Monday 29 April 2013

K. West

 Teenager Mark Webber wondering what he's doing in a Grocer Jack blog

In 1967 Keith West was asked by Mark Wirtz to sing the lead vocal for his Excerpt From a Teenage Opera aka Grocer Jack. It went to # 2 in August of that year. Mark Wirtz tells the same story, but in a more long winded fashion. Doesn't stop it from being a great song though.

Sunday 28 April 2013

Name that Toon

'Do my ears look big in this?'

It may not be a contender for The National Portrait Gallery, but Dustin Harbin's thumbnail sketch of Brentford's finest has a certain charm nonetheless. For a life in Tumblr I recommend a quick peek here.

Saturday 27 April 2013

Distorted memories

Tic Tacs: flickable mints from the 70s (though I've no reason to doubt they're not still with us). As kids we all had a box stashed somewhere about our person. The above Philip Marlowe style TV advert is how I remember them; unlike Karl Pilkington's dystopian flashback that scarred his childhood. The Tic Tac Incident - in his own words.


Wednesday 24 April 2013

Early bath

 Beats sharing a bath with Terry Venables

The best football stories generally happen away from the field of play: the stolen '66 World Cup, Bobby Moore and the missing bracelet in Bogota and Cloughie's burning of Don Revie's desk, to name but three.

And so in 1976 when lothario and part-time football manager Malcolm Allison invited glamour model Fiona Richmond to Crystal Palace's training ground for a photo shoot, the resulting News of The World snap had a certain inevitability about it.

Monday 22 April 2013

Friday 19 April 2013

Lights Out

I heard today about the passing of Storm Thorgerson aka Mr. Hipgnosis. He's obviously best known for the iconic sleeve design of Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon (and quite rightly too), but his canon goes far deeper than that. When I wrote a Sleeve Notes piece for Classic Rock magazine a few years ago, remembering UFO's Lights Out album cover, I grabbed a few words from Storm as well as interviewing Phil Mogg, the band's vocalist. Mogg was typically vague, only remembering two geezers (him and Michael Schenker) wearing overalls in Battersea Power Station. Thorgerson on the other hand, while admitting it wasn't the best cover they did for the band (try Force It - the one with the taps) saw a sleeve not without a certain charm: 'where vanity meets industrial design.'

UFO - Lights Out - 1977

Tuesday 16 April 2013

In their own write

One for you, nineteen for me

Imagine if John and Paul had filed their taxes online. Or typed their song lyrics on a tablet. And what if they'd simply texted their drummer when they were on holiday? The humble biro: just one more reason why there will never be another Beatles.

Monday 15 April 2013

Native New Yorker

Bruce Springsteen calls him The Boss 

 Professional Bronxite Dion DiMucci surprised everyone in 1989, coming back after a long lay off, with a set of tunes produced by one of his biggest fans, Dave Edmunds. Yo Frankie gave the veteran Doo Wopper a more contemporary sound while still staying true to the early rock and roll singles he was churning out in the '50s with his band The Belmonts.

 What didn't do it any harm either were the cameo appearances of two more fans, Lou Reed and Paul Simon; both of whom can be seen gurning at the camera in this promo video for Written on the Subway Wall.

Wednesday 10 April 2013

They're gonna crucify me

In April 1973 John Lennon was fighting for his life: his American life. On 23 March he'd been served papers by the US Immigration Service giving him 60 days notice to leave the country. Or face deportation. His appeal was filed 3 April, but it would be another three years 'til Lennon got his Green Card.

His friend Neil Sedaka (pictured far right) wrote The Immigrant based on Lennon's lamentable
dealings with the authorities. 

It was a frenetic time for the Lennons: April was also the month John and Yoko moved out of their apartment in Greenwich Village to the Dakota Building in Manhattan's Upper West Side. And we all know what horrors unfolded there in December 1980.

Thursday 4 April 2013

Rocket From The Crypt

In San Diego they were billed as the best band in the Universe and Q Magazine once likened them to a cross between The Clash and Dexy's Midnight Runners. All I know is that Speedo has got the band back together again for a handful of European dates. Which is why, not unlike a backwoodsman summoned to Parliament for an all important vote in the House of Lords, I'm flying out to Barcelona tomorrow for Saturday's gig at the Razzmaztazz Club. To their credit nobody has batted an eye when I've explained my 48 hour smash and grab raid on Catalonia's capital to see a bunch of musicians who they've never heard of and don't understand it when I say 'but they wear matching bowling shirts and do synchronized hand-clapping and everything.'

How will it go? Will they be just as good as I remember them? Or will they flatter to deceive? Win, lose or draw one thing's for certain: it's going to be a lot bloody warmer over there than it is here.