Among the things I didn’t know

What would have happened if John Lennon ended up playing bass?
Alex Johnston

You can hear the answer by listening to ‘The Long and Winding Road’, on which he actually did play bass.

I will simply quote Ian Macdonald’s assessment, from p. 339 of Revolution in the Head:

Recurring wrong notes at 0:28, 2:10 and 3:07; mis-strikes ar 2:39 and 2:52; drop-outs at 2:59 and 3:14; a fumble at 0:19; a vague glissando at 1:03; a missed final push at 3:26.

I’ve just listened to the song, and these are only some of the mistakes Lennon made. As Macdonald points out, at 1:59, as McCartney sings ‘You left me standing here…’, you can hear him grinning at how badly Lennon’s playing.

The secret to music

A man of conservative tastes and values, Reed regarded Jones’s libidinous lifestyle with wariness, but rated him the best male singer British pop music had ever produced. “He loved good lyrics and he liked melodies with a little blues touch, and once you’ve got that, you’re home.”

Yep, sure, you can disagree if you want to. And when you’ve managed to do this…..:

It may have been simple, even corny, but the formula was mightily effective. Reed composed more than 2,000 songs and produced or arranged many more. He wrote hits for Shirley Bassey, Lulu, Petula Clark, Des O’Connor and Sandie Shaw, and in America his songs were covered by Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye and Perry Como.

….then perhaps we’ll consider your opinion on the subject.

And if we’re honest about it if I ever manage to do anything quite as sublime as Delilah – no, I don’t mean write a song, but just achieve any one thing, anything, that matches that excellence – then I’ll still die screaming and insisting it’s not my time yet but content that I had, through chance perhaps, already touched that Hand…..

There’s a reason for this

French rap superstar Niska: ‘American rappers don’t respect our art’

It’s because you’re doing it in French. No, not a comment upon American ignorance of everything non-American. But, dammit, you’re doing it in sodding French!

Cashing in

Avicii’s family announce posthumous album by Swedish DJ


Bergling’s family have also announced the creation of the Tim Bergling Foundation, which will benefit organisations supporting groups involved with mental health and suicide prevention. The musician’s net profits from the album will be donated to the charity.

“Net ” is such an interesting word, isn’t it? And as is common in American such foundations, family members do need salaries to run the family foundation.

I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin

A Grammy-nominated rapper who built his reputation on a tough upbringing in Atlanta, Georgia surrounded by drugs and guns is actually British, it has been revealed, as other rap artists share their shock that he may be deported.

US immigration officers detained 21 Savage, whose real name is Sheyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, on Sunday for allegedly overstaying his visa.

Designing the background to fit current fashion is nothing new in popular music

Alternative lyrics

I ain’t nothin’ but your poontang,
Cryin’ all the time
I ain’t nothin’ but your poontang,
Dryin’ all the time
You ain’t never bust a nut, you ain’t no friend of mine.

Thankfully it was Leiber and Stoller who had that job first time around…..

R Kelly’s sales dropping

Might be about sex allegations, might not be:

R. Kelly has been dropped by his record label following a stream of accusations of sexual abuse of minors.

Perhaps the cause of the dropping might be those allegations but the willingness to do so will be about sales.


Looking at a listing of the Grammys. Just the major three sets of nominations, song, album, record.

I realise that I’ve heard none of the nominations. In fact, haven’t even heard of the majority of them or the artists.


There might be a change of career coming here

With hundreds of ticket sales, legions of social media followers and adoring messages posted online from teenage fans, Californian metal band Threatin appeared more than ready to conquer the UK music scene.

Venue managers liaised with an apparent booking agent and record label, gladly signing them up in the hope of sell-out crowds.

The reality was a rather different story. This band was unknown, they had no fans and no management.

They toured the country playing to completely empty gig venues and as they did so last week, their story began to unravel.

The band, and in particular the sole permanent member Jered Threatin, has been accused of creating a fake legion of fans in order to land the UK tour.

All done with fake likes on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, apparently.

So, a senior job in social media management here we come, eh?

Deeply unsure of this

Actually, no, sure – reject the idea:

For rock music to survive it will have to cut back on testosterone
John Harris

This is to confuse music played on the traditional rock instruments – guitars and drums – with rock itself. Like saying that stuff on the violin is classical music.

A couple of decent enough recentish rock songs. Both of which are testosterone encapsulated. That actually being the point.

This isn’t to insist that only men can play rock. Nor is it to say that other interesting things can’t be done with the same lineups, instruments. It is though rather to insist that rock actually is that primal scream of testosterone leaking out through eyeballs. That being the it of it, the grandfathers’ shovel of it.

Well, there’s a lot of truth here

‘Devoid of personality’: BBC verdict on early Bowie audition unearthed
A new documentary reveals the scathing dismissal of the BBC Talent Selection Group on one of Bowie’s first groups, the Lower Third

That was DaviD Bowie as Davy Jones.

The audition took place four years before Bowie found fame with his eponymous 1969 album and the single Space Oddity. While the BBC’s decision looks comic in retrospect, no Bowie aficionado would suggest that his mid-60s output contained much intimation of his future genius.

I’ve said this before and there’s a truth to it even if it’s not the whole and entire such. He adopted a personality along the way. There’s much more of Bowie being an actor performing a role in each song – perhaps album, perhaps character across a few – than there is with most. Yes, extremely talented musician and all the rest. But an untrue but useful view is that he performed a series of 3 minute skits in character rather than was “Bowie.”

As to why, well, Davy Jones didn’t cut it, did he?

Err, who cares?

The festival defined noughties pop-punk and united America’s outcasts – but as it shuts for ever, we ask: did it fail to champion diversity?

What would be a diverse music festival? One that had the Boston Pops, Stormzy and The Ramones?

Or are we talking about the unimportant kind of diversity, the skin colour and genital arrangements of those on the stage?

The sad demise of the crumhorn

But if the children aren’t forced to learn the crumhorn then how will we all collect our Arts Council subsidies for pieces that require the crumhorn?

They are the big beasts of the orchestra, famous for their booming depths and resounding crescendos.

But the days of the oboe, bassoon, french horn and tuba could be numbered, an arts chief has warned, as interest from the younger generations has dwindled to such a low that the instruments now risk becoming extinct.

Lucy Noble, the Royal Albert Hall’s artistic and commercial director, has blamed the demise of these orchestral instruments on the fact that the “YouTube generation” has less exposure to live music.

There is actually an easy answer here. The process of learning to play an instrument comes in two parts. Learning the instrument and learning music. Once that second is learned then it’s very, very, much easier to learn another of the first. So, change the relative wages for these instruments an we’ll get, say, clarinettists or saxophone players lining up to perform on the contrabassoon. It’s really not necessary to start at age 5 on one in order to be able to play it when 25 you know.

Modern language is really rather good, isn’t it?

Katy Perry had ‘situational depression’ after Witness album

Katy Perry says she had “bouts of situational depression” following the release of her latest album.

Witness reached number six in the UK charts when it was released in 2017, while her two previous records both reached number one.

The 33-year-old says she’d put a lot of “validity” into the public reaction, “and the public didn’t react in the way I had expected, which broke my heart”.

What is meant is that Katy felt a bit sad after releasing an album which was a bit shit and failed to sell in the expected train loads.

Well, OK, and what should the reaction have been?

Nihilist punks not all that bright

Then in April 1988, Bertin and some band members – mostly drug addicts, and several infected with the HIV virus – mounted a major armed robbery with the aim of spending the cash before they died.

They successfully pulled off the heist, stealing 12 million francs (almost €2 million) from a Brinks deposit in Toulouse, western France. No-one was injured in the robbery.

In jeans and a grey shirt, Bertin told the Toulouse court that the heist had taken two years to prepare in order to avoid violence. Despite their anarchist ways, the court was told that the band carried out a “quasi-military” operation to such an extent that police first through they were dealing with hardened gangsters.

However, the group then gave the game away somewhat by ringing the local newspaper to boast of their feat.


A vague thought about Noel Gallagher

The sneering about Oasis was that he was using discarded Beatles middle eights to build entire songs around.

Harsh but fair.

Having just listened to Holy Mountain from the new album it appears that he’s moved on to using drum tracks from The Sweet. Maybe Ram Jam.


This might well disqualify a music critic

What Holmstrom remembers of AC/DC is the band’s bone-simple, timeless approach. “They certainly weren’t your traditional heavy metal band,” he notes. “The heavy metal of the mid-70s was a ponderous, bombastic, slow music. They were a high-energy rock & roll band and, before the Sex Pistols changed the image of punk rock from faster and louder to a more political and anthemic music, AC/DC could be classified as punk.” Holmstrom continues, “Then again, so were the Bay City Rollers, Alice Cooper, the Stooges, the New York Dolls, Eddie and the Hot Rods, and hundreds more bands.

The Bay City Rollers as punk?


Glam for teenies rather more, no?