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IN WHICH MARC ALMOND FORETOLD THE FUTURE

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It was back in July 1995 that Marc Almond released a belter of a single that really should have been a smash hit instead of stalling at #44 and spending just two weeks in the pop charts.  The first three seconds start off as an homage to The Jean Genie before it turns into a sort of Stars on 45 tribute to the glam rock that I recall from the early 70s.  Great guitar riffs, amazing backing vocals, and a pumping chorus.

It was tailored made for radio,when it was released in 1995, but got absolutely no exposure on the mainstream daytime shows. Just too dark a subject matter for them y’see…..I had forgotten just how good this is:-

mp3 : Marc Almond – The Idol (Part 1)

Oh and if you did make the effort to buy the single, there were real treats tucked away on the b-side:-

mp3 : Marc Almond – Law Of The Night
mp3 : Marc Almond – Adored and Explored (Live at Radio One)
mp3 : Marc Almond – Bedsitter (Live at Radio One)

The ‘Unplugged cover’ of the Soft Cell hit is particularly wonderful. No synths – just acoustic guitars and harmonicas. And proof that Marc was a better singer than most gave him credit for.

But if you want to see how great the full version of this single was, here’s the full 9 and a bit minute version from the LP Fantastic Star:-

mp3 : Marc Almond – The Idol (All Gods Fall) (Parts 1 & 2)

I’m taking the unusual step of reproducing the full lyric.  The last line might have taken 14 years to come true….but there’s no denying he got it right:-

Hail Hail the Idol
Hail Hail the Idol

Idol be bad
Idol be wild
Martyr your heart
Father a love child
We need all your kinks
And your dark attitude
We live on your sins
And your volatile moods

We love you, we love you
We love you, we love you
You’re a pop up poster of a teenage dream
We love you, we love you
We love you, we love you
A fur inferno on a twisted scene

Go for the gold
Never grow old
In the bed or the car
It’s the end of the star
Burn yourself out
Do yourself in
Don’t try to mend
All gods fall in the end

Hail Hail the Idol
Hail Hail the Idol

We loved you in black
We adored you in pink
Up in the dock
Or drowned in the drink
Wrapped up in foil
Anointed in oil

We love you, we love you
We love you, we love you
Rip out your soul as
you’re playing the role
We love you, we love you
We love you, we love you
Nail up your hands to fulfil our demands

Go for the gold
Never grow old
In the bed or the car
It’s the end of the star
Burn yourself out
Do yourself in
Don’t try to mend
All gods fall in the end

Sweet crucifixion

We hate you, we hate you
We hate you, we hate you
Watch them turn cold as you
start to grow old
We hate you, we hate you
We hate you, we hate you
Vinyl to burn as the crowd starts to turn

Go for the gold
Never grow old
In the bed or the car
It’s the end of the star
Burn yourself out
Do yourself in
Don’t try to mend
All gods fall in the end

Be what you are
In the bed or the car
In the bath or the bar
It’s the end of the star
Burn yourself out
Do yourself in
Don’t try to mend
All gods fall in the end

Fail Fail the Idol
Fail Fail the Idol
Fail Fail the Idol
Fail Fail the Idol

All gods fall in the end

Valentino the sheik was the God of them all
But his macho was dented and he took a fall
Garland sang tragedy touching our hearts
But her life was a tragedy more than her art
Fabian and Avalon gold lamed and cute
Kissed fickle fame and went straight down the chute
Elvis the cat loved us tender with youth
But what we were seeing was never the truth
Just wanted to sing but fame made its demands
And died while still young trying to please all his fans
James was a rebel that stood for an age
A drink and a drive and then death took the stage
Poor Billie Holliday paid all her dues
When her close friend the needle gave her the blues
Janis at night cruised for boys on the strip
But death by the bottle is what made her hip
Marilyn’s beauty showed age every day
But her sinister end helped her keep age away

We love you, we love you
We love you, we love you
We love you, we love you
We love you, we love you

Brian Jones had an aura that Mick soon would crave
But pills and a pool set the scene for the grave
Jim lived his life to put edge to his songs
But he died in the bath to reach where he belongs
Jimi played notes that were all heaven-sent
But the drink and the drugs made sure that’s where he went
Osmond and Cassidy records all gold
But they made the mistake of growing too old
Bolan got fat was not pleasant to see
But we loved him again when he met with a tree
Kurt was unhappy with fame and success
A gun in the mouth and one hell of a mess
And who will be next on the big cross of fame?
A white sequinned glove and a big famous name?

23 YEARS SINCE HIS LAST TOP 20 HIT??

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I couldn’t believe it either!!

Fair enough that the singles charts have not been targeted all that much in recent times, but I was bemused to learn that late 1992 with this cover version was the last time that Marc Almond enjoyed genuine commercial success:-

mp3 : Marc Almond – The Days Of Pearly Spencer

It’s also a fact that all five of his singles which have made the Top 20 since the initial demise of Soft Cell are cover versions :-

I Feel Love (with Bronski Beat) in 1985
Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart (with Gene Pitney) in 1988
Tainted Love ’91 (as part of Soft Cell) in 1991
Jacky in 1991
The Days Of Pearly Spencer in 1992

I could have sworn there had been some success with one or more of his own compositions, but Stories of Johnny (1985), Tears Run Rings (1988), A Lover Spurned (1990), and Adored And Explored (1995) didn’t get any higher than the mid 20s chart-wise.

Again, I find that to be something quite bemusing as many of his own compositions have been excellent releases which usually received the full marketing and promotional treatment from his record labels.

As ever, here’s the b-sides of the single featured today:-

mp3 : Marc Almond – Bruises
mp3 : Marc Almond – Dancing In A Golden Cage

Enjoy

I BOUGHT THE MAGAZINE JUST FOR THIS

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I’m not a great one for spending much time in the cinema, so the fact that today’s offerings come from a CD given away with a monthly movie magazine from back in 1998 is very unusual.

Neon was (and may well still be for all that I know) a magazine which focussed on new cinematic and DVD releases. The December 1998 edition also came with a free CD which will be the main reason I bought it – the other being that I was no doubt heading off on a long-haul flight and needed something to help keep my mind occupied while I ignored the in-flight movie(s).  I’ve every reason to believe that the magazine didn’t even make it off the plane with me, left instead in the seat pocket to be either kept or binned by a member of the maintenance staff.

It really was all about the CD. This was an era before I went down the mp3 route and so it was a wallet full of discs and a bulky player which always accompanied me to the beach and so the following would have formed part of the soundtrack to that holiday:-

01 : Pulp – We Are The Boyz (from Velvet Goldmine)
02 : The Cardigans – War (from A Life Less Ordinary)
03 : The O’Jays – Love Train (from The Last days of Disco)
04 : Marc Alamond – One Night Of Sin (from Mojo)
05 : D’Angelo – She’s Always In My Hair (from Scream 2)
06 : Morcheeba – Killer Hippie (from Psycho)
07 : Odyseey – Going Back To My Roots (from The Full Monty)
08 : Space – Lost In Space (from Lost In Space)
09 : The Sons Of Silence – Bobby Dazzler (from The Acid House)
10 : Grant Lee Buffalo – The Whole Shebang (from Velvet Goldmine)
11 : Pete Wingfield – 18 With A Bullet (from Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels)
12 : Sunhouse – Monkey Dead (from Twentyfourseven)
13 : David Holmes – Rip Rip (from Out Of Sight)
14 : Fluke – Bullet (from Face)
15 : Madrid Symphonic Orchestra – Christmas 1970 (from Live Flesh)

The CD didn’t leave that much of an impression on me as I didn’t rush out to buy any of the full soundtracks although I would, a number of years later, pick up a copy of A Life Less Ordinary in a sale for £2.

But there are three brilliant bits of music on the CD which have subsequently been shoved onto compilation tapes and then onto the i-pod where they remain all these years later:-

mp3 : David Holmes – Rip Rip
mp3 : Grant Lee Buffalo – The Whole Shebang
mp3 : Marc Almond – One Night Of Sin

The first number is a real funky number that should get your toes tapping, your shoulders shaking and your head bopping in appreciation, It also contains dialogue from the film which starred George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez.

The second is, I think, one that will surprise any Grant Lee Buffalo/Grant Lee Philips fans out there as it is quite unlike anything else the band/he has recorded.

And finally, that Marc Almond song is an atypical offering from the sleaze-meister, and quite brilliantly done.

Enjoy