Word In Your Ear
Jack Nitzche, a “pleat-faced” guitarist and the time Sly Stone got married onstage
Dipping our shrimping nets this week into the ever-bountiful rock and roll rock pool we find …
… Dylan, Madonna, Pharrell Williams, Michael Jackson, Nick Cave and Keith Richards – which one didn’t write a children’s book?
… S Club 7, Miles Davis’s sessionmen and others apparently ripped off by the heartless, skinflint music industry.
… the unsung story of Jack Nitzsche, “the man with the golden touch”, his part in the Stones’ baroque period and the recordings he made in Barking Town Hall and St Giles Cripplegate.
… when Sly Stone got married onstage and the couple who got hitched at a Taylor Swift show.
… a “short-fingered vulgarian” and a “beaky, crow-coiffed, pleat-faced” guitarist.
… the Gershwin score to Woody Allen’s Manhattan.
… how two thirds of NBA players are bankrupt in 10 years.
... Jimmy Page’s Shirley Bassey session.
… Rlchard Branson picking up women.
… how Jay Craydon’s still living off a Steely Dan guitar solo.
… can any musician hope to make it if they start aged 37?
… and somewhat irritatingly Jamie Oliver attaches himself to the celebrity children’s author gravy train.
Plus birthday guests Stephen Lambe –“that adolescent moment when pop music stops being just a nice noise and becomes Something Important: discuss”. And Chuck Loncon recommends Matthew Sweet and Susannah Hoffs’ Under The Covers compilations and the Stay Awake album of songs from Disney films.
Tickets for Word In The Park in London on June 3rd here!: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-happy-return-of-word-in-the-park-tickets-576193870377
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Nick Drake – a whole new perspective by Richard Morton Jack37:10Richard Morton Jack interviewed over 200 people when assembling what’s unquestionably the best, most colourful, comprehensive, revealing and accurate portrait of Nick Drake ever published. We talked to him about ‘Nick Drake: The Life’ at a live podcast recording at 21Soho on September 25 and explored various remote corners of this sad, surprising and eternally gripping story, among them …. … the fate of the tape of the 20-year old Drake playing for the Stones in Morocco in 1969. … what the press and public made of Five Leaves Left, Bryter Layer and Pink Moon when released and Joe Boyd’s reaction to their eventual success. … the early school days of the head boy who won a cup for “General Efficiency”. … his obsession with Francoise Hardy and the disastrous day he met her. … the peaks and troughs of his live performances including the time he played an event for a Birmingham rugby team supporting Genesis (required to play the Hokey-Cokey). … Kirstie Clegg, his on-off girlfriend from 1969. … Drake’s uncelebrated fondness for TV sitcoms and Benny Hill. … Peter Paul And Mary and other unlikely staples of his early repertoire. … and the events that helped re-boot his legacy. Order Richard’s highly recommended book here …https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nick-Drake-Richard-Morton-Jack/dp/1529308089Tickets for Word In Your Ear live at 21 Soho on October 30th here: https://www.tickettext.co.uk/ysY3FvyFaeSubscribe to Word In Your Ear on Patreon for early - and ad-free! - access to all of our content: https://www.patreon.com/wordinyourear
561. Gary Numan, unlikely sex symbols and U2’s £1,000 night in the desert54:34Spice-filled items tossed into the conversational cooking-pot this week include:- … our charming encounter with Gary Numan, possibly the world’s most contented man. … the next step in the age of spectacle: the sensory bombardment of U2’s shows at the Las Vegas Sphere and the crippling cost of experiencing it. … Taylor Swift’s genius for publicity and the subtle art of connecting with “Joe Six-Pack”. … the shockingly unwise and unfathomable pronouncements of Roger Waters and how his fall-out with David Gilmour makes Lennon’s ‘How Do You Sleep?’ seem like a love letter. … pop stars and their hair transplants. … what do bands think of their tribute acts? .. the ‘Austin Powers’ albums of David McCallum, a star so huge he needed a police motorcade. … Hugh Laurie, James Gandolfini, Carrie Fisher, Colin Firth, Felicity Kendal and others whose TV roles made them sex symbols. … and do rock stars really change people’s political views?Tickets for Word In Your Ear live at 21 Soho on October 30th here: https://www.tickettext.co.uk/ysY3FvyFaeSubscribe to Word In Your Ear on Patreon for early - and ad-free! - access to all of our content: https://www.patreon.com/wordinyourear
560. Does Gary Numan regret throwing the glo-stick that hit David Bowie?26:52Gary Numan is about to set out on a UK acoustic tour, some of it in churches and one date in a cathedral. He talks here - from the Scottish estate house he’s just bought – about some of the first shows he saw and what he’s learnt about live performance. This includes ... … the peculiar effect of seeing Nazareth at the Rainbow in 1973. … the fate of the £5 note he’d asked Queen to autograph. … why he doesn’t talk onstage, and why that’s about to change. … what musicians take for granted. … the church that insisted on his lyrics before they let him perform there. … what happened when he dodged the security for Bowie at Wembley Arena. .. what’s involved in creating a “relentless” live act. … a fondness for the Monkees and Marc Bolan and the secret of his 1981 Bogart hat. Gary Numan’s tour dates here ..https://garynuman.com/tours/Tickets for Word In Your Ear live at 21 Soho on October 30th here: https://www.tickettext.co.uk/ysY3FvyFaeSubscribe to Word In Your Ear on Patreon for early - and ad-free! - access to all of our content: https://www.patreon.com/wordinyourear
559. Why a sumptuous new book about the Island label is “like entering the record shop of your dreams”.39:46Neil Storey is an old pal from our magazine days who worked in the press office at Island. He looked after U2, Bob Marley, Steel Pulse, the B-52’s and many others. About 15 years ago he began the mammoth task of compiling a series of books telling the story of virtually every record the label released in its pioneering history, tracking down and talking to all those involved - musicians, producers, designers, photographers, label staff – and collecting old music press ads and ephemera from the time. The book’s almost a foot square so LP sleeves can be reproduced ‘actual size’. The first volume is just out, The Island Book Of Records 1959-1968, a thing of very great beauty. As David says, “it’s like entering the record shop of your dreams.” We talked to Neil at his home in France about this and much else besides … … Chris Blackwell’s involvement in the making of Dr No and the single Jamaican beach shot that told them they had a hit movie. … the album they released that no-one involved could remember. … Shotgun Wedding by Roy ‘C’, Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, Lance Hayward, Millie Small’s ‘My Boy Lollipop’ … … the letter Blackwell sent to the workshy Spooky Tooth with threats of wage deductions. … the lucrative ascent of Jethro Tull. … the little-known compilations of Rugby songs, ‘Bawdy British Ballads’ and risqué adult comedy that “saved the label’s bacon” in the mid-‘60s. … the time Neil stumbled across Traffic’s fabled Aston Tirrold cottage on a school camping trip. … the highly collectable “Birth of Ska’ album that was never released. … one immortal week at the Marquee Club. … and why Island were banned for Olympic Studios. Order the Island Book of Records Vol 1 here …https://www.roughtrade.com/gb/product/neil-storey/the-island-book-of-records-volume-i-1959-68?channable=409d926964003230353632383608&gclid=Cj0KCQjw06-oBhC6ARIsAGuzdw1pbKtxLGkjgkiJfcAll84H65dVQ1r_h7obky-QWlVtpr21UgiQP54aAk1BEALw_wcB#hardback-signed-plusTickets for Word In Your Ear live at 21 Soho on October 30th here: https://www.tickettext.co.uk/ysY3FvyFaeSubscribe to Word In Your Ear on Patreon for early - and ad-free! - access to all of our content: https://www.patreon.com/wordinyouear
558. Mojo’s 30th birthday plus bands whose t-shirts you’d wear even if you didn’t have any of their records54:42Both of us were involved in the launch of Mojo 30 years ago in the autumn of 1993 and we dug out our copies of the first issue. As editor Paul Du Noyer said on page 3, it was “our confirmed intention to pitch a wang-dang-doodle – all night long, if necessary.” The cover story was about a sequence from Eat The Document, the film by DA Pennebaker of Bob Dylan’s ’66 tour that was never released and could only be seen on bootleg VHS cassettes. And this bit was so rare and controversial it had even been deleted from most of the bootlegs - none more niche! – and featured Dylan and John Lennon’s stoned ramblings in a black cab after Bob had played the Albert Hall in May ‘66. The piece by Richard Williams also focused on 10 days in the life of Dylan and the Beatles at the time, the kind of specific, deep-end trawl that helped start a whole new wing of rock book publishing. You can see the seeds of the emerging ‘heritage rock’ in that first edition too. Mojo have a wonderful 30th anniversary issue out now, by the way. Further logs on this week’s conversational fire include … .. why people buy ‘vinyls’ when they don’t own a record player. … David’s story about the HMV security guard who built a shrine to James Last. … the brilliant – and fiercely competitive - mixtapes made and played in music magazines offices. ... the dreadful allegations about Russell Brand and the media rush to cut ties with him. … the band t-shirt favoured by well-heeled businessmen to signify they were once a ‘wild card’. … the Clones Roses, A Band Called Malice … the Dutiful South? … mentioned in despatches: Cat Mother and The All Night Newsboys. … and birthday guest Steve Way on the avenues of discovery encouraged by his love of Paul Weller (including the ruinous pursuit of being a Blue Note completist). Ps Dizzying pop facts: go back 30 years from the launch of Mojo and it’s ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’. There are copies of that first issue on eBay for £44.99 amazingly.Get your exclusive NordVPN deal here: https://nordvpn.com/yourearIt's risk-free with Nord's 30-day money-back guarantee.Tickets for Word In Your Ear live at 21 Soho on October 30th here: https://www.tickettext.co.uk/ysY3FvyFaeSubscribe to Word In Your Ear on Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/wordinyourear
557. The “unknown woman” in McCartney’s photos, the Human League and a new U2 game39:43This week’s pod was recorded just after we saw ‘Paul McCartney Photographs 1963-64: Eyes of the Storm’ at London’s National Portrait Gallery, a warm and winning show that starts with him as a wide-eyed fan trying to take pictures of his heroes and soon switches to his shots of the whole world trying to photograph him. We talk about his pictures of French jazzers, Paris boulevards, backstage rooms at TV shows, models, paparazzi, light entertainment stars, screaming fans, American police guns, Miami beaches, billboards, views from plane windows, hotel rooms, cocktails and a New York theatre showing “Christine Keeler Goes Nudist plus Playgirls”. And wonder how it feels to discover 60 years later you had your photo taken by a Beatle. PLUS … … the top-flight rock and roll star we passed in Soho. … the record David tries every year to force himself to like. … the wonderful Geoff Davies of Probe Records, the much-loved Liverpool figurehead who signed the Farm and Half Man Half Biscuit. … bands who’ve had the most members. … ‘Norman Wisdom, Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee, good times”. What’s not to love about the Human League’s Dare? … the new U2 parlour game. … why CDs sales are on the up. … and what the police would know about you if they found your phone.Tickets for Word In Your Ear live at 21Soho on September 25th here: https://www.tickettext.co.uk/1SwIYJWoHKGet your exclusive NordVPN deal here - it's risk-free with Nord's 30-day-money-back guarantee!: https://nordvpn.com/yourearSubscribe to Word In Your Ear on Patreon for early - and ad-free! - access to all of our content!: https://www.patreon.com/wordinyourear
556. Pulitzer Prize winner David Remnick takes the long view of Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin, Macca and more29:13David Remnick got his Pulitzer for his reporting on Russia. These days he edits The New Yorker, in which capacity he has had close encounters with some of music’s legends during their final acts, some of which is gathered in “Holding The Note”, a collection of his writings on music. From his ill-lit Manhattan eyrie he talks to David Hepworth of many matters, including:….what was in the handbag which remained on the piano during Aretha Franklin shows….what it was like being on the receiving end of an almighty dressing-down from the elderly Leonard Cohen….how Bruce Springsteen learned nothing at school but has picked up a great deal since….how Bob Dylan reckons he’s in a “post-interview” phase of life - or is he?….how his father took him to see Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald and he has taken his own kids to see Radiohead….how Keith Richards found a ghost writer who could throw his voice….what was really the last good Stones album.…why you should never try to get rock stars to like you.Pre-order Holding The Note here: https://www.panmacmillan.com/authors/david-remnick/holding-the-note/9781035023974Tickets for Word In Your Ear live at 21Soho on September 25th here: https://www.tickettext.co.uk/1SwIYJWoHKSubscribe to Word In Your Ear on Patreon for early - and ad-free! - access to all of our content: https://www.patreon.com/wordinyourear
555. The Stones return, rock’n’roll marriages and Freddie’s 50 kimonos46:10Recorded together in Mark Ellen’s attic! Among the conversational footballs booted round the park this week you’ll find:- … Freddie’s “exquisite clutter”: would YOU buy one of his bonzai plant-holders, his catsuit with ballet shoes and a $0.5m silver bangle? … when did the story change from “the Stones are old, knackered and ought to give up!” to “the Stones are old, brilliant and should carry on forever!”? ... do all enduring legacies need an element of tragedy? … who calls the Ezra Collective “a jazz band”? … who’s been married the longest … Bono, Alice Cooper or Peter Noone from Herman’s Hermits? … 1984 was the annus mirabilis of the album? Birthday guest Matthew North has the records to prove it. … the perils of celebrities chairing press conferences (QED Jimmy Fallon). ... how they’ve only gone and wrecked the Rugby World Cup anthems. … and useful phrases to deploy when you didn’t much care for your mate’s band but don’t want to hurt their feelings – eg You’ve done it again! Only YOU could have put in a show like that! You took it to a whole new level!Tickets for Word In Your Ear live at 21Soho on September 25th here: https://www.tickettext.co.uk/1SwIYJWoHKSubscribe to Word In Your Ear on Patreon for early - and ad-free! - access to all of our content: https://www.patreon.com/wordinyourear
554. Plaid shirts? Brown ale? A smoke-stained pub rock special with Simon Matthews31:54Fired by the rock and roll revival of 1970 and a post-Easy Rider taste for American music, a circuit of some 35 London pubs filled with bands playing fizzing, small-scale shows that never sounded quite the same on record, bands whose moment in the sun was ultimately wrecked by the arrival of punk rock. This pod – and Simon’s book ‘Before It Went Rotten: the Music That Rocked London Pubs 1972-1976’ – raises a dimple jug to some of its forgotten heroes including Meal Ticket, Roogalator, Ducks Deluxe, the Winkies and the Kursaal Flyers. Be honest, when did YOU last hear mention of the Count Bishops or GT Moore & the Reggae Guitars? So what was it about Southend? How did Eggs Over Easy play such a pivotal role in it all? And Creedence Clearwater Revival? And Dave Edmunds? Why was this the perfect launchpad for Ian Dury? And what was the final nail in the pub rock coffin? Order ‘Before It Went Rotten: the Music That Rocked London Pubs 1972-1976’ here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Before-Went-Rotten-Londons-1972-1976/dp/0857305743/ref=sr_1_11?qid=1693561624&refinements=p_27%3ASimon+Matthews&s=books&sr=1-11Tickets for Word In Your Ear live at 21Soho on September 25th here: https://www.tickettext.co.uk/1SwIYJWoHKSubscribe to Word In Your Ear on Patreon for early - and ad-free! - access to all of our content: https://www.patreon.com/wordinyourear