Thursday 18 August 2011

News, Views and Music Issue 110 (Intro)

August 18th:

Dear readers, as the eagle-eyed among you may have noticed we’ve been posting our review online quicker and quicker the past few weeks and actually had one in hand for late week – which is just as well seeing as a bad cold, a fever, two unexpected trips into Liverpool (not for the riots I hasten to add!) and continuing aches and pains from chronic fatigue have meant we’ve had to cut this week’s edition down a bit in size and we weren’t able to write the last issue as planned at all! Never mind, we’re back where we started now, ready to forge ahead with yet more news, views and music, starting with an excellent album too long forgotten (even by Hollies standards, which is saying something) and a top five that I calculate will be talked about for weeks to come. Or laughed at, depending on your way of thinking.

I can’t go any further, however, without commenting on the horrors of the riots we had in the UK last week. Now, that’s horrors as a double-edged sword – yes indeed I’m worried that relatively peaceful neighbourhoods can so quickly turn into ghettos and war-zones and that innocent people have lost homes and businesses, but I’m also worried about the fact that the causes of this whole situation haven’t yet been told in the media and that the damnation from the world’s press running riot in response will actually do more harm in the long term. The whole shenanigan started, without question, because of the police’s actions – whether or not the murder of Mark Duggan was a necessary evil or simply the police taking the easy way out, the police could have avoided it all had they come clean with his family and friends from the beginning about what had happened, whoever came out of it looking better or worse. We have to have trust in our police forces in order to live under society’s rules – if the police can’t be bothered to follow the law then I’m not surprised that so many other people, already fed up of being harassed in their daily life, shot back. The mocking behaviour of the police during the candlelight vigil for Duggan was vile, every bit as vile as the scenes of the fire-bombed houses and crushed streets but so far they seem to have been let off scot free by the nation’s press. After all, let’s not forget that most of the looting and rioting that has taken place has been caused by people who feel let down and ostracised from the system, that after decades of abuse and violence from the police and cold, harsh indifference from politicians it’s no surprise that youngsters without job prospects, who’ll be forced to work long past pension age with no chance of stepping up the income ladder are going to fight back with similar violence against the police and indifference to the warnings of politicians.

It shouldn’t be like this – no one innocent should be at the risk of losing their house or business because of the dis-illusioned fringes of society, but then neither should there be fringes of society at all – the Government should be helping us all, not just the people it picks and chooses to support. The juxtaposition of new stories about poor Cameron having to cut short slightly his third expensive holiday this year (yes, I am counting!) against people risking life and limb and a prison sentence because they have no bright future to look forward to thanks to bankers and politicians wasting chances speaks volumes – the media have got their priorities all wrong. The story here isn’t the fact that people are fighting back – it’s why they feel the need to do so, why they feel their futures are so empty and hideous to contemplate that prison and fines can’t make a bad situation any worse. In short, the Government has failed – something we’ve made out so many times here in the past – and David Cameron is playing a dangerous game by dividing the country further instead of trying to understand the messages he is being given. I’d never agree with the rioters and looters enough to join them – but they have my sympathy far more than a pig headed oaf in office who asks others to sacrifice money for a mistake that was none of their making and has done nothing to help himself and a police force who seem to think they have the right to be above the law instead of keeping it.

 We’ve strayed badly off subject in this introduction again, as I seem to have done so many times in the past year, but that’s because as fellow music lovers (and lovers of the best, most compassionate and eye-opening music there is) you too I hope have an open mind enough to recognise the harm that is being done. I’m always shattered when people talk about the UK as being a civilised and fair society – we are those things only on the surface if you don’t look too hard and are every bit as undemocratic and chaotic as the countries our media sneers over every week like Libya, Syria and Iraq; we should always judge our ‘civilised’ nations by how the worst-off inhabitants are treated, not how the millionaires live and the protection, support and encouragement we give to our worst off is atrocious, with worse to follow with yet more unnecessary and needlessly provocative cuts. In the words of our album review’s opening track (another creation  of recessions gone by that were handled so much better than this one) ‘The image and the empire may be falling apart, the money has gotten scarce, no man’s words hold the country together, the truth is getting fierce’. Shame on you Cameron, truly shame on you for the hurt and divisions you cause for no good reason, get out now and save us the trouble of forcing you out.

Normal service will now be resumed...     


Monkees News: Well, normal service will almost be resumed. You see, theres been yet another riot that hasnt really been talked about in the press namely that the three Monkees currently touring have broken up, citing business differences. Its been well documented that Davy Jones has been the least eager of the three to tour he gave some damning comments about the others in a radio documentary last Christmas and it was a surprise at all that he had decided to tour again with Peter Tork and Micky Dolenz, especially given that their last three-way tour in 2002 was a commercial and critical disaster. However, this latest tour had proved to be a big success during its early days, with critics finally understanding the bands multimedia format and applauding the little-heard song set from the Monkees film Head made up of songs which had never been performed live before. The suddenness of the news has come as a real shock to Monkees fans, with slightly under half of the European dates still to be filled is this really the last time the Monkees share a stage together? More news if and when we hear it!  

Rolling Stones: Even more surprising is the news that Mick Jagger has just kick-started his flagging solo career by fronting a supergroup, given the delightfully silly name of Superheavy. Far from being a heavy metal or pure rock band, it features Mick fronting such pop stalwarts as Eurythmic Dave Stewart and singer-songwriter Joss Stone and features Mick wearing the sort of outlandish clothes he used to wear in the early 70s which the other Stones dont let him wear anymore! Its not known whether this will be a temporary or permanent band, although there is talk of an album tentatively scheduled for September 19th - presumably the band have already made some recordings as the date isnt that far away. This rather puts paid to Keith Richards hints at a Stones reunion in 2012 (their 50th anniversary year) but does explain why Mick has been allowing Keith to dominate Stones matters over the past 12 months if he had a whole new project up and nearly ready to roll(Im still recovering from the fact that Keef got a prime-time show on boxing day last year, with Jaggers Jukebox relegated to the early hours of December 27th something Mick would never have stood for before!) More news if and when...

ANNIVERSARIES: Birthday greetings to AAA musicians born between August 15th and 21st:  Carl Wayne (vocalist with The Hollies from 1999 to his death in 2003) who would have been 67 on August 18th. Anniversaries of events include: The Beatles play their record-breaking show at New York’s Shea Stadium, with 56,000 screaming fans –an attendance record that won’t be beaten until CSNY in 1974 (August 15th 1965); the first day of Woodstock, an anniversary we covered in detail a year ago in these very pages (August 15th 1969); George Harrison publishes the closest we’ve yet had to a Beatle autobiography, the frustratingly short and originally expensive  ‘I Me Mine’ (August 15th 1980); Paul Simon plays to his biggest crowd for his ‘Concert In Central Park’ (August 15th 1991); The Beatles’ still mysterious sacking of their most popular member Pete Best and replacing him with...Ringo (think about that for a minute) who plays his first gig with the band two days later (August 16th 1962); The Beatles’ first performance in Hamburg at the Indra Club (August 17th 1960); The second of two records featuring Jagger, Richards, Lennon and McCartney from the summer of love is released – the Stones’ best single (as far as my tastes are concerned) ‘We Love You’ (August 18th 1967 – the other record is the Beatles’ ‘All You Need Is Love’); Mick Jagger accidentally hurts his hand in a pistol fight staged for the seemingly cursed movie ‘Ned Kelly’ (August 18th 1969); The Moody Blues begin their highest grossing UK tour, some nine years after their original split (August 18th 1981); The Beatles begin their first American tour, playing to much bigger crowds than they are used to in England (August 19th 1964); American radio station KNOW ban all Beatles tracks from the air after hearing that the ‘Sgt Peppers’ LP may contain drugs references – thankfully most of the other stations simply ban that LP (August 19th 1967); The Rolling Stones release one of their most famous songs ‘Satisfaction’ (August 20th 1965); Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham creates Immediate Records with The Small Faces, lured from Decca, one of their first signings (August 20th 1965) and finally, The Rolling Stones and 10cc co-headline a prestigious gig at London’s Knebworth (August 21st 1976).

News, Views and Music Issue 110 (Top Five): AAA Words That Can Be Written On A Calculator

Whoever came up with the Hollies’ calculator-advertising campaign deserves a medal. I mean how few other phrases can you actually spell on a calculator (don’t bother to count, we’ve done that for you: the answer is seven; B, E, H, I, L, O and S or numbers 9, 3, 4, 1, 7, 0 and 5 depending which way you up you have your machine – by an interesting co-incidence these letters happen to spell ‘bolshie’, which is a good description of all the calculators I’ve ever known!) And it’s blooming difficult trying to come up with any other words using those letters that make sense. As you’ll see in this week’s top five: words associated with AAA groups that can be typed in on a calculator! (This must count as one of the weirdest we’ve ever done...)Word of caution: please do not try this at home if you only own a calculator on your PC – turning it upside down is not advisable! (All our essays might fall out of the internet if you do that and I’m not writing them all again!) 

1)    ‘345’ aka ‘SHE’: a song by The Monkees as featured on their 1967 album ‘More Of The Monkees’

2)    ‘5317’ aka ‘LIES’: a song by Stephen Stills’ Manassas as featured on their 1973 album ‘Down The Road’

3)    ‘35007’ aka ‘LOOSE’: an album title by Crazy Horse 1974:

4)    ‘53177197714’ aka ‘HILLBILLIES’, as in ‘Muswell Hillbillies’, an album and track title  by The Kinks 1970

5)     ‘53045’ aks ‘SHOES’, as in ‘New Holes In Old....’, a song by Nils Lofgren from the 1984 album ‘Flip!’ (well, we were getting desprerate!!)

That’s all for another issue! I will have to get my computer fixed next week so apologies if there’s another delay – hopefully there won’t be but, either way, see you soon for some more newsing, viewsing and listening to musicing!

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