The Pirates – Skull Wars (Epic 2017 #227)

The Epic 2017 Project #227: 170815

The Pirates – Skull Wars (1978)

OK you lucky lot. Today you’re getting eight episodes of ‘Epic’ all on the same day; essentially because I’m away for a week with no possibility of updating blogs etc.

Episode 5 comes in the shape of The Pirates ‘Skull Wars’ from 1978. And I’ve a particular story to tell of this one.

At the time of its release I was working as a kitchen porter on the Loughborough University campus in the Midlands. I had a room in a stall halls of residence on the campus and, one any one of our weekly half-day off (usually Saturday afternoon), the ground floor corridor was a virtual battleground for who could crank their stereo up the loudest, thereby drowning out the sometime dubious music choices of some of the other residents.

Then ‘Skull Wars’ came out and three of us queued up at Castle Records to get out mitts on vinyl on the day of its release. No more competition needed – three copies of the same album meant that you could generally get to hear it at some point in the day, whether it be from your own room or someone else’s.

But then we had the brainwave of attempting to synch all three. No mean feat with vinyl in three different rooms on three different stereos. But we managed it – after a fashion. Johnny B Goode’s Good in triplicate and very, very loud.


Isley Brothers – Forever Gold (Epic 2017 #120)

The Epic 2017 Project #120: 170430

The Isley Brothers – Forever Gold (1977)

The Isley Brothers from Cincinnati, Ohio originally comprised four brother – O’Kelly Jr., Rudolph, Ronald and Vernon, performing gospel music until Vernon’s death a few years after formation in 1954.

After moving to the New York City area in the late 1950s, the group had modest chart successes during their early years, first coming to prominence in 1959 with their fourth single, “Shout”, written by the three surviving brothers. Initially a modest charted single, the song eventually sold over a million copies. Afterwards the group recorded for a variety of labels, including the top 20 single, “Twist and Shout” and the Motown single, “This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)” before recording and issuing the Grammy Award-winning hit, “It’s Your Thing” on their own label, T-Neck Records.

Influenced by gospel and doo-wop music, the group began experimenting with different musical styles incorporating elements of rock and funk music as well as pop balladry. The inclusion of younger brothers Ernie Isley (lead guitar, drums) and Marvin Isley (bass guitar), and Rudolph’s brother-in-law Chris Jasper (keyboards, synthesizers) in 1973 turned the original vocal trio into a self-contained musical band. For the next full decade, they recorded top-selling albums including The Heat Is On and Between the Sheets.

Forever Gold is a greatest hits album capturing that success and released in 1977.

Elvis Presley – Heartbreak Hotel (Leaping Ahead #277)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #277: 161003

[A 1950’s song (10)]

Unplugged before the term was really invented with Elvis reinventing his hit from 12 years previously and admirably demonstrating in 1968 why he was most definitely ‘The King’. If this doesn’t bring goosebumps, you’ve probably joined him and hadn’t realised!

Fats Domino – Blueberry Hill (Leaping Ahead #132)

As I’m away these next few days, here’s ‘Leaping Ahead’ parts #130 – #135 all in one go.

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #132: 160511

[A 1950’s song (5)]

Originally published in 1940, this became an international hit in 1956 for Fats Domino and has become a rock and roll standard. It reached No.2 for three weeks on the Billboard Top 40 charts, becoming his biggest pop hit, and spent eight non-consecutive weeks at No.1 on the R&B Best Sellers chart. It was also ranked 82 in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and was Domino’s greatest hit.

Cliff Richard – The Young Ones (Leaping Ahead #74)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #74: 160314

[A song from 1962]

Released January 1962, ‘The Young Ones’ was the title song of the 1961 film of the same name. Cliff’s voice initially took it to No.1 for The Shadows but, on its 20th anniversary in 1982 the British sitcom, again of the same name, catapulted it to a new super-status. Cliff was the late Rik Mayall’s rock n roll hero, a fact he frequently made known during the series’ two-year but forever etched run, culminating in 1986 when ‘The Young Ones’ teamed up with Sir Cliff (sporting a totally ridiculous mullet) for a ‘Comic Relief’ reworking of Cliff’s 1959 hit ‘Living Doll’