Chart Music #23: October 6th 1977 – Soul Rail Replacement Service

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The latest edition of the podcast which asks: so how do you actually soil a bra, then?

This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, takes us back, back, back to the autumn of ’77, and it’s a proper Lucky Bag of Randomness – just how we like it. The wake for Elvis is still dragging on, Punk is everywhere (apart from on Top Of The Pops, or in the charts), and Noel Edmonds is very keen to tell you that he’s the Lion King of Radio One and he has two hours of telly on Saturday mornings, in his Hepworths suit, like a bell-end.

Musicwise, it’s a proper continental dog’s breakfast. La Belle Epoque has a go at this Disco lark, Baccara pitch up for a bit of an undulating swoon, Danny Mirror indulges in a bit of Deadly Spanking, and Giorgio Moroder and Legs and Co pitch us into 1988. But fear not, there’s plenty of Brit-stodge in the shape of Smokie and the Steve Gibbons Band, while The Emotions and Deniece Williams spell out the difference between our telly and theirs: the former whoop it up on Soul Train, while the latter gets bludgeoned by the piss-headed jobsworths of the BBC Orchestra. And The Stranglers get their fingers burned. And there’s a girl in a massive Jubilee bonnet.

Neil Kulkarni and Taylor Parkes join Al Needham ‘neath the fraying red, white and blue bunting for a rummage round the back end of 1977, gleefully pinging off on vital tangents such as Bummer Dog’s Reign of Terror on the streets and playgrounds of Top Valley, Spanish Prog bands recording Sex Pistols LPs without knowing what the fuck Johnny Rotten is going on about, praying to God that your dad wasn’t roaring like a Jesse in the pub over Elvis, the eternal Tiswas v Swap Shop debate, being the pub-related go-between for Hutch and Huggy Bear, the return of the Kulkarni Sandwich Test, and some moderately sizeable news for our Patreon subscribers. And lots of lovely, lovely swearing.

 

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Chart Music #22: July 4th 1985 – A Horrible Time For Crisps, And For Pop

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The latest episode of the podcast which asks: have you got crabs?

In this edition, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, we decided to give you the opportunity to watch our selected episode of Pops along with us (providing you keep a finger on the pause button, as we’re over five times longer). It’s just come out on BBC4, giving you an invaluable opportunity to tut to yourself and say; “God, they didn’t even mention that Richard Skinner keeps saying “It’s the way you tell them” to Simon Bates, the thick twats.”

Yes, we’re smack in the middle of the Eighties, and a mere nine days away from Live Aid – and no-one realises yet what a massive fault-line it’s going to create in Popland, when the dinosaurs come marching back and cram everything around them into their gaping maws. Least of all us, as we’re too busy skulking around in a post sixth-form haze, sitting through a Saturday detention due to Tipp-Ex-related obscenities, and pitching a Pants Tent to George Michael in Barry Island Butlins.

Musicwise, however, this episode veers all over the shop, from Pete Burns taking the last stand for Pop Weirdness to Tears For Fears poncing about in Montreux to Paul Weller in his Pants to Oompah Reggae to Mick Hucknall annoying people trying to play pool to Roland Gift singing like he’s got a hot bit of potato in his mouth to Ian Astbury dressing up like someone who reads palms in a caravan off Blackpool Pier. It’s actually better than expected, although the No.1 is depressingly rammel. And as luck would have it, one of us – who was a Hip Young Cockleslinger at the Barry and District Times – has pulled out his scrapbook and treats us to his original reviews.

Neil Kulkarni and Simon Price join Al Needham for a solid pick at the scab of 1985, veering off on the usual tangents, which include having to go to school with the Topless Lovelies, the correct procedures of cock-drawing, trying to dress like Paul Weller and ending up looking like Eric Morecombe, Quincy Punks, and the Treacherous Steph of Basingstoke. Naturally, swearing is deployed. Often.

 

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Chart Music #21: May 11th 1995 – Lisa’s Dad Is Well Brexit

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The latest episode of the podcast which asks: er, can you spare us a few quid so we don’t have to do these through shitty microphones any more? Please?

This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, couldn’t be more Nineties if it started off thinking England were a lock for the 1994 World Cup, and finished having a bit of a roar about Lady Di. We’re smack in the middle of 1995, two-thirds of the panel were hammering out dispatches from the very frontline of Cool Britannia (while the other third was locked in a glass box, rummaging through bin bags filled with pictures of fannies), and one of us was actually in attendance when this very episode was filmed, sitting around with mopey young musos and slipping away for a crafty pull on a jazz fag when Celine Dion comes on.

Yes, there are a couple of Britpop acts on this episode, but it’s a timely reminder that there was far more going on than that in ’95, and most of it thick with of the tang of Hip-Hop. Montell Jordan rocks that urban Bully out of Bullseye look, Jonathan King introduces his latest proteges The Black Eyed Mushy Peas, some band we’ve never heard of drops an unexpected N-Bomb, Manchester United play Run-DMC to Status Quo’s Aerosmith, and, er, Scatman John pitches up. And St Simon of Mayo emerges from the darkness every now and then like a Shakespearean ghost with some rib-tickling, cutting-edge ‘burns’ of the English Rugby Union and Bob Geldof’s marital woes.

Naturally, because it’s a Nineties episode, there’s a chunk of blather about working in the music press, but the inevitable tangents include the death of the NME, the floppy-headed rubbishness of David Seaman, being sneered at by Menswe@r’s roadie, an entire shopping centre being rammed out to see a radio presenter dressed up as a monk, Richard Desmond: Champion of Homosexual Media, and a plug or two for our new Patreon account. As always, there’s swearing, swearing and more swearing.

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Chart Music #20: February 1st 1979 – Not My Favourite DJ Of All Times

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The latest episode of the podcast which asks: an emaciated John Lennon in a boxing match with the six months-dead Elvis Presley – who wins?

This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, is mental. Come with us as we set the Time Sofa all the way into the very heart of the Eighventies, to a Bizarro-world where people actually thought – yes, with their actual brains – that Mike Read was sort of cool. Yes, it’s the Chart Music debut of Mr Blue Tulip himself, which may be touched upon at some point in this episode, we can’t remember.

Musicwise, it’s all over the shop, but always in a gloriously entertaining manner. Vaguely Punkish bands lumber about on their last legs, a giant hairy Belgian testicle in a muumuu has to jump up to reach his congas, Mike Oldfield’s sister and her mates break out of a Victorian asylum and pretend to be Martha and the Vandellas, Nazareth still think it’s 1973, Billy Joel has a cup of piss balanced precariously on his mixing desk, and a Birmingham taxi driver has a dark secret to reveal. And Debbie Harry looks down upon us all with her frosty hauteur as Legs & Co have to share four costumes between them. Meanwhile, at a party in New York, Sid Vicious is deciding to have another helping of trifle laced with heroin. End Of An Era.

Al Needham joins Taylor Parkes and Simon Price around the industrial dispute brazier of early ’79, veering off to discuss such important matters as wringing every last drop of juice out of your fledgling record collection, asking the Iranian kids at school if they were in the Shah’s or the Ayatollah’s gang, your Dad seeing the Sex Pistols kicking off about a lack of cabbage at a motorway service station, and a disturbing early internet craze called ‘Top Of The Pops Club’. And all the swearing you’ll need to see you through the month.

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Chart Music #19: June 15th 1989 – Remember Double Trouble’s Shirts? They Were Really Stylish

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The latest episode of the podcast which asks: what’s the difference between a Cartoon Time and a Cartoon Club?

This episode, Pop-Crazed Youngsters, sees the world’s No.1 authority on old episodes of a long-gone pop show casting its eyes and ears toward the summer of ’89 – but if you’re expecting to see some Acid House tomfoolery or a full-on Madchester takeover, you’re going to be massively disappointed: the only Acieeed references are on Sinitta’s ears, and the only Manc in attendance is, er, Simon Parkin, who’s been let out of the Broom Cupboard for his TOTP debut. And he looks like he’s shitting himself throughout.

Still, this episode is a definite sign that things are getting better, as long as you avoid looking at the appalling shirts that men chose to wear in that era: Brit-Hop pitches up in the shape of the Rebel MC. REM finally escape from Student Discoland into our hearts and charts. Fuzzbox get all saucy with a massive pin . And Stock Aitken and Waterman finally admit defeat with the worst No.1 of the year that didn’t involve a grown man in a rabbit costume.

Al Needham is joined by Sarah Bee and Neil Kulkarni for a ram of the critical arm up the cow’s arse of ’89, veering off to discuss being coated down by middle-aged Crusties, Mams who go into town wearing your favourite band t-shirts, suitable replacements for Africa pendants if you happen to be white and don’t want to get battered, being stared at by Cyndi Lauper, and the disgusting lack of train etiquette displayed by second division pop stars. And – of course – all the swearing you could possibly need.

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Chart Music #18: April 29th 1976 – Dave Lee Travis Stamping On A Human Face, Forever

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The latest episode of the podcast which asks: what, him out of Brotherhood Of Man with the ‘tache? How old? Fucking hell!

After an extended hiatus, the greatest podcast in the world about old episodes of Top Of The Pops roars back with its usual melange of incisive music criticism, flare-baiting, dodgy microphones and the language of the billiard hall. This episode, we’re on the cusp of The Great Drought, and Tony Blackburn is on hand, bearing the gormlessly smiley visage of a man who knows he’s going to be giving his next-door neighbour a seeing-to in a Kensington flat after the show is over.

Musicwise, this episode is pitted with British rubbishness, saved by the advent of Disco and the intervention of black America, who are repaid with comedy racism. Yes, Diana Ross and Gladys Knight drop two of the greatest tunes of the era, but we’re forced to listen to the Genuine Concerns of Paul Nicholas, an early appearance of Midge Ure trying to be James Dean, Racist Animal Disco, and the most hated lorry driver of the Seventies who wasn’t Peter Sutcliffe. Oh, and because it’s April 1976, you already know what the No.1 is. On the upside, we get two appearances by Pans People. On the downside, it’s because this is the week they are made redundant, marking the very end of TOTP’s Golden Age.

Taylor Parkes and Simon Price join Al Needham for a rummage through the skip of mid-70s Pop, breaking off to discuss if you can actually wring any kind of enjoyment out of 70s grot films, Monk Rock, the futility of CB radio, the lack of Birmingham accents in Pop, having your 8th birthday ruined by Manchester United, passing out in a lion suit, and some quality swearing.

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