THE FRIDAY FIVE – 20.2.2015

1. Years and Years – King
2. Ash – Cocoon
3. Blur – Go Out
4. Lesley Gore – Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows
5. Visage – Fade To Grey

Today, tickets for Weird Al Yankovic at The Limelight go on sale. Yes!! You read that right, Weird Al Yankovic, the legend, is coming to Belfast. This is literally a life dream coming true. In celebration of this, here’s a Weird Al Top Five.

FIVE SONGS BY WEIRD AL YANKOVIC

1. Word Crimes
2. The Story Begins
3. Like A Surgeon
4. Amish Paradise
5. Ode To A Superhero

50 YEARS OF TOP OF THE POPS : MAY 2- MAY 8

It’s May, summer is almost here. Want a nice uplifting summer song? You’ve come to the wrong place. America has The Hoff, UK has The Hump.

On the birthday trail this week is Dave Ball from Soft Cell, and The Grid. Special treat for you. Here’s Soft Cell performing it on a 80s Hits special edition of the show

In the name of equality, here’s a full episode from 1994 featuring The Grid.

It’s Jay Aston from Bucks Fizz birthday as well this week. And, seeing as it’s almost Eurovision (Two days to go!!!), there’s only one song we can play for you. No skirt ripping in this one. Their clothes budget didn’t stretch that far.

Gregg Alexander of New Radicals also celebrates a birthday this week. A classic one hit wonder, it wasn’t because he spent time in jail for threatening Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson, but because he gave it up to become a songwriter for others instead.

Sad anniversary time now, it’s two years this week since Adam Yauch died.

Back to this week’s birthdays, with Ian McCullough from Echo and the Bunnymen

Also celebrating a birthday is John Flansburgh, who might be a giant. You might recognise the song from a certain TV show.

Dave Rowntree from Blur celebrates a birthday this week. Here they are at different ends of their career, with their first big hit …….

….. and nine years later, promoting their Greatest Hits album

Darren Hayes celebrates his birthday this week. If you don’t know who he is, he’s the one in Savage Garden who isn’t Robbie Savage or Graeme Garden.

Pay attention maths fans, one-half of the two-fifths of the Welsh members of Steps celebrate a birthday ….. Ian Watkins, known as H, because he used to work for MI5 and that was his codename.

And finally, 31 today, Matt Willis off of Busted, and who also did one good solo single.

50 YEARS OF TOP OF THE POPS : MAR 21 – MAR 27

Hello and welcome to this week’s look back at 50 years of Top Of The Pops (Or, to be pedantic, 42 years and 8 years worth of Christmas specials)

This week’s first birthday of note is Guy Chadwick, lead singer of House Of Love. Unfortunately, we don’t have a clip of them performing ‘Shine On’, but we do have East 17 performing ‘House Of Love’, a song not about the early 90s band of the same name.

East 17 of course, were named after their local postcode. If they came from East Belfast, they would have been called BT4, BT5 or BT6, depending on whereabouts in East Belfast they came from.

Also celebrating this week is Sarah Jane Morris of The Communards. This, is an epic tune. BAAYYYYYBAAYYYY!!!!!

and … Jonas Berggren from Ace Of Base. I once got lost en route to an Ace Of Base concert trying to find the venue ………. then, I, saw the sign.

And from Sweden, we head to Canada, for a bit of Sum 41.

And from Canada, to Liverpool, for Pete Wylie’s birthday.

And now, to chill the mood a bit, with a bit of Beverley Knight.

Our globetrotting adventures now take us to the suavest man in Glasgow. If you really need to be told, Marti Pellow of Wet Wet Wet, who spent the whole of 1994 at Number One. How exactly, was a Sweet Little Mystery. I know you’ll love these next few clips. Why? I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes.

Our birthday travels this week take us now to the Mockney King (from Colchester) …… Damon Albarn (And yes, I am aware he doesn’t sing on the first song)

And now ……. we go to Germany for one of the best songs of the 1980s. A woman who wouldn’t make a good Financial Advisor as she spent all her money on a bag of balloons. Since you ask, I counted, there were 78 balloons in the studio when this was filmed. BBC Cutbacks.

And from Germany, we go to German based West Indians …….. singing a song about The Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Ironically, Bobby Farrell of Boney M had the most Belfasty name in pop.

39 this week was Mel Blatt from All Saints. Here she is as a solo artist.

Milestone time now, and Diana Ross was born 70 years ago this week. So, as a tribute, here’s Steps covering ‘Chain Reaction’

Wee treat for you for Tony Banks of Genesis birthday (the one who isn’t Phil Collins or the guy from Mike and the Mechanics) …. a studio appearance from 1992

With all these births, unfortunately, we have a death anniversary. Ian Dury died 14 years ago today.

And finally, Elton John *whispers* turned 67 this week.

This, is his best song, performed nearly 20 years after it came out on a TOTP Special.

I used to think the chorus went “Coco Heart” when I was younger.

And, if you don’t know already, he didn’t play on this song, just mimed on TOTP.

50 YEARS OF TOP OF THE POPS : MAR 7 – MAR 13

We begin this week’s round-up celebrating the birth of Paul Cattermole of S Club 7. I love S Club 7 and I don’t care who knows it.

Also celebrating a birthday this week, is a singer called Cheryl, a national treasure who had a TV career as well. Not her soon to be back on X-Factor. I am, of course, referring to Cheryl Baker.

Sharing a birthday with her is Gary Numan.

And “Freak Like Me”, from the week when Gary Numan was a member of the Sugababes.

It’s easy to mock Keane (the band, not Roy Keane though) but this is a brilliant song.

And now, a band that is as easy as 123, and are not to be confused with AC/DC …… ABC (Warning : Video introduced by Jimmy Savile)

Remember “What I Am” by Emma Bunton? Well, it’s a cover, and the original by Edie Brickell is far better.

Emeli Sande gets everywhere, and she’s even made it onto this blog. Easy to mock her, but this song is bloody brilliant.

46 this week, was 90s one hit wonder Lisa Loeb. This is a brilliant song. (Also, feel free to look up “I Do”, which should have been her second hit, if there was any justice)

Last week, we had The Proclaimers, this week, our twins (It won’t be a weekly thing) are Joel and Benji Madden from Good Charlotte.

45 this week was Graham Coxon of Blur, one of the best singles bands of the 90s, if not ever. So, we’ll include their two Number Ones, “Country House” which beat “Roll With It” by Oasis to Number One.

The definitive answer ……… both Oasis and Blur are brilliant. Oasis are better than Blur, but “Country House” is better than “Roll With It”

….. and “Beetlebum”, their second Number One, which is actually far better than the single which followed it, “Song 2”.

Also big in 1997 was Eternal, currently on ITV 2’s ‘The Big Reunion’. Not a massive Eternal fan, but this is superb.

28 this week was Danny Jones from McFly/McBusted, performing “One For The Radio”, ironically, on the TV.

If he was alive today, Scatman John would have been 72.

Born this week (in England, but shhhh about that) in 1960 was Adam Clayton of U2. Here they are before they became too big for Top Of The Pops. Anyway, you wouldn’t have been able to fit a 30 foot lemon into Television Centre.

2013 IN PICTURES – AUGUST

August began with a trip to Dublin to see Blur (supported by Bat For Lashes and The Strypes), for the first time, and possibly the only time, which was why I was so desperate to go.

As the concert was a Thursday, I decided to make a weekend of it, having not stayed in Dublin since 2011. While I was there, I saw lots of Street Art photos (I didn’t go in search of them, but I stumbled upon some, so it would have been rude not to get photos.

Also, while I was in Dublin, I went to see St Patrick’s Athletic take on Drogheda United (my original choice of Bray Wanderers v Shelbourne was moved to a later date) which finished 0-0.

It was my second visit to Richmond Park, both of which have finished 0-0. There’s probably a Banning Order against me attending another match there.

Upon my return from Dublin, that wasn’t the end of the fun, as I went to see The Charlatans at Falls Park. Like Blur, this was my first time seeing them, and possibly my only chance to.

The following weekend, the new season started, and I was at Shamrock Park to see Linfield take on Portadown

My next football match, was the rearranged from March game between Northern Ireland and Russia, which Northern Ireland won 1-0.

That weekend, I was travelling again, this time to Edinburgh, for the festival, but I took in a football match, Hibs v Dundee United, and got some Street Art photos.

After returning from Edinburgh, it was all about Belsonic, my only concert of it being Suede. I was already excited about Suede (like Blur and The Charlatans, never seen them, might be my only chance) but James being added as a support (seen them twice, but never in Northern Ireland) was the icing on the cake.

To end an exciting month, I went to see Linfield play Glentoran. It finished 0-0.

Dublin Street Art

Dublin Street Art Photo Album

Blur Live At IMMA Dublin

Blur Live At IMMA Dublin Photo Album

Bat For Lashes Photo Album

The Strypes Photo Album

St Patrick’s Athletic v Drogheda United

St Patrick’s Athletic v Drogheda United Photo Album

The Charlatans Live At Falls Park

The Charlatans Live At Falls Park Photo Album

Echo Raptors Live At Falls Park Photo Album

Portadown v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Russia

Northern Ireland v Russia Photo Album

Hibernian v Dundee United

Hibernian v Dundee United Photo Album

Edinburgh Street Art

Edinburgh Street Art Photo Album

Runaway Go Live At Belsonic

Runaway Go Live At Belsonic Photo Album

James Live At Belsonic

James Live At Belsonic Photo Album

Suede Live At Belsonic

Suede Live At Belsonic Photo Album

Linfield v Glentoran

BLUR – LIVE AT IMMA 1.8.2013

There are some concerts that, when they are announced, you just have to go to. This, Blur’s only UK or Ireland gig in 2013, was one of them.

I’ve loved Blur for ages, but had never seen them live. The five month wait between purchasing the ticket, and the concert, seemed to last forever.

In Dublin on the day of the concert, I ventured into Tower Records. There was plenty of posters promoting the concert. However, the “Band of the week” in that particular store? Oasis. You got the love the sense of humour in that, accidental or not.

Something I only discovered when I arrived in Dublin was that IMMA was hosting “Blur 21”, an exhibition looking back at 21 years of Blur.

Unfortunately, it ended that day. It’s a pity it wasn’t on for one more day as I would have loved to have seen it.

I headed over to the venue via Luas. Not really knowing where I was going, I follows the crowd and managed to find it.

On the grounds of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, it was a massive open air gig. I managed to get into their, which as it turned out, was the place to be.

First band up, was The Strypes, 60s influenced teenagers from Cavan.

It’s a bit of a cliche to mention their ages (15-17) when in fact they have the stage persona, confidence and swagger of performers twice their age.

Even though they were supporting, and it wasn’t specifically “their crowd”, they still looked at home, and at ease.

If you haven’t heard it already, you should check out their debut single “Blue Collar Jane”

Next up, was Bat For Lashes. It was a strange combination of support acts, but it worked.

She played a mixture of slow and uptempo songs, the best of which, was saved for last, with a disco version of “Daniel”

As the was about to leave the stage, the grey skies disappeared and the sun came out. A sign perhaps?

The crowd were now impatient for Blur, chanting “Tender” amongst themselves. There were false alarms and cheers, but still, they wouldn’t appear on stage, before finally, they appeared.

At some concerts, you have to wait a couple of songs for a bit singalong hit. Not this one, as Blur opened with “Girls and Boys”

A bunch of 40 somethings on stage went back to their 20s, 30 somethings in the crowd went back to their teenage years, while 20 somethings younger got what Blur was about.

For three glorious minutes, it was 1994 again.

For the first couple of songs, Damon Albarn was throwing water from a bottle into the crowd. It became a badge of honour, as people rushed to get soaked by him.

They then ran through their catalog of hits, hits such as”Beetlebum” and “There’s No Other Way”, with Albarn jumping into the crowd during “Country House”

But there were some surprises, as Albarn tuned in his guitar and leaned towards he microphone, only to fool the crowd, as Blur went into the Graham Coxon sung “Coffee and TV” then mixing into “Tender”

There was one more big surprise, as a familiar voice was then heard saying hello to the crowd. It was, of course, Phil Daniels.

Daniels made another appearance at the encore, mostly just standing onstage and waving to the crowd, where they played “Under The Westway”, “For Tomorrow” and “The Universal”

Towards the end of “The Universal”, Albarn ran towards the crowd, high fiving those in the front row, and saying his goodbyes.

So that was it then. Not quite, one more surprise, but it probably wasn’t that surprising, as Dave Rowntree started playing that recognisable drum beat.

The crowd waited for then guitar riff, but could only hear drums, before finally, the guitar riff came.

The crowd waited, and waited, before finally, Albarn screamed WOO HOO!!!!

A superb ending to a superb concert.

Blur Photo Album

Bat For Lashes Photo Album

The Strypes Photo Album

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 2.8.2013

1. Haim – The Wire
2. Franz Ferdinand – Right Action
3. Chvrches – Gun
4. James Blunt – Bonfire Heart
5. Blur – Tender

Yesterday, was International Yorkshire Day, so that sounds like a good excuse for a chart. The original draft of the chart was Sheffield centric (ie – Five songs by Sheffield acts) so hopefully Sheffield will go rogue and gain independence so I can give them their own chart.

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS FROM YORKSHIRE

1. Heaven 17 – Temptation
2. Kiki Dee – Star
3. Pulp – Disco 2000
4. Embrace – You’re Not Alone
5. Kaiser Chiefs – Ruby

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 13.7.2012

1. Katy Perry – Wide Awake
2. Florence and the Machine ft Calvin Harris – Spectrum
3. The Killers – Runaways
4. Josh Osho – Redemption Days
5. Gym Class Heroes ft Ryan Tedder – The Fighter

Last Sunday, ITV launched a three part series titled ‘The Nation’s Favourite Number One’ which will probably have some crap Robbie Williams or Spice Girls song as the winner.

To commemorate this (The UK Singkes chart turns 60 this year) i’m going to do a Top Five for every decade from the 60s on.

I have three editions of the Guinness Book Of British Hit Singles (1999, 2001, 2003) and read them from cover to cover, so I know which songs were and weren’t Number One off by heart.

I had to use Wikipedia for this decade, whatever it’s called. A marked departure from when I would check the charts on Ceefax on a Sunday night (It’s still on page 528, if you’re interested)

FIVE NUMBER ONES FROM THE 60s

1. Small Faces – All Or Nothing
2. Rolling Stones – Get Off My Cloud
3. Tommy Roe – Dizzy
4. The Beatles – Ticket To Ride
5. Bee Gees – I Just Gotta Get A Message To You

FIVE NUMBER ONES OF THE 70s

1. Kate Bush – Wuthering Heights
2. Tina Charles – I Love To Love
3. Blondie – Heart Of Glass
4. Sweet – Blockbuster
5. Status Quo – Down Down

FIVE NUMBER ONES OF THE 80s

1. Wham – Freedom
2. Nena – 99 Red Balloons
3. Blondie – Call Me
4. Joe Dolce – Shaddap You Face
5. The Jam – Going Underground

FIVE NUMBER ONES OF THE 90s

1. U2 – The Fly
2. Queen – Innuendo
3. Chesney Hawkes – the One And Only
4. Blur – Country House
5. Babylon Zoo – Spaceman

FIVE NUMBER ONES OF THE 00s

1. Tatu – All The Things She Said
2. Stereophonics – Dakota
3. Nelly Furtado – Maneater
4. Cheryl Cole – Fight For This Love
5. Billie Piper – Day And Night

FIVE NUMBER ONES OF THE 10s

1. Owl City – Fireflies
2. Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
3. Rihanna ft Calvin Harris – We Found Love
4. Gotye ft Kimbra – Somebody That I Used To Know
5. Diana Vickers – Once

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : SELECT – OCTOBER 1991

Blur’s Damon Albarn, surrounded by flowers, is the cover star with the quote “We’ve done it, we killed baggy”

Blue get four pages dedicated to them. Choice quote is “The Englishness we feel isn’t real Englishness. It’s kind halway between a piss-take and serious delusion”

Somebody should perhaps do a concept album on that, perhaps with Phil Daniels guesting.

Other interviews and features include : Ned’s Atomic Dustbin and REM,

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : Q – FEBRUARY 1996

With Oasis as the biggest band in Britain, Q has managed to get Noel Gallagher on the cover with the headline “THE GREATEST SONGWRITER OF THE 90s?”

The magazine comes with a free casette tape of songs from the Channel 4 show ‘The White Room’

Meanwhile, Mick Jagger is in the news after doing an online webchat with fans. Well worth getting dial-up for.

1995 was reviewed with most of the coverage focusing on the chart battles between Blur and Oasis.

Q lists “20 CRAP THINGS THAT HAPPENED IN 1995”, among which includes : Irvine Welsh, Prince Naseem Hamed, Hollyoaks, Jim Davidson’s Generation Game, The OJ Simpson Trial, and Princess Diana.

Hope the Daily Express don’t find out about that last one.

Stone Roses get five pages dedicated to them, where Mani proclaims “We have the X-Factor”

Within six months, they had split up, before reforming in 2011.

Thus far, they have never appeared on an ITV talent show.

Noel Gallagher gets five pages dedicated to him. We wouldn’t have been happy if he looked at the album chart, as Oasis were number two behind Robson and Jerome.

John Lennon (The Beatles) and Freddie Mercury (Queen) make posthumous appearances in the top ten while Michael Jackson is at number nine, one place ahead of Pulp, which maybe inspired Jarvis Cocker to bare his arse at Jackson at that month’s Brit Awards.

Stuart Maconie’s round-up of the best of the (still fledgling) internet sees him review a Tina Turner fansite.

One of the greatest inventions of the modern era, and somebody is using it to show their love for Tina Turner.