1. BLONDIE "Rip Her To Shreds"
"Fish-eating grin? Is that really what you wanted to say?"
What does one expect from Blondie? Being musical magpies who appropriated the best bits of every genre they came across, from punk, new wave and reggae to pop, disco, 60's girl group sounds and the nascent hip hop movement, it's pretty difficult to pigeonhole them, which is a wonderful thing to be able to say about a band.
Personally I don't think you can beat "Hanging On The Telephone", but here's a curio from their early days, just after their first flush of success in Australia with the wrong song (don't ask; actually, no, do ask, it's a funny story). It's a cool little tune, but my God: the lyrics.
This song consists of a single, total character assassination - in fact, character decimation would be more appropriate a term, so completely is this person carpet-bombed for their every trait, with every possible imperfection highlighted, explored, ridiculed and amplified. I have long wondered who this was written about - A love rival? A member of a rival band? A portmanteau of types they weren't keen on? - but I think there's little to gain for anyone by that being revealed.
A look at a more rough-and-ready, genre-appropriate Blondie here then - and absolute proof that you do NOT fuck with Debbie Harry, as she will rip you to shreds.
2. BE-BOP DELUXE "Ships In The Night"
I can honestly say this left no impression on me whatsoever. I mean, I'm sat here listening to it now, and it's just not registering. It's like it refuses to enter my ears, or if it does some part of my brain is refusing to process the sounds into anything tangible.
I suppose it's a little bit like... No, I can't even do something that vague. I was about to say it was third rate sub-Bowie, but I think that's just because I may have heard a saxophone, which reminded me of "Black Tie, White Noise".
Ah, there's like an ascending bit now! Could be building to an exciting section... Oh. It's finished.
On the plus side, YouTube is now playing me "This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us" by Sparks. That's a biiiiig tick right there.
3. THE RUNAWAYS "Cherry Bomb"
Now here is something very special indeed. On face value and unheard you'd be forgiven for passing this one by. After all, plenty of bands sing of teenage kicks and disenfranchisement, and some of them are even girls, shock horror!
But it is the sheer glee with which this is communicated that sets this apart from other anthems of transgression; it's infectious, it's giddy, it makes you want to disrespect authority and cut loose. See, Zack De La Rocha? THAT'S how you do it; po-faced rebellion is no rebellion at all, give me the thrill of unbridled, three-chord anarchy any day.
Apparently I'm not the only one with a soft spot a mile wide for this piece, as it has featured in everything from SUDA51's masterpiece of kitsch "Lollipop Chainsaw" to Marvel Comics' "Guardians Of The Galaxy", so to be fair you've probably come across it and formed an opinion already. If you haven't, and you're looking for anything from simple punk thrills to an alternative feminist anthem, this is your good time, right here.
4. ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA "Rockaria!"
It was all going so well... Another one I pre-scouted via vintage TOTP on BBC4 (are you watching? You should be...), here are the ELO, previously known mainly to me through the Scarfo single "ELO", which actually has nothing to do with the ELO, other than being called "ELO".
Big glam points for these guys, as they used to include Roy Wood from Wizzard, though he was well departed by this stage. This was also released before their magnum opus "Mr Blue Sky", which was released the year after and was the only good thing about "Love And Monsters" - so essentially we witness ELO between the bits where they would have interested me.
It's not really up my street, but it does show the sheer width of the vision that the band dared to conceive of. There's nothing wrong with spreading your wings, and plenty right with reaching beyond conventional taste and style, so there's plenty for me to applaud here, even if I don't necessarily appreciate the product itself.
Phew, actually managed a proper post there! Will wonders never cease?
Join us next time for a band that aren't a band, brothers that aren't brothers and Ultravox! that isn't Ultravox. All this and nearly three more. Well, two. It's nearly three.