Bands of Gold Part One

Saturday February 28, 2009 in music | meme

Inspired by Chartroose, an alphabatical trawl through my favourite music. When considering this exercise I first thought about consulting my vinyl collection. Ah… my poor vinyl collection, yellowing sleeves squeezed together and gathering dust in the corner of the spare room. But I just didn’t have the courage to face those long neglected records. So instead, I turned to my iTunes library, with a flippant if it’s not on there, it’s not a favourite approach.

However. My iTunes collection was a touch uninspiring. And as I’ve written about it quite a lot recently, I was faced with no option other than guiltily climbing the stairs to face the music…

Here goes then. Artists beginning with…


The Associates enjoyed some success in the early 80s. Despite being touted as the band to be scaling great musical heights unfortunately this never happened, and they faded into obscurity. A shame, but I think this clip of them performing 18 Carat Love Affair reveals their couldn’t-care-less attitude towards that serious thing called the music business. They had quite a lot of charm, perhaps not needed for success in a climate where the Durans and Spandaus triumphed.

Alas, they threw all their money away on chocolate and never had another hit after this.


I wanted to avoid The Beatles in this listing but it’s difficult to find anything else warranting a “B”, even my obscure Easy Listening album Beatles Bach and Bacharach Go Bossa has a Fab Four connection. So here’s my Beatly anecdote, a transcript of my short meeting and exchange with Paul McCartney as I remember it:

the scene is just before a recording of Top of the Pops

Me: could you sign this please?

McCartney: sure

he begins to sign his name but has difficulty because the ink has run dry. He turns to somebody in the shadows and asks to borrow their pen. He signs the autograph and hands it back to me along with my faulty pen.

Me: thanks. Sorry about that

McCartney: it always happens

Now I suppose that was something of a wasted opportunity, and I could have quizzed him about his days in Hamburg, the cruel side of John Lennon or even the hidden meanings behind the songs on The White Album, but hasn’t he had all that a million times before? And when you come face to face with a surviving Beatle you do just tend to crumble a little.

For an alternative “B” how about an artist that isn’t, unlike most of my choices, actually alternative. John Barry is famous for co-writing the best of the Bond themes but also wrote countless other music for movies and tv including The Ipcress File, Born Free and The Quiller Memorandum. In many ways Barry appeared to effortlessly create the soundtrack to an entire era.

Somehow Persuaders episodes never lived up to their great opening titles and music.


Back to my more recent collection for this one from Graham Coxon. I kept changing the clip below in a bid to sell Mr Coxon to the uninitiated, showing him in the best possible light, but he probably wouldn’t thank me for such a marketing scam. So here he is in all his nerdy glory.

The real brains behind Blur, and no mistake.


Today I rediscovered New Boots and Panties by Ian Dury and the Blockheads in my vinyl collection. I was lucky to see the late Mr Dury twice in concert, once at the Brixton Academy in 1990 and then again a couple of years later supporting Madness and Morrissey at the notorious Finsbury Park concert. Here’s a clip from the very odd Revolver, introduced by Peter Cook:

The Lionel Bart of the 70s!


In the early 1980s Ian McCulloch earned himself the nickname Mac the mouth. The music papers loved any band frontman who spoke an endless stream of bollocks, and the lead singer of Echo and the Bunnymen fitted the bill perfectly. He was eventually surpassed by Morrissey, who spoke an equal amount of, although a different kind of, bollocks.


During my delve I uncovered a couple of records by the Cocteau Twins. I remembered this Cocteau Twins/Felt collaboration Primitive Painters which I found on YouTube. I’m listening to Felt right now and they’re great. Sadly forgotten.

Look at that hat!

More episodes of this series will follow, but I’m waiting for Chartroose to take the lead. Keep watching though, as I have a really good Z!

Yeah, I was disappointed that I had a shoo-in for ‘D’, as I’d wanted to include Ian Dury and the blockheads in my list too; have always thought them excellent. Unfortunately, they didn’t make my final cut.

JackP    Sunday March 1, 2009   

My gosh, Stephen, what an intro to Brit alternative for me! I’ve heard of Graham Coxon and Echo and the Bunnymen, but I was totally unfamiliar with the others.

For some reason, Ian Dury kind of reminds me of Lou Reed, lyrically, that is.

I think I’m going to have to do an additional alternative band post, especially since I really felt bad about not being able to enter “Bronski Beat” as my “B” pick and “The Cure” for the “C’s”.

I think I’ve heard about the notorious Finsbury Park concert. Is this the one where Morrissey wrapped himself in a Union Jack in defiance of people accusing him of being racist? I can’t help but love Morrissey in all his profane glory! (He just came out with a new album, BTW) ( =

chartroose    Monday March 2, 2009   

Yup, you’ve had me spending the best part of the last weekend mulling over old vinyl and looking stuff up on YouTube.

If you think that’s alternative you haven’t seen anything yet…

Re Morrissey, yes that was the concert. His choice of drapery didn’t go down well with the crowd. Hence his very short set that day!

The Book Tower    Monday March 2, 2009   

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