A couple of weeks ago, our Stephen offered us his Top 5 Irish tunes -
here’s his international selection
1. The Beach Boys – Darlin’ (Wild Honey LP)
When people mention The Beach Boys, Brian Wilson is normally the first thing that comes to mind. Here it was his brother Carl who delivered one of the greatest pop songs about love ever written.
2. Donna Lynn – I’d Much Rather Be With The Girls (45 record)
Donna Lynn was 14 when she recorded this song written by Keith Richards (co-writing is listed as Andrew Loog Oldham, but it’s highly doubtful he actually wrote any part of it – Oldham was known for doing what Phil Spector did, appropriating (co-)songwriting credits of already-completed songs for publishing money). Arranger Charlie Calello, known for his work with The Four Seasons, The Rag Dolls, Tracey Dey and others, really outdid himself this time around, I feel. I love Donna’s tough-girl vocal performance here. Check out the equally great versions of this song by The Toggery Five & The Rolling Stones on You Tube.
3. XTC – Frivolous Tonight (Apple Venus LP)
After a seven year break from making records, XTC finally won their freedom from Virgin and set about recording a new album. The first time I heard the result Apple Venus I was completly and utterly floored. I couldn’t tell you how many times I put it back to the start each time it finished. This track by bass player Colin Moulding only reiterates the fact, that XTC remain to be one of the most underrated bands of all time. (Hear, hear – ed.) Sheer genius!
4. Kiss – I Love It Loud (Creatures of the Night LP)
I want this one played at the start of my funeral some day. Kiss were one of my first loves in the world of music. This was their last single for the Casablanca label (check out the hilarious book ‘And Party Every Day’, Motleys’ ‘Dirt’ has nothing on this) and Simmons’ last lead vocal on a Kiss song until ‘God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll to You II’ in 1991.
5. Slick – Jive Soul Bro (Written by Jim Johnston)
If Kiss is kicking off my funeral then this once has to end it. As a kid I was fascinated with the world of wrestling or sports entertainment as they call it today?? What I came to realise after many years was the guy who wrote the wrestlers theme music was a genius. His name is Jim Johnston and suprisingly still works for the WWE today. Imagine having that job? “Ok Jim, we need some new music. This guy is a dentist who ended up in a mental ward. He recently escaped and is now here in the World Wrestling Federation saying he’s gonna plough through everybody until he is WWF Champion, got it”?
Here Jim Johnston was given the task of writing an “apt” track for this crafty bad guy manager by the name of Slick. With this video the word “stereotype” gets thrown out the window. However, what he did leave us with was one smokin’ tune. Over time I became more and more of a Jim Johnston fan (even if it’s a bonkers role) and credit him with being a truly great visionary of music. There is so much work out there by him it’s tough to get through it all but it’s worth looking at, even if it is for a giggle. Talk about nailing the music for certain characters, this guy could do it in his sleep. Every time ‘Jive Soul Bro’ comes on at a ‘Rancho Relaxo’ party, it’s normally the girls who come up to me and say “hey, who’s this?” I normally reply with “What you talkin bout ladies? This is the slickster talkin to ya!” (I want to believe that’s a true story – ed.)