So for some reason, I ended up on You Tube again this evening, following links with half an eye.
I really don’t end up there that often, whatever you may think from following the blog, but I did happen across a clutch of my favourite music all on one page so I thought I would share.
Be still my beating heart
It is hard to imagine a more beautiful lead singer than Susannah Hoffs. In a string of great songs with the Bangles – who could forget “Walk Like An Egyptian”? – a dance move I never captured then or now – she stole the hearts of a generation of males. Not to mention quite a few girl crushes going on, too, I shouldn’t wonder.
“Come on honey, let’s go make some noise.” Hoo-hah.
Oooh, lookie here
Then further down the page there was the immortal Robert Palmer’s Simply Irresistible.
Now this video clip is just so wrong on SO many levels. Love it. Love the editing. Love the song. Lover the performance. Love the girls and the choreography. Just a classic.
(I did used to know a young lady who looked exactly like one of the girls in the video. You know who you are. That could be why.)
Sadly, a heavy smoker, Palmer died in 2003 in Paris, France, at The Warwick Hotel, from a heart attack at the age of just 54. What a waste. Along with “Addicted to Love” he was responsible for two of the great pop-rock anthems ever recorded.
While we’re talking about catchy
Then again, was there ever a better hook in a song than in “Angel is a Centrefold”? And as for the dance routine, well, you may be sensing something of a theme developing.
Change of pace
So I had better change tack entirely; I was so pleased to come across this achingly beautiful song from Sinead O’Connor.
It’s easy to be a smart-arse about O’Connor. To say she’s led a controversial life – bedevilled, it is now revealed, by bi-polar disorder – is a bit like saying Everest is a high hill. But this is about as good as a ballad ever gets, written by the artist once known as and now known again as Prince of course, and she performs it brilliantly.
Genius was always inclined to the unusual. And this performance is genius on display.
Elkie’s a singer, damn right
Continuing my wandering around, I also came across this performance of Lilac Wine by the astounding Elkie Brooks.
This song was a constant accompaniment to my time at University. It always seemed to be one of the “grab a girl” options at the end of a disco in the Old Refectory. It remains one of the few and most honest songs about alcohol abuse. The point wasn’t lost on any of us, as we struggled to stay on our feet and grope our equally drunk partner at the same time as swaying lugubriously to Elkie’s mesmerising performance, lubricated with enough Wadworths 6X to float a fleet of battleships.
This lesser-known version, from a German TV show, is, I think, closer to the true nature of the song than the version delivered on Top of the Pops, which you can also find if you want, but honestly it’s not as good as this. Interestingly, Miley Cyrus has also recorded the song in her “backyard sessions” – and I am not a big Miley Cyrus fan, but fair play she belts it out really well.
And just how good is Elkie Brooks, by the way? Just track ’em down for yourself. “Pearl’s A Singer”, “Fool if you think it’s Over”, “Don’t cry out loud”. What a voice.
Vinegar Joe for all you history buffs
She was one half of Vinegar Joe with a younger Robert Palmer too … wish I could have seen that.
This early recording is pretty crap quality, and right at the beginning of their time together, I think, but it gives a great indication of how they rocked together. Were they ever really that young? Apparently, yes.
I can’t help feeling that if Elkie Brooks had been American and not British she would have been considered one of the pre-eminent blues/pop singers of her generation.Now 67 years old, she is still going strong, apparently, and long may it be so.
Last but not least
My last favourite for today would have to be one of everybody’s faves, surely?
In 1979, I was in love. She was the first one, but not the last one. There is something about this song with is inscrutable, peculiar, obsessive, and it is, of course, blessed with one of the great choruses of all time. The musical production is simply brilliant.
What is the video about? Indeed, what’s the song about? Lord knows. But frankly, who cares? It’s something to do with loss of innocence, which is probably why it resonates with me so strongly: it smells of when I was passing uneasily into adulthood. I expect to get there one day.
Here’s a piece of trivia: this was the first video ever played on MTV. Did you know that?
Anyhow, I’d love you to nominate YOUR favourite You Tube clip, please. Tomorrow, back to miserable crap about Syria or the Republicans or world hunger or something. Meanwhile, just enjoy the music.