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That time Neil from ‘The Young Ones’ released his ‘Heavy Concept Album’

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Hippies make the best capitalists. They are the passive-aggressive masters who use their artificial sense of moral superiority to sell you shit you don’t need. You know the kind of shit. Shit, they claim that will save the planet, or feed your soul, or flow in tune with your karmic wholewheat astrological aura, kinda thing.

In a survey I’ve just made up at random, 99.9% of all hippies are capitalist bastards. Take The Young Ones for example. Here was a household consisting of four students from four very different backgrounds. There was a punk called Vyvyan, a radical-leftie-progressive-socialist-Cliff Richard-fan called Rik, a mature student-cum-yuppie-businessman called Mike, and a hippie named Neil. There was also rumored to be a fifth roommate, but we don’t talk about him. Now, you might think out of this small group that the punk or the mature student would go on to make the most money and have say, a pop career that sold literally dozens of records across the world and lasted for days if not weeks. But you’d be wrong. It was, in fact, Neil the hippie who saw the potential in marketing his miserable lentil-stained life and selling it on to an unsuspecting public.

And very, very successful he was at this, too.

It all started, you see, when Neil the hippie (aka the divinely talented actor Nigel Planer) recorded what some might describe as a kind of “novelty record” called “Hole in My Shoe” in 1984. Planer had astutely chosen to cover a song, which in many respects, captured aspects of Neil’s miserabilist, psychedelic personality. The song had originally been a hit for the rock band Traffic in 1967.

Planer used a little help from his friends to record his single. He collaborated with Dave Stewart, a prog rock keyboardist with bands like Uriel, Egg, and National Health, and singer Barbra Gaskin. Stewart, not to be confused with the other Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics, had scored a UK #1 with Gaskin on their cover of “It’s My Party” in 1981. Neil/Nigel’s “Hole in My Shoe” reached #2 on the UK charts. Its success led Planer, Stewart and Gaskin to go one further and record Neil’s Heavy Concept Album.
 

Neil sings ‘Hole in My Shoe’: Today the 45rpm record, tomorrow the 33⅓.
 
Neil’s Heavy Concept Album was the most splendid spoof LP since, well, The Rutles in 1978.

This was a concept album that paid homage to the, er, “concept” of a concept album, but didn’t actually have any real concept other than the unifying character of Neil who riffed on a variety of surreal adventures (a trip down a plughole, a meeting with a potato, a movie advert, and reading a poem to his plant) and singing a few classic, beautifully-rendered songs.

The whole album brilliantly parodied the musical form of those trippy conceptual albums released by progressive and psychedelic bands during the sixties and seventies. From the early musings and backward guitars of the Beatles, through Gong (Pip Pyle plays drums on the record), King Crimson, Pink Floyd, the Incredible String Band and a hint of Frank Zappa. The front cover mimicked that of the Rolling Stones’ Their Satanic Majesties Request album, while the back, in red with liner notes and four images of Neil, copied the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band but instead of a guaranteeing a splendid time for all, Neil offered that:

A heavy time is guaranteed for all.

 
More heavy concepts, after the jump, man…

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.11.2017
01:26 pm
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Eurythmics go krautrock (and the Throbbing Gristle connection)


 
When Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart left The Tourists to form Eurythmics in 1981, they traveled to Cologne to work with noted German producer Conny Plank on their first album, In the Garden. Some of the musicians involved were Can’s Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit (billed as “Les Vampyrettes”), DAF’s Robert Görl and Blondie’s Clem Burke. Karlheinz Stockhausen’s son Markus was also on the album. (Annie Lennox would record a lot of the vocals—eight tracks—for Robert Görl’s 1984 solo LP on Mute, Night Full of Tension.)

“Never Gonna Cry Again” was the first single, and in the duo’s first TV appearance as Eurythmics, they played it along with “Belinda,” the second single release. Neither song would hit, but they became famous worldwide with their next album, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) in early 1983. Lennox and Stewart were joined by Burke and Czukay—who looks like an absent-minded old guy who just wandered onstage to jam with his French horn—when they debuted on television’s The Old Grey Whistle Test (In the album’s credits, Czukay’s include “walking.”):
 

 
A second Eurythmics recording with some even more decidedly avant garde co-conspirators than most people might assume would be a fit, was the darkly pulsating “Sweet Surprise” single they recorded with former Throbbing Gristle members Chris and Cosey, recorded in 1982, but released on Rough Trade in 1985. Lennox and Stewart are not mentioned on the sleeve which shows a photo of Chris & Cosey beside two familiar-looking silhouettes with question marks. They are credited on the label, however.

A ‘sweet surprise’ after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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10.13.2016
04:44 pm
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Eurythmics: Early & experimental in ‘Live from Heaven,’ 1983
05.21.2013
11:20 am
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Consisting mostly of a live set shot just before they became worldwide sensations, Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams Video Album (aka “Live from Heaven”) captures Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart at their most experimental. Within a year, they’d go from being a struggling band lugging their own equipment around to grossing more than some small countries.

This endearing performance was shot at Heaven, London’s notorious gay “superclub” in 1983 (known at the time for its amazing lasers—among other things—which are used throughout).  At this point, Annie Lennox was in her gender-bending “Grace Jones” mode, and sports a man’s suit, hat and bright red hair.

Plus claymation!
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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05.21.2013
11:20 am
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The cosmic ramifications of Vanessa Paradis singing ‘Walk On The Wild Side’
05.23.2012
10:33 pm
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The fact of Vanessa Paradis (proudly displaying her Jane Birkinesque diastema) and Dave Stewart (a neon Serge Gainsbourg) singing Lou Reed’s “Walk On The Wild Side” is evocative enough in and of itself. But there’s an added dimension to this video that makes the whole thing kind of spooky and more than a little bit clammy. Watching Paradis performing a duet with Stewart, who looks uncannily like a combination of the future father of her two children, Johnny Depp, and Depp’s frequent collaborator Tim Burton plus his former lover and collaborator Annie Lennox, is like watching a re-tooled version of “Lemon Incest” for the MTV generation…without Gainsbourg’s real incestuous vibe.
 
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As the echoplex of history loops in upon itself, let’s ponder other elements of this time warpy video.

Paradis’s cover of “Walk On The Wild Side” appeared on her 1990 album Variations sur le Meme T’Aime, the same year that Depp and Burton’s first collaborative effort, Edward Scissorhands, hit the big screen. 1990 was also the year that Lou Reed re-united with John Cale and the other members of The Velvet Underground to play a charity gig in Paris. The last time they had played together was 1972, the year that Paradis was born. Add up the numbers in 1990 and you get 19. Paris 1919 is the title of John Cale’s third solo album.

Exactly 19 years after singing her duet with Stewart, Paradis covered the Serge Gainsbourg song “Ballade de Melody Nelson” with Johnny Depp.

Sigmund Freud was 19 years older than Carl Jung. Flight 19 disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle. The Qur’an teaches that 19 angels are assigned to guard the fires of Hell. Which brings up the question: “where were those angels when this video was made?”

“Walk on the Wild Side” is 40 years old. So is Vanessa Paradis. Jesus fasted 40 days and nights….
 

Posted by Marc Campbell
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05.23.2012
10:33 pm
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Poetry of the Western World Read by Celebrities

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Poetry of the Western World Read By Celebrities and Collected by Clare Ann Matz is a fab selection of poems read by Ralf Zotigh, Wim Wenders, Dave Stewart, Billy Preston, Ian Astbury, Dario Fò, Robbie Robertson, Allen Ginsberg and Solveigh Domartain.

The video starts with Ralf Zotigh reading the Ancient Native American fable - “Today is a Good Day”:

This is followed by Wenders reading from Walt Whitman’s Inscriptions (“To A Certain Cantatrice”). Dave Stewart, erstwhile of the Eurhythmics, reads William Blake’s “Sick Rose”, then, the late Billy Preston (first silently, then with soundtrack) reads Dylan Thomas. Ian Astbury, of The Cult (and clearly no fan of Dylan Thomas!) also reads, from the same poem, “Should Lanterns Shine”. Dario Fo, Nobel-prize-winning playwright and theater-director, reads (in Italian) Andre Breton’s “Fata Morgana”. Robbie Robertson, Bob Dylan’s confrere, comes in next, reading a selection from Allen’s “Song”” (“Allen wrote this. huh?”), and has some difficulty following the syntax (“an the soul comes..”? “and the soul comes..”?). Allen himself follows (with the aforementioned reading of “Father Death Blues”). Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire “angel”, actress Solveigh Domartain, concludes the tape, returning once more to Allen’s poem - “the weight of the world is…love”.

 

 
Elsewhere on DM

Face to Face with Allen Ginsberg


 
Bonus interview with Ginsberg form 1972, after the jump…
 
Via the Allen Ginsberg Project
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.23.2011
06:43 pm
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