Alyson’s Archive #10 – Farewell Olivia Newton-John

I was away from home last week, meeting up with old friends of the same age. When we heard the news that Olivia Newton-John had died, we all felt a great sadness, not particularly because we were big fans but because she was part of our teenage years and not really that much older than us. Poor Olivia had been treated for the illness that finally took her life several times over the last 30 years, so in some ways she got more time than many others with the same diagnosis. She certainly put that time to good use becoming both an advocate for breast cancer research, and an activist for environmental and animal rights causes.

There weren’t many pinups of female music artists in the magazines I bought as a young teenager – they were all full of Donny Osmond, David Cassidy and the Bay City Rollers – but amazingly I found this one of Olivia in my box of teenage memorabilia, a box that’s provided a lot of material for this blog. I can’t be quite sure when that picture was taken but I’m guessing it’s from 1972/73 before she changed her hair to the long layered style that suited her so well. She was a regular throughout all four series of Cliff Richard’s prime time television show and families like mine would always tune in on a Saturday night. It wasn’t edgy entertainment and no boundaries were pushed, but for households who had probably only recently acquired colour sets, it was must-watch telly.

A pinup from FAN magazine

She was the golden girl with wholesome good looks, good hair and a fine voice. In the early ’70s she had hits in the UK with If Not For You, Banks of the Ohio and Take Me Home Country Roads. She was also chosen to represent the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 with this very lacklustre song, Long Live Love, which even she herself admitted to not liking. She still came fourth however as back then we tended to do pretty well every year. Changed days (until this year of course). She looks as if she’s wearing her nightie and seems to be overcompensating for the poor song with her enthusiastic arm movements. A perfect example of how the contest was at that time though and nothing like the extravaganza it has now become. (And, as a fan of Eurovision it’s inevitable I would have had this song in my music library!)

Long Live Love by Olivia Newton-John:


Perhaps it was the ignominy of coming fourth in the contest that led to her wholeheartedly try her luck in the US and with the support of fellow Australian Helen Reddy ( who herself died only two years ago) she was soon the golden girl over there too, scoring several No. 1 hits on the Adult Contemporary Chart, one of them being I Honestly Love You. Again nothing edgy there and no boundaries pushed but Olivia was a ‘nice’ girl, who was never going to do anything to shock, ever. Or was she?

There can’t be many of us who have never heard of the 1978 film musical Grease, as it has become a bit of a cultural phenomenon. Set in late 1950s California, it follows the lives of 10 students as they navigate their final year of high school. It took a bit of persuasion, and a screen test, to convince her she could play a teenager, but eventually Olivia was cast as Sandy Olsson, the ‘nice girl’ who fell for ‘bad boy’ Danny Zuko, played by John Travolta. What is it with Olivia and nighties but here she is again dressed in one, singing Hopelessly Devoted to You from the film, a song that earned an Oscar nomination.

Hopelessly Devoted to You by Olivia Newton-John:


Ok, so Olivia is still the nice girl we are used to seeing on screen, dressed in her nightie, singing pleasant songs suited to the Adult Contemporary chart. What we didn’t expect was this, the scene that wrapped up the movie, after which she flies off into the sunset in a car called Greased Lightnin’ with aforementioned bad boy Danny Zuko. The nightie has gone, to be replaced by black skin-tight trousers (that she had to be sewn into every day of shooting), a black leather jacket, teased hair and red lipstick. This was not the Olivia we were used to seeing and she certainly set a lot of teenage boys’ pulses racing. It has been pointed out many times this last week that the plotline perhaps doesn’t stand the test of time and that it couldn’t be made the same way nowadays. They are right of course, but in 1978 I had just turned 18, and for me and my friends it was just a light-hearted movie full of great songs and dance routines that we didn’t take too seriously. For Olivia, You’re the one That I Want, made her a bit of a superstar.

You’re the One That I Want by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John:


After the film Grease, Olivia adopted a slightly raunchier persona, even getting Physical, but just like with her ‘transformation’ in the film, I think we all knew that deep down she was still the same girl who used to appear on Saturday night telly with Cliff Richard. In 1980 they even recorded a duet together, Suddenly, for the film Xanadu. It has ridiculous lyrics (motions and oceans) but it’s a love song and I have always liked it, so a good clip to end with. Olivia was no longer the guest star in Cliff’s universe, the tables had turned and he was now a guest in hers.

Suddenly by Olivia Newton-John and Cliff Richard:


So, yet another of the artists I grew up with has left us. Farewell Olivia, the golden girl who sounds as if she truly was a beautiful person inside and out. She will be missed by all who knew her.


Until next time…

Suddenly Lyrics
(Song by John Farrar)

She walks in and I’m suddenly a hero
I’m taken in my hopes begin to rise
Look at me can’t you tell I’d be so
Thrilled to see the message in your eyes
You make it seem I’m so close to my dream
And then suddenly it’s all there

Suddenly the wheels are in motion
And I, I’m ready to sail any ocean
Suddenly I don’t need the answers
Cos I, I’m ready to take all my chances with you

How can I feel you’re all that matters
I’d rely on anything you say
I’ll take care that no illusions shatter
If you dare to say what you should say
You make it seem I’m so close to my dream
And then suddenly it’s all there

Suddenly the wheels are in motion
And I, I’m ready to sail any ocean
Suddenly I don’t need the answers
Cos I, I’m ready to take all my chances with you

Why do I feel so alive when you’re near
There’s no way any hurt can get thru
Longing to spend every moment of the day with you

Suddenly the wheels are in motion
And I, I’m ready to sail any ocean
Suddenly I don’t need the answers
Cos I, I’m ready to take all my chances with you

A Flat Reunion, Danny Wilson (the Band) and ‘Aberdeen’ (the Song)

I spent a few days away from home last week but tried to keep all the plates spinning at the same time. Upshot is I got away with it, but I’m now exhausted, so a lesson learnt – in the future I will be pressing pause on our various business ventures when I’m out of town. On the blogging front, as I’m now more of a weekly/fortnightly blogger, I’ve missed the boat on various topics I’d have liked to have written about around here. The death of Bernard Cribbins, the death of one of our neighbours (Albert the nonagenarian who didn’t quite ‘make the ton’ after all), the final episode of Neighbours, the ongoing heatwave and the sporting achievements of the last fortnight. There may be a reason to mention these things down the line, but for now, I think I’ll write about my trip.

In the summer of 1982 I had just graduated from Aberdeen University and life in the real world beckoned. Last week I had a 40-year reunion in that same city with the girls (we will always be girls, whatever our age) I moved into a flat with that summer, and who became my urban family for the next five years. They have been written about often around here, this being a retrospective blog, and when we met up it was of course just like old times. The flat we moved into was a great find and only a stone’s throw from the city centre. We had a wander along to check it was still standing and needless to say, being built of hard-wearing (although somewhat radioactive) granite, it looked pretty much identical.

The top floor flat – scene of many a party and of many a drama

So, what did we do last week? Well it didn’t start off well as only 20 minutes away from arriving in the city, a pesky warning light popped up on my dashboard and I had no idea what it referred to. After a few panicked phonecalls, it was decided I should carry on to my destination and we could investigate when I got there. To my embarrassment it was only low tyre pressure and easily fixed but it made me realise I really need to be more self-sufficient when it comes to car maintenance. After that drama we headed off to revisit some of our old haunts and as the weather was glorious, much of the city looked beautiful. As for Union Street, the main thoroughfare, it has seen better days that’s for sure, but most towns and cities are the same nowadays with everyone shopping online and working from home.

That first evening we went out for dinner with another old friend from those days and after a lovely meal we went through to the bar for a drink. It was then we heard the news that Olivia Newton-John had died. We were collectively saddened as we had all grown up watching Olivia on prime time telly and of course had been witness to her ‘transformation’ in the film Grease, which came out the summer we left school. A fifth friend from the city should have joined us that night but she was in Sydney, Australia where her daughter was about to get married. She sent on this picture the next day.

Sydney Opera House lit up in pink as a tribute to Olivia, a British-born Australian

But this post is about my reunion (an Olivia tribute post will follow). We were all really glad we’d set the date in the calendar as it had been a long time. Our lives have gone in very different directions since we left that shared flat back in 1987 so there were many stories to tell. Needless to say I had brought along the photo albums as I’m usually the custodian of memories in any group, and much hilarity was had reminiscing about our exploits. Here is a picture of us taken in the 1980s and one taken last week, nearly 40 years on. The hair has less pigment and there are a few more (laughter) lines but I think the dynamic between us and the bond of friendship remains the same.

On our way to a fancy dress party (we’ve obviously partaken of a sunbed!)
Our flat reunion 40 years on

I have such fond memories of those years, but then I also said that recently about my schooldays. If I’m being totally honest it wasn’t always a bed of roses as we all split up with our long-term boyfriends during that time (yes, of course we googled them last week!) and changed jobs a fair few times, but fortunately we have selective memories and time seems to erase the bad stuff.

As for a featured song, I’m going to quite appropriately share this one called Aberdeen by the band Danny Wilson. The song was on their debut album called Meet Danny Wilson, released in 1987 after we all went our separate ways, but it has always been a favourite of mine. The band came from Dundee and are possibly best remembered for Mary’s Prayer, their big hit on both sides of the pond. Gary Clark, their lead singer and songwriter, went on to write songs for many of the biggest artists of the 1990s.

Aberdeen by Danny Wilson:


A bit of a sad song that one, but you don’t get many written about your home city so I really wanted to include it. One written from the songwriter’s personal experience I think, as all the best songs are.

I’ve gone way off tangent on this one, writing about my reunion with just a little bit of music thrown in, but I needed to get back in the saddle again and didn’t feel ready to tackle a tribute post for Olivia yet. Hope I’m excused. In case any of my followers from the Granite City drop by, here’s a puzzler for you. Where was my old flat (hint: it was on the Holburn Street side of town)?

Until next time…

Aberdeen Lyrics
(Song by Gary Clark)

Should you go to Aberdeen
Tell me what you find
A girl I know in Aberdeen
Who left her heart behind

Tho the northern lights
Have claimed her as their own

Tell her that I hope she’s well
Beg her to come home
Tell her that I hope she’s well
And beg her to come home

If the cost of living’s high
I can pay my way
With money that I had put by
For any rainy day

If left or right of two
Is all she understands

Tell her that I love her still
No matter what the plan
Tell her that I always will
No matter what the plan
Ba bai up dup baah

We had plans that we never
Saw come true but we can do
I took the time to remember
All that we did, we forget to

If you take a friend along
Take me in his place
Every piece of shit I own
We’ll pack into my case

Tho the northern lights
May have claimed her as their own
I could move to Aberdeen
Make the place my home
Not the finest place I’ve been
But I’ll make the place
Make the place my home

Missing Out On Festivals: There Could Have Been ‘Good Times’ at Belladrum

You know that feeling, the one you get when you know you really should be somewhere else having a whale of a time, but you dithered and missed out on the opportunity, leaving others to have all the fun. I’m having that feeling today as despite promising myself I would definitely go this year, if only for a day, it’s just not happened.

I’m talking about our local music festival, called the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival (theme this year – Myths and Legends). It didn’t happen in 2020 or 2021 due to the pandemic, but it’s very much back on this year, and what a line-up. DD always used to go when she was younger and we acted as a taxi service taking her and her friends back and forth, sometimes even if they were camping. Nice to be able to pop home for a shower and dry out the wellies, especially if it was a wet and muddy year. Until recently I had been happy to leave the rigours of an open-air festival to the youngsters but I’m conscious of the fact I’m getting on a bit now (sad but true), and there may be few opportunities left for me to see some of these acts live.


But I did dither and here I am sitting at my computer instead. There were still day tickets left this week but I had guests arriving at the holiday hideaway, and the weather forecast was for rain. Needless to say I don’t now think it will rain, and despite being a dedicated host (remember my plans for ‘Alyson’s Highland Adventures’), who tells her guests she is available 24/7 to help out in any way, most of them rarely bother me once they’ve been handed the house keys and the Wi-Fi code.

So, next year there will be no dithering. I will block off all the calendars (and in my current life there are many) well in advance, and will be prepared for all-weathers. If anyone wants to join me, you know where to find me – there will even be an empty holiday hideaway for you to stay in. Of course next year there will be a totally different line-up but as the eagle-eyed amongst you might have spotted there are always a fair few very lively Scottish folk bands on the bill. All adds to the local flavour of the festival.

He’s certainly been busy this summer popping up at all sorts of outdoor events so I would have loved to see the legend that is Nile Rodgers perform live. Here is a clip of him from Glastonbury 2017, a set I remember watching on television and it certainly doesn’t feel like five years ago. (The pesky pandemic has played havoc with the timeline of our memories.)

Good Times by Chic:


It’s a long time since he’s affected the ‘chic’ sharp-suited look, apparently inspired by Bryan Ferry, but I do like his 21st century ‘street hippie’ look just as much. He’s probably going to be staying in one of our premier hotels tonight (no, not that one) – wonder if I could persuade Mr WIAA to hover around the foyer nursing a drink with me, just in case we get a chance to schmooze with him after his headline act performance. A long shot though, on both counts.

Another act on the bill I would have loved to see live are these guys from Iceland, Daði Freyr. They will always be remembered as the band who would have won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2020 had it not been cancelled, again due to the pandemic. No matter, they have made quite a name for themselves now anyway, and their dance routines have been copied many times on those social media platforms that feature short videos.


I really am going to have to get my act together aren’t I? Mr WIAA is not a particular fan of big open air concerts, as his middle-aged brain seems to no longer connect with his middle-aged bladder, reminding it that having no ‘facilities’ nearby really isn’t the end of the world! Too much information perhaps, but issues the youngsters don’t have to think about at all.

Time to start blocking off this same weekend in next year’s calendar I think. If I am still blogging this time next July, you will hopefully be reading about my exploits at Belladrum 2023. If not, feel free to give me a serious rollicking. No more missing out.

Until next time…

Good Times Lyrics
(Song by Nile Rodgers/Bernard Edwards)

Good times
These are the good times
Leave your cares behind
These are the good times

Good times
These are the good times
Our new state of mind
These are the good times

Happy days are here again
The time is right for making friends
Let’s get together, how ’bout a quarter to ten?
Come tomorrow, let’s all do it again

Boys will be boys, better let them have their toys
Girls will be girls, cute ponytails and curls
Must put an end to this stress and strife
I think I want to live the sporty life

Good times
These are the good times
Leave your cares behind
These are the good times

Good times
These are the good times
Our new state of mind
These are the good times

A rumor has it that it’s getting late
Time marches on, just can’t wait
The clock keeps turning, why hesitate?
You silly fool, you can’t change your fate

Let’s cut the rug, a little jive and jitterbug
We want the best, we won’t settle for less
Don’t be a drag, participate
Clams on the half shell and roller-skates, roller-skates

Good times
These are the good times
Leave your cares behind
These are the good times

Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Jackson Browne and ‘Somebody’s Baby’

Am I now too old to appreciate, and really enjoy, a coming-of-age movie from 1982 set in an American high school? Apparently not. When multiple references were made to Fast Times at Ridgemont High in the phenomenally successful Netflix drama Stranger Things, also set in the 1980s, I decided it was high time I watched it, and I’m so glad I did. It doesn’t matter how old you get, the themes that crop up in these movies – good and bad – still resonate, as those years when you are aged 16 to 18 are probably the most highly charged and memorable of your life. It’s certainly no coincidence that I write about songs from the late 1970s more than any other era in this retrospective music blog, just when I was that age exactly.

I don’t quite know how Fast Times… had slipped through the net for me as I’ve watched all those similarly themed ’80s movies many times over: Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off etc. In some ways Fast Times… hasn’t aged very well, as certain scenes just wouldn’t have been made nowadays, for all sorts of reasons, but in other ways nothing has changed. The various characters that make up the student body of a high school were all represented and most of the lead actors went on to great things: Sean Penn, Judge Reinhold, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Phoebe Cates, Forest Whitaker, with more minor roles played by Eric Stoltz and Nicolas Cage (or Nicolas Coppola as he was then).

Fast Times… was the first teen movie of its type and it seems to have formed the template for all that came afterwards. It is essentially a comedy-drama, but the drama is limited to observing the lives of a diverse group of characters as they navigate a single year of high school. Sean Penn, playing Jeff Spicoli, was the original ‘surfer stoner dude’ and gets all the best lines in the movie, some of them quite deep and observationally spot on.

“Life comes at you pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

“What Jefferson was saying was, ‘Hey! You know, we left this England place ’cause it was bogus; so if we don’t get some cool rules ourselves—pronto—we’ll just be bogus, too!’ Get it?” (I can now see where the makers of the Bill and Ted movies got their inspiration.)

“Mr. Hand, do you have a guy like me in all your classes? You know, a guy you make an example of?”

“Well Stu I’ll tell you, surfing’s not a sport, it’s a way of life, it’s no hobby. It’s a way of looking at that wave and saying, ‘Hey bud, let’s party!”

Coming from rural Scotland, I don’t exactly know why I have such a fondness for films set in American high schools, even now, but a lot of it could be down to how the lives of the students, although just like our own in many ways, always seemed much more glamourous and adrenaline-packed compared to what we experienced. Our senior school days played out just like those of Gregory, Dorothy and Susan in Gregory’s Girl, set in Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire. Ridgemont, in the San Fernando Valley, it most definitely was not. In the late 1970s we didn’t have:

Sunny weather all year round (half our school year at least was spent in duffle coats as it was so cold and ‘dreich’)
Landlines in our bedrooms (our ‘house phones’ were in the hall or living room, if we had one at all, so no privacy)
Shiny new shopping malls to hang out in (we had the local high street or the park)
Car parks for the students to park their cars in (no-one had a car at my school, ergo, no car park!)
Street clothes worn to school (we had drab blazers, skirts, shirts & ties and aforementioned duffle coats)
Proms complete with bands, limousines and corsages (we had an end of term disco if we were lucky – no corsage needed)

Part-time jobs in trendy pizza and burger joints (if we were lucky we got a Saturday job in the baker’s shop, or a paper round)

Yes, I can see the appeal these films had for me back then, and to this day. Because Fast Times… was set in 1982 we of course were treated to a fine soundtrack full of songs recorded by some of the biggest American artists of the day (although some of them possibly having peaked a decade earlier – the director’s pick maybe?). The opening scene, set in the busy, colourful and space-age looking Ridgemont Mall (obviously the inspiration for the Starcourt shopping mall in Stranger Things), was played out to the song We Got The Beat by the Go-Gos. Again, the intro to this clip hasn’t aged well, but great to see the girls in action before they all started to go their separate ways.

We Got The Beat by the Go-Gos:


I kind of got sad watching the shopping mall scenes in the film as although we did eventually get these massive cathedrals dedicated to consumerism here in Scotland a few years later, most of them are now sitting half empty or have been bulldozed. We all shop online nowadays and young people hang out with their friends on social media, most certainly not in the local shopping centre food court. ‘Tis the times we are living through.

The other song that struck a cord, and one that has formed an earworm over the last few days since watching the film, is this one, Somebody’s Baby, by Jackson Browne. It became a leitmotif attached to one of the main characters, Stacy Hamilton. A perfect song for a film about the issues hormone ridden teens go through whilst at high school.

Somebody’s Baby by Jackson Browne:


Every now and again I revisit some of these teen/coming-of-age/slice-of-life movies and always get something new out of them. This blog is mainly nostalgia-based and boy do I get nostalgic when I watch movies set in the late ’70s/early ’80s. Not sure what that says about me, but I have nothing but fond memories for those days. I was one of the lucky ones I know, as not everyone has such fond memories of their teenage years. I do wish however I’d had a landline in my bedroom, a few more sunny days in the annual calendar and a shiny new mall to hang out in with my friends. Could have made life a whole lot easier!


Until next time…

Somebody’s Baby Lyrics
(Song by Jackson Browne/Danny Kortchmar)

Well, just – a look at that girl with the lights comin’ up in her eyes
She’s got to be somebody’s baby
She must be somebody’s baby
All the guys on the corner stand back and let her walk on by
She’s got to be somebody’s baby
She must be somebody’s baby
She’s got to be somebody’s baby
She’s so fine
She’s probably somebody’s only light
Gonna shine tonight
Yeah, she’s probably somebody’s baby, all right

I heard her talkin’ with her friend when she thought nobody else was around
She said she’s got to be somebody’s baby; she must be somebody’s baby
‘Cause when the cars and the signs and the street lights light up the town
She’s got to be somebody’s baby
She must be somebody’s baby
She’s got to be somebody’s baby
She’s so
She’s gonna be somebody’s only light
Gonna shine tonight
Yeah, she’s gonna be somebody’s baby tonight

I try to shut my eyes, but I can’t get her outta my sight
I know I’m gonna know her, but I gotta get over my fright
We’ll, I’m just gonna walk up to her
I’m gonna talk to her tonight
Yeah, she’s gonna be somebody’s only light
Gonna shine tonight
Yeah, she’s gonna be somebody’s baby tonight
Gonna shine tonight, make her mine tonight

A Flock of Seagulls, Adam and the Ants, and the Yin and Yang of Life

Back in the early days of the pandemic I often wrote a web diary kind of post, as things were changing by the day and I wanted to record my thoughts for posterity, if I made it (we really were thinking that way back then). Everyone was looking forward to the pandemic being over and ‘things getting back to normal’. I was sceptical whenever anyone said that however – the changes to our way of life were just so far-reaching. Whenever the equilibrium is disturbed, there is a knock-on effect elsewhere, and with Brexit and a war in Eastern Europe further disturbing that equilibrium, life is certainly a lot more challenging than it was back in 2019. Oh, and we also don’t have a fully functioning government at the moment. Yes, the Tories are in the throes of choosing their third new leader in six years, after Boris’s antics finally got too much to bear (although he still thinks he did nothing wrong – it was all down to a ‘herd mentality’).

And then there were two…

But most of us are not heavily invested in every twist and turn within the Westminster Bubble, most of us just want to get through the week, stay solvent (a challenge at the moment with prices rising so sharply) and have a few pleasurable moments along the way. I’ve had a few days this week when I changed my routine totally and it’s been really nice. We were lucky enough to avoid the scorching temperatures up here in the North of Scotland so it was lovely to join the many tourists visiting our town and go for an evening walk along the river. A stop off at our favourite ice-cream shop was a must, and my flavour of choice, Cherry Garcia, was slipping down nicely when suddenly something jumped on my back and my waffle cone was whipped out of my hand. First time in my life it’s happened, but I was attacked by…

Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You) by A Flock of Seagulls:


What a great excuse though to share a clip of my favourite A Flock of Seagulls song, Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You) from 1982. Of course most of us now mainly remember the band because of lead singer Mike Score’s quite spectacular early ’80s hairstyle. Looking at a current picture of him, the former hairdresser is now bald as a coot, but so often the case with our most hirsute of rock and pop idols from the past – Dave Gilmour, Michael Stipe, Phil Oakey. (I’m sure you could come up with many more?) That song still a great example of synthpop from one of the many new wave bands hailing from Liverpool at that time.

Mike Score today

Another change to my weekly routine was that I spent an entire day redesigning my garden. It’s a great frustration that come this time of year, gardens can go from being tidy to looking a tad overgrown in the space of a fortnight. A lot of quite boring maintenance is required but this week I was a bit more creative, replanting some pots, rearranging the garden furniture and doing some quite radical cutting back. I was really happy with the final result until I came in at the end of a hard day, only to discover that some creepy crawlies had fallen inside my T-shirt. By evening, I was covered in bites, all courtesy of…

Antmusic by Adam and the Ants


… well, the ants anyway. Again I’m travelling back to the early ’80s, when Adam and the Ants got to No. 2 in the UK Singles Chart with Antmusic. Another new wave band, but this time not relying on synthesisers but on heavy drumming and heavy use of the dressing up box. Adam’s style (real name Stuart Goddard) suited MTV, and his videos were camp and theatrical. Funnily enough Adam is another artist who maybe overdid the hairstyling back in the day and is also now bald as a coot. He hides it well however by doing a pretty good impression of Captain Jack Sparrow.

Adam Ant today

So, ‘What’s It All About?’ – Amidst all the political upheaval and difficulties the country is facing right now, in our own domestic bubbles there are still things that can give us joy. Take some time out from your regular routine (if you can) and become a tourist in your own town, or spend a day in the garden. The equilibrium, or yin and yang, of life however also means such indulgences can have a downside, like being attacked by a flock of seagulls, or getting ants in your proverbial pants (other insects are available), but as Boris stated in his resignation speech, ‘them’s the breaks’ (usually used when something unfair or unpleasant happens and you have no choice but to accept it). Well, we all have our views on whether him having to go was unfair or not, but in my case, I did think it was very unfair that those seagulls made off with my Cherry Garcia – what a great name for a flavour.

Inspiration for an ice-cream flavour – Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, never bald as a coot

Until next time…

Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You) Lyrics
(Song by Mike Score/Ali Score/Frank Maudsley/Paul Reynolds)

It’s not the way you look
It’s not the way that you smile
Although there’s something to them
It’s not the way you have your hair
It’s not that certain style
It could be that perfume

If I had a photograph of you
Or something to remind me
I wouldn’t spend my life just wishing

It’s not the make-up
And it’s not the way that you dance
It’s not the evening sky
It’s more the way your eyes
Are laughing as they glance
Across the great divide

If I had a photograph of you
Or something to remind me
I wouldn’t spend my life just wishing

It’s not the things you say
It’s not the things you do
But it must be something more
And if I feel this way for so long
Tell me is it all for nothing
You’ll still walk out the door

If I had a photograph of you
Or something to remind me
I wouldn’t spend my life just wishing

Postscript:

I was curious, so just wanted to pass this snippet on. A coot is a water bird which has a marking on its head that gives it an appearance of being bald. It does have feathers on his head, but it’s the way it looks from a distance that gives us the idiom. Every day’s a school day!

Austin Butler, Elvis (The Movie) and ‘Suspicious Minds’

In the early days of this blog there were a fair few Elvis Presley posts – in fact there is a category on my sidebar dedicated to him (link here) – but it’s not been added to for a long time, perhaps because everything I had to say about him has already been said. Until now.

It nearly didn’t happen, as the friend I was supposed to go and see the new Baz Luhrmann film Elvis with last week was struck down with covid. Last night was the last time it was showing at our local arts centre however, and she was still testing positive, so I persuaded Mr WIAA (he’s not a fan of Elvis so it was tough going), to come with me. Elvis was one of my first musical heroes so it was unthinkable that I might miss out on seeing this film on the big screen.

As it turned out we had a really sociable evening even before heading into the cinema. The deal struck was that I would drive, and Mr WIAA would enjoy a large glass of red wine in the bar ahead of the film starting. Once there, we both met old work colleagues and in Mr WIAA’s case, old friends from as far back as school days, one of whom is now DD’s boss. They were very complimentary about her abilities which is always nice to hear as a parent and of course a lot of catching up to be done. Ahead of the film starting we said our farewells, only of course to find ourselves sitting next to each other once inside. Typical.

But back to the film, I thought it was pretty fabulous actually. There is always a worry that the actor playing such an important role will not be believable, but Austin Butler was blisteringly perfect for it. Such a beautiful man too, just as the young Elvis was a beautiful, beautiful man. I use that word deliberately. I recently shared extracts from Caitlin Moran’s essay on what it takes to achieve the massive success bands like the Beatles found so quickly, and yes, it involves girls. Both the Beatles and Elvis, Frank Sinatra before them, and all those boys since have experienced the following:

They know there is a power they will never attain until they have stood in the white-noise of a theatre of devotion and seen the girls down the front collapse in ecstatic tears. (CM)

To experience that devotion you have to love girls, be on the side of girls, dress in dandy clothes like a girl, and most important of all, look beautiful like a girl. I was transfixed by Austin Butler’s cupid’s bow lips. For the duration of the film he had me convinced he was Elvis.

Sigh… those high cheekbones and the cupid’s bow lips

The storyline very much reflected the relationship between Elvis and his long time manager ‘Colonel’ Tom Parker. Tom Hanks, with his prosthetically enhanced nose and chin, did a fine job of playing the Colonel and acted as narrator throughout. I think most of us know the story by now of how the former carnival huckster wormed his way into his boy’s life and took total control, but watching the film it is understandable how the young Elvis and his parents were convinced he was the right man for the job. Every now and again it looked as if Elvis was going to stand up to him and make the break, only to be thwarted by some convincing talk from the Colonel that he knew best. Fortunately Elvis did stand his ground when it came to the ’68 Comeback Special, which was a triumph after his years of making lacklustre films in Hollywood. I still have the DVD of that show and unbelievably still have something to play it on, so will be seeking it out this weekend.

Throughout the film there were some incredible performances of many of the songs we associate with Elvis. I think Austin did some of the singing on the early ones but got a lot of help from the original recordings for the later years. All an absolute joy to watch however and I know I had a big smile on my face right the way through (also my right leg just wouldn’t stay still, shaking at breakneck speed in time to the music). Many of his songs have been shared around here before, but not this one. Most of us who were fans of Elvis prefer to forget about the latter years of his life (just too sad), but on the back of the ’68 Special, the Colonel arranged a six-week residency for him at the new International Hotel in Last Vegas. Elvis was fired up for it, was slim, dressed in a comfortable white jumpsuit and gave us some electrifying performances, especially this one which goes down in history I think as one of the most remarkable ever to have taken place. Elvis didn’t just sing songs, he became the song, and although not mathematically possible, he gave us 110%, every single time. (Gets really energetic in this clip from 2:45 onward.)

Suspicious Minds by Elvis Presley:


Suspicious Minds was a No. 1 hit for Elvis on the Billboard Chart and reached the No. 2 position in the UK in November 1969. It kickstarted things for him again and he followed it up with many other hit singles and albums. Although the song is about a dysfunctional relationship, during the film you couldn’t help but think the first lines of the lyric reflected Elvis’s life at the time. The Colonel effectively trapped him in Las Vegas, the residencies lasting for years as opposed to the six weeks originally planned. Elvis had wanted to tour the world, something he had never done before, but because of a deal struck on a napkin with the hotel owner early on, he couldn’t walk out.


So, ‘What’s It All About? – I would thoroughly recommend the film to everyone, even those who have never been Elvis fans. Ever since the success of the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, many more have been made about other artists, of differing quality, so it’s all becoming a bit boring now. I deliberately chose not to use that term for the Baz Luhrmann film however as it’s more about the journey these two men went on together, sadly culminating in a tragic ending for Elvis. Being a Baz movie, it is also of course lavishly colourful and opulent, so a feast for the eyes too.

I am always fascinated by novels where there is a dual narrative, of paths taken or not taken, and how they can either lead to a totally different outcome for the character or arrive at the same destination via another route. There is no doubt that had the Colonel not taken Elvis under his wing in those early days, he would still have become a big star. He had the looks, the voice, the moves and the stage charisma. To become such a big star at such a young age does not always bode well however for the artist, especially back in those days, so had the Colonel not insisted on the Hollywood route for his boy, things might still have gone awry. He was from a poor southern family, ill-equipped to deal with his sudden success and wealth, and was also a good-looking ‘dandy’ who loved that he was adored by women. An intoxicating mix for a young man. We will of course never know how it could have turned out, but he certainly has left an enduring legacy as the ‘King of Rock and Roll’.

Until next time… RIP Elvis Aaron Presley.

Suspicious Minds Lyrics
(Song by Mark James)

We’re caught in a trap
I can’t walk out
Because I love you too much baby

Why can’t you see
What you’re doing to me
When you don’t believe a word I say?

We can’t go on together
With suspicious minds
And we can’t build our dreams
On suspicious minds

So, if an old friend I know
Stops by to say hello
Would I still see suspicion in your eyes?

Here we go again
Asking where I’ve been
You can’t see these tears are real
I’m crying
(Yes, I’m crying)

We can’t go on together
With suspicious minds
And we can’t build our dreams
On suspicious minds

Oh let our love survive
I’ll dry the tears from your eyes
Let’s don’t let a good thing die
When honey, you know I’ve never lied to you

Mmm yeah, yeah

We’re caught in a trap
I can’t walk out
Because I love you too much baby

Why can’t you see
What you’re doing to me
When you don’t believe a word I say?

Oh, don’t you know
I’m caught in a trap
I can’t walk out
Because I love you too much baby

Oh, don’t you know
I’m caught in a trap
I can’t walk out
Because I love you too much baby

Oh, don’t you know
I’m caught in a trap

Glastonbury 2022, No Need to Feel Nervous for Sir Paul and ‘Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!’

I did say I wasn’t going to write any more Beatles-related posts for a while – as there have been many around here of late – but after watching the headline act perform at Glastonbury last weekend (on telly), it can’t be avoided. I don’t know how well-known the Glastonbury Festival is outwith the UK but I’m guessing most people who visit this place will have heard of it. It’s a massive event in the British cultural calendar and it all began in 1970, inspired by the hippie movement and the counterculture of the 1960s. Michael Eavis, a dairy-farmer from Pilton, Somerset, came up with the idea of the first festival, and since then it has become a behemoth of an event where between two and three hundred thousand people have been known to attend. After the last two years’ planned festivals had to be cancelled due to the pandemic, it seems this year’s festival-goers were really up for it, and I dipped into much of the excellent BBC coverage over the course of last weekend.


The ‘big one’ however is the act who will perform on the Pyramid Stage on the Saturday night and this year it was to be none other than Sir Paul McCartney. He was supposed to headline back in 2020, and then last year, but eventually things got back on track and he got his time on that most famous of stages. It aired an hour later on telly, starting at 10.30pm, but I was really curious as to how it would go and of course I was also a bit nervous for him. He had turned 80 only the week before – could he still cut it? In the end I stayed up late, watching his entire set (link here to BBC iPlayer) until just after 1am and I think most of us would agree, yes he could.

With such a back catalogue of songs to choose from he was spoilt for choice, but he trod a nice balance, covering early Beatles, late Beatles, Wings and solo material, in no particular chronological order. Made it a nice surprise to find out what would pop up next. The vocals at times were less than perfect, and there were some sound issues, but his band have been with him a long time and are the consummate professionals. The crowd didn’t seem to notice any of the sound issues at all and were just happy to witness one of the world’s first pop superstars in action. Mr WIAA went to bed about half way through, which is a shame I think, because it wasn’t until the second half that the truly memorable bits happened. Lovely stills on the big screen behind him of George Harrison, and of course there was the duet with John Lennon using footage from Peter Jackson’s recent Get Back documentary series. There were also the ‘surprise’ guest appearances by Dave Grohl and Bruce Springsteen which meant at one point we had two of the three richest people in music on stage at the same time (sorry Dave, it wasn’t you), not that their wealth would have mattered a jot to them at that precise moment.

Paul on the Pyramid stage

But what meant more to me than the joy of listening to all those songs I know and love, was that it could happen at all. In my current life I find it hard to feel positive about the aging process. My mum has had dementia since before she turned 80 and is now in a care home, along with a lot of other people who also have dementia or who are just too physically infirm to look after themselves. Many of them are much younger than 80. Watching Glastonbury on Saturday night made me realise it’s not a given that this will happen to all of us. If we are lucky, and look after ourselves, there is a lot to be positive about as the years roll by. Paul was looking pretty good and very youthful for a man of his vintage I thought, and to have played and sang for over two and a half hours in such a setting was no mean feat. I’m sure he’s had a bit of ‘help’ along the way but he always was the baby-faced one amongst the Beatles and it seems to be holding him in good stead – that and being a serial monogamist and family man possibly?

I have added his setlist from Saturday night in the Postscript below, but which of all the many songs that were performed have resonated with me most since? I can’t believe I’m even admitting to this, as a very unlikely pick, but for the last five days I’ve had Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! going round and round in my head. It’s not even a Paul song but one written by John Lennon after he bought an old 19th century circus poster in an antiques shop in 1967. The song’s lyrics detail the entire evening’s program and of course it ended up on the Sgt. Pepper album, also made in 1967. How weird that it’s stayed with me all week but maybe because it’s one of the songs that hasn’t become over-familiar and I did enjoy how on the night, his drummer flamboyantly waved his arms around in a circular fashion, in the style of a circus performer. Quite a performance.


I can’t find YouTube footage of this song from his Glastonbury set, but here it is from earlier in the month performed elsewhere. See what I mean about the drummer, Abe Laboriel Jr., at 1:05 and 2:05? Below it you will find an audio clip of the original Beatles song recorded for Sgt. Pepper.

Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! by the Beatles:


So, ‘What’s It All About?’ – Lots of enjoyment to be had from watching the reinstated festival this year, even if it was vicariously via the telly. I was nervous for Sir Paul, but I shouldn’t have been, as everyone accepted his vocals can’t quite be what they were back in the day and they were happy just to have this legend on the Pyramid Stage at last. His band was fantastic and what with his ‘surprise’ guests, and the audience participation towards the end, he must have been really pleased by how it went down. I might have quite a few poorly and infirm 80-year olds in my life, but some of these rock and pop heroes from the 1960s make me realise it doesn’t have to be that way. If you keep on working on new things and feel passionate about what you do, there is no reason to slow down or stop doing it.

As for those who were actually there, I am a tad jealous. Many of us have been home-based for an awful long time now, and post-covid, some of us will continue to live that way. Watching the crowd scenes at Glastonbury, of all those people who came together for a festival, it reminded me that we humans are by nature social animals and should live in communities, not alone, interacting with a computer screen. Last time I wrote about my get-together in Edinburgh with my blogging pals. It was a wonderful few days and it harked back to how I used to live, always surrounded by people, having a chat, having a bit of a laugh. Now, not so much. Will have to do better going forward.

To end I had better show a clip from the actual night itself, so how about this bit of amateur footage. As I said, very jealous. A celebration of 60 years of popular music, my era of popular music, and I wasn’t even there. Thank goodness for the BBC.


Until next time…

Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! Lyrics
(Song by John Lennon/Paul McCartney)

For the benefit of Mr. Kite,
There will be a show tonight
On trampoline
.

The Hendersons will all be there.
Late of Pablo Fanque’s Fair.
What a scene!

Over men and horses, hoops and garters,
Lastly through a hogshead of real fire!
In this way
Mr. K.
Will challenge the world!

The celebrated Mr. K.
Performs his feat on Saturday
At Bishopsgate.

The Hendersons will dance and sing
As Mr. Kite flies through the ring.
Don’t be late!

Messrs. K. and H. assure the public
Their production will be second to none.
And of course
Henry The Horse
Dances the waltz!

The band begins at ten to six,
When Mr. K. performs his tricks
Without a sound.

And Mr. H. will demonstrate
Ten summersets he’ll undertake
On solid ground.

Having been some days in preparation,
A splendid time is guaranteed for all.
And tonight
Mr. Kite
Is topping the bill!


Postscript:

Paul McCartney’s Glastonbury setlist of 39 songs

  • Can’t Buy Me Love (The Beatles song)
  • Junior’s Farm (Wings song)
  • Letting Go (Wings song)
  • Got to Get You Into My Life (The Beatles song)
  • Come On to Me
  • Let Me Roll It (Wings song) (with “Foxy Lady” outro jam)
  • Getting Better (The Beatles song)
  • Let ‘Em In (Wings song)apparently many people only know this song from the Postcode Lottery advert and were bemused by how it turned up on his setlist!
  • My Valentine
  • Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five (Wings song)
  • Maybe I’m Amazed
  • I’ve Just Seen a Face (The Beatles song)
  • In Spite of All the Danger (The Quarrymen song)
  • Love Me Do (The Beatles song)
  • Dance Tonight
  • Blackbird (The Beatles song)
  • Here Today
  • New
  • Lady Madonna (The Beatles song)
  • Fuh You
  • Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! (The Beatles song)
  • Something (The Beatles song
  • Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (The Beatles song)
  • You Never Give Me Your Money (The Beatles song)
  • She Came in Through the Bathroom Window (The Beatles song)
  • Get Back (The Beatles song)
  • I Saw Her Standing There (The Beatles song with Dave Grohl)
  • Band on the Run (Wings song with Dave Grohl)
  • Glory Days (Bruce Springsteen cover with Bruce Springsteen)
  • I Wanna Be Your Man (The Beatles song with Bruce Springsteen)
  • Let It Be (The Beatles song)
  • Live and Let Die (Wings song)
  • Hey Jude (The Beatles song)
  • Encore:
  • I’ve Got a Feeling (The Beatles song, virtual duet with John Lennon)
  • Helter Skelter (The Beatles song)
  • Golden Slumbers (The Beatles song)
  • Carry That Weight (The Beatles song)
  • The End (The Beatles song with Dave Grohl and Bruce Springsteen)

A Bloggers Meet-Up In Edinburgh, The Selector and ‘On My Radio’

Last time, I wrote about the television drama Stranger Things, where a tear in the fabric of reality means the town of Hawkins, Indiana, is exposed to a hostile alternate reality after a local scientific facility inadvertently creates a portal. I do like a drama with alternate realities, but of course I didn’t ever expect to become part of one…, until last week!

Hawkins from Stranger Things – a bad alternate reality

But don’t be alarmed – the alternate reality I was exposed to wasn’t hostile in the slightest, it was merely a bunch of like-minded music bloggers finally getting together in the real world, in Edinburgh to be exact, as opposed to virtually in the comments boxes of our blogs.

Edinburgh with blogging buddies – a good alternate reality


I have recounted the story of why I started this blog many times so won’t bore you with it again, but suffice to say, I like sharing my thoughts, and I like rock and pop trivia – a blog merging those two themes would serve me well I thought. In time I found other music blogs, Jez’s A History of Dubious Taste was the first, and by contributing to the comments boxes over at his place I found more music bloggers who were kind enough to add me to their sidebars. I certainly didn’t anticipate this happening when I started this place, but over the years I have actually met up with a few of them, and after a lot of delays due to the pandemic a date was finally fixed in the calendar for me to meet up again with the lovely C from Sun-Dried Sparrows. We had met up three years earlier in London, which was written about here, but now it was maybe time to include those other bloggers who have also expressed an interest in meeting up in the real world.

And so it came to pass that six of us (and partners) spent a really enjoyable few days in Scotland’s capital city last week. As most of us use an alias for our blogs, there was still an element of virtual reality going on, but to be honest, going by anything but your blog name would just feel weird in such a scenario. C and I stayed at a perfectly comfortable chain hotel five minutes from Waverley (which was handy for me as I think I heavily overpacked), CC and his wife came through from Glasgow on the second day, The Swede made a bit of a holiday of it staying for the week, Martin came all the way up for a single day (which was much appreciated), and John Medd (who has never gone by an alias and was teased relentlessly about it – I’M JOHN MEDD!) and his wife were on their way to a family wedding in Moray, so a perfect stopping off point. Everyone had already met at least one person in the group before, and on that Venn diagram of blog sidebars, we all overlap, so although there were a few initial nerves (for myself and C at any rate), it all went really well. To those of you who couldn’t make it this time, maybe another time, another city?


Needless to say a fair few hostelries were visited which was another break from reality for me, as just not something I do much in my current life, but when on a bloggers summit an’ all that. One of the highlights of the few days came about because John had found a Wednesday afternoon Open Mic session, and we all met up to hear him perform some of his own material. The ‘Old Boys Network’ was really welcoming, and quite bemused I think to hear we were a bunch of music bloggers who had (in the main) never met before. Being the only person in the group not to go by an alias, I’m sure John won’t mind me sharing a picture and a link to his Soundcloud where you will find some of the songs he performed (Camberwick Green being my favourite). A really enjoyable afternoon.

But it wasn’t all eating, drinking and making merry, we all did our own thing for much of the day and as C had never visited Edinburgh before we did a lot of walking together over the few days. In fact it wasn’t until I came home and DD showed me how to work out how many steps I’d done on my phone, I realised just how much walking we had done. Up and down the Royal Mile a few times, along Princes Street a few times, out to Haymarket and in the other direction out to Holyrood Park, almost climbing Arthur’s Seat in the process (but cut off at the pass). The weather was warm but not too sunny, which was a blessing considering how hot it was in the south of the country last week.


But what is it I always say at around this point – this is a music blog, so where is the music? Well here’s a thought. At one point in proceedings the conversation turned to, ‘What was your favourite ever gig?’. Of course blind panic kicked in for me, as over the last few decades I’ve not been known to attend many. As it turned out I shouldn’t have worried, as nearly everyone picked one from when they were a late teenager. There must be something about that time in your life that heightens the senses to everything you experience, and as we get older those senses are sadly dulled. My favourite ‘gig’ (although I would still refer to it as a concert) was the 2 Tone Tour that came to Aberdeen when I was aged 19. I’ve written about it around here already and shared something from Madness that time, so perhaps time to give Pauline Black and The Selector a mention this time. Oh to still have that much energy.

On My Radio by The Selector:


On My Radio was The Selector’s biggest hit and reached the No. 8 spot on the UK Singles Chart in 1979, just around the time I went to see them, along with Madness and fellow Coventry-based band The Specials. What a time to be alive. Glad I had it up my sleeve as a ‘gig’ to remember.

So, ‘What’s It All About?’ – An odd song choice for a post about a bloggers get-together in historic Edinburgh, but then again, quite apt in a way. If I hadn’t been obsessed by listening to my little transistor radio as a teenager, I probably wouldn’t have got into chart music quite so much, and if I hadn’t got into chart music back then I wouldn’t have had as much to write about around here. You see where I’m going? Without the stories and songs written about in this blog I wouldn’t have like-minded followers and without those followers on my sidebar there would have been no ‘bloggers summit’.

As most of us still like to wear the blogger’s cloak of anonymity, I won’t share any of the pictures taken in Edinburgh, but they do exist, so who knows, maybe one day. As I said I didn’t expect to ever meet up with any of the people who visit this place, and whose blogs I also follow, but now that it’s happened (several times now), I see it as a wonderful upside to this hobby of ours. As for all the personal stuff I’ve shared around here, I’m now regretting some of it, but hey ho, the price you have to pay to venture through that tear between the virtual and real world. I would thoroughly recommend it.

Until next time…

On My Radio Lyrics
(Song by Neol Davies)

I bought my baby a red radio
He played it all day, a-go-go a-go-go
He liked to dance to it down in the streets
He said he loved me but he loved the beat

But when I switch on I rotate the dial
I could see it there driving him so wild
I bought my baby a red radio
He said he loved me but he had to go

It’s just the same old show on my radio
It’s just the same old show on my radio
It’s just the same old show on my radio
It’s just the same old show on my radio
On my radio, on my radio, on my radio

I bought my baby a red radio
He played it all day a-go-go a-go-go
He liked to dance to it down in the streets
He said he loved me but he loved the beat

It’s just the same old show on my radio
It’s just the same old show on my radio
It’s just the same old show on my radio
It’s just the same old show on my radio
On my radio on my radio on my radio

It’s just the same old show on my radio (I bought my baby a red radio)
It’s just the same old show on my radio (A red radio a-go-go a-go-go)
It’s just the same old show on my radio (A red radio I rotate the dial)
It’s just the same old show on my radio (A red radio driving him so wild)

It’s just the same old show on my radio (I bought my baby a red radio)
It’s just the same old show on my radio

Stranger Things and Kate Bush, ‘Running Up That Hill’

Now that I no longer take any heed of what is going on in the music charts, I get most of my inspiration for this blog from the music that pops into my life from other sources, one of those being the soundtracks to films and television dramas. It seems many others are the same and that’s why the charts of today, based on the volume of downloads/streams in the last week (I can’t pretend to understand it all), can sometimes be infiltrated with songs from the distant past.


Many of us who have just watched the first batch of episodes from the latest season of Stranger Things, seem to have been afflicted by an earworm, and it’s driven us to seek out this song in it’s entirety. Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush was first a hit for her in 1985, but because of it’s association with the popular science-fiction/horror drama set in ’80s Indiana, it’s right up there at the top of the UK Singles Chart again in 2022.

Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) by Kate Bush


I’m sure Ms Bush is quite bemused by all this sudden attention her song is receiving, especially as she now lives a fairly quiet life in an English village. Watching the clip for the song, she is just as I remember her – flowing hair, a leotard and an interpretive dance performance. She has appeared around here before and when I looked into her career back then I was shocked to find out how young she was when she wrote some of her most successful songs. A bit of a child prodigy that’s for sure.

As for Stranger Things, it seems to be the biggest thing on Netflix at the moment and like many other series affected by the pandemic (Ozark, Better Call Saul…), the season has been broken into two halves, as filming took much longer than usual. Only got a few weeks to wait until the final episodes air however and thankfully there seems to be a fifth season in the pipeline as most of the quality dramas have now ended for good (bar Saul, whose final few episodes, ever, will air soon).

The kids from Stranger Things
The kids from Buffy (plus Giles)

I can’t help compare Stranger Things to Buffy the Vampire Slayer which we became heavily invested in as a family 20 years ago. A bunch of small town kids from very different social groups come together to fight evil, the grown-ups and figures of authority seemingly unaware of, or unable to process, what is going on. The difference this time is that it’s a period drama and although to me, the ’80s doesn’t even feel that long ago, for most viewers it will seem like ancient history. If you lived through that time you will spot where they have got the period details, like the clothes and the hair, just right. Sometimes in the first season it was a bit off, but in season four the perms and shoulder pads are spot on. In case of giving away spoilers I won’t include a clip of the scene where Kate’s song is used (to great effect), but if you’ve already seen it, here is the link – not for the faint-hearted. It was apparently chosen because, ‘it’s deep chords connected with (the character) Max’s emotional struggles’. Gives us one of the best musical moments in television history.

Max levitates

I usually include a music clip in my posts but I get nervous about sharing something that is so current as you can fall foul of the ‘internet police’ and get a take down notice. Instead, as a treat for new fans of Kate Bush I will include one of her other songs, one to which I have a personal story attached, but perhaps for another day. Cloudbusting was also a big hit for her in 1985 and the video for it stars Donald Sutherland as an inventor/father trying to get his cloudbusting machine to work (inspired by Peter Reich’s 1973 Book of Dreams).

Cloudbusting by Kate Bush:


I’ve already mentioned around here that I seem to have become a bit of a telly addict since Lockdown 1, but I don’t suppose I’m alone. We as a family didn’t even have access to Netflix or the like when I started this blog so there were far fewer distractions of an evening and the quality of these distractions seem to be getting better year on year. What can I say, I’m a weak, weak woman – BUT, as a lover of music from decades past who is ‘revisiting the tracks of her years’, there is often something on a television soundtrack to enjoy, and I certainly don’t seem to have been alone in enjoying the unexpected musical star of Stranger Things Season 4. Way to go Kate – you have a new legion of young fans who are adept in the ways of the world wide web. Expect to be at the top of the charts for quite some time.

Until next time…

Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) Lyrics
(Song by Kate Bush)

It doesn’t hurt me
Do you want to feel how it feels?
Do you want to know that it doesn’t hurt me?
Do you want to hear about the deal that I’m making?
You, it’s you and me

And if I only could
I’d make a deal with God
And I’d get him to swap our places
Be running up that road
Be running up that hill
Be running up that building
See if I only could, oh

You don’t want to hurt me
But see how deep the bullet lies
Unaware I’m tearing you asunder
Ooh, there is thunder in our hearts

Is there so much hate for the ones we love?
Tell me, we both matter, don’t we?
You, it’s you and me
It’s you and me won’t be unhappy

And if I only could
I’d make a deal with God
And I’d get him to swap our places
Be running up that road
Be running up that hill
Be running up that building
Say, if I only could, oh

You
It’s you and me
It’s you and me won’t be unhappy

C’mon, baby, c’mon darling
Let me steal this moment from you now
C’mon, angel, c’mon, c’mon, darling
Let’s exchange the experience, oh

And if I only could
I’d make a deal with God
And I’d get him to swap our places
Be running up that road
Be running up that hill
With no problems

So if I only could
I’d make a deal with God
And I’d get him to swap our places
Be running up that road
Be running up that hill
With no problems

So if I only could
I’d make a deal with God
And I’d get him to swap our places
Be running up that road
Be running up that hill
With no problems

So if I only could
Be running up that hill
With no problems

(If I only could, I’d be running up that hill)
(If I only could, I’d be running up that hill)

‘We May Never Pass This Way Again’ – RIP Jim Seals

It’s become a bit of a thing in our house that rarely an hour, heck 10 minutes goes by, without me saying, ‘I’ve written about that song’. Yes, the songs I revisit around here are generally well-known classics that regularly pop up on mainstream radio, and on the soundtracks to television dramas. Every now and again a lesser known song I’ve written about pops up however, and that happened the other day when I heard We May Never Pass This Way Again by Seals & Crofts on the radio, a song that was new to me around five years ago and one I immediately fell in love with. It wasn’t until the folowing day that I realised it had been played because one half of the duo, Jim Seals, had died, or passed as we euphemistically like to call it.

Regulars around here will know that I’m a bit of a fan of 1970s soft rock and Seals and Crofts fitted that genre nicely. It wasn’t until I delved into them a bit more that I discovered all sorts of connections to other songs written about earlier on in this blog. It was a fun post to write so I’m going to share it again. Jim was 80 when he died, so not one of those tragic departures like we’ve had of late, but of course for his family, friends and fans he will be sadly missed. RIP Jim Seals.

Seals and Crofts, England Dan and ‘We May Never Pass This Way Again

First published 25th July 2017

Early on in my days of blogging, long before I kind of lost the plot as to what it was all supposed to be about (that would be a nostalgic journey through the tracks of my years), I covered the soft rock classic I’d Really Love To See You Tonight by England Dan and John Ford Coley (link here). My previous post before I had a break for the summer featured Summer Breeze by The Isley Brothers which has always been a favourite of mine, but, whilst doing a bit of research as to its provenance I made a wonderful discovery. The song was not indeed written by the Isley Brothers as I had always thought but by the writing duo Seals and Crofts, Jim Seals being the older brother of Dan Seals, or England Dan as he became known because of his great love for the Beatles.

Although from Texas, that nickname was given to him by big brother Jim after he briefly affected an English (or was it Liverpudlian?) accent. And this is what my blog was always supposed to be about – finding out the backstory to the songs and artists of my youth. There is so much more information out there now (ok some might be a bit dubious) but back in the day, all we had was Jackie magazine and a few more worthy publications – we lived in blissful ignorance, which was perhaps a good thing in light of a few revelations of late, but as you may have guessed I am a bit of a rock & pop ‘facts and figures’ aficionado, so for me, this brave new digital world is just perfect.

So, what follows on from Summer Breeze? Well by good fortune I heard a song on the car radio the other day by none other than Seals and Crofts and was immediately smitten by it – Like little brother’s output, the music of Jim Seals and his singing partner Darrell ‘Dash’ Crofts, fitted nicely into the soft rock camp which now seems to have become a bit of a derogatory term but when it comes to rock I have always preferred mine to be of the soft rather than the hard variety anyway (and my listening to be easy as opposed to difficult). These genres and labels we give music truly baffle me as at the end of the day there is music of great quality and music that really is a bit rubbish, but there is also music that just gives lots of pleasure, to lots of people, and this song does that for me. The Carpenters whom I featured recently (link here) also came from the soft rock camp and the passage of time, and Karen’s tragic death, seems to have erased any preconceptions many had about their output. When it comes to music of quality, it doesn’t get much better than The Carpenters.

We May Never Pass This Way Again by Seals and Crofts:

The song We May Never Pass This Way (Again), from 1973, didn’t ever enter the UK Singles Chart but it did reach No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100. I can honestly say I don’t remember ever having listened to Seals and Crofts before (neither can Mr WIAA) but theirs was very much the kind of music that was all pervasive during my teenage years. Originating in southern California, soft rock was a style that largely featured acoustic guitars and slow-to-mid tempos – simple, melodic songs with big, lush productions. I very much doubt if we called it soft rock back then but when listening to the radio from the early ’70s onward much of what we heard was by bands and artists such as Anne Murray, John Denver, Linda Ronstadt, Rod Stewart, Carole King, Cat Stevens, James Taylor, Toto, England Dan & John Ford Coley, the Eagles, Chicago, America and the reformed Fleetwood Mac whose ‘Rumours’ was the best-selling album of the decade. In the late ’70s, prominent soft rock acts included Boz Scaggs, Michael McDonald, Christopher Cross and Captain & Tennille. A lot of albums were brought in to school and exchanged amongst friends for the very naughty practice of home-taping. Good to know such illicit activity doesn’t happen today!

Since we are featuring big brother Jim’s song in this post, I can’t leave little brother Dan out, so here is another soft rock delight, this time from the late ’70s. Love Is The Answer was written by Todd Rundgren and was a hit for England Dan and John Ford Coley in 1979. Although I loved this soundtrack to my teenage years, we weren’t really awash with visuals in those days and YouTube was still a few decades away. This sounds really shallow but I am quite glad now as somehow these lush love-songs sound better when you don’t think of the moustachioed pair who sang them. My bedroom walls at the time may have had an array of good-looking boys on them, but when it just came down to the lyrics, who wouldn’t want ‘a ticket to paradise’?


Until next time….

We May Never Pass This Way (Again) Lyrics
(Song by Jim Seals/Dash Crofts)

Life, so they say, is but a game and we let it slip away.
Love, like the Autumn sun, should be dyin’ but it’s only just begun.
Like the twilight in the road up ahead, they don’t see just where we’re goin’.
And all the secrets in the Universe, whisper in our ears

And all the years will come and go, take us up, always up.
We may never pass this way again. We may never pass this way again.
We may never pass this way again.
Dreams, so they say, are for the fools and they let ’em drift away.

Peace, like the silent dove, should be flyin’ but it’s only just begun.
Like Columbus in the olden days, we must gather all our courage.
Sail our ships out on the open sea. Cast away our fears
And all the years will come and go, and take us up, always up.

We may never pass this way again. We may never pass this way again.
We may never pass this way again.
So, I want to laugh while the laughin’ is easy. I want to cry if it makes it worthwhile.
We may never pass this way again, that’s why I want it with you.

‘Cause, you make me feel like I’m more than a friend.
Like I’m the journey and you’re the journey’s end.

We may never pass this way again, that’s why I want it with you, baby.
We may never pass this way again. We may never pass this way again.
We may never pass this way again. We may never pass this way again