Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Greatest No.1 Singles – Various Artists [#559]

41SXZJ8MHCLWhether it’s Garth and Wayne singing Bohemian Rhapsody in a car, Robert de Niro in Jackie Brown rocking away to a strip tease to the Supreme’s Baby Love or fish faced Julia Roberts poncing down a New York high street to Roy Orbison’s Pretty Woman, this compilation has a selection of songs that everyone born in the last 50 years should be familiar with somehow or other.

Originally this was a two volume compilation (still available on Amazon)but over time volume 1 has been lost. Probably for the best as the “greatest” singles on the second volume were all a little too contemporaneous compared to those presented on volume 1. There was a spate of similar compilations after the millennium, Greatest This, Greatest That and who could forget the Absolute All Time Best of Super-dooper Mega Party Funtime Hoo-Har Music Ever Volume 3, all vying for the  hard earned cash of the gullible.  Of course, as with all compilations, there are some tracks I feel shouldn’t be there, and others that are conspicuous by their absence. Never the less, Greatest No.1 Singles is a nice “leave it on in the background while you do the cleaning” album.

 

 

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Changesbowie – David Bowie (#260)

changesbowieChangesbowie, released in 1990, is an attempt to cram a twenty-something year career onto one eighteen-track CD. To give you an idea of the challenge, in that time Bowie released seventeen studio solo albums. For some of them he (or his record label) employed competent people to do the cover art; for this one, they apparently got the intern to knock out something on a Friday afternoon.

Let’s assume that, if you live in the Western world and don’t hate music, you’ll be at least passingly familiar with David Bowie. If you’re buying this album then you probably want a little bit of Bowie in your life, but really can’t be faffed with all those seventeen (now up to twenty-five) albums. You want a nice slice of curated pop, showcasing the weird and the genius while skipping all the bits that were just a little too weird.

And to some extent, I’d say this delivers. It starts, of course, with 1969’s Space Oddity, takes in the biggies of the early 70s, skips pretty lightly over the Berlin years, catches up with the pop hedonism of the beginning of the 80s, and then is (wisely) silent on the end of the decade.

Of course, with any compilation like this the question rapidly becomes not “what’s on it?” but “what got left off?” leaving us to wonder exactly who thought that rather turgid Fame was more worthy of inclusion that the excellent Life on Mars or Starman. To be fair, both of those made it onto the slightly-longer LP/cassette versions. Why didn’t they miss off the rather soupy Golden Years in favour of Ziggy Stardust’s overblown Rock and Roll Suicide? But at the point you’re asking those questions, maybe it’s time to move on and buy a couple of albums. This is certainly a decent snapshot, and covers Bowie’s development through musical styles over a couple of decades. It also gives the impression of being a carefully-compiled list (and not, in fact, a rushed-out record-label cash-in brought on by Bowie’s decision to go off and produce completely different music with Tin Machine at the time). If you’re an absolute beginner, it’s not a bad place to start.

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#151 – The Best Air Guitar Album in the World…Ever – Various Artists

The Best Air Guitar Album in the World...Ever - Various Artists The Best Air Guitar Album in the World…Ever – Various Artists

This is every Dad’s favourite compilation from the nineties and noughties. Glove boxes throughout the UK had a copy of this album in it and jukeboxes in dodgy pubs were required by law to have this album also.

As much a part of pre-MP3 music culture as Tubular Bells, Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds and other coffee table albums, The Best Air Guitar Album in the World…Ever is one of those compilations that seem to be in every collection. It’s not hard to see why. All the traditionally popular bands are here; Queen, Def Leppard, Skynyrd and Blur but there are also bands and songs that are missing – Stiltskin’s Inside and Mountain’s Nantucket Sleighride for example, surely two of the most prolific air guitar riffs ever? Also there are some bands whose inclusion seems to only be to hook the younger generation in, Blur and Robbie Williams for example.

Still as compilations go, this is one of the better more agreeable ones.

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Music Project – Album #50 – Absolute Beginners (Soundtrack)

Absolute Beginners (Soundtrack)

Absolute Beginners is one of those films you’ve either seen or not. But nearly everyone knows the title tune as performed by David Bowie.

I saw the film many years ago, some time in the mid-nineties when it was already old. The young plastic surgery free Patsy Kensit looking very tasty, the fresh faced Eddie O’Connell acting his socks off and even a bit part for good old Lionel “Give us a Clue” Blair. All mixed together by jazz and soul with a light dressing of British humour. It was no wonder it was a flop.

With artists such as Sade, The Style Council and even British stalwald Ray Davies popping up, the soundtrack is a rather good old toe tapper.

Whenever I listen to it I’m immediately transported back to my vane efforts to restylise myself as an independent batchelor in my crumby bedsit in the Wavertree suburbs of Liverpool.

I didn’t grow a soul patch. Nor did I start poncing around in berets and lounge about looking moody. So I guess I got off lightly.

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