Sad Paradise Selection on Spotify

The Sad Paradise Management would like to thank everyone who followed, liked, commented, contributed articles, promoted and shared our stuff, particularly over the past month. With your help, September was the busiest month on the blog since records began.

To celebrate, we’ve put together a Spotify playlist, which includes many of the tunes and artists we’ve written about over the past year. Put it on shuffle and surprise yourself.

Kev & Steve

That’ll Be The Day

Buddy Holly’s first hit was released 60 years ago today

With its title famously taken from the John Wayne line in the 1956 movie, The Searchers, That’ll Be The Day marks, for me, the point where the various undercover strands of blues, gospel, C&W, bluegrass and rockabilly emerged from the segregated, black and white South as fully evolved, quality, multi-coloured mainstream pop.

Inevitably derided then (and now) by purists of those genres, Holly and the Crickets nevertheless became the blueprint for thousands of bands. That’ll Be The Day – their second single – was the first song recorded by The Beatles (then The Quarrymen), effectively kicking off a new sound and the subsequent “British Invasion”. This softening – this whitening – of the edgy, pained harshness of blues offered a template for The Stones and The Beatles and others (The Stones’ first big hit a few years later was Holly’s Not Fade Away) to sell themselves to a bigger audience – and to flog the blues back to white America, to begin the complex, tense processes of appropriation, bartering, merging, partnering, stealing, hostage-taking and illicit affairs that set rock and pop music on their wobbly, winding, joyous paths.

It’s easy, of course, to mock Holly’s apparent lack of cool, the misleading niceness of his voice, the band’s stiffness. But watch and listen – the blues is still here, its drive and agony hasn’t completely disappeared, and there’s a real unease in the lyrics – this isn’t quite a love song. And – though Holly’s clearly no Elvis – there’s a visceral aspect to his voice and his movement, to his presence, that was always going to attract the rough and ready Yankophile kids in London and Liverpool.

Buddy Holly was 22 when he died.

Happy Birthday Gazza

Paul Gascoigne is 50 Today

It’s 27th May 1982. I’d like to imagine that, as a special treat for his fifteenth birthday, a kindly uncle has invited young Gazza round to his place to watch the replay of the FA Cup Final between Spurs and QPR on the 26″ colour TV he’s just rented from Rumbelows. I’m also pretty sure that uncle, with great prescience, will say, as Hoddle scored Spurs’ winning penalty, “In nine years time you’ll be winning the FA Cup with this team, Gazza – though, unless you cop yourself on, having scored a beautiful goal against Ars*nal in the semi-final you’ll have to go off after seventeen minutes with a self-inflicted cruciate ligament injury”.

But will even his fictional uncle be able to foresee the entire extraordinary list of tragicomic events that will befall Paul throughout his life? The addictions, the goals, the Raoul Moat incident, the tears, the violence, Gazzamania, the Lindisfarne collaboration, the alcohol?

‘Apparently, Gazza’s in rehab. Again.’

Yes. You can say that sarcastically, scornfully, dismissively. You can say it pityingly, patronisingly, parentally. Or you can say it factually, objectively, disinterestedly. So often celebrities become a repository for all our own crap, all our rage and self-loathing and fear. Or they become figures of intellectual curiosity, handy ways of distancing ourselves from our own stories, our own culture. Only rarely are they absolute geniuses. and only rarely are their faults and flaws so nakedly exposed, so indulged and so excused. Those two things are connected, of course. The indulging and enabling of his self-destructiveness have stemmed in part from a respect for that immense talent. And the immense talent – and the consequent visibility and semi-deification – was one of the reasons a shy, fragile, traumatised working-class kid ended up in and out of cells and mental health units and the tabloids. But there’s also a warmth and a humour to him, a wide-eyed, twinkling love of life and country and a recognition of its (and his) absurdities that chime with all of us. He was the second-best player we ever saw at Spurs. But he was the most loved. Here’s to this round of rehab being a success.