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And he used to be such a nice, quiet boy

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5 of the Best Rock Intros Ever

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In a world where we all have the attention span of a retarded gnat you have to hook us into a song pretty quickly to get us to listen to it. In the late 70s this reached it’s apex with such rock and roll opuses as Bohemian Rhapsody and Bat out of Hell. By the eighties this patience was lost as the world embraced cheesy pop and shoulder-pads.

But here are five of the best songs with intros that just blow you away.

To kick off we have Dire Straits and the spectacular drum solo by ‘Pick’ Withers which takes us by the hand and leads us by the hand into the electric guitar riffs of ‘Money for Nothing’. It works pretty darn well.

They are still around, doing their thing as the elder statesmen of rock.

By 1987 rock was very much on the back-burner as pop and electronic music found it’s feet. The new teenagers wanted something from their generations. The old rockers of the 70s were not all grown up and had plenty of other things to spend their time and money on.

But then a new rock band from Los Angeles blew everything else out of the water. It isn’t hard so see what gave Guns n’ Roses the X factor (sorry to use that term). They did everything previous rock bands have always done. They just did it much much better, bigger and longer. And their lead guitarist, a big ball of hair from Stoke, UK, produced one of the best opening riffs in the whole universe. Do it, Slash.

Of course I am using the original video, not the recent over-dressed version from the Leeds festival last summer. The one with Axl Rose and a few guys PRETENDING to be Guns n’ Roses. Don’t get me started on that, seriously now.

When surveying this post on twitter a friend recommended Cannonball by the Breeders. I had never heard of them, but when I saw the video it all became clear. This tune has been used many times and seems to be a favourite of various review programmes for their montages. So in it goes at number three.

The Breeders got their break opening gigs for Steppenwolf and hit their apex during the mid eighties. They are still around, doing their thing and hosting wild parties here and there.

The second best intro has to go to The Who’s 5.15. Why? Well it really wants me to go out and steal a moped. These boys are the kings of the mods and long may they reign. Their music provided the soundtrack to the film Quadrophenia and stamped their name on music culture. Give it some of this:

But of all the rockers there was one who had the voice to blow the rest away. His timeless rock anthems inspired generations of rockers, and looks set to stay with us always. Let’s just not talk about the shit acting career. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Meatloaf:

If all this is most definitely your cup of Jack Daniels, then I recommend you check out The Little Blackhearts who have just released their new video Rebecca.

www.thelittleblackhearts.com

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Written by Nick Gilmartin

January 22, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Get a taste of the Hotpots

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It isn’t often you see people in flat caps outside a pub in Nuneaton in this day and age.  To wear one outside The Crew bar may be perceived as looking for a good kicking.

But, in honour of Lancashire’ finest folk band, the good people of Nuneaton  made an exception.

The Lancashire Hotpots are a modern day folk band who have been gaining a steady following all over north and central England.  Their upbeat, sing-a-long tunes deal with modern issues, such as Chavs, Emo types, Ikea, chips, and myspace.

They are also fiercely proud of their heritage, talking the talk and dressing like tinkers.  They came with a following of about a dozen, all dressed the part.  But what did the people of Nuneaton think of them?

Although a bit wary at first, and unsure of the accent, they soon got into the spirit of the evening, which was just to have fun, dance and sing along.  Soon they were dancing, conga-ing and joining in like honorary Lancastrians.

The Lancashire Hotpots are Bernard Thresher, Bob Wriggles, Dickie Ticker, Billy McCartney (“The only thing to come out of Merseyside that’s working”), and Kenny Body.  A founder member, Willie Eckerslike, passed away in May, aged only 38.

They were formed in December 2006 in Saint Helens, Lancashire.  They soon became favourites on local radio and played several open-air festivals.  In later years they featured on Colin Murray’s show on Radio One.

Their latest album, Criminal Record, is due for release later this year.

http://www.myspace.com/thelancashirehotpots

Copyright Nick Gilmartin 2010

Written by Nick Gilmartin

August 27, 2010 at 9:24 pm

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The Courtesans Await You

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The Courtisans title

The cover of the eagerly awaited EP

For those of you who have done nothing but sit in the house and complain about X Factor acts I have a well thought out subtle message… GET A LIFE!

Go out and see a proper band in a proper club with proper people, not people who added you on Twitter.

Currently touring the weird and wonderful emporiums of London town are a band unlike any you shall ever see, fronted by an international horror movie star no less.

Eileen Daly is more comfortable in front of a microphone than a crucifix these days but her dark and dangerous undertones are rarely far from the surface.

So here we have their new music video.  Roll VT, Bob:

The Courtesans are (in their words) a “Gypsy Glam, with dark tales in waltz-time with deadly swing beats”.  What they mean by that is known only to themselves but to unlock their secrets you will have to go and see them perform live.  I was curious about this mysterious band so I put a few questions to them..

I’ve never heard a band that sounds quite like you.  From where do you take your influence?

We describe ourselves as a gypsy glam rock and roll band with dark

tales in waltztime, deadly swingbeats, tangos and arabesque stomps-and

that’s only half the story.  Our influences are many and varied, but

tend to be the more theatrical type of band or performer such as Kate

Bush, The Sex Pistols, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, The

Cramps, Simon Warner, Queen.  That said we are in no way a retro band, and

have no interest in copying the sound or style of other bands or

eras, and like to think we have an identifiable character, which, like

Marmite, you’ll either love or hate!

Describe your ideal crowd or following?

Young, old, loyal. international people who still think it’s worth

buying a cd or record and paying for a ticket to see their favourite

band.

The Courtisans 2

How does Bob Marley like his doughnuts? Wi' Jammin'

Is the X Factor the work of Satan?

I think Satan has better taste.  More likely the work of Mammon.  This

show and its multi-headed offspring are pointless, depressing and

destructive.  On the other hand……..

Peckham Rolex,why the name?  Is it a reference to fakery?

The lyrics to Peckham Rolex were written by a very good friend Tom

Gallagher, and in fact refer to the electronic tag issued to felons on

probation the “Peckham Rolex”

Does Aurelio(your bass player) ever get mistaken for Russell Brand?

Although he does bear a passing resemblance, Aurelio is much better

looking.

So if this heady mix of the bizarre and the beautiful is your cup of char you can follow them via their myspace page here:

www.myspace.com/thecourtisans

or their facebook group, here:

facebook.com/group.php?gid=108279592760

Eileen 1

Eyes that could pierce a bank vault and cheekbones that could slit a throat

More on Eileen Daly next year…

Written by Nick Gilmartin

October 27, 2009 at 12:59 am

The Return of A-Ha

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PRZ-001464

80s Legends Aha are back in town

2009 is rapidly turning into the year of reform for the long lost bands of the eighties.

Hot on the heels of Spandau Ballet and Kajagoogoo, A-ha are the latest of a line of bands on the comeback trail.

The three members, Morten Harknet, (singer and all-round pretty boy), Paul Waaktaar-Savoy (guitarist), and Magne Furuholem (keyboards), originally hail from Norway.They moved to London and worked in the studio of musician and producer John Ratcliff for the simple reason that it had a Space Invaders game.  John agreed to co-manage the band along with his partner, Terry Slater.

Why did they call themselves A-ha?  Well it is a common and positive phrase used in many languages.  Right from the off the band had aspirations of being a European band, not just British.

Their major hit song ‘Take on me’ did not spring from the womb fully formed.  It had been an old tune in Norway the Magne often played.  They boys just introduced new lyrics, and a bit of synthesizer magic.  But it was the music video that really secured their success.  Shot in a small market café, and starring Morten and his girlfriend of the time, it used live action mixed with sketch animation.

A-ha were off and running.  Their debut album, Hunting High and Low was released in May 1985 and went straight to the top of the album charts.  It stayed in the top 20 albums for over six months.

The band followed up with their second hit single ‘The Sun Always Shines on TV’, which had even greater success, making it all the way to number one in the singles charts.

About this time the synthesizer pop music they played was starting to go out of fashion and they took the path into alternative rock.  Their second album, Scoundrel Days, received at least polite reviews, they never had quite the same success as they did with their first album.

They also wrote and performed the theme song for the James Bond film ‘The Living Daylights’.

For the next twenty years the lads stayed as thick as thieves while other bands split up all around them.  Some would burn out, others would fizzle and die.  A-ha just kept a steady low flame.  They played gigs and they paid their mortgages, no problem.

In 1994 they performed two concerts during the Winter Olympic games in Lillehammer.  Other, less successful albums were released.  The band took a break and each focussed on personal projects.  Nobody fell out, they just wanted to spread their wings a little.

Aha2

Within a few years the boys got back together and headed straight back into the studio.  By now they had produced eight albums but never repeated the success they had with their first.

The lads released their new album ‘Foot of the Mountain’ in April this year.  This album, number nine, took them back to their synthesizer roots and it entered the German album chart at number #1.

A-ha are due to play the iTunes live festival this July.  Their performance was recorded and is available for download at the iTunes website.

Written by Nick Gilmartin

July 26, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Posted in music

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And you thought Ryanair was bad!

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sonsofmax

They are, but thats not what this is about.

Singer songwriter David Carroll had a fairly awful in flight experience involving the destruction of his beloved Taylor guitar.  Along with his band, the rather good Sons of Maxwell, he took a flight from Chicago to Nebraska.  When he took his seat he looked down at the tarmac, and to his horror the baggage handlers were throwing guitars back and forth with little concern for the contents.  These things retail at around $3500 each so you can imagine his horror.  If the said sorry, here is $3500 for another, the matter would have ended there and then.  But instead they told him to go screw himself.  Dave was amazed and took it to a higher authority.  No deal, there either.

So how could the disgruntled passenger get sweet revenge?  He wrote a rather good song about it.

Here have a listen:

Within days the song was viewed 3.6 million times!  Even more amazing, it wiped a large percentage off the shares of United Airlines literally overnight.  That, boys and girls, is the power of the internet.  Do not screw with a man with a grudge and a PC.

Suddenly the airline bigwigs cracked and they paid up for a new guitar.  But these are the things Joe Public has to do to get taken seriously these days.

To hear the rest of the Sons of Maxwell’s more tranquil songs check out their website at http://www.sonsofmaxwell.com

Written by Nick Gilmartin

July 23, 2009 at 3:50 pm

Michael Jackson 1958 – 2009

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MJ1

It has been confirmed in the last few hours that the king of pop, Michael Jackson, has passed away.  The cause of death is said to be cardiac arrest. Family and friends are flying into Los Angeles to pay respects.

Michael was born in Gary, Indiana in 1958, the youngest of ten children who survived birth.

The original Jackson Five

The original Jackson Five

He started performing aged just 11 as part of the original formatted boy band, the Jackson 5.  By 1969 the family, managed by their father, Joe, had cut a record deal.  They went from strength to strength, pushed by Joe, who was an incredibly hard task master.  In later years the Jacksons would talk openly of violence and abuse at their father’s hands.

MJ3

But in 1979 Michael had his first solo album, and ‘Off the Wall’ was soon riding high in the charts.  He started to develop ground-breaking choreography and perfected his stage presence and innovated the new wave of MTV videos.  But what he did best was sing beautiful songs in the most tremendous falsetto voice, the likes of which have not been heard before or since.

His appearance started to alter dramatically with a rapidly whitening skin and extensive rhinoplasty to the nose.

Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s he broke record sales of his albums, Dangerous and Bad.  Michael had become a music phenomenon.  But behind the scenes Michael had developed strange and unhealthy behaviour.

MJ4

As far back as the early 80s he had developed an affinity with children, at first commendable.  But the problem was that somewhere the boundry of acceptable behaviour became blurred and inevitably the first child abuse scandal broke in 1993.

The family of Jordan Chandler chose to settle out of court for an undisclosed sum.

Meanwhile Michael’s star continued to shine.  He endulged his extravagant behaviour and bought the Neverland ranch, complete with it’s own cinema, zoo and funfair.

He married Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of another musical icon, in 1993.  They had known each other since 1971 and were old sweethearts.  She married him when he was at his lowest ebb and nursed him through his traumatic patch.

Slowly things got better for Michael and he embarked on the HIStory world tour.  ‘You are not Alone’ and ‘Earth Song’ both reached number one in the Gallup charts.

In 1997 ‘Blood on the Dance Floor’ also made it to number one, as part of a new album ‘HIStory remixed.’

But the child sex abuse rumours resurfaced and in 2002 he was again questioned by police.  A well publicised court case followed which  ran a fine tooth comb through his unusual life.  Eventually the court found Michael not guilty on all counts.

To his last  day he did not fit the character profile of a paedophile.  In the company of children he regressed to the mind and personality of a ten year old, according to psychologists who watched him interact.  Did this oscillate between childhood and a fully grown male sexuality?  The answer will never be known.

As well as his singing career Michael became the owner of various song rights, including the Beatles back catalogue.  He also bought out Famous Music LLC, the label that contracted Eminem and Shakira among many others.

He gave charity concerts for the families of the victims of 9/11, and the families of Kosovo.

In spite of success huge legal bills and years of extravagance had left him massively in debt.  Neverland was foreclosed  in 2007.  Early in 2009 some of Michael’s antique possessions were put up for auction.

But Michael was planning his comeback.  He announced he would be playing no less than 50 dates at London’s O2 Arena.  The first ten dates alone would have netted him £50 Million.

Sadly it was not to be.  Michael’s health had been in decline for weeks.  Telephoto pictures of him wrapped in blankets in a wheelchair made their way into the tabloid press.  And in the early hours of this morning the stories were confirmed, he had died of Cardiac Arrest on the way to a Los Angeles medical centre.

He will remain the most prominent performing legends of our generation and one of the biggest selling artists of all time.

Michael Jackson 1958 – 2009.

Written by Nick Gilmartin

June 26, 2009 at 7:00 am

‘Call on Me’ Dancer to return to our screens on 15th June.

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Deanne Berry gets the attention of the class

Deanne Berry gets the attention of the class

The Aerobics Instructor from the ‘Call on Me’ video is returning to our screens on GMTV on 15th June.  Do you need a better reason to get up in the morning?

Way back in 2004 a little known Swedish D.J. released a remix track of an eighties soft rock classic.  He only used one line of the song on a loop with a few fancy backing tracks.  The song was unremarkable but the video… Oh My God.

The cover of the real Aerobics video 'Pump it Up'

The cover of the real Aerobics video 'Pump it Up'

Come and have a look at this:

It was made famous by one thing:  The face and body of the iconic Deanne Berry.  This lady was born in Sydney in 1980 and started out her career as a cheerleader for the Cronulla Sharks.  She later drew up the concept, the moves and the style of the ‘Call on Me’ video to make it sizzle.  She trained an Argentine actor called Juan Pablo de Pace to be the only male in the video.  One of the other girls in the video was Laura Munley who went on to sing for Uniting Nations.  Senor de Pace went on to star in the film Three, rolling around in the surf with Kelly Brook.  Honestly, the jammy bastard.

I really must get back into the gym

I really must get back into the gym

But anyway Deanne Berry is back on our screens on GMTV (ITV1)  15th June to promote the summer Bikini diet for a month.   (Now I am getting excited!)

So here is a few pictures of the lady herself to keep you going until then.  Don’t say I don’t do anything for you.

Deanne Berry 1

Deanne Berry 2

Have a sit down, love.  You have earned it.

Have a sit down, love. You have earned it.

They later made a sequal…

Now I am really spoiling you.  You’re welcome 🙂

Oh thank you God.  Thank you, thank you.

Sources:  Wikipedia, pictures from Loaded, and Google.

Written by Nick Gilmartin

May 29, 2009 at 7:39 am