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The London Jazz Four: Interpret Songs by Lennon and McCartney
02.27.2012
04:16 pm

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Music
One-hit wonders
Pop Culture

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Songs by The Beatles re-interpreted by The London Jazz Four, from their rare 1967 album of fab covers, Take A New Look at The Beatles. The London Jazz Four were assembled by Steve Race (yes, he of the dummy keyboard fame from quiz show Face the Music), and consisted of Mike McNaught (keyboards), Jim Philip (flute), Brian Moore (bass), Mike Travis (drums). The quartet original cut a couple of vanity tracks, which proved so popular that an album soon followed. The following tracks manage to improvise on the Lennon/McCartney originals, with use of harpsichord, marimba, glockenspiel, and vibraphone, creating a light swinging versions of the songs, which at times develop (“Rain”) and improve (“Michelle”) on the originals.
 

“Paperback Writer”

“The Things We Said Today”

“Rain”

“Michelle”

“Norwegian Wood”
 

Bonus: Jerry Fielding and the Hollywood Brass take on The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”
 
With thanks to Simon Wells
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Stairway to Stardom’: The Forgotten Joys of Public Access TV
09.03.2011
04:43 pm

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Amusing
One-hit wonders
Television

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Before America’s Got Talent, there was Stairway to Stardom, a public access talent show, broadcast in New York during the late 1970s and 1980s. Shot in what looks like someone’s basement, or the rehearsal room for a David Lynch film, Stairway to Stardom offered the young, the old, and even the deluded a chance to achieve the success their ambition suggested was theirs. Clips of this wonderfully bizarre series have popped up on YouTube over the years, and reveal what fans of Stairway to Stardom have known for years - that this camp, fun and rather charming show is still well ahead of Simon Cowell’s smug, corporate juggernaut.
 

Horowitz and Spector sing “Something’s Rotten in Translyvania”, 1988
 

Stairway to Stardom - Opening Titles 1984
 
More joys from ‘Stairway to Stardom’, after the jump…
 
With thanks to Fernando Caetano
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Super Girl’ by one hit wonder, Graham Bonney
07.27.2011
04:27 pm

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Music
One-hit wonders

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Englishman Graham Bonney was one of the wave of young British performers to make the trip to the famed Star Club in Hamburg, Germany (where the Beatles played several residencies early in their career).

Bonney’s biggest hit was a great number called “Super Girl,” released in 1966. It was a popular record on London’s pirate radio station, Radio Caroline. Although he never made it outside of Germany, Bonney’s had a long show-biz career for a one-hit wonder and is still performing “Super Girl” to appreciative audiences today (It seems like he re-records it every few years. Who cares? It’s a great song and it’s his to milk!).

I’ve always had a really soft spot for this song and actually put this on a mixed CD for my wife when we were “courting” so I was stoked to see this video for it. It’s pure pop perfection and catchy as hell.
 

 
Thank you very kindly, Adrian Legg!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Liar, Liar: Garage rockers The Castaways in ‘It’s a Bikini World’
07.19.2011
10:45 am

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Music
One-hit wonders

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Minneapolis garage rockers The Castaways performing their hit “Liar, Liar” in the 1967 “feminist” beach movie, It’s a Bikini World.. The song reached #12 in the charts in 1965.  Dig this guy’s falsetto! Plus you get a real boss go-go dancer. What’s not to love here?

“Liar, Liar” was covered by Debbie Harry in the 80s. The Castaways original was later used on the soundtrack to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
 

 
Thank you Douglas Hovey!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The mysterious J. Bastos and his one hit wonder ‘Loop Di Love’
04.24.2011
02:36 pm

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History
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One-hit wonders

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Here’s the first of a series of pieces I’ll be doing on one-hit wonders. While my intent is to be as informative as possible, I’m starting off with an artist that I can find very little information on, the mysterious J. Bastos.

“Loop di Love” was recorded in 1969 by J. Bastos (Juan Bastos) and became a big hit in Holland and Germany in 1971. It kicks off with one of the more bizarre and memorable verses in pop history and goes on to tell the story of a young man’s chance encounter with a prostitute.

I saw you walking down the street
Love di loop di love
Your hair was hanging down to knees
Love di loop di love
Your waist was waving like a ship
Love di loop di love
The way you look made me sick
Love di loop di love

The only biographical information I can find on J. Bastos is that he lived somewhere in northern Germany and the song was recorded as a joke among drunken friends and became a fluke hit. And that info is from an alleged disgruntled former employee of Bastos who claims he was hellish to work for and fell into being a popstar totally by accident. It’s odd, considering the notoriety and popularity of “Loop di Love,” that so little is known of its creator. Anyone got any info on J. Bastos?

The tune is based on a Greek fishermen’s song “Darla Dirlada.”

A double dose of J. Bastos - a promo video shot in Amsterdam and a performance on German TV.

Cock-hopping at 1:27.
 

 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Sound of SIlver(heads): Rockets on Italian TV 1978
03.06.2011
04:49 pm

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Music
One-hit wonders
Television

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Here’s a great clip of the French space/rock/sci-fi/disco outfit Rockets performing their biggest hit, a cover of Canned Heat’s “On The Road Again” on the Italian TV show Stryx in 1978. Rockets combined the electronic pulse of Eurodisco with the driving power of classic 70’s rock. Terry Miller, author of the blog post quoted below, sums Rockets up perfectly: “Imagine Gino Soccio mixed with ZZ Top. Interstellar Rock!” It’s camp and fun, if not a little scary due to the matching bald-heads-and silver-skin look, and just how seriously they are taking it.
 
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Like Giorgio Moroder, Rockets had been around for quite a while before finding international success on the first wave of European disco in the late Seventies, even managing to sign to the hallowed Salsoul Records in the States for one album . Although it’s fair to say they were a novelty act, that didn’t stop them from having some seriously bitchin’ tunes. Their front man Zeus B Held went on to produce a number of well known European acts in the 80s, including Nina Hagen and Gina X Performance. From The Stranger’s Line Out blog (by Miller):

In 1972 producer Claude Lemoine produced a single called Future Woman for a band called Crystal. With the single’s poularity the band decided to change it’s name and look, so in 1974 they became The Rocket Men (or Rocketters in France). They shaved their heads, wore matching “space age” outfits and painted themselves with silver make-up. They didn’t quite have the formula right though, unitl 1976 when they changed their name to Rockets. They did a dancier, spacier remake of thier hit Future Woman which brought them, once again, popularity throughout Europe. It didn’t hurt that their live shows were full of lasers, smoke, exploding cannons of fire and a tripped out light show.

I’ll be posting more from Stryx in the near future, but unfortunately most of the footage does not look or sound as clear as this clip.
 
Rockets - “On The Road Again”
 

 
Rockets -“Space Rock”
 

 
Rockets - “Future Woman”
 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
The Mirror: Obscure 60s psychedelic pop group
02.09.2011
03:28 pm

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Music
One-hit wonders

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I can never get enough of the obscure, psychedelic sounds of Rubble, the twenty-volume Nuggets-inspired “freakbeat” and “pop sike” compilations from Bam Caruso Records and Phil Lloyd-Smee. If you like Nuggets or the British Nuggets II, there’s not a lot of overlap. I love all the Nuggets comps, too, but I’d give the Rubble collections the edge just because they required even more dedicated crate-digging. I think the effort was worth it.

One group I discovered on a Rubble comp is The Mirror, a British beat group who apparently reached the lower rungs of the German pop market as they made the scene on The Beat Club TV show with their song, “Gingerbread Man.”
 

 
Via Flower Bomb Song/Anorak Thing

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Who Do You Think You Are? A one-hit wonder for several different groups
01.25.2011
11:09 am

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Music
One-hit wonders

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Talk about your pure pop perfection, “Who Do You Think You Are?” was a 1974 hit that topped the charts in the UK for a (quasi-comedy) band called Candlewick Green, who first came to the public’s attention by winning the TV talent show, Opportunity Knocks for eight consecutive weeks. It was actually written by Des Dyer and Clive Scott of the band Jigsaw, who recorded the song, but both groups shared the same management, and Dyer and Scott allowed the song to be recorded by Candlewick Green for the UK market. (Jigsaw had their own one hit wonder with “Sky High,” one of the first 45s I ever bought). Both versions are pretty similar, and shared the same arrangement.
 

 
Americans know the version by Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods, who also had a hit with the maudlin 70s AM radio staple “Billy Don’t Be A Hero.” The Heywoods used to perform in amusement parks all over America in the 70s. I recall seeing them when I was a kid at either Cedar Point, or King’s Island.
 

 
I could play this song over and over again for weeks! The tune is ridiculously catchy no matter who is performing it, but I’d give the Jigsaw version the edge over both the Candlewick Green and the Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods versions. Still, the BEST version was the cover that St. Etienne did in 1993. An off-album track, it struck exactly the right tone with its mix of their “retro modernist” electro-soul sound and Sarah Cracknell’s almost spoken vocal. I saw them perform this song on two consecutive nights in Manhattan in 1994 and it was a special highlight of their live show.

Below, St. Etienne performing “Who Do You Think You Are” on TOTP in 1993, with the always gorgeous Sarah Cracknell looking especially marvelous here:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Mad Daddy asks: ‘What is a Fisteris?’
11.18.2010
06:41 pm

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Music
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Marvel at the patented Jabberwocky wordplay of Pete “The Mad Daddy” Myers on “What is a Fisteris?” Myers was a rock and roll radio madman of the late 50s and 60s in Cleveland and New York. He killed himself in 1968, despondent over professional problems.

I first heard this on one of those Cramps-related “Born Bad” compilations. It’s too bad Myers didn’t record more gems like this or he’d be a cult figure today. Read the “Mad Daddy” Pete Myers biography here.

“Fisterises like pretty girls named Ingaborg with silver snoopers in their hair, sometimes moping about the snurds and limrocks they’ve loved and lost, sobbing big teedle-dools. Like everyone, they dislike artichokes for breakfast when the bumblebugger’s gone.”

 
Via PCL LinkDump

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Streetband - Toast (1978)
10.25.2010
08:51 am

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Amusing
Music
One-hit wonders
Television

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In what is beyond the shadow of a doubt UK pop crooner Paul Young’s finest moment I have somehow found the mythical and difficult to obtain Dangerous Minds toaster post. I guess this was a top 20 hit in Blighty back in ‘78. Fine topic for a tune,really. Any song wherein actual toast is used as an instrument is just fine by me. Every time you go away you take a piece of toast with you.
 

 
Thanks again, Tony Coulter !

Posted by Brad Laner | Leave a comment
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