What’s the difference between “chin music and beard music”? What’s the most you’d pay for a ticket? What happened when the Pope went record shopping? Will the Beatles’ Get Back be used in management instruction videos? What 45s sound good at 33? Who’s the classic Dad Rock band? … these and other burning issues are addressed in this episode along with Fleetwood Mac: The Rugby Shirt Years, Brian Epstein’s A Cellarful Of Noise and the powerful romantic fantasies of the Ronettes’ first album. Plus self-isolating birthday guest Paul Knox beams in from Hong Kong.
In which we choose a new National Anthem, tell the story of Hamish Grimes and the Clapton graffito, salute the best moments in Frasier and feel the powerful effect of the ‘You Can All Join In’ sampler on male fashion. Plus … swearing, albums to test your hi-fi and David Hepworth’s fantasy rock band in 1963.
In which we look at Sly Stone, Stevie Wonder, the Staple Singers and Gladys Knight in the fabulous Harlem concert film from 1969. And think what possessions we might bother to keep in a house fire. And wonder if Stop Making Sense is the greatest live performance ever filmed. And talk to someone – birthday patron Andrew Slattery, no less! – who listened to 1,000 albums in 2021. Plus … Coldplay’s recording retirement and the short list of acts who still make good records after 25 years.
In which we salute the comic genius of Ronnie “Fletcher” Barker and Fulton “Mackay” Mackay, fantasise about autobiographies still to come (Neil Tennant, Pet Clark, John Paul Jones, Noel Gallagher), are mildly appalled by the new My Sweet Lord video and play two bracing rounds of Spot the Genuine Christmas single (Beck’s Little Drum-Machine Boy? Half Man Half Biscuit’s Deck The Halls With Buddy Holly?). Gary Chrimble to all, and a gear New Year!
In which we remember the lightness of touch and winning gallows humour of Mike Nesmith and the interesting ways he made and spent his fortunes. And it’s 50 years since There’s A Riot Goin’ On, the most radical record to ever top the US charts, and 40 years since the girls transformed the Human League. Plus Hepworth’s “confessions of an amateur weed smoker”, the less you pay for records the better they are, and the gloriously daft reason ELO’s first album was called “No Answer” in the States. New patrons are literally piped aboard with a bosun’s whistle!
In which we remember the “Smoke On The Water” fire at Montreux Casino, the soft melancholy of some underrated Christmas records, wonder which documentaries could get a Get Back remake and address the burning issues of the day: eg worst perms in rock, Ed Sheeran & Elton John, vegan bands in waiting, legendary pop recluses and what our ‘most played’ Spotify tracklist says about us.
Peter’s been on the pod before talking about the Beatles and Crosby Stills Nash & Young, and he’s just published a fascinating account of the ‘60s sexual revolution, a time when a new and unimaginable freedom collided spectacularly with the hand-wringing Victorian values of the media. We talked to him at the West Hampstead Arts Club about Mick Jagger v Mary Whitehouse, the Avengers, Jenny Fabian’s Groupie, Bond movies, Germaine Greer, the Killing of Sister George, Dirk Bogarde, Cliff Richard as an unconvincing sex symbol, Jane Birkin, Michael Caine in Alfie, John & Yoko, the concept of ‘Kinkiness’ and the pop records that sailed close to the wind.
Recorded at the West Hampstead Arts Club – we’re back in the outside world! – the band’s bassist remembers their label’s hopes of selling 5,000 copies of their first album in the autumn of ’77. His just-published memoir recounts the rollercoaster that followed, from the London pub circuit to Compass Point, Live Aid, the gigantic world tours that took in the Eastern Bloc, the sales-boosting arrival of MTV and the CD boom, and how it felt to and back on earth when they called a halt in the mid-‘90s. The early days are fascinating too, a friendship forged with Mark Knopfler over Little Feat, JJ Cale and Ry Cooder albums and the dream-like events of their record deal and rapid ascent.
In which we remember being at Sarm Studios 37 years ago as Bob Geldof and Midge Ure marshalled the troops, and look at the reaction to the Get Back movie, Alan Hull, Al Stewart’s energetic love life, Billy Preston and others flown in to keep bands together, Lenny Kaye’s record-filing ruse and why John Illsey had the best job in the world. Plus the return of the Stackwaddy Game – spot the made up musical genre (Skweee, Simpsonwave, Soyabilly etc).
Lenny Kaye’s just published ‘Lightning Striking: Ten Transformative Moments In Rock And Roll’, events in particular times and places that changed the landscape, among them (and discussed here) Liverpool in 1962, New York in 1975 and Seattle in 1991. In the digital world, will we ever have that kind of local music scene again? His fascinating observations include driving to San Francisco for the Love-In, the world of CBGBs, Norwegian Black Metal, life in the Patti Smith Group and some of “the eccentric characters I feel naturally drawn to” which include Joe Meek, Stiv Bators and the Ramones. Among the questions: what’s the correct way to file Captain Beefheart, under ‘C’ or ‘B’? This is a man whose record collection is divided into “food groups” and includes “a wacko section”. He’s wonderful company.