Friday 14 October 2011

News, Views and Music Issue 116 (Intro)

October 14th:

Dear friends, good news! (at long last, some good news!) I now have broadband – just in time to see our stats counter move perilously near the magical 10,000 hits mark. Be sure to receive a ‘thankyou’ not when it does if you’re one of our regular members and have written into us or sent me your email address/twitter feed/facebook link etc– I can’t promise anything more than a clipart cake but, well, thankyou for your support all the same. Having the internet at home means no more trips to the library only to find the computer’s not working, furiously writing in order to make a deadline before they close and hopefully more time to sort out our ongoing technical problems. The site is back by the way – I’m in the process of transferring all my files across which hopefully means I won’t have to post all the links again (which took me flipping hours the last time they went wrong at Easter). I may have to revert back to making these newsletters fortnightly when my hideously long form comes but still, I’m a newsletter ahead of myself at the moment so that shouldn’t be so bad. They can’t keep us down, eh, no matter what they throw at us! Good music will always endure (heard any Spice Girls on the radio recently? Me neither!) And we’ll do our best to make sure that we endure, even if we have to go through as many variations and line-up changes as our featured band The Jefferson Airplane. First, though, the news...


Grateful Dead News: The Grateful Dead Movie is coming to DVD! Well, eventually, apparently the DVD set has been delayed until 2012 already, but the blu-ray version of this concert film is hitting shops this week apparently. The film, which is largely made up of the Deads farewell shows from 1974 (before their 18 month hiatus) has been out of print for years, ever since a video copy in the early 1990s, and also features footage of favourite band haunts and other fan friendly footage (such as the Mars Hotel as featured on the Mars Hotel cover getting knocked down!) The set also features five hours of extras! More news if and when...

Pink Floyd News: Poor BBC6, they always arrive late to the party, even if they do often arrive with the greatest presents. Following on from a fortnight agos BBC4 Floyd Night (and to tie-in with the latest re-issues and please have a look at some older issues if you want to know more because Im sick of writing about them!) theres a full 10 hours or so devoted to the band. The programmes start in the early hours of Friday, October 7th, skip a few hours till the evening and continue to the early hours of the following Saturday. Theyre a mixture of the usual BBC repeats we see often on BBC6 (the Syd Barrett doc was only on again this Summer), some very old repeats we havent heard in ages (the Record Producers doc) and some exciting looking news ones (A whole hour of Pink Floyd at the BBC, all of which is unavailable on CD (even though bits and pieces have been repeated)? Fantastic!) For the record heres the full list of programmes:

12am and 3am Wish Youd Been Here The Story Of Pink Floyd (in two parts, first broadcast 2005 or there abouts)

7pm Now Playing A Pink Floyd Special (various Floyd records)

9pm Record Producers Pink Floyd (I never quite understood how the Floyd were producers, perhaps theyd been better off looking at Hurricane Smith, producer of the first album? Still an excellent series I hope they repeat the 10cc one sometime soon too because that was fabulous!, circa 2007)

10.30pm The Producers Playlist yet more Floyd records, though with a more unusual slant: the producers favourite Floyd record is apparently Fearless from 1972s Meddle LP, not a track you ever hear too often!

11pm Floyd At The BBC I cant wait: Peel Sessions, In Concert recordings, all unreleased on CD and all unrepeated since first broadcast, barring two 15 min sessions that have been on BBC6 before

1am Desert Island Discs Roger Waters the bassists surprisingly humble and chatty interview-with-music-choices programme from last year. Well worth hearing iof you havent already

3.30-5.30am The Thing About Syd (in 2 parts, 2006): Another repeat for this bitty but entertaining doc broadcast soon after the madcaps death. A fitting tribute, but not a patch on the TV version broadcast a couple of years before his death

Radio 2 are always late to every party and have a mixed record with documentaries: their new documentary Days In The Life Of Pink Floyd is a diary-based version of the usual story and is broadcast on Monday, October 10th at 10pm.

ANNIVERSARIES: Happy birthday greetings to AAA members born between October 11th and 17th: Paul Simon who turns 70 on October 13th, Justin Hayward (guitarist with The Moody Blues 1967-present) who turns 65 on October 14th and Bob Weir (guitarist with The Grateful Dead 1965-95) who turns 64 on October 16th. Anniversaries of events include: The Beatles receive their first ever gold disc, for ‘She Loves You’ a year and a week after their first ‘proper’ release (October 11th 1963); The Beatles’ prestigious TV gig on ‘Saturday Night At The London Palladium’ (October 13th 1963); The Who release their milestone single ‘I Can See For Miles’ (October 13th 1967); Janis Joplin’s ashes are scattered off the coast of California after nearly a year of legal hold-ups (October 13th 1971); Grace Slick, then still with her first band The Great Society, makes her first on-stage appearance with the Jefferson Airplane after their singer Signe Anderson leaves to have a baby (October 14th 1966); Pink Floyd play their first major gig at the launch party for underground newspaper International Times (October 15th 1966); The Kinks release their all important follow-up to ‘You Really Got Me’, ‘All Day And All Of The Night’ (October 16th 1964) and finally, The Beatles make their first TV appearance, singing ‘Some Other Guy’ at the Cavern Club for TV show ‘People And Places’ (October 17th 1962) . 

News, Views and Music Issue 116 (Top Five): AAA debut singles that sum up their whole ouevre first go!

Some groups spend years of apprenticeship, following a completely different path to the one that will eventually see them utilise their talents (The Moody Blues, originally an R and B combo rather than a psychedelic splendourasaurus, are the best AAA example, but did anyone else see the hard rocking Status Quo’s first flower power single on Sounds of the 60s the other week?!) Others know exactly what they want to say from the very beginning and spend the rest of their career developing the song that made them superstars. Others – like the Airplane – overwhelmed the ship that created them and made everything they did sound typical, but from their second single onwards. So this week here are our five biggest examples of dedbut singles that make perfect sense given what we know is to come in an artists’s canon:

1)    The Who ‘I Can’t Explain’ (single, 1965): Every single Who song is about struggling to communicate something – be it love, anger, annoyance or just general frustration. Relevant enough to stay in the band’s sets right up to the present day – usually as  the opening number for the band’s shows – ‘I Can’t Explain’ somehow manages to sound very 1965 (all power chords, riffs, angles and heavily based on The Kinks’ ‘You Really Got Me’) and very in keeping with other periods in the band’s life (‘Quadrophenia’s sulky mod teenager clearly loves the song in the film of the same name, whilst even the deeper numbers on ‘Who’s Next’ and ‘Who By Numbers’ are about struggling to get your thoughts together coherently and express your identity). Perhaps the biggest example of ‘developing’ this theme is ‘Tommy’: a deaf, dumb and blind kid who experiences life as a series of ‘vibrations’, not a million miles away from the overwhelmed, inarticulate narrator of this song. 


2)    The Monkees ‘Last Train To Clarksville’ (single, 1966): Why were writers Boyce and Hart never given full carte blanche to record ‘their’ band when their first two songs are The Monkees theme (which summed up the TV series superbly, long before any of it was written) and this first single, which saw the band make #1 on the American charts two whole months before the series aired (so much for The Monkees only getting by thanks to publicity!) ‘Clarksville’, based on the writer’s memory of Beatles single ‘Paperback Writer’ having heard the fade of the single on radio, is everything The Monkees were at the start of the project: wild-eyed, exciting, happy and upbeat with an edge. No wonder they used it so many times in the TV series: it just has the zany Monkees quality in spades. Needless to say, the band still do it in concert to this day and it was one of their biggest hits, outsold only by ‘I’m A Believer’.   

3)    Grateful Dead ‘The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)’ (single, 1966): Not a hit single so much as a message of intent, this was a terribly daring song for the day. A musical fusion of blues and psychedelia, it’s lyrics implore the audience to give up their ‘straight’ lives in favour of running off and ‘joining the circus, every day’. The way ahead for the hippie is bright, hopeful, peaceful and yet still quite ominous the way the Dead deliver it here. Another reason that makes this such a typical Dead song, despite the early vintage with lyrics by Jerry Gracia in the pre-Robert Hunter era, is the way the lyrics reference the band’s audience, talking about the different girls they see at concerts. If only all circuses had been like this one!

4)    Oasis ‘Supersonic’ (single, 1994): Angry, passionate and already adept at making social statements, ‘Supersonic’ sounds like every other Oasis song in their early period. In fact, it arrived at the ‘Definitely Maybe’ sessions comparatively late but was seized on by the band as being a good choice for a debut single that they could then ‘develop’. A song about feeling high and elated and wanting to share the feeling with the world, it fitted many of the band’s bright and breezy early songs which caught the mood of the day in the post-Thatcher, post-recession days better than most artists around at the time. The gap between this debut single’s innocent flair and last single ‘Falling Down’s hopeless helplessness couldn’t be more pronounced.

5)    Small Faces ‘What’cha Gonna Do ‘Bout It?’(single, 1966): Actually, I was struggling to find a fifth record for this list. After all, what Beatles fan would rate ‘Love Me Do’ as a summation of their pop career (good as it was for 1962), The Beach Boys’ ‘Surfin’ Safari’ (ditto 1961) or The Rolling Stones’ pale attack on Chuck Berry’s ‘Cmon’. Most fans would probably stick The Kinks in this list – but no, ‘You Really Got Me’ is actually the third single (the first was a raw and mangled cover of ‘Long Tall Sally, much against Ray Davies’ wishes). The closest I can manage is this raw and primitive Small faces single, one that’s short on the subtlety they bring to their later songs but still nevertheless features a distinctive and very Small faces-y power riff and their usual trick of featuring happy go lucky verses with gruff and angry choruses. Not as distinguished as later Small Faces songs, but every bit as reflective of its era and with Steve Marriott already the most charismatic singer in pop and rock, this single still manages to sum up the band’s mix of irreverent humour and deadly serious earnestness pretty darn well.

That’s it for another week. Remember, keep sending in your comments – we now have a ‘blog’ page so you can comment on individual posts – and remember, just because the Coalition try to take things away from you that doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to them. Let’s show them eh, my fellow rock and rollers? 

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