Well here we are at the end of 2014, another year over and a new one to begin. I nearly broke into song there! It’s that time when we look back at the year and reminisce. Happy memories and positive thoughts about what we have achieved and maybe regrets as well. Whatever 2014 has brought you happy or sad it’s time for the new beginning. It’s also that time when we think about resolutions and all the things we’ve put off doing. It’s all part of that newness, starting a fresh.
The tradition of New Year’s resolutions dates all the way back to 153 B.C. January is named after Janus, a mythical god of early Rome. Janus had two faces — one looking forward, one looking backward. This allowed him to look back on the past and forward toward the future. On December 31st, the Romans imagined Janus looking backward into the old year and forward into the New Year. This became a symbolic time for Romans to make resolutions for the New Year and forgive enemies for troubles in the past. The Romans also believed Janus could forgive them for their wrongdoings in the previous year. The Romans would give gifts and make promises, believing Janus would see this and bless them in the year ahead. And thus the New Year’s resolution was born! A New Year’s resolution is a promise a person makes for the New Year. Regardless of what resolution you commit to, the goal is to improve life in the coming year. Resolutions can come in many forms. Some people make a promise to change a bad habit, such as quitting smoking or eating less junk food. Other people make a promise to develop a positive habit, such as starting an exercise program, volunteering in their community or recycling more. We are a strange race us humans. It has been proven in studies that 70% of people don’t keep their resolutions up past January which is comical to be honest. Maybe we need to pace ourselves more or be more realistic in our goals. Dieting in the coldest month of the year for example isn’t the best idea. I don’t make resolutions as such, I make little notes to myself in my head about things I know would make me happier. Yes I would like to lose weight, improve my fitness and drink less alcohol. But mainly I want to be happy. Those resolutions would read as, spend more time with loved ones, don’t worry as much and listen to as much music as possible. Which leads me nicely on to this week’s musical choices. Not my resolutions but my wishes, see if you can guess what they are.
OASIS – ACQUIESCE
Oasis was an English rock band formed in Manchester in 1991. Developed from an earlier group, the Rain, the band consisted of Liam Gallagher (vocals and tambourine), Paul “Bonehead” Arthurs (guitar), Paul “Guigsy” McGuigan (bass guitar), and Tony McCarroll (drums, percussion). They were later joined by Liam’s older brother Noel Gallagher (lead guitar and vocals) as a fifth member, becoming the band’s settled line-up until April 1995. Oasis signed to independent record label Creation Records in 1993 and released their record-setting debut album Definitely Maybe (1994). The following year the band recorded (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? (1995) with their new and former Starclub drummer Alan White in the midst of a rivalry with Britpop peers Blur in the charts. The Gallagher brothers were featured regularly in tabloid newspapers for their sibling disputes and wild lifestyles. In 1997 Oasis released their third album, Be Here Now (1997), and although it became the fastest-selling album in UK chart history, the album’s popularity tapered off quickly. McGuigan and Arthurs left Oasis in 1999 as the band went on to record and release Standing on the Shoulder of Giants (2000). After their departures, they were replaced by former Heavy Stereo guitarist/frontman Gem Archer and former Hurricane No. 1 guitarist/frontman Andy Bell who joined the group for the tour in support of Standing on the Shoulder of Giants, which had moderate success. Their fifth studio album Heathen Chemistry (2002) saw Noel Gallagher’s releasing strict creative control in the band’s output with all members contributing songs, which led to more relaxed recording sessions. In 2004 the band were joined by The Who’s drummer Zak Starkey, replacing Alan White, and found renewed success and popularity with Don’t Believe the Truth (2005). Following the recording of the band’s seventh album Dig Out Your Soul (2008), Starkey left and was replaced by Chris Sharrock on Oasis’ last tour as a collective band. During the tour the brothers’ increasingly deteriorating relationship ultimately led to Noel Gallagher announcing in August 2009 that he would be leaving the band after a backstage altercation with Liam before a festival appearance. The band, comprising the remaining members of Oasis and led by Liam Gallagher, decided to continue working together under the name Beady Eye, while Noel went on to form his solo project Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. Oasis have had eight UK number-one singles and eight UK number-one albums, and won fifteen NME Awards, nine Q Awards, four MTV Europe Music Awards and six Brit Awards, including one in 2007 for By 2009, the band had sold an estimated 70 million records worldwide.
“Acquiesce” is a song by the English rock band Oasis, written by Noel Gallagher. The song originally appeared as a B-side to Oasis’ first UK #1 single, “Some Might Say”, in April 1995. Its popularity led to it being included on the B-sides compilation album The Masterplan, released in 1998, after being voted for inclusion by fans of the band on their official website. In 1998, the song was issued as a radio single in the United States to promote the release of The Masterplan. It reached #24 in the US Modern Rock Chart, based on radio airplay.”Acquiesce” was also released as one of the lead tracks to the Stop the Clocks EP, in promotion of their compilation album, Stop the Clocks. The verses to “Acquiesce” are sung by Liam Gallagher, with the chorus sung by Noel (because, he claims, Liam could not reach the high notes), making it the first song to ever feature both Gallagher brothers on lead vocals. Noel Gallagher claims to have written the lyrics to “Acquiesce” on the way to the studio for the recording sessions of Definitely Maybe. The train was delayed, and during this interruption, he wrote parts of the song. According to The Masterplan’s sleeve notes (written by music writer and critic Paul Du Noyer), “The song is about friendship in the widest sense and not, as often speculated, about the Gallagher brothers themselves.” The song features clips of an acoustic version of another Oasis song, “Morning Glory”. This is heard at the beginning and at the end of the song. My favourite Oasis song I love the intro, the guitars give me goose bumps always, the lyrics especially the line “Because we need each other” we all have someone we need after all.
BLONDIE – CALL ME
Blondie is an American rock band founded by singer Debbie Harry and guitarist Chris Stein. The band was a pioneer in the early American new wave and punk scenes of the mid-1970s. Its first two albums contained strong elements of these genres, and although successful in the United Kingdom and Australia, Blondie was regarded as an underground band in the United States until the release of Parallel Lines in 1978. Over the next three years, the band achieved several hit singles and became noted for its eclectic mix of musical styles incorporating elements of disco,pop,rap, and reggae, while retaining a basic style as a new wave band. Blondie broke up after the release of its sixth studio album The Hunter in 1982. Debbie Harry continued to pursue a solo career with varied results after taking a few years off to care for partner Chris Stein, who was diagnosed with pemphigus, a rare autoimmune disease of the skin. The band re-formed in 1997, achieving renewed success and a number one single in the United Kingdom with “Maria” in 1999, exactly 20 years after their first UK No.1 single (“Heart of Glass”). The group toured and performed throughout the world during the following years, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. Blondie has sold 40 million records worldwide and is still active today. The band’s ninth studio album, Panic of Girls, was released in 2011,and their tenth, Ghosts of Download, was released in 2014.
“Call Me” was released in early 1980 as a single and was number one for six weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it became the band’s biggest single and second #1. It also hit #1 in the UK and Canada, where it became their fourth and second chart-topper respectively.
Growing up I wanted to be Debbie Harry, she was my only ever girl crush. I don’t know a lad of that era who didn’t fancy her and still doesn’t now. Cheek bones and pout she oozed sex appeal. I particularly loved this song and its pop punk sound, oh give me the hair brush and turn it up….
JOE COCKER – WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS
Singer-songwriter Joe Cocker, known for his distinct, bluesy voice and his heartfelt renditions of Beatles classics, died in his Colorado home on Monday following a battle with lung cancer. One of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Singers, Cocker was 70. The British singer’s agent, Barrie Marshall, confirmed the death to the BBC, adding that Cocker was “simply unique” and “it will be impossible to fill the space he leaves in our hearts.” “ John Robert Cocker, known to family, friends, his community and fans around the world as Joe Cocker, passed away on December 22nd, 2014 after a hard fought battle with small cell lung cancer,” Sony Music wrote in a statement, via iTV. “Joe Cocker was born 1944 in Sheffield, England where he lived until his early 20s. In 2007 he was awarded the OBE by the Queen of England. His international success as a blues/rock singer began in 1964 and continues till this day. Joe created nearly 40 albums and toured extensively around the world.
Lennon and McCartney finished writing this song in 1967 written specifically as Starr’s track for the album. McCartney said “It was pretty much co-written, John and I doing a work song for Ringo, a little craft job.” In 1970 Lennon stated: “Paul had the line about ‘a little help from my friends.’ He had some kind of structure for it, and we wrote it pretty well fifty-fifty from his original idea.”, but in 1980 Lennon said: “This is Paul, with a little help from me. ‘What do you see when you turn out the light/ I can’t tell you, but I know it’s mine…’ is mine.” They deliberately wrote a tune with a limited range – except for the last note, which McCartney worked closely with Starr to achieve. Speaking in the Anthology, Starr insisted on changing the first line which originally was “What would you think if I sang out of tune? Would you throw ripe tomatoes at me?” He changed the lyric so that fans would not throw tomatoes at him should he perform it live. (In the early days, after George Harrison made a passing comment that he liked jelly babies, the group was showered with them at all of their live performances.) The song is partly in the form of a conversation, in which the other three Beatles sing a question “Would you believe in a love at first sight?” and Starr answers, “Yes, I’m certain that it happens all the time.” The band started recording the song the day before they posed for the Sgt. Pepper album cover (29 March 1967), wrapping up the session at 5:45 in the morning. At dawn, Starr trudged up the stairs to head home – but the other Beatles cajoled him into doing his lead vocal then and there, standing around the microphone for moral support.
Joe Cocker’s version of “With a Little Help from My Friends” was a radical re-arrangement of the original, in a slower, 6/8 meter, using different chords in the middle eight, and a lengthy instrumental introduction (featuring drums by Procol Harum’s B.J. Wilson, guitar lines from Jimmy Page, and organ by Tommy Eyre). Cocker performed the song at Woodstock in 1969 and that performance was included in the documentary film, Woodstock. This version was used as the opening theme song for the television series The Wonder Years. Cocker’s cover was ranked number two in UpVenue’s top 10 best music covers of all time in 2009. In 2014, a BBC poll saw it voted the seventh best cover version ever. The version heard in the film Across the Universe segues from the original to Cocker’s arrangement at the end of the song. In 2001, Cocker’s version of the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
I was very sad to hear of the death of Joe Cocker a legend in his own right. I absolutely adore this song and in my opinion this is the best version. You believe every word Cocker is singing. Friends come and go but the true ones are the ones that are there whatever. To my true friends I dedicate this song.
BEAUTIFUL SOUTH – PERFECT 10
The Beautiful South was an English pop/rock group formed in 1988 by two former members of the Hull group the Housemartins, Paul Heaton and Dave Hemingway, both of whom performed lead and backing vocals. Other members throughout the band’s tenure were former Housemartins roadie Sean Welch (bass), Dave Stead (drums) and Dave Rotheray (guitar). After the band’s first album (recorded as a quintet), they were joined by a succession of female vocalists, all of whom performed lead and backing vocals alongside Heaton and Hemingway – Briana Corrigan for albums two and three, followed by Jacqui Abbott for the fourth through seventh albums, and finally Alison Wheeler for the final three Beautiful South albums. The group broke up in January 2007, claiming the split was due to “musical similarities”, having sold around 15 million records worldwide. In January 2009, it was announced that the former members Dave Hemingway, Alison Wheeler, and Dave Stead would reform under the name “New Beautiful South” which was later changed to “The South”. Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott reunited as a duo in 2013, touring and recording new material.
Perfect 10″ is a song by The Beautiful South, released in 1998. It reached number two in the UK charts. The song also appeared on their album Quench. The verses of the song – sung alternately by Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott – are made up of a series of innuendos using clothing sizes and penis length to illustrate a loving relationship between two people who don’t conform to modern stereotypes of physical perfection. The chorus to the song is sung by both male and female vocals and confirms the theme of a happy and accepting relationship beyond ideas of conventional beauty, with Heaton and Abbott stating:
“We love our love, in different sizes
I love her body, especially the lies
Time takes its toll, but not on the eyes
Promise me this, take me tonight.”
“Perfect 10” was seen as a ‘tour classic’ by The Beautiful South and it has been stated by Dave Stead that, “There are certain songs you just can’t leave out…I think we would be lynched if we didn’t play “Keep It All In”, “Don’t Marry Her” and “Perfect 10″.”
Paul and Jacqui both support and campaign for the GMB and in particular their campaign to raise the minimum wage. I have just bought tickets to see Paul and Jacqui at The Mouth of The Tyne Festival in July 2015. Looking forward to that and who knows I could be a perfect 10?
THE VERVE – HISTORY
The Verve were an English rock band formed in Wigan in 1990 by lead vocalist Richard Ashcroft, guitarist Nick McCabe, bass guitarist Simon Jones and drummer Peter Salisbury. The guitarist and keyboard player Simon Tong became a member at a later date. Beginning with a psychedelic sound, by the mid-1990s the band had released several EPs and three albums. It also endured name and line-up changes, break-ups, health problems, drug abuse and various lawsuits. The band’s commercial breakthrough was the 1997 album Urban Hymns, one of the best-selling albums in UK Chart history, and the single “Bitter Sweet Symphony”, which became a worldwide hit. In 1998, the band won two Brit Awards—winning Best British Group, appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in March, and in February 1999, “Bitter Sweet Symphony” was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song.
History is a song by English rock band The Verve, and is featured on their second album, A Northern Soul. It was released 18 September 1995 as the third and final single from the album, charting at #24 in the UK Singles Chart. The song is notable for being released after the band’s sudden first break up (the sign on the CD1 cover reads ‘All Farewells Should Be Sudden’). The song begins with a string intro that is very similar to the intro of “Mind Games” by John Lennon. This was the first song by the band to feature strings (a formula that would later be used for several Urban Hymns singles). The opening lyrics of the song are based on the first two stanzas of William Blake’s poem, London. The song is quite melancholic, with Melody Maker describing it as “an epic, windswept symphony of strings, flailing vocals and staggeringly bitter sentiments”. It has been claimed the song was written about Ashcroft’s split with his girlfriend, although Ashcroft denied this. The clapping featured on History was apparently performed by Liam Gallagher. There was no original music video filmed for the single, probably because the band had already split when the single was released. Instead an official compilation of clips from The Verve’s previous music videos was created by Ashcroft.
I love The Verve and this track, with the words of William Blake is a favourite. Sneaky of Richard to pinch these words but also very clever.
Finally before I go I found this article in a magazine written by a clinical psychologist who says these are the 10 resolutions we should be embracing. She makes it sound so easy!
10 New Years resolutions that could actually change your Life
- Get enough sleep.
- Watch less, or no, TV.
- Stop eating crap.
- Make time for exercise.
- Stop keeping a spotless house.
- Have sex.
- Stop interacting with and worrying about your kids constantly.
- Stop waiting for your spouse to read your mind.
- Stop letting intrusive or rude family members or in-laws ruin your day/holiday/life.
- Stop wishing you were different.
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE, ALL THE BEST X