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Popular Music

When I was young I used to listen to ‘pop’ music, especially that broadcast on the Pirate Radio stations, like Radio Caroline. I grew out of it in my late twenties onwards; for me, most pop music nowadays is just a noise, and few of its ‘stars’ can sing, only screech. Here are a few that I still enjoy.

The Animals: ‘House of the Rising Sun’

The Animals

Posing for publicity in 1964:
L-R: Eric Burdon [Vocals],
Alan Price [Keyboards],
Chas Chandler [Bass],
Hilton Valentine [Guitar],
John Steel [Drums].

YouTube has several versions.

Scaffold: ‘Lily The Pink’

Scaffold

 
And on YouTube

A ‘fun’ song from Merseyside in the 1960s. Here are the lyrics:

Chorus:

We’ll drink a drink a drink
To Lily the Pink the pink the pink
The saviour of our human race
For she invented, medicinal compound
Most efficacious in every case.
 

Mr Freers had sticky out ears
And it made him awful shy
And so they gave him medicinal compound
And now he’s learning how to fly
 

Brother Tony was notably bony
He would never eat his meals
And so they gave him medicinal compound
Now they move him round on wheels
 

[Chorus]
 

Old Ebenezer thought he was Julius Caesar
And so they put him in a home
Where they gave him medicinal compound
And now he’s Emperor of Rome
 

Jonny Hammer, had a terrible st st st st stammer
He could hardly sssay a word
And so they gave him medicinal compound
Now he’s seen, but never ’eard
 

[Chorus]
 

Aunty Milly ran willy nilly
When her legs they did recede
So they looked on medicinal compound
Now they call her milipede
 

Jennifer Eccles, had terrible freckles
And the boys all called her names
But they gave her medicinal compound
Now he joins in all the games
 

[Chorus]
 

Lily the Pink she turned to drink
She filled up with parafin inside
And despite her medicinal compound
Sadly piccalilli died
 

Up to heaven her soul ascended
All the church bells they did ring
She took with her medicinal compound
Hark the herald angels sing
 

[Chorus]
 

Grace Jones: ‘La Vie En Rose’

Grace Jones
Edith Piaf

See YouTube;
I prefer Grace Jones’s version to the more famous one by Edith Piaf: Edith’s better with Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien

John Lennon: ‘Imagine’

Lennon

More of ‘Imagine’ on YouTube

Sergeant Pepper

Other Beatles classics for me include ‘Eleanor Rigby’, ‘She’s Leaving Home’, ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’, indeed most of ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’)

Imagine there’s no Heaven

It’s easy if you try

No hell below us

Above us only sky

Imagine all the people

Living for today

Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions

I wonder if you can

No need for greed or hunger

A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people

Sharing all the world

You may say that I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will live as one

Del Shannon: ‘Runaway’

Del Shannon

YouTube has several versions, here’s one.

This record reminds me of my teenage years helping out backstage at an amateur charity concert — the guy operating the sound equipment kept playing this at full volume whenever he could during rehearsals, and it has stuck in my mind ever since.

Bronski Beat
‘I Feel Love’

Jimmy Somerville

Jimmy Somerville of Bronski Beat and The Communards.

Bronski Beat were a popular British synthpop trio who achieved success in the mid 1980s, particularly with the 1984 chart hit Smalltown Boy. All members of the group were openly gay and their songs reflected this, often containing political commentary on gay-related issues. At the height of their popularity the band consisted of singer Jimmy Somerville backed by Steve Bronski and Larry Steinbachek, both of whom played keyboards and percussion. Somerville went on to have success as lead singer of The Communards and as a solo artist.


The Pogues: ‘Fairytale of New York’ and The Dubliners

The Pogues aren’t the kind of pop group I’d usually like, but Fairytale of New York with Kirsty MacColl has a certain appeal about it. They are a Celtic punk group, and this is their Christmas song from 1987. They also performed with The Dubliners and this is their version of The Irish Rover from Top of the Pops.

Eurhythmics: Annie Lennox (born 1954) and Dave Stewart (born 1952)

Eurhythmics

The Eurhythmics performing at Rock am Ring
in Nürburgring, Germany in 1987.

They were at their peak in the 1980s, have broken up, rejoined,...
My favourite of their many recordings is Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), released in 1983.

See Annie Lennox’s web site and Dave Stewart in Wikipedia (I get a “malware” warning from Opera if I try davestewart.com).

Ashley

Ash

My partner, Ash, has an aptitude for singing and enjoys karaoke. Here he is performing

The Climb

Don’t Stop Believin’ in a duet with Babs

Spirit in the Sky

Dance With My Father

You’ll Never Walk Alone

All video clips courtesy of Babs & Steve on YouTube.

Queen: ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

Queen

Queen in concert in 1984:
John Deacon [far left],
Freddie Mercury [centre stage],
Brian May [foreground],
Roger Taylor [drums]; see YouTube

Barcelona

And what about ‘Barcelona’, sung by Freddy Mercury and the opera soprano Montserrat Caballé?)

Frankie Goes To Hollywood: ‘Relax’

Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Frankie Goes to Hollywood were a British dance-pop band popular in the mid-1980s. The group was fronted by Holly Johnson (vocals), with Paul Rutherford (vocals, keyboards), Peter Gill (drums, percussion), Mark O’Toole (bass guitar), and Brian Nash (guitar).

The group’s debut single Relax was banned by the BBC in 1984 while at number six in the charts and subsequently topped the UK singles chart for five consecutive weeks, going on to enjoy prolonged chart success throughout that year and ultimately becoming the seventh best-selling UK single of all time (as of May 2006).

10cc: ‘Dreadlock Holiday’

10cc

This is another favourite from around that time.
YouTube version


Dire Straits: ‘Sultans of Swing’

Dire Straits

Sultans of Swing was the first single release of the British rock band Dire Straits. Although it first appeared in 1978, it was the 1979 re-release that caused it to become a hit in both the UK and the USA. The song was written by Mark Knopfler whilst in a bar in South London. The inspiration came from a jazz band playing in the corner of an otherwise deserted pub. Sultans of Swing was the name of Mark Knopfler’s band during his teenage years when he was a student at Gosforth High School in Newcastle upon Tyne.

YouTube version

Lou Reed (1942 – 2013): ‘Walk on the Wild Side’

Lou Reed

Lou Reed and his band, Velvet Underground, achieved enormous influence over artistes like David Bowie and Andy Warhol. His ground-breaking music gave rise to many genres, including punk.

Holly came from Miami F.L.A.

Hitch-hiked her way across the U.S.A.

Plucked her eyebrows on the way

Shaved her legs and then he was a she

She said, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side,

Said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side.

Candy came from out on the island,

In the backroom she was everybody’s darling,

But she never lost her head

Even when she was giving head

She sayes, hey baby, take a walk on the wild side

Said, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side

And the colored girls go,

Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo

Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo

Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo

Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo

Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo

Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo

Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo

Little Joe never once gave it away

Everybody had to pay and pay

A hustle here and a hustle there

New York City is the place where they said:

Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side

I said hey Joe, take a walk on the wild side

Sugar Plum Fairy came and hit the streets

Lookin’ for soul food and a place to eat

Went to the Apollo

You should have seen him go, go, go

They said, hey Sugar, take a walk on the wild side

I said, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side, alright, huh

Jackie is just speeding away

Thought she was James Dean for a day

Then I guess she had to crash

Valium would have helped that bash

She said, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side

I said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side

And the colored girls say

Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo

Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo

Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo

Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo

Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo

Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo

Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo

UK’s Million-selling Singles: The Full List

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the official singles chart [Aha! A real diamond jubilee!], the Official Charts Company has ranked the top UK million-selling singles. See which songs make the list and which have sold the most.

The most authoritative chart ever of the UK’s million-selling singles shows Elton John ranked highest for sales for his double A-side Something About The Way You Look Tonight/ Candle in the Wind. Released after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997, the song is at the top of the UK million-sellers chart with 4.9 million copies sold. Do They Know It’s Christmas? by Band Aid released in 1984 is in second place with 3.69 million singles bought in the UK.

There are some interesting results.

It is a chart in which Don’t You Want Me? by the Human League sits just outside the Top 20 but immediately above the Beatles’ Can’t Buy Me Love.

Teletubbies

Lennon and McCartney’s 1964 hit is in turn just ahead of I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston, followed by Baddiel and Skinner and the Lightning Seed’s Three Lions and then Ken Dodd’s Tears. The records are ranked by sales in the first-ever authoritative chart of the UK’s million-selling singles.

The list of 123 singles includes million-selling singles from artists such as Queen, The Beatles, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Adele. Even the Teletubbies make an appearance with 1.11 million copies of Teletubbies Say “Eh-Oh!” sold in the UK.