Now, after a week of carrot-dangling, we’re finally at the summit – celebrating the greatest UK Number One singles of all time. Each one is brilliant for a reason. The Kinks make the list for introducing the world to an early incarnation of rock music with “You Really Got Me“. Sinead O’Connor’s heartfelt rendition of a song written by Prince remains one of the most angry and emotional love songs of all time. The Rolling Stones had many decent smash hits, but “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” kicks all of them right in the underpants. “Billie Jean” makes the cut for not only being one of Jackson’s finest, but also because it’s one of his WEIRDEST – that people still dance enthusiastically to a song about an insane delusional fan is completely brilliant. The Beach Boys managed two UK Number One’s, the first of which, “Good Vibrations”, is a masterpiece of musical arrangement, and possibly the electro-theremin‘s finest hour. Paul Hardcastle managed to mix the dialogue from a documentary about post-traumatic stress disorder,“Vietnam Requiem”, with serious synthesizers to make a dance record with an ideology. “Ghost Town” by The Specials also veered into the pop charts waving a political flag, this time spookily condemning Thatcher’s Britain, and creating a truly eerie pop/reggae fusion. The Jam kept “Golden Brown” by The Stranglers off the top spot with Weller’s ode to Woking, which is also a great rock record to dance to – just watch “Billy Elliot” if you don’t believe us. Althea and Donna were a shock one week/one hit wonder back in 1978, thanks to some sterling work by the late, great John Peel – if there is such thing as a cult number one, then this is it. And The Beatles were always going to be sitting somewhere near the top, and, as it is, they snatched the crown with probably the greatest A/B side combination of them all – “Paperback Writer” and (the EVEN BETTER) “Rain”. Only two other A/B combos came into contention throughout the 40 – “Penny Lane”/”Strawberry Fields”, until we realised that it didn’t make it to the top of the charts, it peaked at Number 2. And “Start”/”Liza Radley” by The Jam. But, in the end, this one prevailed, whilst the other two didn’t. Hence, this is our best Top Ten ever. Enjoy…
1A. The Beatles, Paperback Writer (1966)
1B. The Beatles, Rain (1966)
2. Althea and Donna, Uptown Top Ranking (1978)
3. The Jam, A Town Called Malice (1982)
4. The Specials, Ghost Town (1981)
5. Paul Hardcastle, 19 (1985)
6. The Beach Boys, Good Vibrations (1966)
7. Michael Jackson, Billie Jean (1983)
8. The Rolling Stones, Satisfaction (1965)
9. Sinead O’Connor, Nothing Compares 2 U (1990)
10. The Kinks, You Really Got Me (1964)
How a proper rock band should look
Even at the height of their binges, both The Stones and Led Zep chose to turn the spotlight away from their sweaty faces and frightened daytime eyes, opting instead for arty, conceptual album covers for their records. These would have been commisioned out to dope smoking artists, with a brief to throw something magnificent together in between orgies with their muses, and zany acid trips. Not so with the hard rocking maniacs in MC5 – alongside The Stooges, the greatest band to evolve on the streets of Detroit. For their 1970 Back in the USA album, they used a simple picture of the band staring down the lens of a camera, resulting in as startling and honest an image of a 1970s rock band as you could possibly imagine. With the exception of lead singer Rob Tyner’s wonderful frizzy white-fro, not a single strand of bandmember hair isn’t glued and matted to their sweaty heads, and all of them look absolutely mangled. A hunch suggests that post-photo conversations were either slurred, or expressed violently, using loud shouty noises and frustrated fists. This, people, is what it must really look like to be in a band. Below is a brilliant track from the record…
Brule’s Rules, Body Odour
It’s been quite a week for birthdays in The Rolling Stones – Ronnie Wood spent yesterday evening mixing jelly with ice cream whilst repeatedly thanking the rest of The Stones for his marvelous gifts. While today, his cohort Charlie Watts turns 68. And what a 68 years, most of them spent keeping a straight face during Mick Jagger’s mid-song dance solos, which mainly involve leaping around the stage like a child pretending to be a salmon. Not once has Watts laughed, not once. Hence we thought we should get him a gift, so we scurried to the top of a tree, to where the monkeys live, and spoke in a rare primate dialect until it boiled down to a toss up between a pretend dog dirt to put on stage to throw Jagger, or a funny clip from a television programme. In the end we got him both. Happy Birthday Watts!
Dennis Hopper on James Dean
And lo, the great birthdays continue, with Bob Monkhouse, The Equalizer, Morgan Freeman, Marilyn Monroe and Jesus from Jesus of Nazareth all set for an evening spent in tears around a pub table when they realise just how old they are. Monroe, in particular, is 83. Or, at least, she would have been had she not mistaken barbiturates for Smints. One man who seems unfazed by the aging process, however, is the rock guitarist and lover of young Russians, Ronnie Wood – 62 today. We decided to get him a gift, so we went for a nice meal at Pizza Hut, where we had a deep pan Meaty BBQ, a thin crust Super Supreme, and nine massive glasses of Pepsi, before deciding that Ronnie would either want a carrier bag with lots of buscuits in it, or a clip of the great Dennis Hopper talking about the marvelous James Dean. In the end we got him both. Happy Birthday Ronnie!
The Rolling Stones, Loving Cup
It’s damn near impossible to select a Rolling Stones song, as they’ve made so many brilliant ones. Hence, we decided to go with something from our favourite of their albums, Exile on Main Street. Take it away Rubber-Face and the lads!
Humble Pie, Black Coffee
Steve Marriott is one of only a handful of rock and pop stars to feature in two excellent bands – others include Mick Jones (The Clash, Big Audio Dynamite), Vince Clarke (Depeche Mode, Yazoo), Ronnie Wood (Faces, The Rolling Stones) and Paul Weller (The Jam, The Style Council). Steve’s first was, of course, Small Faces, then he pulled together these guys. They were terrific too.
Texture like sun, apparently…
It only seems like a few days ago when we wowed the planet into a trembling quiet with our suggestion that Charlie Watts write an autobiography called Sticks and Stones, and now the suggestions are flying in like turbo-charged bumble bees. First excellent maker of comments, Spencer, wanted Leene on Me. Then tremendous Welshman Daf called for E.M.I.N on Emin – someone from the European Migration Information Network appreciating Tracey Emin. And now Monkeytennis, a funny chap, has waded in with a handful of crackers:
Moron Moore on Michelmore – Michael Moore takes a lighthearted look at the life and times of Cliff Michelmore.
Waugh on War – a self explanatory epic.
Dixie Chicks on X-rated Flicks – C&W’s most outspoken band review the latest top shelf video releases.
Fox on Socks – Emilia Fox takes us through her sock drawer.
Other brilliant titles include:
Jordan on Jordan – the popular singer/model explains that she’s never been to the Middle East but that her and Peter have been to Norfolk and that was quite nice. Thanks to excellent contributor Debs for that one.
And Gordon Brown: Texture Like Sun from the brilliant/handsome Welshman, Daf.
Can you think of a good one? Come on, don’t be shy. Let us know with a comment…
We’ll kick it off…
In a moment of blind genius the other day, we realised that famous drummer Charlie Watts is totally missing a trick by not writing a book called Sticks and Stones. Can you think of any other famous faces who are due a brilliantly titled biography?
Let us know with a comment…
Hey man, it’s some people pretending to be hippies
Nothing sticks in the craw more than missing out on a cool party. You might have been sick in bed, or perhaps you just weren’t invited. Still, don’t mope around whining, get on with your life, soldier. Let it go. And do not, under any circumstances, attempt to recreate the amazing party, because it definitely won’t be the same, and you’ll invariably end up looking like a plonker. Take the Summer of Love in 1967, for example. The Beatles were there from the start with their hairy sideboards and little spectacles, brandishing Sergeant Pepper. Hendrix, The Who, Janis Joplin, and Jefferson Airplane all gave a kick-ass show at the legendary Monterey Pop Festival. And The Rolling Stones pretty much missed the lot. Sensing that they might have just failed to catch a very important flowery train, they hurriedly threw together this album, just in time for December 1967 – the winter of the Summer of Love, if you like. Awash with songs about crazy futuristic people, rainbows, and citadels, the cover shows the five band members dressed up like technicolor druids in a magical land – their way of saying “sorry we’re late world, we’ve been tripping on mushies… being as we’re far out and everything!” Unfortunately, as a statement of hippydom, it’s up there with putting on a bowler hat and telling the world you’re a cowboy. Unconvincing.
Enjoy one of the cuts from the record after the jump…
Oh Dad, no!
For all that was completely brilliant about the 1980s, they were an awful time for bands formed in the 1960s. Jefferson Airplane had morphed into Starship, who were preposterous, The Who disappeared up their own bums, and The Rolling Stones should have been crucified for this. The album sounds great on paper – they were collaborating with Bobby Womack, Tom Waits and Jimmy Page – but unfortunately Mick Jagger was too busy thinking about his solo career to make an effort, and Charlie Watts was reportedly going through a pretty enormous heroin phase and could barely drum. All these things are forgivable of a rock band, especially such a great one, but unfortunately, the artwork on the cover just adds insult to injury. Falling into the old trap of attempting to appear current, they opted for the garish colours of the time (1986), which, combined with their craggy drug ridden faces, gives them the look of aging male prostitutes. By all accounts, such magnificent colours should be uplifting and fun, but instead it’s completely depressing. Akin to watching your grandfather trying to rap.
Enjoy one of the singles from the album after the jump…