Monday, 31 January 2011

Mud: Mr Bagatelle (b-side), Do It All Over Again (b-side)

Today is B-Side special day and first is a re-post of the Mud b-side 'Mr Bagatelle'; original post can be found here.

‘Do It All over again’ is the b-side to Mud’s # 4 single ‘Dyna-Mite from 1973.

Mud: Mr Bagatelle
Mud: Do It All Over Again

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Ava Cherry: People from Bad Homes (album track), Dana Gillespie: Andy Warhol (a-side), Lulu: Watch that Man (b-side)

Bowie's Babes

Someone else who liked a little “musical collaboration” with the ladies was Mr Z. Stardust himself:

Hardcore David Bowie fans are probably familiar with the name Ava Cherry, but for the benefit of everyone else, Ava was Bowie’s lover in the early to mid ’70s, as well as one of his backup singers in the Astronettes during the Diamond Dogs/Young Americans Tour. 

Bowie had plans for Cherry and the other Astronettes, producing an album for the trio that was ‘new wave’ before the term existed. It also ended up being shelved for twenty years when things with their mutual management MainMan went sour.

'People From Bad Homes' is taken from sessions in 1973 with Bowie as producer, where he wrote a number of new songs for her including this one. The title was later recycled for the lyrics to Bowies song 'Fashion' in 1980.

After performing backing vocals on the track "It Ain't Easy" from David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, Dana Gillespie recorded an album produced by Bowie and Mick Ronson in 1973, called ‘Weren't Born a Man’.

Subsequent efforts have been in the blues genre, appearing with her London Blues Band. She is notable for being the original Mary Magdalene in the first London production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Jesus Christ Superstar which opened at the Palace Theatre in late 1971. 

She also appeared on the Original London Cast album which was released the following year.

This is a 1971 version of the song 'Andy Warhol' that pre- dates the version on the 'Weren't Born A Man' album.

Lulu's 1974 release of Bowie's ‘the Man Who Sold the World’ has been featured on this blog elsewhere. The b-side to this single was another Bowie composition this time from ‘Aladdin Sane’ called ‘Watch That Man’.

Lulu herself has admitted that after her marriage (to Maurice Gibb of Bee Gees fame) had ended she had an affair with David Bowie. She adored him but was disturbed by his dark hedonistic life. She knew that if she stayed with him too long, she'd be trapped in a “fog of decadence”.

“I was crazy for Bowie,” she says.
“I worked with him; he’s a very charismatic man and way ahead of his time. His look could be feminine but that didn’t stop him being a major heartthrob in the Seventies, did it, girls!”

Lulu: Watch That Man

Friday, 21 January 2011

Marsha Hunt: Hot Rod Poppa (b-side), Gloria Jones: Sailors of the Highway (album track), Sister Pat Hall: Jitterbug Love (album track)

Bolan's Babes

The little elf obviously had a thing for the ladies, so here from the Bolan harem:

Marsha Hunt first met Marc Bolan in 1969 when she went to the studio where Bolan's group was recording "Unicorn"

Tony Visconti said that when Bolan and Hunt met, "you could see the shafts of light pouring out of their eyes into each other.... We finished the session unusually early, and Marc and Marsha walked out into the night hand in hand."

In 1973, as a member of a panel organized by British magazine Melody Maker to discuss women in music and options open to black women, Hunt suggested that black women needed to make use of the "side-door" in the industry, entering as "the statuary representative" before they could make music under their own terms.

Hot Rod Poppa a Marc Bolan penned song was released as a b-side in 1969, pre-dating his metamorphosis into T.Rex.

Gloria Jones also first met Marc Bolan in 1969 while performing in the musical  "Hair". 

While touring in Europe, Bolan and Jones met for the second time at the Speak-easy in London. In 1972, she was recommended by Warner Brothers Bob Regere to sing backing vocals behind T. Rex at the Winterland in San Francisco.

She sang backing vocals and played clavinet with T. Rex from 1973 to 1977. Jones released an album in 1976, called ‘Vixen’, featuring several songs written by Bolan, who was also the producer. Sailors of the Highway is taken from this album.

She was the driver of the car that crashed and killed Bolan on 16 September 1977. Jones nearly died herself in the accident, and was in the hospital for several days afterwards. She did not learn of Bolan's death until the day of his funeral.

Sister Pat Hall was a backing singer for T.Rex. On the album ‘Marc Bolan presents Sister Pat Hall’ she sings Marc Bolan compositions. The album was again produced by Bolan.

She was a well-respected session back-up singer prior to joining T. Rex. Her most notable sessions work was with Ray Charles and Joe Cocker. 

Sister Pat was part of Marc Bolan’s three female back-up singers during the T. Rex tours from 1972-1974. She also appears on the 'Zinc Alloy and The Hidden Riders of Tomorrow' album.

'Jitterbug Love' was a T.Rex b-side re-arranged into a more soulful version for Sister Pat to sing on the album. It features strong Bolan backing vocals through out the song.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Paper Lace: The Black Eyed Boys (a-side), Pilot: Magic (a-side)

Last post we had bands that jumped on the glam bandwagon, this is where glam "jumped the shark".

Jumping the shark is a colloquialism coined by John Hein and used by TV critics and fans to denote the point in a television program’s history where the plot veers off into absurd story lines or out of the ordinary characterisations.   

The term was originally used for an episode of the American TV series ‘Happy Days’ where the Fonz uses water-skis to jump over a shark. Shows that have jumped the shark are typically deemed to have passed their peak.

You could argue that glam rock was born jumping the shark. Suddenly the serious singer songwriter, progressive musical hangover from the 60’s was given a pair of water-skis and a motorboat and told to head for the nearest shark infested fancy dress shop.

So it is with tongue firmly in cheek that I present the next acts that at some level attached themselves to glam rock’s fading glory. It was glam rock without the glitter and silver foil admittedly, but it still had a glam heart beating somewhere in the distance.

Paper Lace was a Nottingham based pop group who originally formed in 1969, but chart success didn’t arrive until 1974, when a victory on ‘Opportunity Knocks’ an ITV talent contest series (the 70's version of X-Factor) helped to give them the hits they were after. 

Thanks to that show, songwriters/producers, Mitch Murray and Peter Callender quickly signed them.

The smash hit "Billy Don't Be a Hero" spent three weeks at # 1 on the UK Singles Chart in March 1974. It was followed by an equally catchy story song, which reached the # 3 called "The Night Chicago Died". Another release, "The Black-Eyed Boys", took Paper Lace to # 11 in late 1974.

Pilot was a group, formed during 1973 in Edinburgh, Scotland by the former Bay City Rollers members, David Paton and Billy Lyall. Joined by Stuart Tosh and Ian Bairnson, the band recorded several demos during 1973 and 1974. They eventually signed to a worldwide recording deal with EMI Records.

The 1974 single "Magic" from their first album, produced by Alan Parsons and written by Paton, was a #11 in the UK and #5 in the  U.S. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in August 1975.  

The song "January" gave them their greatest success in the UK, securing the # 1 spot in the UK Singles Chart in January 1975. 

However, the group failed to make the Top 30 again. 
Pilot: Magic

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Gone, but not forgotten

Marc Bolan - T Rex

Freddie Mercury - Queen
Brian Connolly - Sweet
Mick Tucker - Sweet
Mick Ronson
Les Gray - Mud
Dave Mount - Mud
Gary Sheppard - Glitter Band

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Ringo Starr: Back Off Boogaloo (a-side), Slik: Forever and Ever (a-side)

The definition of jumping on the bandwagon is to “join a growing movement in support of someone or something often in an opportunist way, when that movement is seen to have become successful”.

So to kick off this post we have forever ‘ex-Beatle’ Ringo Starr who jumped on the glam bandwagon quite early with Back off Boogaloo.

Released in 1972 this was the second solo single by Ringo Starr. It got to # 2 in the UK and #9 in the US. 

Starr explained – “the song was inspired when he and fellow musician and close friend Marc Bolan had dinner one night, and Bolan used the word boogaloo multiple times in his sentences".

Midge Ure is better known for his success with Ultravox and the Band Aid single, but before all that he was singer and guitarist with glam hopping group Slik.

Slik were a Scottish pop group formed in the mid 1970s, remembered for their UK # 1 hit 'Forever and Ever' released in 1975. 

The band began with a glam rock image but soon changed their style to soft rock/bubblegum. In 1974 the band linked up with the pop songwriters Bill Martin and Phil Coulter, who were also writing for the Bay City Rollers at the time.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

David Essex: Stardust (a-side), Slade: Far Far Away (a-side)

Glam @ the Movies
You would think that glam rock was made for the movies, and to a certain extent it was. 

Movies were a big theme and influence in the whole glam rock sound and look. But in the great scheme of things it didn’t come out very well on the TV or on the big screen.

For a genre that was as bold and brash, bright and glittering as glam rock, most movies connected with it were grim and depressing or just plain crap.

How about this; crooner David Essex dying of a drug OD at the end of ‘Stardust’, and Slade in ‘Flame’ instead of a ‘Help’ style glam romp we got a gritty, cynical drama about the rise and fall of a Northern rock band. 

‘Never too Young to Rock’ was meant to be upbeat and colourful, but ended up being as lukewarm and greasy as the food served in the cafĂ© shown in the film, even the real actors were bad.

Other films that have attempted to capture some essence of glam include:

Velvet Goldmine
Phantom of the Paradise
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Born To Boogie
Remember Me This Way
Side by Side
Hedwig and the Angry Inch

‘Stardust’ is the theme song from the movie of the same name and is a great 70’s pop song, with a fantastic Chris Spedding guitar solo, up there with the best of the decade.

The tagline to the movie was - “Show me a boy who never wanted to become a rock star and I’ll show you a liar”

Martin Gore of Depeche Mode who covered the song said:

“Firstly it was just a song from my youth. I was never a massive David Essex fan, but I liked a few of his tracks and stardust was one of them, and probably my favourite one. It’s a good emotional song and I think it does sum up, somehow the loneliness of being a rock star at times".

“Ah look what they’ve done to the rock n roll clown.
Ah rock n roll clown, look he’s down on the ground.
Well he used to high fly but he crashed out the sky.
In a stardust fling, hey rock n roll king is down”.

‘Far Far Away’ is a # 2 single from 1974, and is from the movie ‘Slade in Flame’.

From the ‘Songfacts’ website:

“Frontman Noddy Holder penned the song after a long period of touring when he was thinking of home. He told Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie on their BBC Radio 2 show that he was looking out of a hotel window overlooking the Mississippi with Slade's manager Chas Chandler when he uttered, ‘I see the yellow lights go down the Mississippi’ and Chandler said, ‘write that song, now!’ So he went next door and after half an hour he came back with the track”.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Glam's Greatest Lyrics part 2

“I ain't no square with my corkscrew hair”

Into the New Year and part two of glams greatest lyrics and more from Marc Bolan.

“Automatic shoes, automatic shoes
Give me 3D-vision and the California Blues
And me I funk but I don't care
I ain't no square with my corkscrew hair”.
Telegram Sam 1973

And probably one of his best, although not when he sings it as a duet with Cilla Black.

“I could have loved you girl
Like a planet
I could have chained your heart
To a star
But it really doesn't matter at all
No it really doesn't matter at all
Life's a gas. I hope it's gonna last.

I could have built a house
On the ocean
I could placed your love
In the sky
But it really doesn't matter at all
No it really doesn't matter at all
Life's a gas. I hope it's gonna last.

I could have turned you
into a priestess
I could have burned
Your fate in the sand.
But it really doesn't matter at all
No it really doesn't matter at all
Life's a gas. I hope it's gonna last”.
Life’s A Gas  1971

Noddy Holder penned this ode to homesickness in 1974.

“I've seen the morning in the mountains of Alaska
I've seen the sunset in the East and in the West
I've sang the glory that was Rome And passed the 'Hound Dog' singer's home
It still seems for the best

“I've seen the Paris lights from high upon Montmartre
And felt the silence hanging low in No Man's Land
And though those Spanish nights were fine it wasn't only from the wine
It still seems all in hand”.

“I've seen the yellow lights go down the Mississippi
The Grand Bahama Island stories carry on
And though those aligator smiles stay in your memory for a while
There still seems more to come”.
Slade – Far Far Away 1974 

More from Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn

 “Well you got the hands of a man and the face of a little boy blue
And when you stand you're so grand there's a case just for looking at you”.
48 Crash- Suzi Quatro 1973

“I saw you sitting in the soda store
 where all the cast-off Stardust falls.
Where they write their names on the floor
and hang their photographs on the walls”.

“Oh but to me you’ve still got sweet sixteen
written on your old blue jeans.
I’m getting rid of Abigail Blast
I’ll call you Rocket, forget the past”.
Mud-Rocket  1974

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year

Ringing in the changes. 

“Time may change me
But I can't trace time
I said that time may change me
But I can't trace time”
David Bowie Changes 1971