Word In Your Ear
Groups that look like a check-out line at B&Q? We have a winner!
Encountering the cheerful ping-pong bats of conversation this week you’ll find …
… the most unprepossessing rock band on God’s green earth.
… Ed Sheeran v Marvin Gaye – “the case continues”. But does anybody genuinely copy anyone else these days?
… Springsteen and Michelle Obama and their irresistible thirst for publicity.
… the return of the Stack Waddy game: Spencer Birtwistle? Wilfred Mott? … Bernard Cribbins sitcom character or former member of the Fall?
… Santana’s Caravanserai still sounds like it was made yesterday.
… what Paul McCartney and Coldplay were paid to play Glastonbury.
… if you tell people they’ll like things they tend to look for reasons to disagree but can we (cautiously) recommend the Australian comedy Colin From Accounts?
… Happy 70th, Bill Drummond. We remember his deafening ‘retirement’ exit at the BRITS in 1992 and his exotic activities since.
… the delicate rhythms of the funniest lines by PG Wodehouse.
… a chilling stat involving football academies.
… Harry Belafonte, the original “singer and activist”, and the time he was in a drama class with Walter Matthau and Marlon Brando.
… plus Shakespeare, a light-fingered Noel Gallagher and amplified busking.
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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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
553. What Kevin Armstrong learnt as the sideman for Bowie, McCartney, Morrissey, Sinead and Iggy Pop30:33Kevin Armstrong was the guitarist in the band David Bowie asked him to assemble for Live Aid and toured and recorded with him many times. Playing the guitar intro to Rebel Rebel in a stadium, he says, is “like lighting a match”. Start the Passenger with Iggy Pop and you’re greeted with “a great mass of love”. His memoir, Absolute Beginner, is “a window onto the high table of rock and roll” and full of insights into life in studios and on the road and the fathomless levels of diplomacy often required to collaborate. This entertaining pod expands upon … … why he turned down the offer to join the Smiths. … how Jim Osterberg transforms himself into Iggy Pop. … the Sinead O’Connor’s tour manager’s trick to speed the band through security. … the song Bowie dropped from the Live Aid set. … why Michael Hutchence is “terrified of small crowds”. … Bowie’s ex-Navy Seal minder and the old decoys-under-blankets ruse. … why Morrissey is “thin-skinned”. … and the eternal curse of “Imposter Syndrome”. Order ‘Absolute Beginner’ here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Absolute-Beginner-Memoirs-least-known-guitarist/dp/1911036173Tickets 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
552. Which acts will “go down in history” and what matters more than their music?51:11We dipped the shrimping net of curiosity in the rock and roll rockpool this week and transferred the following items to the podcast bucket … … who now regrets being the “little tyrant” that broke up their band 30 years ago? … who was the real Bungalow Bill and how did the song about him change his life? … Bing Crosby and Paul Whiteman are almost forgotten. Are the Doors and the Kinks heading the same way? … the unique and extraordinary Bill Wyman, “more a witness to the Rolling Stones than a member”, plus Nellcôte and the Birds’ Custard. … is the ice finally melting in the Talking Heads camp? … an everyday tale of Culture’s “Two Sevens Clash” on the mean streets of North London’s garden suburbs. … was Lennon v the Maharishi an early example of “career cancelling”? … is Life During Wartime from Stop Making Sense the greatest live performance ever filmed? … the curse of the Budokan. … and birthday guests Avi Chaudhuri and Jelltex (who strongly recommends The Mood Elevator's second album, Married Alive).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
551. Bob Dylan - why he signs autographs left-handed and other mysteries solved by Ray Padgett25:06Ray Padgett lives in Vermont, first discovered Dylan when he was 16 in the 21st Century and was fascinated and besotted, later launching the newsletter ‘Flagging Down the Double E’s’ and now publishing the enthralling ‘Pledging My Time’, a collection of his interviews with over 40 people who’ve worked, performed and recorded with the inscrutable old rogue. Both the book and this fast-moving, whip-smart and very funny conversation are revelatory and highly recommended, the podcast shedding light on … … the daily life of Bob Dylan – eg the piles of gifts he routinely receives and the security men who scour his vacated hotel rooms to remove anything that could be nicked and put on eBay. … the only friend who seemed to co-exist with him on “an equal footing”. ... an eye-witness account of his first performance (aged 13) at a Jewish summer camp in Minnesota. … the childhood friend who owned a fish business in Duluth and ended up running the Rolling Thunder Revue - as Dylan enigmatically put it, “if you can sell fish, you can sell tickets”. ... the time he went to a business conference and nobody recognised him. … how he tells musicians to “never play the same thing twice”. … the chance meeting with Scarlet Rivera – two hours later she was onstage as “my violinist” with Dylan and Muddy Waters. … multiple examples of his love of spontaneity and the extraordinary way he hires musicians. … a rare moment when his career seemed to stall. … and honourable mentions of Richard Thompson, Paul Stookey, Jim Keltner, Stan Lynch and Jeff Bridges. Pledging My Time …https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pledging-My-Time-Conversations-Members/dp/B0C6VRBZQC Flagging Down the Double E’s newsletter …https://dylanlive.substack.com/aboutTickets 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/woridinyourear https://www.covermesongs.com/about-ray-padgett