01/06/2012

Wild West End




The West End of London  is a flexible term. It can mean that shopping area round Oxford Street and Regent Street, the focus of the Everything But The Girl Oxford Street song in which teenage Tracy Thorne, growing up in Hatfield, dreams of escape to the West End. It can mean more specifically  the theatre district round Leicester Square and Shaftesbury Avenue, the equivalent of On Broadway. Or it could be a more general term , the posh opposite of the East End. Oddly, though, whilst individual parts within the West End have been the topic of songs – Soho, of course, or Trafalgar Square – there haven’t been that many about the West End as such. The best known is the first Pet Shop Boys hit, West End Girls, though that is about universal  class and urban divisions as much as about a geographical place. Somehow, the West End has often seemed more suited either to musicals or to songs from a long bygone era than to  pop songs: A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square or Lets All Go Down the Strand (have a banana)

The song here –Wild West End from Dire Straits debut album in 1978 – shines a totally different light on it, however. Like Squeeze and the Police, Dire Straits came at the tail end of British punk, too musically sophisticated for punk and too lyrically sophisticated for mainstream rock. However, their later mega success, especially with the 30 million seller Brothers In Arms album, left them rather unfairly with a very 80’s image: coffee table CDs, Princess Diana approval  and merchant bankers donning a Mark Knopfler headband to be a guitar hero in front of the mirror, much like a previous generation had copied Hank Marvin of the Shadows

It’s quite a multi-layered song. The lazy summer mood and the sound of Mark Knopfler’s National guitar gives a feel of strolling down the main street of a small North Carolina town and the whole song mythologises the ordinary  in the manner of Bruce Springsteen. Listening again to the early Dire Straits sound I was also reminded of another track I couldn’t place at first, then remembered  -  Dion’s Written On the Subway Walls from his Yo Frankie album. However my memory of this was incorrect. I had mentally placed it as around 1976 and assumed that Dire Straits were making a rather obscure nod  in his direction. The album actually dates from 1989 so the influence  was the other way round – and, in fact, I noticed that Terry Williams, the second Dire Straits drummer, played on it. So the to and fro of music across the years is even more tangled – a singer who made his name in the first era of American rock n roll and doo-wop shows the influences of a post-punk British group which itself drew on a variety of music past, including early rock. There is another tangential link between the songs. The 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' segment on the Dion track is sung by Paul Simon. One of his memorable lyrical images is the opening of Graceland: ’The Mississippi Delta was shining like a National guitar’, the lead instrument on Wild West End (Another British exponent of that guitar was Tom McGuinness of Manfred Mann, who played it with effect on hits like Pretty Flamingo and Just Like A Woman).

Wild West End is an interesting song in other ways. With its story set round Shaftesbury Avenue and China Town it is a little historical snapshot of a patch of  London past:  Angelucci’s, the coffee merchants, is no longer in Soho’s Frith Street by Ronnie Scotts  but moved to East Finchley. The mythologizing also casts a  romantic glow on the rather mundane. In many musical  accounts, a conductress on the Number 19 bus (which goes from Finsbury Circus to Battersea via Holborn and Piccadilly Circus) would be a comic figure a la On The Buses: here she is a honey with pink toe nails and an easy smile. Chinatown too takes on  a rather more exotic and mysterious air than the one you might get from going to Mr Wu’s, the cheapest Chinese buffet in town.(All you can eat for £4)

Mark Knopfler apparently wrote the song after watching a girl cross Shaftesbury Avenue –by such trivial moments can the inspiration for a song come. I may well have been such a catalyst myself. I once had a conversation with Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac. It was in Reading and went something like this:

Christine McVie (leaning out of a van window):’Excuse me, could you tell us how to get to the university’  Me: ‘Yes. Keep going straight on to the next set of traffic lights, turn right, go for about a mile and you’ll see it on your left’    Christine McVie: ‘Oh, thanks very much.  Me: ‘Don’t mention it’.

I expect that when Christine McVie later sat down and wrote You Make Loving Fun and Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow for Fleetwood Mac, this incident probably popped into her mind as a creative prompt.

Earlier columns have seen different versions of London created through the medium of song. With Cath Carroll it seemed a rather shadowy, dark and haunting place, its secrets just beyond the corner of your eyes. With St Etienne it’s a sunlit watercolour of a place. With Dire Straits, songs like Wild West End or Sultans of Swing somehow manage to  transplant London to a mythical America whilst remaining distinctly English, with  the small-scale and ordinary given a romantic hue. Like the St Etienne London, it’s a parallel universe sort of place  - sometimes as real as the one in front of your eyes.





48 comments:

  1. I love that Harry Enfield clip you posted - he could be my brother-in-law in that scene unfortunately (a banker who fancies himself a rocker)........

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  2. Love how the photo you picked matches the first line of the song.... "Stepping out to Angellucci's for my coffee beans" :)

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  3. this is the best column or blog I've read about Dire Straits for a long time, thank you. I agree with you about the influences from Dire Straits to Dion, although I didn't start drumming for Straits until 1982 so can't claim to have carried forward any Wild West End influences to Yo Frankie because Wild West End was before my time.....

    i still play now and again, don't have a band though. maybe i'll start a blog like you although i dont think anyone would read it.

    Terry

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    1. I'd read your blog, Terry! :)

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    2. I'd read your blog, Terry! :)

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  4. I really liked your parsing of the tangled influences.... "a singer who made his name in the first era of American rock n roll and doo-wop shows the influences of a post-punk British group which itself drew on a variety of music past, including early rock......"

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  5. Here's the brilliant Pretty Flamingo that Geoff mentioned - always worth another listen:) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOvtqmqBiiM

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  6. Thanks for posting this song Geoff. It is so loaded with the London experience from the 1970s, a time when I was working in London, and I often used to take the Number 19 Bus that is mentioned in the song.

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  7. Hello there! It's funny, we actually use this song at our website (for Angelucci's). We hope to welcome you, Geoff, or your readers to our new location in East Finchley. It was my grandfather, Alfredo Angelucci, who started our coffee shop, and my father, aunt, brother and myself still run it. Please say hello if you are in the area!

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  8. I think Mr. Wu's is £4.50 now for all you can eat.....

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  9. Have never seen a London bus conductor with pink toe nails and an easy smile. :)

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  10. Hello Geoff! I wasn't sure what "On The Buses" was, but after a bit of searching, it seems to have been a British sit-com in the 1970s..... Although from the title sequence, it looks like the bus conductor is a guy called Jack - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7x5aIifokw (at 0.30 mins) rather than the comedic woman you describe......

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  11. Actually, I think Mr Wu's just went up to £4.95 for all you can eat buffet.....!:)

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  12. Your story about possibly being an inspiration for You Make Loving Fun and Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow made me laugh and laugh. And, yes, Geoff, it does seem very very likely that it was inspired by your description of how to get to Reading University......:)

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  13. You always manage to be timely and topical.... in a pretty spooky way... presume you saw the news today about the death of Bob Welch..... http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-bob-welch-20120608,0,224210.story - isn't this about the third or fourth time you have written about an individual or band and they have passed away???

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  14. It wouldn't be right not to post the Pet Shop Boys' West End Girls here, so here it is! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXRqGfF64zQ

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  15. Well then the comments wouldn't be complete without Everything But The Girl's Oxford Street either! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SZJPoGCH80

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  16. Yes, it is weird timing with Bob Welch's death.

    I am sure people would read a blog by you, Terry...Love Sculpture, Man, Tina Turner, Meatloaf, etc etc!

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  17. Hello there. A friend forwarded me your blog. I was about to reply and then was occupied with the news about Bob. If you don't mind, here is one of my favourite videos of him performing, perhaps your readers will like it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MUxCzEhLQY

    We wrote a lot together, me and Bob. He was the kind of guy who after dinner would sit down with a glass of wine and a huge cigar, the size of a billiard cue, and tell these amazing stories. He was a wonderful story-teller with a terrific sense of humour. He was able take "the small-scale and ordinary" and give them "a romantic hue" as you put it. He'll be missed.

    Also, in answer to your funny story, unfortunately "You Make Loving Fun" was inspired by something else. However, I can confirm that "Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" was absolutely crafted out of our van window exchange......

    Not really. "Don't Stop" was about John. "You Make" was about Curry Grant. I regret not remembering this van incident, although I do have vague memories of being in Reading. Possibly in 1970. Would that be about right? Were we playing there? Did you at least end up at the same place we were trying to get to and hear us play?

    How weird and wonderful that we later showed up in your column, I do love when time twists around on itself like this, from asking you directions many years ago, to reading your words now.

    Best wishes for all that you do, Geoff.

    C.M.

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  18. I really like the description of songs like Wild West End or Sultans of Swing somehow managing to transplant London to a mythical America whilst remaining distinctly English... I wonder if this is a whole genre of music - the kind of music that manages to sound like one country's spirit/vibe while retaining its own cultural identity.... can't think of other songs that do this though at the moment.....

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  19. Interesting to read that Hank Marvin was so influential - I know next to nothing about him, better do some reading!!

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  20. Oh dear, this is the first time you've posted about a song that I can't stand!:) I hate Dire Straits. They personified everything that was wrong with the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s. The plastic fantastic society where everything real was replaced with cheap plastic imitations.

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  21. God, Dire Straits. This makes me think of stockbrokers in the 1980s pouring champagne onto the backs of £1000 a night escort girls, snorting cocaine and setting fire to vast piles of fifty pound notes whilst laughing and laughing and laughing.... and listening to Dire Straits records....

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  22. I totally agree that this song could be about strolling through a small town in North Carolina - very much so. It has a real Sunday morning groove feel. From the opening strums of the resonator to Mark Knopfler’s orchestral opening lick, it feels warm and utterly relaxed.

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  23. Wild West End has always been one of my all-time favourite songs, so it is no wonder that it is one of the songs I recently started to practice a bit. Of course you will never come to a point where you think that you really can play it (at least not the way you feel it should be played like), but I nevertheless recorded and filmed me playing this song, to capture its current state so to say (see video below).

    I hope you will enjoy it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGBYQFsVbA0

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  24. Ah, I was overdue to listen to some of Mark Knopfler's great guitar work.... thank you Geoff!

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  25. Here are the great lyrics.....

    Stepping out to Angellucci’s for my coffee beans
    Checking out the movies and the magazines
    The waitress she watches me crossing from the Barocco Bar
    I get a pickup for my steel guitar
    I saw you walking out down Shaftesbury Avenue
    Excuse me talking I wanna marry you
    This is seventh heaven street to me
    Don’t seem so proud
    You’re just another angel in the crowd
    And I’m walking in the wild West End
    Walking with your wild best friend

    And my conductress on the number nineteen
    She was a honey
    Pink toenails and hands all dirty with money
    Greasy, greasy, greasy hair, easy smile
    Made me feel nineteen for a while
    And I went down to Chinatown
    In the backroom it’s a man’s world
    All the money go down
    Duck inside the doorway gotta duck to eat
    Just ain’t no way
    You and me we can’t beat

    Walking in the wild West End
    Walking with your wild best friend

    And a gogo dancing girl yes I saw her
    The DJ he say, “Here’s Mandy for ya”
    I feel alright seein’ her do that stuff
    She’s dancing high and I move on by
    The close ups can get rough
    When you’re walking in the wild West End

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  26. The last two songs that close this Dire Straits album — “Wild West End” and “Lions”, great songs — put me in the mind of London like nothing else.

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  27. Dire Straits was the first music that I ever liked (apart from Wham, but we don’t talk about that) and I still get the chills when I hear the spectral guitar into to “Down to the Waterline” The music is very streamlined, just guitar, bass and drums (I think there is some keyboard on “Wild West End” but that’s about it) no guitar effects or saxophones here. Everything is played fingerstyle and with a clean tone. Mark Knopfler can also make that guitar sound truly vile and sleazy, for instance the sinister, snaky phrases he plays on “Six Blade Knife” Mostly he plays a tele or a strat with some beautiful steel guitar playing on “Wild West End” and occasional slide which I think he pretty much gave up after this album…

    The lyrics seem to be mainly about being in London, having no money, missing home and having no woman. Luckily for ol’ Knoppo (and unluckily for his muse) he became a millionaire in the 1980s. Some of the songs e.g. “In the Gallery”, “Wild West End” and “Lions” are great little vignettes of life in London in the 70s. The first time I went to London I remember being thrilled that I was walking the same streets that my hero had walked 20 years previously when he was “checking out the movies and the magazines”..........

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  28. Dire Straits first album was largely unrecognised in the UK but went to first place here in New Zealand in 1978. I remember buying it and listening to it in that summer of 1978/79.

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  29. When the car radio would cough up a Dire Straits song from one of their first two LP’s, I would change the station. It wasn’t any sort of passionate dislike, but the songs just did nothing for me. Then when Brothers in Arms debuted in 1985, I used several tracks as regular demo material when selling home audio at The Audio Den in Burlington, Vermont (where I first fell in love with THIEL loudspeakers). That record created quite a buzz, but as great as it was at that moment in time, I still wasn’t rushing out to see Dire Straits live (probably a mistake on my part).

    Last year I was solicited by Amazon to check out the new 180-gram version of the Dire Straits LP, Communiqué. Caught up in a moment of nostalgic motivational energy, I pulled two LP’s from my collection—Dire Straits (from 1978 on Warner Bros.) and Communiqué on the same label from a year later. I listened to both records end-to-end, and wound up extracting three “deep” tracks (Once Upon a Time in the West, Single-Handed Sailor, and Follow Me Home) from Communiqué, recording them to CD and then to Apple Lossless on my iPod that I use for airplane travel. For the record, I grabbed these cuts because they have a certain ethereal sensibility mixed with great grooves.

    That first Dire Straits record features Sultans of Swing and Down to the Waterline, but my reaction to the songs was the same as it has always been—ho-hum. Lots of seemingly lazy chord progressions, simple major and minor transitions, not a lot of musical acuity in the song structure, other than absolutely crushing virtuoso guitar work by Mark Knopfler. I like his singing too, it is unique and full of character, but the guitar work is truly memorable. The array of tones and dynamic wizardry that Knopfler exhibits on virtually every song is nothing short of captivating. Knopfler bends notes and plays tasty little ornaments—and he can get so amazingly quiet while still making all kinds of interesting things happen; and at the next moment a riff bursts to the forefront of the recording, but still with all of the sparkle and shimmer he was getting while playing more softly. And his range of sounds, from nearly muted to biting, and how rapidly he mixes them together, is astonishing—he is a stand-out instrumentalist. I loved listening to his work, but I found that as before, I was bored by the songs and ready to put the LP’s back for another handful of years.

    This is one example of what leaves me flat: In the song Wild West End from the first record, there is a turn-around progression between the end of the chorus and the start of the verse that is made up of the following sequence of chords: A-minor, G-major, F-major, D-major, C-major, and D-major. The sequence offers nothing—it is the musical equivalent of a writer’s non sequitur. It gets us from the verse to the chorus mechanically, not musically. It’s like a pro athlete taking plays off—it bums me out. My perception of Dire Straits is that the songwriting evolved (not at all surprising) because the band’s later works were more compositionally intriguing.

    The power of the Internet—one little e-mail solicitation for a 180 gram LP lead to all of this. If you want to spend some time with true electric guitar mastery—a wonderfully unique playing style rich with tremendously subtle details, the first two Dire Straits records are full of great moments. The songs leave me uninspired, but the dynamic recordings and the guitar work make for an interesting and worthwhile journey.

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  30. For another West End / Soho song, there is Pulp - Bar Italia, about a late night Italian cafe on Frith Street in Soho..........

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  31. An example of what you were talking about with the idea engaging the sounds of America whilst remaining distinctly English is London Posse (Bionic and UK Hip Hop hero Rodney P), a short lived UK hip hop group from the late 80s/early 90s who only released one album, Gangster Chronicle. It took the golden era sounds of New York, mixed them with Jamaica's dancehall and came out sounding distinctly British.

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  32. Any mention of London music of the 1970s/1980s has to include Light Of The World. A terrific North London jazz-funk band that came out that wonderful late 70s and early 80s period where so much great soul/r'n'b/jazz/funk was happening up in The Smoke. "Round Trip" was for me their stand out album which merits classic status, containing such cracking tracks such as 'Time', 'I'm So Happy', 'More of Myself', 'Something for Nothing' and the city's funk anthem 'London Town'...I wanna party in London Town...Magnifique!

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  33. As a youngster from west Wales who once fleetingly lived in London (& hated it), I do have a soft spot for the Sex Pistols raucous 'Satellite', where Mr Rotten snarls:

    'You know I don't like where you come from,
    It's just a satellite of London..'

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  34. I'd take Saint Etienne's version of London anyday over Dire Straits' version. A band that make London sound dreamy and warm, and not the violent, unpleasant dump it has become.

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  35. I like Lord Kitchener - London is the place for me: www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGt21q1AjuI

    What I read is that he wrote "London is" on the boat over - he hadnt actually got here yet, and it was a fantastical account of what he expected of London. A year or so later reality had kicked in and he wrote a tune called "Sweet Jamaica" about how life in London was cold and harsh, how he nearly starved and wanted to go home.

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  36. Dire Straits was my first concert experience. I would have been about 12 years old, and my older sister told me that I could come with her and her boyfriend to a concert. Already a dedicated music fan, I was thrilled. A good part of my musical fanaticism can be blamed on my siblings. Growing up I didn’t really have a choice. When I was very young, my sister would make me sit down and she would put those huge 70’s stereo headphones on my head and make me listen to God knows what. It was my sister who introduced me to Bruce Springsteen (well, not personally, but his music). My brother D. was quite important. He gave me a copy of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Chronicle, Jimi Hendrix’s Essential, The Best of The Doors and Buffalo Springfield’s Retrospective all when I was quite young and impressionable. My now deceased brother R. was a Stones fan. I have memories of him sitting up in our playroom for hours on end spinning Hot Rocks, getting lost in his schizophrenic mind. That is how I got to know The Stones’s music intimately.

    And my sister introduced me to Dire Straits. Her boyfriend at the time, I forget his name, was a nice dude and a huge DS fan. They were coming to the Southern Star Amphitheater at Astroworld in Houston on their Brothers In Arms tour, and he got my sis and me some tickets to go with him. She told me that I was going to a concert, and my head was spinning with the possibilities. Could it be Bruce? The Stones? Oh my God, maybe it was Huey Lewis & The News! (This was the mid-80’s, remember). “No, Dire Straits.” Dire who? I had this sinking, disappointed feeling. I quickly tried to familiarize myself with their tunes before the show, but I was still underwhelmed.

    The Southern Star Amphitheater, like the rest of Astroworld, is now an open field across the highway from the similarly abandoned Astrodome in Houston, I think they are building some shopping centers and apartments there now. The Southern Star design is now a common set-up for outdoor concert venues, but it was a newer design in the early 80’s. Located at the back of Astroworld (behind the XLR8 rollercoaster), it was basically a grassy hill with a stage in front of it. But there was something a bit magical about the place. Perhaps it was the amusement park backdrop, but it was just the coolest venue for shows in the summer. I saw about 4 shows there in my youth, and each one turned out to be a memorable experience, for various reasons.

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  37. [continued because of the word limit]
    ....
    We arrived, and we couldn’t find the proper entrance, so the three of us (along with a group of other likewise confused concertgoers) climbed a rather large chain link fence to get in. Concert security wasn’t what it is now. We staked out our spot on the hill, and I recall the people to the right, and the people to the left, and the people behind us all smoking weed. To a 12 year old, this was quite an interesting shock to the senses.

    But then the show started and the music wiped out all other distractions (when they started their hit “Money For Nothing” and the crowd rose to their feet, my sister’s boyfriend lifted me up on his shoulders so I could see…cool thing to do). Dire Straits was such a powerful live band in their heyday. They did not play their hits note for note, often extending their songs to double the length that they were on the record. I have a vivid memory of one of those perfect concert moments: 18-minute version of “Tunnel of Love” (which may be my single favorite rock song of all time) with all of its amusement park imagery and dynamics, being played outdoors with a real amusement park as the backdrop. I mean, how great is that? I recall Knopfler commenting on that too.

    Fortunately I can relive that moment. In one of those strange coincidences of life, my brother J., living in Colorado at the time and completely unaware that I was attending the show, decided to pop a tape in his stereo and record a live radio broadcast of Dire Straits, live from Houston. A year later, while browsing his tapes, I see a cassette labeled “Dire Straits, Houston” with the date of my show. Really? I made a copy and have it to this day. But wouldn’t listening to it mar the perfect memories? Things always sound better in your memories than they actually were, right? No. I am happy to report that that tape proves that it was not just hazy happy childhood memories. That show was incredible. It features a transcendently great version of “Wild West End,” by the way.

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  38. This album by Dire Straits from 1978 was made by the most white collar band ever. The lead singer/guitarist is an ex-journalist & a teacher, the other guitarist was a social worker, & the other two were undergraduates studying sociology. How very liberal arts of them.

    That being said, this album has a lot of soul to it. Dire Straits have a smooth bluesy feel to their songs, like a country song mixed with a folk song mixed with a little rock. It makes for a Cat Stevens-esque sound that you can't help but tap your toes to.

    Overall, this album is quite good. I liked "Water of Love" which is a hell of a metaphor and a sweet slow song. "Six Blade Knife" definitely has a grittier feel with a crazy good beat...& the lead singer does this amazing old blues voice that makes me smile. I enjoyed this album and it would be great for a lazy Sunday.

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  39. I've always been a fan of "Wild West End", so much so that when my wife and I were in London in 2007, I actually took a specific trip to get a picture of Shaftsbury Avenue as mentioned in the song.

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  40. Here's A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square that Geoff mentioned....

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyofs0mreCc

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  41. I love Dion’s Written On the Subway Walls.....

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yF-E6xkwVdQ

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  42. For a song about the West End, there is my Backdrop City

    A song about the West End of London, I thought, as the title came to me. There have been others, I mused. I determined that this one wouldn’t be as predictable as the others I”d heard. No strip clubs, no prostitutes in this song I decided.

    Song-writers often refer to the connecting melody between verses as the bridge. The bridge comes into this song twice. I wrote the words for the second one first. It ends:

    “ Last train, last fare, cold air… “

    When I wanted to write the same part for the first bridge I realised that I’d used a rather specific word-play for the second bridge. The train and the fare have the same prefix, and the fare and the air rhyme. Should I stay loyal to this in the first bridge, or cut corners. Would anyone notice anyway? Three years later I came up with :

    “ In form in-crowd shout loud..”
    “ It’s finished !“’ I shouted. No-one else noticed.

    You can download it at my site, here - http://peter-cadle.com/london-talk - with the link in the left column.

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  43. Wonderful blog Geoff! Just got back from taking care of my mother for a few weeks in Arkansas, great to have the chance to catch up on my reading and got online as soon as I could to see what you had written about.

    I liked your note about Springsteen mythologizing the ordinary - do you have any plans to do a column about one of his songs? Maybe something about New Jersey?

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  44. What a lot of comments all at once! Thanks for the suggestions and links.

    Thank you for your lovely comments, Christine, and also setting the story straight on the inspiration for those songs! I didn't see that particular gig, I cant remember why not. I did see Chicken Shack there though! Your remark about time twisting round on itself is an underlying theme of this blog, I guess.

    I understand your point, Laura. However, some groups that span several periods of time can be unfairly labelled against one in particular, I feel, hence Dire Straits and the 80's. Yet when this song came out, Tony Benn was in the Government, the Anti-Nazi League was in full swing and Thatcherism was an unknown term.
    It happened to the Bee Gees and getting their image stuck with the whole disco/Staying Alive sound. It also happened to some extent with Fleetwood Mac. The Reynolds Girls may be the answer to an obscure pub quiz question now but their 1989 hit, I'd Rather Jack, was an cack-handed attempt to show that the latest Stock-Aitken-Waterman sound was more in tune with the zeitgeist than a 'dinosaur' like Fleetwood Mac. The point is, what Fleetwood Mac? Man of the World? Sentimental Lady? Silver Springs? They are all in the ether still and time twists round to make them all as relevant as each other. Hence, to conclude a rambling point, the Dire Straits of 1978 cant maybe be judged by the sins of the 80's!

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  45. I havent been to New Jersey, Desiree, so cant really do one of Springsteen's songs about it!

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  46. I posted my comments a few days ago, maybe as long as 4 or 5 days ago - have no idea why it just showed up! Seems like the blogspot system sometimes stores up our comments and then releases them all at once. Like a traffic jam!

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