Monday, 2 February 2009

News, Views and Music Issue 20: AAA Songs With The Number '20'!

And so here we again at our traditional end-of-newsletter farewell. As the bucket hanging clear to hell descends upon us at the end of yet another issue’s lifespan, we celebrate the top five AAA songs referencing the words ‘20’ in honour of our anniversary issue! (Excepting the Beach Boys album ‘20/20’ which we couldn’t fit in but is, of course, an honorary member of this list!)

5) 24 Hours (10cc/Windows In The Jungle, 1983). Hmm, a whole day in the life of man referencing a whole life in the day of a website (or something like that…) As discussed at length in review no 86, 10cc’s Eric Stewart nearly died in a car crash and spent the rest of his band career delving into more serious topics than the usual 10cc fare. Like many tracks from the superlative ‘Jungles’ album, this song juxtaposes all the great things in life that flashed by its creator’s eyes with the mundane things that most people spend their allotted time doing (and no, reading this website isn’t one of them! It’s the keyhole through to your soul, honest!) Just as the jungle rhythms give way to city sounds in an all too convincing natural segue, so our lifespan flies out before us and we falter. Or something like that anyway.

4) Four and 20 (CSNY/ Déjà vu, 1970). OK, so we’re getting a bit desperate on ‘20’ titles OK? This delightful pocket ballad about an old age pensioner who started and ending his life with nothing (see review no 34 for the full story) only makes sense if the narrator is ‘four score and 20’ years old (ie 100). Whatever his age, this song is Stephen Stills at one of his many early 70s peaks, sadly cast adrift into the recorded world without those glorious CSN harmonies until a reunion concert of 1990.

3) 20th Century Man (The Kinks/ Muswell Hillbillies, 1971). Will there really have been as many centuries in the modern (ie anno domini) calendar as there have been issues of our newsletter next week? Well, ‘yes’ is the simple answer to that. But like all of you who happen to be under the age of nine while reading this, Ray Davies was born a 20th century man and what with wars, pollution, pointless bureaucracy, a failed welfare state, trigger-happy-peacemen and an uncertain future, he ‘doesn’t want to be here’. Not that the 21st century seems much of a better prospect so far, but still – judging by the evidence of this depressing but depressingly oh-so-true song, the elder Davies brother never thought humanity would last long enough for us to find out.        

2) 20 Flight Rock (Paul McCartney/ Choba B CCCP, 1989). The weakest McCartney album (up until the gormless ‘Chaos and Creation’ at any rate) found Macca threatening to start the Cold War all over again by recording a series of lame rock and roll covers especially for the Russian people (this album was one of the first Western records to be officially sold there after the Berlin Wall came down and the ‘iron curtain’ was lifted). ’20 Flight Rock’ is a song that crops up several times on Macca’s CV, mainly because it’s the song that got him ‘into’ the Beatles (so legend has it, Paul’s prowess on the guitar and his faultless reading of this song’s lyrics got him into the band without question – although closer to the truth seems to be the fact that Macca could tune a guitar when Lennon still didn’t know how). This is in fact one of the better songs on the album, with Eddie Cochran’s lyrics about a lusty teenager following his girlfriend up 20 flights of stairs and finding himself too tired to do what he was intending on reaching her room one of the better 1950s rock and roll/ comedy cross overs (see ‘Summertime Blues’, ‘Fortune Teller’ and the pay-off line of ‘Sweet Sixteen’ for more examples of this short-lived genre).

1) Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Beatles/ Sgt Pepper’s, 1967). Yes, it was 20 issues ago today that our website was launched (hooray!), its been going in and out of style, but its guaranteed to raise a smile (even if it’s a smile of horror), so let me introduce to you the song you’ve known for 42 years, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Come back Billy Shears, all is forgiven!  

And so farewell friends with this latest message from Philosophy Phil – ‘It doesn’t matter who you are and where you want to be, the story’s in the journey and not what’s out at sea!’ Till the next issue, keep rocking!


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