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Music Video: The Clash Perform “Charlie Don’t Surf”

by on Friday, April 27, 2012 at 10:51 pm EDT in Arts & Entertainment, Music

Here’s a video of an amazing Clash song, “Charlie Don’t Surf,” from the Sandinista album.

The footage of the video was apparently pulled from a 1982 live performance in Tokyo, Japan, laced w/ scenes from Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, which had been the inspiration for the song. 

In the movie, Robert Duvall’s character, Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore, justifies his orders to reclaim a dangerous beach from the Vietcong so his men could do some surfing, with the phrase “Charlie Don’t Surf.” (Charlie, of course, was the American troops’ slang for the Vietcong).

The chorus:

Charlie don’t surf, and we think he should
Charlie don’t surf, and you know that it ain’t no good
Charlie don’t surf for his hamburger momma
Charlie’s gonna be a napalm star

My interpretation of this, though others may disagree, goes to how the U.S. forces western consumerism down the world’s throats. And for those who dare to resist its Capitalist imperatives, it is napalm for you.


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Music VIDEO: General Public Performs ‘Rainy Days’

by on Sunday, April 8, 2012 at 3:58 pm EDT in Arts & Entertainment, Music

When The English Beat disbanded in 1983, the group’s singer/songwriter Dave Wakeling and toaster Ranking Roger continued to work together, but as a new entity: General Public.

Their first album, …All The Rage (which featured The Clash’s Mick Jones, The Specials’ Horace Panter, and Dexy’s Midnight Runners members Mickey Billingham and Stoker) enjoyed critical acclaim, climbing the charts in both the U.S. and the U.K.

The second single from that album — and one of the most well-recognized songs of the 80s — “Tenderness,” rose to #27 in the U.S. charts and was featured in films: Sixteen Candles (1984), Weird Science (1985), and Clueless (1995). Other well-received singles from the album, included “Never You Done That” and “Hot You’re Cool.” 

Off the success of …All The Rage, the band won the prestigious Juno award in Canada for 1984’s Best New Artist.

The band split-up shortly after their second album, Hand to Mouth, which spawned two memorable singles, but proved to be far less successful than their debut LP.

In 1995, while Dave was working for Greenpeace, long-time fan and friend Elvis Costello gave Dave Wakeling an earful in front of 18 other Greenpeacers, telling him: “All this Greenpeace stuff, and this anti-Apartheid stuff, that’s all well and good, but you know your place is on the stage, and you know that!” Costello’s words apparently had some affect, because two weeks later Dave rejoined with Roger as General Public to begin work on their third, and arguably strongest, album-to-date, Rub It Better

For the new album, Wakeling and Roger brought in their old English Beat comrade Saxa (on Saxophone), as well as Birmingham reggae singer and toaster Pato Banton (who’d worked previously w/ the English Beat on Special Beat Service). Other guests included Mick Jones, Chris Spedding, and  ex-General Public members Horace Panter and Stoker. Produced by Talking Heads keyboardist Jerry Harrison, the album is a perfect blend of soul, ska, dancehall, pop, and contemporary rock.

Despite receiving a 5-star rating from Rolling Stone Magazine and becoming an instant Beat/GP-fan favorite, Epic Records somehow dropped the ball on promoting this amazing album, resulting in lackluster sales. Roger eventually grew tired of traveling back and forth between England and America (where Wakeling had earlier relocated) and the band, once again, called it quits. 

Dave Wakeling is now touring the world as The English Beat, with plans to go into the studio to record two new albums. Ranking Roger can also be seen touring the U.K. as The Beat

I have had the pleasure of seeing Dave Wakeling’s The English Beat on several occasions, which go down as some of my all-time favorite live performances (and I have seen A LOT over the years). His set includes many of the fabulous songs from both The English Beat and General Public. He is truly one of the most gifted (and underrated) songwriters/singers/guitarists/performers of our time.

From General Public’s Rub It Better, here is the effervescent “Rainy Days,” with Roger at the mic:


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VIDEO: John Lennon – How?

by on Saturday, March 3, 2012 at 1:19 am EDT in Arts & Entertainment, Music

A great song by one of the world’s best songwriters: 


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LISTEN: Reggae Great Delroy Wilson Sings ‘This Life Makes Me Wonder’

by on Monday, March 7, 2011 at 1:01 pm EDT in Arts & Entertainment, Music

In 1961, a thirteen year old Delroy Wilson began his music career in Kingston, Jamaica, recording ska hits penned by Lee “scratch” Perry, Coxsone Dodd, amongst others. His music evolved with the sounds of 60’s Jamaica from ska to rocksteady and eventually to reggae. By the late-60s/early-70s he was one of the most influential reggae recording stars on the […]

R.I.P. Mick Karn – Bass Player of Japan (July 24, 1958 – Jan. 4, 2011)

by on Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at 12:07 pm EDT in Arts & Entertainment, Music

I was sad to hear that Mick Karn, artist and bass player of the band, Japan, lost his battle with cancer yesterday. Fronted by lead singer David Sylvian, Japan formed in 1974 in South London, and had a distinctive sound vaguely reminiscent of Bowie or Roxy Music.  Karn played a fretless bass guitar, and his […]

An Emotional Paul McCartney Plays ‘My Love’ For Linda On Anniversary Of Her Passing

by on Friday, January 22, 2010 at 5:00 pm EDT in Arts & Entertainment, Music

Here’s a touching video of Paul performing the love song he wrote for Linda, ‘My Love,’ at the Coachella Music Festival on April 17, 2009, the anniversary of her passing.  What an amazing song, and such an emotional heartfelt moment for someone to have caught on video. Watch: The single “My Love” by Paul McCartney […]

Watch: Roxy Music “Same Old Scene”

by on Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 8:50 pm EDT in Arts & Entertainment, Music

Here’s one of my all-time favorites.  Each time I hear that intro, it’s like an instant flashback into a different world — namely, my youth. I was fortunate enough to have seen Bryan Ferry play live around 1989-1990 with my brother — a show I’ll never forget.  Fantastic! From the album Flesh and Blood, here’s […]

FREE 12-Song Download: Carbon/Silicon (Ex-Clash Mick Jones) New LP, ‘Carbon Bubble’

by on Monday, November 23, 2009 at 9:11 pm EDT in Arts & Entertainment, Music

Great news for all impoverished music lovers out there! Carbon/Silicon, featuring — one of my all-time favorite songwriters — Mick Jones (formerly of The Clash and Big Audio Dynamite) and Tony James (formerly of Generation X), have just released their new 12-Song LP entitled The Carbon Bubble. It is available at the Carbon/Silicon site as […]

Watch: Curtis Mayfield Performs ‘Move On Up’ Live @ The Hague, 1987

by on Saturday, November 14, 2009 at 9:56 am EDT in Arts & Entertainment, Music

‘Move On Up’ is one of the best songs ever written.  Curtis Mayfield was the master of socially-aware, inspirational music, and his live performances were as tight and emotional as his studio recordings.  His music was and still is loved and covered by artists from all over the world.  Here he was in 1987 playing […]

Watch: Iggy Pop Does “The Passenger” Live in 1977

by on Tuesday, November 3, 2009 at 4:18 pm EDT in Arts & Entertainment, Music

Iggy Pop’s contribution to punk is sometimes discounted in the annals of music history, but just for the record: Iggy Pop was MOST DEFINITELY the first punk, at least in the way the music and style of the genre was defined in the 1970s.  Generally, that honor gets bestowed upon bands like The Ramones, The […]