The Beat Goes On (2): Pretenders, Monkees, Radiohead, Amy Winehouse and lots more

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Here’s the second half of the first The Beat Goes On, a new show presented by the editor of this very website.

The Beat Goes On was launched last week (Wednesday 27 June) on Kennet Radio, a community radio station in Berkshire, England, on 106.7 FM (no static at all … well, not much). You can listen to the first show online by following this link to Mixcloud.

If you don’t want to listen to the whole thing, this two-part blogpost contains a full playlist and cool links to all the music.

Welcome to the second half of the show!

The original lineup of The Pretenders in 1981 at the top of their game. Recorded in Paris – hence Chrissie’s exclamation “like Brigitte Bardot!” – and featuring brilliant interplay between Pete Farndon on bass and Martin Chambers on drums (guitarist James Honeyman-Scott is no slouch either). I remember when they appeared on Top of The Pops doing this: it was positively thrilling; Freeez made their debut with Southern Freeez on the same show. The coolest edition ever.

From their excellent 1967 album Headquarters. Davy Jones holds out longer than the others before lapsing into giggles, but then he was an actor who had appeared in Coronation Street. There actually was a Mr Dobalina: Peter Tork heard an airport announcer calling “Mr Dobalina, Mr Bob Dobalina” to his flight and thus, indirectly, giving him a kind of immortality, especially after he was sampled in …

Ice Cube’s cousin (real name Teren Delvon Jones) was 19 years old at the time of this recording, which as well as Zilch samples Stone to the Bone (James Brown), Gloryhallastoopid (Parliament) and Give It to You (Upp). Mistadobalina was a hit all over Europe, except in the UK. Britain out of step with the rest of Europe? Surely not.

One of the greatest and most influential singles of the 1960s, or indeed any era, and the first psychedelic hit (The Byrds released Eight Miles High a month later). Jeff Beck’s amazing solo was played on one string, the G, on a 1954 Fender Esquire guitar; he later recalled: “There was mass hysteria in the studio when I did that solo.” I estimate that I have listened to this record at least 2,500 times since its release in 1966, and it still sounds fresh and exciting. Everything about it is perfect but my favourite bit is the little thing Jim McCarty does after the chorus and guitar solo on his bass drum and hi-hat. Happy birthday Jim – 75 this month (on 25 July).

Poignant advice from Bill Callahan to his widow-to-be, including the great lines “Wink at the minister/blow kisses to my grieving brothers”. Funny, sad and moving track from the 2000 album Dongs of Sevotion (sic).

Now a couple of tracks by The Barbarians, one of the best 60s garage bands, perfectly combining the innocence and insolence characteristic of that genre.

Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl?, which reached No 55 in the US charts in 1965, was (like Moulty) co-written and produced by Doug Morris, now chairman of Sony Music Entertainment. In a blogpost for the Guardian, I wrote that it neatly satirised the older generation’s largely inaccurate claims that “you can’t tell the boys from the girls these days”.  Moulty, which reached No 102 in the charts in the following year, tells the story of one-handed drummer Victor “Moulty” Moulton, later to receive an honourable mention in the Ramones song Do You Remember Rock’n’Roll Radio? The Hawks, later to become The Band, backed Moulty on the recording.

The haunting, slightly off-kilter nature of the song is matched by the eerie quality of the video, shot by the band themselves on 25 April 1980, three weeks before Ian Curtis killed himself and a month before Love Will Tear Us Apart was released. The record, made at Strawberry Studios in Stockport – U2 were in the studio too, discussing a deal for their first album – was a hit in the UK on four separate occasions and was named Best Single of All Time by NME in 2002. Ian’s widow, Deborah, had “Love Will Tear Us Apart” inscribed on his memorial stone. The band taught Ian one chord so he could play guitar live on this song, an almost unbearably sad detail.

Wonderful live version of the track from Frank, her first album, named in part as a tribute to Frank Sinatra; Ol’ Blue Eyes was name-checked in a fine song, Half Time, that didn’t make the final cut of the record.

Fine track from the lovely 1966 album If I Were a Carpenter, composed by Jeffrey Stevens; the song, and Bobby Darin’s vocal, sound rather like Gene Clark of The Byrds. There’s a good live performance of this on YouTube but, unlike this version, it doesn’t include the amazing bagpipes.

The band formerly known as On A Friday give an astonishing performance of a song inspired, according to Thom Yorke, by Victorian ghost stories and The Stepford Wives. It was recorded at Tottenham House, a rundown stately home near Oxford; the band camped out in caravans as producer Nigel Godrich thought it would add to the atmosphere. It worked.

Although best known for Escape (The Piña Colada Song), Rupert Holmes has written dozens of hit songs and a Tony Award-winning musical, published two excellent novels, and released several brilliant albums. Songs That Sound Like Movies, a recently released three-CD set of his 1970s recordings for Epic, is highly recommended. Our National Pastime, from Widescreen (1974), his first album, is typical of Rupert’s wit and originality. The late Alice Playten plays Karen.

Endless Acrimony might have been a more appropriate title for an autobiographical number about The Beach Boys, but Bruce Johnston’s pretty ballad makes up with sincerity for what it lacks in historical accuracy. The harmony, if not endless, is lovely when Carl Wilson joins Bruce on the last verse and at the end. This is a track from Keepin’ The Summer Alive, the band’s 24th studio album, released in 1980.

Ronald Isley, at the age of 76, is in superb voice on this version of the great Marvin Gaye song. His brother Ernie and Carlos Santana play guitars on this track from the terrific  album Power of Peace, released in 2017 – an astonishing 63 years after the Isleys first recorded.

James Taylor, one of the world’s greatest Hammond organ players, brings The Beat Goes On to a close with a teaser for the next show, which will feature two hours of great music from movie and TV soundtracks.

Listen to The Beat Goes On live at kennetradio.com – the next show will be broadcast on Wednesday 25 July from 9-11pm (21:00 to 23:00 BST).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last modified: August 6, 2018

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