RIP Cilla Black 1943-2015

The week began with news that Cilla Black had passed away at 72 years young. She'd had an awesome career, considering she was a singer delivering a series of charting hits throughout the 60s, hosted a chat show in the '70s and fronted a dating game show for almost two decades from the mid-'80s. I wasn't a massive fan, but knew a number of her songs that still stand as classics, as enduring and recognisable as her ranga bob and prominent choppers.

The first time I was aware of Cilla was when she appeared on The Don Lane Show, the long-running Australian tonight show hosted by the 'lanky yank' of the title. During her appearance, she happened to refer back to her previous visit downunder.

"I'd just given birth, and was all poofy," she said, in her Liverpudlian accent.

"You mean 'puffy'," Don corrected her, in his American accent.

"Yeah, 'poofy'," she repeated. "What's the difference?"

"Oh, believe me," Don explained, "there's a difference."

It was still the '70s, and Australia, so if making fun of people who speak differently or are in same-sex relationships was neither funny nor inoffensive, who could tell? (Or, more to the point, who would tell?)

In time I'd learn more about Cilla Black in passing: contemporary - and friend! - of the Beatles, who helped get her noticed by their manager Brian Epstein; real name Priscilla White, gaining the stage name she kept as a result of a gig booker muddling her name.

Some of her enduring hits include fine Burt Bacharach songs like Alfie and Anyone Who Had A Heart (or, as Peter Sellers delivers it in the sketch A Right Bird, Anyone 'Oo 'Ad An 'Art); Lennon/McCartney songs like Love of the Loved, It's For You, and Step Inside Love (the latter, the theme to her chat show, Cilla), and You're My World.

At its height, her dating show Blind Date rated around 17 million (if you were ever a fan of Ben Elton's stand-up, you'll recall the phrase 'strictly for the birds, Cilla; strictly for the birds…'; I can't remember the context).

And she maintained the respect of the next generation(s) of viewers doing a sterling job of hosting episodes of Never Mind the Buzzcocks: "Hullo and welcome to the Boozcocks…" (Thanks for the reminder, Cat!)

 

 

If I were a cartoonist, my tribute to Cilla would be a single panel with St Peter at the pearly gates, welcoming her with the words "step inside, love". Failing that, I figured I'd photoshop the same with some judiciously pilfered images.

However, in the process of locating suitable imagery, I cam a cross this lovely photo of Cilla hamming on the sofa as a guest of Jonathan Ross:

 

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So I figured there might be a different 'tribute' to Cilla, a different song title:

 

IT'S FOR YOU

 

You'll no doubt recognise the grim reaper from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. I think it's fitting, since my first glimpse of Cilla Black's Cilla was as a visual 'quote' in a season 4 episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus. It's an episode of Cilla featuring Ringo Starr as a guest, so fittingly, the graphic brings Cilla, Python and Beatles back together (It's For You being one of the Lennon/McCartney songs she recorded).

However, my search revealed this gem: Cilla, when she was smoking hot!

 

Cillablack

 

Finding a suitable St Peter was more difficult than finding a God, and there's an awesome God in Monty Python and the Holy Grail - so again Cilla, Python and the Beatles come together:

 

STEP INSIDE LOVE

 

Admittedly, the Old Man n the Sky comes across as a Dirty Old Man in the Sky, but… well, can you blame him?!

I apologise for my efforts failing to do justice to Cilla Black. The best tribute to her, of course, is the miniseries Cilla. Made in 2014, it's utterly brilliant, not only for the presence of Sheridan Smith in the title role - she's a knock-out and, apparently, supplied the vocals herself. That's the facsimile - imagine how amazing the real thing must have been in her own time.

 

 

 


Getting the Finger from Jerry Garcia

I was tickled pink by the news that the Grateful Dead were reconvening for their 50th Anniversary: July 3-5 at Soldier Field, Chicago.

Once I'd gotten my head around the staggering ticket prices - a three-day pass has been offered on StubHub for $116,000 (that's US dollars, I'm guessing) - a series of questions immediately sprung to mind:

  • Will there be a return of the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Tests?
  • Will the Kool-Aid be available in drip-bags with deluxe attachments that older fans – the not-quite-Deadheads – may affix to their disability scooters?
  • Who will fill the spots left vacant by founding members who haven't managed to last quite as long as the band?

At least they've been clear on the final issue: deputising for lead guitarist Jerry Garcia, for example, is Trey Anastasio, of Phish.

 

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Check him out: Trey clearly has been deliberately chosen f0r his ability to look enough like the Jerry Berry to fool the baby boomer acid casualties.

Which reminds me, there is one final essential question:

  • Has Jerry Garcia ever given you the finger?

No?

If not the finger, how about a finger?

If not, there's certainly the opportunity to get one now, that's for sure!

According to gossip newsletter  Popbitch, a dude called Matt is selling one via Craigslist. ("$5,000; Good Condition.")

 

Jerry Finger Craiglist

 

Matt reckons he's selling the severed finger to raise money for said upcoming 50th Anniversary show.

"It pains me to part with this one-of-a-kind collectable," he writes, "but I believe Jerry would want me to see the last show."

Matt doesn't explain how he came to own Jerry Garcia's picked finger, preserved in brine solution and hermetically sealed "for long term storage".

Of course, this is the perfect marketing opportunity: individual vials with replica Jerry Berry Finger tabs, immersed in the specially prepared Electric Kool-Aid Acid available at the merch booth.

 

Jerry Berry's finger

 

If they really wanted to, they could clone a whole new Jerry Berry from the DNA contained in the preserved digit.

At the very least, this concert should be recorded for posterity. Adorned with the image of Garcia's finger, it would be the perfect way in which to revive that series of live Grateful Dead recordings known as 'Dick's Picks'. Ladies and Gentlemen, Dead Heads, Acid Casualties, Mobility Scooter-bound Baby Boomers – may I present Dick's Picks Volume 37:

 

DicksPicks37b

 

 

 


You're a vision of excellence

Eurovision-2013-logo-we-are-one


I still don't know that I 'get' Eurovision. On the one hand, it can launch careers - or at least lead to hit singles - despite the high-camp pantomime silliness of it all (ABBA's 'Waterloo', Sandie Shaw's 'Puppet on a String', Celine Dion). On the other hand, that career is often more high-camp pantomime silliness (Bucks Fizz 'Making Your Mind Up', Brotherhood of Man 'Save Your Kisses For Me' and, let's face it, ABBA).

I mean, seriously. Bucks Fizz. Look how silly the choreography is… particularly at 2:15 into the clip… Apparently three different bandmembers and a choreographer all claim credit for the 'skirt rip'. That's nothing compared to the cheesy actions accompanying the 'from behind' lyric soon after. In fact, the whole song is ordinary. Cretinously repetitive. The only way it can keep your interest is by modulating to yet another key at the end of each chorus. This was the winning performance. Of the winning song. In 1981. Courtesy of the United Kingdom. And then it was a massive hit  around the world. Hard to believe, I know.


One thing you can say is that in the two decades since the Bucks Fizz win, the filming and production values have improved massively - even if the songs haven't.

Although, I shouldn't generalise. Some have been quite impressive indeed: Serge Gainsbourg's 'Poupée de cire, poupée de son' - performed by French yé-yé singer France Gall as Luxembourg's winning entry in 1965 - was a postmodern piece of dramatic self-referential artistry. It sold some 14,000 copies as a 7-inch single in France the day after the broadcast, going on to sell half a million in a short period of time. (I was unable to embed the clip, but watch it here. And then watch her controversial and ambiguous follow-up single, also written by Gainsbourg though not a Eurovision entry, 'Lollipops'.)

What I love most about Eurovision is the paradox it embodies. It's a competition designed to unify the disperate nations of the European Union with the so-called 'universal language' of music. Impossible! Mostly impossible... that's why the winning song is frequently seemingly nonsensical.

Spain's 1968 winning entry, 'La La La', for example. Sung by Massiel, it was dismissed as 'a piece of rubbish' by thwarted songwriter Bill Martin. Martin co-wrote Sandie Shaw's 1967 winning entry for the United Kingdom, 'Puppet on a String', with Phil Coulter. The pair also wrote 'Congratulations', performed by Cliff Richard. 'Congratulations' was the favourite to win in 1968, and was indeed in the lead for most of the 1968 competition - until Germany gave Spain enough points to get ahead of the United Kingdom. So the universal language only unites if its speaking nonsense, and only unites some contries, in the strategic voting to block others. Or perhaps they just didn't dig Cliff Richard's frilly pirate shirt.

Anyway, the United Kingdom took notes. The following year, Lulu delivered a song with a stupid title: 'Boom Bang-a-Bang'. And it won. Although, 1969 was the first year that countries tied in the top spot, and because it hadn't happened before, there was no provision in place for the high-camp pantomime equivalent of a 'penalty shoot out', 'sudden death' or 'golden try'. So the United Kingdom won. And so did Spain, Netherlands, and France.

But take the time to appreciate how much of an over-the-top novelty song 'Boom Bang-a-Bang' is - the orchestra raises its eyebrows at 0:40 in:

 

 I wonder if they chose Lulu deliberately for the song with 'bang bang' in the title - since 'Lulu Bang Bang' is a folk song no doubt familiar to musical insiders, much as 'the aristocrats' is known to comedians. It's a crude folk song. No musical euphemisms with the horn section raising its eyebrows, though.

The ridiculously titled winning entry was suitably parodied - along with Eurovision itself - by Monty Python's Flying Circus, in the Europolice Song Contest, won by Inspector Zatapathique (Graham Chapman), Forensic Expert with the Monaco Murder Squad, with his rendition of 'Bing Tiddle Tiddle Bong'. Before you get there, however, marvel at how pretty Eric Idle is when he frocks up - and also at the racist humour that just wouldn't be tolerated today.


Thus admonished, you'd think Eurovision contestants would have wised up and avoided the rubbish titles. But no, there were more foolishly titled songs to come. Teach-In won for the Netherlands in 1975 with 'Ding-a-Dong':



And Eric Idle had another go at Eurovision on behalf of the Pythons. In the 'Story So Far' section of The Album of the Soundtrack of the Trailer of the Film of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, where the convoluted re-telling of the plot references Sally Lesbitt who "is now the half-brother of a distant cousin of Ray Vorn Ding-ding-a-dong, the Eurovision song, and owner of the million-pound bidet given by Hitler to Eva Brown as a bar mitzvah present during a state visit to Crufts..."


I'm not quite sure whether 'A-Ba-Ni-Bi', Israel's winning entry in 1978, qualifies for a nonsensical title. In fact, I'm not sure Israel qualifies as a European nation… Although they won again in 1979 and in 1998.


No mistaking 1984's winners as coming from a legitimately European country, singing a song with a legitimately nonsensical title. Swedish trio of brothers Herrey's - not quite a precursor to Hanson - delivered 'Diggi-Loo, Diggi-Ley'.


I almost wish there was another song with a foolish title this year. Never mind. Instead, we'll finish with the best Eurovision parody thus far. Neil Innes (you know, the seventh Python, writer of the Rutles' songs, former member of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band) has a song that could almost serve as virtually any nation's Eurovision entry: 'Mr Eurovision'.


Wiggledy Piggledy

 

This is Cereal
This is cereal! Hoard your Pufferbillies and Ooby Doos (and Ogi Bears, Etsons, and Linstones, if Annah-Arbera haven't sued); the boxes have just become collectible…

 

Showbiz news shock horror: The Wiggles are breaking up. And it’s not some Wigglesque Yoko Ono waking up Jeff Fatt (the Purple Wiggle) once and for all, making him realise he doesn't have to be 'Elvis Wiggle surrounded by sycophants' anymore, stop making Wiggles albums and DVDs and start making experimental albums posed on the cover in a colour other than purple scenario…

Oh no.

It’s weirder than that.

Turns out Jeff Fatt, Greg Page (Yellow Wiggle) and Murray Cook (Red Wiggle) are handing in their coloured skivvies, to be replaced by younger folk.

But it's weirder than that.

One of the new Wiggles is a chick.

That's right. Greg Page, who came back to replace his replacement Sam Moran, is being replaced by 20-year-old Emma Watkins.

Watkins, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, has served as their “back-up dancer”. (Whatever that is. Are there even ‘back-up dancers’? What do they do? Do back-up dancers dance the rhythmic harmonies so the lead dancers and the solo dancers can dance over the top of them, secure in the knowledge that they have the support of a dedicated, solid bed of dance?)

There’s a bit of a furore that Sam Moran got dudded - if Page was coming back only to go again, why not leave Moran in the yellow skivvie? Why not make Emma Watkins the new Purple Wiggle? Why not a bit of, "Wake up, Emma!" Women sleep too, you know. Course they do. In fact, sometimes you have to check if they’re awake in order to initiate the wiggling in the first place…

Oh. Maybe that's precisely why she couldn't be the Purple Wiggle… it's a kids' show, after all.

Anyway, Emma's the new Yellow Wiggle. And it's not that weird. Kylie has served as the fifth Wiggle. And she was the Pink Wiggle. Meanwhile, Lachlan Gillespie's the new Red Wiggle. And Simon Pryce is the new Purple Wiggle who gets to sleep.

The current Wiggles reckon, after 20 years at it, it's time for a bit of a rest. When you consider that they can play up to 500 shows a year, you begin to understand. Jeff is 58 - well you can understand why he needs a bit of a kip in the middle of the show.

Indeed, Anthony Field confesses, sometimes it all gets too much: he's battled the kind of depression that leaves him bawling his eyes out in the dressing room. Which makes it odd that he's the one that's staying put, at the centre of it all. Maybe it's the others who make him cry… But don't be shedding any tears for them. They'll still be around, undertaking 'backstage roles' rather than jumping around the stage.

Except for Sam Moran, of course.

Although, it's the Orange Wiggle I feel most sorry for…

OrangeWiggle


The Elephant in the Room

  Elephantpresley

Elvis Presley’s birthday just passed, and it was a big deal – a significant birthday! – cos had he been alive today, he would have been about 1,765.

Kilos.

I admire Elvis like everyone should. Perhaps more than most, because I appreciate the fact that the Elvis we formerly considered ‘daggy’ – ’70s Elvis; Elvis when he was fat and forty instead of thin and thirty – deserves far more respect than he used get. We know now that musically speaking Elvis’s later oeuvre was far more sound. (Go. Get the CDs. Listen.)

But I was six when Elvis died. So I have no vital memory of how his life – or music; or death – affected me.

My most vital Elvis-related memory took place in a glorified pub. It was the Bank Hotel in Newtown, late one night in 1995. I was sat with a big group of friends when a guy dressed as Elvis wandered past our table.

By ‘dressed as Elvis’, I mean, clad in a body-hugging, rhinestone-encrusted, flared white jumpsuit. But that wasn’t all: he also had an elephant mask on.

Why was a man dressed as Elvis with an elephant mask? Perhaps it was a comment on white-jumpsuited Elvis’s size, perhaps. As the Doug Anthony Allstars’ Tim Ferguson used to say at the beginning of their song ‘Dead Elvis’: ‘he was big in the ’50s; he was bigger in the ’60s; he was bloody huuuuuge in the ’70s…”

Perhaps he was somebody’s birthday present: an elephantasy Elvis-a-gram.

Or seeing as we were in Newtown, perhaps it was just another colourful local going about his business.

It didn’t matter why – the important thing was, you can’t really catch sight of a guy dressed as jump-suited ’70s Elvis with an elephant mask and not make a comment. Not even in Newtown. But he was making his way past our table, so I only had about 30 seconds, tops. And nobody else seemed to be reacting. I was going to have to be the one to call it: to point out the elephant – dressed as Elvis – in the room.

But what do you say?

It has to be Elvis related, and yet, also elephantine.

So what’s it gonna be?

Time’s running out.

It’s now or never.

Could I make the call before he passed?

You betcha.

He’s got a trunk, a trunk o’ burnin’ love!
Just a trunk, a trunk o’ burnin’ love!


What’s that?

Did I sing it?

Uh-huh-huh!

Thangyouverimuch.


Shania Twain's Husband Swap - that don't impress me much

**this one’s got some naughty words, so beware**

It’s a strange thing, how, as you get older, you somehow learn to appreciate country music. Proper country music. The outlaw variety, with – as Frank Zappa said in the song ‘Truck Driver Divorce’ – ‘steel guitars crying all over it’… sung by proper country singers like Marty Robbins and Johnny Cash. But pre-American Recordings with Rick Rubin Johnny Cash. Certainly not Shania Twain country.

Shania Twain first appeared on the scene when I was still working in a top 40 chart music store. Or rather, its Classics and Jazz department (ie ‘classical music’ and jazz, but calling it ‘classics’ meant it could be show tunes and middle-of-the-road older stuff as well…)

I couldn’t help but give her a nickname. That’s what we did with all artists. New Kids On The Block were New Kids With No Cocks. Val Doonican was Val Croonagain. The Doors were The Bores (were they ever!) Neil Young, as time went on, lived up to his nickname of Neil Old. The Rolling Stones were the Strolling Bones. Kate Ceberano And Her Jazz Sextet were Kate See-no-bra And Her Tit Sex Jizz. Bob Dylan was Baaaaaaahhhhhhb Dylaaaaaaaahhhhhn (but you had to do his voice when you said it). And Shania Twain was… well, you had to pronounce her first name like an Aussie country bloke saying ‘showing ya', so it was like ‘sho’in ya’. Her name was Sho’inya Twat.

That has no bearing on this news story, reported by The Daily Beast, about Shania Twain shacking up with Frédéric Thiébaud, the pair having consoled each other after Marie-Anne Thiébaud nicked Twain’s hubby, Robert Lange.


All The Residents’ Men

Residentsphoto


It sounded, at first, as though I had wrong-footed Mr Hardy Fox, the so-called ‘spokesmodel’ for The Residents, when I summed the group up as scary-looking and strange-sounding. Although the latter could be open to interpretation – (“no, all experiments in disrhythmic, atonal sea-shanties sung in distorted falsetto with bleeping synthesizer accompaniment sound like that…”) – the former was fair comment: their most enduring public image was a handful of Fred Astaire-alikes – top hat, tales and cane – who had huge bloodshot eyeballs for heads. The last time they’d toured Australia was in 1986. I was a school boy but I still remember the first time I became aware of them, on a giant poster on the wall of Red Eye Records. I even purchased a few CDs. Let me tell you: the bloodshot eyeball Astaires really were scary looking, and their music is weird-sounding.

Seeing them live didn’t quite live up to the mystery, although they were less painful to listen to than many of the other performers sharing the bill in the 2005 ‘What is Music? Onathon’. Basically, a few band members played at one side of the stage (synthesizer, guitar and drums), while a guy in a miner’s hardhat-with-lamp moved bits of the set around. A man and a woman with fake witchiepoo noses (not unlike Connie Booth in Monty Python and the Holy Grail), looking like rejects from HR Pufnstuf or any other Sid & Marty Krofft-produced television shows from the 70s, made the entire thing look like a bad high school musical. I’m told that in the mid-80s, this was the height of technology and a riveting show. This time around it didn’t quite deliver on the promise. But I’m still glad I got to talk to Mr hardy Fox.

The downloadable mp3 version is as lifted from that week’s ABC News Radio Music News segment, so it features Debbie Spillane as well as some interesting sounding music, courtesy of The Residents.

PS I suspect Hardy Fox is one of the eyeball heads when he isn’t acting as their ‘spokesmodel’.



Demetrius Romeo: What’s the best introduction for someone who’s coming to The Residents for the first time?

HARDY FOX: Well, probably not to tell them that they have eyeball heads and that they play weird music. That scares pretty much everyone away right off. We actually found that not everyone likes mainstream music. You know, maybe most people do, but that still doesn’t come down to ‘everyone’, and that leaves an awful lot of people. So generally, anywhere you go, you’re going to find a few people who basically can’t stomach what’s currently popular, and those people love to hear about someone like The Residents.

Demetrius Romeo: The Residents have been making the distinctive music that they make for a few decades. How did they come into being? Where they a collective of people who just didn’t stomach what was popular during the 70s and realized that there’s a different way, that there are different sounds to be made?

HARDY FOX: Well, The Residents as a group begins when they have the name ‘The Residents’. Before that, they existed, they knew each other and it goes all the way back to their childhood. They’re actually long-term friends who grew up together, which is so much how they’ve been able to communicate over these years in the way they do communicate. It comes out of a lot of children’s games, I think, and a type of understanding. They actually became The Residents in the 70s, when they decided to more formally organise to do something, or to do things together.

Demetrius Romeo: Had they collaborated together in smaller groups before they decided to come together as ‘The Residents’?

HARDY FOX: They collaborated as a group, but they didn’t have a name. In fact, they didn’t have a name until they sent a recording in to Warner Brothers without a name on it and when the demo was returned to them, they had just addressed it ‘To: The Residents’ because they didn’t know who to send it to. So they took that as an omen that they were to take that name.

Demetrius Romeo: Because so much is constructed behind an artifice of some sort, because there are hidden identities, because the music is unlike anything we have heard and because it’s harder to fathom how it’s made, is there ever a sense that it could all be some sort of on-going practical joke?

HARDY FOX: I think some people do think that. If it was, or if it is, it should at least be acknowledged as one of the longest-standing and longest-running practical joke in history, perhaps. But I don’t know, you know? I don’t know how music can really be a joke. Music has no value in itself; it’s a very abstract form. And if people enjoy it, then it seems like ‘enjoying it’ is ‘enjoying it’, no matter what.

Demetrius Romeo: How much of The Residents’ success is based on sensationalism; on the fact that we don’t know who they are or what they’re really doing back there?

HARDY FOX: I think, a large part originally, but I think after thirty-three years, not very much. I think the people who have been hanging in there for this long are in there because the things that The Residents do are actually very interesting and entertaining. Anyone who sees them on this tour will find that to be true.

Demetrius Romeo: For the uninitiated, why should they come and see the Residents? What can you guarantee at a Residents’ show?

HARDY FOX: Well, that they won’t be going to you’re typical rock show. In fact the Residents sort of abhor the concept that bands have become, which they sort of feel is embedded deeply in 70s mythology, and they just feel that it hasn’t really gone anywhere since and that it’s a very tired form. So they’ll see people who are at least trying to re-shape the concept of the music group. It’s sort of like being captured by aliens, but that in itself is not a bad thing.

Demetrius Romeo: Hardy Fox, thank you very much.

HARDY FOX: You’re welcome.


Bo Diddley: Rock ’n’ Roll Legend

A gorgeous young woman came into Egg Records looking for some Bo Diddley recordings because, she said, he was playing at the Enmore Theatre. She wanted to listen to some of his music before she went to see him. There was nothing in stock on vinyl or CD, but the poor woman couldn’t escape without getting my lecture on the ‘Bo Diddley’ beat – that syncopated strum pattern that also gets referred to as the ‘ham bone’ beat – that turns up in songs like ‘Not Fade Away’, Fred Smith’s ‘Imogen Parker’ and even the introduction to U2’s ‘Desire’. I figured the ideal thing would be to would be to corner Bo Diddley for an interview. Wouldn’t it be cool to find out about the ‘Bo Diddley’ beat from the man himself? Maybe he could even explain where the term ‘ham bone’ comes from.

Thankfully, it turned out that Richard Glover was going to feature Bo Diddley live in the studio during his drive segment the day before the Enmore gig; Diddley’s publicist and people very kindly let me have ten minutes straight after. In ten minutes we managed to cover a rough outline of the man’s career, we established that the ‘ham bone’ beat is different to the ‘Bo Diddley’ beat, and Bo threatened to undress me.

An exceprt went to air on ABC NewsRadio the following morning, in time to publicise the Enmore gig, with pretty much the entire piece getting a run in that weekend’s Music News segment. I present a version here, recut with a bit more music.



Soundbite: ‘I’m A Man’ from the BGO CD Hey! Bo Diddley/Bo Diddley

Demetrius Romeo: Bo, you’ve been playing music for the better part of sixty years, I’d gather…

BO DIDDLEY: Fifty!

Demetrius Romeo: You started in school, though.

BO DIDDLEY: Well I been playing music well before that. I was playing classical music from eight years old. I played for twelve years. Then I got the guitar. My sister Lucille gave me the guitar. I learnt myself how to play that.

Demetrius Romeo: Were you more passionate about the rock n roll than the classical music?

BO DIDDLEY: I had no idea what I was doing, I just did it.

Demetrius Romeo: Of course, it wasn’t called ‘rock n roll’ then, was it?

BO DIDDLEY: No, no. It was just called, uh, I would say that everyone was trying to say that I was playing boogie woogie. Not blues, boogie woogie. Then they couldn’t figure out whether I was blues, boogie woogie or what, you know? And then when I came up with the song ‘Bo Diddley’, Alan Freed named a whole trend of music which has lasted until now. I was the first one he named. He said, “here’s a man with an original sound, an original beat that’s gonna rock n roll you right out of your seat.” The word was born right at that time, not with Elvis Presley.

Demetrius Romeo: And did you rock n roll them out of their seat?

BO DIDDLEY: Oh yeah, I’m still doing it.

Soundbite: ‘Bo Diddley’ from the BGO CD Hey! Bo Diddley/Bo Diddley

Demetrius Romeo: You’ve been playing all those years.

BO DIDDLEY: Yeah.

Demetrius Romeo: What’s keeping you going?

BO DIDDLEY: Well I love to play, and I’ve got a lot of fans. You know, I know a lot of people around and I – I hope I see some of them while I’m here.

Demetrius Romeo: In all that time, how’s the music industry changed?

BO DIDDLEY: A lot! A lot. Now we’re dealing with rap. You know, there’s nothing wrong with it, I just don’t like the dirty lyrics that our children should not be subjected to.

Demetrius Romeo: There was a time, though, when adults felt that the music you were playing…

BO DIDDLEY: Was dirty.

Demetrius Romeo: Yeah.

BO DIDDLEY: You can’t find nothing that sounds like some of the stuff I’ve heard. They’re using words that – I’m seventy-six years old – that I won’t use. You understand what I mean? And I just think our decency or our morals have been walked on a little bit by some new entertainers, because your children should not listen to certain things until they’re old enough to handle it. I can’t help being a little bit old fashioned, but I’m sorry, it works.

Soundbite: ‘Bo Diddley’ from the BGO CD Hey! Bo Diddley/Bo Diddley

Demetrius Romeo: You’re actually one of the few musicians who has a rhythm, a beat, named after them – the ‘Bo Diddley’ beat.

BO DIDDLEY: Yeah, because I was the one who invented it. I came up with it, and everybody likes it. You know, it’s kind of primitive mixed up with a little bit of spirituality, and it’s a trance that I can put into it. The way that I execute sometimes, I can almost make you undress.

Demetrius Romeo: Not right now, please. Now, it’s also got another name, the ‘ham bone’ beat.

BO DIDDLEY: No, it’s not ‘ham bone’. Let me straighten you out right quick because I’m afraid your gonna fall into a hole. Sings an example of the ‘ham bone’ beat, and then an example of the ‘Bo Diddley’ beat.

There are two different melodies. Know what I’m saying? Two different melodies. And anyone that knows anything about music will understand that.

Soundbite: ‘Elephant Man’ from the Raven CD Drive By Bo Diddley – Tales from the Funk Dimension 1970-1973

Demetrius Romeo: In the 70s, your music took a heavier, funkier kind of turn. Would you agree with that?

BO DIDDLEY: Me still being here should tell you something. I believe in changing with the times. I studied something new; every time you see me, I’ll have a new song that I bring to people because I built this monster, and I have to feed him. This rock ’n’ roll thing, I have to keep it going. I don’t copy nobody else, I do my own thing, and I try to put my music where other people would like it. If I don’t like the song, I don’t fool with it, you know. Long live rock ’n’ roll!

Soundbite: ‘I’ve Had It Hard’ from the Raven CD Drive By Bo Diddley – Tales from the Funk Dimension 1970-1973


You and Bjork’s Army

Icelandic chanteuse Bjork has announced a special fundraiser for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami that took place in the Indian Ocean.

Apparently, ever since the song ‘Army of Me’ was released in the mid-90s on the CD Post, people have been posting her unsolicited remixes of the song. She finally solicits further submissions, to the e-mail address bjorkremixes@gmail.com, so that she may release a double CD of the best ones.

Here is my version: ‘Army of Me (ABC NewsRadio Remix)’. It’s lifted from the most recent Music News segment (downloadable from the righthand margin of this blog until about 7:30 pm on Friday 21 January EST) and features Debbie Spillane and Demetrius Romeo. I’m hoping it might be one of those surprise, unlisted tracks that appear about two hours after the CD is over.

Or better still, it could be like the Nick Cave songs on the X Files CD, Songs in the Key of X, that were hidden at the beginning of the disc; you had to press the ‘rewind’ button before the first song started to find them.

So there’s an idea: download my ‘remix’ now, and after you buy the double CD set, play it before you tuck into the proper collection.