Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Guilty Secrets

The Fink has a piece today about a New York journalist who has shat on Billy Joel from a great height. The Fink, who does not strike me as being avant garde about anything in life, is a BJ fan, and feels compelled to defend the short fat Long Island songster. The NY journo is a certain Ron Rosenbaum, so this could be a sort of Jewish professional writers' spat. Oy vey!
The bit where Rosenbaum tries to cover his guilt in buying BJ's greatest hits (for professional reasons, to help him write his piece) by adding a street-cred Gram Parsons covers disc he already owned is great stuff. The Fink reckons Ron is being too precious, snobbish and sensitive about being seen (by the till-girl!) buying Billy Joel.
But I think there is something in this. When I browse a big record store (only during sales), I also have brief moments of embarrassment when caught looking at the playlist on the back of a disc by a long-remembered 70s band. This sort of thing happens with Bob Seger, perhaps, or the Allman Brothers - to take two names from the top of my iTunes listing. (But obviously NOT with Aretha, The Band, or the great Barry White, to take three others).
Another angle: bands that go bad (or, as someone once memorably said about post-Gabriel Genesis 'started sucking commercial dick'). I want everyone to know that I own Tres Hombres by ZZ Top (1973), but none of the later 70s and 80s stuff. Where does one draw the line on Elton? (post-Captain Fantastic, I suggest).
Those who don't take music seriously - Abba fans seems an accurate collective description - couldn't give a stuff about any of this and haven't read this far. But the rest of you will have guilty secrets, and here is your chance to come clean and seek absolution.
Billy Joel? Yes, I listen to it when Mrs Idle plays it, and I enjoy the mid-70s stuff. Neil Diamond too.
My own guilty secret: Talk Talk. What's yours?


Fubsy said...

Mea culpa:
The Thompson Twins
Mink de Ville
Blue Oyster Cult ( Some Enchanted Evening)
Prefab Sprout
Jane Weidlin ( remember 'Rush Hour'? No? Though not!)
Bought some Camel the other day (Moon Madness) and one EXCELLENT re-find: 'Blow by Blow', Jeff Beck...

Fubsy said...

that shd have read' thoughT not'...
Wouldn't mind having a surreptitious look for Bread...and then heard Glen Campbell on TV and thought..'OOooh..Rhinestone Cowboy..' but then, again, that may be going too far on the embarrassment stakes......

idle said...

No one should be embarrassed about liking Prefab Sprout. Paddy McAloon knows how to write a song.

Idiosyncratic, certainly. But not a blush-inducer, I think.

Fubsy said...

Don't you feel obliged to blether out lots of justifications for liking the wacky lyrics etc? I have seen listeners stare, dumbstruck, thinking that I am listening to some variation on nursery rhymes sung by coke heads!!

fubsy said...

Oh..and TalkTalk are FABTASTIC

Tuscan Tony said...

My guilty Billy secret is that 10 years ago I interviewed Miranda, an ex-girlfriend of Joel's (and various others, inc. Mad Max Gibson and Ronnie Wood, not a fussy lady) for a job as my PA - she didn't get the slot because for the duration of the interview she had her red leather boots on my desk and was self-admittedly bladdered on Moet. Not normally a problem, but this was 10:30am after all. Coincidentally, at the time of the grilling by me she was PA to Paula Yates, and had custody of Fifi and Peaches (i think) whilst mummy was wasted (i.e. most of the time).

Meeting Juliette said...

'fraid so.

Spandau Ballet
Simple Minds
Meat Loaf
Talking Heads
Crash Test Dummies

idle said...

Delighted to meet you, Juliette.

Embarrassed about Talking Heads? NOOOOOOOOO! Intelligent, original music which I listen to just as much now as when they were releasing it. I just love 'em, and I don't care who knows it.

I liked Simple Minds too, even if they were preposterously self-important. But I have always thought we have the Minds to blame for inflicting that other ridiculously puffed up stadium band, U2, upon us.

The others - yup, dirty secrets.

idle said...

Good story, Tuscan. Worthy of its own post.

Elby the Beserk said...

@Meeting Juliet

No embarrassment in copping to liking Talking Heads; two of the finest rock 'n roll shows I have been at in my 50 years of rocking a& rolling were Talking Heads (in big band mode) at the 'Ammersmif Palais (RIP).

Bouncing of the walls would be the most appropriate description for the scenes on the dance floor.

But the 50 years takes me back to perhaps my most guilt-inducing musical secret; in the winter of 1958, I persuaded my Mum to persuade my older brother to take me to see Cliff.

1958 Cliff was, however, Brylcremed and quiffed, and then touted as our very own Elvis. Cliff Richard & The Shadows, the ABC Ardwick, and a theatre full of screaming girls, way before the Fab Four.

Other embarrassing musical confession?

I bought The Monkees first album.

But Talking Heads? The finest white funk band of all time, by a long stretch.

rvi said...

Eeee lad! There's nowt to be ashamed of, embarrassed by, or wrong in liking what you grew up with; it's your musical heritage, an integral part of your youth. It's where your memories lie - and moreover I would venture to suggest you recall the words of many of those older songs better than you do of more recent stuff. Just resist the temptation to put the flowers in your hair.

The last time I bought a tape or a disc was ...er... I really can't remember.

But you should see my huge collection of great stuff from the swing/big band era. Miller, Goodman, Armstrong, Shaw, Calloway etc. Chacun a son gout, as they say.

I also used to have a cupboard full of 1960s stuff, but oddly enough, just last week I sold most of them to chap in our local flea market who collects/retails old pop vinyl LPs. I still have the turntable to use, but none of those discs have been out of their covers for years. Time for a clear-out.

Walsh said...

Brotherhood of Man
Blue Mink
Chicory Tip
Lieut Pigeon

Me mate Jus and me still listen to them the hole time and we don't care what anyone finks

idle said...

Elby, anything pre-1960 is a bit difficult for a youth like me, born in 1961, to judge.

The cheese quotient of Cliff has been on the rise since day 1 of his career, and I can't stand him at any price. But I suppose in 1958 beggars couldn't be choosers. And presumably your musical tastes were somewhat unsophisticated at that time.

idle said...

Sweet, eh, Walsh?

Shall we tell the readership about the time a plumber came to fix the khazi at the Berkeley Sq office, and he turned out to have been the bass player of Sweet? And how we all childishly started singing the chorus of 'Blockbuster'?

Walsh said...

And Ballcock Blitz.

Daisy said...

there is line from one of billy joel's songs where he talks about driving a baby blue continental and my father drove one at that time and thought the song was about him...it was the ONLY up to date song (at that time) he would allow us to play in his car...

embarrassing moment: was caught singing to an advert in my car...i liked it!

lilith said...

Oh God, Idle, this is one I walk right into constantly and I have almost no shame. If you are a Deadhead then only other Deadheads know how it is, everyone else thinks you like to listen to middle aged men singing out of tune whilst they all play something different making a hideous cacophony of twiddly diddly music. I also, as u kno, have Madge's oeuvre. But I did turn up Brian Hyland's Sealed with a Kiss the other day, lying next to Doctor Doctor by UFO (clear vinyl)...*blushes*

lilith said...

Actually, most Brits under 55 wont even have heard of the Grateful Dead, let alone Deadheads. Thankfully.

Anonymous said...

I am younger than you but like some Cliff. Anyhow: Mud, BCR, AdamAnt, Supertramp, Peter Sarsted, Judie Zuke, Yes, Cockney Rebel to name but a few.

Anonymous said...

I love BJ. But then I had a Christie Brinkley poster in the sitting room of my house at uni as I unsuccessfully attempted to learn two tears and a half years study in a fortnight.

Anonymous said...

Neil Sedaka, Mamas and Papas, Gilbert O' Sullivan.

Scrobs said...

Oh you've started something here Iders, you really have...


'Excerpt from a teenage opera' - Keith West,
'Soaring' - Aviary,
'Bugler' - The Byrds,
'Up the Junction - Manfred Mann.

lilith said...

The anonymongs are cheating..it doesn't count as humiliating if we don't know who you are....:-)

idle said...

There are some interesting names cropping up here.

Personally, I have no embarrassment about owning and playing Supertramp (esp Crime and Crisis) or Cockney Rebel. The Mamas and Papas? Surely their best tunes will survive. (Much more embarrassing, I reckon, would be if one fancied the big girl singer).

Gilbert O'Sullivan is a classic of the type, though. A terrible punny stage name, a total weed, in his tank-top knitwear and silly hair, a whiny nasal voice, yet..... slightly catchy songs.

Scrobs, your choices are somewhat byzantine and will need research.

idle said...

Lil has a point. Of course I'm delighted if anyone at all visits this blog to read the rhubarb I post, anons included.

But fessing up to one's dark and filthy sins cannot be done anonymously. Cheating is fine - by all means pretend to be Peter Hitchens, or Patrick Moore, or Denzil Washington. But not anon.

Trubes said...

Hello Idle: Here's my Hall Of Shame;
Neil Sedaka
Neil Diamond
The Peddlars
Geogie Fame
Alan Price.

The Animals with Eric Burden.
Saw them at the SU Liverpool Uni. he was legless but sang The House of the Rising Sun like no other could.

The Everly Brothers.
Brian Hyland.

Cliff Richard;
Saw him walking down Lime St in Liverpool wearing a shocking pink spangly suit with balck shirt and white shoes....marvellous...such taste!

Needless to say I loved the Beatles and saw them on stage at the Cavern just before they hit the big time....Cilla Black was the 'hat check girl' in the cloakroom...Oh happy days!


Bill Quango MP said...

thompson Twins {kamikaze}
Haircut 100
Spandau Ballet

But the still guilty pleasure is revealed on the Ipod-

The Fixx
Thomas Dolby
Laurie Anderson
Psychedelic Furs
Sisters of Mercy

and oddly
Tangerine dream

Elby the Beserk said...

My tastes in music were formed quite young, by an older brother who now never listens to music at all. But what I remember, which has stuck with me to this day, are hearing the likes of Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Buddy Holly coming out of his room. Similarly, I recall his mate from next door coming in with Elvis's first album.

No Cliff was spun first as our answer to Elvis, quiff and cuteness and all. It didn't last long.

And we were all young then.

Claims to rock 'n roll fame?

1. Seeing the Beatles first TV performance, on Look North or some suchlike local TV News programme

2. Running into Steve Winwood, having a brief exchange with him, and only realising later who he was. I blame the marijuana.

3. Running into Mo Tucker outside Wembley arena, and recognising her, as thousands of VU fans walked past. All the better as she was disguised by two late middle-aged ladies who looked as though they had come out of a 1950 Good Housekeeping magazine. Had a great chat with her.

Ermmmm. Oh, yes, meeting Bob Marley, and shaking Bob Weir by the hand.

I am old, Father Time.

Oh, Mr. Quango, used to be mates with John Ashton of the P Furs; indeed, one of my lads has an acoustic guitar John gave him. He's alive and kicking - after a hard time - in Woodstock (NY, not Oxon.)

Anonymous said...


My name is Bill

I sometimes feel my entire CD collection (excluding classical) is a guilty secret, stuffed full as it is with so many greatest hits collections. As for my records, I sold most of them for pub money when at school. (First album was Cockey Rebel's Psychomod, second Bad Company's Straight Shooter). What was left after uni went to my brother. My wife is still trying to get me to rid myself of those tapes which I have yet to get the CD of. Just had a peak and they include inter alia Bread, Level 42, Phil Collins and Carpenters.

idle said...

Trubes, the Animals and Alan Price are okay by me. Price's collaboration with Georgie Fame was a low point, though.

I used to think that Georgie was pretty terrible, but some years back I discovered that he had been a session musician for several Van Morrison albums. So I have revised my opinion.

Bill Q - Haircut 100. Enuff said.

LB - I think you qualify as Senior Visitor to this site, but a hip old dude; respec.

Bill Anon - Level 42 and Phil Collins in the same sentence qualifies as a Win Double, unlikely to be bettered. Shame on you.

I left my hifi and vinyl collections with my brother when I embarked for Las Malvinas in 1982. He spent a year of his German degree in Berlin, shipped all the discs out with him and flogged them for beer money. The Pioneer deck was left behind at his digs near Exeter and was reduced to about 25p's worth of spares by undergraduates.

lilith said...

Gosh, some people are easily embarrassed! I would be quite proud if my record collection contained some of those mentioned...do I win Idle?

Elby is really annoying in that he was at every landmark concert that mattered in the late 60's and 70's...but after that it's all geek to him. A youth asked him at the Bob Marley gig at the Lyceum "Hey Whitey, what you doin' here?"

Walsh said...

"...when I embarked for Las Malvinas in 1982"

Which month was that? ;-)

idle said...

I could tell you, Walsh, but then I would have to garotte you.

Elby the Beserk said...

Burdon & The Animals at their best - shiver down the spine. Can still recall where I was when I first heard it.

Which was - cycling down a hill into Colwyn Bay of a summer Sunday avo, let out of school (a few miles inland), to go and see Ted Dexter's Crusaders (Godfrey Evans behind the stumps :-) ) play a West Indies side. . (Hall & Griffiths :-) Rohan Kanhai :-) - when he did a hook, he often ended up on the ground).

Kid next to me has his tranny, and we stopped to listen to it. So - must have been 11 or 12.

Still does it for me. And Alan Price on the organ. You know, it was one of Muddy Waters or B.B. King who said it was the English R & B bands that led to their* recognition back in the States. Which you have to say was a generous thing to say.

Do watch Folk America on iPlayer, first one still there, "Birth Of A Nation" - it's pretty much the start of a musical journey that has led us where we are now. Whevere that os and whatever it is. Fantastic footage, fantastic music. Go run and see

electro-kevin said...

I like modern stuff, though a lot of it is derivative.

The Top Gear compilation is great.

fubsy said...

Compilations! The most embarrassing things for 'lifts' to fish out of the 'glove' (why???) compartment. 'Hot City Nights' ...charging through those road squishing bollardy things in Chelsea at 3am to 'Living on a Prayer' (Bon Jovi)..those were the days........

lilith said...

wow, fusby, i'm impressed and must stand aside....

lilith said...

I mean fubsy...

apricotfox said...

sorry...this is a test to see if I can get my blog link on...

apricotfox said...

I have now abandoned my Fubsy moniker and wish to be known as apricotfox as per my blog site..
Yeah, Lilith! I used to be a wild child...err...ish....

Elby the Beserk said...

@fubsy said...19:44

//' ...charging through those road squishing bollardy things in Chelsea at 3am to 'Living on a Prayer' (Bon Jovi)..those were the days........

Is that an sort of Alan Partidge "Addicted To Love" moment? Inquiring minds want to know and all that? No prejudice, etc., etc..

Demented OAP said...

Interesting that nobody has owned up to Dusty Springboard, Moody Blues, Petula Clark, or the Dave Clark 5.

Bill said...

A close relative of mine has at least one Clodah Rogers album in his vinyl collection and two copies of Hair.

Bill Quango MP said...

IN defence of the Haircut 100 moment, they were talented jazz musicians, but not very streetwise.

My sister was dating their manager and he dished out free tickets, and I was of an age where the offer of backstage tickets was too great to resist.He had a nice Porsche while the band traveled by VW camper.
When they deservedly kicked his grasping hands off their contracts,they flopped into obscurity, while he moved onto the next band.

I should add my sister moved on to dating one of the Five Star band.. I can't recall which.
Once, while waiting for her to appear from her bedroom whassis name sat in our front room. To be polite I asked him if he enjoyed being a pop star..
"Yeah, but you get recognised wherever you go"

I do remember thinking 'if he took that silver and gold sparkly jumpsuit off when he goes to Our Price, no one would know who he was.'
But I was too well bought up to mention it.

Spine tinglers of the moment are Hurt - Johnny Cash and Hard as it is - Fine Young Cannibals.. whatever happened to them?

idle said...

I like the Cash version of Hurt, Bill Q. A wonderful gloomy video as well. In fact, I rejoice in all the American albums that Rick Rubin produced for Cash, and the more I listen to them the more I come to the conclusion that these 5 albums are as good a run of form as he ever managed in his earlier career.

I worked with a girl in the City who claimed to have kissed and groped Roland Gift of FYC. I will own up to having a broad compilation called The Finest which gets played about once a year.

Dunno what happened to them.

Elby The Beserk said...

Dusty. God yes. Magnificent voice. Still play her now and again.

Hurt by Johnny Cash extraordinary.

demented OAP said...

Elby: Agreed Dusty had a good voice. I even went to see her record a show at the BBC studio in Haymarket (I thik it was - it was a long time ago!), but my favourite female voice of that era was without doubt Judy Durham of the Seekers. Magnifico...

45govt said...

So children - what is wrong with ABBA???? I cannot remember a bad track, which is not easy to say about most of them.

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