Podcast 320: Paying tribute to the special talents of John Prine and Adam Schlesinger

Also in the episode: pink moon over London, waking up to birdsong, Brinsley Schwarz at the Fillmore and the strange majesty of old Melody Maker headlines. Plus name-checks for our inaugural patrons. If you’d want to joint them see below. And don’t forget to catch up with our brand new “Word In Your Attic” with Mark Billingham at https://youtu.be/JQoTS0mKeVM.

John Prine and Iris DeMent doing “In Spite Of Ourselves”

Fountains of Wayne doing “Hackensack”

Word In Your Ear Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/wordinyourear

Podcast 319 – another unashamedly trivial podcast in which Mark Ellen and David Hepworth discuss milk in rock, read your correspondence and invent a game you can play with Alexa

Massively encouraged by the fact that nobody tried to physically stop them doing it again, Mark and David podcast from their lofts to anyone who has nothing better to do for the next half an hour. Subjects covered include: the musical tastes of “Parks And Recreation”‘s April Ludgate, when dad bought his hifi on hire purchase, why the current lockdown is good news for the Abbey Road zebra and a really funny list from an old copy of Word.

Bono doing “Let Your Love Be Known”

Paul Simon singing “American Tune”

The Roots and Jimmy Fallon performing “Stuck In The Middle With You”

It’s the 19-piece Rotterdam Philharmonic playing Beethoven’s Ode To Joy on lockdown.

Kevin Ayers Whatevershebringswesing with Robert Wyatt on backing vocals and Mike Oldfield playing bass and guitar…

Follow David on https://www.instagram.com/dhepworth/

Please leave a comment on iTunes or anywhere else that allows you to post. We read all of them and really appreciate it. If you’ve got any particular favourites among the old Word podcasts please let us know which at wiye.london@gmail.com

And watch our “Word In Your Attic” video.

Podcast 318 – a “for the duration” podcast in which Mark Ellen and David Hepworth talk about Joni Mitchell, Krakatoa and the importance of dressing properly while WFH

Since they’re spending a proportion of the Current Unpleasantness talking to each other anyway. Mark Ellen and David Hepworth thought they may as well record some of it, explaining what’s happening with Word In Your Ear in the light of the current situation, how they’re getting by at home, what they’re reading, what they’ve been listening to and what it might all mean for the return of long form listening. Well, it’s not as if they’ve got anything else to do.

Joni Mitchell in concert at the BBC in 1970
Joni Mitchell doing “Me And My Uncle” i n 1965

Here’s a good place to start on the books of Simon Winchester.

And here’s an introduction to Anthony Powell.

David’s book “A Fabulous Creation” is out in paperback.

Please leave a comment on iTunes or anywhere else that allows you to post. We read all of them and really appreciate it. If you’ve got any particular favourites among the old Word podcasts please let us know which at wiye.london@gmail.com

P.S. Here’s Ronnie Lane and Pete Townshend singing “Annie”

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Podcast 317 – in which Pete Paphides talks about the many things he learned about life from pop music

Pete Paphides’ acclaimed “Broken Greek” is, as David says when introducing him, the best book written by a former Smash Hits reader and looks set to do for unjustly uncelebrated popular music what Nick Hornby did for football in “Fever Pitch”. This chat encompasses: Abba, West Brom, the Multi-Coloured Swap Shop, Mind Your Language, shopping for singles at Woolworths, living above a chip shop, hoping to be adopted by the Brotherhood Of Man and making the amazing discovery that John Lennon and Paul McCartney actually used to be in the same band!


Podcast 316 – in which Dan Franklin talks about how metal explains the world

Dan Franklin’s first book “Heavy” chronicles his life-long love affair with heavy music in all its different manifestations, from Meat Loaf to Sunn 0))), and argues that it deserves a lot more respect than it gets as a rule. It’s a story that takes us from a cassette copy of a Guns N’ Roses album thrust into the hands of a puzzled eight-year-old, via the fields of Donington and the mosh pits of Camden to the lengths a new father will go to free a Type O Negative CD from the mangled remnants of a family car.


Podcast 315 – in which the Backlisted boys talk Great Musical Biographies

John Mitchinson and Andy Miller do the award-winning Backlisted podcast which, as they like to say on the tin, “brings new life to old books”. They’re also big music fans so we thought they would be the ideal people to come along and talk in their own inimitable style about what they feel are some of the best and sometimes overlooked examples of the genre.

That’s how come, in a wide-ranging discussion we came to touch on “Dino: Living High In The Dirty Business Of Dreams” by Nick Tosches, “Black Vinyl, White Powder” by Simon Napier Bell and Levon Helm’s “This Wheel’s On Fire”, “Nico: Songs They Never Play On The Radio” by James Young, Julian Cope’s “Krautrock Sampler”, Stephen Sondheim’s “Look: I Made A Hat” and “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon” by Crystal Zevon, all of which are in their different ways recommended.

Conversation covers: how much a rock star gets for their memoirs, how to tell if an anecdote is made up or not, why Julian Cope doesn’t mind you downloading his book for free and how you, yes you, can easily increase the amount of reading you do.


Podcast 314 – in which Bethan Roberts talks about “Graceland”, her novel about Elvis and his mum

We were delighted to welcome Bethan Roberts to Word In Your Ear to talk about her novel “Graceland“. This is based on the most important relationship in the life of Elvis Presley. His mother Gladys brought him up single-handedly when his father went into prison, she encouraged his singing, she feared for what the girls would do to him and what the managers might take from him, wished he didn’t have to go away so often and would have preferred him to be a furniture salesman married to a nice local girl with some grandchildren on the way. Then, when he was undergoing basic training in the army, she died.

People say that Elvis was never the same after he went in the army. In fact he was never the same after his mother died. Bethan tells us about how she got the idea for the book, what fascinates her about the intense relationship between mother and son and while, as she explains, the odd incident may have been embroidered, the basic facts of her narrative are not in dispute. What’s most amazing, when you read “Graceland”, is that nobody’s written this story before. This book is highly recommended, not merely to fans of Elvis, but for anyone who wants to understand what sudden dramatic fame does to the nearest and dearest of the Famous One.


Podcast 313 – In which Sid Smith talks about fifty years of King Crimson

When Sid Smith first finished his definitive biography of King Crimson in 2001 he thought, not unreasonable that would be that. But then Robert Fripp reactivated the band and so Sid had to take up his pen once more. This has resulted in an even more definitive work “In The Court Of King Crimson”. He came to Word In Your Ear to run Mark and David through the key facts of their extraordinary rise and their exceptional longevity, what it’s like to spend six weeks on the road with a bunch of musical gentlemen of a certain age and why he’s not planning to put down his pen just yet.


Podcast 312 – In which Mike Barnes assures us progressive rock was more than hobbits and flute solos

In his new book “A New Day Yesterday”, an account of progressive rock in the 1970s, Mike Barnes tells the story of how this peculiarly British musical form was born out of the Small Faces’ “Itchycoo Park” and the Graham Bond Organisation and went on to flourish throughout the 70s in the universities of Britain and the arenas of the United States. He talks to Mark and David about all the issues that matter: capes, mellotrons, seated audiences, prolonged soloing, the real names of the members of Quintessence and whatever happened to Egg.


Podcast 311 – in which Alexis Petridis describes what it was like to ghost-write the most amazing story in pop

Alexis Petridis was very lucky Elton John chose him to help tell the story in his best-selling memoir “Me”. Elton John’s equally lucky Alexis agreed because without him it probably wouldn’t be half as good as it is. In fact it’s two stories: the first is the story of a musical career that seems to be headed nowhere until a chance meeting with a lyricist began a partnership which operated in an unprecedented way and led to unprecedented success; the other is a personal story of how a very tense little boy from Pinner grew to be able to afford all the addictions on a Pharaonic scale, managed to conquer them and belatedly found contentment in a state that wasn’t even invented when he was first a superstar. Every home should have a copy because everyone in that home would find at least some of it jaw-dropping. Alexis told us what it was like to write and what he learned about life in the process.