Thursday, July 28, 2016

Everybody Up! 15 - 1234!

5. RAMONES "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker"

GO!  Yes, it is they - the dysfunctional non-family of mushroom heads, bringing their usual mix of fire, venom and sunshine.  What are they singing about?  Who cares!  Why on earth would that matter?  This is the first Ramones song I ever heard, and despite not quite being as immediately iconic as "Blitzkrieg Bop" it will always have a special place in my heart for that simple quirk of temporal fate.

I return to this track on a semi-regular basis - the last time during an almighty hangover inflicted by my team's 2014 Christmas Party, when it gave me the power to go straight out drinking again after a single yoghurt - and it is a semi-spiritual ritual for me, like returning to the primordial soup, or (and this is slightly more me, I think you'll agree) watching a repeat of a Michael Schumacher win.

On a final note, the greatest compliment I can pay them is this: when I listen to the Ramones - and I don't do as often as I should - it does not seem necessary for any other music or bands to exist.  It is a privilege to finally get to say that to a (slightly) wider audience.

6. THE RAH BAND "The Crunch"

"The Crunch", now, is it?  I remember when it was all "The Bump" around here...

The RAH Band are actually just one man: Richard Anthony Hewson (geddit?), who played all the instruments on this song but was better known as an arranger, including on some Beatles songs such as "The Long And Winding Road", for which he's probably much better known. 

There's apparently no synths on this, which is quite impressive given the range of sounds we have here.  Let's see what else they/he did...  Holy shit, did he do "Clouds Across The Moon" too?  I loved that one when I was knee high to a grasshopper.

(Goes off to listen to that instead)


Wow, where to start here?  So there was a television programme called "Rock Follies" - then "Rock Follies of '77", though I can never remember when they changed the name, ha ha - which followed a rock band called The Little Ladies, one of whom was played by Rula Lenska from "Resurrection of the Daleks"!...  And probably some other stuff...

Anyway, the soundtracks were written and produced by Andy Mackay of Roxy Music, lending yet more credence to its inclusion here.  They were not released under the Little Ladies moniker - mainly because they weren't real, I guess.  But the real surprise here is that this a pretty engaging tune, which definitely merits your ears' attentions.

So for all the slightly bizarre backstory, this is well worth a listen.  Funnily enough, a song written by professional song writers for performance by extremely talented session musicians is a recipe for general goodness.  Who could have seen that one coming?

8. ULTRAVOX! "ROckWrok"

Yes, that exclamation mark is factually correct.  For what we have here, well pre-"Vienna", is the John Foxx fronted version of the band that Midge Ure, who once played guitar for Thin Lizzy in a twist that I find endlessly fascinating and confusing, would later take to the dizzying heights of number two, kept from the top spot by Joe Dolce's "Shaddap You Face".

On a side note, I hate the British public.

In fact this track is entirely Ure-free, and a lot more punk than the smoother electronic output they would become synonymous with thanks to the success of "Vienna".  There's also some naughty lyrics, which somehow didn't stop it getting played on Radio One - which nearly brings me back to Rage Against The Machine for the second week on the trot, so let's move on before someone waves a disapproving finger at me.

9. ACE FREHLEY "New York Groove"

Remember when I told you we'd be hearing from Hello again, sort of?  The prophecy has come to light, and all the planets are in alignment; that must be why The Spaceman has returned to rock 'n' roll all nite, and party ev-er-y day!!!...  Or, in this case, not.

From a period of Kisstory so luridly bloated that all four members released solo albums on the same day in 1978, this track was the only hit single to come out of it, and indeed Mr Frehley's album was marginally the most successful, so at least we're at the rich end of the affair. 

I haven't looked it up - I won't look it up, I don't feel the need to - but I confidently predict Peter Criss' would have been the least successful, as he was The Catman, and was therefore too busy shedding hair of the opposite colour to the garment I am wearing directly on to the garment I am wearing to record a quality album.

It's not the best in this selection - that's the Ramones, of course, as if I have to make that any clearer at this point - but it is a perfectly serviceable, well, groove, I guess.  Very strutty.  I'll take it.

Join us next time as we take a flick through (a) Magazine, Boney an M and...  Hm.  This particular conceit was ill-conceived.  Well...  Smell ya later, anyway.

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