The Clash, Big Decisions and Girlfriend Trouble

We are now over a 1000 days on from this post and it seems as relevant as ever. In my original opening paragraph, I said that with only a day to go, many of us were still none the wiser as to which way to vote. That worked out well, didn’t it?

What's It All About?

Short post, but with only a day to go, there should be no-one in the UK who doesn’t understand the significance of today’s clip. If the EU was our girlfriend this is how it would be playing out right now but despite the 24/7 debate and news coverage from both sides (all very balanced so as not to show any bias of course) many of us are still none the wiser as to which way to vote.

Should I Stay Or Should I Go by The Clash:

Not entirely sure why Angela Merkel and Co. haven’t been getting involved in the debate but it seems that they don’t want to affect the outcome one way or another, so are leaving it to the people of the UK themselves.

So, no tearful last minute pleadings – “It’s not you, it’s me”, “I think we just need a break” and “You’re too good for me”…

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Gloria Estefan, “Anything For You” and Heart-Wrenching Lyrics

A bit of a strange thing happened on Sunday that left me momentarily discombobulated, but it also led me to revisit an album from the late 1980s I had all but forgotten about. I had taken my mum out of the care home for a wee outing, and we went to one of those big garden centres that also has a coffee shop. We were just leaving when I saw a long shelf of picture frames, all shapes and sizes. I’m still adding the final touches to the Highland Hideaway, so thought I might find something suitable.

A middle-aged chap with a bald head was standing right in front of the shelf however, and thought I was staring at him. I wasn’t wearing my glasses at the time (vanity dictates I leave them in the car) which means I never recognise people in shops or in the street if they’re more than a few feet away, but once I focused I realised it was Mr WIAA’s predecessor, a chap I had a whirlwind romance with 30 years ago before deciding it was all just too safe, secure and dare I say, boring. Why settle down with someone who has a good job, a nice car, is kind and considerate, when you could potentially meet a penniless artist who lives in his Mum’s sewing room, but could make life a bit of an adventure. Well, regular visitors to this place will know which route I took, and no regrets, but it was weird to have this blast from the past standing in front of me.

What did we do? Nothing. There was a knowing look, and nod of acknowledgement from both of us, but he was with his wife/partner (?) and I was with my mum whom he hadn’t laid eyes on since she was a vital, working woman of 53. Getting into any kind of conversation was going to be complicated, so we obviously both made the split-second decision to just go our separate ways, again. I do find it really bizarre that we can still be in touch with people we worked with for just a short time decades ago, but people we knew on a whole different level are, once the magic ends, usually out of our lives for good. Doesn’t happen in all cases I know, but in my case it always has.

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Anyway, later on that evening I remembered that a few months after we split it was my birthday, and he kindly showed up with a present, a Gloria Estefan album. She was really popular at the time, so it made sense. Thanks very much I said, and casually added it to the shelf of other albums in my “corner unit” which housed the telly, the VCR and the music centre (lets face it we all had them). I probably did play it quite a bit, but back then I was a party-going flibbertigibbet and was more interested in the danceability of records rather that the lyrical content, so it’s taken me thirty years to actually listen to the title track properly, and boy are the lyrics heart-wrenching.

Anything For You by Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine:

Anything For You was written by Gloria Estefan and recorded with Miami Sound Machine. The song appeared on their 1987 album “Let It Loose” (although it was released as “Anything for You” in Europe). The song became their first US No. 1 in the summer of 1988 and reached No. 10 in the UK by the September.

Estefan had famously been married to Miami Sound Machine founder Emilio Estefan Jr., for 10 years when she wrote this song, and fans wondered how this supposedly happily married singer could write such a heart-wrenching ballad about love gone wrong. She explained to Billboard in 1988:

“I think that’s where the artist uses his creative license. I might have experienced these feelings awhile back or maybe vicariously through somebody else, maybe friends of mine who have gone through a similar thing. I think the artist always writes from within, from the soul, and even if you didn’t experience it yourself, you have to feel how would people in this situation feel, and how would they say it. I always try to write very conversationally, and think how would someone want to say it to someone else and then I try to make it more musical.”

Thirty years on, and suddenly I feel a bit of a heel.

Until next time….

Anything For You Lyrics
(Song by Gloria Estefan)

Anything for you
Though you’re not here
Since you said we’re through
It seems like years
Time keeps dragging on and on
And forever’s been and gone
Still I can’t figure what went wrong

I’d still do anything for you
I’ll play your game
You hurt me through and through
But you can have your way

I can pretend each time I see you
That I don’t care and I don’t need you
And though you’ll never see me cryin’
You know inside I feel like dying

And I’d do anything for you
In spite of it all
I’ve learned so much from you
You made me strong
But don’t you ever think that I don’t love you
That for one minute I forgot you
But sometimes things don’t work out right
And you just have to say goodbye

I hope you find someone to please you
Someone who’ll care and never leave you
But if that someone ever hurts you
You just might need a friend to turn to

And I’d do anything for you
I’ll give you up
If that’s what I should do
To make you happy

I can pretend each time I see you
That I don’t care and I don’t need you
And though inside I feel like dying
You know you’ll never see me cryin’

Don’t you ever think that I don’t love you
That for one minute I forgot you
But sometimes things don’t work out right
And you just have to say goodbye

AHA, A-ha and “Take On Me”

Well, I didn’t put in an appearance around here at all last weekend, so going to put together a web-diary kind of affair so as to not lose momentum. The main reason why I was MIA last weekend was because I went “live” with my new venture called….

Yes, Alyson’s Highland Adventures is now taking bookings, so it’s been all systems go on getting everything ready for visitors to our neck of the woods. In terms of timing, it has also coincided with the sale of my mum’s flat, which has to be empty by next weekend – What the heck do you do with a lifetimes’ worth of possessions and memorabilia? I suspect a lot of it is going to end up in my loft, and possibly the loft of the Highland Hideaway, but a bit of a sad business. On the upside, my mum barely remembers she had a flat, and is still happy in her new care home, so not too upsetting for her that it had to be sold. I am finding however that my visits to the care home are having to be a bit more plentiful and as unexpected as possible – The care of our old folk is down to people who barely know them, and especially in the case of residents with dementia, they really need an advocate to fight their corner.

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On top of all that, the deadline was yesterday for my college course’s first assessment of the semester; and there has been a flurry of activity with Mr WIAA’s business which I administer; and I had to trawl through my blog this week to weed out any reference to he who shall no longer be named, after watching the troubling documentary Leaving Neverland. Not going to say any more about the doc in this post, but suffice to say, whatever the truth behind it all, I am now well and truly done with him.

To cleanse the palate we need a great tune, and of course when mentioning AHA, I am immediately reminded of that great Norwegian export of the late ’80s, A-ha. The video to accompany their song Take On Me was probably one of the best of the decade, and it was lovely to watch it again earlier this week. The boys sport mullets and stonewashed denim, but their look is quite toned down, and doesn’t seem as dated as that adopted by many other ’80s bands. The generic Marty McFly look – Maybe why the Back To The Future movies are still so popular?

Take On Me by A-ha:

Although written a few years previously, it wasn’t until a new video was commissioned in 1985, that the song struck gold. It didn’t do any harm either that lead singer Morten Harket was, to quote the record company executive at the time, “one of the best-looking men in the world.” I remember having a work colleague a few years ago who still had a picture of Morten in the locket she used to wear regularly around her neck. She had been happily married for years, but the locket was a hangover from her teenage years, so Morten remained in place!

Strangely enough, the song popped up over at Rol’s place earlier this week as Weezer have included it on their new covers album (another great video for their version). Also, after visiting CC’s Double Digits series this morning, I had to sort my digital database by artist – What immediately starts to play (if not set on shuffle mode)? Why A-ha of course, with Take On Me. A nice bit of synchronicity.

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A-ha in 2018 – Not too shabby!

So, “What’s It All About?” – Life is a rollercoaster (as little Ronan Keating used to sing) and I have had quite a ride over the last couple of years, but it’s really looking as if a new routine is on the cards, so looking forward to that a lot.

As for AHA (Alyson’s Highland Adventures), as you’ve probably guessed, that’s my blogging name for the new venture, so you won’t find it by googling. Should anyone want to find out a bit more however, the Contact Me button is at the top of the page.

Until next time….

Take On Me Lyrics
(Song by Magne Furuholmen/Morten Harket/Pål Waaktaar)

Talking away
I don’t know what I’m to say
I’ll say it anyway
Today is another day to find you
Shying away
I’ll be coming for your love. OK?

Take on me (take on me)
Take me on (take on me)
I’ll be gone
In a day or two

So needless to say
Of odds and ends
But I’ll be stumbling away
Slowly learning that life is OK.
Say after me,
“It’s no better to be safe than sorry.”

Take on me (take on me)
Take me on (take on me)
I’ll be gone
In a day or two

Oh, things that you say. Yeah.
Is it life or just to play my worries away?
You’re all the things I’ve got to remember
You’re shying away
I’ll be coming for you anyway

Take on me (take on me)
Take me on (take on me)
I’ll be gone
In a day

Take on me (take on me)
Take me on (take on me)
I’ll be gone
In a day

Take on me (take on me)
Take me on (take on me)

Postscript:

As Alan Partridge popped up at the top of this post, can I ask, is it just me or is the new series on BBC1 a bit of a disappointment? I have been watching, but not quite as good as I was expecting. Will stick with it though and see how it evolves.

I also mentioned the sorting of my digital database by artist. Had I sorted it by song, at the top of the list would have been one by he who shall not be named and his brothers. I think it’s obvious which song it is, but sadly, it will now have to go.

Edwin Starr, “War” and a Different Kind of (Eye to Eye) Contact

Well, it’s going to have to be a shorter post this time as I have an awful lot going on at the moment. The new business I hinted at a few weeks ago, came into our possession yesterday, so it’s all systems go now to get it up and running as soon as possible. More on that to follow in the weeks to come, but in the meantime, my featured artist for this post is going to be Edwin Starr.

Why would that be Alyson?

Because this week, of all weeks, I have been afflicted with a nasty eye infection. On Monday evening, my right eye appeared to be glued together, and the redness and swelling surrounding it suggested I had just gone five rounds with Mike Tyson. I had loads of very important business-y type stuff to organise over the next few days in town, and here I was looking like something from Fight Club

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Of late, I have been very good at body-swerving Doctor Google if I have an ailment, as whatever rabbit hole you disappear down, the diagnosis is always a tumour of some sort. In this instance however, I was pretty sure it wasn’t an eye tumour, so I needed a bit of guidance on how to clear up the infection as soon as possible. After a bit of gentle bathing in warm water, Mr WIAA was dispatched to the chemist’s for some eye drops, which I must say have worked their magic. I had to lie low for the whole of Tuesday though, so as not to frighten poor unsuspecting children, and for the rest of the week I have had to be careful not to transfer the bacteria (sounds gross I know) to the other eye. Oh yes, I was already blind in one eye, so important not to make (Eye To Eye) Contact with the other. Cue Mr Starr (starts to really get going at 2:10).

Regulars to this place will know I wrote quite a lengthy post a fortnight ago on the disco genre. A fair bit of research had to be done (I watched a recorded episode of a TOTP Disco Special), and one of the songs I was reminded of, was indeed (Eye To Eye) Contact. It actually found greater success in the UK than across the pond, and reached No. 8 in the Singles Chart in early 1979.

I only found out recently from one of the other music blogs, that Mr Starr, a native of Nashville Tennessee, actually spent his later life living in the North of England. He had become a big “star” on the Northern Soul circuit, where many of his lesser-known Motown classics had found favour with that movement’s faithful. He moved to a village on the outskirts of Nottingham in 1973, and died there in 2003, aged only 61.

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Edwin Starr

But this foray into the world of disco (he also recorded the uplifting H.A.P.P.Y. Radio) was more of a comeback for him. The recording – I’m loath to call it a song as it’s more of a dramatic soul roar – he is probably best remembered for however, is War, the 1970 counter-culture protest song. Powerful stuff.

War

     huh

          yeah

What is it good for?

     Absolutely nothing

          oh hoh, oh 

War by Edwin Starr:

Edwin Starr’s intense vocals transformed this Temptations’ album track into a totally different animal, and it spent three weeks at the top of the Billboard chart. It was an anthem for the anti-war movement, and it continues to appear on movie soundtracks and hip hop music samples today. War appeared on both Starr’s “War & Peace” album, and its follow-up.

And here is where I have made a new discovery. I am usually late to the party but it seems Bruce Springsteen started performing War in concert in 1985. It was initially suggested as something to make the concluding shows of the Born In The USA tour a little bit different and special. Bruce and the E Street Band came up with a rock arrangement that worked well for them, and once released as a single in 1986, it got to No. 8 on the Billboard chart. Again, powerful stuff, and this time a protest against the Reagan Administration’s foreign policy in Central America. 

I will leave you with a video clip of Bruce, who after an impassioned talky intro (starts at 0:50), looks very much as if he might burst a blood vessel performing the song. Fortunately he survived unscathed, and unlike poor old Edwin Starr, is still out there doing his thing today. 

Until next time…

War Lyrics
(Song by Norman Whitfield/Barrett Strong)

War huh yeah
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, oh hoh, oh
War huh yeah
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, say it again y’all
War, huh good God
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, listen to me

Oh, war, I despise
‘Cause it means destruction of innocent lives
War means tear to thousands of mothers eyes
When their sons go off to fight and lose their lives

I said
War, huh good God y’all
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, just say it again
War whoa Lord
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, listen to me
War, it ain’t nothin’ but a heartbreaker
War, friend only to the undertaker

Oh war, is an enemy to all mankind
The thought of war blows my mind
War has caused unrest within the younger generation
Induction, then destruction who wants to die

War, good God, y’all
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, say it, say it, say it
War, uh huh, yeah, huh
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, listen to me
War, it ain’t nothin’ but a heartbreaker
War, it’s got one friend that’s the undertaker

Oh, war has shattered many young man’s dreams
Made him disabled bitter and mean
Life is much to short and precious to spend fighting wars these days
War can’t give life it can only take it away, ooh

War, huh, good God y’all
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, say it again
War, whoa, Lord
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing, listen to me
War, it ain’t nothin’ but a heartbreaker
War, friend only to the undertaker

Peace love and understanding tell me
Is there no place for them today
They say we must fight to keep our freedom
But Lord knows there’s got to be a better way

War, huh, good God y’all
What is it good for?
You tell ’em, say it, say it, say it, say it
War, good Lord, huh
What is it good for?
Stand up and shout it, nothing
War, it ain’t nothin’ but a heartbreaker

Black and It’s A “Wonderful Life”, Isn’t It?

Well, look what just dropped into my inbox from the WordPress people. It’s the little badge to signify you’re celebrating an anniversary, and in this case, it’s my blog’s third birthday. Still little more than a toddler then with lots more time to grow, hopefully.

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I still remember the excitement of publishing my very first post, on what was the first back-to-work, non-festive Monday, of 2016. It was a no-brainer that I would write about David Bowie (link here), as we had just woken up to the shock news he had died the day before. For a short number of weeks I became a “daily blogger”, as I had kind of fallen in love with this new hobby where I could indulge in my love of rock and pop trivia, and record my memories of the times.

But that was then, what about today? Now that I have become a weekly, as opposed to a daily blogger, it can get tricky. If you post daily you can write topically, but if you leave it for few days, the moment has passed. Likewise, an earworm that may have formed at the start of the week will have been replaced by the end of it, so no longer relevant. Best to perhaps stick to the tried and tested notion of linking to the previous post.

Last week I featured the song You by Ten Sharp. I don’t know if it’s because the video for Wonderful Life by Black was similarly filmed in black and white, or because it’s a song performed in a similar style, from a similar era, by a male vocalist, but that’s what came to mind. Sadly, once I started to find out a bit more about the song, and the artist called Black, it turned out his life wasn’t quite so wonderful after all.

Wonderful Life by Black:

Although the Liverpudlian band Black started life as a trio, when vocalist/singer-songwriter Colin Vearncombe became the last man standing, he decided to retain the name. Back in 1985 things weren’t going too well for Colin. He’d been in a couple of car crashes, his mother was seriously ill, he’d been dropped by his record company, his first marriage was over and he was homeless. So, what do you do if you’re an artistic type? Why you write an ironic song about just how wonderful life can be. The song was originally released in 1986 but it wasn’t until Black got signed by A&M Records in 1987 that it was re-released and became a massive worldwide hit. He was pretty sure however that few people back then understood the meaning behind his lyrics.

As for the great black and white video, I initially thought it was shot in Mid-West America, but no, those clever cinematographer-type people shot it around Southport, Merseyside, as well as Wallasey near Colin’s hometown of Liverpool. Maybe it’s because of the clothes and haircuts, but we could be back in the 1950s. It also featured New Brighton Lighthouse, the Looping Star rollercoaster, the Galleon fairground ride, the shrimping boat and local shops. A fine video that won an award at the New York Film Festival in 1988.

black32But here’s is the tragic part – Although he happily carried on working in the music industry for the next 30 years, in early 2016 Colin was involved in a car accident near Cork in Southern Ireland. He sustained serious head injuries and died two weeks later aged only 53, leaving behind a wife and three children. He was born two years after me, but died just as this blog was starting to pick up steam, three years ago. Gave me a bit of a jolt when I found that out, despite the fact I hadn’t thought of him in years.

It was inevitable I would stumble upon Frank Capra’s classic fantasy-drama Its A Wonderful Life when trying to find out a little more about the featured song for this post. I’ve watched the film many, many times as it’s always shown around Christmastime, and I never fail to shed a tear. (Seems to be a lot of that going on at the moment in my little circle.)

Most of us will know the story well – George Bailey (played by Jimmy Stewart) is a small-town man whose life seems so desperate he contemplates suicide. He had always wanted to leave Bedford Falls to see the world, but circumstances have led him to stay. He sacrificed his education for his brother’s, kept the family business afloat against all the odds, and protected the town from greedy banker Mr Potter, so for him, it hasn’t been such a wonderful life. As he prepares to jump from a bridge, his guardian angel intercedes, showing him what life would have become for the residents of Bedford Falls had he never lived.

Yes it’s a classic alternate reality movie where we see glimpses of another world that could have been. Marty McFly much preferred the Hill Valley where his father had biffed Biff, and in the Buffyverse, Sunnydale was a much happier place because the slayer had come to town (as opposed to heading to Cleveland), but they are fictional realities. Real life is never quite as saccharine.

We all probably contemplate our own alternate realities from time to time, but best not to dwell on it too much as I have a sneaking suspicion life turns out pretty much how it’s meant to be because of the kind of people we are, and the decisions we make along the way. I read a great book recently called The Versions Of Us by Laura Barnett, where the characters inhabit three different storylines with chapters that run in parallel. I won’t give too much away, but yes, they pretty much end up where they are meant to be, despite the different routes taken to get there.

“It’s a great life if you don’t weaken”, is a phrase my family used to bandy about quite a lot. Something taken from a cartoon by the writer John Buchan I believe. It was always meant in jest, although incorporating an element of truth. Now and again, like George Bailey, we do weaken; now and again, like Colin Vearncombe, we have a run of bad luck; but invariably life has a wonderful way of turning itself around.

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Yesterday however, we heard of the death of a girl DD met at college a few years ago. Before Christmas I wrote about a local charity called Mikey’s Line which offers support to young people who suffer from depression and chronic loneliness. The high rate of suicide amongst young men in the Highlands means that many families have lost a son or brother in recent years, but it seems families are now losing their daughters too. I had a look at the girl’s Facebook page where the tributes were flooding in. She was absolutely beautiful, but in that unreal way, where the pictures had obviously been heavily “photoshopped”.

Is it that some of our young people can’t cope with real life nowadays? Is that that they prefer their unreal, online personas and those of their so-called online “Friends”? Yes, life can be wonderful, but it can also have its slumps when we have to dig deep and “not weaken”. I can’t say that last year was great for me at all, but I am entering 2019 in a better place. At the time I couldn’t see an end to what was going on, but of course a resolution did come about, and we now have a new reality.

As the mother of a young woman, I am constantly on the lookout for signs that all might not be well. I know this is something my own mother never even had to contemplate, but a sign of the times. Fortunately DD seems to be in a good place at the moment, but I will never, ever, let down my guard.

Millennials are called the Snowflake Generation which I find deeply offensive. Yes they have been raised in a totally different manner from the previous generation, which can lead to difficulties in facing some of life’s realities, but it has also furnished many of them with a self-esteem I wish I’d had back in the day. They are entering a world that will be much tougher to navigate than the one I’ve lived through. Let’s do more to support them and not criticise them. The young people I know are AMAZING.

Until next time…

Wonderful Life Lyrics
(Song by Colin Vearncombe)

Here I go out to sea again
The sunshine fills my hair
And dreams hang in the air
Gulls in the sky and in my blue eyes
You know it feels unfair
There’s magic everywhere

Look at me standing
Here on my own again
Up straight in the sunshine
No need to run and hide
It’s a wonderful wonderful life
No need to laugh and cry
It’s a wonderful wonderful life

The sun’s in your eyes
The heat is in your hair
They seem to hate you because you’re there
And I need a friend
Oh I need a friend to make me happy
Not stand here on my own

Look at me standing
Here on my own again
Up straight in the sunshine
No need to run and hide
It’s a wonderful wonderful life
No need to laugh and cry
It’s a wonderful wonderful life

I need a friend
Oh I need a friend
To make me happy
Not so alone

George Michael, The Isley Brothers and “If You Were There”

Well, look what I found in my Christmas Stocking. Not strictly in the stocking as not the best shape to fit, and, not strictly a surprise present from the big man in the red suit (as I had bought it for myself), but a full two years on from his death, I still have a yearning to collect more George Michael goodies. When I saw this glossy mag in our local branch of WH Smith last week, I just knew it had to be mine, all mine…. .

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Christmas Day for us this year was very chilled, and the first of a new regime where we have none of the older generation around any more to join us. A bit strange, but meant there was none of that manic preparation that goes into hosting a formal Christmas lunch complete with all the traditional accompaniments, accoutrements and accessories. A visit to the care home took place in the morning to exchange presents with my mum (DD had ordered a very special bear for her that plays a Jim Reeves song), followed by a mid-day bacon sandwich and the opening of our own presents. Then there was a Facetime call to DD’s boyfriend at the other end of the country, and a virtual first meeting between the two sets of parents (landmark moment). Once we’d had an afternoon walk along the river, followed by a bit of telly, I leisurely prepared a turkey dinner with all the trimmings which we simply ate in our new kitchen this year – Yes, all very chilled indeed.

When it got to evening, George of course beckoned, and by the time I went to bed I think I’d read right to the end of the magazine. Just in case I’d missed anything, I re-read it again from cover to cover on Boxing Day, and although it contained nothing particularly new that I didn’t already know, a few lines jumped out at me, and I took notes: 

George, as we all know, was one of the key vocalists on the 1984 Band Aid charity single Do They Know It’s Christmas?, however on the day of the recording he said he felt really uncomfortable, as Wham! were treated as a bit of a joke by their peers, with (careless?) whispers and in-jokes being made at their expense. By this time Wham! had left their baby-biker image behind, and now sported blond highlights, gold hoop earrings and Day-Glo shorts, but George found it hard to believe people couldn’t see past the image and appreciate the music they were making. He was still only 20, but was writing, producing and arranging these records that jumped out of the radio. If that is true, shame on you fellow Band Aid participants. (Also, did you know that having released Last Christmas shortly before the Band Aid single, they donated all the royalties to the Ethiopia Appeal?)

Band Aid - 1984
Band Aid (George just left of centre)

Something else I learnt from the magazine, was that Wham! would never have come about if not for Andrew Ridgeley, who was the driving force behind forming a band. George was the geeky songwriter, and a career in music was very much frowned upon by his strict father, who wanted him to join the family business. The Wham! image therefore belonged to Andrew, who was outgoing, sociable and loved going out dancing with girls. George lived vicariously through Andrew, but after being impressed by the confidence exuded by the character Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever, he decided to lose weight, acquire some contact lenses and threw himself into the local disco scene. Without Andrew Ridgeley there would have been no George Michael.

During his career George had to face hostility from artists who attacked him for his appropriation of black music. He fought back, and ended up joining forces at various stages of his career with artists such as Aretha Franklin, Mary J Blige and Whitney Houston, who held him in high regard. His earliest musical influences however had come from artists such as Stevie Wonder and The Isley Brothers. In fact one of my favourite Wham! songs is If You Were There, which was not for once penned by George, but was an Isley Brothers cover included on their second album “Make It Big”. 

If You Were There by Wham!:

If You Were There was also the title of the 1997 Wham! “Best Of” album, which of course I had to buy. DD was a mere toddler back then, but I remember well dancing around the living room with her whilst listening to it, recreating the moves. We were now nearly 15 years on, but yes, I had been there and yes, I did know… .

So, “What’s It All About?” – Whenever I think I’ve written my last George Michael post, something else comes along, and prompts another one. In this case it was the magazine I bought myself as a treat for Christmas (other gifts did appear in my stocking by the way).

I am often embarrassed by some of the songs I share around here, as they are unashamedly of the pop persuasion, but time and time again I have been vindicated (the Bee Gees, the Carpenters et al). George Michael himself proudly championed great pop music as true art. Here is a quote from him:

“If you listen to a Supremes or a Beatles record, which was made in the days when pop was accepted as an art of sorts, how can you not realise that the elation of a good pop record is an art form? Somewhere along the way, pop lost all its respect. And I think I kind of stubbornly stick up for all of that.” 

I don’t think I’ll be back again until the New Year – Can it really be almost 2019, the last year of this decade we didn’t know what to call. Is it “The Teens”? – Not sure. Whatever it’s called, hope your Hogmanay celebrations go well. For one night at least, we can forget all the political shenanigans that surround us at the moment, and just enjoy ourselves. The first few months of 2019 will be interesting, that’s for sure! 

Until next time….

If You Were There Lyrics
(Song by The Isley Brothers)

You’re the one that makes my day a dream come true
They might just be the last
Yet and still you wonder if
I think of you
You ought to see how the other girls behave when you’re not around
And only then you would know that it’s on your finger I’m wound

I you were there you’d know
I you were there you’d know
I you were there you’d know
I you were there you’d know
That I care

There’s no need for you not to have faith in me
‘Cos it’s by your side girl that I long to be
Yes there are times with my friends when I don’t know have to much to
say What you don’t know is with you could never act that way

I you were there you’d know
I you were there you’d know
I you were there you’d know
I you were there you’d know
That I care

I care for you baby, I
Swear that I care
There’s no need for you
Not to have faith in me
‘Cos it’s by your side girl
That I long to be
Yes there are times with
my friends when I don’t know
have to much to say uh, uh
What you don’t know is
with you could never act that way

I you were there you’d know
I you were there you’d know
I you were there you’d know
I you were there you’d know
That I care

I care for you , I
Swear that I care for you
Baby
I do
Have faith in me
I care for you baby

Postscript:

Although not much was made of the circumstances that surrounded George’s death in the magazine, after reading the single page that documented the last four years of his life, it appears a premature death was almost inevitable. He dodged a bullet in 2012, after becoming seriously ill in Vienna during the Symphonica tour, but he was also unwell in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Best to remember him in his prime – How he would have wanted it, I’m sure.

Live Aid, Freddie Mercury and “Radio Ga Ga”

Well, my stats are booming and all because of this particular post, written right at the start of my blogging career. Regular visitors will know I’ve had a bit of a cinema-fest going on of late before life starts to get really busy again, and this week I managed to catch the Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody.

It hasn’t received universally fantastic reviews, but for those of us who enjoy rock and pop folklore, it is I feel, a must-see film. Rami Malek played Freddie brilliantly I thought and having to act with those teeth must have been a challenge in itself. (Freddie was apparently born with an extra 4 incisors but forewent the intervention of a dentist in case it affected his voice.) We got a great insight into the early days of Queen and the background to the making of those epic records. The film ends with footage of the Live Aid concert where they pretty much stole the show (and formed the basis for this post). The best way to go I think. We leave the cinema with a smile on our faces, remembering Farrokh Bulsara at his prime, just as he would have wanted.

What's It All About?

I wrote yesterday about the Celtic rock band Runrig and how their rousing live performances induce mass participation, especially when at home in Scotland.

The performance most people my age will remember as being one of the finest ever to take place however, was when Queen arrived on stage for their segment of the Live Aid Concert, held on July the 13th, 1985. I still remember that day well and who knew before the concert began that this would be a seminal performance. To see and hear all 72,000 people in Wembley Stadium sing along with Freddie Mercury to Radio Ga Ga was a landmark moment in pop history. His a cappella section at the end of the song, featuring his amazing vocal range and ability to work the crowd, came to be known as “the note heard round the world”.

Radio Ga Ga by Queen:

There had been…

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