Archive for the ‘David Bowie’ Category

Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Listen: Game Of Love / Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders

At this late night moment, other than Dave Dee, Dozy. Beaky, Mick & Tich’s ‘Hold Tight’, I can’t think of any other song with a more powerful intro. Well hold on, there’s Inez & Charlie Foxx ‘Count The Days’ and The Cramps ‘Human Fly’ and….

Regardless, no one can deny ‘Game Of Love’. Doesn’t matter what genre you prefer. This single is absolutely top. Admittedly overplayed for thirty odd years but now almost as scarce on the airwaves as the US picture sleeve above, ‘Game Of Love’ also challenges David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ for most perfect use of a metallic tambourine as a no turning back now arrangement accelerator. When that moment occurs at 0:14, the song and the whole world just elevates up a notch. Fact.

David Bowie

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Listen: The Prettiest Star / David Bowie

Although re-recorded for the ALADDIN SANE album in Fall ’72, this original mono version of ‘The Prettiest Star’ came from sessions at London’s Trident Studios during January ’70 when, with his then backup band Junior’s Eyes and Marc Bolan as guest guitarist, the intent was to followup David Bowie’s first hit, ‘Space Odditiy’.

To his credit, he never gave up trying for that initial success, which took five years in the making, from “Liza Jane’ in ’64 through various attempts with Parlophone, Deram and UK Pye/US Warner Brothers. Every door was shut in David Bowie’s face. Read THE PITT REPORT sometime. It’s an eye opener.

So with ‘Space Oddity’, a #5 UK hit in the Fall of ’69, seemingly positioning him for a much smoother career ride, the original plan was to cut a new version of his final Deram submission ‘London Bye Ta Ta’, which that company had rejected as a fourth single, thereby dropping him. The story goes that during those sessions, ‘The Prettiest Star’ was also recorded and became his choice as followup.

Even more fun is the often documented detail of ‘The Prettiest Star’ selling just under 800 copies when current, a desperately shocking result off the back of a Top 10 hit. That number sounds rather exaggerated now, with even total stiffs moving more copies than 800, given loads of singles were sold regularly then.

Decades later, when included on various compilations, it’s the stereo version of ‘The Prettiest Star’ that’s chosen. To my knowledge, this original mono only ever saw the light of day on those initial pressings like the one above and a BEST OF from ’87.

The Love Affair

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

LoveAffairSheSmilesSweetlyUKA, The Love Affair, Steve Ellis, Mike Smith, Mike Vernon, Date, Decca, CBS, Philip Goodhand-Tait

Listen: She Smiled Sweetly / The Love Affair

It’s happened hundreds of times through the years. Label takes chance on an act, issues a single or two with no results, then moves on. Same act gets another deal, sometimes only months later and blows up. Around this period, David Bowie bounced from label to label, Marc Bolan too, The Herd, a bunch of them. On the quick path were The Love Affair. Probably signed by Decca in-house blues expert Mike Vernon or assigned to him for production, a good cover choice (Jagger/Richards ‘She Smiled Sweetly’) was released almost simultaneously with The Rolling Stones’ own rendition from BETWEEN THE BUTTONS on February 10, 1967. By the end of the year, the band had moved on to CBS and that label’s debut ‘Everlasting Love’ entered the UK charts in the first few days of January ’68, ending up at #1. Someone had egg on their face, including me.

I was so excited to see a copy in a local department store, and without a penny in my pocket, I decided to shoplift it. Got caught, almost arrested. Threatened to call my folks, which they didn’t, but it did cure me of that one.

LoveAffairRainbowUKPSFront, The Love Affair, Steve Ellis, CBS, Date

LoveAffairRainbowPS, The Love Affair, Steve Ellis, CBS, Date

Listen: Rainbow Valley / The Love Affair

‘Everlasting Love’, like all their singles, was a cover, this one originally released by Robert Knight. Even U2 have taken a stab at it, but no one has one upped that version by The Love Affair.

The followup, ‘Rainbow Valley’, was just as powerful. In particular, it continued to make obvious the strength of lead vocalist Steve Ellis. I’m sure I’ve read many times that this patch of singles, all Top 10 in the UK, were indeed Steve Ellis with studio musicians, a persistant trend in the 60′s. Probably to great frustration, the calculated pop made the band member cringe but who can say.

LoveAffairDayWithoutUKA, The Love Affair, Steve Ellis, Mike Smith, Mike Vernon, Date, Decca, CBS, Philip Goodhand-Tait

LoveAffairDayWithoutUS, The Love Affair, Steve Ellis, Mike Smith, Mike Vernon, Date, Decca, CBS, Philip Goodhand-Tait

Listen: A Day Without Love / The Love Affair

New producer Mike Smith had a simple formula down, which with ‘A Day Without Love’, now included recording the songs of non-member, singer/writer Philip Goodhand-Tait.

LoveAffairBringingUSA, The Love Affair, Steve Ellis, Mike Smith, Mike Vernon, Date, Decca, CBS, Philip Goodhand-Tait

Listen: Bringing On Back The Good Times / The Love Affair

What seemed to rub the more hip, progressive rock fan of the day wrong is exactly what attracted me to The Love Affair. Big, over the top productions, with loud brass and orchestration, almost Motown-esque, and a perfect showcase for that great Steve Ellis voice.


Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Listen: Isi / Neu
Isi / Neu

Shaving off just over a minute from the full length, opening track on NEU ’75, their third album, meant 3:55 worth of hit single potential got itself pressed onto a hopeful UK 7″, anxious to follow Kraftwerk and Mike Oldfield into the charts.

From the way history implies, copies didn’t go much further than from occasional shop counter tops to Julian Cope’s and David Bowie’s houses. Not surprisingly, little to no airplay nor sales transpired, making even the promo pressings scarce.

Nowhere near as raw as expected, my initial few listens didn’t find me returning for multiple plays, not at first. But through the years, ‘Isi’ makes for a handy set breather during my Sunday afternoon record hops at the house, on rainy days, particularly in the autumn. Try it sometime.


Monday, August 15th, 2011

Listen: Film Star / Suede
Film Star / Suede

Easily my favorite British act from the 90′s, and one of my favorites of all time. Favorite hardly describes it really. We’d met when they were unsigned, looking for a deal, having recorded their demo with Ed Buller, then resident engineer, in the Island demo studio at 22 St. Peter’s Square, during my last few months at the label.

By then, I was plotting my new venture through Warner Brothers, The Medicine Label, back in New York, but still spent a lot of time in London. I would soon try to sign them to my company for the US. Didn’t happen, but never mind, it not once blemished my love for their music.

It was during those months in early ’92 that I did my A&R drill, showing up at several of their shows around England, where they were playing to bulging crowds in small pubs and clubs, booked only a month or so prior to the frenzy. One night after a show at the Princess Charlotte Pub in Leicester, Brett, Mat and I rode back to London together, Brett dj-ing David Bowie’s HUNKY DORY the entire trip. In my opinion, Suede never took their eyes off it as one of the band’s great inspirations.

Third album, COMING UP unexpectedly took everyone off guard. Having replaced their original guitarist, the naysayers were naysaying big time. Big surprise, new guitarist Richard Oakes was a much better musician and ultimate band catalyst. As well, COMING UP established Mat Osman as one of rock’s very most accomplished bassists. After the album’s cycle, which by it’s finishing stretch had delivered five Top 10 UK singles, the non-believers were silenced. A fantastic work.

‘Film Star’ was the fifth of those five, a #9 in England.

Ohio Players

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Listen: Funky Worm / Ohio Players
Funky Worm / Ohio Players

Sped up vocals, synced back into the original bpm of track were not that uncommon in the 60′s. David Saviile made an industry out of his concoction The Chipmunks doing just that, and through the decade, there were occasionally hits by others as a result.

Not only did The Ran-Dells ‘Martian Hop’ use just this gimmick, but in the process possibly documented the first audio moment that would eventually become techno. Then there was David Bowie’s ‘The Laughing Gnome’ originally recorded and ignored in ’67, yet eventually becoming a UK hit during the summer of ’73 when Bowie mania had it’s first peak. By that time, the technique was quickly becoming as dated as the Hula Hop is today in the world of toys.

Did The Ohio Players hear ‘The Laughing Gnome’ while touring England, or simply conjure up the sonic angle based on their very own talents? Quite possibly the later.

‘Funky Worm’ has the added twist of not only encompassing the studio effect described above, yet possibly stumbling on an early ‘feature’ single, this time with a Moms Mabley style voice as the guest vocalist. No, not really, but comically, slightly possible.

Davie Jones & The King Bees

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Listen: Liza Jane / Davie Jones & The King Bees
Liza Jane / Davie Jones & The King Bees

If you don’t succeed, try try again. That’s the story of David Bowie. Took him five long years, a lifetime in youth, to get his first hit with ‘Space Oddity’. Even that was looking like a one hit wonder story waiting to unfold for a few years thereafter. He made a lot of great singles in that initial window, starting with ‘Liza Jane’.

It’s hard to challenge ‘The London Boys’ from ’66 as the ultimate snapshot of that city’s beat group culture, although ‘Liza Jane’ comes close. The song, like the band, rubs shoulders with Them, The Birds and a good half of UK Decca’s roster in the day.

David Bowie

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Listen: Sound And Vision / David Bowie BowieSoundVision.mp3

I was on a day trip to Hamburg, Germany last week when this came over the radio in a newspaper/candy shop. Front and back sold by the disc jockey in German, the record was a perfect soundtrack for my seven hour visit to that beautiful, cold, grey city.

Tom Paxton

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Listen: The Last Thing On My Mind / Tom Paxton
The Last Thing On My Mind / Tom Paxton

If you didn’t really know folk music in the 60′s, but wanted to get caught up fast, Elektra was the one stop shopping label. So I thought at the time, and indeed, I was right. Tim Buckley, Tom Rush, Judy Collins, Tom Paxton. They were all there for an imaginary trip to MacDougal and Bleecker Streets, right in the comfort of your very own bedroom. You could rest assured you were part of the unrest. And if you had nothing to protest, at least you’d find a lot of songs that would stay around for life.

Acquiring a UK pressing of ‘The Last Thing On My Mind’ is a most pleasant recollection.

Not long after starting an entry level A&R job at Elektra in ’84, I found myself immersed in a small but deservedly elite bunch of living, breathing record/music obsessives. Every nook and cranny of the company had kindred spirits to connect with, from the chairman to the mailroom and back. Mark Cohen was our office runner, keeper of the promo cabinet, supplies (many supplies) and more in play than some of the radio guys actually. Topped off with a heart of gold, our vinyl fetish commonplace was quickly and mutually detected.

One day he walks into my office, telling me he’d just been instructed to clean out a jam packed storage closet, and in doing so, discovered several boxes of Elektra library 7″ singles, US and UK. Lots and lots of doubles. Did I want some of them?

Don’t even bother to torture yourself with curiosity. Yes, it was a sick find on his part and a hand of God on my forehead miracle for me.

Amongst them was a pristine, unplayed, untouched thick vinyl UK pressing of ‘The Last Thing On My Mind’. It was one of the last things I thought I’d ever see, not to mention, own.

tompaxtonlastuka, The Move, Tom Paxton, Reprise, Elektra, Tony Visconti

Listen: The Last Thing On My Mind (1972 Re-recording)/ Tom Paxton
The Last Thing On My Mind / Tom Paxton

I like to think this 1972 re-recording, produced by Tony Visconti, was inspired by The Move, who cut a very British version on their album SHAZAM, from 1970. By then, Tom Paxton had moved to London, so it’s not too far fetched to assume he’d heard theirs, and realized what a powerful song he’d written. I must say, when I got this single, and saw the Tony Visconti production credit, I was all set for a repeat of the dramatic, orchestrated style he’d applied to David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’. But no, it’s actually quite similar to his original from ’64 on Elektra.

You don’t see or hear this version much, sadly, you don’t hear either version much. Despite the similarities of both, it’s hard to ignore the song’s quality.

The Buzz

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Listen: You’re Holding Me Down / The Buzz
Youre Holding Me Down / The Buzz

To my knowledge, Joe Meek’s most, maybe only, psychedelic production. It preceded Summer ’67 by fourteen months. How the hell did he do that?

This one goes hard from the start and by the fade, just pins the mass confusion meter. Crazy stuff.

Not The Buzz that backed David Bowie, btw.


Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Listen: Seven Deadly Finns / Eno Eno7.mp3

Eno seemed to release ‘Seven Deadly Finns’ minutes after leaving Roxy Music, or maybe being a kid meant my time perspective was messy. Dissonance, already his calling card, many times verged on suffocating song endings, like here. In a few short years, it would be married to oscillation and the resultant metal clanging made a perfect fit for David Bowie’s Berlin period recordings. In ’74 though, this Eno single was about the hippest form of chaos you could hope to have on a 7″. We stocked and sold many at Discount Records that summer.

Listen: King’s Lead Hat / Brian Eno EnoKings.mp3

I could swear, since ’77, the ‘King’s Lead Hat’ that closed side one of BEFORE AND AFTER SCIENCE was a very different, and superior, version to it’s 7″ counterpart. Mentioning this to Duane a weekend or two back, the comment was met with a slightly confused but assured disagreement. Wrong, they’re the same.

A few hours later, prior to checking, his email arrived with the affirmation. The two versions are the same. It was just enough reason to pull the 7″ and give it a play. He was right.

Probably my favorite Eno track ever, discovering 33 years later this preferred version existed as a single, one which I’ve owned the whole time, was a most pleasing and scary senior moment.

Ron Davies

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

All Night Long / Frampton’s Camel

Listen: It Ain’t Easy / Ron Davies RonDaviesEasy.mp3

Who could resist this sweet UK re-release meant to capitalize on the song’s new found familiarity in ’72, when David Bowie included it on THE RISE & FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST & THE SPIDERS FROM MARS, even though it would have been more at home on HUNKY DORY. Nice deep groove pressing added to my already dangerous A&M UK A label dependency.

Important sign: Every last cover version replicates this original.


Saturday, November 13th, 2010

Listen: The Robots (Edited Version) / Kraftwerk KraftwerkRobots.mp3

Thirty two years. It’s a long time.

Well that number represents two things: how many years ago ‘The Robots’ was released and how many years behind contemporary music just about every commercial radio station in America is. They still have no idea.

Believe me, liking this single or Kraftwerk in 1978 got you many a cross eyed look. No worries, I was used to them. The same facial expression greeted me for loving The Pretty Things first album, The Pink Floyd’s PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN, even that wild and zany Jimi Hendrix Experience. Yes, other kids would shoot stuff at my crowd in the school hallways for our queer tastes. I recall one classmate hassling me for liking “the nigger that wears women’s clothes”. True.

Upstate New York was not a very open minded place in the late 60′s.

Now I guarantee you, most of those ignorants are still listening to these very bands, yes still.

Fast forward to 2002. I’m working at Columbia and our chairman had decided to sign David Bowie. He passed around the demos from HEATHEN, his forthcoming label debut. Settling into a weekly A&R meeting, he asks me what I thought of the songs.

“Garbage. I hate them.”

“What! You never liked Bowie? You didn’t like ZIGGY STARDUST?”

“Boss, when I liked ZIGGY STARDUST, I got laughed at in the hallways and chased home after school by bullies.”

There was no way this guy was into a bloke wearing a fake fur top shaped like two rabbit ears, hot pants, seamed fish net stockings and stilettos in ’72 (David Bowie’s exact outfit at the Syracuse Landmark Theater that very year).

In truth, there was no replacing the pulse of those moments, like championing any of the above in their prime, when you’re insatiable for the sonic palate cleansing these genre inventing acts provided. It was a rush. You felt high every time you listened, and you couldn’t listen enough.

Like Kraftwerk, THE MAN MACHINE. A defining work of music that changed culture, introduced the world to the sound of technology. And a whole bunch of people still don’t even know that it has yet. That’s how far ahead of their time Kraftwerk were/are.

You’re going to be dead for an awful long time, so don’t ever, ever miss them in concert if you can help it. In many ways, there is no better live act. When it comes to electronic music, only The Chemical Brothers come close, and they’re a completely different experience altogether.


Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Blockbuster / The Sweet

Listen: Blockbuster / The Sweet

Their very first single was released as far back as ’68, but not until they were taken on by the songwriting/production team of Chapman/Chinn in the early 70′s, did they succeed. Their infamous Glam rock hit streak began in ’71 and lasted thru ’75. At that point, they sadly curbed the stacked heels and glitter outfits to become a straight ahead AOR rock band.

Somewhere in there, ’73 actually, The Sweet released ‘Blockbuster’. This was at the height of Glam in the UK. Along with Slade, Wizzard, Sparks, T. Rex and David Bowie, they basically slipped into and out of the top chart slots regularly.

I lived in London at the time, and must have played ‘Blockbuster’ a thousand times on my suitcase record player, yet never ever did I tire of it. The single got new life in the 90′s, when the video series GLAM ROCK was released. One of their many Top Of The Pops performances was included. I watched it over and over and over and over and over again.

Last night, I was awoken by a pretty fierce thunderstorm. I was weired out, but got up, got dressed and went out to watch. Having visited Collinwood, Maine earlier in the day, specifically to check out the town where the DARK SHADOWS TV series was based in. Some say vampire Barnabas Collins really existed and I, like many, was addicted to the program in a serious way and so it truly felt the spirits were messing with me. Being alone in our house, other than Corinne out dead cold, I was very creeped out. Truly scared to be honest. Never saw lightning hit the ocean like that in my life. I felt like the DARK SHADOWS spirits were warning me to stay put in my own pathetic world, and not to mess with them.

Dear spirits. I will behave and never return.

Once the storm and the ocean calmed, I was back to normal. Went to YouTube and before long, I was in a Glam rock loop I couldn’t shake until about 5:30 am. I found a TOTP Sweet clip, obviously from a different broadcast than the aforementioned one used for the comp. It’s even better:

Listen: Fox On The Run / The Sweet

Somehow, thank you God, The Sweet visited upsate New York, opening for, I think Eric Carmen. Some hairdo there Eric, a frosted bouffant, or hair don’t in hindsight.

Typically when any of the coined Glam bands (Sparks, Wizzard, Slade) braved their music and outfits into the smaller towns of the US, there were few, if any, comforting ports in the anti-androgyny storm as far as people went. So when a bunch of us showed up early, it was well easy to befriend the band, thereby ultimately being invited to share in the after show mayhem bigtime. Not that surprising….we had the party favors.

But we did genuinely love The Sweet. Everyone in the band were super warm. Great guys.

Many years later, I picked up the soundtrack to DAZED AND CONFUSED for my label, only because The Sweet (‘Fox On The Run’) were included. I wasn’t particularly fond of the other songs, in fact, I’ve never listened to the cd ever. On a whim, I figured it would be kind of great having The Sweet in the catalog, thereby negotiating a criminally low advance in my favor, given the film company’s planned and verbally agreed original soundtrack release partner, MCA, had bailed. Hence the desperate film division took the offer. The soundtrack has now sold 2 million copies to date and it’s all basically due to my loyalty toward The Sweet.

The Konrads

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

Konrads, The Konrads, Decca, David Bowie

Listen: I Thought Of You Last Night / The Konrads

A year or two back, there was a sizeable piece in RECORD COLLECTOR about The Konrads ‘I Thought Of You Last Night’, primarily due to David Bowie’s involvement as a one time band member, if only for a few short weeks. Although it’s unclear, and I think unlikely, that he plays on this particular single, it’s understandably become a most desirable item nonetheless.

The article focused on the US Decca release, and at the time of writing, a standard pink label promotional copy had finally surfaced, thereby verifying it’s existence beyond only ever appearing in an old Decca release schedule. The most interesting part being the writer’s fairly adament and embarrassingly for him, dismissive position that the record absolutely did not make it beyond the promotional pressing stage. Therefore supposedly no commercial copies were manufactured. I mean, come on, how the fuck would a journalist some forty years later even know that anyway?

Well, it’s not true. I own a commercial copy.

I emailed the chap a few times, but he never responded.

Mott The Hoople

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

Honaloochie Boogie / Mott The Hoople

Honaloochie Boogie / Mott The Hoople

Listen: Honaloochie Boogie / Mott The Hoople MottHonaloochieBoogie.mp3

‘Honaloochie Boogie’ was the first record I heard upon arriving in London, June ’73. My Aunt Tess collected me at Heathrow, we went back to hers, where she prepared me a traditional English fry-up, and then went to meet Uncle Mick at the pub. It was playing when we walked in. I was more excited about racing toward the jukebox than catching up with my relatives. Very wrong.

I knew of the single, it was one of many I planned to hear/acquire while there. Things were off to a great start.

Prior, I had really tried to love Mott The Hoople. Those four albums on Atlantic (Island in the UK) were a bit of a struggle for me – they just felt a little prog rock bloated. My roomates loved BRAIN CAPERS, and so did I. Well liked, not loved, that is. Suddenly the stars lined up for Mott and they were working with David Bowie. New sound and new label (CBS). They segued onto the glam bandwagon pretty seamlessly, no easy feat considering they weren’t young or thin or androgynous. Overend Watts, like Chris Squire from Yes, always looked pathetic in crotch high silver platforms and pastel colors. Plus ‘All The Young Dudes’ was, let’s face it, all about Bowie. Most importantly, they were now making singles.

The initial one from the second album, first post Bowie, was this. And it ignited a run of strong, quite fantastic records to follow: ‘Roll Away The Stone’, ‘The Golden Age Of Rock ‘n Roll’, ‘All The Way To Memphis’ to be exact. I guess ‘Honaloochie Boogie’ is the least heard and appreciated. Maybe it was the moment for me – not sure. I can tell you this, along with Wizzard ‘See My Baby Jive’, Thin Lizzy ‘Whiskey In The Jar’ and at least one Slade single, it was on every jukebox in every pub in London that summer.

I had finally arrived in my natural habitat.

Lou Reed

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

louwalkusa, Lou Reed, RCA, David Bowie, Mick Ronson

Listen: Walk On The Wild Side / Lou Reed LouReedWalk.mp3

Different vocal take altogether on this promo version (and in mono), something I never see any mention of in the price guides or collector’s blogs. For the trainspotters, a must have 7″.

The real shock here is that it was a hit – a massive hit – even in the US. It really happened, you could drive around, listening to Top 40 radio in 1972, with Lou Reed’s voice and lyrics were coming out of the dashboard, singing about he’s becoming she’s, colored girls, valium and head. What’s not to like? Only hip hop gets away with that now.

Credit where credit is due: Mick Ronson and David Bowie’s production is untouchable. Mick Ronson’s arrangements are untouchable. Lou Reed’s writing is untouchable. Has ever a song been more complimented by the recording? I can’t think of one.

The Psychedelic Furs

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

psychedelicfursforever, The Psychedelic Furs

Listen: Forever Now / The Psychedelic Furs PsychedelicForeverNow.mp3

I’ve been meaning to get a dedicated section on this blog for ‘Songs That Should Have Been Singles’. Some day, one day, as The Seekers once sang.

So now I have to decide, if something was pressed up on 7″ for promotional use only, is it a single? Or is a single a record that was actually released on 7″ for the public to buy? The plot thickens, given that some labels in the 60′s would promo a single to radio, then only press retail copies if it felt like airplay was possible. Feel free to discuss but I’m thinking if I can hold it as a 7″ piece of plastic, then yes it is a single.

One such promo only 7″, in a classy, almost UK type sleeve, was the (unfortunately) unedited version of The Psychedelic Furs ‘Forever Now’ (the over produced, ‘dynamic and percussively textured middle breakdown’, to quote a wordy journalist from the period, should have, in my opinion, been zapped). Despite that, the track is possibly one of their best. To hear the guitars REALLY pop, wear headphones. I’ve been listening to it almost exclusively since seeing the band for the first time in years, a few weeks back. I will not leave it so long ever again.

It’s always helpful to look great as well as sound it. Richard and Tim Butler indeed look exactly the same as they did thirty years ago. It defies logic. As importantly, they sound fantastic. Despite being the only two originals left, those integral parts Vince Ely and Jon Ashton created on this song are well reproduced in person.

And it’s those bits that make this recorded version so vital. Drummer Vince Ely flawlessly provides incredible swing underneath it all as a result of an interplay with Tim Butler’s bass that’s impeccable. John Ashton’s razor sharp guitar tones make his anthemic playing powerful and perfect. Then there’s Richard Butler’s classic vocal inflections and one of a kind lyrics: “everybody’s busy listening and pulling blinds”, beautifully marrying David Bowie with John Cooper Clarke.

‘Forever Now’ was the last song of their final encore that night, proceeded by the crowd jaw dropper, an unexpected ‘She Is Mine’. The end to a perfect evening. Only the goodnight kiss from Marianne Faithfull could top it.


Monday, July 27th, 2009

kennybumpus, Kenny, Jonathan King, UK Records, Phil Coulter, Bill Martin, RAK, Glam, Glitter From The Litter Bin, The Space Raiders

Listen: The Bump / Kenny KennyBump.mp3

kennyjulieuk, Kenny, Jonathan King, UK Records, Phil Coulter, Bill Martin, RAK, Glam, Glitter From The Litter Bin, The Space Raiders" title="kennybumpus, Kenny, Jonathan King, UK Records, Phil Coulter, Bill Martin, RAK, Glam, Glitter From The Litter Bin, The Space Raiders
kennyjulieusa, Kenny, Jonathan King, UK Records, Phil Coulter, Bill Martin, RAK, Glam, Glitter From The Litter Bin, The Space Raiders" title="kennybumpus, Kenny, Jonathan King, UK Records, Phil Coulter, Bill Martin, RAK, Glam, Glitter From The Litter Bin, The Space Raiders

Listen: Julie Anne / Kenny KennyJulie.mp3

spaceraidersglamraid, space raiders, kenny, skint trcords

Listen: Glam Raid / The Space Raiders SpaceRaidersGlamRaid.mp3

There’s a great compilation titled GLITTER FROM THE LITTER BIN; 20 JUNK SHOP GLAM RARITIES. It’s a fun listen but it’s the message here that counts. Long snubbed as uncool, juvenile, manufactured, throwaway – you name it, I could never quite understand everyone’s problem with glam. The production was fantastic, drum and treble heavy, fun clothes and haircuts to match, and a threatening mix of androgyny (which indeed were assets to David Bowie, T, Rex or Roxy Music when convenient). No problem here. I was a proud fan and collector.

Kenny (band not person) churned out some hits, including these two masterpieces. Written by Bill Martin and Phil Coulter, as with all their material, ‘The Bump’ is a literal blueprint of glam. Fair enough, The Sweet, Slade, Sparks and Wizzard can equally claim such feats, but that doesn’t void out ‘The Bump’. Although released on Mickie Most’s RAK Records in the UK, Kenny flip flopped from pilar to post label-wise in the US. ‘The Bump’ was picked up by Jonathan King in the States, issuing it on his UK Records imprint through London. Sampled years later by The Space Raiders on their fantastic ‘Glam Raid’ (listen above), it verified some needed credibility to the song’s worth.

‘Julie Anne’ probably veered a bit more mainstream teen pop than glam, but the effervescent sound of super K was well intact. A pop classic.

David Bowie / The Faces

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

London Boys / David Bowie

Listen: The London Boys / David Bowie
London Boys / David Bowie

What can anyone say about David Bowie ‘The London Boys’. It’s damp, cold, eery, but cryptically and wonderfully captures a lot of my London experiences as a kid in ’73: Wardour Street, pills, having no money, living on butter and bread, listen to the lyrics. If we come back in life after death, I would do it all over again, to a T. Read on.

So I decide, upon graduating high school, that instead of going to college, I’m moving to England. Can you believe this? I can’t.

My parents, ever understanding, desperately advised against it. But always supporting me in my ambitious dreams, finally said okay providing I do some college when I return.

My Mom was born in Great Britain, her sister lived in London, so I guess it didn’t seem all that risky at the time. I skipped a grade in high school and was therefore really a baby, boarding a Pan Am flight in early June ’73 with a huge $200 in my pocket. I would never let my kids do this today by the way. My aunt in London had me for a few weeks, then shipped me off to my cousin Diane, who lived, and shockingly still does, on Cleveland Street in London’s west end, Soho, This, as it turned out, was the place to be. Literally 4 blocks down from her council flat (Cleveland Street eventually turns into Wardour Street as it crosses Oxford Street), was the Marquee Club. Without shame or hesitation, I walked into the office midday and asked for a job. And they give me one, shockingly. I now was in charge of collecting the empty pint glasses left all around the club as the bands are playing, an endless cycle. I was a slave but deemed this as the opportunity of life.

I grew up outside of Syracuse, dreaming of the other worldly England, now here I am, working at The Marquee. Holy shit. Is this really happening? No one will believe me back home, or care for that matter.

I got paid one huge great big British pound a night, drank all the beer I could for free and got to see every band playing. All I need do is pick up the glasses. I’ll take it.

This was heaven. My days were spent trolling the used record stalls in Rupert Street, Cheapo Cheapo Records in particular, where Graham Stapleton, a good friend now, who I met decades later by shear crazy coincidence via Jim Lahat, sold all the promo/dj copies that the Radio 1 and Melody Maker staff would unload, for pennies, in an open air market stall. The stuff I got from him then…..forget about it. Crazy. We still exchange records and laugh about those days. Small world indeed.

Then there were the bands that played: Robin Trower, Thin Lizzy, Sparks UK debut with Queen opening (from whom Queen admittedly lifted many of their ideas – why Queen didn’t ask Russell Mael to join the reunion lineup instead of Paul Rodgers is preposterous), Andy Bown, Alex Harvey Band, Sutherland Brothers & Ouiver, Daryl Way’s Wolf, The Spencer Davis Group, Writing On The Wall, Climax Blues Band, Colin Blunstone, Chicken Shack, Bedlam, Wild Turkey, JSD Band, The Marmalade, Caravan, East Of Eden, Byzantium, String Driven Thing, Tempest, Colosseum, Keef Hartley Band – I could go on and on and on. Plus, I had the golden key, I could put people on the guest list.

With hormones raging and so many pretty girls trying to unsuccessfully get to the bands, they’d turn to the staff. I spent many a damp grass night in Soho Square on the green, juggling in hindsight, laughable relationships. And in the process, fell for a Scottish girl, Claire.

Bowie ticket Reading 73

Claire and I became an item and went to loads of shows together (Family, Wizzard, Fairport Convention, The Kinks, Slade, Curved Air) or, didn’t bother to go to some, like the biggest mistake of all times: David Bowie & The Spiders From Mars final show ever – for which I bought a ticket (see scan above) and didn’t use. I know, stupid.

Listen: Pool Hall Richard / The Faces
Pool Hall Richard / Faces

It wasn’t the only ticket I didn’t use. Claire & I went to Scotland the weekend of Reading Festival, for which I had a 3 day, all access pass. Only a few years ago I admitted to myself, I didn’t really like The Faces (who were playing – see scan) because Rod Stewart’s voice irritates me to no end, not to mention his fat bottom half in leopard pants.

Still, their ‘Pool Hall Richard’ single has a groove that’s unmatchable. A beautiful shambles.