Introducing #alternativeweekend. Post an article that highlights THREE great songs that are either progressive or alternative and use the tag #alternativeweekend or use the ‘Focus on’ series if you like. There are no rules, just make your own!
If you have a short story or something to offer regarding an opinion on your songs, then share it with us!
I don’t watch much TV, the only time I get is a little just before bedtime. I switch it on, channel flip and look for something that’s not a pile of crap which can be taxing at times.
Channel 9 occasionally contains music content, and I noticed Punk Britannia was showing a few nights back. The BBC produced a series of these ‘Britannia’ shows years ago, and some can be found on YouTube.
They always take me back to when I was a teenager, music-mad and wide-eyed at whatever was hitting the charts.
In the late seventies, Punk ruled for a few short years. The music was fierce, short and angry and at the time I was not a big fan of some of it.
To me it was ‘normal music’ but now I see it was far from normal. Has there been anything this radical since those times?
I know @steevc will disagree but some of this music was composed, tuneful and thought-provoking.
Other songs were three cords and composed of four blokes screaming and yelling while making the loudest noises possible and giving everyone sneering looks.
Some Punks were women and took on this extreme voice which they all seemed to copy. This voice type because the 'standard' for most of them and this article will highlight some of them.
Siouxsie & The Banshees – Hong Kong Garden (1978)
I was still at school when I first heard the Banshees and this oriental sounding song with those distinctive guitar chords.
Then I saw Siouxsie bouncing around the stage and that image struck me. It's not like I thought she was hot..., more scary, thought-provoking and someone viewed from afar.
The song was a hit and quite rightly so. I would love to know from my international friends if they have heard this song before.
It gains no radio play anymore but was well thought of at the time.
X-Ray Spex – The Day the World Turned DayGlo (1978)
If I loved Hong Kong Garden, I couldn’t say the same for this band and that manic front leading woman named Poly Styrene. It seemed singers needed crazy fucking names in those days to garner attention.
If the name wasn’t enough, she had to wear bracers and wear a green turban when singing for more effect!
This song I watched on Punk Britannia and it was more compelling than the effect on me in 1978.
That droning wailing voice is something you would never hear in today's music. It's all so damn boring now and makes me long for a re-surge of 'something' to shake things up.
Hazel O’Conner – Eighth Day (1980)
Despite having an Irish sounding surname, Hazel O’Conner was from England and had a splurge of hits around the turn of the decade.
I was hardly a fan then and am not now. She uses that ‘punk voice’ that the many female’s vocalists grabbed and used. Is her real voice like this, I doubt it.
Later O’Conner would produce a balled named ‘Will You’. Can ballads be sung with a punk voice? She seemed to get away with it and it was a hit, as well as this one.
Note the sneering look and anger as she sings. What would Simon Cowell make of this on the X-Factor?
Lene Lovich – Bird Song (1979)
I won't use Lucky Number as my example of a fine example of that 'female punk voice' yet again. That was her big hit but not my favourite.
Bird Song was a much minor hit but had that epic feel to it, unlike most punk songs. Is that really her screaming at the start of this song, I always did wonder.
My late father used to take this piss out of Lene Lovich and begrudgingly watched Top of the Pops with me we only had one TV then.
Still, she was more inventive and original than bloody Des O'Conner and Johhny Mathis.
I think he may have been a closet fan.
If you note the similarities between most of these and wonder where it all came from, well that’s easy. Johnny Rotten started it all with the Sex Pistols.
Many of these artists and bands freely admit they started bands after seeing them live around 1976.
The shook up the music scene for a few short years and you might think they are a load of old crap. But ask yourself, what of today’s chart music. It’s boring, lifeless and samey.
I for one would welcome Punk back in a heartbeat, at the very least it would wake me up.
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