Music Labyrinth Episode 080
Littlest Things / Lily Allen (2006)
Hello Listener, and welcome to episode 80 of The Music Labyrinth. Now, I’ve learned something new, courtesy of this episode number, and I always enjoy new knowledge, so I’m sharing. In the late 19th century, stronger or better quality beers attracted higher levels of government beer duty. The duty was based on the invoice price per hogshead (54 imperial gallons / 250 litres), depending on the strength and quality of the beer. Light beers might be in the range 42-48 shilling per hogshead. An 80 shilling beer was a higher quality beer and generally contained an ABV of about 4% - 5.5%. And so, Gentle Listener, in honour of episode 80 of this program, I propose to present for you an 80 shilling episode. Get your Beroccas out and ready! Our opening track tonight was Littlest Things by Lily Allen, and it comes to us courtesy of the fine programming work done in the last episode by The Music Labyrinth Elves. I think the Elves did a marvellous job with that episode and I really enjoyed presenting it. Thanks again Elves. Now, I noticed what I thought was a distinct similarity in the opening melody of Littlest Things to another song from decades earlier. So I checked all my usual sources, only to come up blank. Then I cast the net a little wider and located a website called www.soundsjustlike.com, where my suspicion was echoed. So, having my own theory thinly reinforced by that unattributed website, lets play our usual game of You Make Up Your Own Mind …
Wild World / Cat Stevens (1970)
Wild World comes from Cat Stevens’ 4th studio album Tea For The Tillerman, released in 1970. The song, Tea For The Tillerman, is featured in the closing titles of the Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant sitcom, Extras. And a Christmas special episode of Extras also contains this next track. This is Kate Bush with This Woman’s Work.
This Woman’s Work / Kate Bush (1989)
From 1989, that was Kate Bush with This Woman’s Work. The song, in addition to being written by Kate Bush, featured her on piano, keyboards and vocals, and Michael Kamen is credited with the the orchestral arrangements. Now, stay with me, we’re going on a little journey here. Michael Kamen is best known as a composer and orchestral arranger and, prior to his death in 2003 he had enjoyed immense success and recognition in the film and TV music caper. I first noticed Michael Kamen’s work when he collaborated with Eric Clapton for the theme to the excellent 1985 BBC drama Edge Of Darkness. Now, this is where The Music Labyrinth demonstrates some of its intricate trickery because we are presented with a rolled gold opportunity to return to Cat Steven (whom we heard a couple of tracks ago) courtesy of the phrase “edge of darkness” which appears in his song Peace Train. However, lets take a very different opportunity which the Labyrinth also opens up for us. Here is the American rock band Greta Van Fleet with their song, Edge Of Darkness.
Edge Of Darkness / Greta Van Fleet (2017)
Greta Van Fleet is an American rock band from Frankenmuth, Michigan, formed in 2012. It consists of Kiszka brothers Josh (vocals), Jake (guitar) and Sam (bass guitar, keyboards); and Danny Wagner (drums). This fact, of course, put me in mind of other great sibling combinations, and I landed on the obvious. Here is an Australian institution, built around the brothers Andrew, John and Tim Farriss. We all know the massive trajectory arced out by INXS, and we all know how it ended (for those who have accepted that it has). So, lets go right back to the beginning. Here they are from 1980.
Just Keep Walking / INXS (1980)
From their 1980 eponymous album, that was INXS with Just Keep Walking. Their charismatic and somewhat enigmatic lead singer, Michael Hutchence, died in 1997. Two years later, a solo album was released posthumously. From that album, this is Let Me Show You.
Let Me Show You / Michael Hutchence (1999)
That was Michael Hutchence with Let Me Show You from his only posthumous solo album. That album included contributions from several big names in the biz, including the highly attributed English musicians Guy Pratt (who has played with Pink Floyd, Roxy Music, Madonna, and David Bowie) and Ged Lynch (who has played with Joseph Arthur, Natalie Imbruglia and - Peter Gabriel!). But, rest easy Elves, its not that time - yet. Two other big name inclusions on the Michael Hutchence solo album were Bono, and Joe Strummer, who sang on the track we just heard. And so, speaking of Joe, here is a chance to play a classic by his great band, The Clash.
Rock The Casbah / The Clash (1982)
In January 2013 Joe Strummer had a plaza named in his honour, Placeta Joe Strummer, in the Spanish city of Granada. Another band to have achieved similar fame, hail from Oklahoma City, where a street in the centre of the city’s entertainment district has been re-named Flaming Lips Alley. Here are The Lips, with Free Radicals.
Free Radicals / The Flaming Lips (2006)
In 2007 The Flaming Lips contributed the song The Supreme Being Teaches Spider-Man How To Be In Love to the soundtrack of the movie Spider-Man 3. That soundtrack also included this track by Snow Patrol. This is Signal Fire.
Signal Fire / Snow Patrol (2007)
In 2006 Snow Patrol released a single called Set The Fire To The Third Bar, which featured this next artist on lead vocals. This is Martha Wainwright with Bleeding All Over You.
Bleeding All Over You / Martha Wainwright (2008)
On 3 December 2005 Martha Wainwright appeared on the Australian TV show Rockwiz where she and Dan Kelly performed a duet of this song from 1985
Slave To Love / Bryan Ferry (1985)
From his 1985 album Boys & Girls, that was Bryan Ferry with Slave To Love. Interestingly, bass guitar on that track was played by Tony Levin, and - as we all know - Tony Levin is the long time bassist for You Know Who! However, even though I have resisted the lure once already, the constant drip of criticism I have endured about my love for all things Peter Gabriel, has made me a little gunshy of going to Gabes to early and too often. So, instead, lets recognise that Bryan Ferry came to international prominence as the front man of the avante-Gard 1970s British band, Roxy Music. Here they are with their first international success.
Do The Strand / Roxy Music (1973)
In 2009 a fundraising album was released to benefit the War Child charity which provides aid to assist the children of war-stricken zones. That song, Do The Strand, was covered for that album by the Scissor Sisters. The album also featured this cover of a song by The Clash, who have already appeared in this episode of The Music Labyrinth. This song first appeared on The Clash’s 1982 album Combat Rock. This 2009 cover features Mick Jones, an original member of The Clash. It also, in a classic example of labyrinthine cloverleafing, features the artist who opened tonight’s episode. Here is Lily Allen.
Straight To Hell / Lily Allen (feat. Mick Jones) (2009)
That was Lily Allen, featuring Mick Jones, with their 2009 cover of The Clash song, Straight To Hell. Mick Jones is an undervalued legend of modern music. He has been a member of, or made strong contributions to, The Clash, The Flaming Lips, and Gorillaz, even before we take into account that he formed and moulded the delightfully eccentric, sample driven sounds of Big Audio Dynamite. This is they, with E=MC2.
E=MC2 / Big Audio Dynamite (1985)
E=MC2 is clearly a reference to Einstein’s General Theory of Relatively, which also gets a reference in this jaunty, happy, but slightly ominous tune by Cosmo Jarvis. This is She Doesn’t Mind.
She Doesn’t Mind / Cosmo Jarvis (2011)
In October 2011, Cosmo Jarvis appeared live on Triple J’s Like A Version segment, performing a cover of this song.
Spinning Around / Kylie Minogue (2000)
On 18 October 2000, Kylie performed Spinning Around at the opening ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games. Also performing at that ceremony was the Australian singer-songwriter Jeff St John. Here he is from 1967 with Big Time Operator.
Big Time Operator / Jeff St John & The Id (1967)
That song, Big Time Operator, was a huge hit in Australia in 1967 for Jeff St John & The Id, but it was a cover version of a hit record the year before for Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band. The best known lineup of Zoot Money’s Big Roll band was the 1963-1966 lineup which featured Andy Summers on guitar. You will know his later work. Here is an example.
Next To You / The Police (1978)
Andy Summers wrote most of the music for the 1986 film Down And Out In Beverly Hills, including the title theme. In addition to Andy Summers’ work on the soundtrack of that movie, this song is included. This is Randy Newman.
I Love L.A. / Randy Newman (1986)
That was Randy Newman from 1986, declaring his love for the city of Los Angeles, after declaring at the start of the song some disdain for New York City. Now, if you were with us for episode 78 of the show, you may remember it included a celebration of New York. Well, we should give L.A its chance, and never miss an opportunity to recycle an idea, I say. Lets immerse ourselves further in a celebration of L.A with this 1976 track by War. This is L.A Sunshine.
L.A. Sunshine / War (1976)
And, because we’re all about equity here at The Music Labyrinth, and there were three songs in our New York bracket from a couple of episodes ago, we’re running with a third song in our L.A love-in. Here are Counting Crows from 2002 with Goodnight L.A.Celebration of L.A.
Goodnight L.A. / Counting Crows (2002)
In 1993, Counting Crows - still a relatively unknown band - filled in for Van Morrison at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Ceremony, where they performed a cover of this famous Van Morrison song.
Caravan / Van Morrison (1970)
That was, of course, Van Morrison with his 1970 hit - still a cracker - Caravan. You will have noticed, Sharp-Eared Listener, that that song contains the pretty obvious lyric “Turn up your radio”. Now, I bet you are thinking that I’m about to take you to The Masters Apprentices for the next track. Well, I’m not! I would have, but my online music provider apparently considers that I live in the wrong country to be able to access that song by the Australian ARIA Hall Of Fame Inductees. However, every cloud has a foil inner for extra freshness. I can assure you that his next tune, from 1986, also contains the phrase, “Turn up your radio”.
Everybody Have Fun Tonight / Wang Chung (1986)
That was Everybody Have Fun Tonight by Wang Chung. And that song brings us to the end of this 80 shilling episode of The Music Labyrinth. Thanks very much for your company tonight. Please come back and join us in two weeks when we will start the next episode with this next track, and then step even further into The Music Labyrinth. To get us to that point, I couldn’t help but to stay with the Wang Chungs because I didn’t want to miss this opportunity to play this next track. Thanks for listening!
Dance Hall Days / Wang Chung (1984)