Skip to content
Advertisements

Retro Crimbo 2016/ Playlist: Listen, my stocking rockers and plum-pudding popsters!

December 13, 2016

musical_bauble_yellowmusical_bauble_bluemusical_bauble_redmusical_bauble_green

.

In the words of Moby Grape… listen, my friends! Yes, it’s the (hopefully) monthly playlist presented by George’s Journal just for you good people.

There may be one or two classics to be found here dotted in among different tunes you’re unfamiliar with or never heard before – or, of course, you may’ve heard them all before. All the same, why not sit back, sip a glass of mulled wine, munch on a mince pie and listen away; for in the words of Noddy Holder, ittttttt’s… well, I’m sure you know what comes next…

.

CLICK on the track titles to hear them

.

Enrico Caruso ~ Cantique de Noël (1916)¹

The Barron Knights ~ Merry Gentle Pops (Parts 1 and 2) (1965)

Simon & Garfunkel ~ 7 O’Clock News/ Silent Night (1966)

Original Broadway Cast of Promises, Promises ~ Christmas Day (1968)

Nancy Sinatra ~ It’s Such A Lonely Time Of Year (1968)

Isabelle Aubret ~ Savez Vous Ce Qu’il Faut au Sapin de Noël? (1969)²

Bert Jansch ~ In The Bleak Midwinter (1974)

Dick Shawn and George S Irving ~ The Snow Miser/ Heat Miser Song (1974)³

Electric Jungle ~ Funky Funky Christmas (1974)

Greg Lake ~ I Believe In Father Christmas (1975)4

Basil Brush ~ Christmas Wishes (1977)

Piotr Tchaikovsky ~ Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy (1977)5

Jerry Goldsmith ~ The Gremlin Rag (from Gremlins) (1984)

Elaine Paige ~ Father Christmas Eyes (1986)

Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem ~ Jingle Bell Rock (1987)6

Dina Carroll ~ The Perfect Year (1993)

Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt ~ What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? (2011)

.

¹ A version of the truly awesome carol O Holy Night from the 20th Century Italian opera superstar, recorded – yes – exactly a century ago

² An exquisite French-language take on John Barry and Hal David’s Do You Know How Christmas Trees Are Grown? from the soundtrack of festive-themed Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

³ From, of course, the Rankin-Bass Claymation Christmas favourite, The Year Without A Santa Claus (1974)

4 Prog rocker Greg Lake’s critique of the increasing commercialisation of Christmas, which reached #2 in the UK festive chart in its year (memorably, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody was the runaway #1); its video gives us something of an anti-war message too, featuring as it does footage from the then very recently concluded Vietnam War. Lake passed on December 7, aged 69. RIP, Greg.

5 From the American Ballet Theatre’s sumptuous and sublime version of The Nutcracker featuring the legendary Mikhail Baryshnikov in the title role, originally broadcast on December 16 1977

6 As featured in the 1987 TV special A Muppet Family Christmas – it actually marked a rare crossover, involving characters from The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock and even Muppet Babies.

.

george's_journal_motif

Advertisements

Playlist: Listen, my friends ~ November/ December 2016

November 5, 2016

G5309-11a, hoofdtelefoons type LBB 3012, 1970, 811.234G5309-11a, hoofdtelefoons type LBB 3012, 1970, 811.234G5309-11a, hoofdtelefoons type LBB 3012, 1970, 811.234G5309-11a, hoofdtelefoons type LBB 3012, 1970, 811.234

.

In the words of Moby Grape… listen, my friends! Yes, it’s the (hopefully) monthly playlist presented by George’s Journal just for you good people.

There may be one or two classics to be found here dotted in among different tunes you’re unfamiliar with or have never heard before – or, of course, you may’ve heard them all before. All the same, why not sit back, listen away and enjoy…

.

CLICK on the song titles to hear them

.

Anita Harris ~ Dream A Little Dream Of Me (1968)

Lalo Schifrin ~ Shifting Gears (1968)¹

Tom Jones, Engelbert Humperdinck and Billy Preston ~ Games People Play (1970)

George Benson ~ California Dreamin’ (1972)

801 ~ Tomorrow Never Knows (1976)

Suzi Quatro ~ If You Can’t Give Me Love (1978)

Van Morrison ~ Bright Side Of The Road (1979)

Mike Oldfield ~ Blue Peter (1979)²

Liza Minnelli ~ Copacabana (1979)³

Joe Fagin ~ That’s Livin’ Alright (Theme from Auf, Wiedersehen Pet) (1984)

David Foster ~ Love Theme from St. Elmo’s Fire (1985)

Lisa Stansfield ~ In All The Right Places (1993)4

Tears For Fears ~ Break It Down Again (1993)

.

¹ Now this is what you call driving music… for any enthusiast of cinematic vehicular chases and any fan of Steve McQueen, this should be instantly recognisable as from the score of the one, the only Bullitt (1968)

² The Hornpipe Blue Peter (or the ‘Sailor’s Hornpipe’) was, of course, adopted in the 1950s as the theme for the BBC’s legendary children’s magazine show Blue Peter (1958-present); this is instrumentalist supreme Mike Oldfield’s take on the classic tune

³ As featured on a Liza Minnelli-guest starring episode of The Muppet Show that first aired on November 30 1979

4 From the soundtrack of the bonk-for-a-million-dollars blockbuster movie Indecent Proposal (1993)

.

george's_journal_motif

Playlist: Listen, my friends ~ October 2016

October 7, 2016

G5309-11a, hoofdtelefoons type LBB 3012, 1970, 811.234G5309-11a, hoofdtelefoons type LBB 3012, 1970, 811.234G5309-11a, hoofdtelefoons type LBB 3012, 1970, 811.234G5309-11a, hoofdtelefoons type LBB 3012, 1970, 811.234

.

In the words of Moby Grape… listen, my friends! Yes, it’s the (hopefully) monthly playlist presented by George’s Journal just for you good people.

There may be one or two classics to be found here dotted in among different tunes you’re unfamiliar with or have never heard before – or, of course, you may’ve heard them all before. All the same, why not sit back, listen away and enjoy…

.

CLICK on the song titles to hear them

.

Tsai Chin ~ The Ding Dong Song (1959)¹

Herbie Hancock ~ Cantaloupe Island (1964)

David McWilliams Days Of Pearly Spencer (1967)

P. P. Arnold ~ God Only Knows (1968)

Leonard Bernstein conducts the New York Philharmonic Orchestra ~
Overture from The Marriage Of Figaro (1968)

The Carpenters ~ Superstar (Live) (1971)

Ross McManus ~ Secret Lemonade Drinker (1973)²

Caetano Veloso ~ For No One (1975)

Kate Bush ~ The Saxophone Song (1978)

Modern English ~ I Melt With You (1982)

Kenny Loggins ~ Playing With The Boys (1986)³

Madonna ~ Into The Groove (Remix) (1987)

John Williams ~ Toy Planes, Home and Hearth from Empire Of The Sun (1987)

.

¹ Something of a novelty hit (topping the charts in Asia), this jolly tune was written by the musical theatre legend-to-be Lionel Bart and recorded by Tsai Chin (or Irene Chow), whom would later star in two Bond films You Only Live Twice (1967) and Casino Royale (2006); her brother is Michael Chow, whom also starred in Twice and is the man behind the Mr Chow restaurants

² Despite the fact actor Julian Chagrin (whose most impressive big screen credit is appearing as one of the tennis mimes at the end of 1967’s Blow Up) appears to sing the theme to this much loved UK TV ad, he actually mimed it, as it was really sung and performed by its writer McManus, whose son – believe it or not – is one Elvis Costello, whom sang the backing vocals

³ Kenny Loggins’ Danger Zone may be the more recalled tune of his from the soundtrack of US-Air-Force-recruitment-video-as-box-office-blockbuster-movie Top Gun (1986) – not least for being Archer’s favourite song – but this one (which plays over the film’s notorious beach volleyball scene) boasts a video that has to be seen to be believed – not only does it have an unexpected ‘girl power’ theme, but also showcases Loggins’ mullet-and-trimmed-beard combo to great effect and his uncanny ability to acquire an electric guitar out of thin air (see at 1.27 – you wont be disappointed); Top Gun celebrated its 30th anniversary this summer.

.

george's_journal_motif

Playlist: Listen, my friends! ~ September 2016

September 13, 2016

G5309-11a, hoofdtelefoons type LBB 3012, 1970, 811.234G5309-11a, hoofdtelefoons type LBB 3012, 1970, 811.234G5309-11a, hoofdtelefoons type LBB 3012, 1970, 811.234G5309-11a, hoofdtelefoons type LBB 3012, 1970, 811.234

.

In the words of Moby Grape… listen, my friends! Yes, it’s the (hopefully) monthly playlist presented by George’s Journal just for you good people.

There may be one or two classics to be found here dotted in among different tunes you’re unfamiliar with or have never heard before – or, of course, you may’ve heard them all before. All the same, why not sit back, listen away and enjoy…

.

CLICK on the song titles to hear them

.

James Ray ~ Got My Mind Set On You (1962)¹

Caterina Caselli ~ Tutto Nero (1966)

The Scaffold ~ Thank You Very Much (1967)

Head Machine ~ The Girl Who Loved, The Girl Who Loved (1970)

Yvonne Elliman ~ Can’t Find My Way Home (1972)

Highly Likely ~ Whatever Happened To You (Theme from Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads?) (1973)

Ike and Tina Turner ~ Whole Lotta Love (1975)

Bernard Hermann ~ Main Title from Taxi Driver (1976)²

Diana Ross ~ Love Hangover (1976)

The Jam ~ And Your Bird Can Sing (1980)

Blancmange ~ Living On The Ceiling (1982)

’Til Tuesday ~ Voices Carry (1985)

Paddy Kingsland ~ Theme from Around The World In 80 Days (1988)

.

¹ The original version of this oh-so familiar tune (which can be heard on UK television at present in an HSBC ad) – oh-so familiar? Yes, it was memorably covered by George Harrison in 1987, of course

² Martin Scorsese’s classic, scorching, Robert De Niro-starring, urban decay thriller Taxi Driver celebrates its 40th anniversary this year; the score was the last the great movie maestro Hermann wrote – its recording concluded just a day before he died on Christmas Eve 1975

.

george's_journal_motif

50 years of Revolver: the album on which The Beatles emptied the chamber

August 28, 2016

revolver_animated_banner

.

Eagle-eyed followers of this blog (come on, I know there’s one or two of you out there; erm, aren’t there?) may have noticed that each of this year’s monthly playlists have featured a rare cover of a song from The Beatles’ Revolver album. Why? Because this year – this month, in fact – marks its 50th anniversary. Worth commemorating, indeed; for it’s not just The Fabs’ best album, but (in this blogger’s humble opinion, at least) the best album ever recorded.

Yes, I did just write that. For me, more than any other (even say, The Beach BoysPet Sounds), Revolver is a perfect storm of an album. A select few albums may contain a flawless collection of tracks, sure, but no other surely features the variety of styles; dynamism, audacity and creativity; innovation and (studio) experimentation and all-round quality and entertainment that Revolver does. Think its terrific, but hampered by the ‘nonsense song’ Yellow Submarine? Think again; for that tune features the first ever example of sampling. Not sure it can truly be that good when Sgt. Pepper and Abbey Road have always been talked about more? Listen to them and you discover, brilliant though they are, there’s more filler on both of them.

If the band’s previous album – its superb sixth, Rubber Soul – saw them experiment and start to mix things up, then this trend continues and is only deepened on Revolver. Less burdened – and maybe creatively freed up – by their recent decision to give up on touring and performing live, its recording marked the point when they (and ace producer George Martin) began to seriously explore all that the modern music studio technology could offer; merging the beat rock and pop balladry of their early years with drug references, the influence of LSD-use, Indian mysticism/ music and out-and-out psychedelia (in the shape of head-swirling closer Tomorrow Never Knows). I once read somewhere that Revolver is where The Beatles started to ‘turn up at the corners’; that’s an excellent way of putting it, I think.

Anyway, as a celebratory blog post, don’t worry, this one’s not going to delve into each of the album’s 14 tracks in detail (that’s been done before and surely better than I ever could); no, instead it’s going to share rarely seen shots from the album’s recording and some lesser-known facts about its making and legacy. So, please do scroll down and enjoy what follows – and then, should you not be familiar with it, download Revolver itself and give it a listen. Trust me, you’ll feel like you’ve shot and scored…

 

.

 revolver_john_lennon revolver_paul_mccartney_in_his_specs

revolver_george_harrison revolver_ringo_starr

.

.

Fab fact

Revolver’s album cover was created by artist and old friend of the band Klaus Voorman, whom drew each of the Beatles from memory and, despite his efforts winning a Grammy, was paid just £40.

.

.

revolver_all_four_beatles_in_the_studio

.

.

Fab fact

Backing vocals – all uncredited – were provided by Brit rock movers and shakers of the era, such as Rolling Stone Brian Jones, Marianne Faithfull, George Harrison’s model wife Pattie Boyd and Donovan (whom also contributed to the lyrics of Yellow Submarine).

.

.

revolver_paul_mccartney_and_ringo_starr_with_acoustic_guitars revolver_john_lennon_with_his_acoustic_guitar

.

.

Fab fact

Amazingly, The Fabs weren’t under contract to regular publisher EMI at the time they recorded the album, which sort of means the latter received it for nothing; moreover, the band initially wanted to record it in the United States (possibly Memphis) and not at EMI’s iconic Abbey Road Studios.

.

.

revolver_john_lennon_and_his_teacup

.

.

Fab fact

Revolver could have been – but wasn’t – called ‘Abracadabra’, ‘Beatles On Safari’, ‘Pendulums’, ‘Magic Circle’, ‘Four Sides Of The Circle’, ‘Four Sides Of The Eternal Triangle’ and ‘Fat Man And Bobby’ (the latter influenced by the US atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in WWII, perhaps?).

.

.

revolver_george_harrison_with_his_guitar

.

.

Fab fact

The album took a humongous 77 days to record (April 6-June 21 1966), but made it into the record shops just six weeks after it was completed; going on sale on August 5.

.

.

revolver_the_beatles_on_a_train

.

.

Fab fact

Ray Davies, lead singer and creative leader of Fabs contemporaries The Kinks, was enlisted by the magazine Disc And Music Echo to review Revolver – he concluded that Yellow Submarine is ‘a load of rubbish, really’.

.

.

revolver_studio_ringo_starr_on_an_exercise_bike

.

.

Fab fact

For Tomorrow Never Knows, John Lennon’s trippy climax to the record, he fancied sounding like the Dalai Lama on a hilltop; this effect was ‘achieved’ by having his voiced recorded through a rotating Leslie speaker and using  automatic double-tracking – just one of the album’s many innovations.

.

.

revolver_mick_jagger_in_the_studio_with_john_lennon_and_pauk_mccartney revolver_paul_mccartney_and_george_martin

.

.

Fab fact

Like Tomorrow Never Knows, Taxman and I’m Only Sleeping include backwards recording techniques, while Eleanor Rigby is the first Beatles song to feature no guitars at all and its lyrics were contributed to by all four band members – although only Paul and Ringo performed on For No One (Ringo the drums obviously; Paul everything else, apart from the French horn solo).

.

.

revolver_john_lennon_wearing_stripey_trousers

.

.

Fab fact

It’s been postulated that at least 11 of the album’s 14 tracks are patently influenced by and/ or reference drug use – not least Doctor Robert, which is effectively about Manhattan celebrity doc Robert Freymann whom liked to offer patients B12 shots blended with speed.

.

.

revolver_john_lennon_and_george_harrison_sitting_on_his_piano

.

.

Fab fact

Those seagull-like sounds on Tomorrow Never Knows weren’t derived from examples of the supreme seaside scavenger at all – they’re actually a repeated electronic distortion of Paul McCartney laughing.

.

.

revolver_john_lennon_portrait revolver_paul_mccartney

revolver_george_harrison_oblong_sunglasses revolver_ringo_starr_looking_bored

.

.

Fab fact

Good old sunny Good Day Sunshine has been deployed to wake up astronauts and cosmonauts on numerous tours on the International Space Station; in fact, Macca himself performed it for this purpose live in 2005 – the album version’s piano solo was played by producer George Martin.

.

.

revolver_album_shoot revolver_album_shoot_2

.

.

Fab fact

John Lennon made his ‘bigger than Jesus’ comment around the time of the album’s recording (March 1966), which unsurprisingly was publicly denounced by The Vatican – yet, years later in 2010, the record was named ‘Best Pop Album’ by L’Osservatore Romano, its official newspaper. Go figure.

.

.

revolver_side_a revolver_side_b

.

george's_journal_motif

.

.

Playlist: Listen, my friends! ~ August 2016

August 21, 2016

G5309-11a, hoofdtelefoons type LBB 3012, 1970, 811.234G5309-11a, hoofdtelefoons type LBB 3012, 1970, 811.234G5309-11a, hoofdtelefoons type LBB 3012, 1970, 811.234G5309-11a, hoofdtelefoons type LBB 3012, 1970, 811.234

.

In the words of Moby Grape… listen, my friends! Yes, it’s the (hopefully) monthly playlist presented by George’s Journal just for you good people.

There may be one or two classics to be found here dotted in among different tunes you’re unfamiliar with or have never heard before – or, of course, you may’ve heard them all before. All the same, why not sit back, listen away and enjoy…

.

CLICK on the song titles to hear them

.

Love ~ Hummingbirds (1967)¹

Tammi Terrell ~ Sinner’s Devotion (1967)

Roy Redmond ~ Good Day Sunshine (1967)

Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger and The Trinity ~ Season Of The Witch (1968)

The Kinks ~ Waterloo Sunset (1973)²

Quincy Jones ~ Summer In The City (1973)

Matt Monro ~ And You Smiled (1973)³

Blue Swede ~ I Didn’t Sing (In The New York Subway) (1974)

Basil Brush and Petula Clark ~ I Remember It Well (1979)

Elton John ~ Imagine (1980)4

Patrick Gowers ~ Theme from The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes (1984)

Sarah Vaughan featuring the London Symphony Orchestra ~ Bali Ha’i (1986)

ABC ~ Viva Love (2016)5

.

¹ A bonus track to be found on re-releases of the band’s absolutely seminal, ‘anti-Summer of Love’ album Forever Changes, which is effectively an acoustic (early demo) version of that album’s tune, The Good Humor Man He Sees Everything Like This 

² A quite lovely and lilting performance on BBC TV (from January 1973) of the classic 1967 Kinks hit

³ Yes, this is the theme to 1970s TV detective-drama-series-and-a-half Van Der Valk (1972-77 and 91-92) – with added lyrics

4 The piano-key-thumpin’ one’s tremendous dedication to his friend, former Beatle John Lennon, at his free concert held in Central Park on September 13 1980, which was attended by an astonishing 400,000-plus adoring fans; Lennon, of course, at the time lived in the Dakota Building, just across the road from the park and would, tragically, be murdered in front of the building just eight weeks later

5 The lead-off track on The Lexicon of Love II, the just released, new album from Sheffield’s finest and suavest New Romantic band, a sequel to the original Lexicon of Love album – itself released all of 34 years ago

.

george's_journal_motif

Playlist: Listen, my friends! ~ July 2016

July 30, 2016

G5309-11a, hoofdtelefoons type LBB 3012, 1970, 811.234G5309-11a, hoofdtelefoons type LBB 3012, 1970, 811.234G5309-11a, hoofdtelefoons type LBB 3012, 1970, 811.234G5309-11a, hoofdtelefoons type LBB 3012, 1970, 811.234

.

In the words of Moby Grape… listen, my friends! Yes, it’s the (hopefully) monthly playlist presented by George’s Journal just for you good people.

There may be one or two classics to be found here dotted in among different tunes you’re unfamiliar with or have never heard before – or, of course, you may’ve heard them all before. All the same, why not sit back, listen away and enjoy…

.

CLICK on the song titles to hear them

.

Lonnie Donegan ~ World Cup Willie (1966)¹

Sarah Vaughan ~ 1-2-3 (1966)

Georgie Fame ~ Sunny (1966)

Sally Ann Howes ~ Lovely Lonely Man (1968)²

Asterix ~ If I Could Fly (1970)

Dusty Springfield ~ You’ve Got A Friend (1970)

Redbone ~ Come And Get Your Love (1974)

Cloud One ~ Atmosphere Strut (1976)

Lone Star ~ She Said She Said (1976)

Otis Clay ~ The Only Way Is Up (1980)³

Zack Laurence ~ Peak Performance (Theme from Treasure Hunt) (1982)

Spandau Ballet ~ Lifeline (1982)

Bryan Adams ~ Everything I Do (I Do It For You) (1991)4

.

 

¹ The official anthem performed by the early ’60s skiffle king for the 1966 football World Cup, won of course by Alf Ramsay’s England 50 years ago today

² From the soundtrack of that family musical movie masterpiece with the magical car, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

³ The original version, performed by blues and soul legend Otis Clay, that in summer 1988 became a five-week UK chart-topper for Yazz and the Plastic Population

4 The incredibly familiar video to the Groover from Vancouver’s humongously successful single from the soundtrack of medieval box-office blockbuster Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves (1991), released 25 years ago this summer; the tune topped the UK charts for a (still) record 16 consecutive weeks between July 7 and October 26 1991.

.

george's_journal_motif