Tuesday, 30 December 2014

The Passing of the Golden Generation


On Boxing Day John Harris, in his Guardian column, marked the passing of Joe Cocker and (earlier this year) Ian MacLagen. It is an excellent read throughout (catch up with it HERE) but I was particularly taken with his idea that rock'n'roll and pop culture of the 60s will perhaps go on to define the entire late 20th Century …





The author and presenter Stuart Maconie recently suggested that “rock in the classic sense might be destined, like music hall or the madrigal, to be not with us for ever, but the defining art of particular places and a time: the US and the UK for a decade beginning in about 1966”. Maybe, he mused, our notion of the idealised rock star is as tied to a specific era as the Spanish conquistador or Victorian explorer: something encapsulated by Cocker, resplendent in his Woodstock tie-dye and luxuriant sideburns; or the Faces dressed in their King’s Road finery, clutching their port and brandies.







John Harris is the author of The Last Party: Britpop, Blair and the Demise of English Rock reviewed on this blog HERE.





And here's Joe Cocker in full spate…






Join the Rock’n'Roll London Walk on Friday at 2pm, meeting at Tottenham Court Road Station (Exit 3) – to book a Private Walk call 020 7642 3978 or email london@walks.com







CREDIT CARD PRE-BOOKING IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR THE ROCK’N’ROLL LONDON WALK EVERY FRIDAY VIA THE LONDON BOOKSTORE. CLICK HERE TO BOOK AND PREPAY







Friday, 21 March 2014

The Rock'n'Roll London Walk Raises £109 for Sport Relief 2014!



Adam writes… 


As I was doing my prep for the Rock'n'Roll London Walk this morning – catching up on all the music news – I came across the story of Coldplay and their sponsorship of Jo Whiley, the BBC DJ who was running 26 miles on a treadmill to raise money for Sport Relief 2014. 


At £10,000 per mile, the band coughed up £260,000 for charities at home and abroad.


Inspired, I thought I'd take a tilt at that total with the Rock'n'Roll London walk this afternoon… and we came close to raising more money than Coldplay…


We only fell £259,890.35 short!







Thanks to all the lovely London Walkers who joined us from New Jersey, Surrey, Los Angeles, Brisbane, Florida, West Yorkshire and London. With your help, Sport Relief 2014's charity efforts are now £109.65 better off!


You can help Sport Relief 2014 raise money for charities at home and abroad at their website www.sportrelief.com



And for the fitness record, the Rock'n'Roll London Walk covers approximately 1.3 miles over which the guide burned 115 kcal!




Join the Rock’n'Roll London Walk on Friday at 2pm, meeting at Tottenham Court Road Station (Exit 3) – to book a Private Walk call 020 7642 3978 or email london@walks.com



THE ROCK’N’ROLL LONDON PUB WALK! EVERY WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT 7.00PM MEETING AT TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD STATION (EXIT 3).

CREDIT CARD PRE-BOOKING IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR THE ROCK’N’ROLL LONDON WALK EVERY FRIDAY VIA THE LONDON BOOKSTORE. CLICK HERE TO BOOK AND PREPAY







Thursday, 30 January 2014

Death of an iPod: Who Mourns?



Are you glad to see the back of the iPod?

Perhaps you read the piece on the BBC website yesterday reporting on what we all knew already: now that there’s music on the tablet, the phone and the bloody vacuum cleaner , who needs an iPod?


Some of you will have joined me on the Rock’n’Roll London Walk. And you will know that I am very fond of a rant about CD’s being the work of the devil, how they are not fit to lace the boots of a vinyl record.

Surely, therefore, a traditionalist such as I (everybody knows that traditionalist is just another word for Grumpy Old Fart) will be happily dancing on the iPod’s grave. A grave, by the by, that might look a little like this…





(The illustration: too much? Can you tell I flirted with being a Goth as a teenager?)



So, good riddance to bad rubbish, then?

Far from it.

The thing about CD’s: I NEVER liked them. I first came across the Compact Disc in a science classroom at school. Some well-meaning teacher had brought in his CD player and an already impressive collection of CD’s (New Gold Dream by Simple Minds was one of them, making this 1982/83). He was giving a demonstration and waxing lyrical about how much better they were than records.

I remember picking one up in its little square-ish case and turning it over in my hand. Plasticky. Brittle.

“No sleeve notes,” I griped. “Not as good as a record.”

At which point the teacher took the CD case from me and like some end-of-the-pier magician pulling flags-of-all-nations from his sleeve, unfurled a hefty booklet full of sleevenotes with a smug flourish.

There was something about his smugness from which I never recovered.

His smugness.

His moustache.

The fact that we were in a science classroom.

The well-meaning attempt to be “down with the kids”.

The fact that the CD he was playing to demonstrate his – sorry, the CD’s – wonderfulness was Private Eyes by Hall and Oats.

The fact that the track was Mano a Mano, the worst track on an already terrible album.

AND you couldn’t get The Beatles on CD back then.

Done deal: why bother?


The iPod, on the other hand, appealed directly to the music anorak in me. All of your music in your pocket, wherever you go. All ordered in Playlists (best thing since the mix-tape, of which I was an addict). It was listening AND curating. I loved it from the very first.

And, like The Walkman (another invention I was very fond of), you could listen on the go and didn't have to creep like a cat burglar so's not to upset the disc, unlike the wretched CD Walkman (crap hardware for crap software).

Having said that, my first iPod (illustrated above) is about 10 years old and went on the fritz years ago. The Bush record player with the Garrard turntable upon which it is posing (also above) is more than 50 years old and still goes like the clappers. For records, and their players, I rest my case


But I’ll be sorry to see the iPod go.







Join the Rock’n'Roll London Walk on Friday at 2pm, meeting at Tottenham Court Road Station (Exit 3) – to book a Private Walk call 020 7642 3978 or email london@walks.com





THE ROCK’N’ROLL LONDON PUB WALK RETURNS NEXT WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT 7.00PM MEETING AT TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD STATION (EXIT 3).

CREDIT CARD PRE-BOOKING IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR THE ROCK’N’ROLL LONDON WALK EVERY FRIDAY VIA THE LONDON BOOKSTORE. CLICK HERE TO BOOK AND PREPAY







Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Quit While You're Ahead


I’ll be frank: It’s not often I have positive thoughts about Mötley Crüe.

It’s not often I have ANY thoughts about Mötley Crüe.

But today, I take my hat off to ‘em, bless their little umlauts.

Band members Vince Neil, the drummer that was married to Pamela Anderson, the other one and, er, the other other one have decided to call it a day.

Not only that, they’ve signed a contract to say they’ll never get back together again.

Joking apart, this is a classy move.

Now, I’m all for musicians being able to make a lifelong career out of their art. Indeed, I’ve enjoyed many a night on the nostalgia circuit as a version of The Searchers or a solo John Walker belted out the old hits.

But the great ones, if they quit at all, quit while they’re ahead. And never go back.




This is one of the reasons why The Jam are our Band of the Week on our Rock’n’Roll London Facebook page this week. Weller split the band at the top of their game with three UK number ones to their name and a devoted army of followers. Weller ploughed his own furrow, and took, at times, a critical mauling in the process. Say what you like about him, this took guts.

Late last year he spoke yet again, with admirable patience, on the subject of a Jam reunion:


“You can't recapture those things, and also why should you? It would be absurd – three 50-year-old geezers jumping around the stage." (NME)


So well done Mötley Crüe. And good luck with your “Cessation Of Touring Agreement”.

Only the truly great ones quit while they’re ahead and stay quit. So pencil in that Oasis reunion any minute now.


 
Full Crüe story at the NME website: www.nme.com



The Jam's boxset The Studio Recordings – a vinyl collection with introduction written by Paul Weller – is available now




Join the Rock’n'Roll London Walk on Friday at 2pm, meeting at Tottenham Court Road Station (Exit 3) – to book a Private Walk call 020 7642 3978 or email london@walks.com



THE ROCK’N’ROLL LONDON PUB WALK IS BACK NEXT WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT 7.00PM MEETING AT TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD STATION (EXIT 3).

CREDIT CARD PRE-BOOKING IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR THE ROCK’N’ROLL LONDON WALK EVERY FRIDAY VIA THE LONDON BOOKSTORE. CLICK HERE TO BOOK AND PREPAY







Thursday, 23 January 2014

Lennon’s On Sale Again



John Lennon on the cover of NME. We bought it. In fact the NME arrives by post every week here at Rock’n’Roll London. We look forward to it.

But is the cover of NME in the year 2014 any place for John Lennon? Or Bob Marley? Joe Strummer? Or even Noel Gallagher, for that matter?

The cover of the NME is surely no country for old men.

Has the UK’s last surviving music weekly and famous champion of new music finally gone all geriatric in its 60th year?

I rather fear the truth is much worse than that for fans of music mags:


It’s all over for Dead Tree Media.


A quick glance at the front page of the NME’s website – nme.com – presents a much healthier picture. New acts, a great balance of rock and hip hop (to use broad, catch-all terms). The oldies are there, too (Neil Young) as are the “young oldies”: Outkast, Suede, Radiohead. NME darlings Arctic Monkeys are, of course, on the front page, too.

On top of that, the NME’S Twitter feed – @NME – is an invaluable part of the Rock’n’Roll London week.

Delighted we are, therefore, to report that rumours of the NME’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

It gives me pause, though, as a lifelong fan of music magazines. It seems that Lennon’s presence on the front of the print edition is to keep old geezers such as I buying the mag.

A pity, this, as I take the NME to keep up with the new, not consolidate the old. There are plenty of other mags around to do that.

I can’t be alone, surely? Or am I really such an inconsequential sliver of the demographic pie chart – Old Farts Who Still Wants To Listen To New Music – that there’s no magazine to be my guide.

It would seem that the plan is to wring a few quid out of supposedly high-earning (!) old farts in the death throes of print era, before the mag closes completely and we all go digital.

But what happens when the advertising dept see pound signs by letting John Lennon and the founding fathers take over the website, too.

What then for new music?




 
Join the Rock’n'Roll London Walk on Friday at 2pm, meeting at Tottenham Court Road Station (Exit 3) – to book a Private Walk call 020 7642 3978 or email london@walks.com




CREDIT CARD PRE-BOOKING IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR THE ROCK’N’ROLL LONDON WALK EVERY FRIDAY VIA THE LONDON BOOKSTORE. CLICK HERE TO BOOK AND PREPAY







Monday, 13 January 2014

Band of the Week: The Kinks



Formed in North London by brothers Ray (rhythm guitar, vocals) and Dave (lead guitar) Davies, the Kinks’ classic line-up of the 60s was completed by Pete Quaife (bass) and Mick Avory (drums). The band had three UK number one singles and despite playing major roles in the development of rock lyrics, original songwriting and concept albums, they are regarded by many as the most underrated band of their era.

They are the subject of a 10-page feature in this month's Uncut (pictured above) and they are our Band of the Week this week and here are five wildly subjective reasons to love The Kinks…



1. The Solo in You Really Got Me

We’re not big on frantic spank and thrash guitar solos here at Rock’n’Roll London. We’re particularly agin those that outstay their welcome. Which is why we hold Dave Davies’s short-sharp-shock of a guitar break in such high esteem. Urgent and vital, it’s also a great example of what Dave himself has said all along: his contribution to the Kinks is undervalued and without it, the Kinks sink. Simple as that.



2. Dave

Dave’s playing on the golden age records of the Kinks is by turns exuberant and violent, always authentic, dramatic but never overwrought. Tidy high backing vocals, too. And, like George Harrison, he had a rare ability to don the more outlandish items of 60 fashion and still emerge with his dignity intact.

3. The Words

Raymond Douglas Davies was penning songs with wit, pathos and insight when John Lennon was still doodling lines such as “I’m gonna love you till the cows come home.” We’re buggered if we know why this man has yet to be Knighted.

4. The Soap Opera

Will-they-won’t-they get back together? Will they slice each other’s heads off with hi-hats? Okay, the Stones have their intrigues and subtexts, too. But they’re Dynasty to the Kinks’ EastEnders: and we prefer the grit to the gloss, thanks.

5. If We Had To Pick Just One Song… Have A Cuppa Tea

Gleefully prissy drawing room piano arpeggios are merrily goosed by guitar licks that out-swamp John Fogerty. The lyric is funny, warm but detached, yet never judgmental. Even at that most English ritual of tea drinking, that most English of songwriters Ray Davies keeps a little of himself to one side, taking notes. A great track from a great album – Muswell Hillbillies.




 


Join the Rock’n'Roll London Walk on Friday at 2pm, meeting at Tottenham Court Road Station (Exit 3) – to book a Private Walk call 020 7642 3978 or email london@walks.com



THE ROCK’N’ROLL LONDON PUB WALK! EVERY WEDNESDAY NIGHT FROM AT 7.00PM MEETING AT TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD STATION (EXIT 3).

CREDIT CARD PRE-BOOKING IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR THE ROCK’N’ROLL LONDON WALK EVERY FRIDAY VIA THE LONDON BOOKSTORE. CLICK HERE TO BOOK AND PREPAY







Friday, 10 January 2014

Get The Hendrix Look!


What’s left to say about the legendary ones? In heated pub debate, in the UK’s increasingly elderly music magazines (should The Beatles REALLY be on the cover of NME?) a new angle on beloved old stories is the holy grail for music buffs.

Enter interiors blog My Friend’s House, where they responded to the news that Jimi Hendrix’s 60s London pad is to be turned into a museum by providing a step-by-step guide to getting the Hendrix look…








Stockists and shopping tips are provided. Our favourite note was one of praise for the late guitar legend, congratulating him on avoiding a 20’s brothel theme (a look all-too popular among 60s rock stars) in his living room.

Nice work My Friend’s House!



Visit My Friend’s House at www.myfriendshouse.co.uk (or click the pics above)





And here’s our own Rock’n’Roll London video…



REMEMBER: THERE’S NO ROCK’N’ROLL PUB WALK IN JANUARY! The Rock’n’Roll London Pub walk will return every Wednesday night at 7:00pm from the 5th February 2014…





Join the Rock’n'Roll London Walk on Friday at 2pm, meeting at Tottenham Court Road Station (Exit 3) – to book a Private Walk call 020 7642 3978 or email london@walks.com



COMING SOON: THE ROCK’N’ROLL LONDON PUB WALK! EVERY WEDNESDAY NIGHT FROM 1ST MAY AT 7.00PM MEETING AT TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD STATION (EXIT 3).

CREDIT CARD PRE-BOOKING IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR THE ROCK’N’ROLL LONDON WALK EVERY FRIDAY VIA THE LONDON BOOKSTORE. CLICK HERE TO BOOK AND PREPAY







Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Happy Birthday David Bowie

Born in Brixton 67 years ago today, Happy Birthday David Bowie.

Here’s a celebratory Bowie in 60s London playlist…





Join the Rock’n'Roll London Walk on Friday at 2pm, meeting at Tottenham Court Road Station (Exit 3) – to book a Private Walk call 020 7642 3978 or email london@walks.com





REMEMBER: THERE'S NO ROCK’N’ROLL LONDON PUB WALK IN JANUARY!

WE START AGAIN EVERY WEDNESDAY NIGHT FROM 5TH MAY AT 7.00PM MEETING AT TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD STATION (EXIT 3).

CREDIT CARD PRE-BOOKING IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR THE ROCK’N’ROLL LONDON WALK EVERY FRIDAY VIA THE LONDON BOOKSTORE. CLICK HERE TO BOOK AND PREPAY