Monday 28 January 2013

The Last 10 AAA Songs Listed Alphabetically (News, Views and Music Issue 180 Top 10)

Here we are with a sequel to last week’s feature on the first 10 AAA songs listed alphabetically. What a cracker it was: we started off having ‘A Bad Night’ with Cat Stevens and ended up having ‘A Great Day For Freedom’ whilst in between covering the crashing chords of ‘A Day In The Life’ and enjoying ‘A Better Place’ with The Hollies. What could possibly compete with that lot? Well this lot, possibly, the last 10 AAA songs if you list them alphabetically (discounting ampersands, numbers, brackets and funny squiggles anyway), starting with ‘Y’ and running all the way up to ‘Z’! What surprises me is how many ‘lasts’ these songs represent in more ways than just the alphabet...(is there some sub-conscious nedd to use the last two letters of the alphabet to express goodbyes and signifigant endings? Or have I simply goner monkeynuts again?...) Hold on to your seats, record collecting doesn’t get more anorakky than this...

“Your Loving Flame” (Paul McCartney, ‘Driving Rain’ 2001)

There are, approximately, 2000 AAA albums out there (almost as many as there are stars in...well...a small patch of sky) so the odds of having the same album crop up twice in the same list seem pretty low. However this is the first of two entries by Paul McCartney’s ‘Driving Rain’ album for which Macca must have had songs beginning with ‘Y’ on his mind. This song is a classic piano ballad, the highlight of the album and by far the best song out of the handful Paul wrote for second wife Heather Mills. Intriguingly the piano chords are subtlety similar to ‘My Love’, his song for Linda and the lyrics are similarly dodgy (well, less ‘inspired’ than the music anyway) but the tune is one of those ‘sounds like its been around for five generations’ McCartney classics. The song was reportedly written in a hotel room in America who – hearing that they had a famous musicians staying with them – got the porters to bust their backs lugging a grand piano up to Paul’s suite ‘just in case’ any music happened while he was there. The medical bills were well worth it – this is arguably the last 100% classic of the McCartney canon to date.

“Your Mind Has Left Your Body” (Paul Kantner, Grace Slick and David Freiberg, ‘Baron Von Tollbooth And The Chrome Nun’ 1973)

A track from the last and most obscure record out of the Kantner/Slick solo spin off trilogy, this album came out pretty close to the release date for ‘Dragonfly’ the first Jefferson Starship record where all three musicians were on a real creative roll. This is a Kantner song, less political than his others for the record and recounting either a dream or a drug-induced stupor where nothing is what we think it is. Sleepy, slow and ominous, it’s an atmospheric highlight of a record that’s been ignored by Airplane fans for far too long. Kantner and Freiberg (once of ‘Quicksilver Messenger Service’) were never better, adding a bass rumble over which Grace simply soars. It’s a shame that the three of them never made another album and that indeed Freiberg will be all but silenced creatively by the time of Starship’s third LP with a split between Kantner and Slick already surfacing by the following year. Another song that’s more or less the last 100% classic Jefferson moment (well, except for ‘Dragonfly’ and some of the songs on Grace’s ‘Dreams’ LP anyway) but at the time was just one jewel among many.

“Your One And Only Man” (Otis Redding, ‘The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads’ 1965)

One of my favourite Otis songs, this is a groovy beat ballad which plays to all of Otis’ strengths: a lyric he can get his teeth into, an expressive vocal line that’s filled with tonnes of emotion but a slightly more subtle and muted backing than usual that enhances the realism of the song. This song from Otis’ second record ‘Soul Ballads’ is one of the singer’s own songs and it fits him like a glove, giving him a chance to get more and more emotional as the song winds out of control, only to slap back down to earth with an unexpected bump. There’s a neat early use of minor keys, too, that Otis was only beginning to use near the end of his career but it suits the singer well, his typical ‘Mr Pitiful’ character determined to break through every obstacle in his path to be with the one he loves.

“Your Possible Pasts” (Pink Floyd, ‘The Final Cut’ 1983)

How different the lives of all of us might have been with just a few accidental mist-steps down the road of life. For Roger Waters they flutter behind his main character for his final Floyd album (the teacher from ‘The Wall’, revealed to be a scarred war victim from WW2) ‘some bright-eyed and crazy, some scattered and lost’, warning his future to ‘take care’. This simple, emotional man is hardened by the battles he experienced in his youth and its left him unable to express love ort feeling, something that in turn he passes on to the unfortunate kids of the 1940s and 50s in his care. How different his life could have been had he not experienced death and injuries on such a scale; how different the pupils’ lives might have been without such an evil presence bullying them through their formative years. All this leaves The Teacher an unhappy but believable, coming home from a hard day’s corporal punishment to bark at his wife ‘do you think we should be closer?’, fighting his way past everyone in life because that’s how he’s been told to behave. One of the more thoughtful songs from ‘The Final Cut’, a rollercoaster stop-start ride that’s difficult to listen to but highly revealing about the characters within.

“Your Way” (Paul McCartney, ‘Driving Rain’ 2001)

‘Driving Rain’ is back on this list again with a sweet acoustic love song that was also written for Heather Mills. The opening bass descend while the guitar stretches upwards is an old McCartney trick (Wings used it a lot, especially on their first few B-sides) and the bouncy tune is very Macca, although the pedal steel is a nice, new sound to add to the mix. The lyrics are slightly deeper than they sound on first hearing too, the sound of a character used to getting his own way bowing before the might of a bossy power and accepting that for the sake of the relationship its better to ‘lose’ a few battles to win the war (thus making this song perhaps the best description of the brief Macca-Mills relationship). Unfortunately the song doesn’t really know where to go after its strong beginning and the song simply repeats itself therein, ending up on an uncomfortable chorus (‘Your way is mine, your way is right, your way is mine tonight’).

“Yours Truly, Confused, N10” (Ray Davies, single, 2008)

Ray Davies has been a grumpy old man since at least the age of 23. ‘Where Have All The Good Times Gone?’ is not the sort of song most youngsters from the 1960s thought to write and yet Ray wasn’t fooled by the talk of hippies and utopias (you only need to hear the very last Kinks song ‘Did Ya?’ from 1993 to see how little he thought of music’ greatest decade). However even the 1960s seem like paradise compared to the then-present of 2008, a world that’s gone mad and is obsessed by celebrities, has an ignorant media full of rampaging spin doctors, where politicians act as terrorists and where crime is so rife that no one cares about their fellow human beings any more. Ray’s narrator is distraught, writing this song as an ‘open letter’ to the press getting more and more passionate with every verse while the unexpected return of a brass section (for the first time since 1975) gives the song a traditional basis quite at odds with the noise overdubbed on top. Relegated to an EP and later a ‘bonus’ track on a solo best-of, this song is one of Ray’s best in years, a logical conclusion to the last 45 years of songwriting. The postcode, by the way, is one for ‘Muswell Hill’, the area of London in which Ray (and Dave) were born although at the time this song was released the elder Davies brother had been living in America for some time. Probably for good reason given some of the comments made in the song.

“Yvonne’s The One” (10cc/Paul McCartney, ‘Mirror Mirror’ 1995)

Fans of both artists forget that for a time Paul McCartney and 10cc’s Eric Stewart were best buddies and writing partners. They weren’t together that long (their album ‘Press To Play’ was received really poorly by press and fans who should know better – its actually one of Paul’s best five LPs and the pair had a falling out over whether Eric should ‘engineer’ the record as he had with 10cc) but still hit a rich vein of magic, some of which was still being recycled by the time of an ill-fated 10cc reunion in the 1990s (when Eric and Graham Gouldmann were ‘forced’ back into working together after their record company decided they still owed two more albums). Paul never released his version of the song, which is a great shame – its a catchy pop song with one of Macca’s best ever middle eights ful of regret and longing which has only ever appeared on bootleg and is probably the best single song in the McCartney canon yet to be released now that ‘A Love For You’ finally came out in 2012). 10cc’s later version is horrible by comparison, sped up and with a reggae limp for backing that seems at odds with the song’s good humour and sweet memories. Given the fact that the album was made at short notice (allegedly with Eric and Graham working in separate studios) you can understand why the song was revived, but why not stick to the original arrangement – Paul sang it in lovely falsetto on the original which is a good near-match for Eric’s own voice. Sadly this Yvonne really isn’t the one, but the first ‘demo’ version of the song is.

“Zilch” (The Monkees, ‘Headquarters’ 1967)

‘Mr Dobelina, Mr Bob Dobelina...China Clipper Calling Alameta...Never mind the furthermore the plea is self defence...It is of my opinion that the people are intending...Chickens...Elepehants...Zilch!’ If that isn’t the single weirdest lyric in the whole of the AAA canon then, well, I’m a spice girl (‘Writealot Spice’ how does that sound?) but it all seemed to make more sense back in 1967 when psychedelia was in the air and The Monkees caught the bug more than most. This song’s parent LP ‘Headquarters’ is a fascinating cornucopia of every sound available in March 1967 from pop songs to protest to rock to country, but it’s in the little segues (this song and ‘Band 6’) where the band’s humour and personality come through in an attempt to add more of ‘themselves’ into a record they were also writing, producing and playing on for the first time. All the phrases were ‘in-jokes’, overheard by the band on their world tour and cobbled together in a sort of low budget version of The Beatles’ ‘Revolution 9’, though quite why the band used ‘zilch’ as a title (slang for ‘zero’) is anyone’s guess!

“Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” (The Hollies, ‘The Hollies’ compilation, 1985)

Yes, we really do mean the Disney track from ‘Song Of The South’. And yes, you’re right, that is a strange choice for a song which might be why it sat on a shelf at Abbey Road for some 20 years before being revived for a compilation. Actually, it’s pretty good, the song being revved up beat style with some superb drumming from Bobby Elliott and a throat-tearing vocal from Allan Clarke and Graham Nash that even makes lines about bluebirds sitting on shoulders sound like they are urgent and important. The Hollies had a thing about ‘birds’ at the time (no not that sort!) also recording ‘Rockin’ Robin’ in the same period.

“Zor and Zam” (The Monkees, ‘The Birds, The Bees and The Monkees’ 1968)

We return to The Monkees for our final song – and what a song it is folks! Betrayal, Royalty, wars, hatred and revenge, with two brothers going to battle over some minor falling out and expecting the citizens they ruled over to give up their lives for the cause. The song was written by Bill Chadwick (a Monkee audtionee himself who worked for a time as Micky’s stand in in the TV series) and was written as the title song for an animated TV series that sadly never happened (they’d probably have struggled to come up with plots every week but on the basis of this one song alone it would have been fab!) Micky (the real one that is) was rarely better than on this song, a perfect two minute miniature masterpiece where the citizens revolt in the name of love and peace, leaving the two kings of the title reflecting on their loss of power and status. They held a war – and nobody came.

And that really is that folks, the Alan’s Album Archive canon literally from ‘A’ to ‘Z’ in two compact weeks (although you’ll have to view the other 280 odd issues and counting to read about the songs in between!) We’ll have another dozen songs or so for you to read about next week in our usual review section – till then, so long for another week and see you soon!

A NOW COMPLETE List Of Top Five/Top Ten/TOP TWENTY  Entries 2008-2019
1) Chronic Fatigue songs

2) Songs For The Face Of Bo

3) Credit Crunch Songs

4) Songs For The Autumn

5) National Wombat Week

6) AAA Box Sets

7) Virus Songs

8) Worst AAA-Related DVDs

9) Self-Punctuating Superstar Classics

10) Ways To Know You Have Turned Into A Collector

11) Political Songs

12) Totally Bonkers Concept Albums

13) Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

14) Still Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

15) AAA Existential Questions

16) Releases Of The Year 2008

17) Top AAA Xmas Songs

18) Notable AAA Gigs

19) All things '20' related for our 20th issue

20) Romantic odes for Valentine's Day

21) Hollies B sides

22) 'Other' BBC Session Albums

23) Beach Boys Rarities Still Not Available On CD

24) Songs John, Paul and George wrote for Ringo's solo albums

25) 5 of the Best Rock 'n' Roll Tracks From The Pre-Beatles Era

26) AAA Autobiographies

27) Rolling Stones B-sides

28) Beatles B-Sides

29) The lllloooonnngggeesssttt AAA songs of all time

30) Kinks B-Sides

31) Abandoned CSNY projects 'wasted on the way'

32) Best AAA Rarities and Outtakes Sets

33) News We've Missed While We've Been Away

34) Birthday Songs for our 1st Anniversary

35) Brightest Album Covers

36) Biggest Recorded Arguments

37) Songs About Superheroes

38) AAA TV Networks That Should Exist

39) AAA Woodtsock Moments

40) Top Moments Of The Past Year As Voted For By Readers

41) Music Segues

42) AAA Foreign Language Songs

43) 'Other' Groups In Need Of Re-Mastering

44) The Kinks Preservation Rock Opera - Was It Really About The Forthcoming UK General Election?

45) Mono and Stereo Mixes - Biggest Differences

46) Weirdest Things To Do When A Band Member Leaves

47) Video Clips Exclusive To Youtube (#1)

48) Top AAA Releases Of 2009

49) Songs About Trains

50) Songs about Winter

51) Songs about astrology plus horoscopes for selected AAA members

52) The Worst Five Groups Ever!

53) The Most Over-Rated AAA Albums

54) Top AAA Rarities Exclusive To EPs

55) Random Recent Purchases (#1)

56) AAA Party Political Slogans

57) Songs To Celebrate 'Rock Sunday'

58) Strange But True (?) AAA Ghost Stories

59) AAA Artists In Song

60) Songs About Dogs

61) Sunshiney Songs

62) The AAA Staff Play Their Own Version Of Monoploy/Mornington Crescent!

63) What 'Other' British Invasion DVDs We'd Like To See

64) What We Want To Place In Our AAA Time Capsule

65) AAA Conspiracy Theroies

66) Weirdest Things To Do Before - And After - Becoming A Star

67) Songs To Tweet To

68) Greatest Ever AAA Solos

69) John Lennon Musical Tributes

70) Songs For Halloween

71) Earliest Examples Of Psychedelia

72) Purely Instrumental Albums

73) AAA Utopias

74) AAA Imaginary Bands

75) Unexpected AAA Cover Versions

76) Top Releases of 2010

77) Songs About Snow

78) Predictions For 2011

79) AAA Fugitives

80) AAA Home Towns

81) The Biggest Non-Musical Influences On The 1960s

82) AAA Groups Covering Other AAA Groups

83) Strange Censorship Decisions

84) AAA Albums Still Unreleased on CD

85) Random Recent Purchases (#2)

86) Top AAA Music Videos

87) 30 Day Facebook Music Challenge

88) AAA Documentaries

89) Unfinished and 'Lost' AAA Albums

90) Strangest AAA Album Covers

91) AAA Performers Live From Mars (!)

92) Songs Including The Number '100' for our 100th Issue

93) Most Songs Recorded In A Single Day

94) Most Revealing AAA Interviews

95) Top 10 Pre-Fame Recordings

96) The Shortest And Longest AAA Albums

97) The AAA Allstars Ultimate Band Line-Up

98) Top Songs About Sports

99) AAA Conversations With God

100) AAA Managers: The Good, The Bad and the Financially Ugly

101) Unexpected AAA Cameos

102) AAA Words You can Type Into A Caluclator

103) AAA Court Cases

104) Postmodern Songs About Songwriting

105) Biggest Stylistic Leaps Between Albums

106) 20 Reasons Why Cameron Should Go!

107) The AAA Pun-Filled Cookbook

108) Classic Debut Releases

109) Five Uses Of Bird Sound Effects

110) AAA Classic Youtube Clips Part #1

111) Part #2

112) Part #3

113) AAA Facts You Might Not Know

114) The 20 Rarest AAA Records

115) AAA Instrumental Songs

116) Musical Tarot

117) Christmas Carols

118) Top AAA Releases Of 2011

119) AAA Bands In The Beano/The Dandy

120) Top 20 Guitarists #1

121) #2

122) 'Shorty' Nomination Award Questionairre

123) Top Best-Selling AAA Albums

124) AAA Songs Featuring Bagpipes

125) A (Hopefully) Complete List Of AAA Musicians On Twitter

126) Beatles Albums That Might Have Been 1970-74 and 1980

127) DVD/Computer Games We've Just Invented

128) The AAA Albums With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

129) The AAA Singles With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

130) Lyric Competition (Questions)

131) Top Crooning Classics

132) Funeral Songs

133) AAA Songs For When Your Phone Is On Hold

134) Random Recent Purchases (#3)

135) Lyric Competition (Answers)

136) Bee Gees Songs/AAA Goes Disco!

137) The Best AAA Sleevenotes (And Worst)

138) A Short Precise Of The Years 1962-70

139) More Wacky AAA-Related Films And Their Soundtracks

140) AAA Appearances On Desert Island Discs

141) Songs Exclusive To Live Albums

142) More AAA Songs About Armageddon

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159) A (Not That) Short Guide To The 15 Best Non-AAA Bands
160) The Greatest AAA Drum Solos (Or Near Solos!)
161) AAA Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame Acceptance Speeches
162) AAA Re-Recordings Of Past Songs
163) A Coalition Christmas (A Fairy Tale)
164) AAA Songs About Islands
165) The AAA Review Of The Year 2012

166) The Best AAA Concerts I Attended
167) Tributes To The 10 AAA Stars Who Died The Youngest

168) The First 10 AAA Songs Listed Alphabetically

171) The 10 Best Songs From The Psychedelia Box-Sets ‘Nuggets’ and ‘Nuggets Two’

172) The 20 Most Common Girl’s Names In AAA Song Titles (With Definitions) 

180) First Recordings By Future AAA Stars

185) A Tribute To Storm Thorgerson Via The Five AAA Bands He Worked With

188) Surprise! Celebrating 300 Album Reviews With The Biggest 'Surprises' Of The Past Five Years Of Alan's Album Archives!

190) Comparatively Obscure First Compositions By AAA Stars

193) Evolution Of A Band: Comparing First Lyric With Last Lyric:

200) The Monkees In Relation To Postmodernism (University Dissertation)

202) Carly Simon's 'You're So Vain': Was It About One Of The AAA Crew?

217) AAA 'Christmas Presents' we'd most like to have next year

221) Dr Who and the AAA (Five Musical Links)

222) Five Random Recent Purchases

223) AAA Grammy Nominees

224) Ten AAA songs that are better heard unedited and in full

225) The shortest gaps between AAA albums

226) The longest gaps between AAA albums

227) Top ten AAA drummers

228) Top Ten AAA Singles (In Terms of 'A' and 'B' Sides)

229) The Stories Behind Six AAA Logos

230) AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!! The Best Ten AAA Screams

231) An AAA Pack Of Horses

232) AAA Granamas - Sorry, Anagrams!

233) AAA Surnames and Their Meanings

234) 20 Erroneous AAA Album Titles

235) The Best AAA Orchestral Arrangements

236) Top 30 Hilariously Misheard Album Titles/Lyrics

237) Ten controversial AAA sackings - and whether they were right

238) A Critique On Critiquing - In Response To Brian Wilson

239) The Ten MusicianS Who've Played On The Most AAA Albums

240) Thoughts on #CameronMustGo

241) Random Recent Purchases (Kinks/Grateful Dead/Nils Lofgren/Rolling Stones/Hollies) 

242) AAA Christmas Number Ones 

243) AAA Review Of The Year 2014 (Top Releases/Re-issues/Documentaries/DVDs/Books/Songs/ Articles  plus worst releases of the year)

244) Me/CFS Awareness Week 2015

245) Why The Tory 2015 Victory Seems A Little...Suspicious

246) A Plea For Peace and Tolerance After The Attacks on Paris - and Syria

247) AAA Review Of The Year 2015

248) The Fifty Most Read AAA Articles (as of December 31st 2015)

249) The Revised AAA Crossword!

251) Half-A-Dozen Berries Plus One (An AAA Tribute To Chuck Berry)

252) Guest Post: ‘The Skids – Joy’ (1981) by Kenny Brown

254) Guest Post: ‘Supertramp – Some Things Never Change’ by Kenny Brown

255) AAA Review Of The Year 2018

256) AAA Review Of The Year 2019 plus Review Of The Decade 2010-2019

257) Tiermaker

258) #Coronastock

259) #Coronadocstock

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