Friday, 24 July 2009

News, Views and Music Issue 37 (Intro)

July 24:

Welcome everybody to yet another issue of everyone’s favourite monkeynuts archives newsletter. Having taken my queue from the Kinks album reviewed below I thought I’d ask – how are you? Where are you? What are you up to? This site is meant to be yours as well as mine, remember, so please keep emailing me in with ideas and requests or post something on our guest book. The one thing that crops up occasionally from our readers is that the graphics could do with work – well, we’ve tried a few ways around this now and they all seem to cost too much or would take too long but rest assured we’re working on it. As you may have noticed we’ve already had a bit of a makeover recently courtesy of the new laptop that makes all these sort of things a bit easier and we’re hoping to use some website templates sometime soon to help with the web pages. We’ll let you know how we’re getting on next week. Meanwhile, on with the news...


Beatles News: The cover artwork for the ‘Beatles Rock Band’ game has been released and features a distinctive cover of the fab four in the ‘Hard day’s Night’ period. The back cover, meanwhile, promises us entry to ‘all their definitive concert and television appearances plus sideways looks into their imagination and psychedelic worlds’. So that’s ‘I Am The Walrus’ taken care of, what about the rest?!

CSN News: Hmm, things get even more mysterious concerning the whereabouts OF THE ‘Laurel Canyon’ DVD. It turns out that although Amazon themselves are no longer offering the set for sale, a handful of suppliers linked to Amazon are (though unfortunately the price has gone up a bit as a result). So keep searching if you want it, it is available out there somewhere (although the revelation that most of the rare bonus concert footage is silent does come as a bit of a blow, so be warned).

Jefferson Starship News: We may be slightly late with this news so apologies if we are, but apparently there is a new acoustic DVD concert of starship on tour out on sale. Called ‘Soiled Dove’ (no, I don’t know why either before you ask) it features stripped-down versions of classic Airplane, Starship and solo Kantner songs although on the downside Marty Balin seems to have left the group since the last time I heard about them (the ‘Tree Of Liberty’ album last year) and so Paul Kantner is the only face traditional Jeffersonists may recognise.      

Rolling Stones News: And some more late news – the last batch of Stones re-issues are out now in re-mastered sound using new technology not around when the first CDs came out: ‘Steel Wheels’, ‘Voodoo Lounge’, ‘Bridges To Babylon’ and (how pointless is this? How much has technology really changed in the last three years?) 2006’s ‘A Bigger Bang’. All that remains now is the promised re-issue of ‘Exile On Main Street’ – alas there’s still no sign of any upgraded 60s Stones albums which are the ones that need re-mastering most.

Neil Young News: Bloody hell. Well, it’s been out about a month or so now so I’m just going to have to accept that, gulp, the first volume Neil Young’s mammoth archives set is here at last. What a shame that he’s already released all the juicy bits down the years while filling in time for the set to come out. The Blu-Ray and DVD versions have access to future downloads, apparently, when Neil finally gets around to finishing the set and wants to add more to it, but for the moment the Neil Young fan community seem to feel it’s something of a damp squib after being promised it for the past 25 or so years. If Neil ever gets round to making a follow-up set (say, around 2034) though, it does promise to be better: the 1972-mid 80s years probably have more unissued material attached to them than any other Neil Young era.


♫Anniversaries: Happy birthday to those celebrating between July 18th and 24th – you share your birthday with the following AAA luminaries: Clarence White (guitarist with TheByrds 1969-72) would have been 65 on July 19th had he not died the week before his 29th birthday;  Keith Godchaux (pianist with the Grateful Dead 1972-79) would have been 61 the same day had he not died the week after turning 31; John Lodge (bassist with the Moody Blues 1966-present) turned 66 on July 20th and Cat Stevens aka Yusuf Islam turned 62 on July 21st. Anniversaries of events include: Simon and Garfunkel re-unite for a short tour in 1983 that everyone expects to lead to a long-term reunion – instead all we get are some half-finished recordings and some very bad blood between the pair again (July 19th 1983); Paul McCartney and Jane Asher officially announce that their four-year long engagement is off (July 20th 1968); the Beatles play their first really big gig outside Merseyside – the seaside resort of Blackpool where 4000 fans unable to get tickets try to storm the theatre (to avoid the crush, the Beatles are flown in via the roof; July 21st 1963); the first, eponymously titled Dire Straits album is released (July 22nd 1978) and finally Jefferson Airplane receive the only gold album disc of their career for sales of their album ‘Surrealistic Pillow’ (July 24th 1967).  

And for the following week (July 25-31st): Happy birthdays to Mick Jagger (singer and occasional guitarist with the Rolling Stones 1962-present) who turns 66 on July 26th and Rick Wright (keyboardist with Pink Floyd 1967-94 barring an absence from 1981-87) who would have been 64 had he not died so tragically last year. Anniversaries of events include: Brian Jones’ last concert with the Rolling Stones three years before his death (San Francisco, July 25th 1966); the Beatles and Brian Epstein all sign an infamous page advert in the Times calling for the legalisation of marijuana (July 25th 1967); Neil Young performs on stage with CSN for the first time – a scant month after the release of their debut LP (The Fillmore East, July 25th 1969); the Rolling Stones celebrate Mick Jagger’s 25th birthday by getting into trouble with record company Decca over their proposed front cover for the ‘Beggar’s Banquet’ LP (a picture of a toilet wall scrawled with graffiti; July 26th 1968); George Harrison announces plans for a series of concerts to benefit Bangladesh (July 27th 1971); John Lennon finally wins his ‘green card’ (which is actually blue), allowing him to become an American citizen after five years of hassle from the Nixon government (see news and views no 35 for more info; July 27th 1976); the biggest ever audience in history attends a rock concert at Watkins Glen, New York on July 28th 1973 where 60,000 people watch the Grateful Dead (among other bands); the Beatles premiere their film ‘Help!’ (July 29th 1965); the Rolling Stones premiere their film ‘Gimme Shelter’ (July 31st 1971) and finally, on the same day in 1964, the Stones play one of the shortest concerts in history in Belfast, getting through all of 12 minutes of their usual set-list before a riot breaks out and the police stop the performance.

News, Views and Music Issue 37 (Top Five): Brightest Coloured Album Covers

And to finish in this week’s top five: it’s the brightest, most colourful, mai nly psychedelic-era front covers ever issued. So put on your sun-specks and revel in our handy computer-sized guide to the five albums with the boldest primary colours...

5) Rolling Stones “Dirty Work” (1986). Bit of a cheat this one, seeing as the other four examples on our list are all paintings of one sort or another from the summer of love or thereabouts – the Stones are simply looking middle-aged and leaning on a couch. But get a load of those lycra leggings they’re all wearing! It’s so bright it hurts your eyes. Even Keith Richards, the man in rock surely at least in for a nomination as ‘least likely to succumb to 80s fashions and wear bright green leggings’ is in on the act. What was going on? This album should come with as health warning! And, despite being smaller, it all looks even brighter on the newly re-mastered CD (if you can find it that is, the Stones’ 80s output has disappeared even quicker than it did the first time round...)

4) The Kinks “Face To Face” (1966). The album is dark, brooding, mysterious. It features Ray Davies’ first real autobiographical out-pourings and for the most parts they picture a stark, monochromatic world full of endangered species animal and human or class structures rigidly in place in an uncaring, unfeeling drab world where it always rains. This record sounds not unlike a pen-and-ink drawing full of inky splodges. So what do the Pye artwork executives decide to do? Well, everyone else is going for colourful pictures in a big way so they decide to do the same and splash this album cover full of big butterflies in huge primary colours. If only the idea for the Beatles’ worthy but unsuitable cover for ‘Revolver’ had been swapped for this one it would have been perfect.

3) The Moody Blues “Days Of Future Passed” (1967). The Decca art department have gone even more over-the-top for the Moodies’, with their first ‘proper’ album cover by the ‘classic’ line-up depicting nothing less than spilt paint tins mixed together in a psychedelic frenzy and then plastered over the top with symbols relating vaguely to the album’s contents (time passing and days of the week if you didn’t know). Like the album (which mixes orchestra and rock for almost the first time) it should be a mess and yet...well, it’s still a mess, but it’s quite a distinctive-looking mess at least.

2) The Hollies “Evolution” (1967). If you want to know what psychedelia was all about then you could do worse than study this photograph for hours. The Hollies, never a band to let a fashion pass them by, are pictured in their best floral garb, dressed in beads and acting all summer-of-lovey for the cameras (especially Tony Hicks, surprisingly, given that he’s the one who hated this period of Hollies history more than the others). And Beatle/Apple-friends The Fool aren’t finished there – they top the picture off with overladen swirls that haven’t been seen since 1960s wallpaper went out of fashion and to top it all off even this album’s inner sleeve and back panel feature more psychedelic bright colours spinning off into infinity (or at least the centre of the picture). Evolution is the right word – how the hell did we go back to having front covers like ‘The White Album’ after this?!

1) The Beatles “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (1967). Say what you will about this album marking a huge step backwards for the fab four (and we’ve said plenty on this site already), Peter Blake’s seminal album cover remains one of the most distinctive, original and influential images of the whole 1960s. Not content with a simple painting or funny costumes the Beatles create a huge life-size pop-art collage featuring life-size blow-ups of many of their favourite celebrities, mystics, heroes and gurus (plus Hitler and Jesus, leaning against the back of the painting next to each other after the band decided that having them on the front cover might upset a few people...) plus Madame Tussaud waxworks of themselves (so bad are the waxworks – and so outdated are the costumes – that most newcomers assume it’s meant to be the Rolling Stones and ask what happened to Bill Wyman). Add a few plants and some exotic instruments and voila, a place at number one in our weekly top five is theirs.

That’s all for another week – we look forward to making your acquaintance again next week so, till then, goodbye!        
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