Dance just one more time
1966,... whatever happened in 1966? The best seller that year was Jim Reeves singing of distant drums, The Rolling Stones had their 19th nervous breakdown, The Beatles were tripping in a yellow submarine. I'm sure the year was famous for something else as well.
Are you ready boots?
1966 was certainly a memorable year for music, and there are dozens of records from that year which you would surely recognise. Amongst others, it was the year that Nancy Sinatra released a single about footwear unsuitable for footie and which has been covered many times since by artists including Boy George, Suzie Sioux, and Jessica Simpson. Here is a lesser known band, The MonaLisa Twins, covering it in a more vibrant punchy style.
How many of you watched that video and were reminded of The Cellar? It is actually the world famous Cavern Club in Liverpool where the twins now live. And for those of you who were wondering, yes, the MonaLisa Twins really are twins, and yes, they really are called Mona and Lisa.
The sporting zoo
No sooner will we get the football and Wimbledon out of the way than we'll have wall-to-wall Olympics Games coverage from Tokyo. A few years ago, in anticipation of the games, the Malaysian Chinese artist known as Namewee created this funny song and video about "Japanglish" (Japanese English) for foreigners visiting Japan.
That is an example of a "laundry list" song, and in this case it is a list of brand names. Have you ever made a laundry list song? Just about any list can be turned into a song, such as Billy Joel's news headlines across the decades, Tom Lehrer's song about the elements, or the list of endangered animals in Rock Lobster by the B52's. Let's hope no-one is inspired to write a syrup-coated song listing England football players.
I see the way you shine
The Olympics brings together people from every corner of the earth, the world under one flag, but a few weeks later it is all forgotten and the world is fragmented again. Music can also bring people together, and maybe it is better at challenging stereotypes. For instance, if I mentioned Erzhena Zhamyanova, a folk music performer from Buryat, which is a remote undeveloped agricultural region of Siberia, you might expect dreary throat singing and ponderous two-string bowed box balalaikas. You probably wouldn't expect something as upbeat, happy, and as "western" as this:
Did you recognise the song? Zhamyanova made this video for International Women's Day. It is a version of the Australian song, "Dance Monkey", by Tones, which became a world-wide hit in 2019.
Learning to live with the Boris
If you look at the hotspot map of where the new Covid infections are occurring, the south of England is a flat plain of pale yellow, but there, in the middle of it, in stark contrast to its surroundings, is one spike of blood red, and that spike is Oxford city. I don't know why we are such a hotbed of infection, easily one of the most contagious locations in the UK right now, but whatever the reason, please continue to take care. Even if you have been double-jabbed, you can still become ill from covid, and even if you are strong and healthy you can still pass it on to more vulnerable people. And remember, if we have another surge in cases, live music will be the first to suffer again.
So please keep up with the hands, space, face, and plenty of fresh air,
PS. I was just teasing. 1966? Obviously, it was the year of the 900th centenary celebrations of the Battle of Hastings.