Monday 9 February 2009

News, Views and Music Issue 21 (Intro)

February 9:

♫ Welcome everybody to the first issue of ‘news, views and music’ since…the last one. OK, so we’ve run out of anniversaries/ events to celebrate this week, but chances are if you’ve been reading these articles since the beginning then you’ll know what to expect by now so its business as usual! We’ve been added to a couple more search engines this week and had some good responses from our post on the csny ‘4waysite’ (make sure you visit them sometime if you haven’t already!) Thanks also to those of you who have signed our guestbook already – keep those comments and ideas flooding in! In the meantime enjoy our latest cornucopia of events from the AAA this week, starting with some very sad news indeed…

Buffalo Springfield news: Dewey Martin, drummer with the Buffalo Springfield throughout the whole of their tempestuous three-year career, died on Saturday, January 31st of unknown causes at the age of 68 (although the news was only released to the press last Friday). As well as his work with the pioneering American band who gave the world such talents as Stephen Stills, Neil Young and Richie Furay (see review no 17) Dewey was a veteran stage and session musician, playing with Patsy Cline, Carl Perkins, The Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison and The Monkees among others. Described on the back of the Springfield’s first record as ‘the heartbeat of the group’, Dewey provided a steady, rhythmic beat that helped the band pull through some of their many internal crises and went some way towards achieving their greatest triumphs.

The eldest member of the Springfield, Dewey was born in Canada on September 30th 1940 and is just 9 days older than John Lennon (if you’ve read about a different date for Dewey’s birth then chances are you’ve been reading the original Springfield record sleeves, where Dewey’s age was always marked down from what it really was – not unusual in rock and roll, such as the Stones also used to knock five years off Bill Wyman’s age). When the band were formed in 1965 Dewey was their most experienced musician by far, having become the regular sideman of another then-famous Young – Faron Young – played drums for LA band ‘The Sons Of Adam’ who supported the Beach Boys on one of their 1964 tours and fronted his own locally-successful band ‘Sir Raleigh and the Coupons’, making two higly collectible singles along the way. However his mid-60s stint with The Dillards came to nought when the future bluegrass stars decided to ditch their electric instruments in favour of more traditional music, axing the band’s rhythm section along the way.

It was thanks to that groups’ leader Doug Dillard, however, that in early 1966 Dewey first heard about an up-and-coming American/Canadian band that were after a drummer. Legend has it that the Buffalo Springfield first coined their name on the day that Dewey – the last member to join the group – first met the rest of the band. Their unusual name was taken from a steamroller company which - depending on whether you read Neil’s, Stephen’s or Richie’s account – was either copied, given with the company’s permission or stolen! Either way, the band were said to be demurring over whether the ‘Buffalo Springfield’ name was right for them until Dewey enthusiastically told them their music was ‘heavy’ enough to deserve the name!

Like the rest of the band, Dewey seemed to click quickly with the quirky Springfield personnel (three lead singers, three writers, three lead guitarists and, in fellow Canadian Bruce Palmer, a bassist who always played with his back to the audience, facing the drummer). So did the Springfield’s audience – right from the word go the Springfield were chosen as the support act for The Byrds and frequently ‘blew them off the stage’ in the eyes of both critics and concert-goers. They fared almost as well up against their next headlining act later in 1966 – The Rolling Stones. Soul fan Dewey was a major part of all the Springfield tours, even having his own vocal segment in most shows – at first a cover of Wilson Pickett’s ‘In The Midnight Hour’ (the 1966 tour) and later Furay’s specially-written track ‘Good Time Boy’ (1967). 

Despite being 3/5ths Canadian, the band had the perfect ‘American’ image to match the times, with Stephen Stills dressed as the quintessential ‘cowboy’, Richie Furay the all-American boy-next-door and Neil Young the exotic and brooding ‘Indian’.  The Springfield’s music too was deeply unusual and much praised at the time, even for the mid-1960s when the mania new bands and new styles was probably at its peak, with one critic memorably describing the Springfield sound as ‘a bunch of folkies backed by a Stax-Volt rhythm section’. The future looked even brighter when – after a couple of false starts with the Neil Young songs ‘Clancy’ and ‘Burned’ – the Springfield broke big with the Stephen Stills song ‘For What It’s Worth (Stop, Hey, What’s That Sound?)’.

Alas the band would never have another hit again. All the promise shown in the Springfield’s early days never quite translated to the studio, owing to a combination of the band’s rowdiness (Neil left the band no less than four times during the next 18 months) and the inexperience of faithful band managers Charlie Greene and Brian Stone, who had decided to cut out the middleman and ‘produce’ the band’s records themselves, despite having never set step inside a recording studio before. In retrospect, the band simply went through too much too quickly, having been together as a ‘band’ just a mater of months before making the big time (although at least the other members – unlike Dewey – has known at least one other member of the band for a couple of years by that time) and simply didn’t know each other that well before the strain of touring and recording got on everybody’s nerves. Whatever or whoever the cause (and every band member has been blamed for the collapse by somebody), the Springfield collapsed every single time that true stabilising break-through success seemed on the cards (Bruce got deported from America on drugs charges on the eve of a 1967 tour; Neil quit the band the first time when the band were booked for the prestigious Johnny Carson show and a second time right before the band’s appearance at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival).

Dewey’s reported habit of speaking his mind all the time was also less appreciated in the Springfield than it would have been in other bands – with the controlling Stills, peacemaker Furay, brooding Neil and nonchalant Bruce equally reluctant to change their style or ideas. However, Dewey’s contribution to the Springfield has been long overlooked, as the drummer lasted longer with the band than Young or Palmer did and played on practically all of the band’s later material during the Springfield’s later stages, even though by the time of their final album ‘Last Time Around’ the band rarely played together any more.

Martin’s distinctive drum sound played a major part in the band’s success and he attempted several different styles over the course of the band’s lifetime, including light and feathery pop on songs like ‘Rock and Roll Women’, rock and roll on ‘Mr Soul’, ‘rockabilly on ‘Go And Say Goodbye’, shuffle on ‘Pretty Girl Why’, some jungle rhythms on Stills’ early latin experiment ‘Uno Mundo’ and a thrilling orchestral landscape on the mournful ‘In The Hour OF Not Quite Rain’. Dewey also had a wonderful earthy tone that came in handy for several backing vocals (‘For What It’s Worth’ being the most famous example) as well as a cameo singing the opening of Neil’s ‘Mr Soul’ on the guitarist’s pop-art collage ‘Broken Arrow’ and his sole recorded lead vocal for the band, ‘Good Time Boy’. That song – written by Furay especially for the drummer – sums up Dewey’s live-for-the-moment zest-for-life personality nicely (it wasn’t for nothing that Dewey was described as ‘generous’ and ‘sincere’ on the back of the Springfield’s first album cover!) A further vocal, on Furay’s ‘Nobody’s Fool’, remains un-issued strangely, despite the mountain of off-cuts and rarities packed into the box-set ‘Buffalo Springfield’ (1998).

Following the Springfield’s demise after a farewell gig in May 1968, Dewey announced that he planned to make a record with his wife Jane, but instead formed his own ‘successor’ group ‘The New Buffalo Springfield’. The only member included from the Springfield’s line-up, Dewey seemed to be flogging a dead horse but seemed reluctant to let the dream and promise of the Springfield die. However, Stills and Young successfully petitioned for Dewey to stop using the band’s name and – despite forming a third line-up of the band – Dewey finally abandoned the concept in late 1969, after being fired by the rest of the group! (the others carried on under the name of ‘Blue Mountain Eagle’ but found even less success than the Springfield had done).

Dewey was slightly more successful with his early ‘70’s band ‘Medicine Ball’, who released an eponymous album in August 1970 with a guest appearance by Springfield bassist Bruce Palmer. However, the band changed line-ups even more than Dewey’s old band had done and recorded just a handful more songs, all of them still un-issued. After becoming a record producer for a brief time, Dewey finally gave up on the music business and turned to a new career as a car mechanic in late 1971. Dewey returned, however, to co-found the ill-fated ‘Buffalo Springfield Revisited’ with Bruce Palmer in the 80s and 90s – again incurring the wrath of Stills and Young who sought a court injunction to stop their old rhythm section trading under the old band name, although never gained anything close to the following of old and their plans too were put on hold for years after Palmer died **in 1993**.

Had the Springfield lasted just a little longer and had a few more lucky breaks, Dewey’s name would be known by everybody, not just the few aficionados who carry the Buffalo torch as he certainly had the skill of most of his contemporaries and had done more groundwork than most before his big break. Better still, the Springfield might have finally got around to recording their live show for a concert album – nearly everybody that heard the band at the time claimed their live shows were far far better than their records and, let’s face it, they were pretty good – and it’s a crying shame that no recording exists of Dewey playing live until late on in his career (except the depleted Springfield’s short and disappointing set from the Monterey Pop Festival). 

There are still plenty of classic Dewey Martin moments, though, so here is an AAA top five tribute:

5) ‘In The Hour Of Not Quite Rain’ (B.Springfield ‘Last Time Around’, 1968): Only Furay and Martin appear on this fascinating track, written by Richie as part of a ‘write a song for the Buffalo Springfield’ competition, run by American radio station KHJ during 1968. Alas there was hardly any band left to take part in the competition by the time the results were announced – a shame because competition winner Mickeala Callen’s moody lyrics are a fascinating slice of complex poetry that work well with Richie’s sinister, multi-layered music. Without the other Springfielders left to carry the sound, Richie chose to use a thick and heavy orchestral arrangement that brings out the best in Dewey’s playing. His usually bright and breezy energetic sound is reduced to a half-tempo plod and yet this sluggishness, with a few bright tinklings on the cymbals, does much to benefit the mood and feel of the song.   

4) ‘Bluebird’ (B.Springfield ‘Again’, 1967): What with the 1,111 guitars (or so the sleeve says anyway and there seems to be so much going on in this track it’s easy to be convinced!) it’s easy to miss all the twists and turns that Dewey goes through in order to keep up with this most complex of Stephen Stills songs. Like the rest of the band, Dewey comes charging out of the box with a pulsating drum pattern that must have been exhausting to play, adding in drums fills of all sorts whenever the song seems to be calling for one. Like Love’s ‘7 and 7 Is’ from a similar time or anything featuring Keith Moon, this is drum playing on the verge of being out of control without ever quite going over the edge (although is it just me or do I detect Dewey – and thereafter the band – slowing down slightly during Stills’ lengthy acoustic solo near the end of the song?) Even better – from Dewey’s point of view anyway – is the Springfield’s unplanned performance of this song at the Monterey Pop Festival, after a meandering finale to the band’s performance of ‘Rock and Roll Woman’. Recognising that the band are beginning to struggle, Dewey simply yells out at the top of his voice that the band are ‘now going to do our new single…Bluebird’ the band launch into a stinging version of this song, with Dewey’s drums to the fore like never before.     

3) ‘Mr.Soul’ (B.Springfield ‘Again’, 1967): Dewey tried to get his soul hero and fellow AAA artist Otis Redding to record this song until its author Neil Young nixed the idea. A shame as this soul-rock hybrid would have been perfect for the gentle giant – especially if he was backed by Martin on his recording too. Like ‘Rain’, Dewey has pared back the sound a great deal, leaving out all of his usual accessories and kit rolls in favour of a simple rock and roll groove that gives plenty of space for first Young and then Stills to show off their improvised guitar playing. Neil’s angry venomous lyrics lamenting the cost of fame (in the days before he really had any!) find their perfect accompaniment in the Springfield’s rhythm section here.  

2) ‘Can You Dig It?’ (The Monkees ‘Head’, 1968): The easiest way for fellow AAA-loving listeners to get their hand on Dewey’s playing outside the Springfield is to listen to the work Martin and Stills did on the Monkees’ seminal 1968 film soundtrack recording ‘Head’ (see review no 27). While ‘Long Title’ is a joyful rock and roll groove, ‘Can You Dig It?’ shows off much more of Dewey’s skill and – like most of Tork’s handful of songs – is extremely complex, taking in several time changes and differences of mood along the way. Dewey and percussionist Michael Glass kick up quite a storm between them, dominating the textures of Tork’s song of change and Eastern mysticism, keeping the band tight in the first half before backing off to let everyone into a fierce free-flight acoustic solo in the second half. The closest thing on record to a Dewey Martin drum solo, this is proof of the drummer’s talents and how good he was when given room to stretch away from a band as wide and diversified as the Buffalo Springfield.

1) ‘Good Time Boy’ (B.Springfield ‘Again’, 1967): Dewey drums and sings on this track, specially written by Richie to give him something to sing that would match his carefree personality. Dewey’s military-style drumming at last gives him a chance to show off his skills without the band’s three guitarists getting in the way and his vocal is confident, growly and suitably expressive, even if the scat section and hoarse finale is perhaps a little too outré for most Springfield fans. As the lyrics put it ‘’cause now I’m with you, that’s why they call me good ole Dew, and I can’t change right now it seems, but its alright to be a good time boy.’

Beatles news: Onto happier things now, with the new that we might finally have something AAA-related to celebrate Comic Relief with this year along with the usual cook books and red nosed-novelties. Stella McCartney, Paul’s youngest daughter, has been commissioned to design three T-shirts celebrating red nose day on March 13 including a photograph of the Beatles taken by her mother Linda (at the Sgt Peppers Launch Party on June 1st 1967 I believe) but with added red noses. Both Ringo and – surprisingly given his otherwise faithful support of his daughter’s achievements – Paul have been quiet about this latest Beatles product, but Macca and George in particular have always done a great deal for charity and the idea seems to have been well received by the Beatles community in general. I can’t comment any more yet as my T-shirt is due in the post but if you would like your own (or the other prints available of much-missed comedy heroes Morecambe and Wise, plus a red-nosed rabbit) then visit and place your orders now. The Beatles T-shirts is available in a range of sizes for babies, children and adults.

CSN news: Boo-hoo, the release of the Graham Nash set ‘reflections’ has been pushed back in the UK to February 16th, although it went ahead as planned on Feb 2nd and our American cousins seem to be enjoying a great deal given some of the comments I’ve been reading on CSN’s ‘4waysite’. Expect a review when my set arrives!

Two other quite possibly ‘phantom’ releases for you too. Apparently the two Stephen Stills/ Manassas albums are being prepared for a 2CD re-release sometime soon, although its not clear if any of the out-takes from the sessions (which include half-a-dozen tracks left off the second album alone) will be released for the first time or not. The first double Manassas album is still currently available without bonus tracks on a single CD and is a definite classic (it’s review no 51 on our list, no less), while the second, lesser single album has been out-of-print foe several years. However, I’ve not been able to find out anything official about this set or even what record company is meant to be producing it – more news if and when! Similarly, this months’ issue of ‘record collector’ magazine (which has an interview with Paul McCartney about his ‘Fireman’ projects incidentally) lists CSN’s live recording ‘Allies’ as part of a long list of re-issues coming out in February. Or at least that’s what I presume – the CD is actually listed as ‘Allied’ so, given that Record Collector usually make even fewer mistakes than we do and that CSN recently issued a good 2/3rds of the ‘allies’ set as part of their extended CD ‘live in LA’ early last year, could this be the first mention in months of the CSN ‘covers’ album, first mooted on Ceefax back in August? Again, we’ll have to wait and see.

Pink Floyd news: Another set already out that seems to have slipped quietly through the net of music reviewers is David Gilmour’s 1984 concert at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1984. The video of this concert has been long deleted and is so rare that – shock horror – even I haven’t got a copy of it (indeed, I’ve never even seen it anywhere), so this DVD release is very welcome indeed despite being – gulp – the third solo Gilmour-in-concert DVD of the past five or six years. Unlike recent Gilmour  concerts, this one is dominated by solo rather than Floyd material, mainly taken up with Gilmour’s under-rated second solo album ‘About Face’. Most collectors will probably want it for Nick mason’s guest appearance on ‘Comfortably Numb’ and ‘Run Like Hell’, though. It’s not as yet clear whether the extras included on the original video – promo videos for ‘Blue Light’ and the Gilmour-Pete Townshend collaboration ‘All Lovers Are Deranges’ – will be included on the DVD. 

Neil Young news: Finally, a mention too for a live Neil Young DVD that seems to be listed with some regularity among traders, even though any review or official announcement has passed me by. Titled ‘Rock At The Beach’, this set was recorded during one of Neil’s many creative returns to forms in 1989, at Long Island Beach. Recorded during Neil’s ‘Freedom’ period (see review no 92), this song included what in those days were three unreleased songs, a 20-minute long ‘Crime In The City (Sixty To Zero)’ (released on the forthcoming ‘Freedom’ but much longer in this period), ‘The Days That Used To Be’ (released on the next album, 1990’s ‘Ragged Glory’) and ‘Ordinary People’ (released on 2008’s ‘Chrome Dreams II’). Young is backed by his semi-regulars Rick Rosas and Chad Cromwell on all the tracks.

Another Neil Young release that snuck out quietly while everybody was paying attention to the deluxe ‘Archives’ set (which has been delayed for the 9th time in 20 years, incidentally, but not cancelled. Not yet anyway) is ‘Hot Summer Nights In London’, a curious mish-mash of a DVD containing a short concert of Neil solo in ‘After The Goldush’ mode 1971 and a short concert featuring Crazy Horse in 1976. Again, this DVD never seems to have been available in any mainstream shops, but is listed in several traders’ columns. More news if and when and who and where and above all why.

♫ Anniversaries: Happy Be-Bop-A-Lula Birthdays this week go to Peter Tork (Monkees 1966-68) who turns 63 on February 13th and Mick Avory (drummer with The Kinks 1963-85) who turns 65 on February 15th. Anniversaries of events this week include: the Beatles’ famous appearance on the Ed Sullivan TV show, the event that more than anything turned them into global – or at least American, which h in this period was almost the same thing – superstars (February 9 1964), the first live appearance of Paul McCartney’s Wings exactly eight years later, the mammoth 14-hour session that results in the recording of all but two tracks of the fab four’s debut album ‘Please Please Me’ (February 12th 1963), Pink Floyd finally break the record of ‘longest stay in the US charts’ when Dark Side Of The Moon clocks up 402 consecutive weeks (February 13th 1982) and finally two important dates in the history of the Who: Valentine’s day 1970 was the date that the ‘orrible ‘oo played their ‘Live At Leeds’ set and February 15th the following year saw the first life performance of the band’s ‘Lifehouse’ project (which, after several struggles, became classic album ‘Who’s Next’). 

News, Views and Music Issue 21 (Top Five): Top Abba Tracks Not On 'The Visitors'

♫ And now to our weekly top five. Owing to the fight going on in my e-mail tray over my review of ‘Mamma Mia’ the other week (well, OK then, one letter half-agreed and the other half-disagreed, but wars have been fought over smaller and more half-hearted arguments than this!) this time I shall be looking at my top five Abba tracks not already covered on last week’s review of ‘The Visitors’ album and – shock horror – three of them were actually used in the film. Even though they had no relevance whatsoever. 

5) I’m A Marionette: Surely this track from ‘Abba The Album’ would have been a better bet for the actors and actresses (and movie-goers) to sing along to? ‘You’re supreme, that’s what everybody’s telling me, but I’m feeling like an out-of-bounds, pushed around refugee’. Yes this song was obviously written on behalf ‘true’ Abba fans, the ones that know a decent song when they hear it (and no ‘Dancing Queen’ isn’t it, despite what the press will tell you) and Benny and Bjorn have just been laughing at us for following like sheep all these years. Or they really want the money.

But meanwhile, back in 1976, ‘I’m A Marionette’ was the logical conclusion of Abba’s progressive and theatrical side. The last track of a three-part mini-musical, ‘The Girl With The Golden Hair’ (the second part is ‘Thankyou For The Music’, where it makes a lot more sense than as the postmodern congratulatory aren’t we-briliiant? Track that people make it out to be nowadays) loosely based on the very real-life of the blond-haired singer Agnetha, but rew-ritten to sound as dramatic and over-the-top as possible. Everything about this track works, even though fans have long dismissed it as it’s not really got that golden ‘Abba’ sound. Charging strings, terror-stricken vocalists singing terror-struck characters and one of the best and most on-the-edge guitar solos in Abba’s canon all make this the most oppressive, electrically charged song in the band’s actually-quite-eclectic history.   

4)  Lay All Your Love On Me: Talking of oppressive, electrically charged songs, the highlight of the ‘Voulez Vous’ album is this classic song about addiction – to love, though, not alcohol, drugs or films where Piers Brosnan tries to sing and makes himself look foolish. ‘I wasn’t jealous before we met, now every woman I see is a potential threat’ purrs Agnetha as the repetitive bass and keyboard runs circle closer and closer together and suddenly collide for the laid-bare desperate chorus. This is dance/ disco music as it should be, with the repetitive endless rhythms building to such a climax that you’re asking for more, more, more, not ‘when is this ever going to end?!?’ like you do with most disco/dance songs. Plus you get the joy of hearing Agnetha singing lyrics written by her husband Bjorn which appear to be a clear message to hear – with all the attention you’re getting, don’t forget about me. Honestly, you could write a soap opera around this band (it would make for a better plot than the one in Mama Mia for a start…)   

3) I Have A Dream: Yes I can’t believe I like this track either. After all, it’s the sort of soppy, fluffy ballad I was lampooning in last week’s review. But I connect with this song far more than many of Abba’s other hits: I might not hear the drums Fernando, I have never kissed any of my teachers (!!), my mother doesn’t know that you’re out and I haven’t currently found out that my fate is to be with you, wo-o-o-o-o-o-ah (although the history book on the shelf is always repeating itself, that is true). I do however believe in angels (or of good, kind people at least, like you dear reader, please don’t turn that computer off…no help…aaagghh), of good in everyone I see (except perhaps The Spice Girls) and although I haven’t yet ‘crossed a stream’ (what does that line mean?!) I do still have a dream. And my dream is bringing classic songs like this one back into the public eye (without trying to staple it to a wafer-thin plot). This song could easily have been too treacly by half, but Anna-Frid’s greatest ever vocal is the perfect mix of subdued awe and overwhelming delight and I take my hat off to Bjorn and Benny for writing a tune this memorable and simple which is still so entirely original. The lyrics too successfully invoke the man who has been my biggest non-musical hero since the age of 10, Martin Luther King; true to his peaceful spirit without making a mockery of his words like so many have (and yes the song is – sort of, vageuly – based on his ‘I have A dream’ speech). Even the addition of a school choir (usually a big no-no in rock and pop circles) isn’t the horrifying prospect it might have been in other hands and is the perfect compliment to Agnetha and Anni-Frid’s sterling vocal work. The realist in me would like to disagree, but the romanticist in me is ‘head over heels’ for this song. 

2) Eagle: Abba meet Pink Floyd on this, the Swedish fab four’s most prog rock song yet. Most Abba songs pre-this one (from album ‘Arrival’) have fun seeing how many huttons they can push in the listener within two or three minutes. This one instead settles for a gentle glide, building up gradually verse by verse and making the listener wait anxiously for the terrific vocals to kick in. The critics of this song say that notghing happens, but that’s to miss the point – the narrator is dreaming of being free, of a time when she is free of all her shackles and can ‘fly like a bird in the sky, circle the mountains and trees and go anywhere that I please’. With the band’s exceptional backing band given more chance than ever to show off their skills, they concoct the perfect accompaniment here, with silky, bubbly guitar lines bouncing off twirly basses, rhythmic percussion and twinkly synthesisers. Why aren’t there more tracks like this in the Abba canon, as this – their first real attempt at this drifty, dreamy style – nailed the prog rock idea in one go when the likes of Pink Floyd took four or five years! 

1) The Winner Takes It All: Bjorn wrote this lament about his marriage while drunk in just half an hour, fully aware that the object of his half-apology half shrug-of-the-shoulders would be the one singing it on the next Abba album. Critics are often unkind about Abba’s lyrics, but Bjorn is actually a very talented wordsmith when the feeling in his songs is right and his autobiographical or semi-autobiographical songs nearly all have the power to move. This is his best effort of all, bemoaning the fact that lady luck has left his side (after several comparatively blissful years both personally and professionally) and all that he touched no longer turns to gold. It’s like The Hollies’ ‘King Midas In Reverse’, not asking for our sympathy because the narrator knows he should have made more of his opportunities when he had them and yet so genuinely regretful that we can’t help but be moved. The yearning melody from Beny is also one of his best, matching the yearning tone of the lyric but coming complete with an interesting rhythm scheme that keeps hjolting the listener forward into the next melody-line before we’ve had a chance to fully digest the old one, mirroring perfectly the confusion, regret and hope of the singer. We’ve heard this song so many times in recent years that we’ve forgotten how amazing this song is. Add in the fact that it this song has the ability to be this moving despite being written in a foreign language and you get some idea of just how talented Abba really were. Which is a shame if – as I fear – they will only be remembered for ‘Mamma Mia’ and ‘Abba Gold’. 

Well, that’s all for now – except for a word from our sponsor, Philosophy Phil (well, hey, everyone else gets sponsored these days so why not us?) ‘All Things Must Pass. Except the Spice Girls who will be around to haunt us forever.’ See you next week!

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

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

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