Monday, June 29, 2009

Fields Of Gold

Sometimes you think you know a song so well that in actual fact you don't really know it at all. By that I mean there are songs that I have always thought were around for ever, which are decades old and whose composition originated from a certain country. One song that I have forever thought was both of Irish origin and had been around for many, many years is Fields Of Gold. The song is in fact from 1993 and written by Sting. It was a number 23 hit for him on the Billboard Hot 100 and 16 in the UK. Fields Of Gold was taken from his Ten Summoner's Tales album. That album also featured Shape Of My Heart which Sugababes sampled on their single Shape. A few days ago I did a post on the pop group Six. This was the group Nadine Coyle was almost a member of. Nadine went on to compete and win her place in Girls Aloud. Early in this decade Nadine appeared on several TV shows including The John Daly Show in Northern Ireland and on The Late Late Show here in Dublin. On both shows she sang Fields Of Gold. It was by then a song that was well known because of Eva Cassidy as well as Sting's original version. I think Nadine made the song so much her own, that since then, I have always thought it was an Irish song. I think that song endeared audiences, especially those of us here in all of Ireland, to Nadine. There are clips of Nadine singing the song on the shows mentioned but the audio isn't great. Below is a lovely, clear version. It is a song that makes me sad each time I hear it. It really is a beautifully composed song.

Streetwalker

There have been some great posts on Michael Jackson on pop blogs over the past few days. I much prefer reading them than most of what is in the newspapers. On the day after his death the Metro newspaper had Billie Jean written as Billy Jean. I know it's a free newspaper but a spelling error like that is really unfortunate. I know there are a thousand examples of blogs misspelling a word but newspapers only have one chance on major news stories like that. Today on Last.FM the top ten most listened to Michael songs through their website were as follows:
1:Billie Jean - 59,062 2: Beat It - 57,062 3: Thriller - 55,093 4: Smooth Criminal - 37,978 5: Bad - 35,887 6: Black Or White - 34,954 7: The Way You Make Me Feel - 30,198 8: Man In The Mirror - 28,381 9: Rock With You - 26,034 10: Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' - 25,968
The play counts are this week only. That list will change daily now. 3 of those songs in the top ten are from Bad. I listened to songs from the special edition of Bad again last night. One song that I never was that fond of was Another Part Of Me. Interestingly, that song nearly wasn't on the album as Michael preferred the song Streetwalker and at the end of the day Michael's manager choose Another Part Of Me over Streetwalker. The story of the song's history is here. Here's the wonderful Streetwalker.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bee Gees + Disco Boys = Amazing


With so much free music, Youtube and CD swapping these days it's easy to forget that there are still great bargains in music stores. Recently I got a Bee Gees Greatest CD for just €6.99 in HMV. It contains all the big hits and several remixes. 28 songs in total. Included are my favourite Bee Gees songs; Too Much Heaven, Nights On Broadway , Love You Inside Out and Spirits (Having Flown). I never really liked the Saturday Night Fever movie. I think people get nostalgic about it because of the music and cinematic imagery but it a film that is very dark in places especially at the end. I do of course love the music. If I Can't Have You is one of the best Bee Gees songs of that period. I adore Yvonne Elliman's original version and also Kim Wilde's version from 1993. On the Bee Gees Greatest there are 3 versions of the Bee Gees singing the song. I love pop music lyrics and for ever I always thought a song like If I Can't Have You is like psychotic pop..."If I Can't Have You, I Don't Want Nobody, Baby"

The version below is The Disco Boys remix which is the final song on Bee Gees Greatest. You could just imagine this in a club with hundreds of
people.

 

Saturday, June 20, 2009

On Blogging

I'm sure other bloggers have said to themselves 'I should do a blog post about...' and then either they never do or that they find another blogger has done it already. In most cases, I think bloggers try to be original but because we all more or less like the same kind of pop it's bound to happen that similar posts are on different blogs. If you are a blogger does that element of someone posting about a new song or artist first put you off writing your own post? I tend to acknowledge anyone who has written about something first with a link or a mention. I'm sure I have done a post on a topic that someone has already done. However, there are 1000's of blogs out there that we will probably never be aware of. If I ever do a post that someone has done something similar please let me know and I'll amend it. On the other hand should we read lots of blogs and check this in advance or should we just publish what we want? I wonder in years to come will we look back on blogging and regard it as a thing of it's time or maybe even question why we do it at all. I think it's obvious the enjoyment that bloggers get out of their own sites. I think the worst thing to that can happen to a blogger is that he or she becomes egotistical. I hate blogs that ridicule or make snide comments about other bloggers. Blogging has created a myriad world of mini communities. Recently I have been doing more reading, watching movies and old TV series on DVD, going to the cinema and meeting friends. I sit down to write something on my blog and I just go on Youtube for an hour instead. I have to admit I much prefer the real world to blogging. I can't afford to go to concerts in Dublin these days but I miss them. I love the whole atmosphere of a live concert. The same with movies. I went to Drag Me To Hell on my own recently and thought it was just ok. I know if I had gone with someone else I would have enjoyed it more. I think bloggers who post every week or especially every day have a definite high level of self confidence. When other people like what they write it really is a boost. I hate when a blogger slags off an artist and the comments tend to agree with the writer even if they love that artist themselves. Never stop loving the pop you have always loved. If there was a 100 positive comments on a blog post and one negative I'm always more interested in the negative one. I often wonder how does someone maintain a job, a good social life, be in a relationship and blog regularly as well? Something has got to give. Back in 2006 and 2007 I know I blogged regularly because I was at home a lot in the evenings and on my days off work. Most of my friends were in relationships and many were always busy at weekends. I would meet friends on week nights when I was working and then at weekends or bank holidays I had nothing to do. Blogging suddenly filled an empty part of my life. I may work in a book shop but I have never filled my spare time reading. Blogging was like a hobby with feedback. I remember being so happy to get a comment on a post. I don't like pubs and because of that, here in Dublin, it's very hard to meet someone. I would love to be in a relationship. In ways I know I blog because, like the song, I'm scared of lonely. Blogging is like writing a letter to yourself and also to an audience. No matter how big or small that audience is it is still a form of communication. Blogging is unique because it is about elements of both the insular and the extrovert. I remember getting a real buzz from the fact that one blog network site posted one of my posts and then been really hurt when when my blog was described as an 'uncomfortable combination' of popular culture and personal stories. The personal stories dried up after that. However, I think as a blogger you have to go beyond that. Blogging, for me, is about writing whatever you want to say in a truthful and tactful way. I keep on reminding myself what my friend Susan told me about blogging, that is 'do it for yourself and if anyone else likes it then that's a bonus'. What links a lot of our blogs is the music. We all check in to other sites to see what the other person is listening to this week. When I was growing up no one liked the music I liked. I wish I had a friend like the pop bloggers I know through having my blog. Always end a post with a song and here's my favourite re-discovered cover version of the moment. Burns does Bowie. From 1994, here's Pete Burns and Steve Coy of Dead or Alive and a dancetastic version of Rebel Rebel.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

When Paula met Janet

The video below is an interview by Paula Yates with Janet Jackson on the great UK show The Tube. The time is 1987 and Janet was by then a huge star with the success of her album Control and all it's great singles. She talks about her family, video making with Mary Lambert, working in the studio with Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Whitney Houston and Prince's movies Purple Rain and Under The Cherry Moon. And Five Star too! The song that Janet was promoting at the time was Let's Wait Awhile which would get to number 3 in the UK charts and it was the fifth single from Control. It's a sweet interview with Janet and Paula both looking fab. I so loved Janet's key earring. Paula was clearly going through a Madonna phase and doing it well.