Friday, 23 December 2011

News, Views and Music Issue 126 (Top Five): Christmas Carols




You know how things happen over the Christmas season, dear reader, so that you get interrupted in the middle of something else and end up doing some jobs twice and others you forget about entirely? I was sure I’d written this top five before on one of our other Christmas newsletters but for the life of me I can’t find it, so I presume it was just an ‘idea’ I had before coming up with something else. Anyway, bear with me if you’re having slight deja vu with this week’s newsletter...this is the top five Christmas Carols as voted for by the viewing public, err no hang on, by yours truly! And, surprise suprise, they’re hardly the obvious ones to choose (as you’ve probably gathered by now given the rest of this site!) And I doubt any of you will be able to put your hands on all five easily without being Christmas Connousiers (or having a really big record collection...) Note too that we’ve already covered several latter-day Christmas songs written or made famous by our AAA musicians on our past newsletters (nos 16, 17, 50, 84 and 85) so there’s no ‘Happy Xmas (War IS Over)’ or ‘Little Saint Nick’s on this list to avoid going over old ground (although Monkees favourite ‘Riu Chiu’ did creep back on this list because hardly anybody knows it!)

5) Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (definitive version: The Muppets and ohn Denver, ‘A Christmas Together’, 1979):

There aren’t many high points in Judy Garland movies (and I say that with quite a lot of affection for her as a person, seeing as astrologically speaking she’s the only fellow Cancerian Dog I know), but the sheer treaclyness and cloying schmaltz of ‘Meet Me In St Louis’ suddenly makes perfect sense when this gloriously un-sentimental carol comes in. The song, written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane for the 1944 MGM film and fully fits the briefing of being the centrepiece of the film and a song that exists outside it, a real struggling over obstacles song that’s realistic without being depressing and  sadly seems to have fallen out of favour the past couple of decades in favour of lesser, more bouncy Christmas carols that say less per verse than this one does per line. Garland, for once given some material with depth to work with, gives the performance of her career in the film but for my purposes the greatest version is still the one with a country singer and a canine dog, voiced by Jim Henson at his most moving. Incidentally, I much prefer the original version of the song, not the ‘tidied up’ version Frank Sinatra insisted on (and copied forevermore) – the key difference is changing the line ‘we’ll just have to struggle on somehow’ to ‘hang a shining star upon the highest bough’, thus replacing the best line of the song with the worst. Singers eh? This song definitely deserves a comeback some festive season soon, not least because it seems to go in cycles of popularity every time we have a depression on...

4) Silent Night (definitive version: Simon and Garfunkel, ‘Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme’, 1967):

An obvious choice I know, but the pioneering use of harmonics on this piece makes it the earliest sounding piece that I know of that wouldn’t seem out of place on a 1960s LP. In fact, exactly that happened when Simon and Garfunkel added their own version of the song to my favourite of their albums (see review no 7), offering peace and hope and harmony in the right speaker while a news anchor gives out gloom and pessimism in the left. It’s the perfect trick of juxtaposing what could and be and what is – yet even without that intrusion this carol sounds pretty much perfect without it,  with a melody so perfect it sounds like one of Paul McCartney’s (perhaps it was an ancestor?!) Actually, this carol is a comparatively modern one, dating back to Salzburg, Austria, 1818, when musician Franz Gruber finally set to music a piece the local priest Father Mohr had written two years before to music. Unfortunately it’s not our music – its believed to be a jazzier piece played fast in 7/8 time, although the original manuscript is missing (legend has it the carol was forgotten until an organ repairman found a copy of the manuscript stuffed down the back of the instrument and brought it back into active service – the rumour too is that the piece was only written as a simpler alternative to the church’s normal carols when the organ broke and the service had to be conducted with as guitar, demanding much simpler chords). Whatever the story of it’s inception, this is a glorious piece, one that we’ve heard so many times it’s hard to appreciate but is nevertheless a key text for curious AAA readers who want to know where they’re favourite music was born, just as integral as anything by Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley or Buddy Holly.

3) Riu Chiu (definitive version: The Monkees, ‘Missing Links II’, 1997):

Strictly speaking this is a ‘villancico’, the Spanish equivalent of a carol – but you try coming up with four other villancico’s for a top five list! AAA fans know this as a Monkees song, perhaps the definitive recording featuring all four Monkees in harmony, heard in one version in the soundtrack of series two episode ‘The Monkees’ Christmas Show’ and in a second on the excellent rarities compilation ‘Missing Links II’. Many a fan has marvelled at the song – and pitied poor Micky Dolenz for having to learn all those Spanish words phonetically – without knowing what this carol actually means. Here, in an AAA educational moment, is a close translation (bearing in mind that ‘riu chiu itself is a nonsense phrase meant to sound like the chirp of a nightingale, a Winter bird): “Tweet, tweet, the river guards her, God kept the wolf away from our lamb, tweet tweet the raging wolf sought to bite her, but God Almighty knew how to defend her, tweet tweet he chose to make her so that she could not sin, tweet tweet this one that is born is the Great King, Christ the Patriach clothed in flesh, tweet tweet he redeemed himself when he made himself small”. OK, so the translation actually adds nothing to the Carol, but that doesn’t disguise how beautiful it is, how much room there is for improvised harmonies or explain why so few people outside Monkees (and King’s Singers – I knew this carol from their ‘Deck The Halls’ album first) fans know of it’s existence. While most sources list the author as ‘anonymous’, the writer is thought to be Mateo Flecha The Elder, a composer from Catalonia, and was written in the first half of the 16th century, although the earliest existing reference we have to it today is in a Venecian library dated 1556, simply listed as no 40 in a collection of villancicos. Like many madrigals from the period, it deserves to be far better known (our 20th and 21st century music has far more in common with 16th century madrigals than it does with renaissance and romantic era composers, with the same delightful interplay between vocalists and counterpoint harmonies based on melody rather than mathematics). 

2) In The Bleak Midwinter (definitive version: still waiting!):

One day I’m going to hear a definitive version of a Christmas Carol that should be played slowly with yearning, not at a hundred miles per hour with fancy bits stuck inside it like most arrangers keep adding! There are at least three versions of this carol, adapted from a Christina Rosetti poem submitted to a wonderfully titled periodical called ‘Scribbler’s Magazine’, though the most popular and by far the best of the ones I know is by our old friend Gustav Holst. You can read more about my Holst fixation on news and views 93 – suffice to say he’s the only classical composer I consider on a par with the geniuses we cover on this site and in his own sweet way paved the way for most of them with his experimental but deliciously listenable music. Many people know ‘The Planets’ but have a listen to some of his other works – ‘The Perfect Fool’, in particular, is as sublime as music gets, and I’ve written 237 articles for this site now so I should know sublime music when I hear it. Like many a carol, this song is there at Jesus’ birth and follows the travels and thoughts of all those who are there before putting the narrator him or herself in the action as part of the scene. Stirring, moving and full of the minor key experiments that became Holst’s key method of writing this is a clever, simple, heartbreaking piece of writing in both lyrics and melody. Now somebody please write an arrangement that gets rid of all those tootling flutes and chirpy piccolos and I’ll be happy...

1)    I Wonder As I Wander (definitive version; The King’s Singers, ‘A Little Christmas Music’, 1989):

This is another strangely modern carol, dating back only to 1933 when folk music collector John Jacob Niles adapted a fragment of music that dates back centuries earlier. The story goes that Niles was attending a meeting held at an Evangelical Church in North Carolina when a branch of refugees, ordered out of town on Christmas Eve, walked in for shelter and added their own fragments of music to the festivities. Niles looked on in wonder when the smallest, dirtiest, raggedest girl there opened her mouth, sang this song and her beauty shone out round the church (something similar to what happens to Roger Daltrey in the rising sun in the Woodstock film we reckon). Why this glorious tune and simple but moving idea was never adapted into a fullblown work (maybe even a prog rock concept album or three) earlier is beyond me, because its among the most beautiful, haunting music ever made. There aren’t actually that ma ny versions of this carol around and it seems to be somewhat out of favour with the public at large these days, but seek out the King’s Singers version (79p on Amazon, buy it through this site – just a plug folks!) and you won’t be disappointed (I hope!) The words are everything Christmas should be but so rarely is: full of peace, harmony, awe and delight in being alive and it features a lovely sighing tune that suits its sentiments well. Sadly, as ever, the story has an unhappy ending, with Niles taking part in an early music settlement court case to ‘prove’ that he had sufficiently re-written the traditional song to receive a proper credit and payment for it (all null and void now, of course, that this carol is out of copyright – some versions list Niles as the author, some just have him listed as ‘anonymous’. Anonymous is one of my favourite writers you know, he seemed to live an awfully long time and wrote in every style going...)
So then, reader, do you agree with our choices, think we’ve left something out, think we’ve gone slightly barmy because you’ve not heard of any of our choices or gone ‘bah, humbug!’ to the lot of them?! Let us know and drop us a line! Join us next week for yet more musical deliberations when we bid farewell to 2011 with our top purchases of the year...Till then, a very happy Christmas from everyone here at Alan’s Album Archives (including Max The Singing Carols Dog with mistletoe in his hat, Android ZX-34 whose about to be re-booted in time for next year’s April Fool’s edition and Philosophy Phil, whose worn out coming up with thoughts for Christmas cards) and a very music-filled new year!         

             
A NOW COMPLETE List Of Top Five/Top Ten/TOP TWENTY  Entries 2008-2019
1) Chronic Fatigue songs http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/08/news-views-and-music-issue-1-top-five.html

2) Songs For The Face Of Bo
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/09/news-views-and-music-issue-2-top-five.html

3) Credit Crunch Songs
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/09/news-views-and-music-issue-3-top-five.html

4) Songs For The Autumn
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/09/news-views-and-music-issue-4-top-five.html

5) National Wombat Week
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/09/news-views-and-music-top-five-national.html

6) AAA Box Sets
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/09/news-views-and-music-issue-6-top-five.html

7) Virus Songs
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/10/news-views-and-music-issue-7-top-five.html

8) Worst AAA-Related DVDs
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/10/news-views-and-music-issu-8-top-five.html

9) Self-Punctuating Superstar Classics
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/10/news-views-and-music-issue-9-top-five.html

10) Ways To Know You Have Turned Into A Collector
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/10/news-views-and-music-issue-9-top-five.html

11) Political Songs
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/11/news-views-and-music-issue-11-top-five.html

12) Totally Bonkers Concept Albums
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/11/news-views-and-music-top-five-totally.html

13) Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/11/top-five-issue-13-40-years-of-beatles.html

14) Still Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/12/news-views-and-music-issue-14-top-five.html

15) AAA Existential Questions
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/12/news-views-and-music-issue-15-top-five.html

16) Releases Of The Year 2008
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/12/news-views-and-music-issue-16-top-five.html

17) Top AAA Xmas Songs
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/12/news-views-and-music-issue-17-top-five.html

18) Notable AAA Gigs
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/01/news-views-and-music-issue-19-top-five.html

19) All things '20' related for our 20th issue
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/02/news-views-and-music-issue-20-aaa-songs.html

20) Romantic odes for Valentine's Day
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/02/news-views-and-music-issue-22-top-five.html

21) Hollies B sides
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/news-views-and-music-issue-23-top-five.html

22) 'Other' BBC Session Albums
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/news-views-and-music-issue-24-top-five.html

23) Beach Boys Rarities Still Not Available On CD
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/news-views-and-music-issue-25-top-five.html

24) Songs John, Paul and George wrote for Ringo's solo albums
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/03/news-views-and-music-issue-26-top-five.html

25) 5 of the Best Rock 'n' Roll Tracks From The Pre-Beatles Era
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/04/news-views-and-music-issue-27-top-five.html

26) AAA Autobiographies
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/04/news-views-and-music-issue-28-top-five.html

27) Rolling Stones B-sides
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/04/news-views-and-music-issue-29-top-five.html

28) Beatles B-Sides
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/05/news-views-and-music-issue-30-top-five.html

29) The lllloooonnngggeesssttt AAA songs of all time
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/05/news-views-and-music-issue-31-top-five.html

30) Kinks B-Sides
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/05/news-views-and-music-issue-32-top-five.html

31) Abandoned CSNY projects 'wasted on the way'
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/05/news-views-and-music-issue-33-top-five.html

32) Best AAA Rarities and Outtakes Sets
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/06/news-views-and-music-issue-34-top-five.html

33) News We've Missed While We've Been Away
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/07/news-views-and-music-issue-35-top-five.html

34) Birthday Songs for our 1st Anniversary
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/07/news-views-and-music-issue-37-top-five.html

35) Brightest Album Covers
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/07/news-views-and-music-issue-37-top-five.html

36) Biggest Recorded Arguments
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/07/news-views-and-music-issue-38-top-five.html

37) Songs About Superheroes
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/08/news-views-and-music-issue-39-top-five.html

38) AAA TV Networks That Should Exist
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/08/news-views-and-music-issue-40-top-five.html

39) AAA Woodtsock Moments
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/08/news-views-and-music-issue-41-top-five.html

40) Top Moments Of The Past Year As Voted For By Readers
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/08/news-views-and-music-issue-42-top-five.html

41) Music Segues
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/09/news-views-and-music-issue-43-top-five.html

42) AAA Foreign Language Songs
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/09/news-views-and-music-issue-44-top-five.html

43) 'Other' Groups In Need Of Re-Mastering
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/10/news-views-and-music-issue-45-top-five.html

44) The Kinks Preservation Rock Opera - Was It Really About The Forthcoming UK General Election?
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/11/news-views-and-music-issue-46-top-five.html

45) Mono and Stereo Mixes - Biggest Differences
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/11/news-views-and-music-issue-47-top-five.html

46) Weirdest Things To Do When A Band Member Leaves
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/11/nerws-views-and-music-issue-48-top-five.html

47) Video Clips Exclusive To Youtube (#1)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/11/news-views-and-music-issue-49-top-five.html

48) Top AAA Releases Of 2009
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2009/12/news-views-and-music-issue-50-top-five.html

49) Songs About Trains
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/01/news-views-and-music-issue-51-top-five.html

50) Songs about Winter
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/01/news-views-and-music-issue-52-top-five.html

51) Songs about astrology plus horoscopes for selected AAA members
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/02/news-views-and-music-issue-53-top-five.html

52) The Worst Five Groups Ever!
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/02/news-views-and-music-issue-54-top-five.html

53) The Most Over-Rated AAA Albums
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/03/news-views-and-music-issue-56-top-five.html

54) Top AAA Rarities Exclusive To EPs
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/03/news-views-and-music-issue-57-top-five.html

55) Random Recent Purchases (#1)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/04/news-views-and-music-issue-58-top-five.html

56) AAA Party Political Slogans
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/news-views-and-music-issue-60-top-five.html

57) Songs To Celebrate 'Rock Sunday'
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/news-views-and-music-issue-61-top-five_21.html

58) Strange But True (?) AAA Ghost Stories
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/news-views-and-music-issue-61-top-five.html

59) AAA Artists In Song
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/06/news-views-and-music-issue-63-top-five.html

60) Songs About Dogs
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/06/news-views-and-music-issue-65-top-five.html

61) Sunshiney Songs
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/news-views-and-music-issue-67-top-five.html

62) The AAA Staff Play Their Own Version Of Monoploy/Mornington Crescent!
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/news-views-and-music-issue-68-top-forty.html

63) What 'Other' British Invasion DVDs We'd Like To See
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/news-views-and-music-issue-69-top-five.html

64) What We Want To Place In Our AAA Time Capsule
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/08/news-views-and-music-issue-70-top-five.html

65) AAA Conspiracy Theroies
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/08/news-views-and-music-issue-72-top-ten.html

66) Weirdest Things To Do Before - And After - Becoming A Star
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/08/news-views-and-music-top-ten-aaa-stars.html

67) Songs To Tweet To
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/news-views-and-music-issue-74-top-five.html

68) Greatest Ever AAA Solos
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/news-views-and-music-issue-75-top-ten.html

69) John Lennon Musical Tributes
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/10/news-views-and-music-issue-77-top-five.html

70) Songs For Halloween
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/10/news-views-and-music-issue-78-top-five.html

71) Earliest Examples Of Psychedelia
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/11/news-views-and-music-issue-79-top-five.html

72) Purely Instrumental Albums
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/11/news-views-and-music-issue-81-top-five.html

73) AAA Utopias

74) AAA Imaginary Bands
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/11/news-views-and-music-issue-82-top-five.html

75) Unexpected AAA Cover Versions
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/12/news-views-and-music-issue-83-top-five.html

76) Top Releases of 2010
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/12/news-views-and-music-issue-84-top-five.html

77) Songs About Snow
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2010/12/news-views-and-music-issue-85-top-five.html

78) Predictions For 2011
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011_01_02_archive.html

79) AAA Fugitives

80) AAA Home Towns
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/01/news-views-and-music-issue-88-home.html

81) The Biggest Non-Musical Influences On The 1960s
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/01/news-views-and-music-issue-89-top-five.html

82) AAA Groups Covering Other AAA Groups
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/news-views-and-music-issue-90-top.html

83) Strange Censorship Decisions
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/news-views-and-music-issue-91-top-ten.html

84) AAA Albums Still Unreleased on CD
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/news-views-and-music-issue-92-top-five.html

85) Random Recent Purchases (#2)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/news-views-and-music-issue-93-top-ten.html

86) Top AAA Music Videos
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/news-views-and-music-issue-94-top-ten.html

87) 30 Day Facebook Music Challenge
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/news-views-and-music-issue-95-top.html

88) AAA Documentaries
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/news-views-and-music-top-five-aaa.html

89) Unfinished and 'Lost' AAA Albums
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/news-views-and-music-issue-97-top-ten.html

90) Strangest AAA Album Covers
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/newsa-views-and-music-issue-98-top-ten.html

91) AAA Performers Live From Mars (!)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/news-views-and-music-issue-99-top-ten.html

92) Songs Including The Number '100' for our 100th Issue
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/news-views-and-music-issue-100-top-five.html

93) Most Songs Recorded In A Single Day
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/news-views-and-music-issue-101-top-five.html

94) Most Revealing AAA Interviews
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/news-views-and-music-issue-102-top-five.html

95) Top 10 Pre-Fame Recordings
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/news-views-and-music-issue-103-top-ten.html

96) The Shortest And Longest AAA Albums
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/news-views-and-music-issue-104-top-ten.html


97) The AAA Allstars Ultimate Band Line-Up
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/news-views-and-music-issue-105-top.html

98) Top Songs About Sports
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/news-views-and-music-issue-106-top-ten.html

99) AAA Conversations With God
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/news-views-and-music-issue-107-top-ten.html

100) AAA Managers: The Good, The Bad and the Financially Ugly
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/news-views-and-music-issue-108-top-ten.html

101) Unexpected AAA Cameos
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/news-views-and-music-issue-109-top-ten.html

102) AAA Words You can Type Into A Caluclator
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/news-views-and-music-issue-110-top-five.html

103) AAA Court Cases
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/news-views-and-music-issue-111-top-five.html

104) Postmodern Songs About Songwriting
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/news-views-and-music-issue-112-top-five.html

105) Biggest Stylistic Leaps Between Albums
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/news-views-and-music-issue-113-top-ten.html

106) 20 Reasons Why Cameron Should Go!
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/news-views-and-music-issue-114-top.html

107) The AAA Pun-Filled Cookbook
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/news-views-and-music-issue-115-top-five.html

108) Classic Debut Releases
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/news-views-and-music-issue-116-top-five.html

109) Five Uses Of Bird Sound Effects
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/news-views-and-music-issue-118-top-five.html

110) AAA Classic Youtube Clips Part #1
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/news-views-and-music-issue-119-top.html

111) Part #2
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/news-views-and-music-issue-120-top.html

112) Part #3
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/news-views-and-music-issue-121-top.html

113) AAA Facts You Might Not Know
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/news-views-and-music-issue-122-top-ten.html

114) The 20 Rarest AAA Records
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/news-views-and-music-issue-123-top.html

115) AAA Instrumental Songs
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011_12_04_archive.html

116) Musical Tarot
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/news-views-and-music-issue-125-top-23-i.html

117) Christmas Carols
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011_12_18_archive.html

118) Top AAA Releases Of 2011
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2011_12_25_archive.html

119) AAA Bands In The Beano/The Dandy
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/news-views-and-music-issue-128-top-five.html

120) Top 20 Guitarists #1
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/news-views-and-music-issue-129-top-ten.html

121) #2
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012_01_15_archive.html

122) 'Shorty' Nomination Award Questionairre
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012_01_22_archive.html

123) Top Best-Selling AAA Albums
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012_01_29_archive.html

124) AAA Songs Featuring Bagpipes

125) A (Hopefully) Complete List Of AAA Musicians On Twitter
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012_02_19_archive.html

126) Beatles Albums That Might Have Been 1970-74 and 1980
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012_02_26_archive.html

127) DVD/Computer Games We've Just Invented
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012_03_11_archive.html

128) The AAA Albums With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012_03_18_archive.html

129) The AAA Singles With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012_03_25_archive.html

130) Lyric Competition (Questions)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012_04_15_archive.html

131) Top Crooning Classics
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012_04_22_archive.html

132) Funeral Songs
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/news-views-and-music-issue-142-top-five.html

133) AAA Songs For When Your Phone Is On Hold
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/news-views-and-music-issue-143-top-five.html

134) Random Recent Purchases (#3)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/news-views-and-music-issue-144-top-five.html

135) Lyric Competition (Answers)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/news-views-and-music-issue-146-top.html http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/news-views-and-music-issue-145-top-five.html

136) Bee Gees Songs/AAA Goes Disco!
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/news-views-and-music-issue-147-top-five.html

137) The Best AAA Sleevenotes (And Worst)
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/news-views-and-music-issue-148-top-ten.html

138) A Short Precise Of The Years 1962-70
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/news-views-and-music-149-top-eight.html

139) More Wacky AAA-Related Films And Their Soundtracks
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/top-five-for-news-views-and-music-150.html

140) AAA Appearances On Desert Island Discs
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/top-eight-aaa-desert-island-discs.html

141) Songs Exclusive To Live Albums
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/news-views-and-music-issue-153-top-10.html

142) More AAA Songs About Armageddon
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/aaa-armageddon-songsalbums-top-5-for.html

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 http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/a-not-that-short-guide-to-15-of-best.html%20%0d160

160) The Greatest AAA Drum Solos (Or Near Solos!) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/the-greatest-aaa-drum-solos-or-near.html%20%0d161

161) AAA Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame Acceptance Speeches http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/aaa-rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame.html%20%0d162

162) AAA Re-Recordings Of Past Songs http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/aaa-re-recordings-of-past-songs-news.html%20%0d163

163) A Coalition Christmas (A Fairy Tale) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/a-coalition-christmas-news-views-and.html%20%0d164

164) AAA Songs About Islands http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/aaa-songs-about-islands-news-views-and.html%20%0d165

165) The AAA Review Of The Year 2012 http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/the-aaa-review-of-year-2012-news-views.html



166) The Best AAA Concerts I Attended
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/the-best-aaa-concerts-i-attended-news.html

167) Tributes To The 10 AAA Stars Who Died The Youngest http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/tributes-to-10-aaa-stars-who-died.html



168) The First 10 AAA Songs Listed Alphabetically
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/the-first-10-aaa-songs-if-listed.html


171) The 10 Best Songs From The Psychedelia Box-Sets ‘Nuggets’ and ‘Nuggets Two’ http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/the-best-of-two-nuggets-psychedelia.html%20%0d172

172) The 20 Most Common Girl’s Names In AAA Song Titles (With Definitions) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/girls-names-in-aaa-song-titles-from.html 








180) First Recordings By Future AAA Stars http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/first-





185) A Tribute To Storm Thorgerson Via The Five AAA Bands He Worked With http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/a-tribute-to-hipgnosis-via-five-aaa.html



188) Surprise! Celebrating 300 Album Reviews With The Biggest 'Surprises' Of The Past Five Years Of Alan's Album Archives! http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/celebrating-300-album-reviews-10.html


190) Comparatively Obscure First Compositions By AAA Stars http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/comparatively-obscure-debut.html



193) Evolution Of A Band: Comparing First Lyric With Last Lyric: http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/evolution-of-band-comparing-1st-lyric.html







200) The Monkees In Relation To Postmodernism (University Dissertation) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/university-dissertation-monkees-in.html


202) Carly Simon's 'You're So Vain': Was It About One Of The AAA Crew? http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/carly-simons-youre-so-vain-was-it-about.html















217) AAA 'Christmas Presents' we'd most like to have next year http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/aaa-christmas-presents-wed-most-like-to.html




221) Dr Who and the AAA (Five Musical Links) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/01/dr-who-and-five-musical-links-to-alans.html

222) Five Random Recent Purchases http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/01/five-random-recent-purchases-news-views.html

223) AAA Grammy Nominees http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/02/aaa-grammy-nominees-top-twelve-news.html

224) Ten AAA songs that are better heard unedited and in full http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/02/ten-aaa-songs-that-are-better-unedited.html

225) The shortest gaps between AAA albums http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-shortest-gaps-between-aaa-albums.html

226) The longest gaps between AAA albums http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-longest-gaps-between-aaa-albums.html

227) Top ten AAA drummers http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/03/top-ten-aaa-drummers-news-views-and.html

228) Top Ten AAA Singles (In Terms of 'A' and 'B' Sides) http://www.alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/top-ten-aaa-singles-and-b-sides-news.html

229) The Stories Behind Six AAA Logos http://www.alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/the-stories-behind-six-aaa-logos.html

230) AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!! The Best Ten AAA Screams http://www.alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/the-best-aaa-screams-top-ten-news-views.html

231) An AAA Pack Of Horses http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/aaa-songs-about-horses-top-ten-news.html

232) AAA Granamas - Sorry, Anagrams! http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/aaa-anagrams-news-views-and-music-issue.html

233) AAA Surnames and Their Meanings http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/aaa-surnames-and-their-meanings-news.html

234) 20 Erroneous AAA Album Titles http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/twenty-erroneous-aaa-album-titles-news.html

235) The Best AAA Orchestral Arrangements http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/fifteen-great-aaa-string-parts-news.html

236) Top 30 Hilariously Misheard Album Titles/Lyrics http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/top-thirty-hilariously-misheard-aaa.html

237) Ten controversial AAA sackings - and whether they were right http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/ten-controversial-aaa-sackings-news.html

238) A Critique On Critiquing - In Response To Brian Wilson http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/a-critique-on-critiquing-in-response-to.html

239) The Ten MusicianS Who've Played On The Most AAA Albums http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/the-ten-musicians-whove-played-on-most.html

240) Thoughts on #CameronMustGo http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/thoughts-on-cameronmustgo.html

241) Random Recent Purchases (Kinks/Grateful Dead/Nils Lofgren/Rolling Stones/Hollies) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/six-random-recent-purchases-kinksg.html 

242) AAA Christmas Number Ones http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/aaa-christmas-number-ones.html 

243) AAA Review Of The Year 2014 (Top Releases/Re-issues/Documentaries/DVDs/Books/Songs/ Articles  plus worst releases of the year) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/aaa-review-of-year-2014.html

244) Me/CFS Awareness Week 2015 http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/mecfs-awareness-week-at-alans-album.html

245) Why The Tory 2015 Victory Seems A Little...Suspicious http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/why-tory-victory-seems-deeply.html

246) A Plea For Peace and Tolerance After The Attacks on Paris - and Syria http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/a-plea-for-peace-and-toleration.html

247) AAA Review Of The Year 2015 http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/the-aaa-review-of-year-2015.html

248) The Fifty Most Read AAA Articles (as of December 31st 2015) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/the-fifty-most-read-aaa-posts-2008-2015.html

249) The Revised AAA Crossword! http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2016_07_10_archive.html


251) Half-A-Dozen Berries Plus One (An AAA Tribute To Chuck Berry) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/an-aaa-covers-tribute-to-chuck-berry.html

252) Guest Post: ‘The Skids – Joy’ (1981) by Kenny Brown  https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/guest-post-skids-joy-1981.html


254) Guest Post: ‘Supertramp – Some Things Never Change’ by Kenny Brown https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2018/06/guest-review-supertramp-some-things.html

255) AAA Review Of The Year 2018 https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2018/12/the-aaa-review-of-year-2018.html

256) AAA Review Of The Year 2019 plus Review Of The Decade 2010-2019 https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2019/12/the-alans-album-archives-review-of-year.html



257) Tiermaker https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2019/06/alans-album-archives-on-tiermaker.html

258) #Coronastock https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2020/04/coronastock.html

259) #Coronadocstock https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2020/05/coronadocstock.html
            

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