Thursday, 12 November 2015

Celebrities Who Have Donated Blood or Supported Blood Donation

From the Archives
Jane Seymour as Solitaire in Live and Let Die (1973) (Courtesy: Borg.com)

FAMOUS BLOOD DONORS
This list was originally compiled for my old blog on 6th December 2011(1). It was updated today 12th October 2015. The first list consisted of people who had given blood and may continue to donate. When rewriting the list I found it difficult to differentiate between those who donate and those who support blood donation, to the extent I almost deleted the draft. After all, what would be the point of a list of people who support blood donation? Then, I decided it was better to post on blood donation, with a few names to draw in readers, than not to do so at all. Some names on my 20ll blog post, like Jayne Torvill and Gary Lineker, are still on the http://www.blood.co.uk website, so they seem like genuine donors. For new 2015 additions, there is an asterisk* nest to their name; the remiander date back to 2011. It will be interesting to compare this post in another four years time, which will be 2019.

•  Sarah Beeny* (b.1972) is an English property developer and television presenter, best known for presenting the Channel 4 property shows Property Ladder, Property Snakes and Ladders, Streets Ahead, Britain’s Best Homes, Help! My House is Falling Down, Beeny’s Restoration Nightmare, Double Your House for Half the Money and Sarah Beeny’s Selling Houses. Sarah said she did not require a transfusion during childbirth, which inspired her to donate for those who do need the procedure.

•  Graham Bell* (b.1966) is a former professional skier who achieved a silver medal at the World Junior Ski Championships in 1984 and represented Great Britain at five Winter Olympics in: Sarajevo 1984, Calgary 1988, Albertville 1992, Lillehammer 1994 and Nagano 1998. He now works as a TV presenter for Ski Sunday and journalist.

•  Gordon Bennett (1955-2014), Australian artist, sadly passed away in 2014, but deserves to remain on the list as a donor.
•  Chris Bisson (b.1975), a British actor best known for playing Vikram Desai in Coronation Street and Jai Sharma in Emmerdale.
•  Jude Bolton (b.1980), former Australian rules footballer who represented the Sydney Swans.
•  Pat Boone (b.1934), American singer and actor.
•  Richard Branson (b.1950), British businessman and founder of the Virgin Group.
•  Kristin Cavallari (b.1987), American actress who is a star of The Hills TV series.
•  Jackie Chan MBE (b.1954), martial arts actor from Hong Kong.
•  Sara Cox (b.1974), British DJ who made her name presenting The Radio 1 Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 1 between 2000 and 2003, but now hosts Sounds of the 80s on BBC Radio 2 on Saturday nights at 10pm.
•  Miley Cyrus (b.1992), an American actress and singer, who is the daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus and starred in children’s television series Hannah Montana in 2006.
•  Alesha Dixon (b.1978), British singer and judge on Strictly Come Dancing, who found fame with girl-group Mis-Teeq.
•  Josh Duhamel (b.1972), American TV actor and star of the Transformers films.
•  Sophie Ellis-Bextor (b.1979), British singer and Janet Ellis’s daughter. She gave blood for the first time during National Blood Week of summer 2011 and said she planned on becoming a regular donor.
•  Jenny Frost (b.1978), British TV presenter and singer with Atomic Kitten.

•  Wayne Hemingway* MBE (b.1961), an English fashion designer and co-founder of Red or Dead.

•  Greg James* (b.1985) is a British radio DJ and TV presenter, most famous for hosting the drivetime show on Monday to Friday, at 16:00-19:00, on BBC Radio 1. When he was born he was very ill and had three full blood transfusions,

•  Saira Khan* (b.1970) was the runner-up on the first UK series of reality television show The Apprentice in 2005. Since then she has co-presented The Martin Lewis Money Show, from 2012, and presented a new ITV daytime show called Guess This House (2015). Saira’s blood group is A-, one of the rarer blood types, with just 7% of people having this group.

•  Penn Jillette (b.1955), the talking half of the magic duo Penn & Teller.
•  Chris Judd (b.1983), a former Australian rules footballer and captain of both the Carlton Football Club and the West Coast Eagles in the Australian Football League (AFL).
•  Gary Lineker OBE, an English former international footballer and current sports broadcaster. He holds England’s record for the number of goals scored in FIFA World Cup finals, which is 10. In the early 1990s, his eldest son George survived, as a baby, a rare form of leukaemia. As a result, Lineker now supports children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent and has since appeared in advertisements encouraging people to give blood.

•  Sophia Loren* (b.1934) was famously mobbed by a large crowd at the Piazza Del Popolo in Rome, in 1962, while escorted by film director Vittorio De Sica. She signed autographs then sat inside a Red Cross van with a doctor and had her blood pressure taken before giving blood(2).

•  Kym Marsh (b.1976), achieved fame as a singer after winning Popstars with the band Hear’Say in 2000. She left the group two years later for a solo career, but is now best known for playing Michelle Connor in Coronation Street.
•  Dr. Phillip McGraw (b.1950), American TV personality

•  Penny Smith* (b.1958), newsreader and TV presenter-turned-author, said she has been a regular blood donor since she was 18.

•  Sun Park (b.1981), Australian actress, singer and presenter.
•  Rascal Flatts, American country band formed in 1999 and active to date.

•  Jorgie Porter* (b.1987), star of the Channel 4 TV drama Hollyoaks, as Theresa McQueen.
•  Rachel Riley* (b.1986) is an English television presenter best known for being a co-presenter, with Nick Hewer, on Countdown on Channel 4. She replaced Carol Vorderman as the co-host in presenting the letters and numbers selection and mathematics solutions. Rachel achieved an upper second-class honours degree in mathematics at Oriel College, Oxford.

•  Jane Seymour OBE (b.1951), British actress who played Solitaire in the James Bond film, Live and Let Die (1973).
•  Mark Smith (b.1969), a body builder who played ‘Rhino’ in the Gladiators TV series. He donates bone marrow.
•  Curtis Stone (b.1975), Australian chef, TV presenter and author.
•  Niki Taylor (b.1975), American supermodel.
•  Jayne Torvill OBE (b.1957), British Olympic gold medallist ice dancer and star of the Dancing On Ice TV series, which ran from 2006 to 2014.

•  Twin B*, real name Alec Boateng, is the host of a breakfast show on BBC Radio 1Xtra.

•  The cast of The Vampire Diaries (2009 to date) and Twilight , American TV series. Rachelle 
 Lefevre*, who plays the vampire Victoria in the Twilight (2008) series has been photographed giving blood.

I would urge healthy readers to consider blood donation as it takes only a little of your time, but can transform and even save lives. Blood cannot be given more frequently than 16 weeks, which is only three times a year. To find out more, the UK link is: http://www.blood.co.uk(3).

Originally posted on Tuesday 6th December 2011

(1) Famous Blood Donors from December 2011: http://itemequalstotem.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/famous-blood-donors.html
(2) Footage of Sophia Loren becoming a blood donor on British Pathe: http://www.britishpathe.com/video/sophia-loren-becomes-a-blood-donor
(3) The 2015 campaign: http://www.blood.co.uk/team-gb/

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Tales From the Tour Bus: Rock 'n' Roll on the Road (BBC4 Fri 9th October 2015 Rpt)

WELCOME TO THE GOLDEN AGE OF BRITISH TOURING
On Friday evening I watched a repeat of a documentary called Tales From the Tour Bus: Rock ‘n’ Roll on the Road, presented by Rick Wakeman. He introduces the programme with, ‘Welcome to the golden age of British touring, when rock and pop bands roamed the land in a world before mobile phones, guide books and even motorways, a world that never seemed ready for them. From the fifties to the eighties, these musical pirates could be glimpsed travelling the length and breadth of the country changing the musical landscape as they went. Playing wherever they could get a gig. Risking everything for us. This is the story of their journey.’

The keyboardist looked odd in his grey suit, white shoes and no tie, but was as funny as always. Tales From the Tour Bus was narrated chronologically starting with the earliest tours of the UK which were by American musicians. In 1957, the first was Bill Haley who toured the country by British Rail. He was followed by Buddy Holly in 1958 and Gene Vincent & Eddie Cochran in 1960. Joining the latter duo were Marty Wilde and the Wildcats with drummer Brian Bennett, who in an interview describes how he carried his own kit because there were no road managers. They travelled third class on British Rail, while Vincent & Cochran enjoyed first class. Marty Wilde remembered how Americans did not swear much, although the British swore all the time. In the early days of touring, rock ‘n’ roll was ‘shoehorned’ into traditional variety shows with novelty acts. Gary Brooker, of The Paramounts and Procol Harum, felt insulted that they were asked to back Mrs Mills, and he expressed his disgust. She later came to him and apologised, so he felt guilty.

Early in the programme, Rick Wakeman introduced his 1984 Dodge Ram van, bought for the Yes Union Tour in 1990, because it was less hastle than waiting at airports. He put forward the view that if you had a van and were not a musician, you would probably be invited to join a band. According to Ali McKenzie of The Birds, the van was your home, where you ate sandwiches prepared by your mum. The Birds had a ‘piss hole’ in the bottom of the van, as there was no time to stop. Simon Nicol, of Fairport Convention, also claimed bands tried to co-ordinate their bladders, in order to save valuable time. A particularly funny section is where Rick Wakeman walks around his van, as if he has just had a wee, and shakes his leg. Bob Hope would have been proud.

Brooker recalled the variety of venues, saying that the Pontypridd Nylon Spinners Club was one of the best nights they ever had, while Whitehaven, near a nuclear power station, was grim. The Whitehaven girls liked them, the boyfriends did not. Phil May of the Pretty Things described how their roadie defended them from angry boyfriends, with a shotgun which he kept in the back of the van. Girls carried scissors for cutting lengths of hair and pieces of clothes for souvenirs, while boyfriends wanted to beat them up. In 1961, The Beatles‘ roadie, Neil Aspinall, bought a van for £80 and charged them five bob (5s or 25p) for every journey.

Rick Wakeman tells us quite abruptly that, ‘Some of the working men’s clubs were shit holes and that was upgrading them.’

By 1967, with imported American hippydom, everything had changed. A full-scale rock tour was organised featuring The Nice, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Move and Pink Floyd. It was supposed to be a two-and-a-half hour show, but the club would switch off the power supply half way through Jimi Hendrix’s set. There were no women on the tour of 67, although Sandy Shaw was backed by the Paramounts and travelled in the van with the band. In 1968, Sandy Denny was travelling in the Fairport van, which was no problem, but pubs would not serve her because of their ‘men only bars’. Sonja Kristina of Curved Air, shown in both seventies footage and a recent interview, said everyone slept together in the back of the tour coach. It was like a relationship without sex. Road accidents, involving touring bands, did not make the press until 1969, when Fairport Convention crashed and drummer Martin Lamble was killed.

Motorways opened in 1959, with the M1, and the Blue Boar Service Station at Watford Gap was unveiled on the same day. Carl Palmer, then with Chris Farlowe, remembered how groups would meet at the Blue Boar and he saw the Tremeloes and the Searchers. Prior to this he recalled truck stops with 10 beds in a room and unwashed sheets. Brian James, who came later in the seventies with The Damned, said the B&B landladies took pity on him and wanted to feed him.

Kim McAuliff of late-seventies all-girl band, Girlschool(1), remembered getting changed for gigs, in toilets with wee on the floor. She said they formed a girl band because men did not want women on the tour bus. Girlschool, like other groups, slept on top of the gear in the back of the van. Drummer Denise Dufore had pent up energy and they had to stop to let her run around, although she could sleep upright with a cloth over her head like a budgie. Denise also had smelly socks and shoes, so they were periodically thrown out of the van window. Motorhead invited them on one of their tours, whereas many bands would charge the support act to join them.

More equipment in the seventies meant a road crew. Peter Hook of Joy Division and Blue Mondays followed Queen in recording an album in Wales and retold a funny story from the engineers about Mercury and co. Apparently, Queen’s roadies had turned up with sports cars and girls, so the engineers asked if they were the band. They said they were the road crew, but had their own crew to set up the equipment and added, ‘But, don’t tell the band.’ Another of Hook’s stories involved a roadie being sent for a supply of beer, opening the bus door and finding they were already heading down the motorway at 70mph!

Peter Dougal Butler, assistant to Keith Moon, recalled how the drummer attempted to phone hotel room services for a sandwich in the middle of the night, but they did not answer. He threw a TV out of widow. The hotel phoned him and asked if he had just thrown a TV out of the window. He said, ‘Yes,’ and next time would they answer the phone.

Rat Scabies, also of The Damned, said tour maps looked like pentagrams. Steve Harley of Cockney Rebel added that they could play Portsmouth, Glasgow and possibly Southampton on three consecutive nights. Another of Scabies’ observations was that bands had a two-year career on average, roadies got forty years. Wilko Johnson and Norman Watt-Roy‘s experiences did not have a road crew; they had a lock-up, would drive the van, picked each other up in the van, set up the equipment, played and then did everything in reverse night after night. Wilko said, ‘I think I slept twice in the seventies!’

Rick Wakeman provided an anecdote on how newly established rock venues were created in the seventies for bands, like Wilko’s Dr Feelgood, who were too big for pubs, but not big enough for stadiums, ‘There were a few great venues which you aspired to play in when you were in a band in the early seventies. One was Friars in Aylesbury, the other was Boston Gliderdrome. The Gliderdome was absolutely fantastic, they oould squeeze 1200 people in there. You felt you had made it when you played clubs like Boston Gliderdrome.’

Tours came full circle in 1978 when Dave Robinson took his bands on the Stiff Tour, on a British Rail train. They hired the train with Pulman carriages and put a stiff banner on the side.

On closing, Brian James and Rat Scabies told of how a tour starts out as band versus the world and ends with niggles being magnified out of proportion. Although The Damned toured with Marc Bolan and T.Rex and found him keen to keep fit, ‘Running around the services in his little green tracksuit,’ and open to the extent he would discuss anything. Suzi Quatro lamented that touring was a lonely existence. Paul Humphreys of OMD even picked up the phone in his own house to call room service, then realised it was his house and not a hotel. Steve Harley said, ‘You have to do it, there is no other way.’ Marty Wilde also said candidly, ‘You have got to be loved by everyone if you can.’ The film ended with a little comedy sketch featuring Rick shut out of the Gliderdrome and unable to find his van.

Tales From the Tour Bus: Rock ‘n’ Roll on the Road is an excellent documentary and quite funny too. I have seen it three times and recommend it wholeheartedly to all rock fans. BBC4 usually show good quality music documentaries on Friday nights and they are well worth keeping an eye on the TV listings.

(1) RIP Girlschool lead guitarist and singer Kelly Johnson, who died of cancer in 2007.

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Top of the Pops, Thursday 9th October 1980

HELLO, AS YOU CAN SEE WE’VE ALREADY STARTED, BUT YOU’RE VERY WELCOME TO TONIGHT’S EDITION OF TOP OF THE POPS
Top of the Pops this evening was a repeated episode from 9th October 1980(1), introduced by Peter Powell by then with short barnet, stripey top and red cardigan placed strategically over his shoulders so the cuffs could tuck into his waistband. This was the era of . . . smart casual. The first group to mime in the studio are Status Quo with What You’re Proposing (No.27). A few whisps of dry ice billow across the studio and a couple of kids start pogoing, as if on cue from the director. Despite the presence of John Coghlan and Alan Lancaster, the group were in decline and the pair look embarrassed at playing such dross. Quo are only one of two rock bands on the show.

Powell unexpectedly advertises red Top of the Pops T-shirts, which will be available in two weeks time, before a video of Diana Ross with the Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards produced My Old Piano (No.5), in which she writhes around a piano in a palm-strewn room with classical pillars. Thanks to the Chic team it was her best record, in my opinion. Afterwards Powell interviews Dennis Waterman on the subject of his national ‘rock n roll’ tour and new single release, Good For You. Waterman hands Powell a copy from under his jacket in hilarious mock-Minder style. Powell was affable, but always embarrassing and it is a squirm fest.

Second in the studio are synthpop group, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, performing Enola Gay (No.35) with a severely jerky lead singer in waistcoat, formal shirt and tie. The drummer has a v-neck jumper tucked into his trousers. Unintentionally funny is when the director cuts to a camera close-up, during a solo, on the wrong keyboard. In a ‘news flash’, Powell announces Queen are No 1 in the US album and singles chart. A singles chart rundown from no. 30, reveals that Paranoid by Black Sabbath, Trouble by Gillan and Thin Lizzy‘s Killer on the Loose are listed but we hear nothing from them.

Legs and Co dance to Casanova by Coffee (No.19), a disco song with a George Benson-like guitar solo. Befitting the subject, the dancers wear 18th century outfits with tutus in place of conventional dresses. There are lots of yelps from somebody. None of it is sexy. Next in the studio is laid back reggae group Black Slate performing Amigo. The lead singer is dressed as a Mexican and delivers lines like, ‘Amigo-migo-migo-migo-ooh’, ‘Shoop-shoop-wah-ooh-ah’, and, ‘Jah lover, ooh’. In another hysterical interlude Powell asks Waterman what The Nolans conjure up in his mind. He replies with a Benny Hill-style, ‘Oooh!’ The girls appear in a video singing and dancing to Gotta Pull Myself Together (No.25) while wearing yellow sleeveless tops and trousers. Cut to a couple wandering about the river side, resplendent in satin bomber jacket and jumpsuit.

Paul Jones is interviewed to promote the Find Yourself Another Fool single, performed by The Blues Band and written by Tom McGuinness. Jones introduces British smooth soul-funk group Linx and You’re Lying (No.23). Their greatest hit, Intuition, was three or four months away. Lead singer David Grant wears a black dinner jacket with the sleeves pulled up. In the third week at number one in this week’s chart is The Police and Don’t Stand so Close to Me, shown in a video. Understandable to young male teachers, it is hard to imagine the video being made today. The band are sensibly dressed in academic gowns, with Sting also clad in a ‘The Beat‘ vest and inexplicably wielding a carpet beater, Stewart Copeland is smoking and throwing a paper ball at Sting, while Andy Summers is his usual long suffering self. Don’t Stand so Close to Me is a great record, making having to suffer everything else just about worthwhile.

D.I.S.C.O. by French band Ottawan plays over shots of the audience in smart casual, of course, and the closing credits. Paul Jones is happy to dance, while Dennis Waterman is not, and one person is still determined to pogo. The producer was Stanley Appel and the executive producer, Michael Hurll.

(1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2W6Yd0X-27M

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Boston by Boston (1976)

Boston - More Than a Feeling single sleeve (1976) (Courtesy: Wikipedia)

MORE THAN A FEELING
When I was about seventeen, I worked with someone who had a contact in the local CBS factory and, for a price, they got me a cassette of Boston‘s first album when it was released. To fit the tracks equally on the two sides of the tape, the track listing is different to that of the vinyl, so it became what I was used to hearing. Later, when I obtained the CD, I had to resequence the playing order for comfort. The cassette order is what I have used for reviewing the album in this blog entry. The quality of the recording was and remains high, with Tom Scholtz‘s sharp production and the Dolby noise reduction on the tape. Nearly forty years later and the cassette still sounds good!

Boston’s greatest hit, More Than a Feeling, fades in with a gentle jangling guitar and Brad Delp‘s voice on the first verse, but soon steps up after the singer announces,’I closed my eyes and I slipped away.’ After which, Tom Scholtz plays a solo, the pace increases and the hand claps drive the song towards the first chorus. The pattern is repeated similarly for the second verse/chorus until Scholtz plays his solo proper. With the third verse and chorus, the track fades out. It seems a predictable pattern, but Scholtz’s crystal clear production and pure sounding guitar are superb, while Delp’s glorious voice is the revelation here. The song is about hearing a song and getting more than a feeling, such as the distinct memory of, ‘I see my Mary Ann walk away.’ One could say the same of this track and album; while it creates an agreeable feeling when listening, afterwards there remains an indelible impression of the whole collection.

Acoustic guitar, with a rock ‘n’ roll feel, opens Peace of Mind, becomes an electric guitar line and is followed by harmony guitars. Again Delp lifts the following verse/choruses above the ordinary with his fantastic phrasing, but Sholtz’s guitar parts and instrumental passages constantly change throughout the song. There are hard rock riffs a-plenty, with piercing notes cutting across them. Peace of Mind was the third single from Boston (the second being Foreplay/ Long Time) and was less successful than its predecessors, probably because it was heavier.

Smokin‘ is a straight rock ‘n’ roll track with some funky keyboards and tells of the band being lively and exciting, or it may be about listening to music while smoking marijuana. Something that Boston are very good at is incorporating biographical elements into their songs. At about halfway, Smokin‘ develops a strident keyboards/ guitar passage before the vocals return and it ends. Scholtz demonstrates his skill at using seemingly simple dynamics with complex playing. Let me Take You Home Tonight is the first slow-ish track and is about taking a girl home and hoping to show her a bit of ‘sweet delight’. What could be a bit crass, actually turns out to be beautiful with Delp’s yearning voice and Barry Goodreau‘s inventive lead guitar. His solo has some Allman Brothers‘ sounding guitar, plus a host of others.

Side two of the cassette begins with Rock and Roll Band, representing more of the autobiographical material, along the lines of, ‘Well, we were just another band out of Boston/ On the road to try to make ends meet.’ It is one of the best songs of its type and gives the impression that this is a real band that worked their way around the clubs, while perfecting their playing technique. Rock and Roll Band goes on to give an account of their signing by the men in suits, but avoids the particular details of the contract.

On Hitch a Ride, Brad Delp follows the guitar with his voice to give a background of the city, before the pace increases and he declares, ‘Gonna hitch a ride/ Head for the other side/ Leave it all behind.’ His chilly phrasing and the harmonies paint an effective picture of having to leave the cold of New York in the winter. Scholtz introduces another organ solo, before launching into harmony guitar solos. An impression is given of more than one guitarist playing across each other, but it is unlikely to be the case – it is all Scholtz. The handclaps also make a return.

Something About You has a number of lead and harmony vocal parts, all by Delp. Like Scholtz, he is able to appear as lead performer and a number of backing musicians. Foreplay is a lengthy instrumental passage of guitars and keyboards. Fran Sheehan plays bass and stands out, as does Sib Hashian‘s drumming. After a quiet keyboard passage at around two-and-a-half minutes, a sustained guitar note ushers in all the usual elements, Brad Delp’s delivery, multi-part harmonies, yelps, keys, and eventually plenty of soloing from Goudreau. In 1976, Long Time made a good closing song with Delp telling us, ‘Well I’m takin’ my time, I’m just a movin’ along/ You’ll forget about me after I’ve been gone.’ However, following his tragic death in 2007, he could not have been more wrong. The greatest American hard rock singer was gone forever.

Another irony is that Boston were not the established band they appeared in their ‘personal narrative’ lyrics and polished instrumentation. Scholtz and Delp signed a deal with Epic around the time their band split, so they quickly recruited Barry Goudreau on guitar, bassist Fran Sheehan and drummer Sib Hashian to create a group which could play the songs for a record company audition to finalise the contract. The label wanted Scholz to rerecord his demo tapes in a professional studio, but he reworked them in his own basement studio. Original drummer Jim Masdea played drums on the track Rock and Roll Band. Later, Delp added vocals and the album was mixed by John Boylan. It was only at this stage that the latter and engineer Warren Dewey suggested the name Boston. According to the Remaster 2005 notes, Sib Hashian played drums, Fran Sheehan played bass guitar on Foreplay and Let Me Take You Home Tonight, while Barry Goudreau added lead guitars to the same tracks and played rhythm guitar.

NOTES
As with BOC’s Tattoo Vampire from Agents of Fortune, Boston’s Foreplay/ Long Time was to be reviewed as part of my ‘From the Alan Freeman Playlist’ series, but isolating one track from an album again seemed inappropriate. So, the whole album was swiftly reviewed in the available time over two days. I feel in my haste, I have done a disservice to Brad Delp, whom I consider to be the best American hard rock singer of all time. My intention is to later write an addendum to the blog entries up to that, as yet, uncertain date.

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Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Agents of Fortune by Blue Oyster Cult (1976)

BOC - (Don't Fear) the Reaper/ Tattoo Vampire single sleeve (1976) (Courtesy: Wikipedia)


THIS IS THE NIGHT WE RIDE
Agents of Fortune was described on its release as Blue Oyster Cult‘s most accessible and commercial album, which is true up to a point. Admittedly, it has a very clean clear production with plenty of catchy melodies, but the lyrics are intelligently dark and witty and are delivered with Eric Bloom‘s perfectly matched vocal. Added to this is the outstanding lead guitar work of Donald ‘Buck Dharma’ Roeser, the range of complimentary keyboards of Allen Lanier(1) and the Bouchard brothers’ propulsive rhythm section. All combine to provide moments of inspired melodic hard rock, which avoid the sticky sentimentality of many bands who were to follow. Much of the credits were not written in stone as Roeser, Lanier and drummer Albert Bouchard all provided lead vocals on some tracks, while Bloom and Lanier were capable guitarists.

The intro to This Ain’t the Summer of Love(2) reminds me of a murky version of The Ripper by Judus Priest. However, this not so much heavy, as grungy some fifteen-to-twenty years before grunge. It serves as a reminder that BOC were no hippy band, but more a dark melodic rock faction. True Confessions is slightly commercial with piano to the fore. BOC’s greatest hit, (Don’t Fear) the Reaper, combines the harmonies of The Byrds with lyrics that sound bright, even if they are marginally sinister. The second half builds up to a guitar solo that was left off the single and is guaranteed to strip the paint from your door. Although written by Buck Dharma and serving as a vehicle for his singing and guitar, credit should go to Albert Bouchard’s drumming and choppy cowbell percussion, which drive the track.

E.T.I. (Exra-Terrestrial Intelligence) is the heaviest piece so far with spacey Hawkwind-like synthesizers and weird sci-fi guitar sounds, along with more of those Byrds harmonies. ETI segues directly into Patti Smith‘s breathy-voiced intro to Vera Gemini. She adds background voices throughout to a heavyish track with a great off-kilter bass riff. The lyrics demonstrate the brilliance of BOC’s songs and the lead guitar is as sharp as ever. Buck Dharma’s incisive guitar kicks off Sinful Love and is all-pervasive on another heavy song, with more terrific lyrics which dovetail perfectly with the instrumentation, ‘I love you like sinful love, but I won’t be your pigeon.’ By now BOC are on a roll and Tattoo Vampire is one of the best tracks on what is a flawless album, beginning with one of the best and strangest drum intros you will ever hear. Joe Bouchard‘s bass playing gives the track its dynamism, showing the brothers were an underrated rhythm section. vocal delivery of the alliterative lyrics makes for one of the most memorable hard rock songs of the seventies.

Opening track of the second side of the vinyl Agents of Fortune, Morning Final, reveals the overtly melodic aspect of BOC with its swirling organ, chiming piano, tubular bell, and wah-wah pedals. The only weak part of an otherwise perfect album is the blatantly contrived voice of the subway newspaper seller, but nothing is completely perfect. Tenderloin continues the melodic theme, a gentle song with a theme from ELP‘s Knife Edge, but about a district of a city where vice and corruption are prominent. Debbie Denise is beautiful with its interlaced mellotron and guitar, as well as vocal harmonies. It has several hooks to emphasise the cliched point about the girl left at home by the touring rock star, ‘I was out rolling with my band,’ and, ‘Debbie Denise was true to me-ee-ee.’ Buck Dharma’s guitar tone is sublime in the closing stages of the song. His playing is often criticised for fading, just when it gets interesting, and this is a case in point.

My version of Agents Of Fortune (Japan SICP-30662, 2014) has the song Fire Of Unknown Origin as a bonus, because, according to the excellent liner notes, it is an outtake from this album’s recording sessions. It reappeared as the title track of one of the band’s best albums after Agents. The outtake has a number of superb ‘sounds’ and deserves to be on this album. Sally and Dance The Night Away were demoed for Agents although not used – apparently versions were later recorded and released by The Brain Surgeons and Jim Carroll respectively. Sally is typically full of melodic tones, feeling like a cross between Bob Marley, The Shadows and the song Bony Moronie; it shows a lot of promise never fully realised. Dance Away is a John Lennon-ish piece and the only inferior track on the album, but it is a demo and who knows what it could have become? The first part of the demo of Don’t Fear the Reaper, with bongos, sounds less like The Byrds and a lot like America. It is different to the hit, but is no less wonderfully atmospheric, although the final section featuring the guitar solo seems a bit tacked-on.

Production was by the team of Murray Krugman and Sandy Pearlman, with David Lucas. If ever there was a fully consistent rock album with quality songs, strong vocals and shimmering instrumentation, it was Agents of Fortune. Possibly the only album to match Blue Oyster Cult’s effort was Boston‘s first album; that, however, is another story.

NOTES
As part of my policy of swift writing, this review took about two days on-and-off, which is the blink of an eye by my usual standard of weeks, months or even years. It started as just a post on Tattoo Vampire for my ‘From the Alan Freeman Playlist’ series, but isolating one track from Agents of Fortune seems inappropriate somehow. Stuart Maconie, in his biography, listed a music journalist’s particular skills as, ‘Taking the piss, reviewing at speed and taking pop music way too seriously’ (Cider with Roadies, p.229). So, I have got to increase my writing speed, whether I like it or not.

(1) Allen Lanier, a co-founding member of Blue Öyster Cult, tragically died on 14th August 2013. The keyboard player and guitarist, who was 67, succumbed to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease as a result of smoking. BOC guitarist Donald ‘Buck Dharma’ Roeser, speaking of the habit in Rolling Stone said, ‘It wasn’t a big surprise, but it feels like the circle is broken.’
http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/blue-oyster-cult-co-founder-allen-lanier-dead-at-67-20130815
(2) BOC made no secret of the fact that inspiration for the riff of This Ain’t the Summer of Love was borrowed from Ascension Day by Third World War. It can be heard on: YouTubehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhKeMc8mQRg

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Monday, 9 November 2015

Buck's Boogie by Blue Oyster Cult (On Your Feet or On Your Knees 1975)

From the Alan Freeman Playlist

Blue Oyster Cult - On Your Feet or On Your Knees gatefold (1975) (Courtesy: Headheritage)

BORN TO BE WILD
There are bands who, when they record a live album, add previously unreleased or original tracks – in addition to replicating, changing, improving or extending familiar songs. The Who‘s Live at Leeds (1970) adds the covers from their regular set: Mose Allison’s Young Man Blues, Jerry Capehart and Eddie Cochran’s Summertime Blues and Shakin’ All Over by Johnny Kidd. A studio recording of Summertime Blues had been made in 1967, but was not released until The Story of the Who (1976). Thin Lizzy appended two unreleased ‘originals’ to Live and Dangerous (1978), Are You Ready? and Baby Drives Me Crazy.

To On Your Feet or On Your Knees from 1975, Blue Oyster Cult attached an original lengthy instrumental, Buck’s Boogie, which serves as a showpiece for Donald (Buck Dharma) Roeser‘s impressive guitar playing. Like The Who, they added some covers from their usual set, The Yardbirds’ I Ain’t Got You, restructured as Maserati GT, and Steppenwolf’s Born to be Wild. Buck’s Boogie consists of a simple but extremely catchy rock ‘n’ roll melody, over which Dharma weaves his intricate but faultlessly played solos. What sets Boogie apart from other live guitar showpieces is that the remaining members of the band are also given opportunity to shine, especially Allen Lanier‘s organ work which acts as a foil to the guitar. Albert Bouchard‘s drum solo appears after about four minutes and his brother Joe‘s bass solo comes around a minute later. As a rhythm section, the brothers are prominent with or without their own solos.

BOC were often grouped with the early ‘heavy metal’ bands like Blue Cheer, Vanilla Fudge and Black Sabbath, but they did not have a particularly heavy sound. Nor were they primitive enough to qualify as a garage band, despite being classified as such. BOC also had another dimension in that they were consistently unpredictable, varied, experimental and melodic. Their songs were usually of the highest quality and revealed a sometimes bizarre sense of humour.

Buck’s Boogie was recorded on one of several shows during 1974 and it is unclear from exactly which performance it was taken. It remains a part of Blue Oyster Cult’s set to the present.

DAVID GILMOUR ON LATER . . . WITH JOOLS HOLLAND
David Gilmour and his band appeared on the extended one hour edition of BBC Two’s Later… with Jools Holland on Friday night (2nd October). Surprisingly, he opened the show, with Rattle That Lock, so we did not have to wait long for his appearance. He closed with Today, the guitar solo at the end of which gave him opportunity to demonstrate his seemingly effortless and highly distinctive playing. In between times, he performed The Girl In The Yellow Dress, a disappointingly slow, jazz-inspired piece with Guy Pratt on double bass, Jools Holland at the piano and João Mello on sax.

One of the problems with watching Later, is that you have to suffer a lot of dross to catch the band you like. But with Gilmour appearing early, and three times in total, it was not so bad. An interview with former Gilmour collaborator, Georgie Fame, was interesting, for sharing his influences, but he did not perform. Also appearing on the show were The Weekend, The Libertines, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, and Ukrainian quartet DakhaBraka.

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Symptom of the Black Sabbath (Sabotage 1975)

From the Alan Freeman Playlist

Black Sabbath - Sabotage (1975) (Courtesy: Wikipedia)


TAKE ME THROUGH THE CENTURIES TO SUPERSONIC YEARS
In his biography, Iron Man, Tony Iommi said of Black Sabbath‘s sixth album, ‘It felt like we were being sabotaged all the way along the line and getting punched from all sides. We were constantly in some problem or another with management or somebody … That’s why … the album is called Sabotage.’ Rightly believing the previous album to be inferior, he is alleged to have told Steven Rosen in the nineties that, ‘We wanted to do a rock album – Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath wasn’t a rock album, really.’ One of the best tracks on the ‘rock album’ and one of the best ever by the band is Symptom of the Universe.

Symptom of the Universe is a track with a number of changes. The intro consists of the preceding track, Don’t Start Too Late, a quiet acoustic guitar instrumental from Tony Iommi, which segues into the thunderously heavy opening riff of Symptom interspersed with Bill Ward‘s rolling drums. At around the two-minute mark, the riff changes again for another heavy one and then switches back. Throughout, Ozzy Osbourne‘s voice is at its most maniacal. At just over three-and-a-half minutes there is another riff, presaging Iommi’s massive guitar solo. Almost a minute later Symptom becomes acoustic again, this time with vocals and a separate lyric. Iommi’s guitar playing on the coda is Spanish-influenced. This final passage is like the intro to Fairies Wear Boots, in that it was created independently in a jam session and tacked onto another track. As with Fairies, it works.

Geezer Butler‘s lyrics are mostly nonsense, although it is fair to say the Symptom of the Universe is love, ‘A symptom of the universe, a love that never dies.’ All of the verses are fantastical or dreamlike, with their mention of supersonic years, electrifying enemy, the Moon, silver tomb, seven-hundredth unicorn and magic ocean. From verses four to three, the first person and his love escape to their dreams and find happiness. Hence, the quieter detached playing of the final, almost separate, passage.

Symptom of the Universe is very heavy as is much of the Sabotage album, with Hole in the Sky, Megolamania and The Writ. To describe the song as an early example of ‘thrash metal’ or NWOBHM, as is popular these days, is errant nonsense and is like suggesting The Beatles were an early Brit-pop band. It seems amusing that someone at the record company thought it would be a good idea to release Symptom as a single. Unsurprisingly, it was not a hit. Equally funny is shredder Yngwie Malmsteen‘s comment, in an interview with Nick Bowcott of Guitar Player in 2008, in which he said that, ‘Tony’s use of the flat fifth [in Symptom of the Universe] would have got him burned at the stake a couple hundred years ago.’

Unfortunately, by the mid-seventies Sabbath were being ripped off by their manager, Patrick Meeehan, and their record label, Nems. Sabotage turned out to be their last great album with the original lineup of Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward. Fans had to wait for Ronnie James Dio and Heaven and Hell, in 1980, for the band’s salvation.

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Sunday, 8 November 2015

Sister Seagull and Maid in Heaven by Be-Bop DeLuxe (Futurama 1975)

From the Alan Freeman Playlist


Be-bop Deluxe - Sunburst Finish (1976) (Courtesy: Allmusic)

SOUND ON SOUND
Some bands are too unusual to classify and Be-Bop Deluxe are one such example. Bill Nelson had a David Bowie or Bryan Ferry vocal style, but without the Anthony Newley and Mick Jagger theatrical delivery. His guitar playing was somewhat at odds with his singing, being a bright version of Jimi Hendrix‘s fluidity. Maid in Heaven has a forceful intro, which becomes even more so with the introduction of Bill Nelson’s guitar. Nelson’s lyrics were often imaginative, with Maid in Heaven sounding as if it must be about more than a liaison in a cheap hotel, ‘She’s a maid in heaven/ He’s a knight on the tiles’. Likewise, the band sounds as if it is about to expand and develop the idea, when the song ends abruptly.

Sister Seagull is a slower track, but has a slightly heavier riff than Maid in Heaven. It is equally compact, ending with a seagull impression played by Nelson on his guitar. The lyrics use the bird as a metaphor for the feeling of freedom provided by a relationship, ‘And the wings of change have spread themselves o’er me/ Sister seagull you’re the reason I survive.’ Both tracks were released as singles from the Futura album in 1975, with the economical lineup of Bill Nelson on guitar and vocals, Charlie Tumahai on bass and backing vocals and drummer Simon Fox. Keyboards were played by Nelson and overdubbed. Production was by Queen alumnus Roy Thomas Baker, who gave the band a sharp clean sound.

Tragically for fans of rock guitar, Bill Nelson later exchanged Be-Bop Deluxe for Red Noise and, along with his hollow-body Gibson ES-345, disappeared into new wave, synth pop and ambient(1). He worked with experimental champions such as Harold Budd, Roger Eno, Robert Fripp, Gary Numan, David Sylvian and others. In 1996, Nelson augmented his sound with drum and bass for After The Satellite Sings, which some claim was an influence on Reeves Gabrels‘ instrumentation and production on the Earthling album (1997) by David Bowie. By this time, Nelson had come full circle.

HANDY COMPUTER TIPS FOR OLD-FASHIONED USERS 1: STRIKETHROUGH
This evening, I was completing a form in Word, which requested that I crossed out one of two statements that did not apply. I thought the best way to answer would be to strikethrough(2), although it is something I have never used in Word 2003. A Google search revealed an article written by Diana Huggins for Locker Gnome(3), a site describing itself as, ‘Empowering the geek lifestyle; finding cool stuff for you since 1996!’ And a very useful site it is too. The instructions are in plain English for a numbskull like me. These are Ms Huggins’ instructions:

“You can apply Strikethrough formatting to text in Word using the steps described below.
1. Select the text that you want to change.
2. On the Format menu, click Font, and then click the Font tab.
3. Select the Strikethrough or Double strikethrough check box.
4. Click OK to apply your changes.”

HANDY COMPUTER TIPS FOR OLD-FASHIONED USERS 2: YOUTUBE
YouTube has lots of irritating features and one of them is the absence of a repeat button. To repeat a video in YouTube, type the word repeat after youtube in the URL. I cannot remember where I saw this, but it is very handy. Also very annoying is the Autoplay of a new video that you did not select. To switch this off, look in the top right hand corner of the screen. There is a little white circle in a blue box with a white tick, meaning Autoplay is switched on. Click and drag the circle to the left. The tick disappears and the box becomes grey, which means it is off.

(1) A contributor to Amazon, described Bill Nelson’s original style as ‘Ziggy-plays-Yes’, and his subsequent change in style as being ‘like Jimi Hendrix recording an album on the flugel horn’: http://www.amazon.com/review/R1S6TDBXL3OX4N/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00000JR4Y&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=5174&store=music
(2) Strikethrough – a horizontal line through the middle of the selected text, primarily useful for tracking changes made to text.
(3) Thanks to Diana Huggins of Locker Gnome: http://www.lockergnome.com/windows/2006/12/15/use-strikethrough-formatting-word-2003/

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Birthday by The beatles (The Beatles of The White Album 1968)

From the Alan Freeman Playlist

The Beatles - White Album, poster photos (1968) (Courtesy: nkw)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YER
Birthday is a song from The Beatles or The White Album (1968), and is credited to Lennon and McCartney. According to Chris Thomas, who produced the track in George Martin‘s absence, the song was mainly Paul McCartney‘s because it was improvised at Abbey Road studio and he arrived first. As the others gradually appeared they added their parts. McCartney said he and John Lennon made a 50-50 contribution, but Philip Norman, in his book Shout! (2003), has claimed these were rare. More likely one wrote about half the song and then asked the other for help. It has been claimed that Lennon said the song was rubbish and his input was minimal, but I have not seen a reliable source for this at the time of writing.

Birthday has a repetitive speeded-up blues riff, giving the feel of rock ‘n’ roll or even hard rock. The track begins with Ringo Starr‘s drums, rapidly joined by the bass and some rock ‘n’ roll guitar. I have not named the guitarists, as it is claimed McCartney played lead, with Lennon, while George Harrison was unusually on bass. McCartney is a very good guitarist and George Harrison is thought to have played bass on a few Beatles and solo tracks, but again I have seen no verification for this regarding Birthday. Lead vocals, on the first verse, are by Paul McCartney in a raw style, with block harmonies from Lennon, Harrison, Patti Harrison and Yoko Ono. There is a lengthy drum fill and brief guitar part, followed by Lennon taking lead vocal on the verse, ‘We’re going to a party, party’. McCartney again takes lead vocal for a frantic ‘party’ passage, which is accompanied by distorted piano (through a guitar amp) and high-pitched harmonies. Throughout, one can hear handclaps and random shouts. The sound effect at the end is also the piano.

Few would say Birthday ranked among The Beatles great songs, but, like Ob-la-di Ob-la-da, it is a bit of fun and was ahead of its time as an early hard rock or even ‘power pop’ track. Birthday‘s frivolity balances the more meaningful songs on the album, such as Dear Prudence, While My guitar Gently Weeps or Blackbird. Engineer Ken Scott kept it in mind when he went on to produce hard pop by David Bowie, Supertramp, Kansas, Cliff Richard and The Tubes, as well as hard rock by Ronnie Montrose and Gamma.

ITV WORLD CUP RUGBY NEEDS A NEW THEME
This evening, hosts England played Wales, at Twickenham, in a Group A match of the Rugby Union World Cup. It brought to a head the controversy over the current version of the theme song, World in Union, recorded by British ‘singer’ Paloma Faith for ITV’s presentation of the tournament. World In Union was commissioned by the International Rugby Board (now World Rugby) for the second Rugby World Cup, in 1991, and was written by lyricist Charlie Skarbek, who for the melody borrowed the middle part of Jupiter from The Planets by Gustav Holst. Previous singers of the piece include Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Bryn Terfel, Dame Shirley Bassey, Katherine Jenkins, Russell Watson, Lesley Garrett, Aled Jones, Blake, Hayley Westenra and Laura Wright.

Newspapers have carried front page stories, rugby fans were moved to start online petitions, viewers wrote directly to ITV and even Paloma Faith fans have complained about her, ‘Screeching like a tortured cat, so you can’t make out the words.'(1) Defending herself, Faith further inflamed viewers, when she told BBC Newsbeat: ‘I mean I’m quite pleased with it, so that’s all that matters really.’ ITV continue to insist that the theme tune will continue until 31st October, when the World Cup ends, and add that it features on the official album! There are five weeks to go, so it will be interesting to see the outcome.

At Twickenham, the half-time score was England 16 – Wales 9. By full-time the result was England 25 – Wales 28. The Welsh go to the quarter finals, the hosts are in trouble.

FROM GREG LAKE TO STRICTLY
Earlier this evening, BBC 1 broadcast live the third part of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing pro-celebrity competition. Musical director, Dave Arch has the difficult task of re-scoring the songs for his orchestra, and adjusting the timings for the dances. In 2005, Arch played keyboards for The Greg Lake Band, following in illustrious footsteps, and later toured with Paul McCartney in support of the Memory Almost Full album (2007). Dave Arch’s orchestra includes percussionist Frank Ricotti and singer Lance Ellington, son of Ray and former member of the duo Koffee ‘n’ Kreme with Beth Hannah.

(1) From the Daily Telegraph comments: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/rugby-world-cup/11888395/Rugby-World-Cup-fans-petition-ITV-to-replace-truly-awful-Paloma-Faith-theme-music.html

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Can't Get Enough by Bad Company (Bad Co 1974)

From the Alan Freeman Playlist

Bad Company (Courtesy: Wikipedia)

COME OVER HERE RIGHT NOW
One of the characteristics of supergroups in the seventies, was that they rarely lasted for more than a few albums or years. The first of them, Cream, only survived for three years and it became a cliche to suggest that their successor, Blind Faith, was killed by the practise after which they were named. Rod Evans’ Captain Beyond made one, albeit great, album with the original line-up; and UK lasted for two studio albums and one live recording, but with a change of drummer. One of the exceptions was Bad Company, who made six excellent albums, over eight years, with the original personnel.

Bad Company were a supergroup formed by the singer and drummer from Free, Paul Rodgers and Simon Kirke, along with guitarist Mick Ralphs from Mott the Hoople and bassist Boz Burrell from King Crimson. It gave an interesting configuration because Rodgers no longer had the support of distinctive bass player Andy Fraser, who wrote the hit songs with which he was most closely identified, All Right Now and My Brother Jake. Mick Ralphs, out of Ian Hunter’s singer-songwriter shadow, was free to be an all-out hard rock guitarist and songwriter. The glimpses of Ralphs’ talents on Hoople tracks like Darkness, Darkness and Ready for Love could be given full reign, the only exception being his singing which would be sidelined for Rodgers. Most interesting of all was, and remains, Boz Burrell, who came from a jazz backgound, as a rhythm guitarist, and enjoyed a brief career as a pop singer, with members of Deep Purple, in the mid to late-sixties. Burrell joined King Crimson ostensively to sing, but they needed a bassist more than a rhythm guitarist, so Robert Fripp taught him to play bass. Within a few years, Boz became one of the best fretless bass players in rock music.

Can’t Get Enough, the opening song on Bad Co’s first album, is counted in and launched by Simon Kirke’s prominent drums. Rodgers voice sounds the same as it was with Free, but Ralphs’ guitar has less of a fiery blues feel than Paul Kossoff’s. It is also more straight forward hard rock than he was playing in his Hoople days. Bad Co had a more jazzy feel than Free, due partly to the presence of Crimson saxophonist Mel Collins and also to Burrell’s jazz background. On Can’t Get Enough, the bass is quiet in the mix, but often busy. The lyrics are simple and straightforward, which is frequently the sign of a great song. All Right Now had simple lyrics; All the Young Dudes, less so! The song was Bad Co’s first hit single and remained popular in their live set. Written by Mick Ralphs, it epitomised their approach in that it is catchy, direct and unpretentious. Can’t Get Enough demonstrates the reasons Bad Company lasted longer than many of their peers.

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Alan Freeman's Saturday Rock Show on BBC Radio 1: Tracklist - Pt.5 U-Z

Uu
Unknown by UK (UK 1978)
Suicidal Man by Uriah Heep (Wonderworld 1974)
Something or Nothing by Uriah Heep (Wonderworld 1974)
Return to Fantasy by Uriah Heep (Return to Fantasy 1975)
Unknown by Uriah Heep (High and Mighty 1976)
Unknown by Uriah Heep (Firefly 1976)
The Dance by Uriah Heep (Innocent Victim 1977)
Choices by Uriah Heep (Innocent Victim 1977)
Rape of the Young by Utopia (Oops! Wrong Planet 1977)

Vv
Albedo 0.39 by Vangelis (Albedo 0.39 1976)

Ww, Xx
Motel Blues by Loudon Wainwright III (Album II 1971)
Turn to Stone by Joe Walsh (Barnstorm 1972)
Rocky Mountain Way by Joe Walsh (The Smoker You Drink, the Player You Get 1973)*
Frankenstein by The Edgar Winter Group (They Only Come Out at Night 1972)
Baba O’Riley by The Who (Who’s Next 1971)
Love Reign O’er Me by The Who (Quadrophenia 1973)
Unknown by Wishbone Ash (There’s the Rub 1974)

Yy
Roundabout by Yes (Fragile 1971)
America by Yes (The New Age of Atlantic sampler 1972)
And You And I by Yes (Close to the Edge 1972)
Yours is no Disgrace by Yes (Yessongs 1973)

Zz
Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers by Z.Z. Top (Tres Hombres 1973)
Other tracks/albums I am vague about, although Fluff definitely played them, are by: David Bowie (Low), Stanley Clarke, Climax Blues Band, David Coverdale (White Snake 1977 and/or Northwinds 1978), an unsigned band called Gentlemen, Jimi Hendrix (Midnight Lightning), Mott (Drive On), Neutrons (Man offshoot), Silverhead (Michael Des Barres) and Styx (Equinox). Alan Freeman also narrated The Story of Pop radio and magazine series which included a progressive rock episode.

Alan Freeman's Saturday Rock Show on BBC Radio 1: Tracklist - Pt.4 O-T

Oo
Extract from Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield (Tubular Bells 1973)
Extract from Hergest Ridge by Mike Oldfield (Hergest Ridge 1974)

Pp
A Dream Within a Dream by Alan Parsons Project (Tales of Mystery and Imagination 1976)
City Kids by Pink Fairies (Kings of Oblivion 1973)
Astronomy Domine by Pink Floyd (Ummagumma 1969)
Time/ Breathe Reprise by Pink Floyd (Dark Side of the Moon 1973)
Wish You Were Here whole album by Pink Floyd (Wish You Were Here 1975)

Qq
Brighton Rock by Queen (Sheer Heart Attack 1974)
Unknown by Queen, Tony Wilson productions (News of the World 1977)

Rr
Man On the Silver Mountain by Rainbow (Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow 1975)*
Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll by Rainbow (Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll 1978)
Love is the Drug by Roxy Music (Siren 1975)
Both Ends Burning by Roxy Music (Viva! Roxy 1976)
Ritt Mickly by Refugee (Refugee 1974)

Ss
Ohio by Sassafras (Wheelin’ ‘n’ Dealin’ 1975)
Long Gone by Snafu (Snafu 1973)
Said He the Judge by Snafu (Snafu 1973)
Goodbye USA by Snafu (Snafu 1973)
Unknown by Son Seals (Unknown)
Heard It by Shanghai (Shanghai 1974)
Motor Bikin’ by Chris Spedding and the Vibrators, a Tony Wilson session (Chris Spedding 1976)
Better by You, Better Than Me by Spooky Tooth (Spooky Two 1969)
Unknown by Chris Stainton and Tundra (Unknown)
Big Fat Momma by Status Quo (Piledriver 1972)
Don’t Think it Matters by Status Quo (Quo 1974)
Down in the Sewer by The Stranglers (Stranglers IV: Rattus Norvegicus 1977)
Walk On By by The Stranglers (Black and White 1978)*
Run for Cover by Streetwalkers (Red Card 1976)
Black-Eyed Queen by String Driven Thing (Please Mind Your Head)

Tt
Extract from Phaedra by Tangerine Dream (Phaedra 1974)
Unknown by Tangerine Dream (Ricochet 1975)
Marquee Moon by Television (Marquee Moon 1977)
I’m Going Home by Ten Years After (Recorded Live 1973)
The Rocker by Thin Lizzy (Vagabonds of the Western World 1973)
Bad Reputation by Thin Lizzy (Bad Reputation 1977)
Snowflakes are Dancing by Isao Tomita (Snowflakes are Dancing 1974)
(Roamin’ Thro’ the Gloamin’ With) 40.000 Headman by Traffic (Traffic 2nd Album 1968)
Little Bit of Sympathy by Robin Trower (Bridge of Sighs 1974)

Alan Freeman's Saturday Rock Show on BBC Radio 1: Tracklist - Pt.3 I-N

Ii
Unknown by Isotope (Isotope 1974 or Illusion 1974)

Jj
Oxygene by Jean-Michel Jarre (Oxygene 1976)
The Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles by Jethro Tull (A Passion Play 1973)
Bungle in the Jungle by Jethro Tull (War Child 1974)
Funeral for a Friend/ Love Lies Bleeding by Elton John (Yellow Brick Road 1973)
Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting by Elton John (Yellow Brick Road 1973)
Move Over by Janis Joplin (Pearl 1971)
Topaz by Journey (Journey 1975)
Dissident Aggressor by Judus Priest (Sin After Sin 1977)

Kk
21st Century Schizoid Man, inc. Mirrors by King Crimson (In the Court of the Crimson King 1969)
Epitaph by King Crimson (In the Court of the Crimson King 1969)
Unknown by King Crimson (Starless and Bible Black 1974)
One More Red Nightmare by King Crimson (Red 1974)

Ll
I Believe in Father Christmas by Greg Lake (Works Volume 2 1975)
Dancing Days by Led Zeppelin (Houses of the Holy 1973)
Unknown by Led Zeppelin (Physical Graffiti 1975)
7171551 by Deke Leonard (Iceberg 1973)
Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd (Second Helping 1974)

Mm
Prelude/ The Storm by Man (2 Ozs of Plastic with a Hole in the Middle 1969)
Many are Called, but Few Get Up by Man (Do You Like it Here Now, are You Settling In? 1971)
Joybringer by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band (Solar Fire 1973)
Spirits in the Night by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band (Spirits in the Night 1975)
Blinded by the Light by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band (The Roaring Silence 1976)
California by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band (Watch 1978)
The Man from Mexico by Meal Ticket [Willie Finlayson] (Code of the Road 1977)
Rock the Nation by Montrose (Montrose 1973)
Bad Motor Scooter by Montrose (Montrose 1973)
Space Station No. 5 by Montrose (Montrose 1973)
Rock Candy by Montrose (Montrose 1973)
Paper Money by Montrose (Paper Money 1974)
Starliner by Montrose (Paper Money 1974)
Melancholy Man by The Moody Blues (A Question of Balance 1970)
Marionette by Mott the Hoople (The Hoople 1974)
Dancing the Night Away by The Motors (The Motors 1 1977)
Be What You Gotta Be by The Motors (The Motors 1 1977)
Nantucket Sleighride (to Owen Coffin) by Mountain (Nantucket Sleighride 1971)

Nn
Shanghai’d n Shanghai by Nazareth (Rampant 1974)
Fidgety Queen by Nektar (Down to Earth 1974)
Unknown by The Neu (Neu ’75 1975)*
Sigmund Freud’s Impersonation of Albert Einstein in America by Randy Newman (Little Criminals 1977)
Stranglehold by Ted Nugent (Ted Nugent 1975)

Alan Freeman's Saturday Rock Show on BBC Radio 1: Tracklist - Pt.2 E-H

Ee
Unknown by The Graeme Edge Band, featuring Adrian Gurvitz (Kick Off Your Muddy Boots 1975)
Unknown by The Graeme Edge Band, featuring Adrian Gurvitz (Paradise Ballroom 1977)
Listen Now by [Phil Manzanera’s] 801 (Listen Now 1977)
Trilogy by Emerson, Lake & Palmer (Trilogy 1972)
Still…You Turn Me On by Emerson, Lake & Palmer (Brain Salad Surgery 1973)
Benny the Bouncer by Emerson, Lake & Palmer (Brain Salad Surgery 1973)
Karn Evil 9: 1st Impression, Pt. 1 by Emerson, Lake & Palmer (Brain Salad Surgery 1973)
Karn Evil 9: 1st Impression, Pt. 2 by Emerson, Lake & Palmer (Brain Salad Surgery 1973)
Karn Evil 9: 2nd Impression by Emerson, Lake & Palmer (Brain Salad Surgery 1973)
Karn Evil 9: 3rd Impression by Emerson, Lake & Palmer (Brain Salad Surgery 1973)
Tarkus by Emerson, Lake & Palmer (Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends…Ladies and Gentlemen 1974)
Jeremy Bender/The Sheriff by Emerson, Lake & Palmer (Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends… Ladies and Gentlemen 1974)
Pirates by Emerson, Lake & Palmer (Works Volume I 1977)
Tiger in a Spotlight by Emerson, Lake & Palmer (Works Volume II 1977)
When the Apple Blossoms Bloom in the Windmills of Your Mind I’ll Be Your Valentine by Emerson, Lake & Palmer (Works Volume II 1977)

Ff
Unknown by Focus (Unknown)*
The Damage is Done by Foreigner (Foreigner 1977)
The Hunter by Free (Free Live! 1971)

Gg
A Million Miles Away by Rory Gallagher, a Tony Wilson production (Tattoo 1973)
Breakaway or I Wanna Stay With You by Gallagher and Lyle (Breakaway 1976)
Unknown by J. Geils Band (‘Live’ Full House 1972)
Monkey Island by Geils (Monkey Island 1977)
The Musical Box by Genesis (Nursery Cryme 1971)
Return of the Giant Hogweed by Genesis (Nursery Cryme 1971)
The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway by Genesis (The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway 1974)
Rollin’ by The Steve Gibbns Band (Any Road Up 1976)
Child in Time by the Ian Gillan Band (Child in Time 1976)
Crossing the Line by Go (Stomu Yamashta, Steve Winwood, Michael Shrieve) (Go 1976)
Unknown by Godley and Creme [with Peter Cook] (Consequences 1977)
Fighting Windmills by Golden Earring (Contraband 1976)
Oceans Away by Phillip Goodhand-Tait (Oceans Away 1976)*
Unknown track by Greenslade (Bedside Manners are Extra 1973)
Soldier by The Groundhogs (Thank Christ for the Bomb 1970)

Hh
When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease by Roy Harper and Trigger (HQ 1975)
Magic Thing by George Hatcher Band (Talkin’ Turkey 1977)
Orgone Accumulator by Hawkwind (The Space Ritual 1973)
Kings of Speed by Hawkwind (Warrior on the Edge of Time 1975)
Salmon Song by Steve Hillage (Fish Rising 1975)
Dreamer by Home (Home second album 1972)
Dearg Doom by The Horslips (The Tain 1973)
Speed the Plough by The Horslips (Aliens 1977)

Alan Freeman's Saturday Rock Show on BBC Radio 1: Tracklist - Pt.1 A-D

Aa
Let There be Rock by AC/DC (Let There be Rock 1977)
The Four Horsemen by Aphrodite’s Child (666 1972)
The Wall of Death by Pete Atkin, Tony Wilson session (The Road of Silk 1974)

Bb
Can’t Get Enough by Bad Company (Bad Company 1975)
Bad Company by Bad Company (Bad Company 1975)
Unknown by Peter Baumann (Romance ’76 1976)
Birthday by The Beatles (White Album 1968)
Maid in Heaven by Be-Bop Deluxe (Futurama 1975)
Sister Seagull by Be-Bop Deluxe (Futurama 1975)
Ships in the Night by Be-Bop Deluxe (Sunburst Finish 1976)
A Rainbow’s Gold by Beckett (Beckett 1974)
Extract from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by David Bedford (The Rime of the Ancient Mariner 1975)
Big-Eyed Beans From Venus by Captain Beefheart (Clear Spot 1972)
NIB by Black Sabbath (Black Sabbath 1970)
Wheels of Confusion by Black Sabbath (Volume 4 1972)
Snowblind by Black Sabbath (Volume 4 1972)
Laguna Sunrise by Black Sabbath (Volume 4 1972)
Fluff by Black Sabbath (Sabbath Bloody Sabbath 1973)
Symptom of the Universe by Black Sabbath (Sabotage 1975)
Buck’s Boogie by Blue Oyster Cult (On Your Feet or on Your Knees 1975)
Tattoo Vampire by Blue Oyster Cult (Agents of Fortune 1976)
Why Should I Lend You Mine (When You’ve Broken Yours Off Already) by Brand X (Moroccan Roll 1977)
Moving in Circles by David Bowie (The Man Who Sold the World 1970)
Unknown by Boxer (Below the Belt 1976)
Stranded by Budgie (Squawk 1972)
Unknown by Budgie (Bandolier 1975)

Cc
Lunar Sea by Camel (Moonmadness 1976)
Walk on the Water by City Boy (Dinner at the Ritz 1976)
Unknown by Colosseum II (Strange New Flesh 1976)
Is It My Body? by Alice Cooper (Love it to Death 1971)
Billion Dollar Babies by Alice Cooper (Billion Dollar Babies 1973)
Space Pirates by Alice Cooper (Flash Fearless Vs. the Zorg Women, Pts.5&6 1975)
Saviour by Kevin Coyne (Matching Head and Feet 1975)
White Room by Cream (Wheels of Fire 1968)
Young Mother by Curved Air (Second Album 1971)

Dd
Oceans Away by Roger Daltrey (Ride a Rock Horse 1975)
Fools by Deep Purple (Fireball 1971)
Woman From Tokyo by Deep Purple (Who Do We Think We Are? 1973)
Might Just Take Your Life (Burn 1974)
Rock and Roll Hoochie Coo by Rick Derringer (All American Boy 1973)
Pursuit on 53rd St by The Doobie Brothers (What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits 1974)
Mosquito by The Doors (Full Circle 1972)
Rocket to the Stars by Driver (No Accident 1977)

RP08.11.15

Saturday, 7 November 2015

From the Alan Freeman Playlist

Alan 'Fluff' Freeman (Courtesy: Daily Mail)

FLUFF
Here, as promised, is the list of tracks that I remember Alan Freeman playing on his BBC Radio 1 Saturday Rock Show from around 1973 to 1978. This is all from memory, as I did not keep any of my seventies recordings. What I tended to do, as I was young and decent cassettes were not cheap, was record tracks that I liked, listen to them and then record over them. At the time, I did fill in the index card, which is the reason for being able to remember certain tracks and the parent albums. I rarely, if ever, recorded entire shows and did not date them in any case. The dates I have provided are only the release dates of the albums. A few years ago I did produce a handwritten list, in order to help me track down various albums on the internet, and this provided the outline of the following on this blog.

When Alan Freeman returned in the nineties, I again recorded certain items and played them in the car on my way to-and-from work. My memory of this is hazy, so it did not interfere with the seventies material. When he transferred to Virgin radio, I kept a more detailed handwritten list, which I may later type and post on these pages. Distractions came from the fact that Freeman ran an afternoon programme concurrently with the Rock Show, mainly for chart music, but he did play singles by rock bands. Additionally, I would have heard occasional rock tracks on other radio shows, including John Peel‘s brief series which followed the Rock Show on Saturday afternoons. There was also Tommy Vance‘s later Friday Rock Shows and his Saturday afternoon ‘magazine’ programme. Again, I might be able to produce a list of tracks from his show, but it would be shorter!

Uncertainties include for example, the fact that I recall much of Bad Company’s first album being played frequently, but which tracks and on which Freeman show, I am unsure. The same, to a certain extent, can be said for Thin Lizzy and Led Zeppelin. So, here, I made educated guesses. Some tracks were from Tony Wilson-produced sessions, but which, again, further muddy the water. Certainly, A Million Miles Away by Rory Gallagher was a Wilson session, as it was a request and the letter’s author said they thought it was better than the album version. A number of pieces from Queen’s News of the World were broadcast as sessions. Pete Atkin’s and Kevin Coyne’s songs may have been from sessions.

Some other educated guesses include songs by Beckett, Boxer, Brand X, Budgie, Roger Daltrey/ Phillip Goodhand-Tait and Free. There are tracks by Focus and King Crimson used as jingles, yet to be researched. A few unknown (or forgotten) tracks include those by Peter Baumann, Coloseum II, Graeme Edge Band, Greenslade, Isotope and others. There was an instrumental by The Neu, played by Alan Freeman, but which was also used, I think, as a jingle by John Peel. In some cases, as with Focus, Son Seals, and Stephen Stills with Eric Clapton, I have forgotten both the track and album titles. Freeman was not averse to punk rock and frequently played songs by The Flamin’ Groovies, The Ramones and others in the early days of the movement. These meant little to me, so I omitted any mention.

Alan Freeman had a one-off half-hour show devoted to Brain Salad Surgery by ELP, consisting of album tracks and an interview with Carl Palmer. I am fairly certain of the details of this and have included the tracks. Most were played on his Saturday show too. To conclude, the majority of the tracks listed, from 1973 to 1978, are excellent and are thoroughly recommended.

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The Wall of Death by Pete Atkin (The Road of Silk 1974)

From the Alan Freeman Playlist

Pete Atkin - The Road of Silk (1974) (Courtesy: Peteatkin.com)
 
A SMASH FLOP
The Wall of Death is a fairground sideshow consisting of a high fence constructed in a circle so that it forms a cylinder. The audience sit in an elevated position around the fence so they are looking down into the cylinder. A motorcyclist then drives around the inner circle, accelerating, until there is enough momentum for him for him to ride up onto the fence and travel round and round continuously. They rely on the centrifugal force to keep them at a right angle to the fence, or parallel to the ground, and to stop them from falling. Sometimes two riders travel in opposite directions, passing each other. This ‘entertainment’ is the subject of Pete Atkin‘s song The Wall of Death, which appeared on his The Road of Silk album in 1974.

Pete Atkin is a singer-songwriter who made a series of six albums through the nineteen-seventies, although he mostly wrote the music, while poet Clive James contributed the lyrics. There were a few exceptions where Atkin wrote both the music and the lyrics. The albums began with Beware of the Beautiful Stranger, in 1970, to the contract-obligatory Live Libel, in 1975, and a compilation, The Master of the Revels: The Essential Pete Atkin, in 1977. Sales were disappointing, so James returned to his other interests, while Atkin looked elsewhere for employment. Another compilation appeared in 1990, followed by several twofer and definitive reissues in the ensuing decades, until Atkin began recording again in the noughties. Atkin’s singing and playing style (he plays guitar and keyboards) can be classified as folk-rock, with elements of soft rock.

Clive James was born in Australia, educated at Oxford and became a polymath author, critic, journalist, broadcaster, translator, memoirist, poet and lyricist. He is probably best known for his television chat shows and documentaries. Atkins is similar however in that, following his lack of record sales, he eventually became a successful radio producer and writer.

Clive James’ lyrics for The Wall of Death are obscure, but they appear to be concerned with the rider challenging an onlooker with, ‘Okeydoke, my armchair hero/ Let’s see if you’re equal to the task/ Put your money where your mouth is . . . The Wall of Death/ Is a time of truth.’ Certainly the dangers are emphasised, ‘He said “Rest your hand against the woodwork/ Feel how the wheels have made it warm . . . The Wall is the socket for the eyeball of the storm/ The Wall of Death/ Is an act of faith/ It’s a shriek of wrath/ At the loss of youth”.'(1)

Pete Atkin arranged, conducted and produced all the songs on The Road of Silk, including The Wall of Death, at Morgan Studios, London(2). He accompanies himself on acoustic guitar, while Mike Moran plays piano and Daryl Runswick provides bass guitar. The drums by Terry Cox(3) sound full, probably because Frank Ricotti also adds percussion. Paul Keogh‘s electric guitar weaves in and out of the entire track, with a full but tasteful solo. All of these musicians were and, of course, remain very experienced, working with a list resembling a who’s who across the musical genres.

It is possible that the version of the song I heard on Alan Freeman‘s Saturday Rock Show was a session produced by Tony Wilson for John Peel‘s Sounds of the Seventies. It was recorded on 14th May 1974 and first broadcast on 28th May 1974. The studio was LH1 and the station, BBC Radio 1. At this session, the musicians were different to those on the album; Pete Atkin sang and played electric piano, Les Davidson played guitar, Maurice Adamson provided bass, and Andy Munro was the drummer. What makes this track and the parent album special is that it continues the English tradition of folk rock begun with Fairport Convention. To a measure of American rock and roll, Atkin not only sings Clive James’ lyrics, but does so with an English accent.

(1) Lyrics from Pete Atkin’s own site, Smash Flops: http://www.peteatkin.com/d4.htm
(2) The site has helpful session notes for the albums, including The Road of Silk: http://www.peteatkin.com/sessiond.htm
(3) Drummer Terry Cox was born in High Wycombe. I know it well! He worked with Pentangle, David Bowie, Elton John and many others.

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Aphrodite's Child - The Four Horsmen (666 1972)

From the Alan Freeman Playlist

Aphrodite's Child - 666 (1972) (Courtesy: Photodude)

BEHOLD A PALE HORSE
The Four Horsemen is the best known track on the 666 album by Greek progressive rock band, Aphrodite’s Child. It opens with quiet keyboards, tinkling percussion and gentle vocals, then the drums and bass enter with a rock ‘n’ roll riff to accompany the chorus – listing each type of horse: ‘The leading horse is white/ The second horse is red/ The third one is a black/ The last one is a green.’ Lead singer Demis Roussos‘s vocals are high-pitched throughout, but not as quavering as on his later solo easy-listening material. Drummer, Lucas Sideras, demonstrates that you can get a loud sound from a relatively small kit. After the chorus is repeated a fourth successive time, Silver Koulouris plays a fiery guitar solo over a percussive-sounding repeat vocal. Considering that this is a band that features Vangelis, of Chariots of Fire, on keyboards, and Demis Roussos, forever remembered for Forever and Ever, it is curious to hear a predominantly guitar and drums track. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are described in the last book of the New Testament of the Bible, the Book of Revelation 6:1-8. The chapter tells of a book or scroll in God’s right hand that is sealed with seven seals. The Lamb of God, or Jesus Christ, opens the first four of the seven seals, which summons four beings that ride out on white, red, black and pale (or green) horses. The four riders are seen as symbolising: (i) Conquest by holding a bow, (ii) War by holding a sword, (iii) Famine by having a balance for weighing grain and (iv) Death in the form of pestilence, respectively – as recounted in the verses of the song. The Christian apocalyptic vision is that the four horsemen are to set a divine apocalypse upon the world as heralds of the Last Judgement.

The track closes on a couple of ‘ooh’ vocal sounds, reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix‘s intro to Purple Haze. Overall, the arrangement and production are dramatic as befits the subject matter. 666 as a double album, has been criticised for the length of time it sustains a forceful atmosphere, but remains popular with fans of seventies progressive rock. It may be a cliche to describe The Four Horsemen as an epic track, but at nearly six minutes in length it is the longest track on the album and is certainly powerful.

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Let There be Rock by AC/DC (Let There be Rock 1977)

From the Alan Freeman Playlist

AC/DC - Let There be Rock (1977) (Courtesy: Acdc.com)

AND THE MUSIC WAS GOOD AND THE MUSIC WAS LOUD
Let There Be Rock is the title track of the fifth album by Australian hard rock band AC/DC, released in 1976. It was written, as were all the songs on the album, by lead guitarist Angus Young, his brother rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young and lead singer Bon Scott. The song is a pastiche of Genesis 1-3, ‘And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.’ In this case, ‘He [Tchaikovsky] said let there be sound/ There was sound.’ AC/DC’s concept is based on the idea that, in 1955, ‘The white man had the schmaltz/ The black man had the blues,’ but there was confusion regarding rock ‘n’ roll. So, when Chuck Berry, in the song Roll Over Beethoven(1), said, ‘. . . Tell Tchaikovsky the news,’ the Russian composer did indeed receive the communique and, furthermore, went on to share it with the populace, resulting in the birth of rock ‘n’ roll.

AC/DC’s lyrics are a complete distortion of Roll Over Beethoven, as the original reflects the view that rhythm & blues and rock ‘n’ roll would replace classical music. The fact that Tchaikovsky was a Romantic composer who died in 1893, is presumably put down to artistic licence. Despite these absurdities, the band typically use them as a narrative, which they add to some effective phrases, and then emphasise them with a repetitive, insistent riff to make a highly memorable track. Although released as a single, which was not a hit, Let There be Rock has become a live favourite and is performed by Bon Scott’s replacement vocalist, Brian Johnson(2), as recently as on Live at River Plate (recorded in 2009, released in 2011).

RIP JACKIE COLLINS
I was shocked to read this evening that novelist Jackie Collins passed away yesterday, Saturday 19th September, aged 77. She died of breast cancer in Los Angeles. Her last TV appearance was as recent as ITV’s Loose Women on Thursday 10th, and she appeared on BBC 1’s The One Show on Monday 7th. Although known as a writer, Collins began as an actress and appeared in some TV series, including Series 2, Episode 2 of The Saint: Starring the Saint on 26th September 1963. Her advice to aspiring writers was always practical: (i) to write a page every day, and (ii) stop with a sentence half finished.

(1) Roll Over Beethoven is a song written and performed by Chuck Berry (Rock, Rock, Rock 1956). It was originally released as a single on Chess Records in 1956 and became a hit. More importantly, it was influential and much covered, including a version by The Beatles. AC/DC neatly sidestepped a cover and purloined the lyrics for their own use.
(2) Bon Scott tragically died in 1980, after a night of heavy drinking in London. The remaining members of the group recruited Brian Johnson of the fine British glam rock band Geordie.

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Alan Freeman's Saturday Rock Show on BBC Radio 1


Alan 'Fluff' Freeman (Courtesy: Daily Mail)

GREETINGS, MUSIC LOVERS
When a regular poster on the rock forums, it was my intention to post a complete list of records that I remember hearing on Alan ‘Fluff’ Freeman‘s Saturday Rock Show during the nineteen-seventies. Some brief lists were posted, but never an exhaustive example. Recently, I came across a thread on a forum(1), in which members posted lists of tracks from particular shows that they had recorded, with the broadcast date. This prompted me to begin compiling an alphabetical list of tracks, with the parent album and date of release. It is not easy remembering the sources of pieces of music, which were broadcast from around 1973 to the late seventies, as Freeman had more than one show. Additionally, Tommy Vance took over the Rock Show on Friday nights, Freeman went to Capital Radio with a replica show, and both DJs reappeared on BBC and then Virgin Radio in the nineties.

Alan Freeman was born in 1927 and brought up in Melbourne, Australia, and worked as a salesman while aspiring to be an opera singer. Realising he did not have the voice for opera, Freeman became a DJ in Tasmania. He travelled to Europe to work initially on Radio Luxembourg, before joining the BBC Light Programme in 1960 for Pick of the Pops, a chart run down show. Freeman’s chart show was switched to Radio 1, in 1967, where it continued until 1972. Freeman then moved to a weekday afternoon show, playing a selection of chart records, and in 1973 added the Saturday Rock Show for heavy and progressive rock.

The Saturday Rock Show on BBC Radio 1, on which Freeman played album track requests, new releases, sessions by his producer Tony Wilson, and ran a weekly competition, became increasingly popular, such that it was voted Best Radio Show five years in succession and the time slot was increased from two to three hours. Punk rock and an incompetent controller, Derek Chinnery, drove Freeman to Capital Radio, an independent station, in the late seventies.

Alan Freeman’s enthusiastic salesman-style delivery, his toleration of fools, range of catch phrases (not ‘alf), ‘gift for intimacy with his listeners'(2)(addressing them as ‘music lovers’), selection of classical and rock jingles, along with his choice of what would otherwise have been underground music, made his shows utterly compelling. In a BBC Radio documentary series on DJs, John Peel described Freeman as ‘truly original’.

Freeman returned to BBC Radio 1, from Capital, in January 1989 to revive Pick of the Pops and the Rock Show. The former ran to 1992 and the latter to 1993, when he left the station as it was overhauled by another inept controller, Matthew Bannister. From 1996 to 1997 Freeman hosted The Friday Rock Show on Virgin Radio, with producer Trevor ‘Basher’ White. My intention is to also compile a list from these shows. He returned to BBC Radio 2, presenting Pick of the Pops from 1997 to 2000, when he handed the show to ex-Radio Trent DJ Dale Winton.

Sadly, Alan Freeman died on 27th November 2006 at Brinsworth House, Twickenham, South-West London, after a short illness. He was 79. His funeral took place on 7th December 2006 at South West Middlesex Crematorium and was attended by DJs Paul Gambaccini, Dave Lee Travis, Nicky Campbell, Paul McKenna, Wes Butters, Simon Bates and Richard Skinner. A congregation of around 200 people attended the service, which was taken by BBC broadcaster Reverend Roger Royle.

NOTE: Compiling the list will take longer than I anticipated, so, in the meantime, I am working on writing about some individual tracks from the Saturday Rock Show. My intention is to approach them in alphabetical order, beginning with AC/DC’s Let There be Rock from the album of the same name.

(1) Popscene’s thread, ‘For those about to Rock… Fluff’s Rock Shows, Celebrating Fluff’s Rock Shows 1973-97’: http://z6.invisionfree.com/popscene/index.php?showtopic=12977&view=getnewpost. There are also lists on Wikia: http://fridayrockshow.wikia.com/wiki/Alan_Freeman
(2) Thanks to the BBC News Obituary: Alan ‘Fluff’ Freeman by an anonymous, but undertanding, author: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/2940413.stm

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