[16] Radiohead, ‘Burn The Witch’


It was like Now That’s What I Call Music, wasn’t it? A Moon Shaped Pool was stuffed, once more, with wall-to-wall hits purpose-built for warbling in the shower, soundtracking summer BBQs and filling your favourite banger playlists. And ‘Burn The Witch’ was the catchiest of the lot with its convulsive judder, portent-heavy chorus and bouncing bassline. We got our Radiohead back.

You know, a bit.

“Apart from the singing,” observes Junior, “the music’s actually quite good! I can’t imagine playing it on my flute though – it’d be forte all the way through.”

“Apart from the singing.” Soz, Thom.

[13] The Housemartins, ‘Happy Hour’

The Housemartins

Sure, I was born on the Yorks/Lincs border, but The Housemartins were a little too northern for me. By five I was in Berks, six Herts, and that’s where I stayed ‘til university. I’ve been lucky too to avoid the forced bonhomie of the rubbish post-work drink, “celebrated” here, what with my feckless career only carrying me to fun working environments where a cheeky half is with good company.

So what’s it doing here? I only bought it on impulse as part of a four-single box set at the end of 1986 (with ‘Caravan Of Love’ – a bit too Flying Pickets for me – ‘Flag Day’ and ‘Sheep’) and promptly gave the whole package to a girl I fancied, as a Christmas present. It didn’t work. Anyway, I had it on Now 7 too, so no great loss, and always liked its skittish bop and brevity. I grew to like the band more as they morphed into the yards better Beautiful South, though. Oh, it also had Furniture’s ‘Brilliant Mind’. Now 7, that is.

Junior listened, cogitated, ruminated and revealed, “It makes my shoulders go funky.” Which is a refreshingly compact way to describe a refreshingly compact record.

Don’t believe it:

ZZ Top, ‘Gimme All Your Lovin’’

Strictly, we don’t own any ZZ Top records, but we appreciate them for the little things – the trend-defying boogie-woogie, the well-worn irony of Frank Beard’s name, the album titles that Bobby Gillespie would’ve dearly loved to have thought of first, that swinging pointy gesture they do and the Smash Hits interview in which Billy claimed that a dead vulture stank like Dusty’s boots.

However, when this song was requested, I remembered that I had it on The Hits Tape which still nestles in the Various section of the cassette library I’ve stashed under Junior’s changing table. The flat’s just not big enough to store all my records successfully. Anyway, The Hits Tape, eh? The ill-fated Now competitor. They shared a common format, you may recall: a pop side, a dance/soul/hip-hop side, a rock side and, well, a crap side. ‘Gimme All Your Lovin’’ kicks off the rock side of this one in fine style, a momentum sustained by Van Halen’s ‘Jump’.

Junior is a hitherto unsuspected ZZ Top fan. She boogie-woogies on the Winnie the Pooh mat with all her strength, stamping on the Tigger squeaker in time to the riffs. The arm waves and smiles are de rigueur. The traditional first Christmas panda is picked up at one stage for a spin around the dancefloor, and so immersed is Junior in the rhythm, she doesn’t even try to eat it. Otherwise, a girl of eclectic tastes.