Sunday, May 1, 2011

Tidying up

Claude François

Many people have commented to me that I should have mentioned that most people believe Claude François died using a sex toy in the bath and not changing a light bulb as the official version states. This is hard to demonstrate, as interesting as it sounds, but I leave readers to refer to an additional site for more unsubstantiated information (though I do also like the secret agent theory).

What is true, however, is that it was actually David Bowie who received the first official offer to write an English language translation of “Comme d´habitude” in 1968. Bowie’s song called “Even a fool learns to love”. The version of the song is from an old acetate with Bowie singing over the original supplied backing tape. By strange coincidence, his lyric also includes the words “my way”.

“There was a time, the laughing time,
I took my heart to every party,
They´d point my way.
How are you today?
Will you make us laugh? Chase your blues away?”

Although technically accepted for release by Essex Music, no further action was taken as Bowie was not yet considered big enough as a star to get the track off the ground leading to the involvement of Paul Anka and subsequently Sinatra.

Thou shalt not worship false idols.

Australia is hardly famed for sculpture or statues of famous people, but we do have several fine works celebrating local musicians. Some include the rather small statue of former AC/DC singer Bon Scott at the Fremantle wharfs in Perth, as well as statues of our man John Farnham, our lady Kylie Minogue and the unsinkable Dame Nellie Melba, all in the Docklands of Melbourne.

While most are well known figures, Dame Nellie Melba is probably less recognised these days, especially outside Australia. Famous for her fiery temperment and wonderful technique, she recorded with opera greats such as Caruso and was a genuine star (and one of the first Australian stars) of the late Victorian era and was one of the first perfomers to receive a damehood. Culturally she is remembered not just by her statue, but by the dish "Peach Melba" and the not often used expression "more farewells than Dame Nellie Melba" due to the 8 years of farewell tours she conducted between 1920 and 1928.

But back to Michael Jackson´s statue in Fulham, this is not the only unsually placed statue of a musician according to a brief photo tour released on the Guardian recently.

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