Friday 19 November 2010

News, Views and Music Issue 81 (Intro)

November 19:

Welcome dear readers to the latest issue of News, Views and Music, the only music site to come with a Government health warning – yes, that’s right, steer clear of the coalition! Moving on to this week’s edition, when Pete Townshend came up with his grand concept of the ‘Lifehouse’ to follow up his other grand concept ‘Tommy’, his band, his managers and his record critics thought he’d gone mad, with the pressure of maintaining such a complex piece across a double record too much for even the AAA’s greatest philosopher. Instead the world was left with the single album ‘Who’s Next’, a sterling work that’s regularly rated as the ‘Orrible ‘Oo’s best by fans, who as ever know better than bands, managers and record critics. But talk about the brilliance of ‘Lifehouse’ never quite died away. Years after the album was abandoned came the internet, with opportunities for bloggers everywhere to reach out to everyone around the world with sites like this one and ‘Lifehouse’s talk about uniting humanity across barriers into one great huge movement, distilling the essence and life story of every person who’d ever lived on Earth, doesn’t sound quite as daft and impossible today as it did in 1971 (even if ‘Lifehouse’ is still wonderfully,admirably thrillingly complex and – like The Beach Boys’ ‘Smile’ – tantalisingly unfinished).

As regular readers may have noticed, Alan’s Album Archives is now a proper business with adverts appearing any time soon - we even have our own bank account and everything – and it seemed fitting to us that our first issue as a fully fledged business venture should be to look again at Pete’s grand scheme of uniting the world through the brilliance in music (last analysed in ‘News and Views’ no 14). For, as Pete’s full sized concept album would have shown, music has the power to heal, to bring hope and to overcome obstacles and boundaries and there can be no better ‘motto’ for our website to have than that. As he says in his sleevenotes for the ‘Who’s Next’ CD re-issue ‘Whatever happens in the future, rock and roll can save the world’ and we humbly agree. ‘Lifehouse’ is a towering concept, of course, and one that even our normal giant-sized article can’t hope to cover – plus the only person who’ll ever really know it inside out is Pete himself and I don’t think even he’s quite sure of how it all fits together. But this issue we’ve brought you our special AAA take on the story, taking the finished album, the outtakes and the Pete-collaboration ‘Lifehouse’ play (heard on radio 4 in the run-up to the Millennium) as our guide and trying our best to make the most of it. In the meantime, it’s only fair to tell you that even though we are now a business we will continue to be as passionate, detailed and as ramshackled as we ever were and there will be no difference to your reading (you might even get to see some good adverts for albums you’ve been after for years so please feel free to click away – it all helps us keep us in CDs for the next few years you see so you’ll benefit in the long run when we come to review yet more records!)

In the meantime, happy reading and, as you’ll see when you come to read more about ‘Lifehouse’, the best way of making things better and exploring humanity’s ups and downs is to ‘join together’ so please keep sending in your ideas, your likes and dislikes and anything you like, however trivial, we have to hear it all if we want to find the ‘one true note’ of humanity one day! As you might have noticed there are two new pagesadded to the site this week to help you do just that – one features our very own musical canine Max The Singing Dog, who has already been featured on our Youtube trailers and is ciu8rrently being mobbed in the streets and who has kindly agreed to answer all your musical questions. The other page is our brand new forum – mark #2 after our old one closed down a couple of years ago – so feel free to leave your comments about the site there. To start the ball rolling I’ve added a list of my ‘Gold, Silver and Bronze’ awards, discussing my favourite three songs by the artists featured or at least mentioned on this site. It’s been very hard to whittle such a fantastic catalogue of artists down to size as I’m sure you can imagine, so bear in mind this was merely how I was feeling on the day! I’ve been asked a couple of times by readers if I can provide a list of decent individual songs to download as opposed to whole albums so here is a section for all you downloaders out there, not just those of you from the ‘old school’ like me who still listen to albums in order. I doubt any of you out there will share the same ideas that I do, so instead of reading the list and fuming why not send me your own list of three favourite songs by any artist, not just the ones we cover on the site. I’m sure it will make for some very interesting reading and a grand opportunity to spread ideas as per ‘Lifehouse’! In the meantime, on with the news stories of the past week, which look a bit dilapidated at the moment – come on guys, give me something to write about...


Lulu News: Lulu is back on our screens again this week as discussed last issue with her documentary series Rewind the 60s, looking back at the AAAs favourite decade. The programme is as frustratingly bitty and as big a waste of her talents as wed feared but is still worth looking out for by curious AAA readers. The programme runs till the end of the week on BBC One at 9.15am and is still available on the BBCs I-player for a while. Mondays edition is of particular interest, having an interview with Pete Bests mother about the Casbah club in Liverpool where the Beatles played and helped to decorate, although alas this interesting snippet soon turns into a debate into how good a teenage Paul McCartney was at kissing! (I just know youre going to ask so:- Not very according to Mrs Best, who was after all the mother of one of Pauls bandmates and not really the best person to judge, but Lulu doesnt believe that for a moment!)

ANNIVERSARIES: Birthday cakes all round for the following AAA members (November 17th-23rd): Gene Clark (Mr Tambourine Man with the Byrds 1965-66) would have been 69 on November 17th and Rod Clements (bassist with Lindisfarne 1970-72 and 1978-2002) turns 63 on the same day (November 17th). Anniversaries of events include: The Beatles receive their first ‘silver’ disc – for high sales of only their second single ‘Please Please Me’ (November 18th 1963); Danny Whitten, guitarist with the first line-up of Crazy Horse, overdoses on drugs bought with the travel money band leader Neil Young has given him to fly back home, inspiring Neil’s ‘doom trilogy’ (November 18th 1972); The Rolling Stones enjoy their first UK #1 with ‘Little Red Rooster’ (November 19th 1964); Ray Davies interrupts a Kinks American tour for the second time to re-record a single line in one of the band’s singles to prevent it being banned from the airwaves (the ‘foggin’ line in ‘Apeman’, following a ban on the brand-name ‘coca-cola’ in ‘Lola’; November 19th 1970); Scott Haldin, a 19-year-old Who fan learning to play the drums, gets the shock of his life when Keith Moon collapses at a gig full of animal tranquilisers and the band sheepishly ask for any drummers in the audience to fill in for him – only Scott responds (November 20th 1973); No less than three important Beatles releases come out for the Christmas market on November 22nd (‘With The Beatles’ in 1963, ‘The White Album’ in 1968 and John Lennon’s last record ‘Double Fantasy’ in 1980) and finally, The Rolling Stones are temporarily banned from all BBC Radio for the heinous crime of - gosh – turning up a bit late for a show for the series ‘Saturday Club’ (November 23rd 1964).      


News, Views and Music Issue 81 (Top Five): AAA Utopias

Erm, not sure what happened there. That must have been another of those time travel submissions we keep getting so often these days. Anyway, thats the buzz from the Lifehouse about the way to live, the way to be and the way to get things together. The Who are hardly unique in wanting to embrace the whole of humanity into one ideal way for the human race to live, however, so here in our latest top five is our guide to the other greatest AAA utopian concepts...

5) (What A) Wonderful World song appearing on albums by Art Garfunkel (Watermark, 1978) and Otis Redding (Otis Blue, 1965): This Sam Cooke/Herb Alpert collaboration from the 1940s should sound a million miles away from the AAA largely hippie philosophy that if you give peace a chance well all benefit from a better and wider vision for humanity. But the sentiments obviously rang a few bells for two of our AAA members, who both chose to make this song one of the highlights of their seminal 70s and 60s releases respectively. And what a wonderful world it would be for the humble narrator in both cover versions, listing his faults before telling his girl what a wonderful world it would be if she were to join him in his. Otis takes this song as a cowed, almost frightened narrator suddenly bursting forth with joy as optimism takes hold in the chorus whereas Art Garfunkels sweet tones are wrapped around a round, with the deeper tones of James Taylor and Paul Simon (unusually singing falsetto) pushing him on to find the true love of his life. Both versions sound very different Otis is pure soul whereas Artys could come in a box marked singer-somgwriters of the 1970s but the result is the same: in both versions the listener simply goes aaah! 

4) Wonderland song appearing on album by Nils Lofgren (Wonderland, 1983): You may have noticed that Ive listed this little known song from perhaps Nils most obscure album of all as one of my three favourite Lofgren tracks on our forum. This minor classic has Nils teenage narrator imagining a world that is perfect, one where theres no Fairytale Hollywood people messing with your head, nobody has to hurt anybody for yourself to get ahead and even the pretty girls think that being nice is cool. The whole song is wrapped up with a lovely catchy tune and some witty observations about the small things in life that could change our lives so easily if only we did something about them, making Wonderland a lovely place where compassion is something people understand. Talking about compassion, how about seeing this rarest of all Lofgren CDs released so all the Lofgren newcomers can get to hear this track too?

3) Wooden Ships song appearing on an albums by Crosby, Stills and Nash (by Crosby, Stills and Nash, 1969) and Jefferson Airplane (Volunteers, 1970): This co-write between Crosby, Stills and the Airplanes Paul Kantner is the ultimate 60s hippie utopia. Fleeing from the remnants of the Earth caused after a nuclear bomb has been dropped, the narrator sails off in his own boat to a distant land where the survivors of the two sides in the war mingle, find they have much in common and begin to respect each other, working together to give humanity another, better, more peaceful chance. The opening lines, sung by Stills but actually taken by Crosby from an American church, that if you smile at me I will understand because that is something everybody everywhere knows in the same language was taken as sacred text by music lovers of a certain ilk in the late 60s (me included) where life is easy, you know the way its supposed to be. We look at this song in greater detail on our review of the first CSN album, no 29 on our list.

2) The Nutopian National Anthem song (well, of sorts) appearing on album by John Lennon (Mind Games 1973): Roll over John Cage when John Lennon was going through his immigration hassles in America, desperate to stay in the country hed visited with Yoko but facing deportation because of a minor drugs conviction in 1968, Lennon dreamed of a country with no borders and immigration controls, where people could join him if and when they wanted. These three seconds of silence at the end of side one of the Mind Games album are Lennons very Yoko-influenced attempt to make up a new anthem that wouldnt be restrictive or patriotic in any way, with the listener free to come up with their own thoughts or sing their own made-up anthem over it if they chose. Lennon even gave the buyers of the Mind Games album a chance to become an ambassador of Nutopia in their respective countries if they chose, in which case hello to you, fellow Nutopians! The title of Lennons imaginary country is a typically goonish take on the words new and utopia, with Lennon updating the hippie concept of paradise for the 70s generation. See news and views no 77 for more.

1) In Search Of The Lost Chord album by The Moody Blues (1968): The Lifehouse by another name, this is The Moodies take on the grand old theme of The Lost Chord, a note in music mankind was given at his creation and that if re-discovered could unite humanity and heal all the rifts that have developed across time. That concept gets lost somewhere across this record, only really being heard on the moody House Of Four bDoors looking at the development of humanity through the years in terms of the music discovered in each period and the beautiful Visions Of Paradise imagining a better tomorrow on a song that merges Western and Eastern instruments. There are, however, a number of interesting diversions into the importance of thinking for yourself, travelling across the world to find answers because were all looking for something and meditation. See review no 22 for more. 

And that’s that for another issue. There might be a bit of a delay getting the next issue to you – possible teething problems with the new-look site and all that – but we’ll do our best to be back on the net in no time at all. If The Coalition don’t get us first! Happy reading!

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