Friday 7 August 2009

News, Views and Music Issue 39 (Intro)

August 7th:

Welcome everybody to the 39th step towards our completed AAA project. Since last week we’ve finished posting our lists on Amazon and are already getting 20-odd views for each of our five lists, so welcome to all of you who have joined us in the last couple of issues from there. Like last week, things have been very quiet on the AAA front so, without any new issues to tell you about, its on with our Anniversary section...


♫ (August 7-13th): Many happy returns to you if your birthday is this week – you share it with AAA artists Ian Anderson (lead singer, flautist and one-legged dancer with Jethro Tull 1968-present) who turns 62 on August 10th and Mark Knopfler (lead singer and guitarist with Dire Straits 1978-93) who turns 60 on August 12th. Anniversaries of events include: first ‘proper’ Beatles spin-off single is released, the rather curious ‘Ringo For President’ single by the Young World Singers (the drummer’s response: ‘I wouldn’t mind having a go but I haven’t got time just at present’, August 8th 1964); the classic UK TV series ‘Ready Steady Go!’ debuts on August 9th 1963 – about half of the AAA groups on this list appear on it at one time or another; The Small Faces release classic single ‘Itchycoo Park’ (August 9th 1967); The Beatles’ Apple Label is officially born on August 11th 1968; The Beatles start their last ever tour, one of the United States starting on August 12th 1966; The Kinks release their third and arguably most important single, ‘You Really Got Me’ (August 13th 1964) and the Jefferson Airplane appear on stage for the first time for a show at San Francisco’s Matrix Club – the band get the gig because vocalist Marty Balin is one of the club’s owners (August 13th 1965).     

News, Views and Music Issue 39 (Top Five): AAA Super Heroes

Faster than a speeding Grateful Dead guitar solo, more powerful than a Who live album, flying faster than Wings at the Speed of Sound, it’s....super heroes on our AAA top five! Whether its weedy humans yearning for superhuman strength, Paul McCartney reminiscing about his favourite comics or the Kinks doing the batman theme tune, there’s a nplace for it on our top five week. So sit back and leave the crime-fighting/record buying to us...

5) Hero (David Crosby and Phil Collins, ‘A Thousand Roads’ 1993): Classic latter-day Cros song isn’t actually about super heroes as much as its about fairytales but, heck, the idea’s pretty close so we’ve let it pass. In typical Crosby fashion, the pained narrator of this song can’t work out why life won’t follow the nice and simple good-versus-evil patterns laid out in his childhood books, where the heroes always win, the villains are always caught and the fair maidens are always grateful for the rescue. Close friend Phil Collins helped out with the track (a lot of the music’s meant to be his, although the words are pure Crosby) and why this much ballyhooed single failed to become a hit I’ll never understand. 

4) Batman (The Kinks ‘Live At Kelvin Hall’ recorded 1966, released 1968/ The Who ‘Ready Steady Who!’ EP 1966): To the Batmobile’s CD player, quick! The original series of ‘Batman’ looks even more dated than Paisley wallpaper and Carnaby Street shoes, but back in 1966 it made quite a splash – so big, in fact, that two separate AAA groups marked it’s arrival. Neither of these ‘projects’ are typical ones – the ‘Kelvin Hall’ LP is a marking-time badly recorded concert LP that was kept in the vaults for two years in Britain whilst ‘Ready Steady Who’ was a five-track goofing-off EP recorded somewhere between ‘A Quick One’ and ‘The Who Sell Out’ while the band wait for Pete Townshend to come up with his next masterpiece. Both of these riff-heavy bands are quick to seize upon the fun descending-ascending theme tune chords to good use and wrap their sweet-and-sour tonsils around the title phrase, but otherwise both are completely different. The Who do their ‘batman’ as if it’s a surfing song, with the peculiar rat-a-tat drumming as conventional as anything Keith Moon ever did (that’s still only by comparison, however) and The Kinks segue their ‘Batman’ into all sorts of goodies during an inspired nine-minute medley, including a raucous version of ‘Milk Cow Blues’ and a laidback ‘Tired Of Waiting For You’.

3) Legendary Heroes (Allan Clarke, ‘The Only Ones’ aka ‘Legendary Heroes’, 1979): The Hollies singer spends a whole album talking about his past (and present) before ending his 6th solo LP with this reminiscence about schoolboy comics and the magic lands it gave him. Like Crosby, the real world is found wanting in comparison to this easily-read make believe and the whole song sounds like some sort of requiem for childhood lost (not the first time the Hollies use that theme, either – see Clarkey’s B-side ‘Not That Way At All’ for a very different-sounding song on the same theme). 

2) Magneto And Titanium Man (Paul McCartney/Wings, ‘Venus And Mars’ 1976): It’s Macca’s turn to revisit his childhood comics this time – what with this and the ‘Rupert’ song, we know more about Paul’s childhood than most people’s. Typically Macca, though, this isn’t a lament on lost innocence but a cracking story song that might have come straight out of one of the comics. As far as I know, neither magneto or Titanium Man really exist (I heard they were in the running for the mineral-heavy TV series ‘Sapphire and Steel’ but got cut out) and follows the eponymous heroes thinking they’ve been sold out by their loved one – only to find it’s all been a set up. Ah-hah!

1) (Wish I Could Fly) Like Superman (The Kinks, ‘Low Budget’, 1979): Classic, typically Ray Davies-like song in the, err, untypical disco genre about a weedy, weak-kneed human who dreams of having the strength to put the world to rights and make it better for his loved ones. Afraid of heights but dreaming of being able to fly, this is more wonderfully vivid characterisation from The Kinks with the thudding drums and bubbling bass making the whole thing superbly claustrophobic.

Well, that’s all for another week. Must dash – there’s worlds out there to save after all! More vinyl shifting 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