2 Shades of Grey

Songs from the soundtrack of your life


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Ain’t no love any more when it comes to pop songs

If the Righteous Brothers lost that loving feeling back in 1965 then its got worse ever since.

Pop songs now are less likely to be about love and are increasingly likely to be about sex.

An analysis of the top 50 songs in the US Billboard charts from 1960 to 2008 found that almost 60% of songs were about romance.Since then the proportion has dropped to 49%.

And male singers are increasingly singing about sex – up to 40% from only 7% in the 1960s.

No longer the Beatles vanilla “I wanna hold your hand” but Nelly Furtado’s “Promiscuous“, “Birthday Sex” by Jeremiah, and “Love Sex Magic” by Ciara.

And on of the greatest modern songwriters Marvin Gaye progressed from being crazy about his baby in 1963 but demanding sexual healing ten years later.

And the researchers – from 3 universities in America – blame it on male R & B and rap artists. They say “Over these five decades relational content became somewhat less common and sexual content, including objectification of women, became more common. These trends were slightly more apparent in songs performed my males rather than females.

The changes seem driven by the rap genre which did not place a song in the top 50 until the 1990s”(I would argue that rap doesn’t have songs but that’s my traditionalist view).

Song lyrics inevitably reflect the language we all use to express ourselves said a British Phonographic Industry spokesman. “Back in the fifties and sixties public morality made it difficult for people to speak as openly as they wanted and it’s likely that love was simply a euphemism for sex“.

And were songs any worse for that? Using allegory and imagery rather than misogynistic, in your face, puerile language?

I’ll leave you with a song from the great Bobby “Blue” Bland ” from 1974 (also Whitesnake’s first hit)

 


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Little Richard………comes to Manchester in 1963

I played in a support band at one of his shows.Management pulled us off as the Teddy Boys in the audience, jiving with each other, didn’t appreciate our Motown covers. Not quite as bad as The Blues Brothers being bottled but you get the idea!

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)

In 1963 I was fifteen years old and just getting into my stride with pop music. There was little opportunity to listen to pop music as the BBC rigidly controlled the airwaves and looked down on popular music with considerable distaste. The best we could aspire to in those days was “Family Favourites” on the radio (on Sunday dinner time, thats midday for those who live in the south), which would very occasionally play something “new”. Most of the time it was music requested by families (many in the forces) and was of the 30s, 40,s and occasionally 50s eras.

In 1963 the Beatles had begun to make waives and not long after the “beat boom” exploded with bands pouring out of many major cities, but particularly Liverpool.

Many of the British bands had been influenced by American R&B, country blues and gospel music (It was Bonnie Raitt who said…

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Songs that I liked when I was discovering music

03-mescooterI’ve mentioned before my early influences but I recently found a list I made ages ago of my early favourites when I was a young teenager. These are all tunes that meant something to me as I was growing up in an industrial town in East Lancashire and that I played all the time on local juke boxes or with friends.

Some were tunes I learned to play on the guitar, others just appealed to me. Looking back some of them remind me of times when things were changing after the post-war austerity. Some of the artists I’ve already posted about (just follow the links).

Duane Eddy

That amazing Gretsch guitar sound – apparently achieved by utilising an empty 2,000 gallon water tank with his amp at one end and a mic at the other. I met him when my band were a support band on one of his tour gigs back in the day and he was a really nice guy.

Recently my friend (and former vocalist with The Avalons) David and I decided to invest in a new Gretsch guitar each. I got a black one and he got an orange one as he was a big Eddie Cochran fan)

  • 40 miles of bad road
  • Shazam

Everly Brothers

Saw them in Preston on their comeback tour. What voices and great backing band including guitar virtuoso Albert Lee. This track was so dramatic and the harmonies spine-tingling.

  • Cathy’s Clown

Buddy Holly

Never saw him but saw the Crickets, and Bobby Vee, in Burnley of all places. His 4-piece band was the template for so many others and I loved that sunburst fender Stratocaster. I had to get one (a 1957 Vintage Squier version made in Japan which cost me just over £200)

  • Raining in my heart
  • Well all right

Johnny Kidd & The Pirates

Never saw him but played these on the jukebox all the time.

  • Shaking all over
  • Growl
  • Please don’t touch

Ray Charles

On the same jukebox as Johnny Kidd & the Pirates.

  • What’d I say
  • Hit the road Jack

Eddie Cochran

Never saw him sadly but played this and “Hallelujah I love her so” in all my bands.

  • Summertime Blues

Johnny & The Hurricanes

A visiting guitarist showed me the riff for Sandstorm on my acoustic guitar when we were hanging out at a river crossing called Heasandford in Burnley, Lancashire. A river crossing anywhere else would sound so Bruce Springsteen!

  • Red River Rock
  • Sandstorm

The Shadows

Everyone’s favourite. I used to play their tunes on an acoustic guitar with a pickup. Hard work above the 12th fret. I liked their singing too.

  • Apache
  • Wonderful Land

Elvis Presley

Played all these at different times. “Rose” accompanying a girl singer for a church concert, arpeggiated all the way through. Others were standards in various bands I played with.

  • A rose grows wild in the country
  • A mess of blues
  • Heartbreak hotel

Roy Orbison

Going down the local ballroom and hearing these songs blasting out. Sounded out of this world. Del Shannon’s Runaway had similar impact on me.

  • Only the Lonely
  • My Blue Angel

The Ventures

Country cousins to the Shadows but without the tape echo. Learned loads of their tunes but these two especially were band staples.

  • Walk don’t run
  • Perfidia

Chuck Berry

And to think his only UK No 1 was “My Ding-a-ling”. I was never a Johnny B Goode afficionado although everybody learned the riffs. These two were a bit different however and we’re still playing “Memphis”.

  • Route 66
  • Memphis Tennessee

John Leyton

Saw him sing this on TV as a pop singer doing a PA based in a department store soap called Harpers W1. Within 2 weeks it was at No 1. Follow up “Wild Wind’ in similar mode. I bought his first LP “The two sides of John Leyton” – one labelled “beat” and the other “ballad”.  This song has just been covered by ex-Stranglers.

  • Johnny remember me

Chet Atkins

Bought my first Chet Atkins LP in London and still have it. Listened and learned from him in the early days especially hammer-ons and pull-offs. Liked this because it was recorded by Marty Wilde’s old band with Big Jim Sullivan on lead guitar.

  • Trambone

John Barry 7

What a great sound from this rock combo with jazz leanings. Loved guitarist Vic Flick (and what a name!) who played as session man on many film scores.

  • Hit & Miss
  • James Bond theme

Joe Brown

Didn’t realise how influential Joe Brown was until many years later when I learned about his session work and supporting US artists on UK tours (they couldn’t bring their own bands over in those days because of work permit rules)

  • Picture of you

Marty Wilde

Still prefer him to St Cliff. Met him once in a club in Nelson where he was appearing as the Marty Wild Trio (sometimes referred to as the Wild Three) with his wife Joyce Baker (ex-Vernons girl) and future Moody Blues star Justin Hayward. A really friendly guy.

  • Johnny Rocco
  • Sea of Love
  • Endless sleep

 


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41st Worsthorne Arts & Crafts Fair

The festival theme was the 60s as demonstrated in the many displays in the church.P1020870

Of course being the sixties Burnley FC had to be featured!P1020868

And as musicians we were delighted to see reminders of the swinging sixties when British pop music ruled the world.P1020872

And with that in mind our set was very much 1960s flavoured.P1020884 P1020917

We kicked off with Chuck Berry’s “Memphis Tennessee” and the classic “Save the Last Dance” followed by a couple by the  Everlys, the second a duet with our friend Tony Cummings.P1020890

We were then joined by Caroline Taylor for that old Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood classic “Summer Wine”.P1020897

Then with both Caroline and Tony we performed that great Phil Ochs’ song “There but for fortune” (I love that three-part harmony at the end) and the Bobby Darin classic “Things“.P1020903

Barrie rounded off the first half with a great rendition of Tom Rush’s song – made famous by Scott Walker – “No Regrets“.P1020915

The second half was a 1960s medley with a quiz for the audience to identify the singer and the song.

So we rounded the evening off with songs from the Kinks, the Beach Boys, Sam Cooke, Little Eva, the Mindbenders, Cliff Richard, Herman’s Hermits and the Beatles.P1020923

Those were the days my friend!

A great evening enjoyed by everyone.

——–

You can read a slightly different take on the festival here.

Last year’s Festival