Tomorrow night, St Patrick’s Day, I’ll be in Glasgow watching Stiff Little Fingers (SLF) play their 26th consecutive year at the same venue on the same night. I was there last year for their 25th, and am making the journey again this year as it’s part of their 40th Anniversary tour. It stands to reason that this week’s choice should be the first of their songs I ever heard, from the first album of theirs I ever heard: the band was 3 years old by then, and have been my favourite ever since.
Johnny Was is actually a Bob Marley track, and this version comes from the live album Hanx! To my mind, this is probably still the best live album, by any band, ever. At the time I listened to it, I wanted to be a drummer. This track was the first on Side 2 of the cassette (remember them?), which I’d borrowed from a classmate as I was going to see this band at only my second ever gig. Turn the volume up, dim the lights, and see if you can figure out why a wannabe drummer would love this, and why a fully fledged bass player would still rank this as one of his favourite tracks ever.
Johnny Was – Stiff Little Fingers
This will be the first TBT post that I’ve published this year where Dee and I are apart on the day, so I thought I’d let her know I’m thinking of her by posting one of the songs we listened to a lot when we first got together. Rather strangely, neither of us are massive Nickelback fans, but this track just seemed to click with us.
So, Dee, listen to this and know that I’m thinking of you and missing you. I love you x
Burn It To The Ground – Nickelback
Do you ever have a moment when you just want to sit back and listen something silly? When I do, this is one of the songs I reach for. I’m always amazed when people come up with classics like this. I mean, where do ideas like this come from? I may have a slightly odd sense of humour sometimes but this is just brilliant. Stadtler and Waldorf just finish it off nicely at the end…
Mahna Mahna – The Muppets
Yet another fabulous bassline which mangles my hands when I try to play it! This is a really bouncy, happy song, which I hadn’t heard until a couple of years ago. Stevie Wonder has never really been on my radar in terms of musicians I should listen to, even though I play Master Blaster for the band I’m with now, but this song appeared in a list of Top 50 basslines in a music magazine and it’s grown on me over the years.
I Wish – Stevie Wonder
Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. And the bassist in the video makes it look so easy!
As you know I’m a bass player, I’ll bet that some of you are a little surprised at this choice. Surely I’d have gone for something like Hysteria by Muse, with its awesome, hand mangling bass line? This track is relatively simple, though as I don’t use a pick it’s quite tough to play at full speed all the way through. All the fancy stuff is being done by the guitar, but it’s underpinned and supported by the bass and drums. It’s a classic bit of understated bass playing, though I love the guitar riff too.
Headphone on – or wind the volume up if you can – and rejoice in how good a three piece band can be.
Stockholm Syndrome – Muse
What can I say? My first favourite band was The Sweet, probably cos I heard this or Teenage Rampage on Top Of The Pops many, many, many years ago! The song has reappeared and been done by various groups, most notably Crucial Taunt in Wayne’s World. It’s long been an ambition of mine to play this, but I’ve not yet had the opportunity. Glam rock at its best!
Ballroom Blitz – The Sweet
This is just a lovely song, with a wonderfully moving bass line. There are so many parts to the song, each instrument bringing its own personality and sound. The band I’m in at the moment are learning it, though I must confess I’m struggling to play some of it. I’ll get there though – just takes practice, right?
Echo Beach – Martha and the Muffins