Sunday, 11 November 2012

More Songs About Time

After my chart of 10 songs about time in honour of my latest kindle novel, here are some more, specifically about the time marked on clocks.

1) U2 - "11 o'Clock Tick Tock"
The only U2 song I ever liked, with that guitar riff that sort of shuffles you along. This is my U2 story; I went to see them in the early days as they happened to be the support band to Belfast punkers Stiff Little Fingers. A lifeboat had sunk the week before killing the crew and U2 fans were collecting money at the venue for the bereaved. They weren't getting a lot of joy from the punkers who just stomped on past them, when one of them snapped and yelled, "I hope you don't get caught out at sea with your trousers down pal". Rather uncharitable for a supposed Christian fanbase I thought to myself... Also in the present climate, could U2 get away with the cover of their debut album "Boy"? Probably not I feel.

2) The Stranglers - "5 Minutes"
Okay this post has turned snarky already (what did I expect launching off with U2?). So what dirt can I give you on The Stranglers? Well allegedly 3 of the 4 founder members were all draft dodgers from their respective countries of Sweden, France and er England? That would make Hugh Cornwell in his 40s in the 1070's which I'm dubious about. Another scurrilous rumour was that bassist JJ Burnel couldn't play his instrument and that keyboardist Dave Greenfield played all his basslines for him through his synths...

3) The Jam - In The Midnight Hour"
A cover version of a Wilson Pickett song. It's hard to be snarky about The Jam, beyond the they're too sharply dressed like Mods to be considered punks, yet their sustained Chart success with songs that were very critical of the Conservative Government of the day was quite an achievement where other art forms either failed to address the political issues, or just couldn't draw any kind of significant audience. They were the band I saw live most until I got into The Fall. So sorry, no snark.

4) Pere Ubu - "30 Seconds Over Tokyo"
Pere Ubu were one of those New Wave art-punk bands from New York in the late 70s. Their music was fabby, but they were totally impermeable to fans and journalists alike. Not to say cussed. This from the Wikipedia entry: "Pere Ubu have compiled a list of guidelines for touring, live performances and the like: "Lighting should be theatrical rather than rockist. We are interested in atmosphere, mooddrama, energy, subtlety, imagination—not rock cliché." 

5) Joy Division - "24 Hours"
Now followers of this blog will doubtless know that Joy Division are my all time favourite band, (just click on label tags on Joy Division to see that in effect) so I won't write a bad word against them. This was a track on the album that didn't even have a chance to be released before lead singer Ian Curtis committed suicide. "A cloud hangs over me/ Marks every move/ Deep in the memory/ Of what once was love." Ughh...

6) Spacemen 3 - "2:35"
I love Spacemen 3 even though I am virulently against drug use to stimulate creativity. One has to acknowledge that maybe within the art form that is music, drug taking can yield some great art. This is about waiting desperately for your next hit, but time is marching on. When I was at College, my friends and I discussed who would be the next rock and roll fatality. Sonic Boom of Spacemen 3 and funnily enough Hugh Cornwell of The Stranglers (see above) who penned the ode to heroin that is "Golden Brown", were our prime candidates. But both I am happy to report, are alive and kicking and still making music. Although not with their old bandmates...

7) Cabaret Voltaire - "Seconds Too Late"
So you're in Sheffield and you can have The Human League, or you can have Cabaret Voltaire. But you can't have both... Deeply unsettling I think you'll agree? Way ahead of the field in Dub, Electronica, Industrial, Techno and House. And unlike the band Coil, they didn't write advertising jingles on the side to make money.

8) Blondie - "11:59"
We're not allowed to be rude about Blondie are we? Especially not that she started her professional life as a Go-Go dancer and Playboy Bunny? That this punk icon started her music career in a 60s folk band. She also claims in interviews to have been lured into serial killer Ted Bundy's car, though this claim has been denied by critics who say there is no evidence for Bundy ever having been in The Big Apple.

9) David Bowie - "5 Years"
There's an awful lot you could say about Bowie, not least his "Thin White Duke" iconography with its undertones (overtones?) of Fascism. But an audit of his musical output is maybe what we should stick to and in my humble opinion, there was just 1 great album, which is of course Ziggy Stardust from which this track is the opening track on that album, plus a meagre sprinkling of a few other good songs dotted around here and there. The "Laughing Gnome" is not one of those however...

10) The Specials - "Friday Night, Saturday Morning"
And I simply won't hear a bad word said against The Specials. From an era when music was socially relevant...

11) The Cure - "10:15 Saturday Night"
How did they go from this, three schoolboys from Crawley, to the bloated Goth king who had an imaginary friend who talked to him? I think the answer has to be the pressures of fame and bad drugs/alcohol. This damn song was only ever a B-side, yet still knocks the socks off most of the output of their contemporaries. Then the drummer tried to sue the other two for a share of the writing royalties. He lost...

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