Something for the Weekend



Speaking of the macho posturing of rock music, this is pretty much the dictionary definition of it — even though they all look like girls with that hair.

For all their ludicrous faults, Led Zep did have a killer rhythm section. I can forgive them a lot for that.

Something for the Weekend



I saw The Bee Gees at Wembley in the late 80s which was about as brilliant as you can imagine. They opened with “Tragedy”, encored with “You Should Be Dancing” and for the two hours in-between nearly every song in the show was a stone-gold classic. I’ve never seen a band with such an astonishing back catalogue before, only Stevie Wonder could touch them.

Bonus video: Because I can’t pick just one Gibb brothers record. We all know the God-like beauty of Al Green’s version of this but the ethereal original is pretty damn special too.

Something for the Weekend



This was a hit in 1971 but I only have a very vague recollection of it. There is something a bit “cult leader” about the lead singer, as if he’s preaching in front of his brainwashed followers. But I do like this, it straddles the thin line between sublime and ridiculous where a lot of great pop music lives.

In this clip you also get Ed “Stewpot” Stewart wearing an eyepatch. There used to be some bizarre stuff in the charts and TOTP could be quite weird as a result. Often marvelously so.

Something for the Weekend



My sister absolutely hated this record, saying that being 17 was bad enough without having to listen to a depressing song about it.

Something for the Weekend



One of those songs that always reminds me of soul boys in Farah trousers and slow dances in disco pubs. Spent many a Saturday night dancing with a girl to this one — or trying to. This is a really fabulous performance of it.

The group’s organ player mentioned in the clip is a young man from Cleethorpes who went on to write Rock With You, Off The Wall, and Thriller amongst others.

The Mad Woman in the Kitchen



I think even back then we knew Fanny Cradock was a bit deranged. I love the way she says “A PROPER OMELETTE PAN!” as if she’s going to come round your house and hit you with a ruler if you don’t use one. And how crappy that stove looks now compared to the fancy, well-appointed kitchens Nigella and Jamie cook in. But at least it’s something her viewers might actually have themselves — looks like the stove we had, in fact — and not some aspirational Aga range which cost more than most people’s cars.

This is the Christmas episode from 1975 and apparently things were so bad that year — terrorism, unemployment, inflation — British housewives were reduced to making their entire holiday feast out of mincemeat. It’s all rather sad and desperate and Fanny even gives a little speech at the end about the “appalling present conditions” as if the country was in the middle of the Blitz. Pretty sure we had turkey as usual that year.

Lucky Dip


Sparks are known for their hyper, outré style but my favourite record of theirs might be this beautiful, stately ballad which actually sounds quite heartfelt by their standards.

Download: Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth – Sparks (mp3)

I was going to add it’s a perfect candidate for a cover version but discovered that several people have already done one.

Photo: Lady Bridget Poulett as ‘Arethusa’ by Madame Yevonde, 1935

The other 1978



The BRIT Awards weren’t always the slick extravaganza they are today, you know.

If it wasn’t for the presence of Ian Dury and Nick Lowe you wouldn’t have any clue that popular music had just gone through something of a revolution (and notice that neither of them got actual BPI awards). Rock industry awards are notoriously conservative but this is even less edgy and rock n’ roll than an episode of The Two Ronnies.

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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