Johnny We’re Sorry

Another day, another Johnny.

Top Johnny in a Google search is Johnny Depp, as I said last week when I started this. I have no real strong opinion on him. He seems alright. His previous girlfriends include Winona Ryder, Kate Moss and Vanessa Paradis. Vanessa is best known here for her 1988 hit Joe Le Taxi and her gap toothed smile. And pictured above last year seems to have opted out of the aging process, despite smoking.

Fine Young Cannibals’ Johnny left home and headed for the big city which sadly didn’t live up to his expectations. The verses are Johnny’s (‘what is wrong in my life if I must get drunk every night?’). The chorus is his parents (‘we’re worried, won’t you come on home’). Pop songs in 1984 didn’t shy away from real life stuff and despite the uptempo pop-ska the song is defiantly gritty. The bouncy guitar and bass, piano riff and trumpet are very good and there’s a great little shift from the verse to the chorus. The guitar, bass and rubber legged dance moves were provided David Steele and Andy Cox (both formerly of The Beat, who recruited singer Roland Gift from a support band). Roland had one of the most distinctive voices and faces of the mid 80s and moved into films- Sammy And Rosie Get Laid sticks in my memory but I haven’t seen it for donkeys.

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Uptown Top Ranking

The Beat were a blast on Saturday night. You’d have to be a proper sourpuss not to find some enjoyment in ska played live and fronted by someone as irrepressible and happy as Ranking Roger (with son Ranking Junior on co-vocals). They played all songs you’d want The Beat to play, a few new ones, a full on dub version of Mirror In The Bathroom to follow the usual one and a cover of Rock The Casbah. As we’d walked up the ramp to the Waterside Roger was outside having a smoke. He met me in the eye and said Hello. Fifteen minutes later he was bouncing around on stage to the delight of the middle aged of Sale. A good night for babysitters.

In 1982 Roger recorded some vocals for a different, unreleased version of Rock The Casbah. Mick Jones intended it to go on his idea of what became Combat Rock but was over-ruled. It’s been available on bootlegs ever since.

Rock The Casbah (Ranking Roger version)

They encored with Save It For Later, a minor classic of the early 80s and proof that it wasn’t all ska, ska, ska.

Rankin’ Night Out

Tonight The Beat are playing at Sale Waterside, a ten minute walk from our front door. It seems silly not to go doesn’t it? There are two versions of The Beat on the road at the moment, one led by Andy Wakeling and the other by Ranking Roger. We are going to see the Ranking Roger version. I’m not sure if the two bands are competing after a fall out or if it’s a ska franchise thing. Either way the babysitter’s booked and we get to do the middle aged skank.

In this clip The (English) Beat play Rankin’ Full Stop at the gigantic US festival in San Bernardino in 1983, also the occasion where Mick Jones last trod the boards with The Clash.

Ranking Full Stop

Howsabout some late 70s ska from The Beat for Friday morning? OK.

Ranking Full Stop

Edit- duh. This was supposed to be tomorrow morning’s post.