Daily Archives: June 21, 2010

Monday Night Music Byte

The Boomtown Rats

Our 1970’s “one hit wonders” week continues. The Boomtown Rats were an Irish rock band that scored a series of UK hits between 1977 and 1980 and were led by vocalist Bob Geldof.

All six members were originally from Dún Laoghaire, Ireland. Formed under the name “The Nightlife Thugs,” the group agreed on the name change to the “Boomtown Rats” after a gang that Geldof read about in Woody Guthrie’s autobiography, Bound for Glory. They became a notable band, but one whose accomplishments were overshadowed by the charity work of frontman Bob Geldof, a former journalist with the NME magazine.

The group moved to London in October 1976, and became associated with the punk rock movement. Signing a recording contract with Ensign Records, they released their debut single, “Looking After No.1”, in August 1977. It was the first of nine straight singles to make the Top 40 in the UK Singles Chart. Their debut album, The Boomtown Rats, was released in September 1977, on Ensign in the UK and on Mercury Records in the United States, and featured another single, “Mary of the 4th Form”. As music journalist, Martin C. Strong noted, “Geldof’s moody charisma helped to give the band a distinct identity”.

The Rats’ second album, A Tonic for the Troops, appeared in June 1978 in the UK. It featured three hit singles, “Like Clockwork”, “She’s So Modern” and “Rat Trap”. A Tonic for the Troops was released in the U.S. on Columbia in February 1979, with two tracks from The Boomtown Rats substituted for tracks on the UK version. Mutt Lange produced “Rat Trap”, which became the first rock song by an Irish band to reach #1 in the UK, and the first of any description by an Irish band to top the official chart used by the BBC. (The Bachelors had topped the Record Retailer chart in 1964 with “Diane”, but only reached #2 on the UK Singles Chart). In addition, “Rat Trap” was also the first new wave song to claim the number one spot.

In 1979, “I Don’t Like Mondays”, was released. This was written in response to a school shooting in California by Brenda Ann Spencer, and also reached #1 in the UK. It was a worldwide hit, with the glaring exception being the United States. Fears of lawsuits and charges of bad taste kept radio stations there from playing the record. The unofficial boycott was frontpage news in Variety Magazine, the only time the Boomtown Rats earned such prominent coverage. However, it was included in The Fine Art of Surfacing, the band’s third album, and subsequently became the band’s only U.S. Billboard Hot 100 entry. The album also contained “Diamond Smiles” and their next Top 10 hit in the UK, “Someone’s Looking at You”. Geldof and Fingers became the visual and musical focus of the group: Geldof with his articulate, caustic wit – which made him the delight of television talk show presenters and the bitter enemy of music journalists – and Fingers with the striped pyjamas he wore onstage.

Please enjoy this video clip of the Boomtown Rats performing their hit “I Don’t Like Mondays” in 1981 at The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball.

Nikki, Just Choose To Blunder

Nikki Haley: counting on shampooers.

Hear them bones a rattlin’? Well you should because the skeletons just keep on falling out of Nikki Haley’s closet. Haley is in a runoff primary election tomorrow to be the Republican Gubernatorial candidate in North Carolina. She hopes to succeed Mark Sanford in the role of Governor. Sanford, in fact, supports Haley and that may not be the only thing they have in common.

You might recall that Sanford went awol on his state last year. His staff concocted a story that the contemplative Governor was out hiking the Appalachian Trail to clear his head. In reality however, Sanford was in Argentina secretly carrying on a long term affair with his mistress and billing taxpayers for the travel. The onetime G.O.P. Presidential hopeful’s career came to a screeching halt.

Well, lo and behold, before Nikki Haley has even qualified for the general election, it has been alleged that she has had extra-marital affairs with not one, but two different men. First, conservative blogger Will Folks came clean with the affair in an attempt to ease the blow (so to speak) on Haley if the tryst was made public by an opponent. Haley quickly denied the affair and attacked Folks’ credibility, but that only incited folks to release numerous emails between him and Haley and her campaign aides which described late night off duty meetings between the two. Next, lobbyist Larry Marchant emerged and said this:

I had an inappropriate physical relationship with Nikki Haley,” Marchant explains in an interview with WCBD in Charleston. “We had gone to dinner, I had some drinks, and things happened and that was it. It was one time and one time only… I spent the night with Ms. Haley and we had sexual relations, we had sex.

Haley once again denied any illicit activity with Marchant who was a campaign aide for one of Haley’s Republican gubernatorial rivals. Indeed, Nikki Haley doubled down on her innocence by vowing to quit the Governor’s office if she is elected and it is then proven that she had an affair. It remains to be seen if she will keep her word.

Last week two new controversies involving Haley emerged. First, her religion was called into question by a staff member of her runoff opponent, Republican Gresham Barrett. Phillip Bowers, co-chairman of Barrett’s campaign, circulated an e-mail Friday afternoon suggesting Haley has lied about her religion. “There are lots of contradictions to her story. It’s not my place to question her faith, but I do question her honesty. If anyone finds the truth, please let me know,” said Bowers, in an email. It would appear that the opposition is attempting to subtly use her religious background to try to alienate the Indian-American candidate born with the name “Nimrata Randhawa” from conservative voters. This is not an unusual tactic of Republicans who seem to always try to characterize the opponents as one of “the others”. It is refreshing however, to see that in this instance, they are using that tactic on one of their own.

The second Haley controversy of the week came when an engineering executive who hired Nikki Haley for consulting work while she served in the South Carolina legislature said last Friday that Haley’s political and business connections helped his company get ahead. While serving as a state representative in 2007 and 2008, Haley was hired (and paid $ 2,000.00) as a consultant by Robert Ferrell, the southeast region business development manager for Wilbur Smith Associates. “I knew her to be a connected person who had access to a lot of folks and information, and in my business, that sort of information is critical to get ahead,” Ferrell told CNN. “If she would hear about things that were going on, primarily county-type stuff, or developers who were getting ready to do stuff, she would give us a heads up, and we would see where it went.”

Wow, nothing like a little “pay for play” to go along with extra-marital affairs and a religious controversy. These Republicans sure know how to spice up an election. Then again, the controversies should have been expected. After all, they surfaced only after Haley received an endorsement from Sarah Palin and everyone knows that everything Palin touches turns to manure. The funny thing about all these controversies is that they shadow what should really be in the spotlight. Nikki Haley’s lack of legislative experience. During her entire time as a state representative, Haley has only authored one bill that has been voted into law. That bill? It exempted beauty parlor workers that only shampoo hair from the requirement of obtaining a cosmetologist license. Heady stuff.

Please remember to click on the song link below to familiarize yourself with the tune and to have more fun singing along with today’s topical song parody.

Rikki, Don’t Lose That Number song link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbIIwH9VsjM

NIKKI, JUST CHOOSE TO BLUNDER

(sung to the Steely Dan song “Nikki, Don’t Lose That Number”)

There’s no believin’ what you say
Looks like your little wild time has just begun
I guess you kind of snared yourself, yet you still run
But your campaign now falls apart

Nikki, just choose to blunder
Though you wanna blame somebody else
We saw those email letters, screwed yourself
Nikki, just choose to blunder
Your election is now blown
Exposed by all those email letters
You’ve wrecked your home

You and that Palin clown, are just the same
You both go out trolling down Tea Bag Row
Attempting to hide your sick games, they should know
That you both have a blackened hearts

Nikki, just choose to blunder
So they will elect somebody else
You know those email letters, screwed yourself
Nikki, just choose to blunder
Your mistakes are all your own
Exposed by all those email letters
Election’s blown

(instrumental)

South Carolinians must be blind
Keep electing the cheating kind
That state is just a world apart

Nikki, it is no wonder
That they should elect somebody else
They deserve someone better than yourself
Nikki, you must be dumber
Than a Sarah Palin clone
We will all be a whole lot better
When you’re sent home.

Nikki, just choose to blunder (Nikki, just chose to blunder)
Nikki, just choose to blunder