cover art for Word Podcast 225 - Remembering Smash Hits

Word In Your Ear

Word Podcast 225 - Remembering Smash Hits

Mark Frith and Sylvia Patterson join Mark Ellen and David Hepworth to remember Britain's brightest - includes extremely rare 1982 Christmas flex.

More episodes

View all episodes

  • 603. The evergreen record that’s 50 years old & Jeremy Thorpe at a hippie commune

    As this week’s rock and roll steeplechase thunders out over the jumps, the following runners and riders make it past the post … … “First he changed music. Then he changed the world!” and other over-cooked biopic sells. … Billy Joel returns by the miracle of Artificial Ignorance. … what you learn from visiting rock stars’ childhood homes. … what’s Malta done to deserve a four-day Liam Gallagher festival? … the one thing that’s never changed about Country Music. … how Hotel California ended up in court.   … Sam Mendes’ Beatles project and the problem with actors playing very famous people. … Beyoncé’s ‘Texas Hold ‘Em’: sampled banjo and other misdemeanours. … from Watergate to Putin: the 50 year-old record so lean, smart and cynical that the world’s only just catching up. … Don Henley on Irving Azoff: “He may be Satan but he’s OUR Satan.” … Rock sea-cruises: “get your marital vows renewed by a member of Weezer!” ... why CD has ruined Jackson Browne’s For Everyman. … what Hugh Grant superimposed on the character of Jeremy Thorpe.   … and birthday guest Adrian Ainsworth - Arse Curtains and other career-limiting band names.Subscribe to Word In Your Ear on Patreon for early - and ad-free - access to all of our content:
  • 602. Richard Coles has faced every audience imaginable, one armed with pea-shooters

    The Reverend Richard Coles is back on tour with his ‘Borderline National Trinket’ show and talks to us from his home in Sussex where he’s “the only person in the village who hasn’t won a BAFTA”. This looks back at his life – “a CV like the work of a fantasist” - and what he’s learnt from 50 years of watching various types of stage entertainment and playing to audiences ranging from the Wollaston Over-‘60s Methodist Ladies Fellowship to a bunch of delinquent Spanish pop fans with catapults. And he talks fondly of the Communards and how ‘80s pop was a Golden Age. Among the highlights … … Morecambe & Wise at the Kettering Granada with Arthur Tolcher on the mouth organ. … finding your “pulpit voice”. … Sir Robert Helpmann’s great gag about referees. … why time is a healer. … the “marble denim and mullets” of Legs & Co’s interactive dance to the Communards on Top Of The Pops.   … on the literary circuit sandwiched between John Lydon and Marti Pellow – “dreams do come true”. … if he’s ever met a shy vicar. … the stagecraft of Danny Baker, Adam Kay and Grayson Perry. … standing on a chair to conduct the RPO, aged 8 and the time he wrote a Magnificat For Choir And Snare Drum in A Minor. … seeing Bauhaus, John Otway and the 4-Be-2s. … sitting between Lenny Henry and Torvill & Dean at a Kylie show. … his teenage punk band Zerox playing Clash covers. … and why there are never any forks in a Green Room. Get ‘Borderline National Trinket’ tickets here, last date March 11 at London’s Shaftesbury Theatre … to Word In Your Ear on Patreon for early - and ad-free - access to all of our content:
  • 601. For Jah Wobble driving tube trains was even more thrilling than playing Glastonbury

    Jah Wobble - aka John Wardle - wrote ‘Dark Luminosity: Memoirs of a Geezer’ in 2009. It’s just been reworked, expanded and republished and it’s well worth reading, full of detail about growing up in the East End, unexploded bombs, pickling factories, grim schooldays, record shops and clubs, the bands he saw and his arrival at Kingsway College where he met John Lydon and Sid Vicious and became a cornerstone of the punk rock inner circle. And then two challenging years as the bassist of Public Image Ltd, the time he worked as a train driver and ticket collector for London Transport, a series of collaborations – Brian Eno, Baaba Maal, Holger Czukay, Sinead O’Connor, Chaka Demus – and some bold and original solo albums (you’ll enjoy Island Records' reaction when he pitches an album based on the poems of William Blake). Among this podcast's highlights … … the Kafkaesque world of working for the London Underground in the days when you could “punch an area manager and not get sacked”. … why great rhythm sections are like great football players. … his dad, an El-Alamein survivor, on seeing Mick Jagger on Top of the Pops: “the Rolling Stones should be used for mine clearance.” … Public Image Ltd – “three of the weirdest people you could ever meet”, the band that kept their cash in a shoebox. … “you can’t go through life as a tourist”. … the secret of the perfect bass sound. … watching the first Sex Pistols’ rehearsal. … seeing Bob Marley & the Wailers at the Lyceum. … the record that reversed his dislike of the Beatles. … why working with Pharoah Sanders was the highlight of his musical life. … his 2023 album, ‘The Bus Routes of South London’. … Jim Reeves, Burl Ives and further sounds of the family homestead. ... and a powerful aversion to hippies. Order John’s memoir here …\Subscribe to Word In Your Ear on Patreon for early - and ad-free - access to all of our content, plus a whole load more:
  • 600. Steve Wright and other great radioheads, McCartney’s bass & the non-profits of Python

    Pausing occasionally to spark a Senior Service and sink a milk stout, we kick cans down this week’s rock and roll boulevard stopping off at the following hotspots …    … the “Grunge Dripdown”: why Pearl Jam can play 60,000 seaters. … the Elton Line, the Dury Line, the Bragg Line, the Kirsty Line …. What the London Overgrounds should have been called and why. ... how Steve Wright made radio and sowed the seeds of the Fast Show and Stella Street.  … actors who’ve joined the Choir Invisible but live on in voice-over. … is any musician as closely linked to any instrument as McCartney to his Hofner bass? And the mysterious tale of its theft. … J&M Studios (where Little Richard’s Tutti Frutti was recorded) is now a launderette with a jukebox. What became of Olympic, Town House, Motown and Bearsville? … the Radio 2 v Greatest Hits ratings land-grab. … does anyone under 60 still care about Monty Python? … the latest glorious chapter in Taylor Swift and Kanye West’s 15-year “beef”.… “All pop music is Strictly”: what David learnt from his six-year old granddaughters. … the voice of Tommy Vance returns by the miracle of AI. … “an elephant is a horse designed by a committee”. ... plus birthday guest Nick Foreman and why “underrated” is overrated.Subscribe to Word In Your Ear on Patreon for early - and ad-free - access to all of our content, alongside a whole load more!:
  • 599. Max Décharné reboots the golden age of the Teddy Boys

    If a film director wanted to flag up incoming violence in the late ‘50s, the camera would fall upon a couple of Teds lurking in the street outside. The teenage Keith Richards remembers razors, bike chains and bloodshed at dance halls and there was an infamous Teddy Boy murder on Clapham Common that plunged the nation into frantic, media-led moral panic. Max Décharné sets out to reclaim the Teds from their “Cro-Magnon, knuckle-dragging cliché” in his new book Teddy Boys and relives this dangerously thrilling rock and roll revolution – the music, clothes, films, press stories, the birth of Ted, Peak Ted, its eventual demise and what’s kept the flame alive since. Things of note include …   … the full effect of Blackboard Jungle on a packed 4,000-seater cinema. ... that poignant sight of an old Ted pushing a pram with a woman with a beehive. … Joan Collins in ‘Cosh Boy’.   … the first UK rock and roll gig, Bill Haley & the Comets at the New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth in 1956.  … the crepe-soled, velvet-collared Duke of Edinburgh, unlikely ’50s fashion icon. … Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis at the London Rock and Roll Show at Wembley in 1972, a key point in the Ted revival. … Malcolm McLaren, Johnny Rotten, Wizzard and assorted Ted torch-carriers. … Viv Stanshall and ‘Teddy Boys Don’t Knit’. … fingertip drapes from Savile Row and how Teds subverted top-end fashion.   … Fleetwood Mac as Earl Vince & the Valiants doing ‘Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonite’. … and how the Beatles and James Bond helped kick the Teds into touch. Order Max’s book here … to Word In Your Ear on Patreon for early - and ad-free - access to all of our content, plus a whole load more!:
  • 598. Guy Garvey remembers the Grumbleweeds in panto, Santana fantasies & a song nicked from Roy Castle

    Guy Garvey and Elbow start touring the UK in May and he looks back here at the first shows he saw growing up in Bury in the ’70s - when his five elders introduced him to punk, prog, folk, soul and Elton John - and proudly admits he still doesn’t know the names of the guitar strings. Look out for … … the secrets of the “Vanity Thrust” and other 21st Century stagecraft. … the time they supported the Stones. … being with the same band members for 34 years and each “wanting to be a different member of Santana”. … what he’s learnt about live performance - “never announce new material”.  … his 6Music show, Guy Garvey’s Finest hour (“one hour too long” – Mrs Guy Garvey).    … the un-PC death of Roy Castle in the Peter Cushing movie Dr Terry’s House of Horrors. … good things about Little Simz. … the time a snowstorm doubled their audience.   … working with the BBC Concert Orchestra – “if it’s Wagner you’ll miss two tea breaks”. … when Paul McCartney turned “Partridge-esque”. … and the possible ‘star guests’ on the upcoming tour. Elbow tour dates … Guy Garvey’s Finest hour … Elbow are on Radio 2’s Piano Room with the BBC Concert Orchestra on Feb 21… to Word In Your Ear on Patreon for early - and ad-free - access to all of our content, plus a whole load more!:
  • 597. Lulu, when Prince did a bad thing and how the Beatles changed the shape of the human head

    This week the two-man kayak of curiosity tackles the following rock and roll rapids … … when was the last time there was a truly universal hit?  … why Waylon Jennings walked out of We Are The World. ... the story of Everybody’s Talkin’ and Midnight Cowboy. … why the Beatles’ 1964 American invasion was the biggest surprise party in the world and how the Maysles Brothers’ doc became the template for A Hard Day’s Night. … the secret haikus of Wes Anderson. … the best moments in Jaws. ... why Tracy Chapman stole the Grammys.  … how USA For Africa v Band Aid showed a fundamental difference in the British and American character. … the inscrutable world of Spotify royalty payments. … when Lulu, Dusty and Sandie Shaw were re-booted.   … Mojo Nixon RIP, a “corner on two wheels on fire” kinda guy. … Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt’s hair. … “Let me die a young man's death” - Adrian Henri. … plus birthday guest Keith Adsley suggests cover versions in movie soundtracks that are better than the originals – eg Fiona Apple’s Across the Universe, the Gypsy Kings’ Hotel California and the Soggy Bottom Boys’ Man of Constant Sorrow.Subscribe to Word In Your Ear on Patreon for early - and ad-free - access to all of our content, pus a whole load more!:
  • 596. Musicians and their mothers and the records we could never sell

    We spun the week’s rock and roll roulette wheel and this is where the balls landed …  … why all rock biopics are worth seeing once. … ‘demixing’: we spent ages perfecting records. Now we’re unperfecting them. … the adorable hand-drawn flyer the 15 year-old Robert Plant made for his band Blacksnake Moan 60 years ago – “the weirdest, wildest sound in R&B!” … are all musicians driven by the urge to please their mums? … Pyjamarama, Crazy Diamond, Cigarettesnalcohol and other rock and roll racehorses. … why “The Room” by Fabiano do Nascimento and Sam Gendel is “healing music”. … has anyone been ‘bigger’ than Taylor Swift? And how can she be so universally popular and yet we can go through life without hearing a note of her music? … the Pet Shop Boys at the London Palladium: “we don’t do waving”. … “Something's lost but something's gained in living every day” – Joni Mitchell. … are any possesions more precious than records? ... and birthday guest Kevin Rose recommends the Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy – and we talk about Control (Joy Division), Backbeat (the early Beatles), Rocket Man and Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis.Subscribe to Word In Your Ear on Patreon for early - and ad-free - access to all of our content, plus a whole load more!:
  • 595. Tom Hibbert (the world’s funniest music writer) and why Madonna should be sued

    Our piercing Hubble Telescope Of Truth scans the rock and roll heavens to see what new patterns emerge, among them … … running into Rod Stewart at a friend’s funeral. … the priceless spectacle of rock critics dancing. ... Prefab Sprout and the fine art of bathos – “We were songbirds, we were Greek Gods, we were singled out by fate/We were quoted out of context - it was great!” … the best songs about being in a band. … Jackson Browne’s Running On Empty (and its hymn to self-love). … King Kong, the most famous movie of all time - and why, like Jaws and Jurassic Park, the special effects now seem creaky but the drama still holds. … our new pop star category: “dancer-singer”. ... how Tom Hibbert invented a whole new whole method of music journalism (and the only song that could get him on a dancefloor). … “the crack of the backbeat on Vine Street”. … and birthday guest Roger Millington on Heroes by David Bowie, the Archers theme tune and anything else that might make a new National Anthem.Subscribe to Word In Your Ear on Patreon for early - and ad-free - access to all of our content and much more!: