Matters of high import thrashed out this week include Dylan’s Shadow Kingdom livestream, the Thunder Road lyric farrago, Apple Venus and Wasp Star – separated at birth!, the best reggae album ever, laughter on records, underwhelming follow-up albums and why Hot Rats makes the perfect crime thriller soundtrack. Supporting cast includes Kevin Turvey, Philip Glass, Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express and Dave “Bucket” Colwell of Humble Pie.
We had our first live event for 18 months on a fabulous, sun-baked afternoon in Holland Park on July 17 and the writer and former Fleet Street columnist Lesley-Ann Jones was one of the four guests (there’ll be a podcast of each of them). These are her crowd-pleasing, colourful memories of Queen backstage at Live Aid, living with Raquel Welch and tea with Bowie at Haddon Hall. The Stones are in there too.
In our sun-baked return to live events on July 17, we had four guests onstage at a spectacular outdoor venue kindly lent us by Opera Holland Park in West London, the first our old pal the shy, retiring, hard-to-prise-a-word-out-of-him broadcaster Gary Crowley. Stories here include the time he was invited round to the Clash HQ for an interview (when still at school), the giddying sensation of meeting Paul McCartney and some unsung heroes of ’80s pop.
Sports writer and old pal Nige Tassell traces the story of Sweet Caroline, You’ll Never Walk Alone and Yes Sir I Can Boogie – with fond memories of the Tranmere Rovers’ spontaneous vegan chant moment. Other piping hot topics include Dua Lipa and the stolen photo, have you ever booed a band?, the exact number of onstage hours Dylan’s played All Along The Watchtower, the magic of Freddie King and the Jayhawks, does Richard Branson like music?, indie weddings and are there any rap covers bands?
In which we salute Frogspawn Candy, Lord Snooty & his Pals and Steppenwolf, rejoice in the Onion’s coverage of Lorde, applaud the return of the Siffleur and pop tunes that feature whistling, back Elvis Costello on song-stealing, have a CD Date Night with the Decemberists and A Tribe Called Quest (while unravelling their Lou Reed court case), and inspect a new theory about the Manson murders.
Nobody is better qualified to talk about music as he’s seen it from every angle. Bob Geldof broke into the Beatles’ hotel room aged 12. He saw Dylan and the Stones when he was 13. Radio Luxembourg sent him messages from the ether. He worked out why the great lyrics work (“and the best opening line”). He studied the stagecraft of a host of musicians and formed a band of his own. He felt the lure of “screaming stadium whores and sex on tap”. He staged Live Aid. And he ended up a close friend of many of “the people at the top of pop’s Mount Olympus”. This extraordinary interview has revelations about what’s required to be a rock star you may never have imagined. And he nominates some Greatest Records Ever Made.
Matters of high import discussed this week include … having a ‘date night’ with your old CDs. Can the one-piece jumpsuit ever return? The whole Billie Eilish apology saga. Do all first girlfriends have names like Deidre Birchwood? What pop location deserves a blue plaque? Why Court And Spark outranks Blue. The Foo Fighters’ Bee Gees moment. Rock’s second best year. And would you pay $998 to get some All Things Must Pass garden gnomes? Plus James Brown, Black Grape, Chicken Shack, Duckworth Lewis, Tom Petty and Robert Plant’s Band Of Joy. And David’s mist-filled 30-second reverie about a romance in summer ’67.
In which we shake down the piping hot topics du jour, among them … the 50th anniversary of Glastonbury, the genius of Miles Copeland’s management method, the new six-hour Beatles movie, Bob Geldof on what it takes to be a rock star, would Oasis have worked in the ’70s, why current songwriters are afraid to experiment, and whatever happened to Terry Reid?
In this week’s pod we explore whether Apple’s new spatial audio is actually worth it, ponder urgent listener questions such as “is pop music all about cymbals?” and “should we be paying attention to Van Morrison right now?” and chat to old pal Paul Burke about advertising in music and why the art of discotheque DJing is a little bit like foreplay.
This week’s burning hot topics include …. the 50th birthday of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue’. Songs about the joy of spending “a bankroll big enough to choke a donkey”. When Whistle Test went all Tomorrow’s World. Books or records: which could you survive without? Is there the Who without Pete Townshend? Films we’ve watched the most. Music that’s unfailingly cheerful. Is “Play Loud” the daftest thing ever put on an album cover? Was there ever a posher musician than James Lascelles of Global Village Trucking Company (in line of succesion to the British throne)? And the sweet story of Gravesend’s own rock gods Kinky Machine and their 50-year anniversary video.