MUSIC & CULTURE

Image by Mandyme27 from Pixabay

I’m not going to take all the blame for what follows.

The original idea came from a message conversation with Stuart Grant. He had possibly not his greatest ever idea: a list of the most annoying songs in music history. I then had an even worse idea — I took up his challenge.

I quickly found there were too many annoying songs so I whittled things down to the ten most annoying №1 hits in the UK.

Sadly, the record-buying public of my homeland — a country that gave the world The Beatles, The Smiths, The Arctic Monkeys, David Bowie…


The Beatles and a turntable
Image by Paweł Ludziński from Pixabay

The first moon landing, the Sept 11th attack, and the fall of the Berlin Wall; some historic moments stay with you forever and you remember exactly what you were doing when they happened.

The Beatles provided many historic moments. For Americans, it was their appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964. In the UK, that first major Beatles historical event happened on 4th November 1963. The Beatles were appearing live on the Royal Variety Performance in London in front of the Queen Mother. They weren’t even top of the bill.

Just before launching into the final song of their…


MUSIC

three monkeys playing indstruments and singing
Image by Thomas Wolter from Pixabay

Many rock stars were destined for a musical career: Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello and Prince all came from musical families, for example. However, some famous musician’s careers could have taken an entirely different turn and some had an upbringing that was most definitely not conducive to a musical career.

Joe Strummer

The wonderful article Where Have All the Buskers Gone by David Acaster explained that Joe Strummer started as a street busker in London. …


MUSIC PLAYLIST

Image by Olya Adamovich from Pixabay

Are you a rocker? Maybe you’re into deep angst-ridden music, Radiohead, Bjork perhaps. You could be a folkie or prefer indie rock. Modern R&B?

Whatever genre you like, sometimes a catchy tune comes along that is completely out of your style and worse, more than a little cheesy.

It’s time to come clean.

Lightning Strikes — Lou Christie, 1966

I used to think the song was called Lightning Striking Again and by Frankie Valli. Instead, it had a title that doesn’t appear in the lyrics and was written and sung by American singer-songwriter Lou Christie.

Usually, men singing falsetto reminds me of fingernails scratching down window…


SHORT STORY

Image by Vlad Vasnetsov from Pixabay

I called out to my nan. Her high-backed armchair creaked from the next room and the bare wooden floorboards groaned. “Comin’.” Her gruff Cockney accent cut through the warm school holiday air.

She plodded heavily into the middle room. I guessed I’d got my athletic frame from my mum’s side. I looked up from the piano as she leant an elbow on the top; her face broke into a wide indulgent smile. Like my dad’s.

I was never sure what to call this room. It was a throughway between the living room and her bedroom: dumping ground; playroom; ironing room…


MUSIC PLAYLIST

Image by Yogendra Singh from Pixabay

I’m Mortified. Distraught. Disturbed and traumatised.

While compiling the worst UK №1 hits — The Most Appalling №1 Hits Ever, I discovered to my horror that a list of ten was nowhere near long enough.

Worse still, people reminded me about other songs I had forgotten; I guess my brain had subconsciously blocked them to protect my sanity from dross overload.

So, sit down, have a stiff drink or three and mentally prepare yourself for 10 More of the Most Appalling №1 Hits. Ever.

№10 — Grandad by Clive Dunn, 1971

Clive Dunn was not a singer, he was a popular comedy actor. He was widely known…


MUSIC PLAYLIST

four coloured waste bins in a row
Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash

All artists have songs that don’t make it onto an album. They often re-surface years later on the bonus discs of reissued versions or pop up on YouTube as curiosity pieces and it’s obvious why they fell by the wayside. Sometimes, though, these songs are so good it’s difficult to understand how they can have been simply tossed aside.

Here are some amazing tracks that I’ve uncovered from a mix of album reissue bonus tracks, chance listens and off-hand mentions in music articles.

The Promise — Darkness On The Edge Of Town

Following the almighty Born To Run, Sir Bruce Springsteen, then just plain Bruce, went on a three-year…


HUMOUR

Life without a guitar is unimaginable. Photo by Jefferson Santos on Unsplash

1 Nasal and ear hair clippers — battery operated

Men get to a certain age and hair starts to disappear from desired locations (head) and pops up in undesired ones (eyebrows, ears and nostrils).

In a vain (all three definitions apply) attempt to hold back the sands of time, I am unable to live without my £1.99, AA battery-operated clippers.


MUSIC

Image by Jazella from Pixabay

Everyone has their favourite pop/rock albums. Often they include the standards we all know and love— Sgt Peppers, Exile on Main Street, Born To Run, Rumours, Pet Sounds, Bat Out of Hell etc. etc. Sometimes, though, you fall in love with an album that doesn’t quite make it in the charts and you have no clue why it never joined the standards.

These are my non-classic classic rock/pop albums of all time.

Down By The Jetty — Dr. Feelgood

Canvey is a reclaimed island in the Thames Estuary, around 30 miles east of London. It’s at sea level and therefore surrounded by a 20ft high concrete barrier…


Cropped from an image by www_slon_pics from Pixabay

On 30th July 2021, Lord Digby Jones made a major error regarding his native language, British English. Naturally, he did it in a tweet.

Lord Jones is a highly successful member of the British establishment; he’s the former head boy at an exclusive private school and he attended the exclusive University College London (UCL), studying law. He went on to become a highly successful businessman before becoming a minister in the British Government. He was the Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry for six years.

In a series of tweets, Lord Jones first criticised a former sportswoman and now…

Alex Markham

Top writer in music plus travel and fiction with a touch of humour. Subscribe to my newsletter to get updates — https://byalexmarkham.eo.page/

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store