Spector is known as the innovator of the “wall of sound” recording technique and countless moments of pop sublimity. They are inextricable from his everyday barbarism, waving guns around and holding them to musicians’ heads to enforce his will.

Erm, no. Just as we can say that Che rocked that beret and yet slaughtered hundreds (just directly, himself, in executions) it is not just possible but essential that we differentiate. The music stands over here, the man over there. Just as the Rev Dodgson was more than a tad odd and yet Alice is a Great Book.

This isn’t racism

There is a story that Sylvain Sylvain liked to tell about his arrival in New York City. He was Sylvain Mizrahi then, a seven-year-old Syrian Jew whose family had fled Egypt for the US during the Suez crisis. “I was probably one of the last immigrants to sail into New York harbour to be greeted by the Statue of Liberty,” he recalled. “I would be standing there in my fucking brown shoes and people would say, ‘You speak English?’ I’d say no. They’d say, ‘Fuck you.’ The first words I learned when I got off the boat were ‘fuck you.’”

On one level, it’s a grim story about racism.

Well, the Egyptian bit is of course, but not the New York bit. That’s just New York being New York.

How unlike The Guardian to entirely misunderstand the world, eh?

Mick Fleetwood sells

Given that others in the band were already doing so, makes sense:

Mick Fleetwood has sold his rights to hit songs including Go Your Own Way and Dreams to music publisher BMG, becoming the third member of Fleetwood Mac to strike a lucrative music deal in recent months.

Fleetwood, who co-founded the band in the 1960s, has sold the publishing and recording rights to the royalties from more than 300 tracks from hit albums including Fleetwood Mac, Rumours and Tango in The Night for an undisclosed sum.

Depending on which rights they are they last up to 70 years after his death. Why not take a lump sum now rather than an annuity for the great grandchildren?

One thing that Stevie Nicks said though. The reason Fleetwood kept going bankrupt was because he tried to keep up with the spending of the other members of the band. But as he didn’t – or rarely – write songs he earned significantly less. So, largely, these are mechanical rights, not song rights, being bought.

If only John Harris understood

He should in fact understand the music business as that was his starting point, music journo.

Thousands of musicians who have signed contracts with corporate record companies and ended up in debt to their overlords (or “unrecouped”) receive no money at all.

This works the same way a company does. The record company here is the bank making a loan, the band are the shareholders. OK, so, the shareholders get dividends after the bank has been paid back the loan, right?

But the thing that annoys is this:

If you have the money and some remaining Christmas spirit, you should log out of Spotify, go to either an online outlet or a bricks-and-mortar record shop, buy a few physical products, and contribute a little to the livelihood of a musician or two. Given the magic they conjure up, it’s a very small price to pay.

A band that is unrecouped don;t get anything from the physical purchases either. It goes to repaying the loan.

We might also whinge at this:

The facts may now be well known, but that does not make them any less shocking: Spotify is estimated to pay about £0.0028 (or 0.28p) per stream to “rights holders”, a term that encompasses both massive record companies and artists who put out their own music; and on YouTube, the per-stream rate is put at a mere £0.0012.

So, what’s radio then? A guide is that Radio 1 will pay £100 for a song being played on the radio. To what, 1 million, 2 million people? Sure, it’s a different sum of money but it’s not that different on a per person basis, is it?

Today’s weird musical theory

He has learned how to play most of the major musical instruments, typically well.

His vocal range once spanned over four octaves, he is sometimes considered the greatest bass player in the history of rock and roll,

Obviously, Macca.

About people who play multiple instruments. Lots of guitar/mandolin/banjo etc peeps. Drummers and pianists. People who cover that whole gamut as well – Macca.

But – string instruments (guitars etc not what is meant, violin/cello, upright bass etc), woodwind and brass. Very few indeed who cover across those three. And also, very few who cover those “major” ones and also one or more of these.

OK, Van the Man and saxophone, Bowie tried for a bit but not very well. Chris Rea is actually a good brass player – got the range and tone. But Rea is the exception.

So, why? One argument is that the minor instruments are just that, minor. So, why bother to learn one as a secondary or tertiary instrument?

Another – and this is rather groping for an argument – is the technical barrier to being good at any of them. You can make a fun noise out of certain instruments with very little technique. Punk bands showed that. But it is actually true. I’ve not played a guitar – never was any good – in 30 years but I could be giving you a perfectly servicable (shite, but servicable) blues bass line within a day of picking one up. Could gig within a month, maybe a week even. Sure, take me forever to be John McVie and the universe doesn’t have enough time left for me to practice up to James Jameson – but that last is true of everyone of course.

Fretless string instruments and brass – I assume reed wind as well but don’t know – take weeks of fiddling to get a sound out of them, or to be in tune. It takes months and months to be able to do anything you’d let out of the basement.

So, back to the beginning. Yes, of course musical talent exists. But so do barriers to using specific instruments. One barrier is that talent. But with certain instruments there’s a high technical barrier to get over before you can even think about actually applying musical ability. Given that incentives matter those with that proven musical ability don’t bother to pick up those instruments that have the technical barrier, not as second, fourth and tenth instruments they don’t.

Rather fun

I went to Germany for two months and came back five years later with a family. I never got famous or rich, but I’ve done what I wanted.

I, for one, say let’s do it for the musicians

According to the Broken Record campaign, artists receive about 16 per cent of the income from streams, while record companies take about 41 per cent and streaming services 29 per cent.

The committee heard that while musicians were struggling the biggest record labels — Universal, Sony and Warner — were making record profits.

Many musicians are lobbying for streaming platforms to employ an Equitable Renumeration system, which is used to cover royalties due from music played on radio and gives a roughly 50-50 split between artists and labels.

Great. Let’s do it.

Altho’ someone should point out to the musicians. Radio only pays songwriters, there’s no payment to acts or musicians. Streaming pays songwriters and musicians……

Don’t I know this feeling

She enrolled at the University of Michigan to study music, majoring in the cello, yet once there discovered to her dismay that she was not as talented as she had believed. The thought of practising eight hours a day only to remain mediocre did not appeal.

I was a perfectly decent trumpeter. I was also a bad musician. Just didn’t – don’t – have that feel for it. Keys and rhythms and transposition and fifths and thirds and why you’d use one instead of the other. I got to the stage where I could play well. Well enough to get paid for it too. But that’s where it would stick – even if I practised so as to continue to expand range, better tone and so on, I’d never actually be a musician.

So, I stopped. True, I didn’t then go on to develop some other skill that compensated but still, hours a day (you can’t actually play the trumpet 8 hours a day but I would have needed to step up to 2 to 3 hours just to be a pub player, or perhaps third trumpet in some second rate orchestra) to be mediocre just didn’t appeal.

Ho hum, although there’s a value to learning such a lesson at 17 or 18…..

Is this really punk then?

“My parents were punks, back in the 70s,” says Charlie Manning Walker, otherwise known as Chubby Charles, the leader of UK punk’s most exciting new band, Chubby and the Gang.

Not very epater les bourgeois doing what your parents did, is it?

If it’s Mum teaching you how to gob over the mosh pit…..

Not wholly and entirely dear

Being good-looking when I was younger was, I have to say, a great advantage. So was being known as ‘busty Dana Gillespie’ though it got a bit tiresome when critics wrote more about my 44 in boobs than my latest single.

It sounds bizarre now, with everyone so uptight and politically correct, but there were no rules back in the 1960s. I was making records before I was old enough to smoke or drink — even singing on David Bowie’s breakthrough Ziggy Stardust album — and as this was the glorious Sixties, making love was all part of the scene.

Ziggy was 70s.

But then as is oft pointed out, if you can recall which decade the 60s were then you weren’t there…..

What fun

I, of course, cannot test this as I don’t know how to use a mobile phone as anything other than, well, a phone. But others might be able to:

The days of being plagued by an annoying tune that you just can’t get out of your head may be over, thanks to Google.
The search engine has launched a Shazam for humming’ tool, allowing anyone to hum a tune into their phone to work out what song it is without knowing the lyrics.
To use the tool, open the latest version of the Google app or find your Google Search widget, tap the mic icon and say “what’s this song?” or click the “Search a song” button.
Hum, whistle or sing a tune for at least 10 seconds. Google’s artificial intelligence system then searches through its vast database to present you with a list of possible songs.

So, “bum bum bum badda bum bum, bum bum bum badda bum bum” gives Queen and Bowie or Vanilla Ice? “Boom, Boom, Boom bababa Boom, Boom, Boom bababa Boom” gives us that bloke from Orange Juice or not? And whistling a piece of Bach at it will get us how many pop songs?


When Jan Van Halen brought his family over to Pasadena, California, from the Netherlands in 1962 – Eddie once commented that they arrived “with $50 and a piano” – he can scarcely have imagined the mayhem his offspring would wreak on American popular culture. Jan was a freelance saxophonist and clarinettist who was versatile enough to find work in a number of musical styles, from classical to big band, though in California he had to supplement his musical earnings by washing dishes. Meanwhile, his Indonesian-born wife, Eugenia (nee Van Beers),

Of course, race is merely a social construct and all that. But knowing that Eddie was (hmm, mebbe 1/4) partly genetically Indonesian makes his looks make sense to me. For years I’ve looked at his picture – no, not at a votive shrine on the desk, just when you do see it – and thought, hmm, odd. This, as with the silhouette of the two faces and the candle flame thing changes the perspective and it all makes sense.

Of course, what this really shows is the inherent racism of the American system. The quarter-caste immigrant was only the best guitarist in the world on one listing, not them all.

Apparently this is deep thinking these days

The frontman of Power Trip, who has died aged 34, mixed philosophy, economics and genuine empathy into a searingly potent vision for a better world


Making his enthusiasm for “some kind of socialist/capitalist hybrid” clear to writer Dan Franklin in a Quietus interview in 2017, that year’s Nightmare Logic album laid bare the fears and frustrations of many Americans in the Trump era.

Actual thought would lead to the conclusion that we already live in a socialist/capitalist hybrid. A country that contains Albertsons and Publix supermarket chains is exactly that.

How cute, a Slade covers band

Banali joined Quiet Riot in 1982, one year before the band released its blockbuster breakthrough album, Metal Health. The singles “Cum On Feel the Noize” ……Their 1984 follow-up, Condition Critical, was also a big hit, making it to Number 15 on the Billboard 200 and selling more than 1 million copies on the strength of “Mama Weer All Crazee Now.”

So did they do the chrissie one as well?