where the band were rehearsing called "The Factory" by Drummer Doug Clifford because it was the place everyday John Fogerty made the band practise.

Three Double A-Sided Singles were taken from the album (though two of them were released prior to the album in January and April of 1970). They had to be Double A-Sides because when you see the songs there is no way any of them could ever be a B-Side!

(January 1970 US Chart #2, UK Chart #8)
(April 1970 US Chart #4, UK Chart #3)
(July 1970 US Chart #2 UK Chart #2)

I was only a 7 year old boy when this was released and have no memories to report of it. I can recall a few years later when I had begun to start liking  music that I remember that DJ's on the radio were still fond of playing the odd Creedence Clearwater Revival track so songs like Bad Moon Rising, Up Around the Bend, Long As I Can See the Light and Travelin' Band were not alien to me. I do remember the moment though that I first began to investigate them further and that was in the 1980's after Hanoi Rocks had covered Up Around the Bend for their Two Steps From The Move album in 1984. I can remember buying a copy of Cosmos Factory at the Record and Tape Exchange in Notting Hill for a couple of pounds mainly because Up Around the Bend was on it but also because Long As I Can See the Light was also on it and I had come to really love that song after hearing it on an old cassette. After that I also purchased a bunch of their other albums and to this day they are still played and enjoyed. 

CCR are up there with the finest of artists in my book. They are one of the bands that if there was such a thing as time machine I'd want to program it to a day and a place where CCR were performing just so I could see them for myself in all their gloriously rockin' splendour!

It was voted in 2003 at #265 on Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. It's still an album that brings me a lot of joy when I play it

Friday, 24 July 2015

Rewind: July 1981 - The Go-Go's Release Their Debut Album

Beauty and the Beast - The Go-Go's
Released July 1981*
US Chart #1 
(6 consecutive weeks on the top spot)
*(I actually have two dates for this. On Wikipedia it says the album was released on 8th July 1981, but on DrRockBlog it says the album was released on 24th July 1981. Now it might be that the 24th July was the date of the British release but I'm still trying to determine that)

Band members
    Belinda Carlisle – lead vocals
    Charlotte Caffey – lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
    Gina Schock – drums, percussion
    Kathy Valentine – bass, backing vocals
    Jane Wiedlin – rhythm guitar, vocals
The Go-Go's rose to fame during the early 1980s. Their debut album, Beauty and the Beat, is considered one of the "cornerstone albums of (US) new wave" (Allmusic), breaking barriers and paving the way for a host of other new American acts. When the album was released, it steadily climbed the Billboard 200 chart, ultimately reaching No. 1, where it remained for six consecutive weeks. The album sold in excess of 3 million copies and reached triple platinum status, making it one of the most successful debut albums ever. The Go-Go's have sold more than 7 million albums.

Singles from the Album
We Got the Beat was originally released by Stiff Records in 1980

In the USA their first single was actually a co-write between Jane Wiedlin and Terry Hall of the Fun Boy Three (who released a version of it in April 1983 and reached #7 in the UK Singles Chart).
US Chart #20
UK Chart #47

And that was followed up in 1982 with a release on IRS of their debut 'We Got the Beat'.
US Chart #2*
*It spent three weeks at #2 behind Joan Jett and the Blackhearts' 'I Love Rock 'n' Roll'.

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