IT’S ONLY ROCK ‘N’ ROLL……….
The plan was to write a heartfelt tribute to a guitar hero from the past who, while he hasn’t exactly fallen on hard times, has the air of a man who got left behind somewhat. Not exactly tragedy but a bit of a sad story nevertheless, full of what-ifs. The story will be done, just not this month because while I was sitting chewing the top of my pen (those first few lines, always the hardest) out of the corner of my eye I noticed a headline on the computer screen saying something about a new Rolling Stones album, their first in over a decade, no less. So I was idly scrolling through this news with low expectations as the Stones hadn’t done anything to merit me getting excited in a very long time. By the end of the report my interest had risen sharply.Read
Time for me to step out……
With these words Cliff Williams did the decent thing, pulled the plug. Cliff, of all people. The quiet man whose public profile seemed to consist only of appearing on album covers and publicity shots. Come to think of it I don’t remember ever reading a quote attributed to him never mind a full blown interview which makes his recent video statement all the more remarkable. Cliff Williams speaks!!…Read
BOOKS AND MORE BOOKS….
Hey there! This month’s missive from TCRfm Towers finds me in a bookish mood. Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography comes out in a couple of weeks and while I’m waiting around for that I’ve been pondering some of the music-related books I’ve read in recent years. It’s reassuring to know that musicians’ books tend to be considerably more readable than those of,say, footballers, for instance. I’ve read quite a few of those too in my time and more often than not they live up to Joey Barton’s memorable and withering assessment of Frank Lampard’s autobiography….Read
OF AUGUST AND ANNIVERSARIES……
With the 39th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death just around the corner (39 years!!!) I couldn’t let the opportunity pass without paying tribute. It remains one of those JFK moments, doesn’t it? Where were you when you heard? Quite why it should be so for me is a bit of a mystery because in August 1977 I was sixteen years old and not well disposed towards Elvis. After all he was the guy in the diamante encrusted jumpsuits playing to the well heeled blue rinse set in Las Vegas, of no relevance whatsoever to me or to most of my generation I’d suspect. The Clash were singing about “No Elvis, Beatles or Rolling Stones in 1977” and I took that as something of a manifesto, a mission statement…..Read
PARTY LIKE IT’S 1982!
Remember David Hepworth? Ah, I had a feeling you mightn’t so let me refresh your memory. Throughout the 1980s he had a diverse career, from being the editor of Smash Hits magazine in the era of Culture Club, Wham, et al to presenting The Old Grey Whistle Test on BBCtv. Talk about polar opposites. Then there’s several highbrow magazines which he launched, including Mojo and Empire, so all in all an impressive CV I’m sure you’ll agree. He’s written a couple of books too, the most recent of which is the trigger for this month’s blog – “1971 – Never a Dull Moment : Rock’s Golden Year”. I haven’t read it yet but the basic premise is that 1971 contained more influential albums than any year before or since and was probably the most creative in the history of music….Read
JOHN, PAUL, GEORGE, RINGO and, er, me…..
This month’s essay fills me with no small amount of trepidation because I’m going all mop-topped, groovy and writing about The Beatles. Why the nervousness you might ask? Surely scribbling a quick piece about the Fabs is one of the easiest things you could ever do, given the vast expanse of stuff we know about them? Well, yeah, and that’s the problem really. Their every move has been so well documented and often in the most forensic detail that anything I write is mere piffle by comparison.
Then again, maybe I’m over-analyzing this, let’s give it a shot anyway and see what happens….Read
“The Wonder of you!”
Each month when I sign off on another blog I’ll have a quick read through it, checking the spelling and suchlike before finally submitting it. And then? Well, then my thoughts turn to the next month and subject matter. That’s the tricky bit, thinking of an idea that engages me in some way. Once I have that though I’m away at a gallop.
Browsing the Web a few weeks ago a Stevie Wonder story caught my eye. The news is that he’s going to perform his “Songs in the Key of Life” album in full at the British Summertime Festival in London in July….Read
“I NEED ONE OF THESE IN MY LIFE!”
Was it a couple of months ago that I mentioned the drawbacks of album cover art work on a CD as good subject matter for a blog? Yes, yes I believe it was and on foot of something I read the other week it kind of ties in to this month’s offering. Rolling Stone magazine had the most interesting article written by David Browne entitled “In defence of the CD – Are we being too quick to toss out an old friend?”. In it Browne poses the question why have people fallen out of love with the compact disc and more pointedly why do they celebrate its seemingly imminent demise with such glee? Praise here for Rolling Stone – they produce consistently readable pieces about music, politics and current affairs. It’s one of the best mags around these days….Read
“NOT FADE AWAY”
For many years now (and doubtless for many to come) the early days of February usually find me contemplating the life and tragically early death of Buddy Holly. When the anniversary comes around I’m given to considering what might have been. He was aged 22 when he died, leaving behind a fine body of work, a testament to which is the fact that many of his songs have become standards, spawning multiple cover versions all still heard today along with Holly’s original recordings. The big unanswerable question is of course what might he have become?…Read
THIS IS OUR LAST DANCE…
First an apology. It’s been a month since David Bowie died and if you’re suffering from Bowie fatigue then trust me, it’s not my intention to add to your misery but I just feel the need to add my piece to the Everest of tributes. Many hundreds of thousands of words have been uttered in his honour across every conceivable forum, many by people who in some cases knew him or worked with him for forty years or more. My blog for February had already been written when the news broke but I decided to park that one and start again.
The alarm on my phone sounded at 7.15 on the morning of January 11th and I scrambled across the darkened room to silence it. When I picked it up my attention was immediately drawn to the notification scrolling across the top of the screen – “Guardian Music : David Bowie dead at 69”. It took a moment to fully register with me, blinking, re-reading the headline and then clicking through to the full article to make sure I’d read it right. But there it was….Read