Today I employed the Almanac Strategy © for my ‘work at home’ playlist. This is what it yielded for the 21st of July.
The information in italics is sourced from various internet sites. There are links to youtube videos for most featured songs.
Born on this day, Cat Stevens, singer, songwriter. 1967 UK No.2 single ‘Matthew And Son’, 1972 UK No.9 & US No.6 single, ‘Morning Has Broken’. Converted to the Muslim religion in 1977 changing his name to Yusef Islam.
For me, the Cat (born Steven Demetre Georgiou) is an artist for whom a ‘Best of’ fails to capture his skill and intensity as a song-writer. Timeless album of classic songwriting (even though you may be tired of “Moonshadow” and “Morning has broken”, there’s plenty more). Gorgeous album cover too. If I gave this the detailed VC treatment, it would come in as “Essential”.
Standout track: Tricky. “Peace train” is great and you so want it to be Earth’s National Anthem, but the vote goes to “Changes IV” for the personal belief.
Georgie Fame was at #1 on the UK singles chart with ‘Get Away’. The song started life as a TV jingle for a petrol advert.
Mr Fame was a major mover and shaker in 60s London. His early R&B singles are terrific; strong voice, neat arrangements. This is an excellent collection, though there are plenty out there. Watch out for cheapo comps as they may include low-fi live material.
Standout track: “In the meantime”
The Beatles started work on the John Lennon song ‘Come Together’ at Abbey Road studios in London. The track became the opening song on The Beatles Abbey Road album and was later released as a double A-sided single with ‘Something’, their twenty-first single in the UK and twenty-sixth in the US where it reached the top of the charts.
The second Beatles album I owned. Wore out my original copy, meaning that it is so well known that I only spun the fantastically funky groove-drenched opening cut. “Here come old flat top, he come grooving up slowly…”
Genesis single “Invisible Touch” is number #1 in the US. It made #3 in Australia, #6 in Canada, #8 in New Zealand and (a pretty pathetic) #15 in the UK.
Wonder what that says?
The album of the same name did pretty well too, much to the disgust of long-term fans of the band’s progressive years. But it was full of well-written pop songs and is an enduring (slightly guilty) pleasure to enjoy when doing housework or, as deployed today, having lunch.
Standout track: “Land of Confusion” (possibly because of the video, which you must watch it if you don’t know it)
Roger Waters’ ‘The Wall’ took place at the Berlin Wall in Potzdamer Platz, Berlin. Over 350,000 people attended and the event was broadcast live throughout the world, Van Morrison, Bryan Adams, Joni Mitchell, The Scorpions, Cyndi Lauper, Sinead O’Connor and others took part.
Can’t stand the original Wall (as noted here), but can just about get through this star-studded live version. The variety of singers and the theatre inherent in this particular performance lift it into the tolerable zone.
Standout tracks: Scorpion’s kick-arse opening “In the flesh”; Joni Mitchell’s stuttering, wailing, “Goodbye blue sky” (accompanied by James Galway on flute!)
Thom Yorke, lead singer of Radiohead, awakes to the news that his first solo album The Eraser, has debuted in the US Chart at #2.
Must confess that I haven’t listened to this much. It exercises a twitchy down-beat charm. Probably appreciated more by die-hard Radiohead fans. Suitable for spinning late in the evening when you’re trying to decide between bed and a final Scotch.*
Standout track: “Black Swans” (for excellent use of the word fuck)
* Actually, I don’t like Scotch. But that line makes me sound like the kind of hip, sexy, hard drinking dude who stays up late sipping neat whisky and listening with penetrating detachment to all kinds of cool music even though he has to work the next day.
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Have an excellent 21 July, people. In fact, have a damn fine week.