This could be heaven or this could be hell..

Musings on modern life, the 70's – with music.

Tiffany Twisted 5 – 2015/16 Edition

Back for another session. All tracks sorted and in some kind of order and hopefully this year, will not be delayed by the death of a pet. This list list began. as usual on the 20th December 2015 with the intention of finishing on my birthday – yet again circumstances dictated that there was a delay (David Bowie dying mainly). It goes a bit soppy and sentimental half way though and the writing is a bit more personal. And there are no encores.

Number 50. James Taylor – ‘Your Smiling Face’

Pretty James seems incredibly happy here – soppy romantic boy. By 1977 he was happily married to Carly and wrote this for their three year old daughter. From the LP ‘JT’ – this was the lead off single.

Number 49. Chris Thompson – ‘If You Remember Me’

Never EVER seen The Champ with Jon Voight, Faye Dunaway and Ricky Schroeder. I hear it’s about a retired boxer who is struggling to raise and is divorced from his wife. Dunaway reappears and wants to be part of Schoeder and his dad’s life again. Cue weepy music and tears a plenty (I expect).

Chris Thompson has been the singer with Manfred Mann’s Earthband from The Roaring Silence – a position he has held in and out since. He also appeared on War Of The Worlds and was responsible for You’re The Voice, a global hit by John Farnham. Really lovely song, beautifully sung.

Number 48. Melissa Manchester – ‘Midnight Blue’

Melissa studied song-writing with Paul Simon at New York University. She was discovered by Barry Manilow who introduced her to Better Midler and she became a member of Midler’s backing group: The Harlettes.

Co-written with Carole Bayer Sager, it was hoped that it would be recorded by Dionne Warwick and they pitched the song to Dusty Springfield. One of 15 Billboard Hits – this is ultimately straight down the middle of the road, but it’s perfect for a Christmas Eve Eve smooch-y.

Number 47. Carole Bayer-Sager – ‘You’re Moving Out Today’

Carole Bayer Sager

Odd record this – I’m not sure if I actually like it that much. I am a little fascinated about the person she is chucking out though. A lover? Or an LGBTU flatmate? It’s not very clear. I have spent several evenings deciphering the list of lyrics – even included a round in a pop quiz.

Carole is much better known for her song-writing that her performance (the appearance on TOTP’s validates this and shows why). Once married to Burt Bacharach, this was co-written by Bette Midler who had a minor hit with her (better) version in the States.

Number 46. Queen – ‘You’re My Best Friend’

So here it is. Merry Christmas. Everybody having fun?

Good-o. For me, ever since the age of 13 – Christmas has always been about Queen but specifically A Night At The Opera. Following a spell in hospital where I stayed up and watched that Queen At Hammersmith Odeon gig (and has now been lovingly restored and is available from all good stockist), I returned home to find find this wrapped up and ready for me to open for my rather later Christmas. Of course, Mum & Dad had recorded it for me so I was able to listen to it on cassette in advance but there was something so great about actually holding it in my hands, gazing in awe at the intricate Queen logo, looking at all of the band photos on the inner sleeve and just loving the font (what IS that font? Does anyone know?) and trying ever so hard not to get a grubby fingerprint on the gleaming whiteness of the cover. Ever since that Christmas, it has become a tradition that I play A Night At The Opera from start to finish whilst peeling my potatoes and pricking my sprouts (with or without a Christmas hat). It’s Christmas in music form. Right from the off – that incredible vitriolic swipe at their former management team, Freddie’s little insights into a 1920’s life, The Prophet’s Song which is actually more complex and grandiose than even Bohemian Rhapsody, some full throttle rockers (Sweet Lady), the beautiful Love Of My Life (which actually breaks me) to the cheeky rendition of God Save The Queen – audacious is not quite the word.  You’re My Best Friend actually came out in May of 1976 – but still sounds and looks Christmassy to me (and how the HELL do you follow Bohemian Rhapsody). In fact, it’s going on straight after this.

And so this is Christmas and what have you done?

Christmas always makes one reflect upon the time that has passed in the previous 12 months. I’m not quite sure why this is. Perhaps you reflect upon what you were doing this time last year? Or figure out what you will be doing this time next? I know I do – I think about those that I love now and hope that they will still be here this time next year. I think about those I’ve lost and say a little prayer for them. This year’s been great – lovely troubled Fred, brand new spanking job, financially okay for the first time in ages and a lot of bloody great fun (thank you Mr Agius) – only thing missing was a glorious hot Summer (which never really happened). Yet, I’m not quite where I want to be..(although I’m not entirely sure ‘where’ that might be) this year for the 20th year running I will be on my own on Christmas Day – I’m fine with that but a Facebook Christmas can highlight what is wrong rather than what is right with your life. Still it’s only 24 hours, another date on your calendar, another Friday – then it’ll all be over until 25th December 2016 (although cannot wait until 26th December 2015).

Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?

On Tuesday, on as really pissy, rainy evening, I stumbled across a homeless bloke. Asleep on the pavement, covered in rain and dirt. You could only see his trainers. Ironically he was right behind a church. Should I make him a cuppa? Or take him some toast? I didn’t – and I feel ashamed about that. I hope that he was okay but I thought about all those less fortunate than I and counted my blessings – there for the grace of God etc…

Simply having a Wonderful Christmas time? Well, yes I am actually and very much hope that you ALL have one too.. xx

Who is watching Christmas TOTP’s then?!

Number 45. Slade – ‘Far Far Away’

In my youth, Boxing Day was the second most exciting day of the year. We’d do Mum’s side of the family on Christmas Day and Dad’s on Boxing Day or vice versa. So you got two days of presents and spoils and luxury hams. We’d all collapse in one big happy heap in our new slippers, socks and jumpers. We even played charades – and idea which brings me out in a cold sweat.

It was also the beginning of the Hunting Season (boo), lots of sport on the telly and playing your records.

Now, though, it’s all about shopping. I remember, fondly, the days when shops closed on Christmas Eve and did not open until the 27th December. It’s kind of bonkers that shops HAVE to open as early as possible – I know it’s not a ‘special’ day but the habit kind of sneaked in through the back door. Shoppers clamour for the biggest ‘bargain’ – which, let’s face it, could probably be picked up at any time of the year. It’s all quite sickening.

But what does this have to do with Slade? Well nothing. This is just a gorgeous record that could have been recorded by Rod Stewart or the Eagles. Released as a promo single for the Slade In Flame film, this saw a completely different side to Slade. The hats and nun’s wimples had been ditched, Noddy was singing rather that shouting, the harmonies are great and lyrically it is reminiscent of an American road-trip rather than a stomp at a disco. Even this did not make the Americans love them as much as we did. Maybe they were still too Black country bloke-y for their liking. As much as I love Dave Hill from Slade, he’s never really been much of a sex symbol was he – none of them were really but they made some mighty fine records.

Number 44. Lee Marvin – ‘Wanderin’ Star’

From the musical Paint Your Wagon – this famously kept Let It Be from the number one slot in the UK. And if you flipped it over you got Clint Eastwood and his gloriously bonkers ‘I Talk To The Trees’.

He never released another single, not difficult to figure out why as how could he ever top this?

Number 43. Crosby, Stills & Nash – ‘Cathedral’

Image result for crosby stills and nash csn

Released in 1977, this was something of a comeback for the trio. Obviously, the years between this and the previous record, Déjà Vu in 1970 had suited them – here they are aboard a yacht looking tanned and healthy. The album has a definite AOR feel too and climbed to number two on the US LP charts held off the top spot by Rumours.

Graham Nash used to be a member of Manchester’s Hollies in the 60’s before decamping to LA and the Laurel Canyon set. He has had a relationship with both Joni Mitchell and Rita Coolidge – yet, to these eyes, he seems incredibly boring. And he wears dungarees. David Crosby has always looked like a walrus and Steve Still has always been a blonde poppet.

Anyway, I first came across this song whilst watching the ‘No Nukes’ film (mainly because Bruce was featured).

Nash wrote this following an LSD trip in Winchester Catherdral (as you would). A beautiful tune – though I feel that some of the lyrics and phrasing could have been improved. On the LP version, it is those harmonies which shine through – actually giving me the goosies when they kick in..

Here is a video of some cathedrals in case you wondered what they are.

Number 42. The Lone Bellow – ‘Two Sides Of Lonely’

I caught these three on Jools Holland earlier this year. As you know (probably), Jools really irritates me. Always joining people on an extraneous piano, gurning and grinning away. I guess he knows his music and embrace the fact that there is at least some regular live music on the telly. And he does have some good stuff on doesn’t he.

The Lone Bellow (great name for a band) were formed following a horse riding accident that befell Zach Williams’s wife. Zach you see is ridiculously handsome (he has proposed marriage and everything). He met up with Kanene Donehey Pipkin and Brian Elmquist in their local Dizzy’s Diner where they agreed to form a band and latterly signed to Descendent Records. They have released 2 whole LP’s, both lovely and long may they continue.

Number 41. Josh Rouse – ‘Love Vibration’

Back in the late 90’s/early 00’s my friend, Dave Morrison, was instrumental in setting up a night of Americana music called the Gilded Palace Of Sin. Dave span the discs, Charlie hosted the night. I hadn’t realised at the time but the night was quite influential in the Brighton music scene. It also attracted several acts which went on to bigger and better things – The National was one, Midlake was another and Josh Rouse was probably a third.

This comes from his ‘breakthrough’ LP, 1972, an album which is crammed with great 70’s influenced pop songs – a bit of a step away from the material that he showcased at the Gilded Palace.

He relocated to Spain in 2004, where he now lives with his wife and two nippers.

Number 40. Nils Lofgren – ‘I Came To Dance’

Flip flop. Nils has been a member of the E-Street Band since 1984 – in my head, he’s quite new but I guess that over 30 years isn’t really new at all. This is probably the closest that the Italian-Swede has ever come to a solo hit single. Yet he has been on the music scene since 1968 when he formed Grin aged 17 and recording After The Goldrush with Neil Young in 1970. Appeared and recorded with a huge array of acts, I feel he is happiest though, singing and playing with Bruce and the gang. Cry Tough might be a better LP but this is a catchier song.

Number 39. Linda Ronstadt – ‘Blue Bayou’

Linda is one of the Queen’s (if not THE Queen) of Tiffany Twisted. She encapsulates everything that these lists stand for – brilliant singer, Californian beauty and some top notch backing from the likes of Waddy Watchell etc and here with Don Henley on backing vocals. This was the first single to have been lifted from Simple Dreams an excellent example of Ronstadt at her uttermost best (and once she had cut her hair for the follow up LP, she was never quite as good – a bit like Samson).

Always the most beautiful and delicate of songs, this was written by Roy Orbison and released by him in 1963.

Number 38. The Feeling – ‘Sewn’

Actual alumni from the Brits School in Croydon, this lot have far more in common with the likes of Elton John, 10C, Queen, Neil Young etc than any of the Kooks (or Adele). ‘Twelve Stops and Home’ was the remarkably accomplished debut LP – loved by some critics and hated by others. It contained 3 top ten singles and was called so after the tube trip between Piccadilly Circus and Bounds Green. It also contained, as most LP’s did in those days a ‘hidden track’.

Number 37. Travis – ‘Driftwood’

Already nine years in formation when this came out, Travis formed in Glasgow in 1990. ‘The Man Who’ (named after the Oliver Sacks book) was released in 1999 but only really became really successful following their performance at Glastonbury that Summer and for about six months they had it all – Best Band, Best Album at the Brits etc etc. You could blame them for introducing the world to Coldplay (if you wanted) this lovely melodic, poignant song reached number 13.

Number 36. Rick Nelson – ‘Garden Party’

Imagine rocking up to appear at an Rocking Oldies Concert at Madison Square Gardens in 1972, plugging in your guitar and playing some stuff that you had recently written, only to be roundly booed until you played your hits from the 50’s. In fact, he was trying to play an alternative version of Honky Tonk Woman but the crowd hated it – so he left the stage, then came back on and gave the audience what they wanted. He then wrote this song about the experience.

He changed his name from Ricky to Rick in the early sixties in an attempt to move away from his heart-throb status. He died in a plane crash in 1985.

Number 35. Keane – ‘Something Only We Know’

This reminds me of scouring the music papers and magazines for things to download. It featured as one of the singles of the week in the NME and I made it a personal quest to download everything I could and burn them to CD. No ITunes in those days so I have dozens of CD’s with no labels or tracklisting or anything.

Keane are local lads (well fairly) and come from Battle. They have been a band since 1995 (Chaplin joined in 1997) which is rather surprising as they barely look old enough here to be allowed into a pub for a shandy – they are all, now, approaching 40.

What I liked about Keane was their refusal to allow a guitarist to join and to plow their own furrow without the ‘help’ of a reality TV show.

This, of course, was covered by Lily Allen for the John Lewis Christmas advert a couple of years ago – they should have stuck with this version.

Number 34. Reunion – ‘Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Owned Me)’

Peaking at number 33 in the UK charts in 1974, this was later covered by Tracey Ullman. Reunion were a group of session musicians led by the king of bubblegum: Joey Levine. Levine has written many a catchy advert working on campaigns for Diet Coke, Pepsi and Budweiser. He is also the voice on Yummy Yummy Yummy and was responsible for producing The Ohio Express, 1910 Fruitgum Company and The Music Explosion. Wonder what the list would be in 2016?

 

Number 33. David Bowie – ‘Growin’ Up’

Released as an extra track on the Rykodisc version of Pin-Ups and on the bonus disc of Diamond Dogs, but sadly, never released in true time. Which is a great shame. In my imagination, I think David & Bruce were great mates – popping out to the pub or the shops, recording songs for an album. I guess only Bruce knows the answer now. Bruce did pay a great tribute to the man last week by storming through Rebel Rebel. And here, David does a better job of the song than Bruce himself did – it even has Ronnie Wood on guitar. He adopts a bit of a Springsteen growl and they do both share that talent for words and lyrics.

Number 32 . Glenn Frey – ‘The Heat Is On’

 

You know what? January can do one. It’s has been the worst month on record and I woke up to hear of the death of Glenn Frey – who was my favourite Eagle. Him & the Eagles are Tiffany Twisted loyalty. Not really keen on this record but it appeared in Beverley Hills Cop and the album was huge in the Eighties. In fact, Glenn spent much of the 80’s doing stuff for soundtracks whilst he moved increasing towards acting. He didn’t though, leave his beloved Eagles.

Just watching the promo video to Hotel California again. What a cool f***r. Sunglasses propped on top of his head, hair tucked behind right ear, a bit of a porn star moustache – properly sexy.

Sweet dreams big man.

Number 31. Henry Gross – ‘Shannon’

3

So, Rascal..

It would have been a hot August day in 2004 when I first set my eyes on Rascal. Dog Rescue Centres are designed to break your heart aren’t they? All those sad eyes looking up at you with heightened expectation that you might just pick them. Tails wag, LOTS of excited barking and some howling. Rascal shared her pen with another larger dog. She came over to the window and immediately licked my finger, then trotted to the back of her pen and came back for another lick and a sniff. I was smitten.

She was pure white with a wonky brown pattern on her face – too leggy to be a Jack Russell but not leggy enough to be a Parsons Jack Russell (of course she WAS a Parsons Jack Russell in my story, as they were pedigree). And the most adorable ears – one stood proud to attention whilst the other flopped down on her face.

I enquired as to what her background & history was – how she came to be penned up with those other dogs. I was told that she was found wandering the streets of Brighton – without a lead or a collar. My mind went into overdrive. ‘Had she come from somewhere exotic like Dublin?’ I thought. Maybe she was abandoned by a traveller from up North? I never did know exactly where she came from, I just knew that I wanted her. They said that she was going for a trial visit with a family but suggested phoning the following Monday to see how she got on. Luckily for me (and for Rascal I suppose), they decided against an adoption. So, I was again driven over for an introductory meeting and a little ‘walk’ round the local park. It was more of a trek than a walk – in and out of bushes, tangling herself round a tree within minutes and wet muddy feet (a bit like her Dad) by the time we returned. Anyway, the RSPCA came round and checked me out and I was given a lift to Shoreham to sign her over. She was beside herself with excitement on the car journey home – jumping around on the back seat, sniffing the air from the window.

Dogs learn quickly to fit in with your lifestyle – the first couple of months I was nervous about leaving her alone for longer than three hours but soon realised that all she really did was sleep and get a bit excited when I came home – she didn’t even need a toilet break (dogs are much better at controlling their bladder than people).

She saw me through University patiently looking at me whilst I typed out yet another Law essay and endlessly revised for exams. But there was nothing better than finishing that off and giving her a cuddle on the sofa.

She never listened to a word I said, not a command or a sit or a stay. And she never did. She was a bit like an ADHD child. She loved chasing squirrels (but not catching any of them), going on buses and trains where she would excitedly jump on and off the seat for the entire journey, sleeping on my bed or my pillow or my face, licking my head for hours and hours, going for very long walks, digging holes, picking up crabs from the beach, the Coronation Street theme tune (until they changed in circa 2007) and Dog Borstal, and posing for photos where she looked unbelievably cute (I never took enough photos). She saw me through University patiently looking at me whilst I typed out yet another Law essay and endlessly revised for exams. But there was nothing better than finishing that off and giving her a cuddle on the sofa.

Walk times involved avoiding and discarded food items (chicken bones, chips, burgers) and avoiding big dogs – like all terriers she was too big for her boots and had no fear about barking at the biggest Rottweiller) – she adored people – would plop herself down on any lap – very sociable – she was adopted by the Prince Arthur pub where she would climb ONTO the bar for a look around.

Rascal had the most sensitive of stomachs – as she got older she had to be placed on a Prescription diet (Hills ZD – I can still smell it now) – but that did not stop her from eating four cheese straws (which she nicked from my bag) and a whole tub of fish food (and the plastic tub) which she nicked from the fish. Where possible, we went everywhere together – to the pub, to University, in other peoples cars, to Cornwall, to that naked weekend in Bournemouth.

As with all of us, the older she got the wearier she became. I noticed a change about 18 months previously to her death. To be blunt, she pissed on the carpet. She had never done that before but it became a more regular ‘habit’. Frustrated I took her to the vet who did lots of tests but drew a blank – it may be an age thing he said. She became grumpier and whilst watching Mad Men in April of 2014, she did ‘the other thing’ – I was disgusted, what can you say to such behaviour? She clearly knew that she had done something wrong. The Vet diagnosed Doggy Alzheimers.

Her face became greyer, her senses became duller, she no longer jumped up for a cuddle. she could no longer jump on the bed without the assistance of a large pouffe – I think she was probably in too much pain, how could I know?

A year ago on Thursday (2015), I was woken by a dull thud as she fell off my bed. I thought she had just been a bit daft but perhaps had injured her back. The vet gave her some pain relief and asked me to monitor things for the next 24 hours or so. Those 24 hours felt like 48. I didn’t get a wink of sleep and she didn’t appear to be getting any better. Fast forward to Tuesday the 20th and I may the painful decision to end her suffering. One of the most difficult days of my life in actuality. The hours seemed never ending temporarily interrupted by the awful chime of the local church bells which counted down the hours for me. The end was peaceful, if a bit clinical but was allowed to stay with her for as long as I needed to – and she pissed on my leg at her passing, which was a ‘nice’ final gift.

Is she waiting ‘over the Rainbow Bridge’? Dunno really – it would be perfect if she was (but I guess she’d be joined by twenty fish, a hamster, four other dogs and a budgie) but I don’t think she’d like the attention diverted from her at all (also a bit like her Dad).

I think one should remember the fun times rather than the painful ones – so, briefly, that’s Rascal.

Pets. Break your heart don’t they?

Number 30. The Long Ryders – ‘Looking For Lewis and Clark’

The Long Ryders, formed by Sid Griffin in 1981, were part of a ‘scene’ which included The Dream Syndicate, Green On Red, Rain Parade and most successfully, the Bangles. In turn they inspired the likes of Grandaddy, Mercury Rev and Mazzy Star and were influential in the exploding alt.country scene from the early 00’s. Sid, who had great sideburns, formed the Coal Porters who I actually saw when the ‘Gilded Palace of Sin’ night launched in Brighton. This really rocks, almost punky. As an aside, Lewis & Clark were American explorers and discoverers who spent three years travelling in canoes, rafts, eating elk, meeting Native American Indians along the way – even having a river named after them. Certainly beats a stint in ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here’

Number 29. Dire Straits – ‘Romeo & Juliet’

Confession time. I hate Dire Straits. Always have – they ruined the 80’s, made headbands fashionable, and had rather questionable views on homosexuality (see Money For Nothing). BUT I really really REALLY like this. Reminiscent pf a Springsteen song (you can hear touches of Jungleland in the melody). Named after the old Shakespeare play, this song was inspired by the failed romance between Mark Knopfler and Holly Vincent (from Holly & the Italians). Actually change that to really hating SOME Dire Straits – the odd single, Knopfler’s soundtrack work – but if I had to choose one, I’d choose this.

Number 28 . Chris White – ‘Spanish Wine’

One of the best things about Social Media is that it introduces you or reintroduces you to tracks you’ve not heard for YEARS. This came out in that HOT Summer of 1976, even making a single appearance on TOTP’s (now sadly wiped). The arrangements and harmonies scream classic era Beach Boys, but be warned this is NOT the same Chris White who was in the Zombies. It’s just gorgeous and is available as a download via Amazon (which I find hugely satisfying).. Give it a whirl

Number 27 . The Beach Boys – ‘I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times’

Can you believe that this year marks the 50th Anniversary of the release of Pet Sounds? It beat Sgt Pepper to the punch and remains an extraordinary body of work – unlike earlier albums and singles, the sun doesn’t have to shine to appreciate it fully. The remarkable thing about this record is that Brian was only 23 when he wrote it. Wise beyond his years. Beautiful melody and in the days of Grindr, ITunes, Catch up TV – it says as much about me as any other record.

Number 26 – The Four Seasons – ‘Down The Hall’

After the world beating success of the ‘Who Loved You’ LP (Who Loves You, Silver Star, December 63), you would think that it would be simple to replicate that success with the follow up LP right? Well no. ‘Helicon’ (possibly something wrong with the title), released in 1977, barely scraped the UK charts and worse, was a flop in America. Which is a shame as this is great. Featuring my husband (who needs a bit of a haircut and beard-trim) – Gerry Polci on vocals and drums, this is reminiscent of Elton in his Philly period with a touch of Beach Boys and 10CC thrown in for good measure. Frankie Valli is in absentia but to be honest we didn’t really miss him.

Number 25 – Cliff Richard – ‘We Don’t Talk Anymore’

Several years ago I kicked off Tiffany Twisted with a track by Tarney & Spencer. Well they never troubled our charts again – well not as featured artists. They are, however, all over this supplying all of the instruments and backing vocals. It became his tenth number one single in the late Autumn of 1979. It was all downhill from here (well apart from Wired For Sound which is great) – those Christmas singles were a few years away as was the mahogany face-paint and the rather dodgy calendars.

Number 24 – The Osmonds – ‘Let Me In’

Before you shout at me, the Osmonds did a few really good singles – more than worthy of inclusion here – Crazy Horses, The Proud One, Down By The Lazy River (in fact anything from The Plan). Much better as a unit, obviously the influence of the older Osmonds, hated Donny’s solo stuff but love him with Marie and just don’t get me started on Little Jimmy. ‘Let Me In’ reached number 2 in the UK and has a certain country quality to it – in fact the Eagles could do a great version.

Number 23 – Gallagher & Lyle – ‘Heart On My Sleeve’

By the time that ‘Breakaway’ was released Gallagher & Lyle were on their fifth LP but they were members of McGuiness Flint in the early 70’s writing 9 of the 11 songs on their debut record. ‘Breakaway, I seem to recall, was a massive record in the sweltering heat of the Summer of ’76. You can tell by viewing the girls bobbing along to this in this clip. Their pensions were probably paid for when Art Garfunkel cover this and scored an international hit. They split in 1980 and went their separate way but reunited for some sporadic dates in 2007. Plus Benny Gallagher was very dimply and handsome.

Number 22. Peter Sarstedt – ‘Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)’

Poor Peter. Currently languishing with ill health in a Sussex retirement home suffering from dementia. Born in Delhi – he and his brothers Robin, Clive and Eden Kane all had a stab at a music career. ‘Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)’ was a huge Number One smash hit in the winter of 1968. I gave seen this record endlessly debated on internet forums, on FB etc – many people vehemently hate it – but I’ve always liked it’s exotic air, the intrigue as to who Marie Claire is – and it sounds like a Parisian street and I defy anyone not to laugh along at the Hahaha bit. what do you think?

Number 21. Jefferson Starship – ‘Count On Me’

I’ve never been particularly Arty. I appreciate all sort of Art and am in awe of those that can create masterpieces out of nothing. Having said that I was never particularly Mathsy or Sciencey either which makes me wonder what exactly I DID do at school. I once drew a picture of Stevie Nicks right eye (or left eye) – which I spent hours on but even that looked like something created by an infant. I guess you have artistic talent or you don’t – and at nearly 54, I don’t.

I first heard Jefferson Starship – Dragonfly to be exact – in our Art class in 1974. Our Art Teacher was very Bohemian (most are to be fair) and she also introduced me to Miles Of Aisles by Joni Mitchell. Paint everywhere and my OCD (undiagnosed) meant I was always popping over to the record decks to make sure that the LP’s were safely tucked away in their sleeves.

Never been my favourite band but there are bits and pieces throughout their lengthy career which I like. This was the first single lifted from ‘Earth’ which was ‘supposed to be’ the new Rumours (according to the Melody Maker or the NME) – it wasn’t. Have included ‘With Your Love; in the First Ever Tiffany Twisted so I’m going with this. Paul Kanter died yesterday – he was a founder member and has been a member ever since – seeing out Grace Slick etc. Another sad day for Rock & Pop but I guess as we all get older, it’s going to become more of a regular occurrence. Paul is the one in the glasses on guitar and the singer is Marty Balin whom I wouldn’t kick out of bed to be frank.

Number 20. Pilot – ‘January’

In many respects, this January has been the worst on record. Bowie, Frey, Rickman, Vearncombe and now Wogan – started off with a crippling back, constant cold and cold, I actually thought I was going mad. Goodbye January, sick and tired of you hanging on me now.

I only ever play this record in January – it doesn’t feel right any other time of the year. Pilot were formed in Edinburgh and David Paton and Billy Lyall were in the original line up of the Bay City Rollers (probably sacked as they were too old). Pilot lasted for 4 LP’s each with diminishing returns.

Number 19. Joni Mitchell – ‘Chinese Café’

I don’t think I’ve ever heard ‘Wild Things Run Fast’ –  I really hated ‘(You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care)’ which surprisingly became one of her biggest hits. I prefer my Joni 70’s based – those incredible run of LP’s – especially Blue, Court & Spark, Hejira, Hissing Oh The Summer Lawns, Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter have been at my side ever since they came out (although I don’t play them nearly enough). Wild Things Run Fast came out in 1982 and featured a host of guest musicians (yes Lionel Ritchie on one track). This track is a ‘mashup’ with Unchained Melody which has always been the greatest of songs – just about surviving being mauled by Robson & Jerome & Simon Cowell.

It’s been a worrying year for those of us on Joni watch following a brain aneurysm in May 2015. She seems to be making a recovery but I somehow doubt that she will release anything else ever again.

Number 18. R.E.M – ‘The One I Love’

Still some years away from challenging U” as the ‘biggest band on the planet’ – this was lifted from their 5th LP and was their most accessible song to date. A change of record label brought us Green followed by Out of Time, then, of course Automatic For The People.

But what has happened to Stipe? I assumed that he would have had a successful solo career but nothing really since the band finally split up. I once saw them play Hammersmith Odeon when they were touring Out of Time – him singing ‘You Are The Everything’ with his back to the audience has remained one of the most moving beautiful sites that I can remember seeing.

Number 17. Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band – ‘Against The Wind’

I hadn’t realised until today, that the backing vocals on this track came courtesy of the late great Glenn Frey and was his biggest hit from the album of the same name. Without Bob Seger there would be NO Tiffany Twisted. He is such a great songwriter, singer, guitarist, everything – he has also been a feature in every single TT’ed list since it’s inception. This won a Grammy for Best Rock Performance in 1981.

According to Timothy White, a writer for  Rolling Stone:”‘Against the Wind’ is about trying to move ahead, keeping your sanity and integrity at the same time.” – and I have the word ‘Integrity’ tattooed on my arm (at least that’s what I think it says!)

Number 16.  Graham Parker – ‘You Can’t Be Too Strong’

Graham Parker has always been quietly knocking out the most fantastic records. He was never going to be a huge pop star, lumped in with the post-punk scene rather unfairly, suffered with comparisons to Elvis Costello and frankly looking a little like a rat. Squeezing Out Sparks was his 4th studio LP, produced by Jack Nitzsche yet even this fabulous record failed to engage with the record buying public (although was a critical success). “You Can’t Be Too Strong”, an uncharacteristic somber, met with controversy over its subject matter and narrative: a man’s reflections on his girlfriend’s abortion.

Number 15. Jennifer Warnes – ‘Right Time Of The Night’

Poor cross-eyed Jennifer was never going to win a Miss California contest (I must show you my Jennifer Warnes impersonation some time).

This is a wonderful record though. Sharing some of the same ground as Linda Ronstadt, Karla Bonoff, Valerie Carter it reached number 6 in the US charts. She remains great friends with Leonard Cohen and produced a highly acclaimed LP of Cohen’s songs entitled Famous Blue Raincoat which was a coffee table hit in 1987.

Number 14. Marmalade – ‘Reflections Of My Life’

The origins of the Marmalade can be traced back to 1961, when they were formed as The Gaylords, later Dean Ford & The Gaylords. As Marmalade (or is it The Marmalade), their recording career spanned from 1966 to the early 80’s.

Dean moved to New York where he made a living driving limos. This beautiful record was released at the very end of the 1960’s and is just perfect for a post birthday reflection of one’s life.

Number 13. Junior Campbell – ‘Hallelujah Freedom’

Crumbs this is good. You NEVER hear it nowadays – no-one talks about it, it’s never appears on Retro 70’s TV progammes, never appears on compilation LP’s (apart from mine), it’s like it never even existed – or he never even existed. William Campbell Junior was born in Glasgow and joined the Gaylords at the tender age of 14. This was released in 1972 and shares some territory with Philadelphia Freedom by Elton John – but even Elton was unable to secure THE Doris Troy as backing vocalist as was the case here. On leaving Marmalade he embarked on a solo career and has composed music for fil and TV series including Thomas The Tank Engine!

Right night, this is my favourite (non Bowie) record of all time.

Number 12. Renaissance – ‘Northern Lights’

The most English of Tiffany Twisted 2015 edition from the most English of bands. There has been over thirty members of Renaissance throughout the years yet despite all of this Northern Lights was their sole UK Chart placing. Annie Haslam, from Bolton, is still the lead singer and was, for four years, married to Roy Wood from Wizzard

Number 11. Heart – ‘Dreamboat Annie’

Lifted from the ‘Dreamboat Annie’ LP which was released in 1976. Extraordinarily accomplished for a debut LP, Dreamboat Annie contained not only this but also Magic Man, Crazy On You and Soul Of The Sea. Not bad for a couple of sisters and their boyfriends were formed in Vancover. Although they never quite delivered on the amazing potential shown here – most of the subsequent albums were a little patchy – this still sounds amazing some 40 years later. And Ann (Top 10 Greatest Female singers of all time surely?) shares her name with my Mum which is pretty cool.

Number 10. Judee Sill – ‘The Kiss’

Only two Judee performances exist on You Tube – a rather shaky black and white film made by an amateur at USC campus in LA and two numbers from The Old Grey Whistle Test where she played The Pearl and this. Such a shame but can’t do anything about it now. Judee crammed a lot into her brief 35 years amongst us: a church organist, a criminal, a bisexual prostitute, a cartoonist as well as being a fine singer songwriter.

Ever since I first heard Judee – way back in the late 70’s, it’s been my personal quest to ‘turn people on’ to her music – I am so happy that both LP’s have been nicely restored and repressed and reissued on Rhino Records and trust they remain that way.
‘The Kiss’ is typical of her work – lyrically full of Christian rapture and redemption – and this performance is remarkable in it’s heartbreaking sensitivity.

If you’ve never heard her or seen this, I encourage you to do so – it might well change your life. BEAUTIFUL.

Number 9. Mr Big – ‘Romeo’

Mr. Big were knocking around the scene for a good few years before this became a big hit in 1977 In their time they supported Queen, Sweet, Tom Petty and The Runaways. This record was banned by the BBC for a while for it’s suggestive rather fruity lyrical content.
Dicken (born Jeff Pain), was far from your archetypal pretty boy lead singer. He went on to form Broken Home with his co-band member bassist Peter Crowther. All eyes focussed on impossibly handsome Eddie Carter on the mouth organ.

Number 8. Mary Hopkin – ‘Those Were The Days’

Hopkin not Hopkins. I must learn that. It’s odd to think that she was only 18 when she recorded this and took it to Number One in this country in 1968. Produced by Paul McCartney (would it have been such a big hit without his involvement?). She won Opportunity Knocks in the Sixties and this became the first non-Beatles song to be released on the Apple record label.

Starting life as an old Russian folk song, Hopkin recorded this in Spanish, French, German and Italian (but not Russian).

She married Tony Visconti in 1971 and sang backing vocals on ‘Low’

Number 7. Marshall Hain – ‘Dancing In The City’

Reasons to like Marshall Hain:
Essential coffee table material for 70’s housewives – you could buy literally anything from it. The men’s underwear section was the sexiest bit – especially the string vests and pants, many a moment etc etc. Your Mum could become an ‘agent’ for Marshall Ward and get about 10p commission for placing an order on your behalf. The glossy paper smelt incredible – what happened to it?

.. of course I’m kidding – that was Marshall Ward.

Marshall Hain were nothing of the sort but a Devon duo who produced this massive hit from 1978. Kit Hain and Justin Marshall met whilst at the Dartington Hall School (over a palate of paints no doubt). They split up after recording their sole LP. Julien went on to be a member of the Flying Lizards and then Eye To Eye (DREADFUL name) and Kit released some solo stuff, concentrating mostly on songwriting (although none have been particularly successful).

Number 6. Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel – ‘Mr Raffles (Man It Was Mean)’

Not traditional TT’ed fare, I’ll give you that but jeez I love this and TT’ed is my list after all. So there.

One of the horrors of modern day living is the realisation that the many tapes from TOTP’s were wiped out of existence by the BBC. So there is not a version of this at all from the time and it was aired on the 5th June 1975. In my pop head, this came out before Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me) – which I adore equally.

Deptford born Steve contracted polio aged 6 and was hospitalized for 4 years of his childhood. A trainee accountant he began playing folk clubs in the early 70’s before signing to EMI and becoming this beautiful creature.

It’s those amazing lyrics which swing it – oozing with intelligence about Raffles a fictional thief – it contains some of the greatest lyrics ever committed onto a 7” Top 30 hit. If I was producer I’d have persuaded Steve to drop the cod reggae bit at the end of the record though. One of the biggest shames is that the performance from TOTP’s has been wiped from the archives – a national tragedy.

Number 5. Bruce Springsteen – ‘Tunnel Of Love’

It’s Bruce Day. Fingers poised and ready for when the tickets for The River tour are on-sale at 9.am. Sick with nervous excitement – will my internet crash? Will someone knock at my door at 8.58? Hopefully it will all go smoothly and I can get to work Bruce-d up.
I drove to Birmingham (or Aston Villa to be exact) to see Bruce on The Tunnel Of Love Tour on June 21st. He was, again, superb. After the globe trotting success of the fist pumping Born In The USA era, it was nice to see Bruce calming down a bit – his marriage to Julianna was practically over and I guess he was already seeing Patti. It marked a new era. Loved Tunnel of Love the album too – one of the few highlights from 1987.

Number 4. Alessi – ‘Oh Lori’

The Alessi Brothers were born in NYC. They have actually released 11 LP’s and have appeared on the Ghostbusters Soundtrack. This , though, was far and away their biggest – only really – hit. Billy & Bobby are of course identical twins – probably the only identical twins to have a UK Top 10 Record (unless you know different). And they have nothing to do with Alessi kettles/kitchen appliances.

Number 3 – Stevie Nicks (with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) – ‘Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around’

Free from the shackles of the Mac, who would have thought that she would have come up with something as great as this for her first ever solo record. It helps that Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers are on hand to provide the backing (dammit she was for a moment a member of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) and perhaps, that her and Tom ‘might’ have been at it. It actually breaks my little heart to think that Stevie has never found love, choosing instead to live in her lovely house crammed with Victorian dollies, antique mirrors and possibly cats. Did I tell you that I met her too? Such a gentle lady (although she only signed my CD), with warm little hands – not at all the Diva you might expect. She is in my Top 5 Pop Stars of all time too and I have followed her ever since I heard Rhiannon for the first time.

On release it struggled to number 50 in the charts over here but went top 3 in the States eclipsing solo works by both Christine & Lindsey. The LP fared better reaching number 11 and post this she rushed off to record Mirage.

Number 2 – Joe Jackson – ‘Steppin’ Out’

What a great great city is New York. The only time I went, this was in my head the entire time as I gazed up at the buildings, visited the diner’s visited, Central Park, all of it. Barely enough time in my two short days to fully absorb the place – I was a bit scared that if I did I would not actually want to leave the place. ‘Night & Day’ the album this came from, is practically a suite of songs based upon his time in New York in the very early Eighties – it should have accompanied a movie in fact.

Joe’s never REALLY been that major a star over here which is a pity as the quality of his output has been, generally, exceptional.

Number 1. Stealers Wheel – ‘Stuck In The Middle With You’

Always been really intrigued by this video clip – it isn’t Gerry Rafferty is it? No. It’s Joe Egan who is miming to the song in a warehouse – and Joe was the other half of Stealers Wheel. In my head I’ve always imagined that it was just some guys dressing up as Stealers Wheel for the purposes of promoting sellotape in the 80’s or something.

Released in 1972 and been part of all of our lives ever since – even if you first encountered in during the famous torture song from Reservoir Dogs (unforgettably linked once seen). Or you might have come across it at some guilty pleasure type discoteque? Or your dad might have played it?

Stealers Wheel split in 1975, though nobody really noticed and Gerry returned for Baker Street the following year.

 

That’s it for Tiffany Twisted 2015/16 – it might just return in the Winter of 2016… we’ll have to see. And just to reiterate, if you want me to do you a copy of  this on CD, just shout.

 

 

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4 comments on “Tiffany Twisted 5 – 2015/16 Edition

  1. Cliff
    June 22, 2016

    Just noticed I only have 1 to 3 😞

    Like

  2. Cliff
    June 22, 2016

    I only have 1 to 3 eek

    Like

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This entry was posted on June 22, 2016 by in Tiffany Twisted.
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