Had a long email conversation with a friend today (one of those days at work). It started off when he asked me if by any chance I had borrowed his copy of The Jam's greatest hits. No, but weren't they a great band? Down The Tube Station At Midnight, Eton Rifles, Going Underground, David Watts ("fa fa fa fa fa fa-fa-fa oi!"), That's Entertainment..... all started to go wrong around The Bitterest Pill, and then it was all sharp suits, the Style Council and dad-rock nonsense from there on. Shame really.
This naturally led us onto a conversation about bands that broke up when they were successful. There are loads of them. Of course there are. But how many of them went on to bigger and better things? I'm sure we can all name people who have left bands and disappeared - what else explains why bands like Motley Crue, The Happy Mondays and The Las are all reforming? Forced to return to the scenes of your former glory and make the best of it because you couldn't make anything better anywhere else?
Does anyone leave a successful band and move on to be more successful?
We decided that Robbie Williams and George Michael don't count, because we arbitrarily judged that Take That and Wham weren't proper bands (our game, our rules - alright?)
Is Sting more successful than the Police? (we could debate this artistically for, oooh, seconds)
I thought probably Scott Walker.
Dave Grohl has done pretty well with the Foo Fighters, but would anyone really suggest that it came close to Nirvana? Same thing applies to New Order and Joy Division.
and on and on it went.
We ended up playing some sort of weird version of rock family trees where we were listing bands for any number of tenuous reasons:
- Bands where there was a star and his band (The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Bob Dylan and the Band, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Billy Bragg and the Blokes... and were Bon Jovi and Van Halen bands in their own right, or should they be included in this category?)
- Bands with Eric Clapton in (Cream, Derek & the Dominos, Blind Faith, The Yardbirds...)
- MOR bands (Boston, Chicago, REO Speedwagon, Toto...)
- whatever happened to the Super Group? (Cream were one, CSNY were another - do Velvet Revolver and Audioslave really count in this category?)
As a direct result of this, when I was in the pool (64 lengths, 1536m, 39 mins - thanks for caring) I spent the whole damn time thinking about bands with Ronnie Wood in, or wondering if I really cared if Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel have been more successful in their solo careers than they were as members of Genesis. Does anyone care?
It's certainly a more interesting way utlise my brain-power than pulling together a requirements matrix for a new SMTP gateway. That's not to say that I didn't carry on working on the requirements matrix (by now listening to The Jam on my Ipod), but let's just say that I allocated some of my mental resources into the more interesting task.
Int email brilliant?
oh, and I gave up after "I Just Called To Say I Love You", but apparently "Unchained Melody" was number one.... please God not the Robson & Jerome version.... although I'm sure if they asked Simon Bates what he thought was the definitive version...