Another cover version this week, and again it’s one I heard long before the original (by David Bowie). Bauhaus were probably the biggest Goth band of their time, and I was a pretty big fan. I got into them about the time that they split up, and beat myself up for years that I’d missed seeing them live. Then, joy of joys, they announced a runion tour and I had my chance – which I took.
Brixton Academy was the venue – a legendary place in its own right – and on the appointed evening the place was full of people sressed in black, leather, fishnets, heavy make up – and the women wore much the same! I hate to think how much gel and hairspray was used just that night!
I can’t remember who the support act were, but I do know that the gig was all I’d hoped for. The music was awesome, and the place was buzzing. So, with that little trip down memory lane, I commend this tune to you. Enjoy!
Bauhaus – Ziggy Stardust
I think this is one cover version of a song which far surpasses the original. It doesn’t sound massively different, though it does have additional swagger, and there are so many references to Michael Jackson in the video. I guess that each version means something different to each generation, but I think that this rockier version from Alien Ant Farm may prove to be more enduring than Jacko’s version.
It’s a lot of fun to play this on bass – perhaps one reason why I like it – but I also enjoy the video. The band appear to be having fun making it: not many will have had the chance to appear alongside a chimpanzee. Their follow up single, Movies, had a great video too – check it out!
Smooth Criminal – Alient Ant Farm
I heard that a few years ago Classic Rock magazine polled its readers to find out who they considered to be the best rock singer, guitarist, bassist and drummer of all time. When the votes were cast, it turned out that the band that was created already had a name – Led Zeppelin.
I must confess that I hadn’t listened to them much before my 40s, to the extent that I’d heard Rolf Harris’ version of Stairway to Heaven long before I heard the original. That seems barely credible to me, but it’s true,
I found a list of Top 40 bass lines ever, and of all the many possibles, this song was the Led Zeppelin one that made the list. And what a track it is! The bass burbles away in the background, while the lyrics include reference to Lord of the Rings. I’ve addded this to my bucket list of songs to be able to play, and from time to time I return to it. It’s getting easier to play parts of it, but I’ve not managed the whole thing at full speed. I know I’ll get there though, it’s just going to take time.
Ramble On – Led Zeppelin
A long time ago, in a country far far away – well, Scotland – my girlfriend at the time persuaded me to go with her to see Big Country. In those days it was pretty much the law that if you were Scottish you had to love Big Country: I didn’t (but do now). I couldn’t see the big deal with them, but went along to keep her happy, and of course I was glad to be going to see live music. Two bus loads of fans went up from our area, and the pre-gig anticipation was huge.
The gig came and went, and a good time was had by all. I even enjoyed Big Country. However, I upset a fair few people on the bus on the way home by insisting that the support act had been much better than Big Country. They’d had me up dancing for most of their set, which didn’t really happen in those days. It was almost seen as uncool to like the support band at all.
A few weeks later, the support act were on music shows and the radio across the UK with their debut single, and this week’s TBT is it. She Sells Sanctuary was released not long after the band changed lineups and name from The Death Cult – and prior to that they’d been The Southern Death Cult. They’d been kind of goth / indie but became much more mainstream, eventually morphing into a great rock band. They’re one of my go to bands if I just want some good honest rock and roll.
Two minor interesting facts about this song:
- It’s the first one I learned to play on bass by ear – the notes came to me while listening to it in my car
- The drummer in the video is none other than Mark Brzezicki of a Big Country!
I would have played the Long Version, but there’s no video for it. Chill and enjoy!
She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult
Ok, I have to confess that I love the baseline on this. I’ve tried playing it a number of times and just one bit causes me to struggle. I’m not aware of having heard it before SLF played it as an encore, but I must have done. It’s perhaps not as well known as some of Elvis Costello’s other work, but I think it’s a great tune. Doesn’t the video look pretty dated though?
Pump It Up – Elvis Costello and the Attractions
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