Saturday 8 September 2012

1999 by Prince

This all time classic single was released by Prince 30 years ago in September 1982.  Wow, 30 years ago...It was from the album of the same name.  The song is somewhat apocalyptic  but quite upbeat too.  Back in 1982, 1999 seemed a long way away.

It is 30 years ago, but I swear this song does not age, but the same can be said of a lot of Prince's music, he is timeless and is (still) an amazing instrumentalist, writer and singer.

I was dreamin' when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray But when I woke up this mornin', could've sworn it was judgment day The sky was all purple, there were people runnin' everywhere Tryin' to run from the destruction, you know I didn't even care
Say say two thousand zero zero party over, oops, out of time So tonite I'm gonna party like it's nineteen ninety-nine

The song on release hit number 12 in the USA and number 25 in the UK.  It was re-released in the UK in1985 and hit number 2.  It remains one of Prince's best known songs.

It was also re-released at the end of 1998 to take advantage of the Millenium.

Here's a great acoustic cover version too

Sunday 2 September 2012

Upstairs at Erics...covered

This very influential album was released by the band Yazoo just over 30 years ago.  I know the band was called Yaz in the USA, for reasons I don't care to know, but in my world Vince Clarke and Alison Moyet are Yazoo!

This was the bands first album, coming a year after Vince had left Depeche Mode at a time when they had hit it big, and Vince was the main songwriter, but he didn't feel the direction the band wanted to go in was for him.

Yazoo only released two albums but this first album remains one of my all time favourites.  I don't know what it is about cleverly constructed electronic music, but it obviously does it for me.  This album reached number 2 in the UK and 92 in the USA and I think the combination of Vince's lyrics and superlative Synthesizer skills with Alison's (born Geneviève Alison Jane Moyet) fantastic vocals is a killer combination not bettered since in my opinion.

Following the recent Brothers In Arms covered blog in my 1985 blogand featured on Coverville, I now present to you this fantastic album in covered form(11 out of the 12 tracks)

1. "Don't Go" covered by Madhen


2. "Too Pieces covered by IAI6


3. "Bad Connection" covered by the Champagne Saints


4. "Midnight" by Cynthia Morehouse (just vocals - wow!)


5. "In My Room" covered by Inter-Connection


6. "Only You" covered by The Flying Pickets (Sorry, just had to!)


7. "Goodbye 70's" covered by Casm


8. "Tuesday" by Inter-Connection (again, sorry, limited choice!)


9. "Winter Kills" by Ray Fairhurst (with help from Alison...)


10. "Bring Your Love Down (Didn't I)" covered (brilliantly) by Westley


11. "The Other Side Of Love"covered by...sorry, could not find cover, hence original music video


12. "Situation" covered by Tom Jones



Sunday 26 August 2012

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid

This brilliant Steve Martin comedy was released in 1982.  The movie is a parody of a film noir and pulp detective movie of the 1940's.  It was directed by Carl Reiner, who was also involved in the equally brilliant The man With Two Brains (from 1983) and The Jerk (from 1979). 

Steve Martin took the lead role as Rigby Reardon, a private investigator, who is hired by Juliet (played by Rachel Ward - who also starred in The Thorn Birds) to investigate the death of her father (played by George Gaynes...yep Commandant Lassard from Police Academy!).

The movie goes in all kinds of directions, royally parodying this type of movie, and the really clever thing is the way they incorporate a ton of old black and white movie footage with the black and white modern work, and incorporating the acting talents of 18 stars including James Cagney, Humprey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.

It's actually a really hard movie to describe plot-wise, but one things for certain, this makes you ache for the days when Steve Martin could do no wrong and was a genuinely funny and innovative performer.  He plays a really mean Banjo these days, but really, when was his last good movie?

This hopefully reminds you though of the days when he was just brilliant.

The movie was scored by Miklós Rózsa, his last movie.


Finally, a collection of the funniest scenes.

Thursday 16 August 2012

My Girl Lollopop (My Boy Lollipop) by Bad Manners

This fun cover version of a classic 1950's song was released by the band Bad Manners in July 1982.  It was renamed My Girl Lollipop.  The original song has been credited to Barbie Gaye as the first artist to record the song.  Robert Spencer of the Doo wop group The Cadillacs write the song.  Millie Small had the most popular version in 1964.

Bad Manners were a 2 Tone Ska band and were really successful in the early 80's, clocking up 111 weeks in the charts in the period 1980-83.  This was a magical era for this type of music, with Madness, The Specials, The Beat and other bands all having great success with this type of music. 

Bad Manners are best known for their amazing frontman, Buster Bloodvessel, real name Douglas Trendle, who was an amazing sight to behold.  he was a pretty large guy, was bald (at a time when people were not!), had a disposition for sticking his tongue out and I recall wore a lot of dungarees (younger folks might need to look up what these are!).  He was energetic to say the least but it really fit in with the anarchic and energetic sound.  They were a firm TV favourite on Tiswas, Top Of The Pops, well at least until they got banned from the latter due to Buster's antics!

The band had been around since 1976 and, after a couple of hiccups, are back touring again.

The single reached number 9 in the UK charts.  Still a great song!

Here is a great live version.  They look great fun live!

And finally, here is that Millie Small song from 1964.

Wednesday 8 August 2012

Yosser Hughes (Boys From The Blackstuff)

Wow, such a delay - holidays - sorry!!

I was watching Lord of the Rings today (The Two Towers) and, watching Bernard Hill playing King Theodin reminded me that first prominent role was  starring in this seminal early 80's TV drama. This 5 episode series was written by the well known Liverpudlian writer Alan Bleasdale and was set in Liverpool.  It followed the lives of 5 unemployed men and each episode featured a story about an individual character.

The series was developed from a 1978 play for television called The Black Stuff (the men had a tarmac laying job at that time).  to set this in context, in the early 80's in Liverpool, this was an era of high unemployment and a certain degree too of lawlessness (whether deserved, this has been a Liverpudlian trait portrayed a lot on TV).  Quite simply, a lot of men were unemployed as the former large employers such as coal mines and large car manufacturers stopped production.

The series starred Bernard Hill, Michael Angelis, Alan Igbon, Peter Kerrigan and Tom Georgeson, most of them well known actors on British TV at the time.  It also launched the career of Julie Walters, later to star in Educating Rita in 1983.

The most well remembered story of the series was Yosser's Story, named after Bernard Hill's character Yosser Hughes, as he faces losing his children due to his mental instability and violent reactions to his problems. 

The two most well known aspects of Yosser's character, were,

1. Headbutting people who he disagreed with

2. Him saying "Gis a job".

For non (UK) English readers, Gis a Job was him saying Give me a job.  It really was tragic as it seemed clear that his mental instability was due to him not having a job in order to provide for his children.  All he wanted was a job and was absolutely desparate.

This famous scene features the classic "I'm Desperate, Dan" as Yosser goes to confession.

Asa you can see, the famous "Kirby Kiss" has been passed on to Yosser's Young Daughter as the Social Services take his children away.

The episode also starred famous Liverpool FC players Graeme Souness and Sammy Lee.  This is a brilliant scene.  Graeme Souness was a hard man of football but even he was worried about being sat next to Yosser.

Finally, Yosser's famous "Gis a job" catchphrase became so popular (because it expressed a common feeling at the time) a 7 inch single was released!

In the UK at least, the whole series is on YouTube.  If you want to check out what a desperate place England was in the very early 80's, this is a good place to start.

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Ian Botham 208 vs India, 9th July 1982

England are doing pretty well these days at cricket, but even I can acknowledge this is partly due to a diminishing opposition.  However there was a time 30 years ago when England not only had a GREAT test side, but the opposition was also first class.  England hosted India in 1982 and the third test started at the Oval on 8th July 1982.  In the first innings, the never-to-be-bettered and unconventional Ian Botham scored one of the fastest and most destructive test double-hundreds ever by scoring 208 off 226 balls, with 19 4's and 4 6's, which is insane at that level.  The Indians simply could not bowl at him.

Now Sir Ian Terence Botham OBE, Ian Botham was England's greatest ever all rounder and still holds the record for the number of test wickets by an English bowler.  His finest hour was the year before when he simply demolished the Aussies at Headingly and rescued England, scoring 149 with the bat whilst Bob Willis took 8-43

A year later in the third test in 1982 against India he was up to his old tricks again, driving the ball seeminly at will, including punching a hole in the Pavillion roof.

Enjoy a spot of magic from Englands greatest ever cricketer and who must be Englands best ever sportsman.  Long live beefy!

208 vs India

As a bonus and for no other reason than reminding any Aussies out there how good Beefy was, here is that 1981 Headingly match too.

Botham with the bat!

Willis with the ball!

Saturday 30 June 2012

Pass The Dutchie by Musical Youth

This classic 1982 hit was released in September 1982 and has to be one of the most successful one-hit wonders ever.  Musical Youth really were a boy band and were aged 11-15 when this song was released.  Could it happen even now that a group of black children could release an album, never mind be picked up by a label and have a 4 million selling song?  Amazing, and a real sign of the times as there was so much great reggae and reggae inspired music around at that time, from The Specials, Madness, UB 40 of course, so really, the perfect time!  Apart from Madness, all of the others were Midlands bands, which was the centre point for this type of sound back then here in the UK.

The boys were all from Duddleston Manor School in Birmingham and formed as a band in 1979. 

An appearance on the John Peel show led to them being signed by MCA.  Pass The Dutchie was their second single and the first off their first album with MCA called The Youth Of Today.  The song entered the Uk charts at number 26, and then hit number 1 the following week.  When it was released in the USA it eventually reached number 10 but hit number 1 in another 5 countries.  4 million in sales is amazing for a first hit!

The song is actually a cover version of Pass The Koutchie by The Mighty Diamonds, from the same year.  I think there has been a certain amount of debate about what the lyrics mean on the Musical Youth version, but the Might Diamonds version is about cannabis and a koutchie is a cannabis pipe.  Not surprisingly, the drug references were removed from the Musical Youth cover, such as the line "how does it feel when you got no food" being inserted instead of "how does it feel when you got no herb".  Even with the references removed, I would be amazed if this could happen now, with our lovely PC brigade!

The video was directed by Don Letts and was filmed across the water from the Houses of Parliament in London.  They were the first black artists to appear on MTV, some months ahead of Michael Jackson!  Amazing!

In March this year they were in court (the surviving members) over a royalties battle.  They lost, and it seems they may have been duped somewhat as minors when they signed deals in the 80's.  The case related to the use of the song in the movie "The Wedding Singer". Sad, I hope they get some money.

Finally, here is the original version by The Mighty Diamonds.