Monday 22 December 2008

News, Views and Music Issue 17 (Intro)

Ho! Ho! Ho! Welcome to the second, final and

                        distinctly seasonal AAA Christmas special of 2008.

                   Just the thing for music lovers who are patiently

                   waiting for their online and mail order presents to

               arrive, for the turkey to shrivel enough to fit in the

               oven and for the local carol singers who’ve called at

              your house five times already this week to get

             laryngitis. Have you all been good boys and girls this

       year? Well, alarmingly, so have the AAA musicians who have

      been uncharacteristically quiet this yuletide – let’s hope

      they’re up to something interesting in the new year. In the

         meantime, enjoy your presents, especially the ones that

         are CD-sized, and we’ll see you in 2009. Keep rocking!

Beach Boys news: Brian Wilson has just announced that a DVD filmed on his latest tour will be available on January 27th next year. The DVD, to be named ‘That Lucky Old Sun’ is based around Brian’s latest solo concept album of the same name (released in the Spring of 2008, but don’t worry if you missed it because it didn’t stay in the shops for very long and so did I). Like Brian’s last two live-in-concert DVDs ‘Pet Sounds’ and ‘Smile’, Brian will be backed by his band The Wondermints. It has not yet been revealed if there will be any ‘bonus’ features on the disc – more news next year.

Moody Blues news: Seasonal greetings Moodies fans not only from me but from original band keyboardist Mike Pinder, who is celebrating the festive season with the release of a new song ‘Peace Planet Proclomation’ and video celebrating the very Moodies-like theme of a universal peace this Christmas between all nations and races. The video     is available to watch at youtube (

 Look out too for the release of an album earlier in the year by Mike Pinder’s son     ’ (with Mike as guest – his first recordings for quite some time).

Top Of The Pops 2 News: Some programmer at the BBC seems to have been hit with the ghosts of Christmas past this yuletide, as the history of this year’s festive Top of the Pops Specials sounds like a multimedia Charles Dickens novel. Not content with cancelling the programme five or so years ago, the BBC announced in November that they were also planning to cancel the annual Christmas TOTP special which they had promised in lieu of continuing the series. The public complained in such numbers that the BBC put it back on the schedule – agreeing instead to cancel their planned series of TOTP2 compilations of older material. The public complained in large numbers again so, like Scrooge transformed, the BBC have decided to show no less than seven TOTP/TOTP editions this Christmas. This marks, by my reckoning, the first ‘new’ (ie new collections of old material) showings of TOTP2 on our screens since early 2006. AAA artists set for screening this yuletide include Paul McCartney on 23rd December, 7.30pm on BBC2 (most likely the ‘Wonderful Xmas Time’ promo seeing as it’s a ‘Christmas’ edition of the show), John Lennon on Christmas Eve at 11.15pm, The Kinks on Christmas Day-into-Boxing Day at 12.55am and The Who on Boxing Day at 12.40pm. Hurrah!

Happy yuletide-week birthdays go to Ian Burden (Human League 1979-80) who turns 51 on Christmas Eve, Mike Pinder (Moody Blues 1964-78) who celebrates his 66th birthday on December 27th and fellow Moody Ray Thomas (Moody Blues 1964-2004) who also turns 66 on December 29th. Anniversaries of events this week include the 29th anniversary of the Kampuchea Benefit concerts at London’s Hammersmith Odeon, starring The Who and the last performance of Wings as well as an all star ‘rockestra’ performance (December 22); the release of ‘Hey Schoolgirl’ written by two teenage performers Tom and Jerry (better known as Simon And Garfunkel – December 23rd 1957) and it’s a quarter of a century since Beach Boy Dennis Wilson drowned trying to rescue possessions thrown off his houseboat (December 28th 1983). For those of you who have a birthday during the next fortnight when this site is temporarily closed, fear not – there will be a special three-week version of ‘anniversaries’ in our next issue. 

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