Monday, March 17, 2014

Is he funny, John Cleese?

So anyways, I spent part of my Sunday afternoon listening to Human League songs on Spotify, and took the opportunity to listen to portions of Octopus for the first time. As I scanned the song titles, I immediately saw the song that Spotify labeled "John Cleese; Is He Funny?" (I have also seen it labeled as "John Cleese: Is He Funny?" and "John Cleese - Is He Funny?" I notice these things.) Seeing that this song was solely written by Philip Oakey, I was intrigued to see what Oakey would say on the subject of Cleese's funniness.

But, as more dedicated Human League fans already knew, Oakey had NOTHING to say about Cleese's funniness, because the song "John Cleese [insert punctuation here] Is He Funny?" is an instrumental. With no words whatsoever.

Or are there? Squidy:

Anyway, in 1997 League lead Phil Oakey had his hair cut as part of the rebranding of his band for the Nineties. As the long left-sided lashes of Phil hit the barbershop floor a previously thought lost notebook was discovered perched on Oakey's left ear. "Coo, I wondered where that got to! I spent ages looking for that," said Phil Oakey, acknowledging his left ear. "Now what's this notebook all about then?". It turns out the notebook contained rough lyrics and notes for the album that was to become Octopus, written between 1990 and 1994. Then titled 'Squidy' (whooo, spooky, eh listeners!), the most interesting pages included original lyrics for 'One Man In My Heart' which was originally called 'One Man In My Hat' and was about top Belgian apple-faced sky-faller Rene Magritte, and a proposed remix of 'Love Action' with additional mewing noises.

The previously unreleased lyrics for the John Cleese Funny song can be found here. And the released (instrumental) version of the song is at the end of this playlist of Human League songs.

Friday, March 7, 2014

The opening act wasn't KISSed off

Opening act. Not a good place to be..usually. The focus is on the headliner, and the opening act sometimes doesn't get soundchecks, or even an acknowledgement that they exist.

But it was slightly different for Black Sheep when they opened for Kiss. Lou Gramm, who later became famous with Foreigner, recounted Black Sheep's experience:

We ... had two albums out on Capitol and were opening for Kiss on a huge world tour. At one show we played in Boston, we received a standing ovation. Kiss’ management and crew were very good to us. Even though we were the opening act and knew we shouldn’t go back out, their tour manager told us to go answer our encore!

And of course, Gene Simmons' part in Van Halen's career is the stuff of legend.