On this very day in 1980, Ronald Belford “Bon” Scott was found dead in Camden London. Scott was the iconic hellraising singer of AC/DC and was the epitome of hard rockin, hard-partying rock and roller.  Nothing was half measure with Scott. It was alleged that On 15 February 1980, Scott attended a session where Malcolm and Angus Young who were working on the beginnings of two songs that would later be recorded on the Back in Black album; “Have a Drink On Me” and “Let Me Put My Love Into You” with Scott accompanying on drums rather than singing or writing lyrics.

Days earlier, Scott had gone with Mick Cocks to visit their friends the French group Trust in the Scorpio Sound studio in London where they recorded the album ‘Répression’; Scott was working on the English adaptation of texts by Bernie Bonvoisin for the English version of the album. During this visit, the musicians did a jam session of “Ride On”. This improvised session was Scott’s last recording.

Sometime during the evening of 18 February and early morning of 19 February, Scott passed out and died at the age of 33. He had just visited a London club called the Music Machine (currently known as KOKO) at the end of Camden High Street opposite Mornington Crescent Tube Station. He was left to sleep in a Renault 5 owned by a friend of Scott’s, Alistair Kinnear, at 67 Overhill Road in East Dulwich. Later that day, Kinnear found Scott lifeless and alerted the authorities. Scott was taken to King’s College Hospital in Camberwell, where he was pronounced DOA. It sent shockwaves through the industry at the time but the band soldiered on to reach greater success with a new singer (Cough Cough) Brian Johnson formerly of the band Geordie.  ‘Back In Black’ is one of the biggest selling rock albums of all time but the heart and soul had left the building when Scott passed and the band were never the same again, Scott’s tenure in the band produced  over half a dozen classic albums that pioneered boogie rock n roll with an incredible voice Scott will rightfully be remembered as a legend in hard rock.  R.I.P Bon.

Scott was born in Kirriemuir, Scotland, and emigrated to Melbourne, Australia with his family in 1952 He was six at the time. Scott started the Spektors in 1966 as the drummer the band then merged with another local band to form the Valentines who had a top 30 hit singe before breaking up due to a drug scandal or as the band put it at the time “Musical Differences”.  Scott then moved to Adelaide where he joined Fraternity. on 3 May 1974, at the Old Lion Hotel in North Adelaide, during a rehearsal with the Mount Lofty Rangers, a very drunk Scott had a raging argument with a member of the band. Scott stormed out of the venue, threw a bottle of Jack Daniel’s on to the ground, then sped off on his motorbike. Scott suffered serious injuries from the ensuing motorcycle accident, spending three days in a coma and a further 18 days in the hospital. It was during his recovery where he worked at the office of Vince Lovegrove who ran a talent and booking agency which was where Scott was introduced to the Youngs due to them being on the lookout for a lead singer and the rest, as they say, is history.

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On a Much lighter note a big Happy Birthday to Black Sabbaths Tony Iommi who was born on this day back in 1948. When a young Iommi was working in a sheet metal factory it was to be his last day at the job he managed to lose the tip of his middle finger and his ring finger of his right hand. He had to create thimbles to go on his fingertips so he could play the guitar this was after he attempted to play right-handed – remember health & safety at work kids and never play around with heavy machinery on Heavy Metal!

On this very same day in 1982 Iommis, former bandmate Ozzy managed to get himself arrested in San Antonio, Texas for urinating on the cenotaph at the Alamo, which honours the Alamo defenders. Osbourne was wearing a dress at the time of his arrest, (due to his wife Sharon hiding all his clothes so he couldn’t go outside). Osbourne was banned from ever playing in San Antonio, Texas again, (a ban which was lifted in 1992). When later interviewed, Ozzy said his next goal was to urinate on the White House lawn. Ozzy is pictured leaving the Sanantonio Court House with his stylish wife and manager Sharon

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on this day way back in 1970,  Black Sabbath released their debut self-titled studio album on Vertigo records in the UK.  The album happened to come out on a Friday which is a spooky fact. Peaking at No.8 on the charts which is something of a commercial success to be fair to the four lads from working-class backgrounds in Birmingham.

Recognised as the first heavy metal record. It seems like so long ago and be thankful that it was this album and these people. I’m not sure we should blame the four for giving us the likes of Danger Danger, Steel Panther and Manowar but if they were the first then they should take some collective responsibility because had this record never have been made would we have had judas priest? Who knows.  If only they’d added a keytar instead of Iommi’s Les Paul things might have ended so differently. Oh well. To think that back in 1970 the band released not one but two albums because later that year ‘Paranoid’ hit the streets and was responsible for that riff. Amazing work ethic and turn over that my friends wouldn’t happen today.

 

On February 13th1980, Police raided the home of former Sex Pistols John Lydon who greeted them waving a ceremonial sword, the only illegal item they found was a canister of tear gas, claimed to be for defence against intruders. Imagine that, musical outsider having their homes invaded by the fuzz for what under what crime prevention?  Makes you wonder why the bugger off to live in other countries. Of the incident, Lydon said, “I used to have these wooden slat blinds. They break, so up went an Italian flag. “But somebody thought that meant it was an IRA house, so… police raid!”  Lydon had long since left the Pistols and PIL were a going concern the incident was between ‘Metal Box’ and ‘Flowers Of Romance’ Lydon was basking in the afterglow of ‘Metal Box’ which had come out only four months earlier.

Amazingly The title of the album refers to its original packaging, which consisted of a metal 16mm film canister embossed with the band’s logo and containing three records. It was designed by Dennis Morris and was innovative and inexpensive, costing little more to the label than the cost of standard printed sleeves for equivalent 12″ releases (although Virgin did ask for a refund of 1/3 of the band’s advance due to the cost). Before the metal tin was finalised, there was discussion of the album being released in a sandpaper package that would effectively ruin the sleeve art of any records shelved next to it. That idea would later be realised by the Durutti Column

The album’s lack of accessibility extended to the discs themselves. Packed tightly inside the canister and separated by paper sheets, they were difficult to remove and were prone to be scratched and dropped in the process. Due to the short run on each side of the records, the listener had to change sides to hear the complete album rather more often than normal (not like Lydon to be awkward).

Deleted in November 1979 after an initial release of 60,000 sales, the album was re-issued on in February 1980  (funnily enough just after his house was raided) as a standard double LP in a more conventional gatefold. The sleeve art of ‘Second Edition’ consists of a distorted Keith Levene.

Also today in the mists of time (1982 to be precise) The Jam were at number 1 in the charts with double A-side single ‘A Town Called Malice’ and ‘Precious’ incidently the song is played at the local football ground before every second half gets underway (have that one fact fans).  Sadly the three members of the Jam have never reformed and the only chance of them ever being in the same place together would be when they’ve been to court – shame that but not many bands get to perform on TOTP  twice in the same night playing both sides of their single

 

Finally, in 2007 Rod Steward did a hard days graft and only got paid $1 million.  A wealthy billionaire Steve Schwarzman paid the singer to perform an hour-long set for his 60th Birthday celebrations in New York, (nice work if you can get it). Other performers are available for a lot cheaper. but I guess well done Rod We’d all like a piece of that. It’s not the only time Stewart has performed for wealthy people for large sums of money. A long way from his busking days in Paris and Spain or on train platforms in West London Stewart hung up his rock n roll wildman boots long before ’07 to be fair.  but still quite an achievement.  I hope Mr Schwarzman got his moneys worth and told Rod what to play.

 

Call it what you like but Weezer have always done things outside of the box and this new record is certainly that. Sort of an appetizer for the new Black Album that’s about to drop this is a ten-track pop record of some fairly big hitters from yesteryear and Weezer have only gone and covered them with immaculate attention to detail and I very much doubt not a single tongue in cheek anywhere during the recording nor the selection for this record.

I’m sure there are plenty out there who will fondly look back on school discos where they first heard these tunes or TOTP shows where the likes of ‘Take On Me’ was on every week for half a year and even without MTV there was no escape but Rivers has excelled in his pop detail here and like Marmite this will divide opinion no question about it.

Me, It’s nice to hear his voice and such passion in pop classics but I’m sure once the (Real) new album drops this will enter the curio shelf and won’t ever get played again until someone reminds me of the time when Weezer did a pop Covers album.

‘Sweet Dreams’ is an immaculate pop tune and whether you dissect it like Marylin Manson did and make it your own or you pay homage to it Weezer style there is no denying its a slice of classically written pop from Dave Stewart and I’m sure he’ll appreciate the royalties kerching kerching! One of the most covered modern pop songs isn’t really a stretch for Rivers and co.

Now I must admit to never listening to A-Ha and always found Morten Hackets voice excruciatingly annoying and nothing has changed all these years later. Yuck! ‘Happy Together’ sees Weezer take a trip back into the ’60s and a grande take on this hall of fame number and its played with the same amount of gusto and pomp as the original.  I see a pattern emerging.

Aha (no not another Scandinavian cover but something with a bit of guitar on it. ‘Paranoid’ by Sabbath has a sickly sweet take I just hope they wore fringe satin jackets during the recording and consumed whisky whilst laying down the tracks. It wouldn’t be right if they didn’t – good effort though. We stay in the Midlands for a pomp rock version of ‘Mr Blue Sky’ which isn’t that much of a stretch if I’m being honest and if I were to guess that Rivers Cuomo has the entire ELO collection and no doubt is proud of it too.

‘No Scrubs is a song performed by TLC and was number one in about a bazillion countries which is no surprise and it now seems that since it was made public that Weezer covered it Chilli from TLC has given it her seal of approval (oh shucks thanks I’m sure) and has made it known that she wants to perform the track with the band.  Wow didn’t see that coming. Next up is a cover of Jacksons ‘Billie Jean’ whatever next?  It’s starting to wear thin now oh thank God there is only one more to go.  What started off as a hoot has worn thin please let it stop and get on with some original Weezer songs pleaseeeee?

Thankfully this circus is brought to an end with a set-closing performance of ‘Stand By Me’ which to be fair is again immaculately sung by Rivers and rocked up (if that’s really a thing) but it isn’t so much mirrored the original but twisted Weezer style and that’s fine by me.  ITs a great pop song pretty much like a lot of this but please can we have the real new album now please? Now that’s what I call music… Not that this isn’t its just not something you are going to listen to for long and is like a bit of a novelty.  so if you too are curious then check it out but be warned you might find yourself out looking for a DeLorean to go find some leg warmers and skinny tie. Oh and Teal is such a lovely colour. there end on a good point.

 

 

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