Song Lyric Sunday: This One’s For John Peel

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday from Jim Adams is
Communication, Information, News, Telephone
.
The song must contain a reference to the prompt in the title or the lyrics.
If the song does not meet these criteria, please explain why you chose it


Teenage Kicks was the debut single by The Undertones, a Northern Irish punk band. Released in 1978, the song made the giddy heights of number 31 on the UK charts. Despite the best efforts of John Peel, who said of the song: It doesn’t get much better than this! And requested a line from it be inscribed on his gravestone.

John Peel was a British DJ and a law unto himself: If he liked your music, he played it. Sometimes twice in a row, as he did with Teenage Kicks. He played any genre and didn’t care if you’d recorded it in your mum’s bathroom or a professional studio. An attitude borne out by the legendary Peel Sessions: Where bands recorded and mixed their songs in a day, giving the music a raw edge.

You may wonder why I’m banging on about a guy who half the planet has never heard of, but bear with me on this one. Peel’s eclectic playlists opened generations of young British ears to music beyond the mainstream. And he was a godsend to unsigned acts. Having your demo played on his show bought you a step closer to landing a record deal.

Such was Peel’s appeal (sorry), most Brits over thirty can tell you where they were when they heard the news he’d died. My husband was doing a course in Totnes at the time. The announcement came over the radio, and everyone, bar two people, stopped what they were doing and stared at each other in shock and disbelief.

The two guys who hadn’t clocked the gravity of the news are excused because one was a Yank and the other a Canuck. And bless them, they thought the British reserve was crumbling because the Queen had died.

But back to the song. It mentions the word telephone and combines an infectious guitar hook with adolescent angst and heartbreak. Has the mating call of the greater-spotted teenager ever been bettered?

Are teenage dreams so hard to beat?
Every time she walks down the street
Another girl in the neighbourhood
Wish she was mine, she looks so good

I wanna hold her wanna hold her tight
Get teenage kicks right through the night

I’m gonna call her on the telephone
Have her over ‘cos I’m all alone
I need excitement oh I need it bad
And it’s the best, I’ve ever had

I wanna hold her wanna hold her tight
Get teenage kicks right through the night, all right

Are teenage dreams so hard to beat?
Every time she walks down the street
Another girl in the neighbourhood
Wish she was mine, she looks so good

I wanna hold her wanna hold her tight
Get teenage kicks right through the night

I’m gonna call her on the telephone
Have her over ‘cos I’m all alone
I need excitement oh I need it bad
And it’s the best, I’ve ever had

I wanna hold her wanna hold her tight
Get teenage kicks right through the night, all right

I wanna hold her wanna hold her tight
Get teenage kicks right through the night, all right

Songwriter(s): John O Neill
© West Bank Songs Ltd.

John Peel (30 August 1939 – 25 October 2004)

Song Lyric Sunday: They Come From Another World

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday from Jim Adams is
Heavenly Bodies, Planets, Moon, Sun, Stars
.
The song must contain a reference to the prompt in the title or the lyrics.
If the song does not meet these criteria, please explain why you chose it


My choice today is Flying Saucer Attack byThe Rezillos. A band renowned for providing campy adrenaline rides of punky new wave entertainment. This song was a B-side on their 1977 single (My Baby Does) Good Sculptures.

I won’t bang on about the theme of the song: the title gives it away. But I would like to make a special mention of the group’s lead singer, Fay Fife.

She often dressed like Fred Flintsone’s crazy cousin (in this clip, she is sporting a rather lurid beat-girl look), but my word, she had energy.

So I can only suppose the audience in this 1978 German TV programme were all under heavy sedation. Or maybe they suffered an Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

There’s a threat approaching from the stars
All the horrors from Venus and Mars
Everybody better be on guard
When the Flying Saucers land

Watch the skies above the horizon
For the spies who have no flies on
When they appear through the stratosphere
Better lock yourself inside

Flying Saucer Attack
I’m never coming back
Oh, oh, oh
Until it’s over

Laser beams and gamma projectors
There’ll be nothing on earth to protect us
When they arrive out of the sky
They’ll be frying us alive

Call out the Army and United Nations
Alert the Police and Airforce Stations
Tell everybody to run and hide
Because the end is near at hand

Flying Saucer Attack
I’m never coming back
Oh, oh, oh
Until it’s over

There’s a threat approaching from the stars
All the horrors from Venus and Mars
Everybody better be on guard
When the Flying Saucers land

Watch the skies above the horizon
For the spies who have no flies on
When they appear through the stratosphere
Better lock yourself inside

Flying Saucer Attack
I’m never coming back
Oh, oh, oh
Until it’s over

Oh, oh, oh
Until it’s over
Oh, oh, oh
Until it’s over

Songwriters: Jo Callis (aka as Luke Warm)
© 2021 Warner Music Group – X5 Music Group

Song Lyric Sunday: Safe Sex Doesn’t Mean No Sex!

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday from Jim Adams is
songs where somebody is having sex or talking about it
.
The song must contain a reference to this prompt in the title or the lyrics.
If the song does not meet these criteria, please explain why you chose it.


Here is a frisky little number from Billy Bragg, the Bard of Barking. He is a British singer-songwriter who combines folk, punk and protest with political or romantic themes. Sometimes both.

His early music is raw and stripped back to him and an electric guitar, but today’s track is full-on band stuff with the wonderful Kirsty MacColl providing backing vocals.

Sexuality is from his 1991 studio album Don’t Try This at Home. And is about the joy of consensual sex with whoever takes your fancy, no matter what they have in their pants. It’s not encouraging promiscuity, but trying to kick over repressive conceptions about who is an “ideal” partner.

I saw Billy Bragg in concert back in 1991. Yes, I am that old! But memory doesn’t escape me: the gig was a gas. Hard to pick a favourite moment, but Billy’s encore with Groove is in the Heart by Deee-Lite was a delight.

As well as the relief we all felt when he announced that (Everything I Do) I Do it For You by Bryan Adams had been knocked off the number one spot after sixteen weeks. Unfortunately, not by Billy Bragg, Sexuality only made it to number twenty-seven.

You can’t have everything, but you can have the video complete with nineties fashions and Kirsty making rude gestures behind Billy’s back.

I’ve had relations with girls from many nations
I’ve made passes at women of all classes
And just because you’re gay I won’t turn you away
If you stick around I’m sure that we can find some common-ground

Sexuality, strong and warm and wild and free
Sexuality, your laws do not apply to me

A nuclear submarine sinks off the coast of Sweden
Headlines give me headaches when I read them
I had an uncle who once played for Red Star Belgrade
He said some things are really best left unspoken
But I prefer it all to be out in the open

Sexuality, young and warm and wild and free
Sexuality, your laws do not apply to me
Sexuality, don’t threaten me with misery
Sexuality, I demand equality

I’m sure that everybody knows how much my body hates me
It lets me down most every time and makes me rash and hasty
I feel a total jerk before your naked body of work

I’m getting weighed down with all this information
Safe sex doesn’t mean no sex it just means use your imagination
Stop playing with yourselves in hard currency hotels
I look like Robert De Niro, I drive a Mitsubishi Zero

Sexuality, strong and warm and wild and free
Sexuality, your laws do not apply to me
Sexuality, come eat and drink and sleep with me
Sexuality, we can be what we want to be

Songwriters: Billy Bragg / Johnny Marr
© Warner Chappell Music, Inc

Song Lyric Sunday: Will You Do the Fandango?

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday from Jim Adams is Other, That, This.
The song must contain a reference to the prompts in the title or the lyrics.
If the song does not meet these criteria, please explain why you chose it.


Clickbait warning: today’s choice is not Bohemian Rhapsody (even though it does contain the word this).

Jim has dedicated this week’s Song Lyric Sunday to the one and only Fandango of This, That and the Other blogging fame. (BTW Happy Non-Birthday!).

There is only one song for this auspicious day, and it’s a belter by Aretha Franklin. It mentions all three prompt words, and like Fandango’s blogs, it makes you think!

Over to Aretha and The Blues Brothers… (Good luck keeping up and apologies for my transcription going a bit doolally at the end).

You better think (think)
Think about what you’re trying to do to me
Yeah think (think, think)
Let your mind go, let yourself be free

Let’s go back, let’s go back
Let’s go way on back when
I didn’t even know you
You couldn’t have been too much more than ten
I ain’t no psychiatrist
I ain’t no doctor with a degree
It don’t take too much IQ
To see what you’re doing to me

You better think (think)
Think about what you’re trying to do to me
Yeah think (think, think)
Let your mind go, let yourself be free

Oh freedom (freedom)
Freedom (freedom)
Freedom, yeah freedom

Freedom (freedom)
Freedom (freedom)
Freedom, oh freedom

Hey, think about it!
You, think about it!

There ain’t nothing you could ask
I could answer you but I won’t (I won’t)
I was gonna change but I’m not
To keep doing things I don’t (don’t)
Hey (think), think about what you’re trying to do to me (what you trying to do)
Baby, think, let your mind go, let yourself be free

People walking around every day
Playing games that they can score
Trying to make other people lose their minds
Well be careful you don’t lose yours

Yeah think (think)
Think about what you’re trying to do to me
Yeah, yeah-yeah yeah (think, think)
Let your mind go, let yourself be free

You need me (need me)
And I need you (don’t you know)
Without each other
There ain’t nothing people can do
Yeah yeah, think about me (what you’re trying to do to me)
‘Till the fall of the night
Think about it right now

Oh freedom (freedom)
Freedom (freedom)
Freedom, yeah freedom

Freedom (freedom)
Freedom (freedom)
Freedom, freedom!

Hey! You, think about it!
There ain’t nothing you could ask
I could answer you but I won’t (I won’t)
I was gonna change but I’m not
If you keep doing things I don’t

Yeah think (think)
Think about what you’re trying to do to me (what you’re trying to do)
Baby, think, let your mind go, let yourself be free
You need me (need me)
And I need you (don’t you know)
Without each other
There ain’t nothing people can do

Yeah yeah, think about me (what you’re trying to do to me)
‘Till the fall of the night
Think about it baby
Yeah ah-ah-ah (think about) (forgive me)
Forgive me (think about)(forgive me)
Yeah ah (think about) (forgive me) (think about)
Baby (think about) (forgive me)
Right now! (Think about) (forgive me)
Think about yeah, yeah, yeah
(Think about) yeah (forgive me) (think about) (forgive me)
(Think about) (forgive me)
Think about (think about)
Think about (think about) (forgive me)
This evening (think about) (forgive me)
This evening (think about) (forgive me)
Don’t [?] The Blues Brothers hey!
You had better stop and think before you think
Think!

Songwriters: Aretha Franklin / Ted White
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Springtime Music Inc

Song Lyric Sunday: This Green and Pleasant Land

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday from Jim Adams is
Delightful, Pleasant, Sweet.
The song must contain a reference to the prompts in the title or the lyrics.
If the song does not meet these criteria, please explain why you chose it.


My choice this week is a little odd, and couldn’t be more British if it were drinking tea whilst patiently standing in a queue, making polite small talk about the weather.

And it’s all the fault of Aztec Camera. There I was all geared up to waffle on about Good Morning Britain, a jolly protest song from 1990. But I got side-tracked and did a complete 180 because now I’m in celebratory mode with a paean to Perfidious Albion.

As a rule, Brits don’t go in for overt displays of national pride. We only wave the Union Jack around if the Queen comes to town or at the Last Night of The Proms. But when we loosen our corsets of inhibition, we know how to belt out a rousing patriotic song or two.

If you’ve never seen the Last Night of the Proms, you are in for a sabre-rattling, tub-thumping blast of jingoistic pride. Usually incorporating Land of Hope and Glory, Rule Britannia and Britain’s unofficial anthem, Jerusalem. Sorry, Your Majesty, but God Save the Queen (trad not Sex Pistols) is an absolute dirge of a song.

But Jerusalem is a thing of beauty, marrying William Blake’s poem And Did Those Feet in Ancient Time with music by Herbert Parry. The analysis of the themes and biblical imagery, although fascinating, would take forever to describe. You can read more about that HERE.

You don’t have to be British or religious to appreciate this ode to creating “heaven” on earth. Because this is a song of hope and unity: only together can we strive to build a better society.

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold:
Bring me my arrows of desire:
Bring me my spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire.

I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.

P.S. If you were wondering about the link between Jerusalem and Good Morning Britain: they both have the line green and pleasant land in the lyrics.