Buzzcocks – What Do I Get

These guys blended punk and pop about as well as anyone. Once again I had a friend with their import records in the eighties. That was the only way I could hear them.

This was their first top 40 hit in the UK and it peaked at #37 way back in 1977. The B-side was a song called “Oh Shit.” I wish they would have hit in America but their name probably didn’t help them over here.

They chose the name Buzzcocks after reading the headline, “It’s the Buzz, Cock!”, in a review of the TV series Rock Follies in Time Out magazine. The “buzz” is the excitement of playing on stage; “cock” is northern English slang meaning friend. They were formed in 1976 by Pete Shelley and Howard Devoto after seeing the Sex Pistols. They were able to blend punk’s spirit and sound with pop.

They were invited by Nirvana to open select dates on the grunge outfit’s last ever European tour, in early 1994. Steve Diggle told about a  memory he has of Kurt Cobain: “Doing two grams of coke is one of my famous stories with him.” They also opened up for Pearl Jam in 2003.

They released 3 albums and broke up in 1981 after a dispute with their record company. They reunited in 1989 and released 6 more albums. Pete Shelley continued to play with the band until his death from a heart attack in 2018. The band still continues to tour.

Steve Diggle: “Of course we partied and did drugs and had good times with the girls. Who wouldn’t? Certain things about being in a band and traveling about, people invite you to parties and clubs. Initially, it wasn’t supposed to be like that. But I realized you can’t break America, America breaks you.”

 Jane Wiedlin: Our favorite band, the band that we always tried to emulate was the Buzzcocks, who had that great pop song done in a punky style.”

Billy Joe Armstrong: “Buzzcocks pretty much invented a style that would influence multiple generations of lonesome hearts and weirdos”

What Do I Get

I just want a lover like any other, what do I get?
I only want a friend who will stay to the end, what do I get?

What do I get, oh-oh, what do I get?
What do I get, oh-oh, what do I get?

I’m in distress, I need a caress, what do I get?
I’m not on the make, I just need a break, what do I get?

What do I get, oh-oh, what do I get?
What do I get, oh-oh, what do I get?

I only get sleepless nights
Alone here in my half-empty bed
For you things, seem to turn out right
I wish they’d only happen to me instead

What do I get, oh-oh, what do I get?
What do I get, oh-oh, what do I get?

Ah

I only get sleepless nights
Alone here in my half-empty bed
For you, things seem to turn out right
I wish they’d only happen to me instead

What do I get, oh-oh, what do I get?
What do I get, oh-oh, what do I get?

I just want a lover like any other, what do I get?
I only want a friend who will love to the end, what do I get?

What do I get, oh-oh, what do I get?
What do I get, oh-oh, what do I get?

Well, let me tell you now
(What do I get?)
(What do I get?) No love
(What do I get?) No sleep at nights
(What do I get?) Nothing that’s nice
(What do I get?) Nothing at all, at all, at all, at all
At all, at all, at all ’cause I don’t get you

Cheap Trick – Southern Girls ….Power Pop Friday

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Friday!

When I think of Cheap Trick, I think of a checkered pattern and the 5-neck guitar of Rick Nielson. I guess I should add power pop to that list that they carried on from bands such as Badfinger, The Raspberries, and Big Star.

I got to see Cheap Trick in 1984 at Opryland in Nashville. Opryland was a theme park that was foolishly closed in the late 90s so Nashville could have yet another mall. The concert was short…it was only an hour but they are one of the best bands I got to see. Cheap Trick has always been one of the hardest-working bands in rock. They seem to always be on tour since the 70s.

The band fits in with just about any type of band. They have shared the bill with John Mellencamp, KISS, Krokus, REO Speedwagon, The Who, Motley Crue, Kool and the Gang, Iron Maiden, The Oak Ridge Boys, and Willie Dixon. How much more variety does anyone need? When you go from the Oak Ridge Boys, Mellencamp, and Iron Maiden…you have ran the gamut.

The lyrics were inspired by women the band met in southern Canada. However, Rick Nielsen didn’t like the sound of “Southern Canadian Girls” in the hook, so he just left it as “Southern Girls.”

Rick Nielsen and Cheap Trick’s bass player Tom Petersson wrote the song.

The song was on the album In Color, you can find a review at  John’s site (2 Loud 2 Old Music) …great info. The album was released in 1977 and was produced by Tom Werman. He took their sound and produced a more power pop radio sound than their debut album.

This is the album that paved their way to stardom in Japan and later on Live at Budokan that was their breakthrough in the US. Five out of the 10 tracks on this album ended up on the live album.

Southern Girls

I’ve been north,
I’ve been east to the California beach
There’s only one place I know where to find you
And all you Southern girls got a way with your words
And you show it
You say hump and I’ll jump
You say go and I’ll know
Waste no time getting
So close to you
And you’ll never run way
When you find out why I wanted to find you

Ooh baby need some brand new shoes
Get out on the street
You got nothing to lose
You rock me and your crazy
And everyone says it, yeah yeah
Southern girls, you got nothing to lose
Southern girls, you got nothing to lose

I’ve been up I’ve been down
I’ve been weak I’ve been strong
But I never met someone like you
And you’ll never run away
When you find why I wanted to find you
You say hump and I’ll jump
You say go and I’ll know
Waste no time getting
So close to you
All you Southern girls
Got a way with your words
And you show it

Ooh baby need some brand new shoes
Get out on the street
You got nothing to lose
You rock me and your crazy
And everyone says it, yeah yeah
Southern girls, you got nothing to lose
Southern girls, you got nothing to lose

You think this boy, he loves you
Southern girls
You make it hard oh, so hard
I’ve been north, I’ve been east to the California beach
There’s only one place I know where to find you
And all you Southern girls got a way with your words
And you show it

Ooh baby need some brand new shoes
Get out on the street
You got nothing to lose
You rock me and your crazy
And everyone says it, yeah yeah

Southern girls, you got nothing to lose
Southern girls, you got nothing to lose
Southern girls
Southern girls
Southern girls

Big Star – Feel ….Power Pop Friday

Happy Friday Everyone! Hope your week is going well. Lisa from Tao Talk did me an honor by posting an article I wrote on her site about Maria McKee from Lone Justice in her Women Music March series…she has had some great artists! Check it out if you can.

When Big Star comes up, when people think of a member…it’s usually Alex Chilton. That is not a bad thing but on their debut album Chris Bell was just as prevalent as Chilton. This song was off of their debut album named #1 Record. It’s the only album to feature Chris Bell along with Alex Chilton the entire album. They complimented each other perfectly.

After writing a post for Dave’s site about Badfinger (thanks Dave)…a band that I obviously like…I thought I would post about another band that is right up there. I hold Big Star’s music up with The Who, Beatles. and Kinks…they never had the sales but they did have a giant influence. They released this album as their debut in August of 1972. Whenever I write about this band, I always have to stop myself from gushing about them. Was it the mystique of them? Was it the coolness factor of liking a band that not many people know? No and no. It’s about the music. Mystique and coolness wear off and all you are left with is the music…We are fortunate to have 3 albums by Big Star to enjoy.

“Feel” leads off the album with a bang. Feel was written by Chris Bell and Alex Chilton and Bell takes the lead vocal. There are more hooks in this song than in a tackle box. This is what power pop is all about. If I had to introduce someone to power pop, I would ask them to listen to #1 Record by Big Star and Straight Up by Badfinger.

All three are in Rolling Stone’s top 500 albums of all time. For a band that never charted a record that isn’t too bad. When their albums were finally discovered by later bands, they influenced many artists such as The Replacements, REM, The Cars, Cheap Trick, Sloan, Matthew Sweet, KISS, Wilco, Gin Blossoms, and many more. They influenced alternative rock of the 80s and 90s and continue to this day.

Drummer Jody Stephens: “All of a sudden I’m playing with these guys that can write songs that are as engaging to me as the people I’d grown up listening to, so I felt incredibly lucky.” 

Paul Westerberg:  “I never travel far, without a little Big Star,”

Alternate Mix

Feel

Wondering what are you doing?
You’re driving me to ruin
The love that you’ve been stealing

Has given me a feeling

I feel like I’m dying
I’m never gonna live again
You just ain’t been trying
It’s getting very near the end

I feel like I’m dying
I’m never gonna live again
You just ain’t been trying
It’s getting very near the end

Wondering what are you doing?
You’re driving me to ruin
The love that you’ve been stealing
Has given me the feeling

I feel like I’m dying
I’m never gonna live again
You just ain’t been trying
It’s getting very near the end

I feel like I’m dying
I feel like I’m dying

Badfinger – Love Is Gonna Come At Last

This wasn’t released in the prime years of Badfinger. Pete Ham was gone by  this point but this is one new Badfinger song that I heard on radio at the time. I liked it so much that I bought the album Airwaves.

I posted another Airwaves song not long with a song called Lost Inside Your Love that came off of the Airwaves album. This song was a minor hit and peaked at #69 in 1979. It’s a nice power pop song that Joey Molland wrote.

Following the “hold placed (by the record company) on the last Badfinger album, Head First, and the suicide of group co-founder Pete Ham in 1975, Badfinger disbanded, and the remaining members joined various other groups or dropped out of music for the next two years.

This was a comeback album for the band trying to make it back without their main songwriter Pete Ham.

Rick Springfield just covered the song with Joey Molland that was released on an album which Joey worked with different artists such as Todd Rundgren, Springfield, Rick Wakeman, Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Sonny Landreth, Vanilla Fudge and more for a Badfinger cover album called Badfinger No Matter What: Recovering the Hits.

Love is Gonna Come at Last - song by Badfinger, Rick Springfield | Spotify

Love Is Gonna Come At Last

There are times when it feels so hard just to carry on
There are times when the days all seem to be so long
Then this feeling inside of me sets me free from the past

And I know that when I’m ready, love is gonna come at last
Yes, I know that when I’m ready, love is gonna come at last

Been alone in a crowded room, watched it all go on
I’ve had so many sleepless nights when I dreamed alone
Then a break in the clouds above feels like love shining down

And I know that when I’m ready, love is gonna come around
Yes, I know that when I’m ready, love is gonna come around

I live for tomorrow, what it may bring
I live through the sorrow
Live in my dreams, in my dreams

This feeling inside of me sets me free from the past
And someday I’ll find a way to make my dreams come true

‘Cause I know that when I’m ready, love is gonna come at last
Yes, I know that when I’m ready, love is gonna come at last
Yes, I know that when I’m ready, love is gonna come at last
Yes, I know that when I’m ready, love is gonna come at last
Yes, I know that when I’m ready, love is gonna come at last

Raspberries – Should I Wait

The Raspberries formed in the early 1970s when Eric Carmen and Jim Bonfanti envisioned a band that would emulate bands such as The Beatles, The Who, and The Beach Boys.

This song came off of the Side 3 album released in 1973. This song…well the way I would describe it is country tinged power pop. It was an odd and cool album cover. It was a die-cut of a  basket of Raspberries, with the group’s name placed on top of the LP sleeve.

Side 3 (Raspberries album) logo.jpg

Three members wrote and sang songs. It wasn’t just Eric Carmen…This song was written and sung by Dave Smalley the bass player. This was their third album and they would end up releasing four studio albums.

The band consisted of Eric Carmen (vocalist/guitarist/bassist/pianist), Wally Bryson (guitarist), Jim Bonfanti (drummer), and Dave Smalley (guitarist/bassist).

Their last appearance as the original lineup was on The Mike Douglas Show in 1974. Shortly after… Bonfanti and Smalley both quit the band to pursue individual music careers. Michael McBride and Scott McCarl replaced them and shortly after Raspberries went on to produce their fourth and final album Starting Over…which yielded what could be their masterpiece… Overnight Sensation.

In 2004, the original four members of the group performed at Cleveland’s House of Blues. This resulted in a 2005 mini-tour. The Raspberries performed at other venues around the United States, with their final concert performance in Cleveland, Ohio at KeyBank State Theatre on December 14th, 2007.

Should I Wait

Don’t you know you’re gonna lose
If you love somebody that don’t love you?
You’ll believe him when he’s untrue
But I can’t bear seein’ him break your heart in two
I’ve let it happen much too long

Should I wait, hopin’ you’ll find out on your own?
It’s me who’s loved you for so long

If he hurts you with his lies
Don’t let it take too long to open your eyes
You’re gonna see through his disguise
But I can’t bear seein’ him break your heart in two
I’m tired of tryin’ to play it cool

Should I wait, hopin’ you’ll find out on your own?
The one you love is just a fool

If I had the chance I’d make you see
When you fall in love how it should be
A love that makes you sad can only turn out bad
So I’ll be hangin’ ’round until you’re free

Don’t you know you’re gonna lose
If you love somebody that don’t love you?
You’ll believe him when he’s untrue
But I can’t bear seein’ him break your heart in two
I’ve let it happen much too long

Should I wait, hopin’ you’ll find out on your own?
It’s me who’s loved you for so long

Badfinger – Sweet Tuesday Morning

This song came off the album Straight Up that was released in 1971. Sweet Tuesday Morning was guitarist Joey Molland’s ballad about his then new wife Kathie.

All the band members wrote songs and sang. Pete Ham was the most successful out of the four but that doesn’t mean the rest were mediocre. Joey and Tom were both good songwriters and all collaborated with each other at times.

Joey Molland joined the band when bass player Ron Griffiths quit right after they recorded Come and Get It because of friction caused by his marriage. Molland who was previously with Gary Walker & The Rain, The Masterminds, and The Fruit-Eating Bears joined as a guitar player. Tom Evans switched to bass and this was the most successful lineup.

Sweet Tuesday Morning is mostly an acoustic song with simple backing that fit the early 1970s. In the UK this was the B side of Day After Day, Badfinger’s biggest hit.  Joey Molland had quite a strong showing on Straight Up…with the songs “Sweet Tuesday Morning,” “Suitcase,” “I’d Die Babe” and the albums most rocking song “Sometimes.”

Most consider Straight Up the best album they made. If you ever decide to buy a Badfinger album and want something other than just a greatest hits…this is the one to buy. 

Sweet Tuesday Morning

Sweet Tuesday morning
You came and you smiled
And all of my fears,
They have left me

Sweet Tuesday morning
You came and you smiled
And love is the answer you gave me

I’ve been to places all around, astound me
I’ve seen the breaking of the souvenirs
I’m in a brightness I can feel surround me
And it’s the first time I’ve felt it for years

Sweet Tuesday morning,
You came and you smiled
And love is the answer you gave me….mm-mhm

I’ve been to places all around, astound me
I’ve seen the breaking of the souvenirs
I’m in a brightness I can feel surround me
And it’s the first time I’ve felt it for years

Badfinger – Lay Me Down

Lay Me Down was written by Pete Ham and is a wonderful pop/rock song. Another song that slipped through the cracks…I’ve heard Teenage Fanclub cover this one and I’ve liked it as well as their known hits.  I want to thank everyone who stuck with me through four Badfinger songs since Thursday.

The song was on the album Head First. Joey Molland had just quit and was replaced by Bob Jackson.

Badfinger’s management replaced Chris Thomas as producer because he didn’t think they should make an album so soon (6 months) after their last album Wish You Were Here. The band felt the same but they had no control… Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise was picked to produce them, Wise had just become successful by producing KISS.

They recorded Head First in December 1974 – January 1975 after Wish You Were Here with new member Bob Jackson. While recording the album Warner Brothers wanted to know where thousands of dollars went to that disappeared from an escrow account (in the managers pocket).

WB’s sought to attach the royalties due from their previous album Wish You Were Here. Consequently, WB suspended sales of Wish You Were Here.

Although the master tapes of Head First were delivered to and accepted by WB’s recording division in Los Angeles, WB’s publishing arm there refused to accept them because of the lawsuit. With a lack of publishing protection, the record division shelved the tapes and the album was not released.

The album was stuck in limbo for 26 years. It wasn’t released until 2000. I went out and bought this the day it was released at Tower Records. On a couple of songs, Hey Mr Manager and Rock and Roll Contract,  they are taking aim at their management and frustration. The songs that stand out to me are Lay Me Down, Hey Mr. Manager, Rock N’ Roll Contract, and Keep Believing. A good album and I wish it would have had a chance at the time it was recorded.

This song would have had a chance to chart.

This would be the last album released by Badfinger with Pete Ham. He would die 3 months after they finished the album. Tom Evans and Joey Molland would revive Badfinger in the late seventies and release two albums. They did have two minor hits.

Lay Me Down

Need your loving
Need your loving
Need your loving
It’s everything to me

Need your loving
Need your loving
Need your loving
It’s everything to me

Take me high take me low
Show me anything that you know
But tonight little lover lay me down
Make me laugh make me sigh tell me how and tell me why
But tonight lover little lay me down

Lay me down move me round
Let me hear your loving sound
In our mess we are blessed with our love
Take and give take and live all the love that we have found
And just send all our problems away

Play me fun play me sad
Tell me things that could make you glad
But tonight lover little Lay me down
Lay me down
Need you loving

Play to share play to care
You can play with me anywhere
But tonight lover little lay me down
But tonight lover little lover lay me down
Lay me down
Need your loving

Badfinger -Suitcase

This song was on their Straight Up album but it’s when they were live it came alive. They have a terrific groove going on and Pete wails on the solo. This was Badfinger live as they ventured out of power pop into a jam band. The live version of the band is much different than the studio version.

This song was going to be the B side to Name of the Game issued as a single but Apple never released it. The song has a power pop base but with hard electric on top and it changes the dynmaic of it.

Making the Straight Up album was no easy task. They started off with Geoff Emerick (he produced their last album and engineered several Beatle albums) producing them. The songs were rejected by the Apple’s head of US operations Allan Steckler. George Harrison thought a lot of Badfinger, especially Pete Ham and wanted Name of the Game to be released as a single before the album.  George then started to produce the band himself. He worked with them and they started to make progress. He played slide with Pete on the hit Day After Day and Leon Russell played piano.

They were making great progress but then the  Bangladesh concert came up and George was distracted. He handed off the producing to Todd Rundgren. The band and Rundgren didn’t mix well but he finished producing it in two weeks. The members were much happier with George who actually listened to their ideas.

It was a great album but one of the complaints from the band was it lost a lot of rawness and energy after Rundgren mixed it.

Going through three producers…it’s a wonder it’s as good as it is.

The Studio version is the second video but I would reccomend the live version…and I don’t do that a lot.

Suitcase

Suitcase, suitcase, follow me ’round
Bootlace, bootlace, tie me down
Money for fun, yeah, golden crown
It’s all inside a game we’ve been playing for so long

Driver, driver, go too fast
Miser, miser, make it last
Pusher, pusher, on the run
It’s all inside a game we’ve been playing for so long

And I’m sorry to be leavin’
Yeah, that’s all I get to say
‘Cause I’m sorry to be leavin’ today

[guitar solo (Pete Ham)]

Well I’m sorry to be leavin’
But that’s all I get to say
‘Cause I’m sorry to be leaving today

(Driver drive)

Driver, driver, go too fast
Miser, miser, make it last
Pusher, pusher, on the run
It’s all inside a game we’ve been playing so long

So long

Badfinger – Baby Blue

This is my ninth song pick for Hanspostcard’s song draft. Badfinger’s Baby Blue.

The holy trinity of power pop for me are…Badfinger, Big Star, and The Raspberries…those were the 70s  pioneers. Badfinger was the most successful out of the three…hit wise anyway. You can hear later bands like Cheap Trick, The Posies, Teenage Fanclub, Matthew Sweet,  and even KISS get something from each three.

My love for this song is so over the top. Baby Blue, to these ears, is the perfect power pop song. It has the right combination of the hard British crunch and pop with an irresistible guitar riff. Lets talk about that guitar riff. I know there are other good rock riffs but the perfection in this one is sensational. He plays a variant of it through the song always changing plus a walk down or two. Nothing is purely defined and that is just pure brilliance. The solo is simple but fits perfectly. No nuance in this song is wasted…it was in there for the good of the song…not meant to be flashy.

It’s a hook here, a hook there, and a hook everywhere…and…I’ve been hooked since I first heard it. Everything blends. Even the ending is perfect. On top of that it was produced by a power pop guy Todd Rundgren.

You can hear a young Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick listening and learning from this.

I had gone through Han’s entire album draft without mentioning my name sake…Badfinger…I’m here to rectify that now. I learned about Badfinger as a wee young kid who thought “Come and Get It” was a long lost Beatle song. I found out more about them and bought the album Straight Up. I liked many of their album cuts more than their hits.

As they went along they started to move away from the power pop genre because of the too close Beatle connection. During live performances they sorta became a jam band. Later on they made some excellent albums that no one heard because of a manager who would make Allen Klein (Satan, snake, etc) look good. Arguably the most tragic story in rock and roll…but that is for another day. We are looking now at Badfinger in 1972 before the rug got pulled out from underneath them.

A year ago or so I posted a ranking of my favorite power pop songs. This one was at the top of my list before I wrote it, during the process of writing it, and is still at the top. The others have changed places depending on my mood but not this one.

The song peaked at #14 in the Billboard 100 in 1972. The “Dixie” in the song was Pete Ham’s ex-girlfriend, Dixie Armstrong whom he’d met during the band’s US tour of 1971. Dixie was from Wichita Kansas (thanks run-sew-read).

The song was revitalized again in the great show Breaking Bad. I’m happy that Breaking Bad showcased this song so that another generation knows the song and hopefully that will lead more people to learn about Badfinger. After the show’s finale with this song…the song entered the charts again.

*** Here is the clip from Breaking Bad…but warning…it has a major spoiler for those who haven’t watched it.

Or you can watch them below that with an awkwardly cool Kenny Rogers introducing them. The music is not live but the vocals are…they are playing to a backing track…but listen to those live voices….although they are mic’d up so they are probably playing low along with the backing track.

Baby Blue

Guess I got what I deserved
Kept you waiting there too long, my love
All that time without a word
Didn’t know you’d think that I’d forget or I’d regret
The special love I had for you, my baby blue

All the days became so long
Did you really think, I’d do you wrong?
Dixie, when I let you go
Thought you’d realize that I would know
I would show the special love I have for you, my baby blue

What can I do, what can I say
Except I want you by my side
How can I show you, show me the way
Don’t you know the times I’ve tried?

guitar solo

Guess that’s all I have to say
Except the feeling just grows stronger every day
Just one thing before I go
Take good care, baby, let me know, let it grow
The special love you have for me, my Dixie, dear.

Jam – In The City

As with the Buzzcocks…I had friends with Jam albums and that is how I found out about them.

This was their first single and introduction to the Jam and singer/guitarist and Jam songwriter Paul Weller. Weller wrote this song and borrowed the title from a Who single I’m A Boy with the B side In The City.

It was released in 1977 and peaked at #40 inn the UK Charts. This was their first Top 40 single and the beginning of their streak of 18 consecutive Top 40 singles. The single came off the album of the same name. The album peaked at #20 in 1977.

The song’s opening bassline re-appeared a few months later on the Sex Pistols’ single “Holidays in The Sun.” Weller had a fight with Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious in the Speakeasy Club over stealing the riff.

Paul Weller: “We had a different sort of birth to a lot of the bands, our contemporaries of that time. Because we’d been playing for five years – pubs and working men’s clubs and anywhere that would have us really. I’d been plating since I was 14, sort of semi-pro if you like. So I never got the thing about not turning your guitar.”

“I wrote this after I’d seen the Pistols and The Clash and I was obviously into my Who phrase. I just wanted to capture some of that excitement.” “It was a big tune for us. We’d open our set with it, we’d probably play it at the end and if we could get an encore, we’d play it again. The reaction it got from the audience, we knew it was a big tune.”

“I’m not sure about some of the lyrics in … I was 17, 18 man. But it was a good youth anthem, I thought.”

From Songfacts

While only a minor hit on the charts, this mod/punk number is well remembered for serving as England’s first introduction to singer/guitarist and Jam songwriter Paul Weller. The song’s #40 chart position when the song was first released marked the beginning of his band’s streak of 18 consecutive Top 40 singles. After their breakup in 1982, Weller would continue to notch up chart entries well into the 21st century firstly with Style Council, then under his own name.

Weller was only 18 when he penned this celebration of youth in the big city. He recalled writing this song to Q magazine April 2011: “It was the sound of young Woking, if not London, a song about trying to break out of suburbia. As far as we were concerned, the city was where it was all happening; the clubs, the gigs, the music, the music. I was probably 18, so it was a young man’s song, a suburbanite dreaming of the delights of London and the excitement of the city. It was an exciting time to be alive. London was coming out of its post-hippy days and there was a new generation taking over. The song captured that wide-eyed innocence of coming out of a very small community and entering a wider world, seeing all the bands, meeting people, going to the clubs, and the freedom that it held.”

The single has the particular distinction of reaching the UK Top 50 on four different occasions. The song originally peaked at #40, then when “Going Underground” became the group’s first #1 single three years later, Polydor decided to re-issue all nine of the group’s prior singles and “City” was the only one to make the Top 40 again, peaking at #40 for a second time. After the group’s breakup at the end of 1982, the record company re-issued every single of the band’s career in early 1983 and this time “City” peaked at #47. Finally, in May 2002, Polydor decided to commemorate the 25th anniversary of The Jam by re-releasing their debut single in its original packaging, in its original 7″ vinyl record format, and at its original price of 75 pence. The limited pressing sold out immediately, this time peaking at #36, higher than it ever did in its original release and two subsequent reissues.

In The City

In the city there’s a thousand things I want to say to you
But whenever I approach you, you make me look a fool
I want to say, I want to tell you
About the young ideas
But you turn them into fears

In the city there’s a thousand faces all shining bright
And those golden faces are under 25
They want to say, they gonna tell ya
About the young idea
You better listen now you’ve said your bit-a

And I know what you’re thinking
You still think I am crap
But you’d better listen man
Because the kids know where it’s at

In the city there’s a thousand men in uniforms
And I’ve heard they now have the right to kill a man
We want to say, we gonna tell ya
About the young idea
And if it don’t work, at least we said we’ve tried

In the city, in the city
In the city there’s a thousand things I want to say to you

Buzzcocks – Harmony In My Head

Happy Monday everyone! Everything that I’ve heard by them is loud, catchy, aggressive, and with a power pop hook. I listened to the Buzzcocks in the 80s with some friends that owned some imports. I hoped they would break in America but never did.

The Buzzcocks crossed pop with punk. The Go-Go’s have said they were a huge influence. Jane Wiedlin said: “our favorite band, the band that we always tried to emulate was the Buzzcocks, who had that great pop song done in a punky style.”

Grunge bands admired the Buzzcocks also. Pearl Jam  invited the band to open US shows for them in 2003, including the Buzzcocks’ first ever appearance at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Nirvana invited them to open dates on their last ever European tour, in early 1994.

Steve Diggle wrote this song and did the lead vocals on it. He said the “harmony” in the song is the sound of the crowd when they played.

To get the right sound for the song, Diggle smoked 20 cigarettes to get the gruff sound of the vocals. The song peaked at #32 in the UK charts in 1979. The song was just released as a single not an album.

They released 3 albums, 6 non-album singles, and broke up in 1981 after a dispute with their record company. They reunited in 1989 and released 6 more albums. Pete Shelley continued to play with the band until his death of a heart attack in 2018. The band still continues to tour with Diggle.

Steve Diggle: “I was reading James Joyce’s Ulysses, which is a heavy book but it had a lot of cinematic imagery – so ‘Harmony’ wasn’t a linear story like pop songs are. The Arndale Centre had just been built and it gave me a real sense of alienation. I wanted to walk down the street and hear the percolation of the crowds – that was the ‘harmony.’ Life was never going to be sweet and nice and it’s not always doom and gloom. The ‘Harmony In My Head’ was the sound of the crowd. That’s how real life is.”

From Songfacts

When Buzzcocks played their first concert, Steve Diggle was their bassist, but founding frontman Howard Devoto’s departure prompted the band to reshuffle, with Pete Shelley becoming lead vocalist/guitarist and Diggle moving from bass to guitar and co-vocalist.

Diggle also had a few early co-writing credits and contributed chords and choruses to “Promises” shortly after Pete Shelley’s “Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve).” “Harmony In My Head,” which reached #32 in the UK, is probably Diggle’s best known song.

 Engineer Alan Winstanley recalled to Uncut: “‘Harmony’ is interesting as it’s the only one Steve Diggle sings – it doesn’t have that Pete Shelley sweetness – but when he comes in on the chorus it really changes it. Then off Steve goes again with his growly voice.”

Released as a standalone single on July 13, 1979, the song spent six weeks on the UK singles chart, peaking at #32.

Harmony In My Head

Whenever I’m in doubt about things I do
I listen to the high street wailing sounds in a queue
Go out for my walking sailing social news
Don’t let it get me down I’m long in the tooth

When I’m out in the open clattering shoppers around
Neon signs that take your eyes to town
Your thoughts are chosen your world is advertising now
And extravagance matters to worshipers of the pound

But it’s a harmony in my head
It’s a harmony in my head

The tortured faces expression out aloud
And life’s little ironies seem so obvious now
Your cashed in cheques have placed the payments down
And there’s a line of buses all wait to take you out

But it’s a harmony in my head
It’s a harmony in my head
It’s a

It’s a harmony in my head
It’s a harmony in my head
It’s a harmony in my head
It’s a harmony in my head

Whenever I’m in doubt about things I do
I listen to the high street wailing sounds in a queue
I go out for my walking sailing social news
Don’t let it get me down I’m long in the tooth

‘Cause it’s a harmony in my head
It’s a harmony in my head
It’s a harmony in my head
It’s a harmony in my head

In my head, in my head

Big Star – Kanga Roo

This album was quite different than the other two Big Star albums. This song has a wonderful melody but it sounds like the world is collapsing around him when he sings it.

This song was on their 3rd album “Third/Sisters Lovers.” By this time the bands founder Chris Bell had been gone since the debut album was released and bassist Andy Hummel quit after their second album Radio City. There were only two original members on the album…Alex Chilton and drummer Jody Stephens. This album sometimes has been looked at as an Alex Chilton solo album…Jody did contribute a song and brought in a string section that was used in other songs.

They used different Memphis musicians on the album. Alex was dating Lesa Aldridge (who would go on to form a punk band calle The Klitz) and she helped with the album also.

Jim Dickinson produced this album and he got close to Chilton and encouraged him to try new things. Alex sometimes cut tracks late at night, then presented them to Jim the following day. After the two had been discussing the producer’s role, Alex showed up with “Like St. Joan,” possibly referencing the martyred Joan of Arc, which morphed into “Kanga Roo.”

Jim jumped into action, adding electric guitar feedback, strings via a Mellotron, and his own amateurish drums—since Jody wasn’t there that day—including a very loud cowbell. Inspired, Alex grabbed a drumstick to use as a bow on his Strat, creating an eerie sound. Effects were added to Alex’s drowsy vocals, which presumably related the story of his and Lesa’s love affair:

Jim Dickinson: “Alex came in one morning and he had this little evil grin on his face,” “He said, ‘Lesa and I cut something last night I want you to hear.’ Okay, so he plays me ‘Like a Kangaroo’ [its second title], which is acoustic twelve-string and vocal on one track [making it difficult to separate the sounds]. I said, ‘Yeah, Alex, what do you hear on that?’ And with the evil grin, he says, ‘Well, why don’t you produce it, Mr. Producer?’” “I first saw you, you had on blue jeans / Your eyes couldn’t hide anything . . . Thought you were a queen, oh so flirty.” Alex later said of the lyrics that he was spewing things out loud, just song after song. . . . The whole process was kind of automatic, free association.” “I think of Alex as a collaborator. He allowed me to collaborate with him.

Kanga Roo

I first saw you
You had on blue jeans
Your eyes couldn’t hide anything
I saw you breathing, oh
I saw you staring out in space

I next saw you
You was at the party
Thought you was a queen
Oh so flirty
I came against

Didn’t say excuse
Knew what I was doing
We looked very fine
‘Cause we were leaving

Like Saint Joan
Doing a cool jerk
Oh, I want you
Like a kanga roo

Watermelon Men – Seven Years

For everyone that follows me on the weekend…I’m working on a home project and I will only post one Twilight Zone each day with no music posts this weekend. Have a great weekend. 

This song was released in 1985 on the Watermelon’s album Past, Present and Future.

The Watermelon Men were a Swedish five piece band that were around from the mid Eighties up till 1994. They had quite a following in Sweden, Germany, England, among other places.

The band is still popular over ten years after they ceased. They are praised in power pop circles in Europe. They were mostly known for garage rock and brought good melodies with jangly guitars in a lot of their music.

When they were together they released three albums, an Ep, and three singles. One album remains unreleased…it’s up in the air on if it will come out.

The guitar player Imre von Polgar died in the tsunami disaster in Khao Lak in 2004. Shortly after, the band reformed for a one time show in his memory.

Seven Years

If the man can’t choose which way to go
If the girl don’t know where she belongs
Then you’re apt to say all the love can’t kill the pain
Till they meet, he’ll be a traveling man
When his hope was buried in the ground
In tears she left her man behind
The you’re apt to think seven years has passed today
Till they meet, she’ll dream her life away

You won’t feel, you’ll meet her someday
And in his arms, she’ll always stay
But it’s the story
No one ever fades

In surprise they think
When they both run from themselves
Till they meet, the story has no end

You won’t see, you’ll meet her someday
And in his arms, she’ll always stay
But it’s the story
No one ever fades

Nikki and the Corvettes – He’s A Mover

Great way to start a morning listening to this 60s influenced guitar riff. It’s a pure joy power pop song.

Nikki was influenced by The Stooges and the MC5 in her teen years, before a friend pushed her on stage in the Detroit punk scene in 1978.  Nikki and The Corvettes formed and recorded their self-titled and only studio album in the late ‘70s in Detroit. It was released in 1980 by Bomp! Bomp! records. This song was on that self-titled album.

The album they released influenced many starting bands in the years to follow. Nikki didn’t realize this until it was reissued in 2000. The band was short lived. They were only together from 1978-1981. Nikki returned to music in 2003 with Nikki and the Stingrays. They released an album called  Back to Detroit.

In 2009 she formed a band called Gorevette and they opened up for Blondie and the Donna’s at a few shows.

nikki corvette on Tumblr

Sorry I couldn’t find the lyrics…Just enjoy the song!

Emitt Rhodes – Long Time No See…. Power Pop Friday

It’s a shame this guy didn’t get the recognition he should have. He was obviously influenced by the Beatles and Paul McCartney especially.

Emitt was turned down by A&M Records so he built a studio in his parents garage. Rhodes recorded his first album (Emitt Rhodes) in that studio. ABC/Dunhill Records signed him and they released his album as well as the next three albums he recorded.

He played all the instruments himself and recorded on a four track tape machine. ABC/Dunhill then transferred the tapes to 8 track and Emitt redone all of his vocals.

This song is on his debut album Emitt Rhodes and every song is quality. The first single Fresh as a Daisy peaked at #54 in the Billboard 100 while his album Emitt Rhodes peaked at #29 in 1970.

The album was a critical success – Billboard called Rhodes “one of the finest artists on the music scene today” and later called his first album one of the “best albums of the decade“.

Unfortunately Emitt passed away in 2020 in his sleep.

From Wiki: Italian director Cosimo Messeri shot a documentary movie about Emitt Rhodes’s vicissitudes: life, past, present, troubles and hopes. The movie, titled The One Man Beatles, was selected for the International Rome Film Festival 2009, and it received standing ovations. In 2010 The One Man Beatles was nominated for David di Donatello Award as Best Documentary of 2010. Its US premiere screening was scheduled for May 29, 2010, at the Rhino Records Pop Up Store in Westwood, California.

Long Time No See

It’s been a long time, I remember you well
It’s been a long time no see, where you been keeping yourself?

You’ve been staying all alone when you should be playing
Been feeling all alone when you should be praying
It’s been a long time no see.

It’s been a rough road to ride, says the sun in the West
It’s been hard but I get by with a moment to rest.

Been thinking all the time that things will get better
And living all alone can’t make me much sadder
It’s been hard but I’ll get by.

Oh oh oh oh, yeah
Oooh…

It’s been a long time, I remember you well
It’s been a long time no see, where you been keeping yourself?

You’ve been staying all alone when you should be playing
Been feeling all alone when you should be praying
It’s been a long time no see.

Oh oh oh oh, yeah
Oooh…

Oh oh oh oh, yeah
Oooh…

Oh oh oh oh, yeah
Oooh…