B-Side Beauty

Petite, beauty-spotted singer-songwriter Lynsey de Paul originally wrote this song for the vocal trio Thunder Thighs who were famous for their backing vocals on “Walk On The Wild Side” and “Roll Away The Stone.” It was only a small hit for them in 1974, but the same year Lynsey put out her own version on the flipside of her theme song for the TV sitcom No Honestly which made the Top Ten.

She shouldn’t have hidden it away like that because this is a terrific record. Not only is it miles better than the a-side, it’s better than Thunder Thighs’ version too: sophisticated, glittery pop you can imagine Sarah Cracknell singing. Despite its shiny surface the song itself is a strange, dark affair about a policewoman shooting a stranger in Central Park at night. Shame Lynsey didn’t do more idiosyncratic songs like this and fewer themes for naff sitcoms — and made them a-sides.

Download: Central Park Arrest – Lynsey de Paul (mp3)

New Monday

Destroyer’s Kaputt was my album of the year back in 2011 and the follow-up Poison Season is finally with us. I’m happy to say that it’s very, very good indeed, with the same smooth 70s/80s influences but with a heaped tablespoon of Springsteen and Bowie added to the mix.

Something for the Weekend

Want to see Public Enemy walking around 1980s London in a video introduced by Tim Westwood wearing an MA1 flying jacket? Of course you do. Those were the days.

I saw Public Enemy live in 1992 supporting U2 at Tampa football stadium of all places (Big Audio Dynamite were also on the bill). It was my first week living in Florida and my first experience of how American rock audiences didn’t give a shit about — and were even hostile to — black music, especially in the South. I was all excited about seeing PUBLIC ENEMY but no one else around me seemed to care. Personally I thought it was brilliant when Flavor Flav chased Chuck D around the stage dressed in a Ku Klux Klan outfit.

What a mind-blowing record this still is. Westwood’s phony American “street” accent sounds really dumb though.

Lucky Dip

Download: Zerox – Adam & The Ants (mp3)

Some pre-warpaint and pop stardom Adam Ant for you. Their second single from 1979.

Image: Jackie by Andy Warhol (1965)

Fame At Last

Last week I finally got a copy of Bob Stanley’s epic pop history Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! and I wish I hadn’t taken so long about it. Not only because it’s a great book, but in the list of names acknowledged in the “Sources” section at the back was none other than ME! I was very surprised and, as you can imagine, well chuffed about that. Being in such a terrific — and possibly definitive — book is a real honour. Even my daughter was impressed.

I’m listed because I used to be a regular commenter at the Popular blog when they were covering the hits of the 70s and 80s. I don’t comment so much anymore because they’ve got to the point where I haven’t heard any of the records they’re talking about, but I still read it. Bob was obviously lurking around the site at the time, not only does he name-check it in his book, but Saint Etienne did a song about it on their marvelous last album Words & Music. Sadly I’m not mentioned in this though.

Download: Popular – Saint Etienne (mp3)

New Monday

Shana Cleveland is frontwoman of garage-rock band La Luz but I prefer the acoustic music she makes with her side project The Sandcastles. Though they’ve have been together six years they’ve only just released their first album Oh Man, Cover the Ground which is a real treat and highly recommended. Listen/buy it here.

Something for the Weekend

Love this. A great Supersonic intro and one of the most sublime singles of the 70s.

Holy Hormones, Batman!

I’m not entirely sure who was the very first woman I saw on TV as a boy that made my dormant hormones go Boing! and realize that girls were actually rather interesting creatures. Previously I’ve identified that first crush as possibly being Raquel Welch, or even Bobbie Gentry, but it could very well have been Yvonne Craig as Batgirl.

The Batman TV show was already catnip to a young boy anyway with its bright cartoon sensibility and KAPOW! fight scenes, then they threw this cute girl in a skintight purple outfit into the mix (they already had Julie Newmar as Catwoman, add her to the list too) and I thought it was about the greatest thing on television.

40+ years later and I have a daughter who loves watching the same show to see Batgirl beating up bad guys. Anyone with a daughter can tell you the power of strong female role models to fight against the malevolent evil that is Barbie and Disney princesses, so I’m very grateful to her Batgirl for several reasons. Craig died yesterday at the age of 78, she’ll be fondly remembered.

Download: Hero Takes A Fall – The Bangles (mp3)

What’s it all about?

The sentimental musings of an ageing expat in words, music, and pictures. Mp3 files are up for a limited time so drink them while they're hot. Contact me: lee at londonlee dot com




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