I’m so behind musically!

I said on someone’s post earlier that I am so behind the times with music that it’s ridiculous. My job role changed recently so I can listen to headphones at my desk now, so I’ve been listening to Absolute Radio 00’s, which is like a new music radio station to me! Below are the songs I’ve only just discovered in the last month… (I know, my bad).

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One hit wonders :)

I was listening to “JCB Song” by Nizlopi earlier, and I thought it was a shame that they ended up being a one hit wonder, because the lead singer Luke Concannon has such a great voice. According to Wikipedia, Nizlopi split up in 2010, so I guess they’ll always be a one hit wonder 😦

In honour of this, here are my favourite one hit wonders, including Nizlopi, in case you don’t know it πŸ™‚

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Jerry Keller – Here Comes Summer

Peaked: October 1959
“Here Comes Summer” was a 1959 song, which was written and performed by Jerry Keller. The song was produced for Keller by Richard Wolf. It reached #14 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #1 in the UK Charts. The song uses the opening quote from the Stephen Foster song “My Old Kentucky Home” (“The Sun Shines Bright”). It was also recorded by The Dave Clark Five in 1970, but wasn’t as successful.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Here_Comes_Summer)

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The Archies – Sugar, Sugar
Peaked: October 1969
“Sugar, Sugar” is a pop song written by Jeff Barry and Andy Kim. It was performed by The Archies, a band formed by a group of fictional teenagers in the television cartoon series The Archie Show. It reached number one in the US in 1969 and stayed there for four weeks.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar,_Sugar)

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Lee Marvin – Wand’rin’ Star
Peaked: March 1970
“Wand’rin’ Star” was an Irish and UK number one single for Lee Marvin for three weeks in March 1970. It was originally written by Alan J. Lerner (lyrics) and Frederick Loewe (music) for the stage musical Paint Your Wagon in 1951. When the film of the musical was made in 1969, Lee Marvin took the role of prospector Ben Rumson. Not a natural singer, Marvin nevertheless sang all of his songs in the film, rejecting the idea of miming to another singer’s voice. Despite the film being a box office flop, the soundtrack became a success. Orchestrated and arranged by Nelson Riddle, Marvin’s version of the song “Wand’rin Star” becoming an unlikely number-one single in Ireland and the UK for him, famously keeping The Beatles at number two in the UK with their single “Let It Be”. Marvin never released a follow-up single, so is classed as a one-hit wonder.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wand%27rin%27_Star)

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Norman Greenbaum – Spirit In The Sky
Peaked: May 1970
“Spirit in the Sky” is a song written and originally recorded by Norman Greenbaum and released in late 1969. The single sold two million copies in 1969-1970 and reached number three in the U.S. Billboard chart (April 18, 1970) where it listed for 15 weeks in the Top 100. It also climbed to number one on the UK, Australian and Canadian charts in 1970. Rolling Stone ranked “Spirit in the Sky” #333 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song was featured on the 1969 album of the same name. Cover versions by Doctor and the Medics and Gareth Gates have also made the number 1 spot in the UK.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirit_in_the_Sky)

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Althea & Donna – Uptown Top Ranking
Peaked: February 1978
“Uptown Top Ranking” is a song and single by the Jamaican teenage singers Althea Forrest and Donna Reid, recorded when they were 17 and 18 years old respectively. Released in 1977, it was a surprise hit reaching number 1 in the UK Singles Chart in February 1978, after early championing by BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel and a performance on Top Of The Pops, but had only one week at the chart summit. It was produced by Joe Gibbs, using a re-recording of the riddim of the 1967 Alton Ellis song “I’m Still In Love”, which had already been re-popularised in the 1970s by Marcia Aitken’s cover “I’m Still In Love With You Boy”, and the deejay track “Three Piece Suit” by Trinity, to which “Uptown” was an ‘answer record’. The single’s UK release was on the Lightning record label. The lyrics were written by the duo and Errol Thompson. Althea & Donna became the youngest female duo to reach the number 1 place of the UK chart.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uptown_Top_Ranking)

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Brian and Michael – Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs
Peaked: April 1978
Brian & Michael are a British music duo best known for their 1978 UK number one hit single, “Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs”. Without further chart entries, they remain one-hit wonders in the UK. They comprise two members: Michael Coleman and Kevin Parrott. “Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs” was a tribute to the artist L. S. Lowry, who had died two years previously. For the song, Coleman drew on his own memories of Salford and Ancoats as well as the paintings of Lowry. St Winifred’s School Choir appeared on the record, singing the children’s song “The Big Ship Sails on the Alley-Alley-O”. The single spent three weeks at the top of the UK Singles Chart. The b-side of the record was entitled “The Old Rocking Chair”.
(Source: Wikipedia,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matchstalk_Men_and_Matchstalk_Cats_and_Dogs#Matchstalk_Men_and_Matchstalk_Cats_and_Dogs)

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Anita Ward – Ring My Bell
Peaked: June 1979
“Ring My Bell” is a 1979 disco song by Anita Ward. It was originally written for Stacy Lattisaw, but when she signed with a different label, Ward was asked to sing it instead, and it became her only major hit. The song hit number one on the disco charts. “Ring My Bell” went to number one on both the Billboard Hot 100, and soul singles chart. It also reached number one on the UK Singles Chart.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_My_Bell)

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Fern Kinney – Together We Are Beautiful
Peaked: March 1980
“Together We Are Beautiful” was a popular single by Fern Kinney. Written by Ken Leray and produced by Caron Whitsett, Wolf Stephenson and Tommy Couch, “Together We Are Beautiful” was a No.1 single in the UK for Fern Kinney. Originally a B-side to “Baby, Let Me Kiss You”, the song was flipped after DJs picked up on it. The song made No.1 on the UK singles chart for a solitary week in March 1980.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Together_We_Are_Beautiful)

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M|A|R|R|S – Pump Up The Volume
Peaked: October 1987
“Pump Up the Volume” is a song and the only single by British recording act MARRS. Recorded and released in 1987, it was a number-one hit in many countries and is sometimes regarded as a significant milestone in the development of British house music and music sampling. The song derives its title directly from a lyrical sample from “I Know You Got Soul”, a hit single by 4th & B’way/Island labelmates, Eric B. & Rakim, released only months prior in that same year. The single was the product of an uneasy collaboration between electronica-fusion group Colourbox and alternative rock band A R Kane, two groups signed to the independent label 4AD. The link-up was suggested by label founder Ivo Watts-Russell after the two groups had independently sounded him out about the possibility of releasing a commercially oriented dance record, inspired by the American house music that was starting to make an impact on the British charts. When the M|A|R|R|S project was first released early in 1987, the popularity of the style of the song had already started to grow.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pump_Up_the_Volume_(song))

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Robin Beck – First Time
Peaked: November 1988
“First Time” is singer Robin Beck’s first significant chart hit, released in 1988. It was originally recorded for a Coca-Cola commercial in 1987, and was released originally in the United States on January 31, 1988, and subsequently released as a single. The single was released in the UK in October 1988 and climbed to #1 and spent 3 weeks there in November/December 1988, spending 14 weeks in total in the UK Singles Chart.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Time_(Robin_Beck_song))

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Partners in Kryme – Turtle Power
Peaked: July 1990
“Turtle Power” is a 1990 single performed by rap duo Partners in Kryme. The song was released by SBK Records and was from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles soundtrack and was featured in the film’s closing credits. Written by James P Alpern and Richard A Usher JR and produced by Partners in Kryme, “Turtle Power” rode the wave of popularity of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. A rap record featuring the use of vocoder vocals for the chorus, it became a massive worldwide hit reaching #13 on the Billboard Hot 100, #2 on the Hot Rap Singles and #1 on the UK singles chart for four weeks in July 1990.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtle_Power)

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Hale & Pace – The Stonk
Peaked: March 1991
“The Stonk”, based on a fictitious dance craze was written by Joe Griffiths and Hale & Pace and was produced by Queen guitarist Brian May who also featured on the track. A UK number-one single for one week in March 1991, it is their sole chart single but raised Β£100,000 for Comic Relief. The B side to this was entitled “The Smile Song” and was written and performed by comedienne Victoria Wood.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Stonk#The_Stonk)

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Rui Da Silva featuring Cassandra – Touch Me
Peaked: January 2001
“Touch Me” is a song by Portuguese house producer Rui da Silva and British singer-songwriter Cassandra Fox. The single is arguably Rui da Silva’s most popular song, spending one week at the number-one spot on the UK chart, the first song by a Portuguese musician to do so, lasting a total of 14 weeks on the chart alone and selling over 300,000 copies.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touch_Me_(Rui_Da_Silva_song))

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Las Ketchup – The Ketchup Song (AserejΓ©)
Peaked: October 2002
“The Ketchup Song” is the English title of the song “AserejΓ©,” recorded by the Spanish pop group Las Ketchup, which was an international hit in 2002. It was released in July 2002 as the lead single from their debut album, Hijas del Tomate. The song exists in three versions, Spanish, a version in a mixture of English and Spanish, described as “Spanglish,” and a version in Portuguese. The chorus is identical in the three versions. This song reached number-one in the United Kingdom, as well as 26 other countries worldwide. As of 2006, the song has sold over 7 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling singles of all time.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ketchup_Song)

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Nizlopi – JCB Song
Peaked: December 2005
“JCB” (or “JCB Song”) is the second single from Nizlopi’s first album Half These Songs Are About You. The song is a reminiscence of childhood, based on singer Luke Concannon’s own memories; it is sung from the point of view of a young boy, travelling with his father on his JCB digger, listening to Christy Moore’s song ‘Don’t Forget Your Shovel’. The song’s website refers to Luke’s dyslexia, the resulting bullying and characters, such as B. A. Baracus, Bruce Lee and Transformers, who would protect him against the bullies. The bypass mentioned in the song is probably the A46 as the band lived in Leamington Spa at the time and the A46 is known locally as “The Bypass”. The single was originally released in the United Kingdom in June 2005, when it entered the charts at No. 160. Following its release, the song gradually achieved a cult following on the Internet and at film festivals, in part due to the award-winning animated video by Laith Bahrani of Monkeehub. Mainstream coverage and airplay followed, and by 19 November, national newspapers were writing about the song’s rise, and possible destiny as Christmas number one. The song entered the UK charts at number one in the week before Christmas, but was pushed into second place in the Christmas charts by X Factor singer Shayne Ward. Both songs continued to hold their positions for the next four weeks.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JCB_(song))

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Vanessa Jenkins & Bryn West – (Barry) Islands In The Stream
Peaked: March 2009
On March 8, 2009, actors Ruth Jones and Rob Brydon, in character as Vanessa Jenkins and Bryn West from the hit BBC sitcom Gavin & Stacey, released a version of the song as a single for Comic Relief. Sir Tom Jones also features on the song, performing the final verse and chorus, whilst Robin Gibb appears on the single as a backing vocalist. Re-titled “(Barry) Islands in the Stream”, in reference to the Barry Island setting of Gavin & Stacey, it entered the UK Singles Chart at #1 on March 15, 2009. By peaking at #1, this meant the Gibb Brothers had achieved #1 songs in five successive decades, the first songwriters to achieve this feat. The video was filmed in Barry Island, Las Vegas and the Nevada desert, with both Gibb and Jones appearing in the video alongside Jones and Brydon. Nigel Lythgoe also makes a cameo appearance as a talent competition judge.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_(Islands_in_the_Stream))

I hope you enjoyed my one hit wonder step back in time! πŸ™‚

My weekend anthems!

Yes, it’s finally the weekend, everybody! I took today off as holiday from my day job so I am having a cheeky 4 day holiday, seeing as it’s a Bank Holiday on Monday πŸ™‚

In celebration of this monumentous fact, here are some of my favourite weekend anthems that never fail to get me in the weekend mood πŸ˜€

Horror films I enjoyed even though I have necrophobia

I have necrophobia. Yes, I know that that’s unfortunate when I am married to a horror author. Especially when I handle a lot of the admin online and have to view stuff I’d rather not see that Michael helpfully tells me is “make up”. Hmm, it looks suspiciously realistic to me…

That being said, there have been a few films I have watched that, even though they were gory, I still enjoyed. I shall list them now for you! πŸ™‚

Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Johnny Depp plays police constable Ichabod Crane who gets sent from New York to a village called Sleepy Hollow to investigate a series of murders that seem to have been carried out by a Headless Horseman. This is another film where Johnny Depp teams up with Tim Burton (I love some of their other collaborations too such as Edward Scissorhands and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, which I’ll talk about below). There is an all-star cast in this film, including Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Christopher Walken, Richard Griffiths, Christopher Lee and Alun Armstrong. There is quite a bit of beheading in the film but because I have seen the film that many times, I know when to look away to avoid the really gory bits! It’s a great story-line and I would recommend this to fellow necrophobics, as the film really is worth watching πŸ™‚

28 Days Later (2002)
Activists break into an animal laboratory. They try to free chimpanzees that are being used for medical research. The activists are interrupted by a scientist (played by David Schneider). He warns them that the chimpanzees are infected with a virus dubbed “Rage”. He tells them it’s highly contagious and only one bite will cause it to spread. The activists don’t listen and open the cages anyway and release the chimpanzees. One of the chimps attacks one of the activists and she immediately becomes infected with “Rage”. She then infects other members of the group. 28 days later, Jim (played by Cillian Murphy), wakes up from a coma in a London hospital. He leaves the hospital after discovering that he is the only person in the place, and finds that London is completely deserted. He comes to a church but it is inhabited by zombie like humans so he runs. He is rescued by Selena (Naomie Harris) and Mark (Noah Huntley). They then set about trying to survive. This film was directed by Danny Boyle and also stars Brendan Gleeson and Christopher Eccleston. Even though there are gory bits, I really enjoyed 28 Days Later, and I am yet to watch 28 Weeks Later.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
This is another film where the marvellous Tim Burton joins forces with Johnny Depp. Sweeney Todd is a barber and serial killer who murders his customers. Mrs. Lovett (played by Helena Bonham Carter) runs a meat pie shop and turns the murdered victims into pies. It is gruesome, but I was enjoying the film so much that I could see past all that. It also stars an all-star cast including the fabulous Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall and Sacha Baron Cohen.

My favourite musical films (part one!)

I was reading someone else’s review of the theatre version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and so I ended up watching videos of the theatre performance on YouTube, which naturally led to me watching clips of the original film. I haven’t done a film post in a while so I thought I’d bore you, tell you, all about some of my favourite musical films.

I’ve always loved musicals. There’s something about a rousing chorus line that just gives me goosebumps and makes me jealous that I’m not in the film, singing and dancing like a loon. I don’t mind whether the songs are original to the film (Grease) or cover versions (Pitch Perfect), if they’re new songs I’ll soon learn them and be singing away, in anticipation of buying the soundtrack, which usually happens.

I won’t be including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as I haven’t seen the show but I did used to have the soundtrack on cassette when I was younger, so I thought I’d give it a special mention πŸ™‚

So, eyes down, here we go, with five of my favourite musical films and my favourite song from that film (in no particular order)…

1. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
I said on another blog post that I’d happily watch Tim Curry read the phone book, because it’s true. He’s such a brilliant actor, and has a lovely pair of legs too πŸ™‚ I’ve never been lucky enough to see TRHPS live, only the film, but everyone I know who has ever seen it live has raved about it afterwards, for ages it seemed (jealous, me?).
FAVOURITE SONG: Hot Patootie – Bless My Soul
As much as The Timewarp or Touch Me are great, I’ve chosen Hot Patootie simply because Meat Loaf’s in it, and I’m a big Meat Loaf fan. He’s fab as Eddie but I’ve never been happy with Eddie’s demise 😦

2. Calamity Jane (1953)
I haven’t really seen many Doris Day films, but she’s simply sensational in this. Doris Day has said many times that this film and film role were her personal favourite of all of the films she has starred in, so I’m in good company!
FAVOURITE SONG: Just Blew In From The Windy City
It’s such a great sing-a-long song that just makes you smile πŸ™‚

3. Pitch Perfect (2012)
If you’ve read my blog post about Pitch Perfect, you’ll know that I am in fact, an obsessee of this film, and that before I ever watched the film, I’d already seen most of the major clips and songs on YouTube before it was ever released. I could literally watch this over and over and never get bored. Rebel Wilson is hilarious, but I really love Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow and Skylar Astin. I can’t wait to buy the soundtrack and I was beyond excited when I found out that the sequel is due out in 2015!
FAVOURITE SONG: Just The Way You Are (Amazing)/Just A Dream (mash-up)
I really wanted to put a different song in but didn’t want to spoil it for anyone who’s not yet seen it, so I chose the mash-up instead πŸ™‚

4. Hairspray (2007)
I used to watch the original film on VHS video (because I’m that old…) and it will always have a special place with me, but I really love the 2007 remake. There are so many of my favourite actors in it: Amanda Bynes, Brittany Snow, Zac Efron, James Marsden, Queen Latifah, John Travolta and Christopher Walken being simply fabulous (see below…)
FAVOURITE SONG: (You’re) Timeless To Me
I have seen Christopher Walken in many films, but nothing quite like this. He is so cute singing to John Travolta dressed as a woman. It sounds odd on paper, but they make a great on-screen couple. I love the giggles you get out of both of them. Aw!

5. Grease 2 (1982)
I’m going to be controversial and state, for the record, that I (whisper it) prefer Grease 2 to the 1978 original. I do like the original, I just prefer the songs in the second film. Michelle Pfeiffer and Maxwell Caulfield are great together.
FAVOURITE SONG: Who’s That Guy.
I also like the songs Reproduction and Cool Rider, but Who’s That Guy just pipped them to the post. I think because you know it’s Michael and you’re just waiting for him and Stephanie to finally get together πŸ™‚

I’ll be back with more favourites soon πŸ™‚

My favourite Sia songs

I have been a big fan of Sia Furler since she released “Taken For Granted” in the UK back in 2000. She has featured on a fair few songs in the last year with established artists such as David Guetta (“Titanium” and “She Wolf”) and Flo Rida (“Wild Ones”) but these are my favourite songs where she is on her own. I was lucky enough to see her live in 2008 in Leeds, and she was just simply amazing. I love Sia so much that I walked down the aisle at my wedding to “Day Too Soon” πŸ™‚

My St. Patrick’s Day playlist!

Everybody knows I love to share my favourite new and old music, and today is no exception! In honour of today being St. Patrick’s Day, here are my favourite songs by Irish artists. Enjoy!

The genius that was The Big Breakfast (1992 – 2002)

Back in the 90s, the best way to startΒ a week day was by switching on The Big Breakfast on Channel 4 and watching from 07:00 until 09:00 (if you were lucky enough to be off school/work). It was crazy, it was loud, but you felt like you were surrounded by your mates, and so you’d really start the day with a smile.

Below are some of my favourite TBB moments, because I know that there are people out there who haven’t heard of The Big Breakfast, mainly because I worked with one (who made me feel very old at that admission!).

Gary Barlow and Robbie Williams co-host with Gaby Roslin
I remember being VERY excited in February 1993 when a very young Gary (just 22) and Robbie (19, bless), along with the rest of Take That, co-hosted TBB. I used to VHS record every appearance of Take That that I could, so my collection was huge in the end. Enjoy if you’ve never seen them looking so cute!

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More Tea Vicar?
Viewers were invited to call in and guess how many cups had been featured in a short clip. Whoever guessed the correct amount won a prize, a skiing holiday to Colorado no less in the clip below. Johnny would be dressed asΒ a vicar, and Denise would be a put upon nun, who Johnny would regularly abuse.

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The Friday Song
The Friday Song was at 8:55am each Friday, that most of us missed as we had gone to school or work, so you’d set the video recorder (remember them?) before you left the house. The verses would be topical and the chorus would be a rousing sing-a-long. In the clip below, you also get to see the legend that is Phil Gayle who was the newsreader on TBB from 1996 to 2000, including a news item that “The International Festival of Chocolate kicks off later…” What? Is it still going? *heads to Google* Yes, there is one this year, good to know… (see my new upcoming post, “The Chocolate Festival” lol).

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The last ever Friday Song with Johnny and Denise
The saddest day for Johnny/Denise fans, the end of their presenting TBB and the last ever Friday Song on 12th January 2001 😦