Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Music Challenge (20 March 2020)

I must admit I had completely forgotten about Jim’s MM Music challenge today, so it was brilliant to see his post in my reader. It’s just as well one of us is organised!

I had two completely different thoughts today, resulting in three songs! But, what the hell, I’ll post them all, and you can pick and choose. It always seems to be songs – through my other posts I have realised that 90% of the stuff that clicks with me is music, but I’m sure one day soon I will think of something else.

Straight away, I’d love to Change the World. Okay, but what if you specifically don’t want to change the world? And straight away I’m thinking of the Kirsty MacColl song from the early Eighties, which contains the lyrics:

I don’t want to change the world,
I’m just looking for a new England.

But then I thought I’d twist it a little bit. You see, Kirsty never wrote the song. In fact it was written by the very politically-aware English folk singer, Billy Bragg. He is still going as a singer, and very much still politically active. I’ve ended up with some of his music just because, from my viewpoint, his politics is pretty sound. I guess while you might have heard of Kirsty, you’re less likely to have heard of Billy, but his music is very simple – just him and his guitar, normally, and pleasant.

So, here is A New England, written and performed by Billy Bragg (lyrics).

And if you’re reminiscing about Kirsty MacColl’s version, here that is, too:

You can kinda see why Kirsty had the hit, but Billy’s is more raw.

Okay, there’s the first thought. The second thought was completely different. In his own post, Jim mentions Alvin Stardust. I remember his death, I remember his name, but most of his work was before my time. I do remember this one, though, from 1984, called I Feel Like Buddy Holly. I listened to chart music a bit back then. The song was written by songwriter Mike Batt and its lyrics are under this link. I’m avoiding posting them myself because this post is long enough already. Before writing this post, I hadn’t heard this song for 35 years!

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Music Challenge (6 March 2020)

I have worked out how to get my browser to read people’s posts out to me. It speaks! I know, probably old hat to many of you, but it was never really something I looked for, so I’m late in the game.

Bottom line, it lets me read posts more quickly. However, I have also noticed that it doesn’t give me as much control. I can start it when I load the page, I can stop it, but I have no idea how to reposition it, if (say) I want to re-read a paragraph. The upshot is that I spent rather more time than usual, listening to the lyrics of Jim’s Deep Purple song.

Lots of mentions of Japan. To me, if I think of Japan in music terms, I think of Yoko Ono. Then the late, great John Lennon.

I was twelve when Lennon was killed. I heard the news on morning as I came down the stairs ready for breakfast before school. Impossible – one of the Beatles was no longer with us! Plus. this was Liverpool, where the Beatles were especially special.

There followed a wave of nostalgia for him in the UK. There were outpourings of grief, and his new album, Double Fantasy, his first new material in several years, went immediately to #1 pretty much everywhere. Plus, as well as rushing out releases of his new material, we had re-releases of Imagine and Happy Christmas.

One of the tracks on Double Fantasy just epitomised to me, the sound of Japan. As I got older myself, it also epitomised fatherhood, all those dreams and aspirations we have for our young children. This is Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy), about his son, Sean, who was just five when he lost his daddy.

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Music Challenge (21 February 2020)

I wasn’t going to post again today but NewEpicAuthor’s Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie post inspired me to start typing again. Today, I read about a Tom Petty song commemorating the end of an affair.

It made me think about other music about relationships breaking up, and I immediately think of ABBA in this context, those very last albums. It must have been particularly difficult for one partner to perform songs written by the other partner. For both couples. Especially as the songs were usually about … relationships.

ABBA’s last album was The Visitors, released at the end on 1981. There was no great break-up, they just stopped recordeding new material and went their separate ways. The word reform has been uttered, but how could they ever be as good?

So I shall just quickly present a song today from this last album, called When All is Said and Done. In fact the album was just released at the right time, in terms of the available technology – it is one of the first where everything was digital, and one of the first to have videos accompanying at least those songs released as singles. This song charted in much of the world, so will hopefully spark a memory.

Here’s to us. One more toast, and then we’ll pay the bill
Deep inside, both of us can feel the autumn chill
Birds of passage, you and me
We fly instinctively
When the summer’s over and the dark clouds hide the sun
Neither You nor I’m to blame when all is said and done

In our lives, we have walked some strange and lonely treks
Slightly worn, but dignified, and not too old for sex
We’re still striving for the sky
No taste for humble pie
Thanks for all your generous love and thanks for all the fun
Neither you nor I’m to blame when all is said and done

It’s so strange, when you’re down, and lying on the floor
How you rise, shake your head, get up and ask for more
Clear-headed and open-eyed, with nothing left untried
Standing calmly at the crossroads, no desire to run
There’s no hurry anymore when all is said and done
Standing calmly at the crossroads, no desire to run
There’s no hurry anymore when all is said and done

Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus