Absolutely including this lot…
The big news is that John Lydon is reforming his old group Public Image Ltd to go on some kind of tour. And that got us to thinking. PiL was Lydon’s second successful stab at the big time with a band, but what other artists have been lucky enough to enjoy two days or more in the sunshine? We decided to come up with ten of the best, with the likes of The Last Shadow Puppets, The Raconteurs, Gorillaz and The Foo Fighters all falling at the final hurdle…
1. The Style Council
The Jam split up in 1982 and Weller formed The Style Council in 1983. Much to a lot of Jam fan’s disgust. Where were the spikey guitar riffs? Fuck me, is that a PIANO? The Style Council were much silkier and soulful. They wore lovely cardigans. It was picnic-pop, but totally brilliant. Weller’s finest hour?
2. The JB’s
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, James Brown ploughed through backing band line ups – mainly because he was a massive soul bastard, and paid everyone in either punches or peanuts. The JB’s provided the sound for his golden period in the early 1970s, succeeding The Famous Flames, The James Brown Band, and The James Brown Orchestra. Bootsy Collins on bass, “Jabo” Starks on drums, Fred Wesley at the back tromboning. So to speak.
3. Public Image Ltd
Formed in 1978, almost directly after the Sex Pistols had imploded, PiL featured John Lydon (formerly Johnny Rotten), Keith Levene – once of The Clash – and Jah Wobble. Or, at least, the first line up did. Over the years, almost twenty thousand people could claim to have once been a member of PiL. You were probably in the band without realising it. Lydon’s best band.
4. Humble Pie
Small Faces were bloody excellent, Humble Pie weren’t too bad either – much rockier, intent on wooing audiences in America. They initially got together after Steve Marriott had failed to convince his Small Faces bandmates to allow Peter Frampton to join the group, so he flounced off and made Humble Pie instead. For the first half of the 1970s, they were a fantastic band, then Marriott went a little bit loco.
5. New Order
After Ian Curtis decided to dance weirdly into the eternal night in 1980, the Joy Division morphed into New Order – a far more oily band, replacing their office temp outfits for short shorts, and highlights in their hair. All three surviving members– Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris – stayed on board, with the addition of Morris’ girlfriend Gillian Gilbert on keyboard guitar. As anyone who reads massive textbooks about war well knows, the Joy Division was a reference to the prostitution wing of concentration camps during the Second World War, New Order was incorrectly seen to be taken from a quote in Mein Kampf. The band are not fascists.
Wings, though rather unfashionable to like, were actually a pretty decent band. Not, obviously, as good as The Beatles, but tracks like Maybe I’m Amazed and Live and Let Die would have been great additions to any Beatles back catalogue. In fact, the latter was produced by George Martin. They were also the only permanent band formed by any of The Beatles after the split, with McCartney leading the merry troupe for around ten years. He might even have been a Wing for longer than he was a Beatle. They enjoyed much chart success with Linda on backing vocals.
7. Crosby, Stills and Nash
Crosby was once of The Byrds, Stills was once of Buffalo Springfield, and Nash was once of The Hollies. All very successful, sometimes brilliant, pop groups. Hence, this was seen as something of a supergroup project when the three formed in 1968. And yet, they’re still going. Or, at least, on and off. They were so-named to prevent any of the bandmates stealing the name of the group should any of them decided to leave – a result of bitter experience in the cases of Crosby and Nash – and Neil Young would occasionally join in, making it Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Rather cleverly.
8. Lucy Pearl
Like Crosby, Stills and Nash, Lucy Pearl was made up of three big names from successful R&B and hip hop groups. There was Raphael Saadiq from Tony! Toni! Tone!, Dawn Robinson from En Vogue, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad from A Tribe Called Quest. Originally D’Angelo was supposed to join in too, but some kind of commitment clash meant that he couldn’t. In the original formation, they only managed to squeeze out one album – in 2000 – but the good news is that it was a corker.
9. Big Audio Dynamite
After getting royally booted out of The Clash, Mick Jones shuffled around for a bit, then eventually formed Big Audio Dynamite with reggae/punk legend Don Letts in 1984. With Jones on lead vocals for once, they became known for mixing punk rock with reggae, hip hop, and whatever kind of genre they fancied with an impressive degree of success and innovation. Their biggest hit came with E=MC2 in 1986. Which isn’t featured below.
10. Gnarls Barkley
Both members of Gnarls Barkley have enjoyed musical success with other groups. Danger Mouse with the Damon Albarn cartoon vanity project Gorillaz, and Cee-Lo Green with the popular US rap group Goodie Mob – who were particularly popular in the 1990s thanks to their affiliation with Outkast, and the rise in popularity of raps from the Deep South. As Gnarls Barkley, everyone knows them for that great song about going bananas.
Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus
Ace rapper Andre 3000 turns just 34 today, making his ghetto monicker either completely inaccurate, or nothing to do with his age. We just don’t know. What we do know, however, is that the man has had an amazing life up until now. He’s rapped songs, sung songs, worn women’s clothes without getting shot up by infuriated gang members, and he was once even found lying back on a hotel sofa talking to a certain Interestment member about what was so good about Lucozade. True story. Hence, we thought we’d get him a gift, so we each slipped into an outfit of skinny jeans, loafers, oversized vest, flat cap and stupid sailor tattoos, and headed to a grotty looking arthouse pub in a trendy area of London to pretend we might be heroin addicts or rent boys. It was there that we decided to get Andre either a shovel to pan us all in the face with, or a clip of an amazing film that we were alerted to by a young man called Steve. In the end we got him both. Happy Panning Andre!
Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!
And so hippy dippy soulstress Badu turns 36 today – good for her! She’s had quite a decent life so far, what with a few great records, plus passionate love affairs with hip hop legends like Andre 3000 and Common. What could she possibly want for? It boiled down to a toss up between a nice leather briefcase, or a clip of Frank Stallone singing a funny song. In the end we got her both. Happy Birthday Erykah-kah-kah!
Charlie Brown, Hey Ya!
In his 47 years on the planet, Axl Rose has done a lot. He’s had intimate moments with droves of women, drank a fair few brewskis, and rocked hard with his Heavy Metal buddies in Guns N’ Roses. Today is his birthday. We whispered angrily until around dawn, desperately trying to figure out what to buy the man who’s been there, poked that, squeezed those, and strummed this. It boiled down to a toss up between a Best of The Munsters DVD or a clip of the Peanuts gang dancing around to Outkast. In the end we got him both. Happy Birthday Axl! Hope you and Slash make friends soon!
Some tough guys didn’t make it…
When you break it down, rap groups are little circles of thoughtful poets singing to one another. It’s quite sweet really. Only, in some cases, their ditties tend to be about shooting people in the face and enjoying streetside oral intercourse. Wordsworth, they ain’t. We’re massive rap fans, so coming up with a top four groups was near impossible. In the end we had to toss Gang Starr, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul and NWA overboard. The biggest fight of all revolved around Brand Nubian, who sadly just missed the cut as well. Here’s who made it…
1. Main Source
An early 90s crew, these guys essentially only made one album, Breaking Atoms, but it might just be the greatest hip hop album of all time. Made up of the legendary Large Professor, K-Cut, Mikey D, and Sir Scratch, Main Source also introduced the world to Nas (greatest ever?) on the track, Live at The Barbeque. Amazing band.