Friday 16 February 2007

I was your sorry-ever-after...


Is it Friday already? I thought the week after you come back from holiday is supposed to be horrible? This one doesn't appear to have been too bad.

Hmmm. Perhaps that's because:

-> I go to Ecuador in exactly two weeks today
-> because I have been busy faffing about with passports and things, I haven't done a jot of work all week! Hurray (and I got promoted too! Nice one! Same again next week then?)

Anyway. Onto more pressing matters. This week's Guest Editor is an absolutely charming gentleman. He's a scholar, a connoisseur, a raconteur, an aesthete.... basically he's an all round good egg. Who wouldn't want to have someone like that gracing their pages?

...and he asked really nicely too.

Without any further ado then.... Ladies and Gentleworms, it is my great pleasure to introduce for your earworming pleasure....

Earworms of the Week - Guest Editor #57 - Pynchon

Let me tell you how I got to be Earworm Of The Week.

I asked Swiss Toni. He said OK.

Hell, I never said that it was a great story...

So, anybody fancy a Thunderbirds countdown?

Five! (Der...)
Four! (Derr...)
Three! (Derrr...)
Two! (Derrrr...)
One! (Derrrrr...)

Earworms are GO!

10. "They Don't Know" by Kirsty MacColl.

I heard this on Wogan's show this week, but I know it well.

It's a glorious, wonderful pop song. I think it was Kirsty's first single, and was not a hit, but a note-for-note version by the comedienne Tracey Ullman made the UK top 10 in 1983. Kirsty even sang on it. The "Baybee!" bit in the middle was Kirsty. Tracey Ulllman apparently couldn't hit that note.

I saw Kirsty MacColl in 1995 and she played this during the encore. Of course it was brilliant. She explained that the song was an attempt at writing something that could have fitted onto the "Grease" soundtrack and was a bit of a spoof. Doesn't matter. It's a great song.

Kirsty MacColl. What a talent and what a sad loss to music it what when she died.

9. "Because You Are A Woman" by Brett Dennen.

I heard this on the Jonathan Ross show.

Not much to write about here, because I know very little about this guy. I've looked him up and he looks like a ginger haired, male Kelly Osbourne. Don't let that put you off. I like this song a lot. Stripped down, deep and soulful.

There is a clip here.

8. "Roll Away The Stone" by Mott The Hoople.

I was in W. H. Smiths buying a magazine when a song (not this one) came on over the speaker system. I remember thinking to myself, "That's a complete rip off of 'Roll Away The Stone' by Mott The Hoople" and it was. I cannot remember what that song was, but this song has been stuck in my head ever since.

There are some bands that remain in the public consciousness. You know who they are. You probably love some of them. The Floyd, the Stones, the Beatles, Led Zep. Of the newer bands I would even add Oasis and U2 to that list. Most bands don't remain in the public consciousness, for all sorts of reasons. Mott The Hoople are one of those. They recorded a clutch of great songs, had a fantastic charismatic lead singer and then faded away. But I remember them.

There is a clip here.

7. "You Know I'm No Good" by Amy Winehouse.

I used to really hate Amy Winehouse. I couldn't bear anything I heard from the "Frank" album. I hated her whole gobby, mouthy, hard drinking, tough lady persona. Then I heard "Rehab" and things changed. She was funny! Then I heard this and... I think I'm in love! I've bought the album. An essential purchase for 2007. I'm seeing her in concert next week.

What would you call this? Modern soul? That'll do. Hypnotic backing track, sneery vocals and in the video she looks like she would eat you alive. Fabulous.

There is a clip here.

6. "Two-Way Romeo" by The Bang Bang.

The Bang Bang do not really exist. They are a fictional band who appear in the fictional documentary "Brothers Of The Head" about a showbiz impresario who forms a rock group fronted by a pair of conjoined twins. It's a great and strange and weird film. You should check it out.

Yes, this song is faux punk/new wave/pop and the lyrics are dreadful, but it has drums and guitars and feedback and howley vocals and swearing and you can bounce around the room to it. It's wonderful.

There is a clip here.

5. "Disguises" by The Jam.

One of the pleasures of the shuffle mode on an MP3 player is the way that sometimes a tune will pop up that you have completely forgotten about.

This song is a cover of an obscure Who song, frankly thrown away by the Who, who stuck it on the "Ready Steady Who" EP (along with "Circles" which was also a great track), and also by The Jam who stuck it on the B-side of "Funeral Pyre".

It's a great track. Brilliant drumming and bass by the most underrated rhythm section to come out of British New Wave (Rick Buckler and Bruce Foxton), brilliant phased guitar by Paul Weller and a strange kind of dub reggae breakdown right in the middle of the track (something that The Jam should have explored again). It is a truly fantastic track. Probably better than the original by the Who, if I'm honest.

4. "Surrender" by Cheap Trick.

I found myself in front of the TV watching a double bill of "That 70's Show" (it's dreadful - I won't make that mistake again). I was just dozing off when the opening credits of the second episode started. My interest perked up when I realised that the title music was a cover of Big Star's "In The Street" with, at the end, a snatch of what sounded like "Surrender" by Cheap Trick.

Cheap Trick were never very much over here, but I believe they were quite big everywhere else. Strangest looking band in the whole world. Two of the guys looked like they had stepped straight out of the "Spinal Tap", while the other two guys looked like they had stepped out of geek academy. I cannot say that I know very much about them, but I do remember a "Rock Goes To College" show that they appeared on and I thought that they were very good.

There is a clip here.

3. "More More More" by Andrea True Connection.

Andrea True was a (coughs) adult move star, active in the early 70's. The story goes that she was stuck in Jamaica at a time when political upheaval was ravaging the Island and nobody was allowed to leave the country with any money. So, she invested all her money in producing a disco track to generate a master tape that she could take out of the country. This was the track.

I think it's a real classic, which is nothing that the Pynchon ensconced in the punk wars would ever have admitted in 1977. True, Andrea True was only a passable singer, but she does emote quite spectacularly, and the backing track is pure genius. It'll make you want to dance. You might recognise the backing track. The band Len sampled it for their 1999 hit "Steal My Sunshine".

There is a clip here. (Actually, minimise the clip when you play the track, because it is dreadful. Andrea True didn't know how to move or dance. I hope she was a better performer in her proper career.)

2. "Solitary Man" by Neil Diamond.

I bought a best of Neil Diamond compilation for a fiver in Sainsburys. Probably all the Neil Diamond a sane person would ever want and this is one of the standout tracks. Was this Neil Diamond's first single? It might have been. Somebody else can probably confirm that.

There are some songs of which it is impossible to do a bad cover version. Johnny Cash covered this. Chris Isaak covered this. Hell, even Cliff Richard covered this. They were all great versions, but this is the best. All down to wonderful singing, wonderful lyrics and a wonderful tune. Is there anything else?

There is a clip here.

1. "74-75" by The Connells.

This track was once voted #5 in the list of VH1's top 100 greatest one hit wonders of all time. It should have been higher. I found this on You Tube on a random search.

Shiver up the spine time. It's a song dripping with melancholy, regret and sadness. It's also a very, very personal choice at the moment and somebody elses blog is certainly not the venue to go into my feelings about it. Another time, perhaps.

There is a clip here.

Thank you and good night.


Thanks JP, a magical selection of carefully chosen aural nuggets indeed. You're a marvel.

The moral of this particular story? If you want to have a(nother) go in this slot, then all you have to do is ask.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to look up where the hell the Passport Office is in Peterborough....

Next Time: Mike fromTroubled Diva (23/2)
Forthcoming Attractions: I, Brummie (30/3), Samantha (6/4)

Download the Earworms of the Week Podcast here (and don't forget that from there you can also subscribe to the podcast via iTunes - then it worms its own way onto your iPod every time it updates. Newly uploaded podcasts include Bedshaped, Stef, Alan, Mandy, Bargs and Cat... get them whilst they're hot. I've just been listening to the podcast of Mandy's choices, and I have to say... a seamless shift from "Bad Medicine" by Bon Jovi into "Sweet Child O'Mine" by Guns n'Roses? Oooooh. Nice! )

[Previous Guest Editors: Flash, The Urban Fox, Lord Bargain, Retro-Boy, Statue John, Ben, OLS, Ka, Jenni, Aravis, Yoko, Bee, Charlie, Tom, Di, Spin, The Ultimate Olympian, Damo, Mike, RedOne, The NumNum, Leah, Le Moine Perdu, clm, Michael, Hyde, Adem, Alecya, bytheseashore, adamant, Earworms of the Year 2005, Delrico Bandito, Graham, Lithaborn, Phil, Mark II, Stef, Kaptain Kobold, bedshaped, I have ordinary addictions, TheCatGirlSpeaks, Lord B rides again, Tina, Charlie II, Cody Bones, Poll Star, Jenni II, Martin, Del II, The Eye in the Sky, RussL, Lizzy's Hoax, Ben II, Earworms of the Year 2006, Sarah, Flash II, Erika, Hen]


  1. I can't wait to hear the podcast of that, it looks like a scorcher!

  2. Nice selection mate, however I suspect that you actually had some much less cool songs stuck in your noggin this week... Come on, admit it!

    Still, the podcast rocks so I don't care you raconteur you!

  3. yoko: Thanks!

    stef: I admit no such thing.

  4. Is it me, or is there no Pynchon on the podcast page? There is a #57, but it appears to be swissty's effort?


    I need Pynchon's playlist!

  5. I'm afraid I have very little to do with the podcast. I'm sure the administrator is on the case and that it will appear in due course. If you subscribe via iTunes (link on the podcast page) then it will download automatically to your computer when it's uploaded.

    I'll have a word, but I imagine she's found something more interesting to do with her spare time!