Tuesday 27 December 2011

News, Views and Music Issue 127 (Intro)

                                                                           Well here we are again

                                                                                                                                 dear readers, at the

                                                                             end of what has been

                                                                                 a difficult year, for me

                                                                               for most AAA artists

                                                                          and probably for most

                                                                            of you as well.

This year we’ve seen horrendous talentless 12-year-olds filling up the charts, tacky re-treads of old ideas and outtakes and some disappointing and pricey re-issues (yes Pink Floyd, I’m looking at you!) In addition we’ve had most of our better laws stripped away, the ones that really do protect us and give us a fighting chance of liberty, amnesty and mercy, and had them replaced by draconian welfare and NHS reforms, unsound economic policy decisions and a complete disregard for any protests made. Things, surely, can only get better and we look towards 2012 in a much more hopeful light, not least because Old Moore has predicted the fall of the Coalition by the end of the year (and he’s never wrong – well, almost never, well, sometimes). Keep going readers, they can’t keep this up indefinitely without some sort of fight back en masse.

Meantime, not all of 2011 was quite as grim as this: we had welcome returns from Paul Simon and Noel Gallagher (even if their albums weren’t up to much), classy additions to the catalogues of Beady Eye/Oasis and Human League and some pretty spiffing (or at least some spiffing ideas) for re-issues for Paul McCartney, The Beach Boys, The Who and especially The Hollies. You can read our top five albums, top three songs, top three documentaries and top three DVDs below in our specially extended ‘top five/three’ below.

If you had one of these albums/DVDs/downloads waiting under your Christmas tree this year then a) I want a downloadable xmas tree too! And b) why not tell us what you thought in our forum. We want to make the AAA as much about you as it is about us so if you think our opinion is totally and utterly wrong then why not put the record straight and let us know? In the meantime, it’s on with the last news stories of 2011 and I take it back – there actually was quite a lot on the radio about AAA groups after all (it’s just that, sadly, BBC6 hadn’t updated their ‘information listings’ in time for last week’s issue – apologies that some of these progs are getting to you late; have a try on I-player if there’s something here you missed).  Oh and sorry if this week’s review isn’t quite up to standard; it was looking tremendous before my computer promptly shut down and lost half of it. Even re-written I can’t get it back to where it was so sorry about that. Perhaps it’s because I dared to mention the you know who’s (starting with the letters HL) in the above introduction (I’m beginning to think there really is a curse now!) Let’s hope for a break from our technological gremlins next year...                                                                                                                                                                        


Beach Boys News: Brian Wilson is the first of many AAA artists featured on BBC6 this week in their interview slot. The interviews all come from the channels relatively recent The First Time programme. Brians interview is repeated at 3am in the early hours of Christmas Eve.

Beatles News: A reminder that the Alexei Sayle programme The Beatles at Christmas is on Radio 4 at 11am on Tuesday, December 27th. How Radio 4 will manage to fit all those Christmas #1s (albums and singles), Magical Mystery Tour and the Beatles 1964 Pantomime into half an hour is anyones guess...

Theres also a repeat of Ringos The First Time interview on Thursday, December 29th at 4am, followed by a tie-in Live Music Hour featuring Beatles BBC sessions!

In other news, Paul McCartney has announced that February 2012 will see the release of his new album and its going to be yet another first for the ex-Beatle, a series of covers of standards! At first my thought was Oh God o, hes doing a Rod Stewart, but actually the first song released from the album as a teaser is actually pretty good. In fact My Valentine (one of a handful of McCartney original in a similar style to the covers a la Run Devil Run) is on first hearing his most impressive song for quite some time (visit the Mojo Magazine website if you want to hear it!) The album also features a guest appearance by Eric Clapton on guitar. In other Macca news, weve finally heard a track listing from his last tour (which actually ended last week but never mind!) and it includes such firsts as Sing The Changes (one of the best tracks from the Fireman album Electric Arguments), classic Wings single Juniors Farm (strangely never played by that band live), The Night Before (a forgotten song from Help!), 1985 (from Band On The Run and again strangely never played live with Wings), Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da (from the White Album), A Day In The Life (now a set regular after Macca first sang it with Neil Young in 2009), Wonderful Xmas Time (not included down the years due to overwhelming public demand but added for a one-off Xmas gig in Liverpool), Lennon tribute Give Peace A Chance (not heard live since a one-off gig in Liverpool in 1990), another forgotten Beatles classic The Word (from Rubber Soul) and, most curiously of all, the song Paul gave away to Badfinger in 1969 Come and Get It! Not a bad list of additions to your live set when you reach the age of 69!

Janis Joplin News: Meanwhile, 1970s singer Suzi Quatro goes in search of some talent, err no sorry I meant Janis Joplin on Boxing Day (thats Monday to you), filling up a whole two hour stint from 8-10pm with tales of Janis brief career. This is a new show to be broadcast on Radio 2, but sadly its yet another Joplin documentary given the celebrity treatment when Janis career should be strong enough to sell itself. See later in this newsletter for another AAA star to get Quatroed...

Kinks News: Another artist getting a yuletide repeat of their First Time interview is Ray Davies at 3am on Tuesday, December 27th in the BBC6 Interview slot. Whats more interesting to us fans is a repeat of The Kinks Christmas gig at the Rainbow in 1977 an hour later in the Live Music Hour slot, with The Kinks on Kracking form.

Oasis News: There will be rare Oasis BBC audio featured as part of BBC6s Live Music Hour on Thursday, December 29th at 4am, along with some Beatles sessions. We dont know what these will entail at the time of going to press, though chances are its either the 2002 concert (repeated on the channel not long ago) or the mighty rare first recordings from 1993.

Later the same day at 6pm BBC6 feature highlights from Iammos interview programme, featuring an interview with Noel Gallagher about his debut album which I must admit I missed first time round.

Yoko Ono News: Radio 4s Food For Thought discussion of food as seen through the eyes of five celebrities seems a weird enough idea for prime time radio over Xmas. Theyre not the sort of people you associate with food either including AAA star Yoko Ono, who takes to the discussion on Tuesday, December 27th at 1.45pm and will be talking about both her Japanese childhood beverages and her favourite American meals with John Lennon.

Otis Redding News: Otis the other poor AAA star to get Quatroed (see Janis, above), when Suzi discusses his lifetime and work for a full two hours from 8pm on Tuesday, December 27th on Radio 2.Again, worthy subject matter, long overdue but why cant we have a proper presenter doing this?!

Rolling Stones News: Our final First Time interview is with Charlie Watts, broadcast in the bewitching hour of midnight Christmas Day and no doubt repeated on I-player.

Anniversaries: Festive Birthdays this week (December 27th-January 2nd) include Mike Pinder (mellotron and various other keyboards with the Moody Blues 1964-78) who turns 69 on December 27th, Ray Thomas (flautist with The Moody Blues 1964-2004) also turns 69 on December 29th, no less than two Monkees – Mike Nesmith and Davy Jones – are born on December 30th (and turned 69 and 66 respectively) and finally, Pete Quaife (bass player with The Kinks 1963-68) would have been 68 on December 31st. Anniversaries of events include: The Beatles play their first ‘welcome home’ gig at the Cavern Club following months away in Hamburg – this well received gig is seen as a turning point in their careers (December 27th 1960), Beach Boy Dennis Wilson drowns after diving from his boat to collect belongings thrown off it years before in a temper tantrum while intoxicated (December 28th 1983), Bert Berns, the songwriter who wrote ‘Twist and Shout’ for the Isley Brothers before the Beatles made it world famous, dies four years after his composition tops the EP charts (December 31st 1967); The Beach Boys play their first show using the name that will make them world famous – they drop their previous name The Pendletones from now on (December 31st 1961); Paul McCartney seeks a legal dissolution of The Beatles’ partnership at a London court (December 31st 1970); The Beatles record their less-than-successful audition at Decca studios, little knowing they will finally sign to EMI just nine months later (January 1st 1962); The Beatles begin their first UK tour – in Scotland (January 1st 1963); TV show Top Of The Pops debuts on TV starring the Hollies and the Stones (January 1st 1964) and finally, The Winterland Theatre –  a second home for the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane – closes down after the venue’s last in a popular series of ‘new year’s eve’ concerts (January 1st 1979).

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