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Posted by: In: Other 29 Aug 2021 Comments: 0


574-Placebo-Nancy Boy.

1997-Number 4 single.

Best Bit-At 1.47. One of the songs co-writer’s Brian Molko has called the lyrics ‘Obscene,’ so we had better read on.

Placebo were formed in London, England, in 1994 by Brian Molko (vocals, and guitar,) and Stefan Olsdal (bass.) Years before, as students they had both attended the ‘American International School of Luxembourg, in Luxembourg, but had never mixed socially. The two met by chance at the ‘South Kensington tube station’, in London in 1994, and realised that musically they had a lot in common.The duo were soon joined by drummer Robert Schultzberg who was an acquaintance of Olsdal, he would remain until 1996, then Steve Hewitt took over drumming duties until leaving in 2007. The bands final drummer to date was Steve Forrest who remained until 2015, Molko and Olsdal remain active as a duo.When first forming they called themselves ‘Ashtray Heart,’ but later chose ‘Placebo,’ due to it’s Latin meaning,’I shall please.’ They have released seven studio Albums between 1996-2013, and achieved 15 UK top 40 singles to date.

‘Nancy Boy’ is credited as being co-written by all three band members at that time, and was taken from their self titled debut Album from 1996, it became their breakthrough hit. The lyrics refer to a man who is very feminine in appearance, putting on makeup, and perfume in his room. Molko was angered by Brett Anderson, the lead singer of ‘Suede,'(see also best songs 695 and 244) who claimed that he was bi-sexual, but had never experimented. Molko said,’I’m questioning people’s reasons for sleeping with someone of the same sex. In the same way that Heroin is very hip today, being bi-sexual seems to be very chic.’ Molko has also said about the song,’It’s an exploration into somebody’s misogyny, yet heartfelt. It’s angry, nasty, and completely politically incorrect.’

‘And it all breaks down, at the role reversal. Got the muse in my head, she’s universal.’

Posted by: In: Other 29 Aug 2021 Comments: 0


575-The Move-Blackberry Way.

1969-Number 1 single.

Best Bit-At 0.36. I do realise some will think it a bit sad, but I checked my sat-nav, and it appears that there are nine Blackberry Way’s in the UK.

The Move were formed intentionally from the best musicians in the Birmingham, United Kingdom, area in 1965. The reason they called themselves ‘The Move’ was because all the band members had moved from other groups. The original lineup comprised of Roy Wood (multi-instrumentalist,) Bev Bevan (drums,) Carl Wayne (1943-2004,) (vocals,) Trevor Burton (guitar,) and Ace Kefford (bass.) Kefford left the band in 1968, Wayne left in 1970, and Burton in 1969. Jeff Lynne (see also best songs 970 and 25) joined the band in 1969, until leaving to form the Electric Light Orchestra with Wood, and Bevan in 1972. There have been reformations from members in 2004-2014, and again in 2016 to the present day. The Move released four studio Albums between 1968-1971, and achieved 10 UK top 40 singles, but unlike many of their British contemporaries of that time, they failed to achieve any success in America, despite spending time there touring.

‘Blackberry Way’ was The Move’s most successful single, it was released in 1968, and went to Number 1 in February 1969, giving the band their only chart topper. The song was written by Roy Wood (see also best songs 821 and 239) who also sang the lead vocals. The producer was Jimmy Miller (1942-1994,) who had, and would go on to produce for many of the worlds top artists, his credits include producing five of The Rolling Stones Album’s in the 1960’s, and 1970’s.

‘Blackberry Way’ is a sad song about a failed love affair. The narrators memories of a failed romance come flooding back as he walks around Blackberry Way. The song has been cited as an answer song to the Beatles ‘Penny Lane. Roy Wood admitted the influence,’We were all very influenced by what the Beatles were doing, because they were the best songwriters around.’

‘So now I’m standing on the corner, lost in the things that I say, what am I supposed to do now?’

Posted by: In: Other 27 Aug 2021 Comments: 0


576-Sex Pistols-God Save the Queen.

1977-Number 2 single.

Best Bit-At 2.30. When is a Number 1 single, not a Number 1 single?’God Save the Queen’peaked at Number 2 on the official UK top 40 singles chart on the week of Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee, being kept off the top spot by Rod Stewart’s double ‘A’ sided ‘The First Cut is the Deepest’/ ‘I Don’t Want to Talk About It’, but it is a widely held belief that those in charge rigged the chart that week in order to not cause further embarrassment to the Silver Jubilee celebrations.

The Sex Pistols were formed in London, England, in 1975, they were active until 1978, but did reform in 1996, and again in 2002-2003, and finally again in 2007-2008 (see also best songs 92 and 27.) The four original band members, Johnny Rotten (vocals) (see also best songs 967 and 323) Steve Jones (guitarist) Paul Cook (drums) and Glen Matlock (bass,) all share writing credits on this song, although the lyrics are mainly Johnny Rotten, and the music is mainly Glen Matlock. By the time the single, and it’s parent Album ‘Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols’ was released, Matlock had already left the band, having been replaced by Sid Vicious (1957-1979.)

It wasn’t just the songs lyrics which were deemed disrespectful, and worthy of a radio ban, with the BBC, and almost every single independent radio station refusing to play the song. The records sleeve which had been designed by Jamie Reid, who knew Malcolm McLaren (see also best songs 751) from their time at Croyden College of Art. depicted the Queen with the word ‘God Save the Queen,’ and ‘Sex Pistols,’ written across her face, in the form of how a ransom note is often written. Johnny Rotten has said that the songs real meaning is not a personal attack on the Queen, but an attack on the treatment of working class people in England in the 1970’s, by the UK Government.

When the Sex Pistols originally recorded this song they were signed to ‘A&M’ records. The record label dropped the band just as the song was released, pulling all the singles. The ones which slipped through have become very valuable collectors items. In 2010 ‘Record Collector’ magazine compiled it’s list, with a valuation of a copy of the song released on ‘A&M’ being worth at least £10,000.

‘God save the Queen, we mean it man, we love our Queen, God saves.’

Posted by: In: Other 27 Aug 2021 Comments: 0


577-Hawkwind-Silver Machine.

1972-Number 3 single.

Best Bit-At 0.22. The last song Lemmy wrote before being fired from Hawkwind, was a song called ‘Motorhead,’ and the rest is history.

Hawkwind were formed in Ladbroke Grove, London, England, in 1969 by Dave Brock, Mike Slattery, John Harrison, Terry Ollis, Nik Turner, and Michael ‘Dik Mik’ Davies. In total to date there have been 46 different band members come and go, with the only constant being Dave Brock. Some of the famous names who have played with the band over the years include Ian ‘Lemmy Kilmister (1945-2015) Simon House, and Ginger Baker (1939-2019.) Hawkwind have released 30 studio Albums to date between 1970-2020, they have also released 11 live Albums, and 22 singles.Their style of music is hard, progressive, psychedelic Rock, and they are also noted for being one of the leaders in ‘Space Rock.’ This is a genre of music that is characterised by lengthy song structures, that may feature distorted and reverberation laden guitars, lyrical themes often deal with science fiction.

‘Silver Machine’ was written by Dave Brock and Robert Calvert, (1945-1988) who joined Hawkwind in 1971, he was also the bands lead vocalist at that time, Brock also produced the track using the alias ‘Dr Technical.’ Calvert had sung the lead vocals on the original live recording of the song, but the majority verdict was that his voice sounded too week, so after others auditioned, it was the vocals of Lemmy (see also best songs 16) that were eventually used instead. Calvert suffered from Bi-polar disorder, and had been sectioned, so he didn’t know of the re-recording of the vocals at that time.

The song was inspired by the French writer Alfred Jarry’s (1873-1907) essay ‘How To Construct a Time Machine.’ The lyrics are a send up, whereas Jarry wrote about constructing a ‘Cosmic space travel machine,’ Brock and Calvert made it about a new silver racing bike.

‘It flies out of a dream, it’s antiseptically clean, you’re gonna know where I’ve been.’

Posted by: In: Other 27 Aug 2021 Comments: 0


578-Public Enemy-Fight the Power.

1989-Number 29 single.

Best Bit-At 0.23. If your a Rapper born after 1995, then take a good listen to this, then have a good look at yourself in the mirror.

Public Enemy were formed in 1986 in Long Island, New York, United States by Carlton Ridenhour (Chuck D) and William Drayton (Flavor Flav,) The group was soon completed by Richard Griff (Professor Griff,) and Norman Rogers (Terminator X,) Other band members have come and gone, with Chuck D, and Flavor Flav being the only two constants. They have released 15 studio Albums between 1987-2020, and have had 10 top 40 singles in the UK (see also best songs 37.)

‘Fight the Power’ appears on Public Enemy’s third studio Album ‘Fear of a Black Planet’ from 1990, having first appeared on the soundtrack Album for the 1989 film ‘Do the Right Thing.’ The films writer, and producer Spike Lee wanted a hard hitting song, Lee has said,’ I wanted it to be defiant, I wanted it to be angry, I wanted it to be rhythmic. I thought right away about Public Enemy.’ As with many Public Enemy songs from around that period,numerous samples, and loops were used, this was because artists didn’t have to get permission to clear samples until the landmark case of 1991 (see also best songs 37.) The samples, loops and production were done by Public Enemy’s longtime collaborators ‘The Bomb Squad,’ who are made up of the brothers Hank, and Keith Shocklee, Chuck D, Eric ‘Vietnam’ Sadler, Gary G-Wix, and former member Bill Stephney.

Of his inspiration for the song Chuck D has said,’I wanted to have sorta like the same theme as the original ‘Fight the Power’ by The Isley Brothers, and fill it in with some kind of modernist views of what our surroundings were at that particular time.’ Brian Hardgrove who has played bass for Public Enemy said of the songs message,’Law enforcement is necessary. As a species we haven’t evolved past needing that.’Fight the Power’ is not about fighting authority, it’s not that at all. It’s about fighting abuse of power.’

‘1989 the number, another summer, sound of the funky drummer. Music hitting your heart,’cause I know you got soul.’

Posted by: In: Other 24 Aug 2021 Comments: 0


579-Camelphat and Elderbrook-Cola.

2017-Number 18 single.

Best Bit-At 3.24. The ‘Cola’ companies must have spent millions on purchasing ‘Pop’ songs to use in their advertisements down the years, but they haven’t used the best one yet.

‘Camelphat’ is the stage name of the British ‘Dance Music’ producers Dave Whelan, and Mike Di Scala who formed in Liverpool, England in 2004. Prior to joining forces Mike Di Scala had tasted chart success with ‘Resonance Q,’ with the Number 29 single ‘Someday,’ in 2003, and also as a member of ‘Ultrabeat,’ who had five top 40 singles, including the 2003 Number 2 song ‘Pretty Green Eyes.’

As a duo Whelan and Di Scala released music, and remixed for others using several different stage names, including ‘Pawn Shop,’ and ‘Wheels Disco,’ until settling upon ‘Camelphat’ in 2010, although they still recorded under different aliases until 2017.To date they have achieved three top 40 singles, and their debut Album ‘Dark Matter,’ which came out in 2020, includes all three chart singles.

‘Cola’ features the vocals of Alexander Kotz, who originates from London, England, and goes by the stage name of ‘Elderbrook’. As well as being a singer, he is also a songwriter, and music producer.It was Elderbrook who provided the official remix for Clan Bandit’s ‘Rockabye,’ which was the Christmas Number 1 single of 2016.

‘Cola’ was co-written by Camelphat, and Elderbrook, who provided the lyrics. There has always been controversy surrounding the songs actual meaning, with some interpreting the song as being about a female who has had her drink spiked, but Elderbrook has said it is about a girl who has too many drinks before going out for the night, and then being refused entry into a club.

‘It’s getting late now, hey now, enough of the arguments. She sips a Coca Cola, she can’t tell the difference yet.’

Posted by: In: Other 24 Aug 2021 Comments: 0


580-Happy Mondays-Step On.

1990-Number 5 single.

Best Bit-At 0.01.Don’t panic this is not fruit abuse. The term ‘Twistin’ my melon man,’ actually means being confused by something to the point that it’s really annoying.

The Happy Mondays were formed in Salford, England, United Kingdom, in 1980 by the brothers Shaun Ryder (vocals,) Paul Ryder (bass,) Mark Day (guitar,) Paul Davis (keyboard,) and Gary Whelan (drums.) They were soon joined by Mark ‘Bez’ Berry (percussion, and dancer,) and in 1990 by Rowetta Idah (vocalist.) The Happy Mondays played an important part in the development of the Manchester music scene, which became known as ‘Madchester,’ by incorporating Rock music, with Psychedelica, Funk, and House Music, helping to pave the way to ‘Dance Music. They were also an influence on bands such as The Stone Roses, and Oasis.The Happy Monday were active until 1993, but have reformed on three other occasions. They have released five studio Albums between 1987-2007, and achieved six UK top 40 singles.

‘Step On’ was taken from the bands third studio Album ‘Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches’, from 1990. The song is actually a cover version of the 1971 John Kongos hit ‘He’s Gonna Step on You Again,’ co-written by Kongos, and Christos Demetriou, and peaking at Number 4 in the UK. Before the Happy Mondays released their version, two other remakes of the song had been a hit in 1987 in Australia. The Australian Rock band ‘The Party Boys’ took there version to Number 1, while the Australian Pop group ‘The Chantoozies’ took their remake to Number 36.

The original version of the song by John Kongos was written as a protest song against the white man’s appropriation of native territory in Africa.

In 1990 Paul McCartney told the ‘New Musical Express,’ I saw the Happy Mondays on TV, and they reminded me of the Beatles in their ‘Strawberry Fields’ phase.’

‘You’re twistin’ my melon man, you know you talk so hip man. You’re twistin’ my melon man, call the cops.’

Posted by: In: Other 22 Aug 2021 Comments: 0


581-Shalamar-Take That to the Bank.

1978-Number 20 single.

Best Bit-At 3.06. For a brief period in the early 1980’s ‘SOLAR’ records were being talked up as being the new Tamla Motown,’ and Shalamar were the labels biggest band.

Shalamar was the brainchild of Don Cornelius (1936-2012,) and Dick Griffey (1938-2010.) Cornelius was the creator, and presenter of the American nationally syndicated music show ‘Soul Train,’ and Griffey was a music producer, concert promoter, and booking agent for the ‘Soul Train’ show.

The first hit credited to Shalamar was the 1977 song ‘Uptown Festival’ (UK Number 30,) which had been recorded by studio session musicians. Due to it’s success Cornelius, and Griffey decided to put together a band comprising Soul Train dancers Jody Watley, and Jeffrey Daniel, as well as singer Gary Mumford, who had performed on ‘Uptown Festival.’ Mumford soon quit the band and was replaced by Gerald Brown who sang lead vocals on this song, but left the band before it was officially released, and replaced by Howard Hewett who lip synced Brown’s vocals for the songs promotion.

The classic lineup of Watley, Daniel, and Hewett remained active until 1983, when both Watley and Daniel both left to pursue solo careers, leaving Hewett to continue the band with new members. As of 2021 the current lineup is Hewett, Daniel, and Carolyn Griffey, the daughter of Dick Griffey, and the singer Carrie Lewis.In total Shalamar have released 10 studio Albums between 1977-1990, and achieved 11 top 40 UK singles.

Jody Watley went on to have a very successful solo career, releasing nine studio Albums between 1987-2006, and reaching Number 2 on Billboard with her debut solo single ‘Looking for a New Love’ in 1987.Jeffrey Daniel went on to choreograph the video’s for ‘Bad,’ and ‘Smooth Criminal,’ with Michael Jackson. It was Daniel who first performed ‘The Backslide,’ which would later become known as the ‘Moonwalk,’ a full year before Michael Jackson first performed it.

‘Take That to the Bank’ was taken from Shalamar’s second studio Album ‘Disco Gardens’ from 1978, and was written by Kevin Spencer, and Leon Sylvers, who also produced the song. Sylvers had been a member of ‘The Sylvers’ who were nine family members who had three top 40 hits on Billboard including the 1976 Number 1 ‘Boogie Fever.’ Leon Sylvers was the main driving force behind the successful sound of ‘SOLAR’ records, working with acts such as ‘The Whispers,’ ‘Dynasty,’ and ‘Lakeside,’ incidentally ‘SOLAR’ stands for ‘Sound of Los Angeles records.”

‘Cause we build a strong love affair, on investments of equal share. Two hearts that beat as one, just look what love has done.’

Posted by: In: Other 22 Aug 2021 Comments: 0


582-Kenny Rogers and The First Edition-Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town.

1969-Number 2 single.

Best Bit-At 1.57. When playing the song live, the band would often perform it in a jovial manner, and the audience would clap, and sing along, which was seen by some as disrespectful to war veterans.

‘The First Edition’ were formed in 1967, in California, United States, by Kenny Rogers (1938-2020) (lead vocals, and bass guitar,) Mickey Jones (1941-2018) (drums,) Terry Williams (guitar,) Mike Settle (guitar, and vocals,) and Thelma Camacho (lead vocals.) They were active until 1976, but some original members, and others who joined later reformed in 2010, and again in 2014-2015.The initial lineup were mainly made up of former members of the ‘New Christy Minstrels,’ who wanted to broaden their musical horizons. They began as ‘The First Edition’ recording, and experimenting with ‘Rock,’ ‘R&B,’ ‘Folk,’ and ‘Psychedelic Pop,’ before taking the ‘Country Rock’ route. It was just before the release of this song that they changed their name to ‘Kenny Rogers and The New Edition, and the name would remain until Rogers left the group for a solo career in 1976. In total the band released 13 studio Albums between 1967-1974, and achieved seven top 40 singles on Billboard, while in the UK there only other chart single was ‘Something’s Burning which reached Number 8 in 1970.

‘Ruby Don’t Take Your Love to Town’ was written and originally recorded by the Country Music artist Mel Tillis (1932-2017,) and prior to this definitive version, was recorded by Waylon Jennings (1937-2002,) and Johnny Darrell (1940-1997,) who took the song to Number 9 on the Billboard Country chart in 1967. The songs lyrics tell the story of a paralysed war veteran, who fears that his woman is cheating on him. He begs her to stay at home with him, but his pleas fall on deaf ears. Tillis was inspired to write the song, having lived near a couple in Florida. In real life the man had been wounded in Germany in World War 2, and his wife was seeing another man. The man murdered his wife, and then committed suicide. Tillis changed the setting to the ‘Korean War, and makes no mention of murder, but does say that the man would kill her if he could move to get his gun.

‘You’ve painted up your lips, and rolled and curled your tinted hair.’

Posted by: In: Other 22 Aug 2021 Comments: 0


583-Limp Bizkit-Rollin.'(Air Raid Vehicle.)

2000-Number 1 single.

Best Bit-At 0.08. At a cost of approximately $3 million, the songs video was filmed around, and on the roof of the World Trade Centre. The day before the twin towers were destroyed the band received a letter from the World Trade Centre thanking them for featuring the towers in the video.

Limp Bizkit were formed in Jacksonville, Florida, United States, in 1994, and were active until 2006, but reformed in 2009. The original lineup consisted of Fred Durst (vocals,) John Otto (drums,) Sam Rivers (bass,) and Rob Waters (guitars.) Waters left in 1995, and was replaced by Wes Borland (guitars,) DJ Lethal (turntables) joined the band after leaving the ‘House of Pain’ (see also best songs 75) in 1996. To date they have released five studio Albums between 1997-2011, with their sixth release ‘Stampede of the Disco Elephants,’ having been promised since 2018. Amazingly they have never achieved a top 40 single on Billboard, with this song being their highest chart placing when reaching Number 65. In the UK they have reached the top 40 on seven occasions, with this song being their most successful.

It was lead singer Fred Durst who named the band Limp Bizkit, because he wanted a name that would repel listeners, he said,’The name is there to turn people’s heads away.A lot of people pick up the disc and go,’Limp Bizkit, they must suck.’ Those are the people that we don’t even want listening to our music.’

‘Rollin” (Air Raid Vehicle) is taken from the bands third studio Album ‘Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavoured Water’ from 2000. Also included on the Album is an alternative Hip-Hop version of the song called ‘Rollin’ (Urban Assault Vehicle,) which features DMX (1970-2021,) Method Man, and Redman. The song has been critically acclaimed by many publications, but not always so the songs lyrics. My advice is don’t look for any in-depth meaning, after all the American wrestler ‘The Undertaker’ used the song for his entrance in the ‘WWE.’

‘Throw your hands up, ladies and gentlemen. Chocolate Starfish, keep on rollin’ baby.’