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.