Following the comedy sketch I put up a few months ago, there were quite a number of comments from people saying how much they enjoyed it. So I thought it was time for another. This is a classic Two Ronnies sketch from 1974. Anyone, like me who saw it at the time, will remember it, but I’d forgotten how it started. Let’s remember and enjoy.
Mike Peters, the lead singer with The Alarm is 60 this week.
The band were formed in Rhyl, north Wales, in 1977 and originally called The Toilets. After a few name changes, including Quiasimodo and Seventeen, they settled on The Alarm, moved to London, got noticed by ZigZag magazine and a journo at Sounds who helped get hem a recording contract and a slot supporting U2.
After supporting The Police they signed to IRS records which was founded by Stewart Copeland’s (of the Police) brother Miles and had their first UK hit in September in 1983 with 68 Guns.
After 15 UK hits albums they split up in 1991. They did reform in 1999 and had a comeback hit called Superchannel in 2006. Let’s remember the follow-up to 68 Guns, This is Where Were You Hiding When the Storm Broke from January 1984.
Randy Crawford, one of the most pure and distinctive voices of the 20th century, is 67 this week.
Veronica Crawford, as she was born, got her break in 1972 when she was a backing singer for George Benson and then opened for him on tour later that year. Her debut single was a cover of Knock on Wood which failed to chart. In 1978 former Genesis guitarist, Steve Hackett, invited her to add vocals on Hoping Love Will Last, the opening track on his second solo album Please Don’t Touch!.
She made her name commercially in 1979 when Wilton Felder of the Crusaders invited her to sing on their hit Street Life and although she was uncredited, it was a big chart hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
She then launched a successful solo career, a released her fourth album, Now We May Begin which contained the hit single One Day I’ll Fly Away which reached number two in 1980. She followed it with Secret Combination which brought further hits You Might Need Somebody, a cover of Brook Benton’s Rainy night In Georgia and the title track. Another single that failed to chart was the marvellous You Bring the Sun Out. That album featured Steve Lukather and Jeff Porcaro – guitarist and drummer from Toto respectively.
Success died off in the late eighties, but in mid-nineties she recorded the acclaimed album Naked and True which featured a cover of George Benson’s Give Me the Night that reached number 60 in 1997. Seven months previous R&B singer Shola Ama made her debut with a cover of Crawford’s You Might Need Somebody which peaked seven places higher than the original.
Let’s remember her last UK top 10 hit, the beautiful Almaz, a song which an Eritrean refugee neighbour of Randy’s had asked her to write a song about for his wife. Randy said at the time, “I witnessed this perfect love affair between them and as refugees they were looking for a world where love survives.”
It was 40 years ago this week that Marc Bolan died in a car crash in Barnes. The car was driven by his girlfriend, the singer Gloria Jones who recorded the original version of Tainted Love and also write the 1979 disco hit Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet for Gonzalez.
T.Rex first hit the UK chart in 1968, under the name Tyrannosaurus Rex, with Debora. After three hits they shortened the name to T.Rex and chart 20 hit singles including the four chart toopers; Hot Love, Get It On, Telegram Sam and Metal Guru.
Let’s enjoy his last top 20 hit, from 1976.
The legendary Queen guitarist Brian May is 70 this week.
The great man, whom I’ve met on a few occasions, has many strings to his bow, but he is certainly an underrated songwriter, probably just over shadowed by his phenomenal guitar playing.
He wrote or co-wrote almost 50% of Queen’s 46 UK hit singles, the first, and a sole writer, was Now I’m Here, a number 11 hit in 1975. It was primarily written about the good times and the bad times of the hard, extensive touring, which the band did during their first few years.
In 1974, they famously supported Mott the Hoople on their American tour, and it that tour which also provided some inspiration, highlighted by the line ‘Down in the city, just Hoople and me.’
Of all the queen songs, this one holds the record for the longest stay in their live sets, Freddie recalled in a Record Mirror interview in 1976, “We released it after Killer Queen, and it’s a total contrast, just a total contrast. It was just to show people we can still do rock ‘n’ roll – we haven’t forgotten our rock ‘n’ roll roots. It’s nice to do on stage. I enjoyed doing that on stage.”
Let’s enjoy this live version in Budapest from 1986.
I’m not generally a fan of cover versions, but this one isn’t bad. Many will prefer the David Bowie original, but Bauhaus made a good job of this and their lead singer, Pete Murphy is 60 this week.
Bauhaus were formed in 1978 and originate from Northampton. They were led by singer Peter Murphy and backed up by brothers David on bass and Kevin Haskins on drums and completed by Daniel Ash on guitar. They were originally called Bauhaus 1919 which was a reference to the year that Bauhaus – the German Art School – was opened, but decided to drop the year almost immediately.
Their debut single in 1979 was called Bela Lugosi’s Dead which was championed by John Peel, but was also over nine minutes long thus restricting daytime airplay and in-turn, failed to make the chart. John Peel became a big fan and played all their tracks regularly and their first hit was called Kick in the Eye which stalled at number 59. The follow-up, THE Passion of Lovers made number 56 and then Spirit, the following year made number 42. Later in 1982 they covered Ziggy Stardust which shot to number 15 in the chart. That led to them appearing in the film The Hunger which starred the song’s originator, David Bowie
In 1983, they released two further singles, Lagartija Nick which peaked at 44 and was followed by She’s In Parties which reached number 26. Then at the end of a convert they announced their split. All members went on to various projects and Peter Murphy teamed up with Japan’s Mick Karn to form the short-lived band Dali’s Car who managed one number 66 hit in 1984 with The Judgement Is The Mirror. The pair reunited in 2010 to record the long-awaited second album, but by this time Karn had been diagnosed with cancer and died in January 2011. They did record five songs which were all featured on the InGladAloneness EP which came out in 2012.
Murphy married a Turkish lady and since 1992 has been living in Istanbul.
Let’s enjoy their cover of Ziggy Stardust.