From Eddie Cochran to Edward Elgar
By ADRIAN TAHOURDIN
A few weeks ago I blogged about the imminent handover from Jarvis Cocker to Iggy Pop on a Sunday afternoon show on BBC Radio 6 Music. I ended up by wondering what sort of music Iggy Pop would be playing.
Well, what I've heard so far has been pretty good and last Sunday he gave a masterclass in presentation. Under the rubric “In Praise of Beauty” (every show has a theme – last week’s, which I missed, was on “Sunny California”, and he nicely signed it off, I see, with “The End” by the Doors), “the musician known as Iggy Pop”, as he invariably introduces himself, kicked off with Frankie Avalon’s “Venus”. This was followed by Shocking Blue’s rather different “Venus”. But “some people like their Venus a little more perverse, so let’s put her in furs, with the Velvet Underground”. The same band featured again, with Nico and “I’ll Be Your Mirror” – “she [Nico] benefits from their presence”.
George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord”, the Sex Pistols’s “No Feelings” (beauty? Narcissism more like, as he acknowledged), Fellini’s composer Nino Rota’s “Pin Penin” from the film Casanova, Bob Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay”, the Doors’ “LA Woman”, John Lee Hooker’s “Solid Sender”, Nina Simone, Roy Orbison . . . what was not to like?
Interesting that Pop should have confessed to “tearing up” when he used to hear Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour” as a kid. Who’d have thought it?
Oh, and there was a plangent cello piece by Edward Elgar (below), “Sospiri”, that I had never heard before in years of listening to Radio 3 – “Gee whizz, I like that” was the show presenter's verdict.
And the number that will have had people dancing around their kitchens up and down the land? Eddie Cochran’s “Somethin’ Else” (of which Sid Vicious once did a decent cover version). It was sad to be reminded that Cochran died in a car crash in 1960 (in England) when he was only twenty-one. What a talent he was. Aside from “Somethin’ Else”, he left us two universally loved songs, “C’mon Everybody” and “Summertime Blues”, which has, I think, the finest couplet in pop music:
“I’m gonna take two weeks, gonna have a fine vacation
I’m gonna take my problem to the United Nations . . ."
Next week’s themed show is entitled “Complaint Department”. I wonder whether it’ll include “Summertime Blues”?
To think that the BBC were on the brink a couple of years ago of axing Radio 6 Music as a cost-cutting measure. What a scandal that would have been!