Posts Tagged ‘Top of the Pops’

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Sunday Girl

05/09/2010

Blondie – Sunday Girl

circa 1979.

"I know a girl from a lonely street, cold as ice cream but still as sweet"

Blondie burst on to the music scene in the late Seventies, their perfectly crafted songs giving them a string of hits. To say I had a crush on Debbie Harry is a bit of an understatement – I was besotted.

Their third album, Parallel Lines, came out in 1978 to critical acclaim. For me though, Blondie will always be a great singles band. Over the course of a few short years, they released classics such as Denis, Hanging On The Telephone, Heart Of Glass, One Way Or Another, Call Me, Atomic and The Tide Is High.

Some time in the early 90s I got back into listening to them for the first time in years. One afternoon an ad came on the TV for a blindness charity, its soundtrack – Blondie’s Picture This, get it? Of course I didn’t make a donation but instead went straight out and bought their Greatest Hits.

In 2000, me and Paul A. got tickets to see Mad For The Racket at Whelans in Dublin. They were a sort of alternative super group consisting of Wayne Kramer (MC5), Mani (Stone Roses), Brian James (Damned), and Blondie’s Clem Burke on drums. They’d just put out an album, unfortunately it was not the sum of its parts. The show was really poorly attended, just me and Paul and a couple of other guys standing around. I felt really bad considering the calibre of talent on show. Turned out we’d walked into the soundcheck – the place filled up within an hour so we watched the set all over again. It was great to see these legends in the flesh even if the music wasn’t brilliant, though their version of Kick Out The Jams lifted the roof off.

Anyway, I will always remember those few weeks back in May 1979. Blondie were at number one with Sunday Girl. Debbie Harry was fucking gorgeous – I was 7 and I was in love.

P.

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Artist: Blondie

Album: Get Parallel Lines to be cool, but you can’t go wrong with the Greatest Hits

Label: Chrysalis

Released: 1979
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Spiral Scratch

05/01/2010

I’ve been set a challenge through work to create a successful blog. Not sure quite what that means but I guess I need to get loads of hits, visits, comments etc.

I’ve never followed or read extensively any blogs, I’m not into connecting with people or much else on the internet apart from a bit of news, online banking and some other stuff that I probably shouldn’t mention here. Oh, and eBay, I buy a lot of stuff on eBay. I guess what I’m driving at is that I don’t know what I’m doing here, so I’m just going to make it up as I go along.

I remember advice I got in a writing class years ago about writing what you know. So what do I know? Well in my humble opinion, quite a bit. I love history, politics, travel, photography, art, books – all the usual stuff people add at the end of their resumés. In truth though, there is only one topic on which I could claim to be an authority enough to write about, and that’s music. Ever since I was young, very very young, I’ve been fascinated by the art, the artifice and the theater of pop and rock.

I grew up in Lucan, one of the many satellite towns around Dublin. It was a fairly picturesque place, more of a village than a town to be honest. Life was pretty idyllic, bike riding, climbing trees, playing football past dark until the auld-one (mother) came looking for me. Seemingly endless summers, you get the idea. It’s a sad reflection really but amidst all this my favorite pastime was watching TV.

TV was great as a kid, Saturday morning cartoons and Swap Shop (look it up). I’d watch all the American imports like the A-Team, Starsky & Hutch and Knight Rider. BUT, the highlight of the week was when the whole Brennan clan – Mam, Dad, brother, sister and I would gather in front of the TV to watch the top 40 chart show Top of the Pops.

This BBC show was vital viewing, it was a kind of portal into a technicolor, parallel world of the rich and famous. It featured singers and groups of the day lip syncing to their latest hit in front of an adoring studio audience. When an artist couldn’t make it to the studio, dancers would fill in and later video took over. Amongst the saccharine pop hits the occasional gem would come along, David Bowie, The Smiths and the Sex Pistols all appeared over the years. The Clash stayed away because the show was too commercial. Wankers!

“Beelzebub has the devil put aside for me, for me, for meeeeeee!”

Top of the Pops features prominently in one of my earliest memories. By Christmas 1975, Queen had been at the number one slot for a record nine weeks with Bohemian Rhapsody. Week after week the video, featuring the group’s disembodied heads, terrified me. As the line goes – “very, very frightening me”. No fucking kidding, I was 3 years old but the seed was sown. Far from turning me off music, it became a passion, a lifelong obsession.

I took the name for the blog from Spiral Scratch, the debut single by Manchester’s Buzzcocks. Their title refers to the groove a record player needle follows on an lp. This blog is for anyone that’s mad into music, anyone that ever mimed guitar solos on their brother’s tennis racket or banged their head on a door jumping around the living room to A Town Called Malice by The Jam.

Anyway, I’m going to pick records from my collection and write a short piece (shorter than this anyway) explaining how it transformed my life and maybe how it could transform yours.

Tune In, Turn On, Rock Out.

P.

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