Musings on modern life, the 70's – with music.
About Tiffany Twisted:
Some of you may know that it has been my ambition to host a night of Singer-songwritery loveliness, complete with Beards and California curls – and call it Tiffany Twisted. I already have the logo and here is the soundtrack. Ain’t ever gonna happen in real time so, for my (then) impending birthday, here is what I might play. Don’t expect may likes really, and many tracks on You-tube are just the LP sleeves rather than the artist. .
From today’s perspective. I began this particular blog on Facebook in the Winter of 2011. It actually began on the 20th December 2011 with ‘Number One’ being announce on my 50th birthday.
Would I have done it differently? You bet. I would have written much more about each song for a start. Each and every song in the top 30 and in the encores deserve a place at the top of the pile and are amongst my favourite records ever produced. At the time I imagined an entire Tiffany Twisted franchise – a nightclub, CD’s, t-shirts, lapel badges etc etc. I guess that I HAVE almost achieved the nightclub – well if you call DJing at the St Georges pub in Brighton on those precious Sundays a nightclub. I carry with me a full set of Tiffany Twisted CD’s and regularly play selections from them. They give me immense joy. Over the years I have been asked exactly what Tiffany Twisted means. The title is taken from ‘Hotel California’ and the selection of songs are exactly of the ilk that you will see below.
Number 50. Karla Bonoff – ‘Someone To Lay Down Beside Me’
Karla is a veteran of the American Singer-songwriting circuit. Her songs have been covered by Bonnie Raitt, and is currenly in a band called Bryndle (truly awful name) which has counted Andrew Gold and Wendy Waldman and Kenny Edwards. You may know this better by Linda Ronstadt who is MUCH, MUCH higher on my list. If you like this then also see Lose Again and If He’s Ever Near.
Number 49. Valerie Carter – ‘Oooh Child’
Ignored on this side of the pond, pretty much ignored on the other side too. Valerie has credits on everyone from Diana Ross, Don Henley, Jackson Browne and Neil Diamond. 30+ later and she could have WON America’s Next Top Model.
Number 48. Hall & Oates – ‘Rich Girl’
The first (probably) American Number 1 to use the word bitch. Rich Girl appeared on the Lp Bigger Than Both Of Us, the one with the Ritz crackers on the cover. This has been covered bizarrely by Nina Simone and is rumoured to be about the then newspaper heiress Patty Hearst. It isn’t. Daryl has said so. See also Sara Smile and ALL of Abandoned Luncheonette.
Number 47. Jefferson Starship – ‘With Your Love’
At school, we regularly listened to records in our Art lessons. I got particularly distressed when the teacher touched the grooves with her dainty ‘painty’ fingers. Alongside Miles of Aisles, the Art teacher played Dragon Fly regularly. This was released in 76 and I instantly fell in love with THIS track.
Number 46. Phoebe Snow – ‘Every Night’
Incredible vocals from TOTP’s 1979 from the album Against The Grain. She may dress and look like your Social Worker/English Teacher but Phoebe worked with Paul Simon and Linda Ronstadt topping the US Charts with Poetry Man. Seems she was a lovely woman too. Better than Macca’s version any day.
Number 45. Thin Lizzy – ‘Rosalie’
Written by Bob Seger (who is much higher in my TT’ed list), here’s the marvellous Thin Lizzy – the year Live & Dangerous was released – the greatest double live LP of all time? ‘And I move my fingers up & down’ –SAUCEPOT!
Number 44. The Walker Brothers – ‘No Regrets’
Covered by Shirley Bassey, ONJ, Curtis Stigers and Midge Ure, the Walkers Bros was the biggest hit. None of the Walker Brothers were actual brothers, nor were they called Walker.
Number 43. J.D. Souther – ‘Doolin’ Dalton’
Co-written with Glenn Frey, Jackson Browne and Don Henley, this ended up as the lead off track on the first Eagles LP. J.D has written some great songs which have been recorded by others. Practically impossible to find any decent footage so perhaps he really should have been in the Eagles.
Number 42 – Bonnie Raitt – Angel From Montgomery.
Written by John Prine a few years earlier, this came to prominence via Bonnie’s LP ‘Streetlights’ released in 1974. Bonnie had considerable success in the late 80’s with Nick Of Time which included that old X-Factor Chestnut – I Can’t Make You Love Me.
Number 41. Little Feat – ‘All That You Dream’
From the Last Record Album – the one with the giant blancmange. One of the discoveries, for me, in 2011, was THE SOPRANOS. This (and Don’t Stop Believing by Journey) were used in that very last scene. And yes, I too thought my DVD had packed up.
Number 40. Seals & Crofts – ‘Get Closer’
By the time this was released, Seals & Crofts had been round the pop block a couple of times. They wrote Summer Breeze which was, of course, a big hit for the Isley Bros. Carolyn Willis was in Honey Cone (‘Want Ads’ – terrific). Bet you all know this song but has there ever been a more AWKWARD performance of a song ever? You have to wonder what was going on.
Number 39. Brian Protheroe – ‘Pinball’
Brian comes from Salisbury and is both singer and actor (in Reilly Ace of Spies and Midsomer Murders). Pinball was his only hit. Great lyrics, lovely double tracked vocal, very London actually. Does anyone still drink Pale Ale?
Number 38. Walter Egan – ‘Magnet and Steel’
Produced by Lindsey Buckingham and covered by Matthew Sweet, Magnet & Steel was featured in the movie Boogie Nights. Walter wrote for Gram Parsons. Not Stevie on vocals as many think (she ‘knew’ Walter and was on his debut record). Lovely sunny Californian song topped off with a vocal by Annie McLoone (who I was convinced was going to be huge).
Number 37. Flying Burrito Brothers – ‘Hot Burrito #1’
Towering figure in Popular Music. Released the seminal Gilded Palace of Sin (which this came from) and died of a massive overdose of morphine & alcohol aged 26 at the Joshua Tree in California. This was covered by Elvis Costello who changed the title to ‘I’m Your Toy’. Rhinestone jacket and Cuban heels checked off the list.
Number 36. Bobbie Gentry – ‘Ode To Billy Joe’
LOVE Bobbie. This clip could have been an off- cut from American Horror Story (on FX). Bobbie is an incredible talent who now lives quietly in Los Angeles after retiring from showbiz in 1981. Born Roberta Streeter and of English and Portuguese ancestry, Ode To Billy Joe was initially a B side. Perfect Pop Quiz fodder.
Number 35. Glen Campbell – ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’
Hadn’t realised that Neil Diamond recorded this first. Great, sunny, feelgood record, sort of like an upbeat version of Midnight Cowboy (without the man-sex). Perhaps not as seminal as those Jimmy Webb recordings, his most recent LP’s are still powerful. An ex-member of the Beach Boys, poor Glen was diagnosed with Alzheimers last year and is planning one final tour. And I do a killer version of this at Karaoke.
Number 34. Starland Vocal Band – ‘Afternoon Delight’
The SVB were a clean living lot weren’t they. Never heard anything else by them apart from this. They even won a Grammy as Best New Artist in 1977. A bit naff but utterly irresistible and innocent. Or was it. This reminds me of naughty sex in a shower, mid afternoon culmulating in an explosive, sky-rocketing, noisy ejaculation. Might just be me though. In 2010 Billboard named Afternoon Delight the 20th sexiest song of all time so maybe I’m NOT. Even if you think you don’t know this, I’ll wager that you actually do. Have you seen Anchorman?
Number 33. The Beach Boys – ‘Sail On Sailor’
Off the 1973 LP Holland, Sail On Sailor is not one of their best known tracks. Miles away from the surf stuff of the 60’s, this still scraped into the Top 50 when it was rereleased in 75. Actually, the first version of this was by KGB who were a failed 70’s Supergroup which I first heard on a free tape which was played on the record counter in Woolworths (had an Elephant on the front). Not sure that the Woolies girls knew what to make of it all. This, though, is the Bee’s Knee’s. Swooning, glorious, almost drunken chorus. Brian was not featured, the lead vocal was first attempted by Dennis who sang the vocal before leaving to go surfing (atta boy) so it was left to Blondie Chaplin to take the lead. Listening to this again now, it almost brings me to tears actually.
Number 32. Steely Dan – ‘Rikki Don’t Lose That Number’
Taken from the 1974 LP, Pretzel Logic, this features Donald Fagen on vocals. And Victor Feldman on flapamba. Not sure what that is. Covered by Tom Robinson in the Eighties.
Number 31. Prelude – ‘After The Goldrush’
Don’t know much about Prelude, apart from this. Of course, the original was by Neil Young but I think I prefer this almost folky version. Completely a cappella which is still something of a novelty, Prelude re-emerged in the 80’s and released Platinum Blond. Apparently husband and wife thought up the idea of recording it this day whilst waiting for a bus in Gateshead.
Number 30. Carly Simon – ‘The Right Thing To Do’
I assume that this was written for hubby, James Taylor, who she wed in 1972. Impossibly romantic, this came from No Secrets, her third LP (the one with You’re So Vain on it). Eye witnesses claim that she was punched by Chrissie Hynde at a Joni Mitchell concert! Carly has overcome breast cancer and is a Granny. Shame that there is so little footage of Carly in the early 70’s on you tube though. Beautiful use of tom-toms.
Number 29. Southside Johnny & The Asbury Dukes/Bruce Springsteen – ‘The Fever’
Incredible live performance from 1978 by Southside Johnny and the Asbury Dukes. They roped some geeza called Bruce in to help out on vocals (and write the damn thing) and Steve Van Zandt on guitar. Sexy, tense and sweaty – just they way I like it. Southside virgins should check out any of those Lp’s on Epic, which are EPIC. Around this time Bruce was at his absolute peak and his joy is tangible.
Number 28 – Orleans – Still The One.
Formed in Woodstock in 1972, Orleans morphed from King Harvest (who originally recorded Dancing In The Moonlight). Elected to the US House of Representatives (Democratic party), lead singer John Hall has campaigned on environmental issues, drug policy reform and voting to raise the minimum wage on the States. He also still performs occasionally with his old buddies.
Number 27. Crosby Stills and Nash – ‘Marrakesh Express’
Not the last time we will hear from these fellows in these lists. Written by Graham Nash (precisely what the Hollies might have sounded like) and released in 1969, during an interview with Rolling Stone, Nash described Marrakesh as f***ing boring. I wouldn’t know about that. The sleeve is a photo of the trio taken at an abandoned house, north of 809 Palm Avenue opposite a carwash. So there. Seminal.
Number 26. Christopher Cross – ‘Ride Like The Wind’
Surely it is now time to put that dreadful version by East Side Beat behind us? The original is great, almost Disco and has the mighty McDonald on backing vocals. Hugely influential soft-rock from 1979 with a star-studded line up of musicians. By far the best LP he ever made and rightly deserves it’s TT’ed place.
Number 25. Warren Zevon – ‘Jeannie Needs a Shooter’
Session musician with the Everlys, room-mate of Buckingham & Nicks (what IS a room-mate btw?) and writer of some great songs. Actually his most famous is my least favourite so I have gone for this. From Bad Luck Streak In Dancing School this was never a hit. Warren died in 2003 aged 56. If you like this, you can always track down a Best of for starters.
Number 24. The Rolling Stones – ‘Waiting On A Friend’
The video for this was filmed outside the Physical Graffiti Hotel in New York. Sax provided by Sonny Rollins and taken from Tattoo You. Lovely.
Number 23. The Byrds – ‘Mr Tambourine Man’
How influential is this? Written and recorded originally by Bob Dylan, the Byrds sprinkled some jingly-jangly magic and turned it into a number one Stateside hit. My normal glasses are just like Roger McGuinn – unfortunately I no longer have the hair.
Number 22. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – ‘Refugee’
Possibly the greatest backing band this side of the E Street Band and the Band, all this needs is a bit of Stevie on backing vocals. The first 4 Heartbreakers LP’s are up there with the best. Refugee was a minor hit single over here in 1979. Known to cause trembly knees among women of a certain age – this makes me want to start a band and play in a local garage.
Number 21. Joni Mitchell – ‘Big Yellow Taxi’
Simple little number – just Joni, her guitar and her sweet, sweet voice and her mad laugh at the end.. Sampled by Janet Jackson for her hit Got Til It’s Gone and running for just over 2 mins, they simply don’t write them like this any more do they? They paid paradise, put up a parking lot.
Number 20. Carole King – ‘I Feel The Earth Move’
Good old CK, still knocking them out some 50 odd years later. Taken from the mega-sellling Tapestry, which was released some ten years after she wrote and had a hit with Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. Good to see Carole unleashed from the piano stool in this clip If she was British she would be Dame Carole King by now surely?
Number 19 – Paul Simon – 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover.
Perhaps growing a moustache was not the best move, eh Paul? Whatever, 70’s Paul Simon is marvellous. Quite a tough choice over what actually made this particular chart. So 50 WTLYL, was released from the LP ‘Still Crazy After All These Years’ and features, perhaps, the most distinctive drum pattern in pop for one Steve Gadd (who drummed on The Hustle by Van McCoy trivia fans). Love this performance. See also Me & Julio Down By The Schoolyard, Mother & Child Reunion, Gone at Last, Late In The Evening etc etc.. nice cheeky interaction between Gadd & Simon here too.
Number 18. Laura Nyro –’Wedding Bell Blues’
Written and recorded by Laura way back on 1966. Her songs have been covered by The Fifth Dimension, Blood, Sweat & Tears and Barbra Streisand. In my Top 3 Wedding Songs of all time (see also It Should Have Been Me & Band of Gold). Except it’s more about NOT getting married. Shame about the unimaginative video but the music speaks for itself. Criminally overlooked, Laura died in 1997 aged 49. There is certainly a film to be made about her life.
Number 17 – Judee Sill – Jesus Was A Cross Maker.
One of my greatest joys in life is to recommend music to my mates and greater joy that they like it. Judee Sill only released two proper LP’s on Asylum before dying from a drugs overdose aged 35. She certainly didn’t look like a pop star but she certainly lived like one. So I recommend this to you and hope you enjoy.
Number 16. Andrew Gold – ‘Thank You For Being A Friend’
Multi-instrumentalist Andrew Gold (playing all the instruments on I Only Have Eyes For You by Art Garfunkel ), released this on ‘All This & Heaven Too’ – this track became more well-known after use as the Golden Girls theme tune some 6 years after initial release. Beardy Andrew died in June 2011. Sad.
Number 15. James Taylor – ‘You’ve Got A Friend’
Sensitive soul is our James – which possibly explains his appeal. This cover version of the Carole King hit (with Carole on keyboards) – was to become Taylor’s biggest hit. Like a warm hug from your bezzie mates, Carole looks as proud as punch.
Number 14. Todd Rundgren – ‘I Saw The Light’
Written by Todd as a homage to the likes of Carole King and Laura Nyro, I Saw The Light reached a pitiful 36 in the UK Singles Chart. As a result of taking Ritalin Todd knocked this classic out in 20 minutes. Also known for his production duties (Bat Out Of Hell, the Psychedelic Furs and Patti Smith). What is truly astonishing about this record is that Todd played every instrument and sang every single note (including the backing vocals). A Wizard.
Number 13. Patti Smith – ‘Dancing Barefoot’
Taken from the 4th great Patti Smith LP in a row (a feat few have managed), this might not, on the surface anyway, seem terribly ‘Tiffany Twisted’. Well it was produced by Todd Rundgren and makes me want to spin around in floral, beaded skirt, wafting patchouli oil so it should, therefore, be in my list. Possibly the ONLY chart hit to use the word Benediction. Nice pictorial summary of her career too.
Number 12. Bad Company – ‘Feel Like Makin’ Love’
I was quite shocked to discover that Pauline Henry of the Chimes charted higher with her cover version than this (it only reached Number 20) – I have always thought of this more Country than Dance anyway. Bad Company were formed from the ashes of Free and Mott The Hoople. IMHO one of the greatest singles from 1975. Lascivious vocals from the great Paul Rogers who is surely one of this country’s best singers. Discuss.
Number 11. Gary Wright – ‘Dream Weaver’
Released in the Summer of 75, this became a huge US Hit in 1976 (the same year as Frampton Comes Alive) – but ignored over here. A bit proggy and a huge amount of synths – this features Wright on vocals and Jim Keltner on drums. Not the best video on YouTube (there is a live version posted below). Wright was in Spooky Tooth before embarking in a solo career – his vocals were sampled by Armand Van Helden for My My My.
Number 10. Buckingham Nicks – ‘Don’t Let Me Down Again’
Could have been on the white Fleetwood Mac LP or Rumours, instead this was from the legendary Buckingham Nicks LP which came out in 1973 back when Stevie was a waitress. This has never been (officially) released on CD. Rhino were gonna remaster it in 2006 and as recently as 2011, Lindsey hinted that the long wait may be over.
Number 9. Jackson Browne – ‘Running On Empty’
Taken from the platinum selling LP of the same name, this was released in 1977. Before his 18th birthday, Jackson became a staff writer for Elektra Records’ publishing company. In 1967 Browne became romantically linked to Nico, dated Daryl Hannah in the Eighties and is a fierce environmentalist. Jackson was THE pin-up boy for Virgin Retail manageresses. Beautiful hair too.
Number 8. Eagles – ‘One Of These Nights’
The main difficulty with visualising TT’ed is that most of these songs were released (in this country) on WEA (or Warners/Elektra/Asylum) who seem to be sniffy about letting their stuff onto the You Tube. Again, one my all times faves is marred (but only slightly) by this video rather than SEEING the Eagles in all their bearded, twin guitared wonderfulness. Classic Eagles line up really, instantly recognisable and the message is don’t put off til tomorrow night what you can do today (or tonight).
Number 7 – Heart – Magic Man
From one of the best debut LP’s of the 70’s, Hear were, primarily, a couple of sisters from Canada. Nancy was the virtuoso guitarist who married Cameron Crowe, whist Ann was the kohl, eyed, powerhouse singer. I used to listen to this and Little Queen ALL the time. Ann shared her name with my mum too.
Number 6. Mama Cass Elliot – ‘It’s Getting Better’
Not particularly ‘weather appropriate’ but this woman is a Goddess.
Number 5. The Doobie Brothers – ‘What A Fool Believes’
Written by McDonald and Kenny ‘Footloose’ Loggins and released in 1979, McDonald joined the Doobie’s in 1975 and recorded a string of super examples of Californian pop. Before this he was in Steely Dan and who would have imagined that he was hiding such an incredible soulful voice nor that he was so wonderfully beardy. WAFB was the Doobies second Billboard Number 1 hit. This was even released in an extended disco version which is also gorge. Almost my favourite record of all time (there or thereabouts anyway).
Number 4. Buffalo Springfield – ‘For What It’s Worth’
Proper protest song, penned by Stephen Stills. Really surprised that the guitar hook has never been sampled by one of these modern types.
Number 3. Linda Ronstadt – ‘When Will I Be Loved’
An incredible interpreter of other peoples’ songs. I could easily have posted anything up to Living in the USA. But, for today anyway, a version of When Will I Be Loved featuring Andrew Gold on guitar and backing vocals. The ultimate Rock Chick, best selling female artist in America in the 70’s and now a political activist to boot. Have to say that once she cut her hair off, some of the magic went but there was a time when she really couldn’t be beaten.
Number 2. John Stewart – ‘Gold’
A singer with the Kingston Trio and writer of Daydream Believer, John had his first flush of solo success in 1969 with the California Bloodlines LP. His second bite of the cherry began whenhe drafted in Buckingham and Nicks for Bombs Away Dream Babies. Gold reached Number 5 on the States in 1979 and features some great harmonies from Ms Nicks. John died of a massive stroke aged 68. They simply don’t make TV shows like this anymore…
Number 1. BOB SEGER & THE SILVER BULLET BAND – ‘NIGHT MOVES’
Born Robert Clark Seger in May 1945. Night Moves was the record that really secured Bob’s place in music history. This record in particular says more about my musical taste than, perhaps, any other. It features on the best soundtrack to the best film or TV show you have ever seen, it reminds me of hot summer days bunking off school and dreaming of driving across that extraordinary American landscape, top down, wind in my hair (when I actually had hair), the bit when the song breaks down and becomes like a prayer and those fabulous girl singers singing for everything they are worth.
The Hollies – ‘The Air That I Breathe’
Written by Mike Hazlewood and Albert Hammond, this peaked at Number 2 behind Billy Don’t Me A Hero. kd lang does a nifty version in Drag but the Hollies (no Graham Nash) take the pop prize. Allan Clarke was one helluva singer and he retired from music in 1999 – would love to hear those cover versions LP’s from the Seventies actually.. Beautiful.
Cliff Richard – ‘Devil Woman’
The only Cliff LP I own is I’m Nearly Famous (what an unusual title). Containing 3 Top 20 hits and a pensive Cliff on the sleeve. By the end of the 70’s we’d had enough of Cliff (went seriously downhill when he released endless Christmas singles) although had a bit of a revival when he hooked up with PWL. I really wish he had continued in this particular groove. And yes ladies, I would.
Boz Scaggs – ‘What Can I Say?’
Boz now grows grapes and makes wine in California. This popped up on TOTP’s last night, seriously good.
Fleetwood Mac – ‘Rhiannon’
With the introduction of Buckingham and Nicks, the rest of the Mac knew they were onto something special – you can tell by the way they are concentrating. Rhiannon is the story of a Welsh Witch as Stevie KEEPS saying and she has never sounded (or looked) better that she did around this time.
Elton John – ‘Philadelphia Freedom’
Written as a favour to Billie Jean King and released as the Elton John Band, it’s great to see Elton having SUCH a great time in the Soul Train studios with a brilliant studio audience.