Monday, 25 August 2014

"FOOTBALLERS AND MUSIC - USUALLY A RED CARD OFFENCE?"

As the new football season kicks off again I was wondering about both my passions, music and football.  This prompted me to think of footballers who actually felt the need to combine both with their "talents".  We all thought fondly of John Barnes' rap on New Order's "World In Motion" in 1990 and also "Anfield Rap (Red Machine In Full Effect)" by the Liverpool FC Cup Final team in 1988.  Both were a success reaching number 1 and number 3 respectively on the UK charts.

These songs however were rarities in their pop respectability as we will find out.  Other soccer stars' fared less well. 

Some may remember Liverpool and England's Kevin Keegan in 1979 singing a typically 70s ballad "Head Over Heels In Love" as his debut which reached number 31.  Probably the best known footballer's song apart from Spurs' Paul Gascoigne's "Fog On The Tyne" which amazingly reached number 2 despite being a major hit for his "backing" band Lindisfarne.

 
 
More England players decided they had a singing talent which was debatable at best.  Arsenal's Ian Wright released "Do The Right Thing" which it clearly wasn't.  Man U's Andy Cole sung "Outstanding" which again, it clearly wasn't!  Wimbledon's hard nut now actor Vinnie Jones released a single entitled "Bad Boy Leroy Brown" which nobody said was bad and neither will I for fear of repercussions!
 
 
The cheesiest song has to be 1987's "Diamond Lights" by Spurs' Glen Hoddle and Chris Waddle, or Glenn and Chris as they wanted to be known, maybe Hoddle and Waddle sounded too silly? This song reached number 12 and they even managed a follow-up called "It's Goodbye".  It clearly was as it never got promoted as Hoddle moved to AS Monaco in France.  Chris decided to record another song with his new Marseille teammate Basile Boli a few years later entitled ""We've Got A Feeling".
 
 
 
Singing wasn't restricted to just England's footballers who thought they had a hidden talent.  Even the world's greats had a go.  French maestro Marius Tresor released "Sacre Marius" in 1978 while "der Kaiser" Franz Beckenbauer , arguably Germany's best ever player decided to release "Gute Freunde Kann Niemand Trennen" in 1966.  It didn't stop there, Holland's master Johann Cruyff sung the very long title of "Oei, Oei, Oei, Dat Was Me Weer Een Loei" in 1969.  Another Dutchman, AC Milan's star Ruud Gullit released "Not The Dancing Kind" in 1984 and was clearly not the singing kind either!  You can also find the Brazilian legend Pele on YouTube singing with fellow compatriot Elis Regina singing Brazilian songs, not for the faint hearted!
 
Other most recent pretty dreadful performances include Arsenal's German star Lukas Podolski singing "Halleluje" while US star Clint Dempsey's Rap "Don't Tread" isn't that bad if you like Rap of course, sounds just like any normal Rap record to me but half decent.  The one star that actually sounds like he knew his stuff was American star of the 1994 World Cup, Alexi Lalas (yes the mad bearded one), at least he could actually sing and play guitar. 
 

 
 
Another United States star Jay De Merit, once of Watford also released a single called "Soccer Rocks" while some soccer stars decided to be part of an actual band, supposedly to give them a little more credibility surrounded by musicians.  Former Croatian defender Igor Stimac (who also played for Derby County and West Ham United in England) sings with his band Bohem, check out their song "Mare I Kate".  Crazy Argentine goalkeeper German Burgos who found fame with River Plate is lead singer with Rock band The Garb.  Ex-Blackburn Rovers star Morten Gamst-Pedersen joined 4 fellow Norwegian players to from a boy band called The Players.  They released one single "This Is For Real" which became a hit in Scandinavia to raise money for Soccer Against Crime, a Red Cross charity. 
 
 
Argentine band Piola Vago hail from Buenos Aires and have a certain Carlos Tevez (Juventus) and his brother Diego in their ranks.  Mario Melchiot (ex-Chelsea) decided to form a trio called BMD with fellow Ajax players in 1998.  South African striker Benni McCarthy and Surinam's Dean Gorre joined him to release a "Rock and Bass" track entitled "Midas Touch".
 
 
So, at the end of my study, a handful of stars can claim to have had music "stardom", but the jury is out on the majority of those talented footballers who decide, for one reason or another, that they can have the best of both worlds at their feet...and indeed their mouths.
 
 
One last thing, no football article is complete without mentioning iconic comic footballer Roy of the Rovers, Mr Roy Race.  Even he had a single out with some Everton, Leicester and Barcelona striker called Gary Lineker.  Yes, he of Match of the Day recorded a song with "Roy Race" (both had never been booked in their illustrious careers).  The song was a "hot rocking Heavy Metal Rap" with Gary singing and "Racey" on vocals and lead guitar.  It was entitled "Europe United (Let's Work Together)" to make a stand against hooliganism in 1990.  If you want to hear a clip, I found this webpage.  Enjoy!
 
 
 
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Friday, 22 August 2014

MISS LI - Swedish Singer

Miss Li was born in Borlange, Sweden as Linda Carlsson on July 6, 1982.  One day in 2006 in an apartment in Stockholm, Miss Carlsson was (so the story goes) lying awake thinking about buying a piano and writing songs.  Later that day she was composing songs on a piano under the name Miss Li!

She has since recorded 7 studio albums and several of her songs have been used in commercials and background music on TV shows such as Grey's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives.  Her music genre is categorised as Jazz/Blues but there is a great quirkiness in Miss Li and similar to Imelda May, it's a voice you can't ignore once you've heard it.

 
 
The first track I heard from Miss Li was a song called "My Heart Goes Boom", I'd heard it a few times a couple of years ago on TV but could never remember where or indeed who sung it.  Now I realise it must have been a commercial, as it was used a few times for furniture store DFS.  I loved this kind of style, it was updated Pop Jazz,  I wonder why she hasn't been a major success over here in the UK as yet.
 
 
Miss Li signed with the National label in 2006 and released her debut set, "Late Night Heartbroken Blues".  In 2007 she relished in this new found inspiration and released her second and third albums in quick succession ("God Put A Rainbow In The Sky" and "Songs Of A Rag Doll").  In the same year she released a double cd set Best Of which consisted of her singles and B-sides and unreleased tracks.  After 4 albums in just over a year she took two years to release her most successful album in 2009 with a slightly different commercial sound to the up-tempo Jazz pop of the first 3 albums.
 
 
 
The fourth album from Miss Li is entitled "Dancing The Whole Way Home".  The most remembered song is the incredibly catchy "Bourgeois Shangri-La" which was used in the Apple iPod commercial which was probably heard in every home across the world.  The humour in Miss Li's lyrics is always there but never hidden which is obvious in "Dirty Old Man" where she sings about a married man who's chasing 18 year old girls! It's a chirpy laid back 50s style throwback jazz track.  "Is This The End" is one of the more poppy tracks on the album in an Eliza Doolittle/Paloma Faith hybrid.  My favourite is the opener "I Heard of a Girl" which kind of reminds me of early Blondie.




In 2011 "Beats & Bruises" was released as the fifth album.  The opening track "Devil's Taken Her Man" again has a Debbie Harry-esque feel to the vocals and would fit in with the 80s decade easily with it's atmospheric backing.  The 50s/60s Blues feel of "I Cant Get You Off My Mind" with excellent guitar riff and screeching backing vocals is a standout track.  It was also used in "Grey's Anatomy" and helped build Miss Li's profile in Germany! There are more guitar riffs at the forefront of this album mirrored in the Rock and Roll/Country style "Forever Drunk". 

 
The sixth album, "Tangerine Dream" was released in 2012 and contained the previously mentioned Rockabilly style "My Heart Goes Boom".  My other favourite on this album is "Plastic Faces", an 80s influenced Pop, almost Electronic track, with a classy catchy chorus.  The track "It 'Aint Over" starts slow as a laid back ballad but quickens through the song to a faster beat and even louder vocals before cutting back down from a Dexys-style string and piano burst to a softer finish.  "Throw It In The Trash Can" is an angry Rock/Pop/Rap/Electro/Ska crossover that just confuses the brain so much it's mesmerising.
 
The seventh album " Wolves" was released in 2013 and was originally going to be a set of unreleased material from 2007-12 but now is a collection of 9 all new songs. 
 

 
Here is a selection of tracks to introduce you to the wonderful Miss Li's music-
 
 
"Oh Boy", "Miss Li", "Give It To Me", "Hard Loved Man", "Backstabber Lady".
(From the album "Late Night Heartbroken Blues").
"Let Her Go", "Autumn Cold", "Kings and Queens", "The Happy Sinner", "Don't Try To Fool Me".
(From the album "God Put A Rainbow In The Sky").
"Take A Shower!", "Ba Ba Ba", "Trouble Rumble", "Leave My Man Alone", "Why Should I Conquer The World".
(From the album "Songs Of A Rag Doll").
"Bourgeois Shangri-La","Polythene Queen", "Is This The End", "I Heard Of A Girl", "Dirty Old Man".
(From the album "Dancing The Whole Way Home").
"Devil's Taken Her Man", "I Can't Get You Off My Mind", "Forever Drunk", "The Modern Family", "My Man".
(From the album "Beats & Bruises").
"My Heart Goes Boom", "Plastic Faces", "It 'Ain't Over",  "Throw It In The Trash Can", "Golden Retriever".
(From the album "Tangerine Dream").
"Russian Roulette", "Spaceship", "Transformer", "Black Widow", "Sugar Coma".
(From the album "Wolves").
 
 

 
 
 
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