Monday, 2 February 2009
♫ Well, well, well, 20 issues young eh? Who’d’ve thought we’d have got here so quick? (Except for the AAA artists who wrote concept albums around time’s ability to pass so fast anyway). In celebration of our anniversary edition we’ve cobbled together all the 20-themed songs we can think of into our latest handy disposable list, but first our news. We are now included in an additional three search engines (we were aiming for 20 but couldn’t quite manage that far) and are quickly heading for 150 hits (that’s hits as in ‘views of our website’ not the top 20 music chart sort. Or indeed the ‘top 20 things you’d like to do to the website creator for taking up so much of your time). While we wallow in that fact for a minute, here’s your weekly and – this time – short round-up of the world’s news:
♫ CSN news: Just a brief addition to the last fortnight’s worth of CSN news; i) The Crosby-Nash ‘In Concert’ recording from November 1970 is set to receive yet another BBC4 screening this week (that’s the fifth in the last 18 months! I know this concert is the best thing yet broadcast in the history of BBC4 but even for me that’s pushing it a bit!) The concert even has a prime-time slot this time, 8.30pm tomorrow (February 3rd). ii) Be quick if you want to grab some of those Crosby-Nash tour arm-bands we talked about in the last issue, as this is the last week you’ll be able to purchase them (visit ***) iii) Finally, a reminder that the long awaited Graham Nash 3-CD retrospective ‘Reflections’ is due out on Monday, Graham’s 67th birthday. No doubt there will be a review coming to you sometime soon, but there may be a bit of a delay for us getting hold of it so we just thought we’d remind you all!
Anniversaries: They say it’s your birthday if your name is Graham Nash (Hollies 1963-68, CSN/Y various times, did I really need to tell you that by now?!), who as mentioned above turns 67 on February 2nd, Skip Battin (bassist with the Byrds 1969-72) would have turned 74 on the same day, Eric Haydock (bassist with the Hollies 1963-65) would have turned 65 on February 3rd and finally in this long list Dave Davies (guitarist with The Kinks 1963-93) turns 62 on the same day. Happy birthdays all! Anniversaries of events this week include: the release of the first solo record post-split by either Simon or Garfunkel – the former’s ‘Mother and Child Reunion’ which quickly scales up the charts despite the doubts of record company Columbia (Feb 5th 1972), three Beatles get back together in a recording studio for the first time – no, not ‘Free As A Bird’, but George’s tribute single to John ‘All Those Years Ago’ (find it on the Harrison album ‘Somewhere in England; recorded Feb 6th 1981), the Kinks make their first television appearance, miming to first single ‘Long Tall Sally’ on much-loved much-missed music programme ‘Ready Steady Go!’ (Feb 7th 1964), in a forgotten milestone of music history, Stephen Stills becomes the first person ever to record using digital sound, although his recordings have to date never been released (as far back as Feb 7th 1979) and finally Pink Floyd give their first concert performance of ‘The Wall’ in LA (Feb 7th 1980)
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!
AAA: THE EMERGENCY SERVICE WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT ALBUM TO PLAY