Thursday, 28 July 2011

News, Views and Music Issue 107 (Top Ten): Conversations With Our 'Maker'




As we’ve seen, Paul Simon has a lot of conversations with his ‘maker’ on his new album. That’s unusual but not unique because there’s actually 20 AAA songs we could think of that either talk with God, have God talk to them, debate what God would be like or simply imagine what the afterlife might be like. Even we can’t write that much, so we’ve whittled it down to the 10 most interesting songs. This has always been an intriguing subject for your scribe by the way – it took until the end of a year’s creative writing course before I could write about anything except the afterlife – so I’m amazed it’s taken 106 other discussions before I got the excuse to use it! Now, ‘So Beautiful Or So What?’ is almost unique in AAA terms by discussing God and what happens after death throughout the album – but even then it’s joined by Godley and Creme’s 1988 ‘farewell’ LP ‘Goodbye Blue Sky’ which has a whole 45 minute debate about the state of Heaven and how the world existed (because, all together now, ‘the big bang is the thing that created you and me’!) As a result, we could have had a whole top 10 just made up of this album, but we’ve decided to move on to make the list more interesting... (those just missing the list include George Harrison’s ‘My Sweet Lord’, The Kink’s ‘God’s Children’, Paul McCartney’s ‘Heaven on a Sunday’, Belle and Sebastian’s ‘The State I Am In’, Ringo Starr’s ‘Oh My Lord’, Dire Straits’ ‘Industrial Disease’, Jefferson Starship’s ‘Connection’, Oasis ‘D’yer Know What I Mean?’ and Janis Joplin’s ‘Mercedes Benz’ . Perhaps we’ll have a second top ten on the subject sometime if this list is popular!)

1) The Hollies “Maker” (from the 1967 album ‘Butterfly’): In which God is a fleeting temporary beauty, possibly drug-induced. Graham Nash’s last album track with his ‘first’ band was this fascinating drug-drenched song about God that mixes between the first and third person. Here, heaven is idyllic (‘Sunshine is shimmering, jack o’lanterns glimmering, giant moths are flickering around...’) but also available only for a short while (‘Back to reality, don’t you just pity me?, I could so easily stay here...’). Nash also adds an interesting postscript with the line about spending his days there with ‘someone I know I mustn’t believe in’ – is that because this is a drug-fuelled ‘illusion’? Or because he’s been ‘programmed’ by modern life in a way that doesn’t allow him to accept the idea of a higher being? Of all the songs on the list, this is the one that most equates the summer of love with religion and spirituality, with a clash of Western and Eastern instruments conjoining on a song that ends up sounding like a drug experience, a place you can’t stay in but always want to return to (well, that’s how drugs were perceived by many in 1967 anyway!) Of all the songs Nash submitted to the other Hollies, it was this and ‘Lady Of The Island’ that caused the biggest rifts, with the rest of the band allegedly hating this masterpiece in miniature. 

2) The Kinks “Big Sky” (1968): In which God becomes a snob, refusing to even look on what people ‘beneath’ him are up to. This song about an omnipotent messiah figure who frowns on people below him he considers ‘insignificant’ was actually inspired by a trip Ray Davies took up a mountain range. Recognising a record company executive below him – one involved in the case that was causing the Kinks so many legal difficulties in 1968 – Ray noticed how he seemed not to notice the ‘less important’ people around him. Ray, on a physically ‘higher’ plane, found the idea highly amusing and decided to write a song around it, one where people look up to their ‘master’ but in the end ‘the Big Sky’s too big to sympathise’. Although this song comes close to being another of Davies’ damning character stereotype songs (a la Well Respected Man and Dedicated Follower of Fashion), in the end Ray ends up feeling sorry for his creation, so cut off from the rest of the world he doesn’t know how it functions anymore (‘Big Sky would like to cry and he feels sad inside...’) Ray then ends the song with his own gesture of sympathy to all his fans and listeners, expressing his concern for the difficulties they might be facing and adding ‘one day we’ll be free and we won’t care, just you wait and see – until that day can be don’t let it get you down!’ But Mr Big Sky is too wrapped up in himself to hear Ray’s advice. 

3) Moody Blues “The Beginning” (Threshold) (1969): In which God and his ‘great computer’ has a truly bizarre conversation with his followers and offers some rather cryptic advice. ‘I am...I know I am...Therefore I am...I think’ Mankind, philosopher that he is, is only dimly aware of his existence on this curious Moody Blues sound effect/spoken word montage. It takes God – in the voice of drummer Graeme Edge – to put things straight for him, telling him that the difficulties aren’t his doing and can be overcome by cracking a ‘code’. For, all together now, ‘it riles them to believe that you perceive the web they weave’. There’s another voice too, similar to ‘God’s but more sinister and accompanied by the clatter of technology – is this the Devil or, more simply, a slightly different shade of the same deity (the rather more crotchety old testament deity rather than the new testament one)? Any road, he thinks of mankind as simply something to programme through his ‘great computer’, with mankind a kind of living ‘magnetic ink’ helping him come to some big calculation. Whichever way, this is a truly oddball track even amongst a band that loved confusing their audience with hidden codes and symbols, ending with a high-pitched whistle which may or may not be the missing chord from the previous Moodies album...

4) Janis Joplin “Work Me, Lord” (1969): In which a desperate believer turns to a God that won’t or can’t hear her. An earth (and ear) shattering performance that finds Janis at her emotive best. ‘Work me lord, because I feel so useless down here..’ sings Janis’ suicidal narrator, praying to a God she doesn’t think is even bothering to listen to her. Acknowledging that there’s nothing special about her, she still yearns for better times ahead because ‘I don’t think you’d find anyone who could say that they tried like I’ve tried, the worst you can say is that I’m never satisfied’. Cue the most mournful horn section in the history of recorded music, yanking the song back to a positive major chord before it flounders and falls back uncomfortably on a minor one. The sound is heartbreaking, the sound of an individual trying to pull herself up and wish for better times ahead, whilst knowing in her heart that it’s never going to happen for her. The song ends with Janis still pleading, her lost vocal getting pummelled by an ending scattercushion of percussion. Janis excelled at this sort of song during her final days – her own composition ‘Mercedes Benz’ is a similar but rather more comical tale of a narrator who has everything and yet still wants more, for free, as reward for her loyalty (‘Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends’). 

5) Lindisfarne “Clear White Light” (1970): In which the question is asked, ‘so just what exactly happens after death?’, without ever quite finding an answer. The loveliest song on this top ten, this is renowned atheist Alan Hull writing about his experiences working as a nurse in an asylum, wondering out loud whether his own views might be wrong after finding religion comforted so many patients a near their life’s end. The song never actually ties its ideology to its mast – the question in the chorus is ‘do you believe the clear white light is going to guide us on?’ –but it’s joyous, boundless melody has fun leaping all over the place with the sheer delight over the realisation that the narrator can ‘give love one more go, because you never know what you might know’. Hull ends up having the complete opposite view of the afterlife on 1979’s ‘Good To Be Here?’ (the closing track of the 1979 Lindisfarne ‘The News’ album), imagining a scary journey into the afterlife full of troubles and a world where, when he dies, nobody knows who he is. Let’s hope that Hull, who died suddenly of a heart attack aged 49 in 1995, has found that his  former vision is closer to the truth.  

6) John Lennon “God” (1970): In which God is a concept by which we measure our pain. This, really, is two songs in one, the most revealing song of surely the most nakedly autobiographical album ever made. Lennon, in 1970 deep into professor Janov’s ‘primal scream’ therapy, is trying to come to terms with the illusions of life and offers up a long ‘shopping list’ of all the illusions that mankind should shatter if he is to continue through life without emotional baggage. Denying the beliefs of Hitler, Jesus, Buddha and the I Ching, he then turns his attention to musicians, quoting Dylan by his real name of Zimmerman and breaking millions of hearts by telling us that the Beatles are dead. In many ways it’s the beginning of the song, with the phrase quoted above, that hits hardest though, with Lennon giving the idea that throughout our long history the idea of ‘God’ is one that mankind has used to absolve himself of mistakes, that there was never one true creator and that mankind ultimately serves no useful purpose – he is just an ‘accident’. God is seen here as a comforting blanket for generations who don’t want to admit their own insignifigance and mortality. That hasn’t stopped many a medium coming forward and claiming that Lennon has ‘spoken’ from the afterlife however, freely admitting that he got things ‘wrong’ with this track and there was more to life than he supposed (then again, they don’t all say the same thing and might all be making it up anyway).

7) Paul Kantner and Grace Slick (of Jefferson Airplane) “Look At The Wood” (1972): In which God is an architect, taking years to perfect the world mere humans take for granted. Unusually, it’s those rebel rousers from the Jefferson Airplane and Starship who come up with the most ‘traditional’ view of God on the list. Their joint song ‘Look At The Wood’ appears on their second record together, the one with their baby Chyna on the front, and continues the record’s themes about creation and purpose. The song is a primitive folk number – so much so that, together with its simple melody, it sounds like its been sung around campfires since the stone age – listing the number of things created by God in turn. The singers, together with a guesting David Crosby, sound suitably awe-struck, looking at the world anew and deciding that ;it must have taken him years’. Perhaps they’re taking the mickey by the end though, what with lines about a ‘wide assortment of lizards’ and imagining God in the ‘form of a wizard’. The whole effect of reverie is also negated by the song fading up from ‘Titanic’ , a scary moodpiece full of sound effects of people drowning and waves lapping while a ship offers a mournful cry for help. What are we meant to make from this? That if God really exists he should save mankind from his biggest excesses and mistakes and tragedies (for which the Titanic is a pretty good fit)? Or that there are two ways of looking at the story? 

8) The Kinks “Black Messiah” (1978): In which thousands of years of prejudices are overturned when God turns out to be an African-American. This whole piece could be given the sub-title from this song ‘everybody got the right to speak their mind, so don’t shoot me for saying mine’. This late 70s Ray Davies composition is one of the most controversial of the whole Kinks back catalogue – or was t the time anyway – imagining God not as a Caucasian with a flowing white beard but as a black man set to right the wrongs his ‘brothers’ have been done on earth. Based around the line ‘everyone is equal in the good lord’s eyes’, Ray sings the entire song in a Jamaican accent and set to a calypso backing, caught halfway between sincerity and pastiche. All the song’s really doing, though, is drawing attention to the Bible’s themes of equality in the eyes of God, questioning whether the Bible itself is really free of prejudice enough to make that call and wondering out loud how thousands of years of white worshippers would take the news that ‘their’ God is really black. To be honest, it all sounds quite plausible to me, although it’s a shame that Ray’s messiah sounds like someone doing a bad impression of Boney M.     

9) Dennis Wilson “Are you Real?” (1979): In which a collapsed, scattered and possibly dying believer has a hazy conversation that could be real or simply the booze and drugs talking to him. ‘Are you my vision, can I believe in what I see, are you real?’ starts this moody song by the beach Boys drummer, originally left unreleased till 2004. The narrator, lost in a haze of drugs and booze admirably reconstructed by the musicians on the track, isn’t sure whether what he’s seeing is the result of his inebriated state or some genuine insight into life. The result is confusing, hopeless and lost, with the song slowly losing all sense of stability before ending in a truly mind-blowing finale, with the narrator sinking further into his helplessness. In short, this sounds like a man dying, being confronted with a death he knows is coming but a vision of an afterlife that may or not be real (just as scientists and worshippers continue to argue over whether the idea of a dying man seeing ‘lights at the end of a tunnel’ is a result of oxygen starvation or genuine progress into some other life). The song never decides either way, coming to a quick, sudden, angry switch. Has the narrator woken up? And if he has, is he on earth, in heaven or in hell? This unfinished track is one of the most moving of all the ‘Bambu’ fragments, not least because we know how close to death Dennis was (he died in 1983), with this album a last chance to find stability and happiness, a pursuit that sadly never happened.  

10) Neil Young “When God Made Me” (2005): In which God muses over how much talent he can fit into Neil Young’s head. This week’s top ten ends with yet another unexpected surprise. At least, it caught me by surprise on release, with that other well known atheist and rebel Neil Young (who ‘got thrown out of bible school for giving a finger to the preacher’) imagining what might have happened when his maker put him on the earth. The finale to an album all about death and what happens next (the album was inspired by the death of dad Scott Young), this is a hymnal, peaceful song with a church choir attached in the choruses. Neil wonders whether the God that made ‘him’ was in a good or happy mood, wanted to open his afterlife to just believers or everybody, whether God looks like him or any other being on the planet and what plans he had in store for Neil’s narrator when he was born. The result is a true one-off in Neil’s back catalogue and a big lyrical surprise, yet it’s still moving and rings surprisingly true. Was God intending me to write 217 articles and counting on obscure 1960s and 70s albums? I don’t know just yet but what I do know is, if there is someone up there then they brought one hell of a lot of beautiful music into the world. 

And that’s that for another issue. Be sure to join us the next time we play ‘news, views and music’! (Cue theme tune!)

A NOW COMPLETE List Of Top Five/Top Ten/TOP TWENTY  Entries 2008-2019
1) Chronic Fatigue songs http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/08/news-views-and-music-issue-1-top-five.html

2) Songs For The Face Of Bo
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/09/news-views-and-music-issue-2-top-five.html

3) Credit Crunch Songs
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/09/news-views-and-music-issue-3-top-five.html

4) Songs For The Autumn
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/09/news-views-and-music-issue-4-top-five.html

5) National Wombat Week
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/09/news-views-and-music-top-five-national.html

6) AAA Box Sets
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/09/news-views-and-music-issue-6-top-five.html

7) Virus Songs
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/10/news-views-and-music-issue-7-top-five.html

8) Worst AAA-Related DVDs
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/10/news-views-and-music-issu-8-top-five.html

9) Self-Punctuating Superstar Classics
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/10/news-views-and-music-issue-9-top-five.html

10) Ways To Know You Have Turned Into A Collector
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/10/news-views-and-music-issue-9-top-five.html

11) Political Songs
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/11/news-views-and-music-issue-11-top-five.html

12) Totally Bonkers Concept Albums
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/11/news-views-and-music-top-five-totally.html

13) Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/11/top-five-issue-13-40-years-of-beatles.html

14) Still Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/12/news-views-and-music-issue-14-top-five.html

15) AAA Existential Questions
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/12/news-views-and-music-issue-15-top-five.html

16) Releases Of The Year 2008
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/12/news-views-and-music-issue-16-top-five.html

17) Top AAA Xmas Songs
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/12/news-views-and-music-issue-17-top-five.html

18) Notable AAA Gigs
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/01/news-views-and-music-issue-19-top-five.html

19) All things '20' related for our 20th issue
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/02/news-views-and-music-issue-20-aaa-songs.html

20) Romantic odes for Valentine's Day
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/02/news-views-and-music-issue-22-top-five.html

21) Hollies B sides
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/news-views-and-music-issue-23-top-five.html

22) 'Other' BBC Session Albums
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/news-views-and-music-issue-24-top-five.html

23) Beach Boys Rarities Still Not Available On CD
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/news-views-and-music-issue-25-top-five.html

24) Songs John, Paul and George wrote for Ringo's solo albums
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/news-views-and-music-issue-26-top-five.html

25) 5 of the Best Rock 'n' Roll Tracks From The Pre-Beatles Era
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/04/news-views-and-music-issue-27-top-five.html

26) AAA Autobiographies
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/04/news-views-and-music-issue-28-top-five.html

27) Rolling Stones B-sides
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/04/news-views-and-music-issue-29-top-five.html

28) Beatles B-Sides
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/05/news-views-and-music-issue-30-top-five.html

29) The lllloooonnngggeesssttt AAA songs of all time
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/05/news-views-and-music-issue-31-top-five.html

30) Kinks B-Sides
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/05/news-views-and-music-issue-32-top-five.html

31) Abandoned CSNY projects 'wasted on the way'
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/05/news-views-and-music-issue-33-top-five.html

32) Best AAA Rarities and Outtakes Sets
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/06/news-views-and-music-issue-34-top-five.html

33) News We've Missed While We've Been Away
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/07/news-views-and-music-issue-35-top-five.html

34) Birthday Songs for our 1st Anniversary
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/07/news-views-and-music-issue-37-top-five.html

35) Brightest Album Covers
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/07/news-views-and-music-issue-37-top-five.html

36) Biggest Recorded Arguments
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/07/news-views-and-music-issue-38-top-five.html

37) Songs About Superheroes
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/08/news-views-and-music-issue-39-top-five.html

38) AAA TV Networks That Should Exist
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/08/news-views-and-music-issue-40-top-five.html

39) AAA Woodtsock Moments
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/08/news-views-and-music-issue-41-top-five.html

40) Top Moments Of The Past Year As Voted For By Readers
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/08/news-views-and-music-issue-42-top-five.html

41) Music Segues
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/09/news-views-and-music-issue-43-top-five.html

42) AAA Foreign Language Songs
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/09/news-views-and-music-issue-44-top-five.html

43) 'Other' Groups In Need Of Re-Mastering
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/10/news-views-and-music-issue-45-top-five.html

44) The Kinks Preservation Rock Opera - Was It Really About The Forthcoming UK General Election?
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/11/news-views-and-music-issue-46-top-five.html

45) Mono and Stereo Mixes - Biggest Differences
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/11/news-views-and-music-issue-47-top-five.html

46) Weirdest Things To Do When A Band Member Leaves
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/11/nerws-views-and-music-issue-48-top-five.html

47) Video Clips Exclusive To Youtube (#1)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/11/news-views-and-music-issue-49-top-five.html

48) Top AAA Releases Of 2009
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/12/news-views-and-music-issue-50-top-five.html

49) Songs About Trains
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/01/news-views-and-music-issue-51-top-five.html

50) Songs about Winter
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/01/news-views-and-music-issue-52-top-five.html

51) Songs about astrology plus horoscopes for selected AAA members
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/02/news-views-and-music-issue-53-top-five.html

52) The Worst Five Groups Ever!
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/02/news-views-and-music-issue-54-top-five.html

53) The Most Over-Rated AAA Albums
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/03/news-views-and-music-issue-56-top-five.html

54) Top AAA Rarities Exclusive To EPs
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/03/news-views-and-music-issue-57-top-five.html

55) Random Recent Purchases (#1)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/04/news-views-and-music-issue-58-top-five.html

56) AAA Party Political Slogans
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/news-views-and-music-issue-60-top-five.html

57) Songs To Celebrate 'Rock Sunday'
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/news-views-and-music-issue-61-top-five_21.html

58) Strange But True (?) AAA Ghost Stories
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/news-views-and-music-issue-61-top-five.html

59) AAA Artists In Song
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/06/news-views-and-music-issue-63-top-five.html

60) Songs About Dogs
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/06/news-views-and-music-issue-65-top-five.html

61) Sunshiney Songs
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/news-views-and-music-issue-67-top-five.html

62) The AAA Staff Play Their Own Version Of Monoploy/Mornington Crescent!
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/news-views-and-music-issue-68-top-forty.html

63) What 'Other' British Invasion DVDs We'd Like To See
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/news-views-and-music-issue-69-top-five.html

64) What We Want To Place In Our AAA Time Capsule
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/08/news-views-and-music-issue-70-top-five.html

65) AAA Conspiracy Theroies
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/08/news-views-and-music-issue-72-top-ten.html

66) Weirdest Things To Do Before - And After - Becoming A Star
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/08/news-views-and-music-top-ten-aaa-stars.html

67) Songs To Tweet To
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/news-views-and-music-issue-74-top-five.html

68) Greatest Ever AAA Solos
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/news-views-and-music-issue-75-top-ten.html

69) John Lennon Musical Tributes
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/10/news-views-and-music-issue-77-top-five.html

70) Songs For Halloween
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/10/news-views-and-music-issue-78-top-five.html

71) Earliest Examples Of Psychedelia
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/11/news-views-and-music-issue-79-top-five.html

72) Purely Instrumental Albums
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/11/news-views-and-music-issue-81-top-five.html

73) AAA Utopias

74) AAA Imaginary Bands
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/11/news-views-and-music-issue-82-top-five.html

75) Unexpected AAA Cover Versions
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/12/news-views-and-music-issue-83-top-five.html

76) Top Releases of 2010
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/12/news-views-and-music-issue-84-top-five.html

77) Songs About Snow
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/12/news-views-and-music-issue-85-top-five.html

78) Predictions For 2011
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011_01_02_archive.html

79) AAA Fugitives

80) AAA Home Towns
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/01/news-views-and-music-issue-88-home.html

81) The Biggest Non-Musical Influences On The 1960s
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/01/news-views-and-music-issue-89-top-five.html

82) AAA Groups Covering Other AAA Groups
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/news-views-and-music-issue-90-top.html

83) Strange Censorship Decisions
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/news-views-and-music-issue-91-top-ten.html

84) AAA Albums Still Unreleased on CD
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/news-views-and-music-issue-92-top-five.html

85) Random Recent Purchases (#2)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/news-views-and-music-issue-93-top-ten.html

86) Top AAA Music Videos
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/news-views-and-music-issue-94-top-ten.html

87) 30 Day Facebook Music Challenge
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/news-views-and-music-issue-95-top.html

88) AAA Documentaries
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/news-views-and-music-top-five-aaa.html

89) Unfinished and 'Lost' AAA Albums
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/news-views-and-music-issue-97-top-ten.html

90) Strangest AAA Album Covers
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/newsa-views-and-music-issue-98-top-ten.html

91) AAA Performers Live From Mars (!)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/news-views-and-music-issue-99-top-ten.html

92) Songs Including The Number '100' for our 100th Issue
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/news-views-and-music-issue-100-top-five.html

93) Most Songs Recorded In A Single Day
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/news-views-and-music-issue-101-top-five.html

94) Most Revealing AAA Interviews
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/news-views-and-music-issue-102-top-five.html

95) Top 10 Pre-Fame Recordings
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/news-views-and-music-issue-103-top-ten.html

96) The Shortest And Longest AAA Albums
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/news-views-and-music-issue-104-top-ten.html


97) The AAA Allstars Ultimate Band Line-Up
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/news-views-and-music-issue-105-top.html

98) Top Songs About Sports
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/news-views-and-music-issue-106-top-ten.html

99) AAA Conversations With God
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/news-views-and-music-issue-107-top-ten.html

100) AAA Managers: The Good, The Bad and the Financially Ugly
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/news-views-and-music-issue-108-top-ten.html

101) Unexpected AAA Cameos
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/news-views-and-music-issue-109-top-ten.html

102) AAA Words You can Type Into A Caluclator
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/news-views-and-music-issue-110-top-five.html

103) AAA Court Cases
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/news-views-and-music-issue-111-top-five.html

104) Postmodern Songs About Songwriting
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/news-views-and-music-issue-112-top-five.html

105) Biggest Stylistic Leaps Between Albums
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/news-views-and-music-issue-113-top-ten.html

106) 20 Reasons Why Cameron Should Go!
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/news-views-and-music-issue-114-top.html

107) The AAA Pun-Filled Cookbook
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/news-views-and-music-issue-115-top-five.html

108) Classic Debut Releases
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/news-views-and-music-issue-116-top-five.html

109) Five Uses Of Bird Sound Effects
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/news-views-and-music-issue-118-top-five.html

110) AAA Classic Youtube Clips Part #1
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/news-views-and-music-issue-119-top.html

111) Part #2
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/news-views-and-music-issue-120-top.html

112) Part #3
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/news-views-and-music-issue-121-top.html

113) AAA Facts You Might Not Know
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/news-views-and-music-issue-122-top-ten.html

114) The 20 Rarest AAA Records
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/news-views-and-music-issue-123-top.html

115) AAA Instrumental Songs
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011_12_04_archive.html

116) Musical Tarot
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/news-views-and-music-issue-125-top-23-i.html

117) Christmas Carols
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011_12_18_archive.html

118) Top AAA Releases Of 2011
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011_12_25_archive.html

119) AAA Bands In The Beano/The Dandy
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/news-views-and-music-issue-128-top-five.html

120) Top 20 Guitarists #1
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/news-views-and-music-issue-129-top-ten.html

121) #2
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012_01_15_archive.html

122) 'Shorty' Nomination Award Questionairre
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012_01_22_archive.html

123) Top Best-Selling AAA Albums
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012_01_29_archive.html

124) AAA Songs Featuring Bagpipes

125) A (Hopefully) Complete List Of AAA Musicians On Twitter
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012_02_19_archive.html

126) Beatles Albums That Might Have Been 1970-74 and 1980
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012_02_26_archive.html

127) DVD/Computer Games We've Just Invented
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012_03_11_archive.html

128) The AAA Albums With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012_03_18_archive.html

129) The AAA Singles With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012_03_25_archive.html

130) Lyric Competition (Questions)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012_04_15_archive.html

131) Top Crooning Classics
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012_04_22_archive.html

132) Funeral Songs
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/news-views-and-music-issue-142-top-five.html

133) AAA Songs For When Your Phone Is On Hold
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/news-views-and-music-issue-143-top-five.html

134) Random Recent Purchases (#3)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/news-views-and-music-issue-144-top-five.html

135) Lyric Competition (Answers)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/news-views-and-music-issue-146-top.html http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/news-views-and-music-issue-145-top-five.html

136) Bee Gees Songs/AAA Goes Disco!
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/news-views-and-music-issue-147-top-five.html

137) The Best AAA Sleevenotes (And Worst)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/news-views-and-music-issue-148-top-ten.html

138) A Short Precise Of The Years 1962-70
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/news-views-and-music-149-top-eight.html

139) More Wacky AAA-Related Films And Their Soundtracks
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/top-five-for-news-views-and-music-150.html

140) AAA Appearances On Desert Island Discs
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/top-eight-aaa-desert-island-discs.html

141) Songs Exclusive To Live Albums
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/news-views-and-music-issue-153-top-10.html

142) More AAA Songs About Armageddon
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/aaa-armageddon-songsalbums-top-5-for.html

What difference does a name make? Arguably not much if you’re already a collector of a certain group, for whom the names on the album sleeves just...

This week’s top ten honours the humble motor car. The death trap on wheels, the metaphor for freedom, the put-down of capitalism, a source of...

This week we’re going to have a look at the 10 AAA singles that spent the most weeks at number on the American chart ‘Billboard’ – and it makes for...

Following on from last issue’s study of the American Billboard charts, here’s a look at which AAA albums spent the most weeks on the chart. The...

There are many dying arts in our modern world: incorruptible politicians, faith that things are going to get better and the ability to make decent...

This week we’ve decided to dedicate our top ten to those unsung heroes of music, the session musicians, whose playing often brings AAA artists (and...

Naturally we hold our AAA bands in high esteem in these articles: after all, without their good taste, intelligence and humanity we’d have nothing to...

What do you do when you’ve left a multi-million selling band and yet you still feel the pull of the road and the tours and the playing to audiences...

‘The ATOS Song’ (You’re Not Fit To Live)’ (Mini-Review) Dear readers, we don’t often feature reviews of singles over albums or musicians who aren’t...

In honour of this week’s review of an album released to cash in on a movie soundtrack (only one of these songs actually appears in ‘Easy Rider’...and...

Hic! Everyone raise a glass to the rock stars of the past and to this week’s feature...songs about alcolholic beverages! Yes that’s right, everything...

154) The human singing voice carries with it a vast array of emotions, thoughts that cannot be expressed in any other way except opening the lungs and...

Everyone has a spiritual home, even if they don’t actually live there. Mine is in a windy, rainy city where the weather is always awful but the...

Having a family does funny things to some musicians, as we’ve already seen in this week’s review (surely the only AAA album actually written around...

Some artists just have no idea what their best work really is. One thing that amazes me as a collector is how consistently excellent many of the...

159) A (Not That) Short Guide To The 15 Best Non-AAA Bands http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/a-not-that-short-guide-to-15-of-best.html%20%0d160

160) The Greatest AAA Drum Solos (Or Near Solos!) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/the-greatest-aaa-drum-solos-or-near.html%20%0d161

161) AAA Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame Acceptance Speeches http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/aaa-rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame.html%20%0d162

162) AAA Re-Recordings Of Past Songs http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/aaa-re-recordings-of-past-songs-news.html%20%0d163

163) A Coalition Christmas (A Fairy Tale) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/a-coalition-christmas-news-views-and.html%20%0d164

164) AAA Songs About Islands http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/aaa-songs-about-islands-news-views-and.html%20%0d165

165) The AAA Review Of The Year 2012 http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/the-aaa-review-of-year-2012-news-views.html



166) The Best AAA Concerts I Attended
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/the-best-aaa-concerts-i-attended-news.html

167) Tributes To The 10 AAA Stars Who Died The Youngest http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/tributes-to-10-aaa-stars-who-died.html



168) The First 10 AAA Songs Listed Alphabetically
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/the-first-10-aaa-songs-if-listed.html


171) The 10 Best Songs From The Psychedelia Box-Sets ‘Nuggets’ and ‘Nuggets Two’ http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/the-best-of-two-nuggets-psychedelia.html%20%0d172

172) The 20 Most Common Girl’s Names In AAA Song Titles (With Definitions) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/girls-names-in-aaa-song-titles-from.html 








180) First Recordings By Future AAA Stars http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/first-





185) A Tribute To Storm Thorgerson Via The Five AAA Bands He Worked With http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/a-tribute-to-hipgnosis-via-five-aaa.html



188) Surprise! Celebrating 300 Album Reviews With The Biggest 'Surprises' Of The Past Five Years Of Alan's Album Archives! http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/celebrating-300-album-reviews-10.html


190) Comparatively Obscure First Compositions By AAA Stars http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/comparatively-obscure-debut.html



193) Evolution Of A Band: Comparing First Lyric With Last Lyric: http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/evolution-of-band-comparing-1st-lyric.html







200) The Monkees In Relation To Postmodernism (University Dissertation) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/university-dissertation-monkees-in.html


202) Carly Simon's 'You're So Vain': Was It About One Of The AAA Crew? http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/carly-simons-youre-so-vain-was-it-about.html















217) AAA 'Christmas Presents' we'd most like to have next year http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/aaa-christmas-presents-wed-most-like-to.html




221) Dr Who and the AAA (Five Musical Links) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/01/dr-who-and-five-musical-links-to-alans.html

222) Five Random Recent Purchases http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/01/five-random-recent-purchases-news-views.html

223) AAA Grammy Nominees http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/02/aaa-grammy-nominees-top-twelve-news.html

224) Ten AAA songs that are better heard unedited and in full http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/02/ten-aaa-songs-that-are-better-unedited.html

225) The shortest gaps between AAA albums http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-shortest-gaps-between-aaa-albums.html

226) The longest gaps between AAA albums http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-longest-gaps-between-aaa-albums.html

227) Top ten AAA drummers http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/03/top-ten-aaa-drummers-news-views-and.html

228) Top Ten AAA Singles (In Terms of 'A' and 'B' Sides) http://www.alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/top-ten-aaa-singles-and-b-sides-news.html

229) The Stories Behind Six AAA Logos http://www.alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/the-stories-behind-six-aaa-logos.html

230) AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!! The Best Ten AAA Screams http://www.alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/the-best-aaa-screams-top-ten-news-views.html

231) An AAA Pack Of Horses http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/aaa-songs-about-horses-top-ten-news.html

232) AAA Granamas - Sorry, Anagrams! http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/aaa-anagrams-news-views-and-music-issue.html

233) AAA Surnames and Their Meanings http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/aaa-surnames-and-their-meanings-news.html

234) 20 Erroneous AAA Album Titles http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/twenty-erroneous-aaa-album-titles-news.html

235) The Best AAA Orchestral Arrangements http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/fifteen-great-aaa-string-parts-news.html

236) Top 30 Hilariously Misheard Album Titles/Lyrics http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/top-thirty-hilariously-misheard-aaa.html

237) Ten controversial AAA sackings - and whether they were right http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/ten-controversial-aaa-sackings-news.html

238) A Critique On Critiquing - In Response To Brian Wilson http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/a-critique-on-critiquing-in-response-to.html

239) The Ten MusicianS Who've Played On The Most AAA Albums http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/the-ten-musicians-whove-played-on-most.html

240) Thoughts on #CameronMustGo http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/thoughts-on-cameronmustgo.html

241) Random Recent Purchases (Kinks/Grateful Dead/Nils Lofgren/Rolling Stones/Hollies) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/six-random-recent-purchases-kinksg.html 

242) AAA Christmas Number Ones http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/aaa-christmas-number-ones.html 

243) AAA Review Of The Year 2014 (Top Releases/Re-issues/Documentaries/DVDs/Books/Songs/ Articles  plus worst releases of the year) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/aaa-review-of-year-2014.html

244) Me/CFS Awareness Week 2015 http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/mecfs-awareness-week-at-alans-album.html

245) Why The Tory 2015 Victory Seems A Little...Suspicious http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/why-tory-victory-seems-deeply.html

246) A Plea For Peace and Tolerance After The Attacks on Paris - and Syria http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/a-plea-for-peace-and-toleration.html

247) AAA Review Of The Year 2015 http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/the-aaa-review-of-year-2015.html

248) The Fifty Most Read AAA Articles (as of December 31st 2015) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/the-fifty-most-read-aaa-posts-2008-2015.html

249) The Revised AAA Crossword! http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2016_07_10_archive.html


251) Half-A-Dozen Berries Plus One (An AAA Tribute To Chuck Berry) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/an-aaa-covers-tribute-to-chuck-berry.html

252) Guest Post: ‘The Skids – Joy’ (1981) by Kenny Brown  https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/guest-post-skids-joy-1981.html


254) Guest Post: ‘Supertramp – Some Things Never Change’ by Kenny Brown https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2018/06/guest-review-supertramp-some-things.html

255) AAA Review Of The Year 2018 https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2018/12/the-aaa-review-of-year-2018.html

256) AAA Review Of The Year 2019 plus Review Of The Decade 2010-2019 https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2019/12/the-alans-album-archives-review-of-year.html



257) Tiermaker https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2019/06/alans-album-archives-on-tiermaker.html

258) #Coronastock https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2020/04/coronastock.html

259) #Coronadocstock https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2020/05/coronadocstock.html

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