Special Sub-Topic: Noble Neil: Great Musicians Called Neil
|Canadian rock legend Neil Young hooked up with Crazy Horse in 1969. The first fruit of this was a 1969 album that opened with what was to be a Young classic, "Cinnamon Girl", and closed with "Cowgirl in the Sand". What was the title of this classic LP?|
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. "Everybody Knows" was Neil's second solo album, but his first with Crazy Horse backing him up. Furthermore, his eponymous debut was nothing to write home about, and many afficionados say this is the place to start.
The opening track, "Cinnamon Girl", swiftly became a Young classic and has been covered countless times. The album also contained two lengthy tracks, "Down by the River", and "Cowgirl in the Sand" (both clocking in at about ten minutes), which displayed the band's ability to drag out a tune whilst somehow avoiding the tedium of longueurs.
"Harvest" (1972) was Young's fourth solo outing, and it didn't feature Crazy Horse. "Arc" is a weird mishmash of feedback and noises recorded live that came out in 1991. "Sleeps With Angels" (Young's 22nd album, 6th with Crazy Horse) came out in 1994, and is an often overlooked classic.
|This world famous Canadian three-piece boast Neil Peart as their formidable drummer, and equally admirable lyricist. He wrote most of the lyrics on classic albums such as "2112" (1976), "Hemispheres" (1978), and "Moving Pictures" (1981). Can you name the band?|
Rush. Neil Peart wasn't actually the original Rush drummer and wasn't even on their 1974 eponymous debut album, which featured John Rutsey behind the kit. A year later, when our Neil had joined the ranks, Rush came out with "Fly By Night", and it's clear that Peart's arrival had completely changed the direction of the band from a poor-man's Led Zeppelin to a powerful, progressive thinking-man's rock act. It wasn't just his drumming prowess that caused this shift, but his abstruse, erudite, wordy lyrics.
He draws on fantasy, science fiction, mythology and philosophy, and has cited Ayn Rand as inspiration, much to the chagrin of pseudo-liberal journalists who have had the audacity to accuse him of fascistic leanings, causing quite a palaver.
The song "2112" was what first irked some people due to its tale of the plight of an individual against a totalitarian state. The hullabaloo seems to have taken Peart completely by surprise, and he has distanced himself from Rand's branch of objectivism somewhat. He has often returned to his themes of heroism and mythology, but has also written much lighter stuff about relationships and other mundane topics.
|Neil Hannon is the central figure in Northern Irish baroque pop band The Divine Comedy. The name comes from an allegorical epic poem in which the author is guided by Virgil through hell and purgatory, and then his muse, Beatrice, leads him through heaven. Which author's masterpiece did Neil get the name from?|
Dante's "Divine Comedy". The Divine Comedy is blatantly just Neil really, and he's managed to get countless proper muses to back him up as he vents his spleen, ponders, pines, idles and fops about like a total flaneur. Luckily he lets us have a listen to what is going through his head whilst he wiles away his time.
He formed the band in Northern Ireland in 1989, but the original line-up and approach (melancholy à la R.E.M.) didn't last long, but the second attempt struck gold due to the slightly risqué innuendo of the lyrics delivered by an ugly-duckling dandy, backed up by neo-classical orchestration and top-notch musicianship.
Despite being stars in France, where ennui is a national diversion, it wasn't until they got major airplay on Radio One that folk realized they had a national treasure on their hands, although it was rather fly-by-night. Luckily, Neil realized that he had to steer clear of becoming a novelty act, and seems to have made a point of making more and more records that distance the act from jolly afternoon fun for the middle classes.
Dante Alighieri wrote "The Divine Comedy", the centerpiece of Italian literature, in the early 14th century. It pushed the Tuscan dialect that Dante spoke to the forefront, and laid the foundations for modern Italian.
|In 1987, bassist Neil Murray was kicked out of Whitesnake, so he joined Vow Wow (formerly Bow Wow), because their original bassist, Kenji Sano, hadn't wanted to relocate to London. Where did Vow Wow come from originally?|
Tokyo, Japan. Information in English about Vow Wow is hard to come by as their website is in Japanese!
The band formed in 1975 in Japan, and moved to the UK in 1987. Before that they had recorded a couple of cracking albums under the moniker Bow Wow, but felt it necessary to change the name because the UK post-punk band Bow Wow Wow were riding high at the time. They had already created quite a stir in the land of the rising sun, and had supported international acts, such as Aerosmith and Kiss.
On arrival in the UK, the novelty won them ticket sales, and they managed to live up to expectations both live and on vinyl. Unfortunately, some members yearned for their homeland, and although success seemed on the horizon, it all fell apart. They've since reformed, but the chance seems to have passed them by. It's a great shame as the band were definitely on a par with any other act of their ilk on the circuit at the time.
|Hippie character in UK TV show "The Young Ones" also had a brief recording career. His first, and most successful single, was "Hole in My Shoe" which came out in 1984. The original, written by Dave Mason, was released as a single in 1967 by which band?|
Traffic. Self-proclaimed hippie Neil Pye (played by Nigel Planer) actually released a whole album, "Neil's Heavy Concept Album", featuring some originals alongside covers. As well as the Traffic song, he did Pink Floyd's "The Gnome", Caravan's "Golf Girl", Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man" and even "God Save The Queen" by the Sex Pistols. He also managed to rope in a pretty impressive backing band including folk involved with Gong, Hatfield & the North, Robert Wyatt, Spooky Tooth, Girl, and many others.
The single reached number 2 in the UK charts, and had Neil performing on Top of the Pops. The album fared less well as the novelty wore off fairly swiftly.
Nigel Planer was also a member of spoof heavy metal act, Bad News, alongside his Young Ones' cohorts Adrian Edmonson and Rik Mayall. They released a cover of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" as a single, recorded an album and even got a gig at the prestigious Monsters of Rock festival, on a bill featuring Ozzy Osbourne, Scorpions, Def Leppard, Motörhead and Warlock.
|Genesis P-Orridge (born Neil Megson in Manchester, 1950) formed avant-garde band ____________ in 1975. Early album releases included "Second Annual Report" and "20 Jazz Funk Greats". Fill in the blank.|
Throbbing Gristle. Throbbing Gristle spawned from a performance art troupe called COUM Transmissions who had been causing people headaches since the late sixties. Members of the Bristish press and even Members of Parliament were riled by their provocative approach to art. By 1976, Mr P-Orridge was cheesed off with it and decided to have a go at music.
All the members of the new project, Throbbing Gristle, had been involved in COUM, and although a career in music might appear slightly more conventional, Throbbing Gristle had other ideas. Their debut album was a limited edition affair, and when it was re-released, all the tracks were playing backwards.
They split up in 1981, apparently due to Genesis P-Orridge and Cosey Fanni Tutti (guitars, cornet, vocals) splitting up, were back in 2004 but called it a day when Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson (responsible for all kinds of sonic weirdness) died.
"20 Jazz Funk Greats" is possibly the most accessible album, and a good place to start as the TG discography is a nightmare to navigate through, with countless re-releases, live recordings and other red herrings.
|Drummer Neil Mavers joined his brother, Lee Mavers, in Liverpool band The La's in 1989 to record their classic eponymous debut album. What's The La's' signature tune?|
There She Goes. Lee Mavers (vocals/guitar) and John Power (bass/backing vocals) are the core of The La's, although our Neil's contribution can't be denied. Having said that, he wasn't actually on the recording of their biggest single ("There She Goes") as it had been recorded (and released) before he joined and featured the solid time-keeping of Chris Sharrock. Sharrock has played with everybody and their dog, from the cool to the crass, including The Icicle Works, Spiritualized, Tom Jones, Robbie Williams, Mick Jagger and Sinéad O'Connor.
Prolific the La's are not, possibly due to band having been plagued by unstable line-ups, folk going off to do other stuff and numerous break-ups. The band also enjoyed a ten-year hiatus from 1995 to 2005. Add to that the fact that the one album was one of the best debuts of its era, and maybe the conclusion to be drawn is that quality beats quantity hands down.
"Sheila Take A Bow" is by The Smiths, "There She Goes Again" by Velvet Underground, and "She Loves You" by fellow scousers, The Beatles.
|Most people know Neil Buchanan as the bloke on popular art and crafts TV programme "Art Attack". Before that he had played guitar in a New Wave of British Heavy Metal band who took the name from France's second largest city, ______________, that also lends its name to the French national anthem. Fill in the gap.|
Marseille. Marseille formed in Liverpool in 1976 and were originally called AC/DC, but it soon came apparent that that name was already taken, so they changed it to Marseille. Carrying on the French theme, their debut release was a single called "The French Way", the cover of which was rather saucy. It showed the French flag hung like a curtain and a stocking-clad woman's leg peeking out from behind it. The debut album ("Red White and Slightly Blue") came out the same year, and used the same cover.
The lads managed to get slots at gigs supporting big names such as Cheap Trick, UFO, Whitesnake, Blackfoot and Judas Priest, and looked set for stardom with their catchy, light, melodic hard rock. However, disaster struck when the record label folded, leaving them stuck without management either. The ensuing legal hassle killed them off until 2010 when they stormed the Bastille once again with the album "Unfinished Business".
"Art Attack" started being broadcast in 1990 and ran until 2007 with our Neil presenting every show. It has been shown all over the world and is popular with kids and grown-ups alike. In the show Neil used everyday materials to make fabulous art and crafts. A bit like Marcel Duchamp really.
|Neil Diamond has written a lot of songs that have been covered by other folk. Which of the following wasn't penned by our Neil?|
"Caroline" as recorded by Status Quo. Neil did write a song called "Sweet Caroline", which he recorded himself, although the version most folk remember is the one by Elvis. Status Quo's "Caroline" was a Status Quo original, and was quite a hit for them in the UK in 1973. It was originally called Margaret, and the b-side was "Joanne".
The Monkees had a number US one hit with "I'm A Believer" in 1966, and it still stands as one of the world's biggest selling singles of all time. It's been covered umpteen times, in all manner of styles. One of the more curious versions was the one sung in Italian by Caterina Caselli, who changed the title to "Sono Bugiarda" ("I'm A Liar") (1967), and the lyrics. Another oddity was British comedian Vic Reeves with pop band EMF's version, that was a UK hit in 1995.
"I Am... I Said" hasn't had quite the same treatment, although a stonking version was recorded by Killdozer for their album "Little Baby Buntin'". Oh, and Caterina Caselli did it as well, this time changing the title to "La Casa degli Angeli" ("House of the Angels") in 1971.
Neil had a semi-hit in the US with "Kentucky Woman" in 1967, and the Canadians loved it (number 6 in the charts). Deep Purple had a bash at it a year later for their second single, but the band were to make a huge change of direction, and it got left behind.
|Tony Christie's "Is This the Way to Amarillo" was resuscitated by comedian Peter Kay as a charity money-raiser in 2002 to enormous success. However, it wasn't written by Christie, but by a Neil. Which one?|
Neil Sedaka. Neil Sedaka started off in The Tokens (most famous for the song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" 1961), but he left in 1957 and began a solo career that has seen him penning over 500 songs, performing all over the world, winning awards galore, and even getting in the Guinness Book of Records. His achievement was for the song in question, "(Is This the Way to) Amarillo?", which was the most successful UK single to date. It was, however, only 2006 and seemed a bit premature, but charity was involved, so there's no room for cynicism.
Neil Kinnock was leader of the Labour Party in the UK from 1983 - 1992, but never got to be Prime Minister.
Neil Turbin was heavy metal band Anthrax's original singer. Neil Tennant is half of the Pet Shop Boys.
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