Graeme’s been contributing to this feature since 2015 and all of his contributions have been entertaining. We all know that it’s been hard to find positives over the last two tears, so we really appreciate the effort that’s gone into this one to pay homage to Charles Dickens with the presents of Christmas past and a Christmas yet to come. It’s a great memoir from a working musician and songwriter and we’re honoured to be publishing it here.

Present Number 1 – Abbey Road.

This was a present from my best friend’s parents to me when I was a nipper. I think it was 1970, probably years after it was released. But that didn’t matter to me at all. Music was timeless then. I was into the Beatles before I knew anything about music. Before I knew why it mattered. Maybe their music WAS why it mattered. Dunno, cept this was my first “grown-up” album. So grown up and in pristine condition that it was allowed onto my Dad’s enormous stereo player rather than just my Dansette. So I heard it loud and clear. Time and time and time again. I’d lie on the floor, speakers to either side and vanish. OK, it’s not a perfect album. In particular, Maxwell’s Silver Hammer is a stinker and Octopus’s Garden is a bit desperate. But the rest? Paul’s bassline on Come Together might be as significant to bassists as Sunshine of Your Love or Under Pressure – sheer genius. Here Comes The Sun? I Want You? Oh Darling? Something? All great songs. Then there’s the Medley. I’d never heard anything like it at the time. It was weird and wonderful to me. This was the first album where I was starting to think of myself as wanting to be a musician songwriter and I listened with ears that were trying to fathom what was going on. I must have learnt a million things from this album cos I must have listened to it a million times, but the one thing that springs straight to mind for this High 5 is hearing a love song that finds a clever way to say “I Love You” without being obvious.

“Something in the way she moves….. something in the way she moves ME”.

Thank you George. I learnt something from that.

Present Number 2 – Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs

This was also a Christmas present given year a few years after it was released. I had no idea at the time that the subject matter of the album was also the subject matter of Something but the cry of pain across the whole of the album resonated with me and my discovery of blues music which was picking up pace at that time. I was heading backwards into my Dad’s record collection finding he had Bessie Smith performing one of the tracks from Layla “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out” and my friend and I were trawling the record shops of Newcastle looking for old blues albums to listen and learn more about this fascinating music that spoke to us from another world. From the howl of Layla, the sob of Bell Bottom Blues, the wasted grief of Have You Ever Loved A Woman?, the torn soul of Thorn Tree In My Garden, I heard songs being used to communicate deep feelings lyrically and musically. I didn’t know how to do that, but I knew it was what I wanted to do. Just couldn’t put it into words or find the right notes! Sometimes you have to live a little.  Or a lot. But maybe not so much that 3 years of heroin addiction and 15 years of alcoholism is required to get over it. The first thing that comes to mind from this album now is again a new way of saying the old things. “There’s a thorn tree in my garden, if you know just what I mean”.

Present Number 3 – The Futurama Mk111

My first electric guitar. It was second hand and cost a whopping £25.00. I think I was vaguely aware that you got more guitar second hand than new. I have only ever bought one or two new guitars since. It came in a case and with a bottle of Selmar guitar polish. I was never the best guitarist, but I had the cleanest guitar. I can still recall the aroma of opening the case and smelling Selmar guitar polish. As heady a perfume as Sunday Dinner gravy, Fish and Chips, and all the other great aphrodisiacs. But here’s the thing. I’m left-handed. Now, I know Paul McCartney played left-handed, I must have even seen pictures of Jimi Hendrix playing his strat upside down. I probably hadn’t seen pictures of Albert King playing his Flying V upside down with the strings also upside down, and I don’t think that would have helped any. When I sat down and took out the cleanest guitar in all the world and my hands went one way and the guitar neck went the other, I sat and thought as my head swam. I’d persuaded my parents to buy me this guitar because my life depended on it. I couldn’t now go to them and say “err, I have a problem”. The guitar, to be honest, was already something contentious. It was being played on TV and Radio by people like said Mr Hendrix and other persons not on the family Christmas card list (you know who you are). My family were all old school trad jazz or even music hall. I was already swimming a little far from shore. So, I took the left arm and attached it to the neck of the guitar and the right hand was taped to the body of the guitar and I said to myself, get on with it. I think I was 14. We played our first gig when I was 16. We were awful. We split up after our second gig. Musical differences between us and music. It’s been on and off ever since.

Present Number 4 – Gibson Thunderbird

I can’t recall when I made the change permanently from guitar to bass. I know why I made it. Cos my best friend was 100 times better than me on guitar. So it was easier to change than remind myself every time we played. In my defence, I’d always really loved Paul and Jack. Great songwriters, singers and players. Then along came Andy Frazer, Phil Lynott, James Jamerson, Flea, Sklar, Carol Kaye and so many more into my line of vision and inspiration. It never really bothered me that Paul played bass with a plectrum. He was the bassist in the greatest band in the world and had written the greatest pop songs that will ever be written. I broke my wrist snow-boarding many years back and so, ended up using a pick more and more myself.

I have bought and sold many basses. Hofner Violin Bass, Gibson EB0, Rickenbacker 4001, Fender Jazz, Kramer, Status etc. This one will be the last one. I had to venture into the dark dangerous underworld in order to rescue it. It was held captive in a stygian dungeon called North London. I found it wounded and wasted and managed to carry it to safety and civilisation, South London, of course, and hence straight to the local Vet for shots and restorative care. (a shout out to John Procter – luthier of this parish – https://johnprocter.com/ ). What makes it so special? Dunno really. The Fender Jazz and the Status are easier to play. Almost all of them are lighter. It’s just iconic. I love the look. Are there any major bassists who have played one? John Entwhistle springs to mind. He also modified it into a Fenderbird. I just think it appealed cos of it’s total lack of obvious appeal! Anyway, what’s done is done. It has gotten under my skin like it or not.

Present Number 5 – The No Nukes Concert DVD

OK, this is the Ghost of Christmas Presents To Come. I have asked Santa for this pressie this year, but I dunno if it’s gonna be under the tree. I think I’ve been a nice boy all year. Christ, there’s not been much chance to be anything else! I am hoping it will be there on Christmas morning but the tree is currently still in the loft, so, who knows? If he’s checking his list once or twice, he ought to know this. Brucie was probably the last of the 20th C great songwriters to overwhelm me. I’d been overwhelmed by John and Paul, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Paul Simon and Leonard Cohen at various points. I think I’d been aware of Bruce but pre Darkness on the Edge of Town, he’d seemed less relevant to a kid in a small town in the industrial north of England. But then, through the airwaves, I heard something.

“Badlands, you gotta live it everday,

let the broken hearts stand, that’s the price you gotta pay

keep pushing til it’s understood

The Badlands start treating us good.” The guy across the water was as miserable as me. And as articulate as Joe Strummer and Elvis Costello. I learnt a lot more about songwriting. And then I saw him and the band. Nothing really prepared me for that (maybe Rory Gallagher). Three hours plus of sheer soul, glory, rock and roll. Delivered. I have never seen a better gig. Seen some I’d put up alongside it, but never bettered. Not by Brucie either I’m sorry to say. For me, and this is just for me, The River is a dreadful album. Too many awful fillers. I felt very let down by that album. So, it’s with Great Expectations that I’m looking forward to Christmas morning to be looking back to 1979!!

Now, what if I’m disappointed with the concert?

What if, on review, I decide that Abbey Road isn’t as good as I originally felt?

What if I decide that I can’t accept the genius of Layla with the foolish old man that Eric Clapton seems to have become and have to lay it aside?

What if my fingers get so stiff from lack of use, that I accept my playing days are over? In that case, I have prepared here for Allan my list of 5 Rules of Songwriting THAT CANNOT be broken under any circumstances, they are, in order of importance, as follows:

Do you know what the ghost light is? Me neither, until I saw the press release for Bob Bradshaw’s latest album. It’s a single bulb left on after all of the other lights in a theatre are switched off. It might be superstition; it might be practical. Whatever the reason, it’s an appropriate metaphor for any album released in the grip of the pandemic; the album’s there and it shows that the creative juices are still flowing, but there’s no way to get out there and promote it in the theatres where the only sign of life is a single light shining.

The album’s built around a core of Bob Bradshaw’s electric band with remote contributions from the likes of Dave Brophy, Dave Westner and Zachariah Hickman and each of the eleven songs is a collaboration between Bob and at least one other writer. It might sound a little patchwork, but the unification comes from the quality of the songs and Bob’s honey-over-gravel voice at their centre. “The Ghost Light” occupies a territory somewhere between country and rock, with interesting little musical diversions like the Transylvanian tango of “Sideways”, which uses clashes of style and an element of discordancy to emphasise the story of a skewed and fascinating, but transient, relationship.

Bob Bradshaw isn’t a confessional singer-songwriter; his songs are generally separate and self-contained, each one building its own entirely believable world, although you can find themes linking the songs if you look closely enough (more on that later) and it’s not unusual to find a reference to well-known songs in the music or lyrics, which brings us quite neatly to the album’s opening song, “Songs on the Radio”, a full-band piece with keys and two electric guitars creating a lovely mid-tempo drive-time feel for a song that explores the nostalgia and memories that can be evoked by hearing a favourite song on the radio. There’s a reference in there to “Across the Universe” and a harmony guitar solo that’s more Wishbone Ash or Eagles than Thin Lizzy.

There are hints at the supernatural and mystical in the songs “Gone” and “Light of the Moon” (an everyday story of a ship lured off course by siren song) and there’s a strand of loss that runs through the album, particularly in a trilogy of songs as the centre of the album, “Blue”, “Come Back Baby” and “She’s Gone for Good” that chart the stages in the death of a relationship, from sadness through regret and finally acceptance. Redemption follows this trilogy in the shape of the foot-on-the-monitor rock ‘n’ roll of “21st Century Blues” with its apocalyptic environmental message, hinting at Jackson Browne’s “The Road and the Sky” (or is that just me?). The sense of loss and alienation extends into the brooding menace of “In the Dark” before the album closes with “Niagara Barrel Ride Blues”, a solo resonator-backed song that uses the barrel ride as an extreme metaphor for tackling life’s challenges; you have to expect a bumpy ride and you need a good team to support you.

As always, Bob Bradshaw has created an album packed with powerful, creative songs that seduce with their simplicity and hooks that just won’t let go. Its appeal is both instant and lasting and a testament to the songwriter’s craft.

“The Ghost Light” is released in the UK on Friday 30th April on Fluke Records (FR11).

Here’s the video for “Sideways”:

Aaaaaagggghhh!! My ears!!

AAAAAGGGGHHHHH!!!

That is SOOOO chuffing loud.

In an attempt to impress The Girlfriend (later wife, must have worked) I purchased two tickets with intelligent deployment of pocket money in December 1974 (could have been December ’63, why let the truth get in the way of a good yarn) in order to get to shake the dandruff to the latest and greatest exponents of your heads down, non–stop, mindless boogie.

AAAAAAGGGGHHHH!!!, again, I say. There’s loud and there’s 70s gig rock show loud. Nothing, and that’s nothing, prepares you for the onslaught of 70’s gig rock show loud.

The Beatles more or less ragged it in at the Shea because the weedy PA setups of the time meant they could hardly hear themselves play; but the lack of any intervention by local authorities – though it would soon come (see Paul in “Broadcast Brothers: On The Radio”) in terms of noise abatement meant that a wall of Marshall stacks = welcome to a life of tinnitus.

Very much still a ‘blues’ based 12-bar operation at the time, an investigation of the playlist from the tour reveals that they probably kicked off with “Junior’s Wailing” and featured “Railroad”, “Roll Over, Lay Down” and “Roadhouse Blues” before going off to a cross between a roar from the assembled male RAF greatcoat wearers (non-negotiable) and screams from the (largely) girls who had seen them a couple of times on Top Of The Pops – 1974 was indeed largely both sexist and tribal – before returning to chunder their poptastic path through the live DJ’s greatest fear, “Caroline” (‘oi, mush; play some Quo or I’ll do yer!!!’ – usually after the first slow dance of the night and ten minutes before ‘thengyew, gunnite’ and mains off) and “Bye, Bye Johnny”…

Coach down there, bunch of school mates and a few others can’t remember who, big, barn-like theatre (seemed like a cinema to me, but probably wasn’t) and possibly Snafu or Sassafrass in support but I can’t quite remember…Brushed denim loon pants wafting in the fan-assisted breeze…curtains of long, centre-parted hair tumbling over Telecasters…and LOUD. Very Loud Indeed.

Followed no doubt by the attempt to purchase alcohol whilst looking about 16 and sounding about 12. Fag smoke. Chips. 12 bar blues. Sort of 12 bar life. Back to school. Everybody has to sometimes Break the Rules.

It’s the first album review of 2020 and we’re gently easing our way into the new decade. “Ohbahoy” (the title is taken from the name of Miles’ imaginary childhood friend) is an example of how to create a varied and very listenable album full of hooks without ever having to resort to vocal or instrumental pyrotechnics. The building blocks of this album are very simple hooks and riffs; the clever thing is the way the jigsaw is put together to create something that’s much more than the sum of the parts.

 

You won’t get very far into the album before realising that Miles has another useful songwriting talent; he knows how to take an influence and turn it into something that sounds vaguely familiar without sounding like a complete steal. And it’s not a criticism. I have a huge admiration for the musical magpies of the world; the people like Jeff Lynne and, more recently, Guy Chambers who recognise the tiny snippet that makes something work and morph it into their own compositions. The album’s opening song, “Hands Up”, is naggingly familiar, suggesting a distant relationship to Steve Miller’s “Abracadabra” (and Steve wasn’t above nicking a riff or two himself, “Rock ‘n’ Me” for starters). The trick with this game is to blend the influences into something completely new, which is exactly what Miles does. There are nods in the direction of many influences, Tom Petty (particularly in the uptempo rocker “Overpass”) and the Beatles jump out instantly, but there are undertones of The Cars, Steve Miller, ELO and probably many others.

There’s a lot to like about “Ohbahoy”. It’s a bunch of strong songs that’s interpreted by a band with enough talent and versatility to make four-part harmonies, twin guitar workouts and perfectly-judged horn parts sound like just another part of the day job. I have a sneaking suspicion that they might just be a bit tasty live as well.

“Ohbahoy” is out now in the UK.

Pierce Edens - 'Stripped Down Gussied Up' - cover (300dpi)There’s an expression that always rings alarm bells when I read it in connection with musicians: genre-bending. And have you ever heard anyone actually use the expression in conversation? Anyway it manages to insinuate itself in to the press release for the Pierce Edens album “Stripped Down Gussied Up”, which is as contradictory as the title suggests; the arrangements have been stripped back to basics then topped off with a selection of ambient noises and studio trickery. It’s a bit like taking all the bodywork off your car, down to the chassis, then sticking a spoiler on the back end. Pierce has a voice that you might say is original and has character; it’s certainly idiosyncratic and I found it difficult to take over a whole album; you find yourself wanting to give him a bagful of consonants. To give you an idea of what I mean, he manages to out-Waits Tom Waits on his cover of “Mr Siegal”.

There were positives as well; “The Bonfire”, checking in at over six minutes, is powered by relentless, strummed acoustic guitar as the story of a doomed relationship unfolds with a lyrical hint at the Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood”. “I Can’t Sleep” runs on the same fuel with the addition of Kevin Reese’s over-driven electric guitar and a quickfire, almost breathless, vocal delivery from Pierce. If you like a bit of aural experimentation and a twisted vocal delivering dark tales of smalltown North Carolina, then this might be just the thing for you.

“Stripped Down Gussied Up” is released on Friday June 2.

Winter Mountain Review scrollerWinter Mountain’s album “I Swear I Flew”, which was released in mid-November last year was one of those that worked perfectly as a coherent, self-contained project; you should really listen to it. It was also one of those that made you want to hear the songs played live. I got the chance to do that at 229 Venue 2 and I was absolutely right; it was exceptional, but not quite in the way I’d imagined. The album is mainly (but not completely) quiet and introspective but the live show was a very different beast.

Support on the night was Cornish singer-songwriter Josiah Mortimer, who warmed up a gradually-increasing crowd with a mix of the traditional (“Cadgwith Anthem”) and twenty-first century protest songs like “Build a Wall” – you can probably guess what that one’s about. With a decent voice, some interesting chat between songs and a playing style that uses a thumb instead of a pick (anyone remember Richie Havens?), Josiah got the audience onside and ready for the headliners.

Winter Mountain’s set opened with the wistful, impassioned romanticism of “Girl in the Coffee Shop”, a chance to set the tone for the evening, demonstrating Joe’s soulful voice and allowing the band to ease their way in before the Springsteenesque roar of “Sunlight, Good Roads”. Joe Francis has created a unique mixture with Winter Mountain, blending influences from the worlds of folk (mainly Gaelic), roots, country rock, southern boogie, straight ahead rock and many others. Springsteen aside, you can hear echoes of Hothouse Flowers, The Waterboys, Rob Thomas and Gin Blossoms (remember them?). The set had its quieter, more reflective, moments, particularly the (almost) solo interlude featuring “The Morning Bell”, the poignant “January Stars”, “Lucky Ones” and “Stronger When You Hold Me” but the set really caught fire when the band were playing full-tilt songs like “Things That I’ve Done Wrong” in balls-out Lynyrd Skynyrd mode as Joe started throwing lyrics from Zeppelin’s “Black Dog” into the mix. So hats off to Alik Peters-Deacon (guitar), Jake Galvin (bass) and Garry Kroll (drums) for a great, dynamic set and also to 229’s sound man, who did a lovely job in a venue that was barely half full.

Anything else you should know? The songs were split almost evenly between the first and second albums and the set ended with a Beatles cover, the early “Oh! Darling”. The audience was completely silent during the quiet songs and went bananas during the raucous ones. The band covered all the bases of the glorious musical mash-up perfectly, while Joe’s powerhouse voice left you in no doubt that he has a massive rock voice as well. It wasn’t quiet the night I‘d expected, but it was a belter; that’s the way to spend a Thursday night in London.

Coming to a festival near you soon, I imagine.

You can see some photos from the gig here.

Ronnie TitleThere’s a couple of interesting tours coming up in late November/early December that we really thought we should share with you. First up is a tour by the absolute legend Ronnie Spector with her “Ronnie Spector Sings the Fabulous Ronettes” tour, featuring the greatest Ronettes hits, including “Me My Baby”, “Baby I Love You”, “Do I Love You” and “Wallking in the Rain”, plus Jeff Barry/Ellie Greenwich/Phil Spector originals that became hits as covers, such as “I Can Hear Music” (Beach Boys) and “Chapel of Love” (Dixie Cups). The tour follows the release earlier this month of “The Very Best of Ronnie Spector” on Sony Music.

As if that wasn’t enough, Ronnie’s also working on her new album “English Heart”, a set of covers of songs by the sixties British invasion bands including The Beatles, The Stones, Gerry and the Pacemakers and The Animals which is scheduled for release in April 2016 on 429 Records. If you want to see the greatest hits tour, Ronnie’s doing the following dates:

November 28                    Philharmonic Hall            Liverpool

November 29                   Royal Concert Hall          Glasgow

November 30                   The Sage                             Gateshead

December 1                        Town Hall                           Birmingham

December 3                        The Barbican                      London

December 4                        Colston Hall                       Bristol

In early December, the European leg of the Light of Day tour comes to the UK. The Light of Day Foundation is a charity raising funds for research into Parkinson’s and related degenerative diseases, which originated in New Jersey in November 2000 and has been supported by many performers including Bruce Springsteen (whose song gave the Foundation its name), Michael J Fox, Southside Johnny, Darlene Love, Willie Nile, Jakob Dylan, Lucinda Williams, Badly Drawn Boy and Gary ‘US’ Bonds.

The headline band for the UK tour this year is Joe D’Urso, Vini ‘Mad Dog’ Lopez, Eric Bazilian, Ed Manion and Jake Clemons. If you want to see some incredible musicians and donate some cash to a very good cause, then you can catch the Light of Day tour on the following four UK dates:

December 4                                        Oran Mor                                            Glasgow

December 5                                        TAPE Arts Centre                               Colwyn Bay

December 6                                        The Musician                                      Leicester

December 8                                        The Half Moon, Putney                  London

You should catch both of these tours if you can, and maybe we’ll see you at The Half Moon for the Light of Day gig.

My Psychosis titleOK, just to give a bit of a heads up, if Noel Gallagher had been influenced by the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (™) instead of The Beatles this is probably what Oasis would have sounded like. You know from the kick-off that Righteous Reprobates aren’t doing subtlety here; “My Psychosis” storms in with a noisy Les Paul riff and Charlie Kenny’s pounding floor tom and kick drum while the lead guitar gently feeds back before crashing in alongside Jack Collier’s bass and Rob White’s vocals. It’s melodic, it’s fast, a little bit noir and the band seem to have thrown everything they can into four minutes to grab your attention, including a sixteen-bar solo from Jack Griffiths which runs through most of the range of rock solo techniques, including the obligatory fret-tapping and whammy bar abuse.

Go on, just crank it all the way up, jump about and wind up the neighbours; that’s the kind of song it is.

“My Psychosis” is out on December 7th. Meanwhile, here’s the video:

 

Please tell me it hasn’t come round again already; drunks on public transport, pubs packed with once-a-year drinkers and a demand from MusicRiot to cobble something together for their inane end of year feature. Damn, Christmas again and I hate Christmas unless I can sack a widow on Christmas Eve. But wait, I can see a chink of gloom poking through the bright lights; it looks like John Fogerty and Creedence Clearwater Revisited are opening legal hostilities again, so I think a festive five music lawsuits is about as much fun as I can hope for.

John FogertyJohn Fogerty

The man in the lumberjack shirt and his CCR ex-buddies are kicking legal lumps out of each other again and nobody really knows what it’s all about, but there are plenty of lawyers involved and onstage pronouncements and press conferences and a whole flamin’ media circus. Just bear this in mind guys; whoever wins, all the lawyers get paid.

But that’s not the most interesting lawsuit John Fogerty has been involved in, oh no. He sold the rights to his songs to his former label Fantasy (headed by the infamous Saul Zaentz) to escape from label (don’t try that one at home boys and girls) and go solo. So, Mr Fogerty gets a bunch of songs together and releases the album “Centerfield”. Happy ending; not quite. The litigious Mr Zaentz sues on the grounds that the album’s opening song, “The Old Man down the Road” plagiarises a Creedence song, “Run Through the Jungle”, which Zaentz holds the copyright for. He wasn’t too chuffed about the song “Zanz Kant Danz” (later changed to “Vanz Kant Danz”) either. So what could be more stupid than suing someone (unsuccessfully) for copying their own song?

Neil YoungNeil Young

Well, David Geffen had a pretty good shot at it in 1983 with Neil Young when he sued him for not sounding like his previous records. After signing one of the most contrary artists in rock (or maybe just a guy who follows his own artistic vision), he decided, after three albums he didn’t like, to sue Shakey for submitting ‘uncharacteristic’ music for release. Maybe it was a bit of a coincidence that the albums weren’t selling. You have to wonder where David Geffen had been living during the seventies if he hadn’t realised that Neil Young didn’t give a stuff about following commercial trends. They eventually kissed and made up and Shakey went back to his spiritual home at Reprise records.

So that’s one case of a label suing an artist for sounding too much like themselves and another case of a label suing an artist for not sounding like themselves. Where else can the stupidity go? Well, back in time a decade or so.

George HarrisonGeorge Harrison

After the Beatles, the quiet one was quickly out of the blocks with the triple album “All Things Must Pass” and the single “My Sweet Lord”. Three weeks after the release of the single, George was hit with a lawsuit alleging that the single plagiarised the Chiffons single, “He’s So Fine” (big in the US, not so big in the UK). It took five years for the case to come to court and George was found guilty of “subconscious plagiarism”, which cost him over half a million dollars. What you have to ask is how come no-on spotted this similarity? “All Things Must Pass” was co-produced by Phil Spector, who was very much part of the American teen scene in 1963 when “He’s So Fine” was a hit. It’s hard to believe he couldn’t spot such an obvious similarity. So, how many more ways could lawyers invent to make money out of the music business. How about “Where there’s blame there’s a claim”?

Ozzy OsbourneThe Metal Suicides

Jumping back to the eighties again, in 1988 the parents of a teenage fan tried to accuse Ozzy Osbourne of causing the death of their son, claiming that hidden lyrics in “Suicide Solution” had caused their son to take his own life; the suit was dismissed but it didn’t mean that the suicide blame game was over. In 1990, Judas Priest were taken to court by the parents of two teenagers who, after a drugs and alcohol binge, attempted a suicide pact. It’s interesting that no-one was trying to sue any brewers, distillers or dealers for their part in the events. Just ask yourself again who benefitted from these legal cases; I’ll give you a clue, it wasn’t the parents or the bands. Ok, it’s Christmas, let’s try to end on a slightly happy note.

Spandau BalletSpandau Ballet

It all started off so well; a bunch of school friends got together and formed a band in the seventies. The band caught the New Romantic zeitgeist with their first single in 1980 and everything was looking good; who needed lawyers and contracts? Well, in this case it might have been a good idea (I never said I had to be consistent) because any memories of verbal agreements vanished after the band became famous. In 1990, Tony Hadley, Steve Norman and John Keeble sued for a share of the booty, claiming that their contributions and a verbal agreement entitled them to a twelfth of the royalties. The case was dismissed and the non-Kemp Spandaus faced huge legal bills, but that wasn’t the end of the affair.

In 2009, the guys resolved their legal issues and got back together to tour again as Spandau Ballet; well, it is Christmas and we should have a happy ending really. There’s a lesson there as well; at this time of year, everyone goes to the pub and maybe that’s what the Spandaus and all of the other people mentioned here should have done. Forget all of the lawyers, go and have a few beers and sort all of your problems out.

Merry Xmas.