Joe writes: Supporting Ed Sheeran played a big part in Passenger's breakthrough. Now Ed is doing his best to break another British singer songwriter who has been around for a while. He has not only taken Jamie Lawson on tour but has signed him to his amusingly named Gingerbread label.
Wasn't Expecting That is a different kind of song to Passenger's Let Her Go but maybe equally good in its way, especially lyrically. Any Nashville songwriter would be proud of this song, and it also has pleasant echoes of Squeeze's Up The Junction.
Joe writes: My last post was about a song inspired by a visit to Graceland. Here's Paul Simon talking about the role Graceland played in inspiring his song of the same name:
Hot Chip guested and chose some records on Jo Whiley's Radio 2 recently including Paul Simon's Late In The Evening, chosen by Alexis from the band. I've written before about Late In The Evening and the One Trick Pony album and film from whence it came, but hearing it again made me realise that the template for the Graceland album was right there, lyrically and musically, six years earlier.
Joe writes: I learnt recently that Eternal Flame, the classic Bangles hit, was inspired by a visit to Elvis Presley's former home Graceland, which has a supposedly eternal but actually intermittent flame. More info here from Billy Steinberg who wrote the song with Tom Kelly and Susanna Hoffs. Interesting to learn that the demo of the song was acoustic guitar-based in a bid to make it more "Bangles-y".
Here's a very evocative Top of the Pops performance:
Billy says Eternal Flame doesn't have a chorus. It's an interesting one - when you're listening to "Close your eyes, give me your hand darling", you're clearly listening to the verse, but by the end of the verse and especially by the end of the song, the verse has effectively become a chorus, as Billy says. Anyway, I've added it to my "Songs without choruses" playlist on Spotify. Other suggestions welcome:
Phil writes: The new Blur single 'Lonesome Road' reminded me of this great Ricky Nelson track. The Blur song even has what must surely be a reference to the earlier song with the words 'going down to....' repeated several times in the outro.
Joe writes: Carly Simon had had breast cancer when she
recorded The Bedroom Tapes album, so called because a studio had to be built in
her daughter's old bedroom to enable her to make the album. She thought it
might be the last album she was able to make, and she used it to settle some old
scores. There are some wonderful and vitriolic tracks on there, my favourite of
which is Scar. You're So Vain is famously rumoured to be about Warren Beatty
and I have it on good authority that Warren may also be the old flame who makes
an unsavoury appearance in Scar.
The Bedroom Tapes album has just been reissued on Carly's own label, having initially been released on Arista.
Here's a live version of You're So Vain:
[this is an update of a post originally from October 2007]
Joe writes: I've been listening to Sandy Denny again after reading a review of her biography. Of the songs mentioned in the review, my favourite is No End - predictably, as it's a bitter break-up song with echoes of The Last Time I Saw Richard and Diamonds & Rust.
I've just added it to my Spotify playlist of break-up songs, .
But I'd still say Sandy's greatest hit is Fairport Convention's Who Knows Where The Time Goes:
Joe writes: This is the Chumbawamba track that should have been re-released as the follow-up to Tubthumping. It would have been huge. Chumbawamba instead elected to go with a track called Amnesia and were soon forgotten.
Ugh! Your Ugly Houses is a political song in the best kind of way and has shades of both Clean Bandit (in the string breakdown) and Blur's new anthem of overpopulation (in the lyrics, all seven of them).
Joe writes: I've been listening to a lot of Ainslie Wills, who is from Melbourne. I really love her voice which (on other tracks, not so much this one) has shades of Tracey Thorn, and this song is infectious.
Joe writes: I thoroughly approve of Tobias Jesso Jr
because I love the seventies soft rock he's referencing, and he's doing it
authentically - you could play this next to Nilsson or the first Elton John
album and it would stand up. OK this is no Your Song or Without You, but
it's a decent song, with shades of George Michael's One More Try.
Phil writes: Lesley Gore will surely be remembered for one monster hit that has echoed down the years. It may or may not be great music. I happen to think that it is a worthy pop classic. When a song is played so many times over so many years it usually deserves to be on WGM: