Martin Garrix, save us all from John Lewis

God bless you, Radio One listeners. God bless the UK’s pop kids. There’s a lot of bad stuff said about the younger generation. A lot of bad stuff. About how they watch too much reality TV. How they all wear hoodies and pull knives on you at the drop of a hat.

And on a personal note, it is only the stupid law of the land that prevented me from disembowelling the vile little shits who threw an egg at me on Hallowe’en evening. An egg!

To be fair the little bastard managed to secure quite a painful direct hit from across the road, so perhaps if he’s reading this he could try his luck at the local cricket club and maybe try and channel his talents more usefully.

But this pales into insignificance beside the exhilarating, life-affirming event that took place on Sunday evening.

This is the record that kept that f***ing John Lewis song off Number One. We shall come to the responsible party for that vile excuse for music presently but first get your ears round this:

Brilliant. Just brilliant. Well done to everybody who bought it. Take a bow.

Now compare it with this


That’s right. The link doesn’t work. There is no link. There is no way I am giving this obscenity any further publicity.

If you MUST hear it again, you will have to search the Dark Net. I’ll still be here when you get back. Go. Quickly.

When I first heard it I thought it was bad. Very bad. I thought it was an attempt to emulate the succes of Hannah Peel’s wonderful take on eighties synth-pop classic “Tainted Love”.

THAT is how to do a quiet cover version. Beautiful, jangly, understated, but with a definite disturbing edge, hence FX using it for a trailer for American Horror Story.

Hannah Peel brings something new to a great song. The most famous version is of course by Soft Cell

but the original was by Gloria Jones

The cover of “Somewhere Only We Know” is neither beautiful nor disturbing. It is insipid, wet, and depressing.

A lot of people reckon the original by Keane is similarly wet, and sure, it ain’t exactly rock’n’roll, but I have to say  I love Keane. They never claimed or tried to be cool anyway.

When I first heard the cover I thought it sounded like a bad impression of Lily Allen.

So imagine my surprise when I found out it WAS Lily Allen.

What the hell happened to the bright, sparky poptastic talent who gave us this :

Jesus, Lily. You are better than this.

This is not about selling out. If you want to make shedloads of money from John Lewis, fine.

Just seems like an odd career move to even contemplate doing a song for an ad when you’re an established artist, and a good one.

And let’s leave out the “posh kid” jibes.

Take posh kids out of the equation and for starters there would be no British guitar based music at all apart from Kasabian. (* This is not strictly true. But still. *)

And breathe. Better now. Let’s end this on a positive note. This is Lily Allen when she was fab.

And I’m not even going to mention twerking. Whatever the hell that is.

Radio One Takeover Week, January 1973

This week is New Music Takeover week on Radio One, and it’s great to switch on at 6.30 am and hear Huw Stephens, followed by Annie Mac doing the mid-morning show.

The station deserves great credit for doing this every year, although it does beg the question, why not all the time? … but I guess you can’t have everything.

It is a little-known fact that Radio One first did this experiment in the first week of 1973, where each and every one of the station’s then-current alternative DJs got to broadcast throughout the day, and were given free rein to play what they wanted.

Owing to the BBC’s policy of wiping tapes, no official recordings exist, but I definitely remember avidly listening to it – can anybody else confirm that the schedule went something like this?

07:00 John Peel’s Breakfast Show

09:00 Housewives’ Choice with John Peel

12:00 Lunchtime show with your friend and mine, Johnnie Peel

14:00 Sequence. Two hours of records played without interruption while John Peel is given a cortisone injection

16:00 Drive time with John Peel.

19:00 Closedown. Thankfully the station closed down in the early evening in those days, otherwise Peel would probably not have survived “New Music Takeover Week” and therefore punk WOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED.

Remember, this blog post must be true because you saw it on the Internet

The First Festive Fifty Of Them All

In 1976, in those odd in-between days between Christmas and New Year when you’re not quite sure if the country is on holiday or at work, fourteen-year-old me listened avidly to John Peel broadcasting his Festive Fifty songs of the year on BBC Radio One.

Unlike subsequent years, this was an all-time listing, summed up here in twelve minutes.

I’m going to make a cup of tea while you watch and marvel at it.

Good, innit?

Still stands up to this day as a superb list, combining the obvious …

… with the idiosyncratic

… and the occasional complete curve ball

There’s even a couple of Genesis tracks. But we shall move swiftly past THOSE.

Oh, and this Prog Classic by Yes sneaked in at number 50,making it the first Festive Fifty record to be broadcast. Bet Peel LOVED that.

There was no chart the following year, but it resumed in 1978 and continued in its more familiar role as a chart of songs that came out in the current year, until the DJ’s untimely death in 2004.

Strictly speaking, of course, it wasn’t Peel’s Festive Fifty at all – it was, as he frequently stressed, his listeners’ Festive Fifty.

Quite a few fans have carried on the tradition to this day, selecting or voting for tracks they think would have made the chart, had Peel still been with us. Again, these are all well worth checking out.

Special mention to Dandelion Radio, an Internet radio station which plays Peelmusic. They do a Festive Fifty every year, voted for by listeners, and you can hear it every day from Xmas Day until the end of January. They’re fully PRS licensed too, btw, which I think Peel would have liked.