Monday 13 October 2008

News, Views and Music Issue 8 (Intro)

October 13:

Well, the computer’s feeling better...but I’m not. So that’s put paid to the website plans for another week. Never mind though, in the lieu of other AAA news this week here are some (very) mildly interesting site statistics for you:  …………………… (see next page)

Riveting, I know, but at least it gives the site some colour!!

Beatle News: It’s a depressing view of the decade when the only Beatle news you get these days seem to be either death threats or court cases. Well, thankfully, it’s the latter this week. Yoko Ono, well known for her protection of the Lennon estate and suing those using her husband’s music without permission, has agreed to settle against a TV production team who used a Lennon song without her permission in a documentary about a school (I think it was ‘working class hero’ but I never actually saw the doc so I’m not certain). Paul McCartney, meanwhile, is suing the Liverpool branch of McDonalds for using his likeness in a ‘capital of cultures icon’ frieze displayed in their windows. Even though the icon is not advertising McDonalds and meat per se, Macca—who has been a vegetarian for 38 years—is worried that people will associate his likeness with promoting meat (perhaps if the fast-food chain started something along the lines of a ‘Linda and Paul Mac Bean Burger’ range they might wriggle out of it?)

Anniversaries this week:  In a particularly busy week, Paul Simon turns 67 on October 13th, Justin Hayward (guitarist with the Moody Blues, 1967-present) turns 62 on October 14th and Bob Weir (rhythm guitarist with the Grateful Dead 1965-95) turns 61 on October 16th. Events this week: The Beatles make their first TV appearance on ‘People And Places’  in 1962 (which is where that classic clip of them singing ‘Some Other Guy’ at the Cavern comes from; October 17th), while almost a year later they appear on Saturday Night at the London Palladium, causing most of the main streets in London to be cut off for hours thanks to hordes of screaming fans unable to get in (October 13th); Janis Joplin’s ashes are scattered at sea off the Californian coast on October 16th 1970 after her death on October 4th and Grace Slick appears on-stage with Jefferson Airplane for the very first time in 1966. She’ll go on to outstay every other member of the band, finally leaving ’Starship’  (as the band eventually become) 21 years later (October 14th).

News, Views and Music Issue 8 (Top Five): Worst DVDs

Having just bought the most hilarious music documentary yet (‘on the rock trail floyd’, available now at Poundland and—five minutes later—all good charity shops), here is the latest in our top-five guides, sponsored, once again, by the credit crunch. Most websites list the best DVDs starring their favourite groups—here we list the worst, the ones that you really don’t want to fork out money for, most of them made without the groups actual consent… :

5) ‘Grateful Dawg’ - Jerry Garcia and David Grisman. That old expression ‘ you had to be there’ could have been invented for the Grateful Dead and some of their concerts lose something when seen on video instead of just audio (or live on stage). But perhaps the worst, or at any rate the strangest, is this feature-length documentary, following a largely grumpy Jerry Garcia preparing for a new acoustic album and tour with his old friend Mr Grisman. The pair have a great deal of history together—they wrote ’Friend of The Devil’ from the Dead’s American Beauty album for starters, but by the early 1990s Garcia is recovering from a diabetic coma that saw him having to learn how to play the guitar all over again and away from the Dead he seems tired and bored, unsure quite what he’s doing making yet another album only the deadicated few will get to hear. The likeable Grisman, meanwhile, seems unsure whether to push his old friend along or sit back and wait for the magic to happen—which sadly it usually doesn’t. The problem, unlike most DVDs of this type, isn’t the direction—the film-maker, Grisman’s daughter, actually does a great job at cobbling this stuff together to (nearly) tell a story. But alas her team have filmed the wrong period of activity —nothing here happens for an hour and a half, except that the pair of musicians sing a few obscure nursery rhymes badly for the camera and record a moody music video in black-and-white that never actually got released at the time. For two talents of this magnitude, these clips are meagre returns for your money.

4)’George Harrison: Up Close And Personal’, etc. Well, it was only £1 from poundland, but basically all I learnt from this DVD was that there was more to the Beatle than met the eye (not that we ever find out what that was) and that he was fairly quiet (disputable that—hence the sheer number of anecdotes about him and the amount of press clips from the Beatle days there have been on other videos and DVDs down the years—not that the compilers of this get to show any of this, banned as they were from using pretty much any interesting footage). As for being ’close up and personal’, the only thing we see that’s really personal is the director’s prejudices for some old Beatle rumours heard hundreds of times over and (more often than not) now accepted to be wrong.  Even the much maligned mass-produced ‘Yellow Submarine’ lunchboxes and playing cards made out of knickers had more Beatles integrity than this. Strangely, the John Lennon DVD in the same series is actually quite good in oits own right (its amazing by comparison to this one!) and a bargain at the same price!

3)10cc: Live In Japan/The Classic Hits Tour/The Alive Tour. It’s been out three times this DVD and it still hasn’t got any better. The last title is especially wrong:10cc have never sounded more bored or zombiefied than on this concert. According to most accounts that have come out since, founding members Graham Gouldmann and Eric Stewart really weren’t getting on all that well in the early 90s and only re-united as 10cc because their record label Mercury had, bizarrely, decided to resurrect their contract and force them back into work (the last 10cc albums had—very unfairly I think—sold so poorly that both parties had been happy to let things rest in 1983).  This tour, to promote the record ’Meanwhile’ (1992), finds both supremely talented men bored out of their minds and all but glancing at their wrist-watches to work out when they can go home and curse the day theye ever became musicians. The only other semi-original member present is archive favourite Rick Fenn (who was with the band 1978-80 and also worked with Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason on a joint album), looking, if anything, even more bored than his partners—even his fiery guitar-work sounds strangely subdued here. A very obvious track selection broken up by three poorly played Beatle originals or Beatle-recorded covers, doesn’t help, but the one unusual track here which used to sound amazing live— ‘Feel The Benefit’ - is the set’s lowest moment, mangled by the band quite horribly. I’m tempted to say that the band were purely going through the motions in order to get the money, but actually that’s wrong—I saw this line-up, minus Eric Stewart, at the much-missed Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club in Birmingham just a year after this gig and they were great. Another case of right band, wrong tour?    

2) On the rock trail with...The Rolling Stones. What do you do when you want to make some easy money, own a video camera and access to the same two pictures of the Stones that everyone else whose even vaguely interested in music does? You make a DVD of course! Saving money on the important stuff (research; presenters who don’t look as if they’re reading an autocue they bought that morning; any post-production whatsoever), this DVD went on sale for £1 and actually looks like it cost less than that to make.

1)On the rock trail with...Pink Floyd. Blooming heck, this one’s even worse! It takes four minutes before the band even gets a mention, given the pretentious opening (camera pans across the narrator’s house before eventually—150 seconds in—finding him in the bath, surrounded by rubber ducks, talking about his jeans!) There is a mistake in every other sentence of the text (and the ones in-between might be accurate but have badly gotten hold of the wrong end of the stick!) and, despite what it says on the back cover, the narrator’s only qualifications to talk about Pink Floyd seem to be that he once saw them at a 1975 festival while waiting for somebody else to turn up and that he owns a copy of dark side of the moon (as do a third of the world’s population!) Actually, if you see this DVD on sale and have a spare pound ready, I urge you to buy it—if you have even a slight knowledge about this band, this will be the funniest thing you’ll have watched in years!

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