Sunday, April 05, 2015

Everybody Up! 3 - Danny Dyer's World's Hardest Equations

1-8. T-REX "Jeepster"

Finally, we've hit the glam years!  Bolan and his daring ringlets ushered in the era with a number of bombastic, high-profile singles and intriguing long players, with the able support of producer Tony Visconti and a colourful cast of backing musicians, including spectacular ne'er-do-well Steve Pereguine-Took, whose name would not look of place on Kula Shaker's roster.

Released as a single without Bolan's knowledge by a record label he'd just left, "Jeepster" peaked at...  Hang on, we've got here a bit quickly haven't we?  Unless - let me just check - ah, that's it.  This isn't "Jeepster" - it's:

1-8. HOWLIN' WOLF "You'll Be Mine"

Which is basically exactly the same song.  Glad we cleared that up.

...Sorry, what's that?  What does it sound like?  Well, "Jeepster", obviously.  Duh.

1-9. JACQUES BREL "Amsterdam"

Now we go back to the box marked "Miscellaneous Bowie Influences" for a jaunty-sounding track (which is probably about either clattery, back-firing vans, death or an old man having sex with a young woman, as all things expressed in French invariably are) with a vaguely nautical lilt.

As with much Gallic artistry, Mr Brel has passed me by to date, so I was forced to look him up.  I definitely seem to be right on the death prediction, as mortality was often at the forefront of his subject matter; it also seems to have taken him most of a decade to die of incurable cancer, which I'm pretty sure will do that for you.

He was also responsible for "Seasons In The Sun", as covered by Nirvana and Black Box Recorder, and "Jacky", which Marc Almond did a cracking version of, and numerous tracks that Scott Walker seems to have taken a swing at, amongst many other things.  It's a shame that all of Bowie's influences couldn't have produced such an enviable body of work...

1-10. THE VELVET UNDERGROUND "I'm Waiting For The Man"

...And right on cue, here's ol' painty-can Lou Reed to ruin everything, with his cohorts in the cooler-than-thou act described liberally by this very writer as the most overrated band ever to stalk the Earth - yes, it's the oft-bought, oft-displayed, rarely-listened-to Velvet Underground, here to tell us chattering classes about the mean streets of the most artistic, left-wing and middle-class bits of New York.

As the more astute amongst you will have guessed from that rather 'handbags' first paragraph, I'm not especially fond of them, this song included.  But rather than a painful excoriation, I instead have two things to raise about the lyrical content:

1. Drug dealers are described, both here and in other media as "always late".  It makes me wonder how much more a punctual drug dealer could make.  They always have the best watches, too; what a waste.

2. Exactly how much heroin does $26 buy one?  More pertinently, with inflation and the relative weakening of street level drugs over the decades, has that deal got better or worse?

Did YOU purchase heroin on the streets of Harlem in the mid to late 1960's?  If so, Atomic Sourpuss would like to hear from YOU!  Contact us by post at Atomic Sourpuss, C/O An Airship, International Airspace.

1-11. DAVID BOWIE "London Bye Ta-Ta"

"Idea for a television series: London by Tata.  Barbara Windsor drinks in the sights of the capital, whilst travelling in a mid-range Tata Zest sedan.  May be picked up by Sky - possible double bill with Danny Dyer's World's Hardest Equations."

Yes, it's Bowie, pre-Bowie, as it were.  This is from the highly Anthony Newley-influenced period that predated...  Well, everything you and I think of as being David Bowie, essentially.  I spoke about this period and the accompanying album during A Godawful Small Affair (so for more of my thoughts on this period of Bowie's career, if for some unknown reason you find that an attractive proposition, see A Godawful Small Affair, entry 24 at, and I whilst I wasn't keen, I did think there was important historical perspective to be taken from it.

For if Bowie had got big doing this lighter, more knockabout - though often quite acidly belyric'd - material, we may never have had Ziggy, the Thin White Duke and Nathan Adler; we may never have had "Starman" on 'Top of the Pops'; and glam, whilst it would doubtlessly still have existed thanks to the efforts of Howlin' Wolf, would have been a very different beast.

Join us next time for the start of punk, an unfortunate misunderstanding, cavemen, all of Malcolm McLaren's idea(s) and some Back Street Luv - fnarr!

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