This pop quiz may help enliven the post-Christmas dinner lull. You probably won’t get through all of it, but you can pick and choose the bits you’d like to do. The answers are at the bottom. It’s best played in teams: either two or four. If you opt for four, then combine the two pairs of videos to make one big video round. Oh, and you’ll need to designate a quizmaster – preferably you, if you’re reading this. Answers at the bottom. Good luck!
ROUND ONE: CHRISTMAS SONGS
1. In a feature about a Christmas song that appeared in The Guardian last year, esteemed music writer Dorian Lynskey had this to say:
“Once upon a time a band set out to make a Christmas song. Not about snow or sleigh rides or mistletoe or miracles, but lost youth and ruined dreams. A song in which Christmas is as much the problem as it is the solution. A kind of anti-Christmas song that ended up being, for a generation, the Christmas song.”
Which song was he describing?
2. One of the most well-loved Christmas hits of all time started life as a song in the late 60s called Buy Me A Rocking Chair. What is it better known as?
3. Can you match each of these six Christmas songs to the highest position they reached? Two points for each one you get right and an extra point for each one whose year you can guess correctly.
The Pogues: Fairytale of New York
Coldplay: Christmas Lights
Saint Etienne: I Was Born On Christmas Day
Wizzard: I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day
Greg Lake: I Believe In Father Christmas
Elton John: Step Into Christmas
The positions (in a jumbled-up order) are as follows: 18; 24; 2; 37; 4; 2
4. Which folk-rock group scored a surprise Christmas hit with Gaudete in 1973
5. Which of the following five singers did not record a cover version of Last Christmas?
Billie Piper; Whigfield; Crazy Frog; Franz Ferdinand; Joe McElderry
6. What did The Housemartins shave into their heads for their performance of their 1986 Christmas hit Caravan of Love?
7. This is a recent version of a well-known seasonal classic, but who recorded the very first version?
8. Which timeless Christmas classic was written in California in July 1945 by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne, during one of the hottest summers on record?
9. Everyone knows the first few lines of Good King Wenceslas, but can you write out the entire first verse?
10. Four years ago, The Times reviewed an album of Christmas songs by a well-known singer. Here’s an excerpt of the review. Whose voice is this describing?
[???? ???????] wishes you a “very merry, cherry cherry Christmas/And a holly holy holiday” – before trying his best to rein in the declamatory roar that has frightened children for over four decades. For five songs, he manages, but – of course – allowing him to don imaginary top hat and crook for Deck The Halls and We Wish You A Merry Christmas is a fatal error. “Don we now our gay apparel,” he roars on the former, like an enraged Old Testament God, before the latter has him demanding figgy pudding in the same way as a Somalian pirate might demand £8 million for the safe return of a Surrey mortgage adviser.
ROUND TWO: VIDEO ROUND
Every member of the team apart from one has to leave the room and watch a video, which they will then have to silently enact to the remaining member of their team. If the remaining member correctly guesses the video, the team receives eight points. If he doesn’t know it or guesses incorrectly, the question can then be thrown over to the other team for four points:
WHAM: LAST CHRISTMAS
WATCH THIS VIDEO CAREFULLY
1. How many cars did we see arriving at George’s alpine holiday home?
2. What colour holdall was George holding as he ascended the stairs, his lustrous golden mane bobbing beautifully with every step mounted?
3. Who was the first person we saw laying the table?
4. There were frequent close-ups of a brooch, which the director may have intended to convey some sort of symbolism, or perhaps an intimation that the infidelity obliquely alluded to in the song was somehow inadvertently revealed by the presence of the brooch. It’s hard to say. Anyway, how many flowers were on said brooch?
5. What was the colour of the cable car we saw at the beginning and end of the video?
SHAKIN’ STEVENS: MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE
WATCH THIS VIDEO CAREFULLY
1. The first thing we see in the video is Shaky attempting to feign some sort of seasonal jollity with an expression which may at first seem friendly and kind but, on closer inspection, betrays the dogged determination to knock this out in one take so he can fuck off back to Cardiff. But what colour scarf is he wearing?
2. What colour are the shutters of the log cabin in which several children – their parents seemingly nowhere to be seen – are playing with a range of baby toys which are surely designed for an age group much younger than them?
3. Two minutes in we see Shaky on the back of a sledge, his cold dead eyes unable to hide the sheer drudgery of this awful, awful video shoot. Is the sledge being pulled along by reindeer or horse?
4. Shortly afterwards, we see Shaky leaning against the fireplace, acutely aware that his punishment for having written such a cynical crock of festive shit is to mime it over and over again until the director feels they have enough to stitch together a visual document that shall haunt him until his dying day. How many children are sitting on santa’s lap?
5. How many red buttons do we see on the green top worn by the listless, boss-eyed Nordic sleigh serf with whom Shaky clearly has no intention of making any human contact during this soul-sapping assignment?
ROUND THREE: GENERAL POP KNOWLEDGE
1. Which of his singing contemporaries was Boy George referring to when, in Smash Hits, he compared his face to a Cornish pasty?
2. True or false: Paul McCartney decided to invite Denny Laine to join Wings after Linda pointed out to him that if you take the “I” in Denny Laine and stick it onto the bottom of the “D” in Denny, it spells “Penny Lane”.
3. Who enjoyed their first and only top ten hit with I’m Free in 1990? And for an extra point, who wrote and recorded the original version?
4. What was the name of the song recorded and released by Girls Aloud after they won Pop Stars: The Rivals in 2002?
5. What was the name of the singer whose career Paul Weller helped to launch in 1983 with The House That Jack Built?
6. “It must have been love/But it’s over now” sang the woman from Roxette, her emotional delivery compounded by the shell-shocked numbness implied by the chorus – whilst all the time, minor chords crashed into each other like icy waves on a harpooned whale, its dying song penetrating the nordic dawn. But what were the names of the two members of Roxette?
7. In the early 70s, Paul McCartney found himself having dinner with Dustin Hoffman in Jamaica and Dustin Hoffman told him about the dying utterance of an iconic 20th century artist. Paul quickly went off and wrote a song about it. What was the song?
8. True or false: Simon Cowell owns a controlling share in the successful Mr Topper chain of discount hairdressing salons.
9. From whose autobiography is this an excerpt?
“By now I was doing a Wednesday night gig in a pub near Wigan. where I’d just play instrumentals like War of the Worlds, Shakatak, Jan Hammer and the theme from Miami Vice. I’d take all my synths and have a fantastic time.”
Here’s another excerpt:
“Some time around 1990 I wrote a list of goals in my Filofax, the things I wanted most in the world:
To appear on Top of the Pops
To go to Disneyland
A Ferrari Testarossa like the one on Miami Vice, or failing that a Ford XR3i
A Saisho CB radio
To turn on the Blackpool lights.”
10. Using the expedient of a well-loved children’s character, Bob The Builder scored two number one hit singles in two years which, often to quite an emotionally moving degree, foregrounded the camaraderie that can often make the workplace a spiritually rewarding environment and one that, often to their surprise, many people often find that they miss once they have retired. But what were those hit singles called?
ROUND FOUR: LYRICS
1. “Home, home and dry/Like a homing bird I’ll fly as a bird on wings.”
2. “She’s worse to him than me/Let her go ahead, take his love instead/And one day she will see.”
3. “Move a step closer you know that I want you/I can tell by your eyes that you want me too.”
4. “You’re a buffet/You’re a vegetable/And they eat off you”
5. “But you know he’ll always keep moving/You know he’s never gonna stop moving/Cos he’s rolling/He’s the rolling stone”
6. “So I’m just watching and waitin’/For you to salute the true big pimpin’”
7. “I got a little face, and a pair of brown eyes/All I’m here to do, ladies, is hypnotize/Singin’ on’n'n’on’n'on on’n'on/The beat don’t stop until the break of dawn/Singin’ on’n'n’on’n'on on’n'on/Like a hot buttered pop da pop da pop dibbie dibbie/Pop da pop pop, don’t you dare stop”
8. “It’s been a year now and it’s getting so much better/You came home without a word/Though everybody said you’ll soon forget her.”
9. “And the buildings open to the sky/All echo in the vultures cry as if to show/Our love was for a day”
10. “A whole life so lonely/And then come and ease the pain/I don’t want to lose this feeling”
On December 27th, BBC Four are showing a brand new programme entitled The Joy Of Abba. It’ll probably be great, because pretty much everything with Abba in it is great. In acknowledgement of this fact, here’s a quick round of questions devoted to our Scandinavian pop overlords.
1. WHAT WAS THE ORIGINAL WORKING TITLE OF MONEY MONEY MONEY?
Funny Funny Funny
Never Be Your Honey
Been And Gone And Done It
Lovin’ In My Tummy
Just A Little Lovin’
2. CAN YOU NAME ALL OF ABBA’S NUMBER ONE SINGLES?
3. WHAT ABBA SONG DOES MADONNA’S HUNG UP SAMPLE?
FOR AN EXTRA POINT, HOW DID MADONNA GET PERMISSION TO USE IT?
4. WHAT WAS THE NAME OF THE SONG THAT ABBA SUBMITTED FOR SWEDEN’S SONG FOR EUROPE THE YEAR BEFORE THEY ENTERED WATERLOO?
5. What was the name of the author namechecked in Abba’s The Day Before You Came?
1. Which member of The Smiths is a vegan?
2. Who or what was the Echo in Echo & The Bunnymen?
3. Who wrote Adele’s worldwide hit To Make You Feel My Love?
4. Who wrote I’m A Believer for The Monkees?
5. Frankie Goes To Hollywood reached number one with their first three singles. Can you name them?
6. Until then, only one act had ever scored number one hits with their first three singles. Who were they?
7. The surnames of a well-known music duo are Peacock and Hodges. Who are they?
8. Who do Radiohead have to pay royalties to every time Creep gets played on the radio and why?
9. At the height of the Spice Girls’ success Geri Halliwell is said to have made enquiries about procuring an item of livestock that, for reasons obvious to most normal people, proved impossible to source. What was that item?
10. True or false: Paul McCartney decided to invite Denny Laine to join Wings after Linda pointed out to him that if you take the “I” in Denny Laine and stick it onto the bottom of the “D” in Denny, it spells “Penny Lane”.
ROUND SEVEN: IT’S ANOTHER VIDEO ROUND
TEAM ONE RECREATES THE VIDEO OF TAKE ON ME TO ONE OF THEIR PLAYERS WHO HAS TO GUESS WHAT IT IS
TEAM TWO RECREATES THE VIDEO OF LIKE A PRAYER TO ONE OF THEIR TEAM WHO HAS TO GUESS WHAT IT IS
THEN EVERYONE WATCHES THE VIDEOS…
1. What did the sticker on the cafe window advertise?
2. What was the first thing that comic book Morten did when he came to life?
3. How many instruments were the rest of A-ha playing in the video?
4. What item did the assailants use to smash into the comic book and chase Morten and the girl?
5. What tourist destination did the poster on the cafe advertise?
6. How did Morten manage to get back into the real world to reach Bunty?
1. There’s something burning in the opening scene of the video? What is it?
2. How many roses was the black christ holding?
3. As you faced him, which eye had the tear rolling down first of all?
4. Where is the assailant hiding when he sees the police taking away the wrong man?
5. How many burning crosses are there?
6. How many times did Pepsi broadcast the advert which featured Like A Prayer?
1. Where does Sheryl Crow want to watch the sun come up in All I Want To Do?
2. In 1977, Marvin Gaye was ordered by a US judge to hand over half the royalties of his next album to his estranged wife Anna Gordy. What was the resulting record called?
3. CAN YOU PUT THESE GROUPS IN THE ORDER OF THE AMOUNT OF NUMBER ONE HITS THEY HAD, FROM FOUR DOWN TO ZERO?
4. What was the name of the choir mentioned in Fairytale Of New York?
5. What was the name of the group whose career Mike Read inadvertently torpedoed when he admitted he liked making love to their music?
6. Can you name the rock’n’roll legend who only plays on the proviso that he is on stage for a pre-agreed time and frequently stops playing mid-song when his time is up?
7. Can anyone name Duffy’s follow-up album to Rockferry?
8. Can anyone remember what product Sam Cooke’s Wonderful World was advertising when it reached number one in 1987?
9. Also in 1987, Andy Warhol was so enamoured of a certain up-and-coming British pop group that he directed and starred in one of their videos. What was the name of the group?
10. Who famously said, “Follow that!” to Bob Dylan when he came off stage at The Band’s star-studded farewell show in 1978, a show immortalised in Scorcese’s concert film The Last Waltz?
ROUND NINE: THESE ARE THE REAL NAMES OF TEN WELL-KNOWN MUSICIANS. WHAT ARE THEIR POP STAR NAMES?
Marvin Lee Aday?
ROUND TEN: EXPERTS HEAD-TO-HEAD
In this round, each team has to nominate an expert to go up against the other team’s pop aficionado, for a quickfire round. Two points for each correct answer.
1. What does the registration number of the car in the cover of The Beatles’ Abbey Rd say? And what’s the significance of the plate?
2. What is the connection between Dusty Springfield’s I Only Want To Be With You and Cocteau Twins?
3. What US funk group boasts Larry Blackmon as its frontman?
4. What Doors song spawned the title of Danny Sugerman’s Jim Morrison biography No-One Here Gets Out Alive?
5. All but one of the songs on Nick Drake’s first two albums boasted arrangements by Robert Kirby. Which is the exception, and who did the arrangements for that song instead?
6. What was the full original line-up of The Byrds?
7. Until his departure from the group last year, who was the drummer and primary songwriter with the Kaiser Chiefs?
8. What Kraftwerk song did Coldplay sample for their 1996 single Talk?
9. In 1997, The Lightning Seeds scored a hit with You Showed Me. Who wrote it originally?
10. Shortly after Smokey Robinson scored a number one hit in 1981 with Being With You, he became addicted to a Class A drug. What was that drug?
ROUND ELEVEN: POP CHINESE WHISPERS
In this round you have to sing (without words) a well-known song in the ear of the person next to you. Then they have to sing it to the person next to them. Then the player at the end has to name the song.
Kate Bush: Wuthering Heights
Brotherhood of Man: Save Your Kisses For Me
Bon Jovi: You Give Love A Bad Name
The Supremes: Baby Love
The Smiths: There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
Madness: Our House
ANSWERS (POINTS IN BRACKETS!)
ROUND ONE: CHRISTMAS SONGS
1. The Pogues: Fairytale of New York (2)
2. Slade: Merry Xmas Everybody (2)
3. The Pogues: 2 (1987); Coldplay: 18 (2010); Saint Etienne: 37 (1993); Wizzard: 4 (1973); Greg Lake: 2 (1974); Elton John: 24 (1973)
(2 POINTS FOR EACH CORRECT ANSWER + 1 FOR EACH YEAR GUESSED CORRECTLY)
4. Steeleye Span (2)
5. Franz Ferdinand (2)
6. Crosses (2)
7. The original version in The Snowman, was sung by Peter Auty. (2)
8. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (2)
9. Good King Wenceslas looked out
/On the feast of Stephen
/When the snow lay round about
/Deep and crisp and even/
Brightly shone the moon that night
/Though the frost was cruel
/When a poor man came in sight
/Gath’ring winter fuel (2)
10. Neil Diamond (2)
WHAM: LAST CHRISTMAS
1. Two (2)
2. Blue (2)
3. Shirlie from Pepsi & Shirlie (2)
4. Two (2)
5. Blue (2)
SHAKIN’ STEVENS: MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE
1. Red (2)
2. Red (2)
3. Horse (2)
4. Two (2)
5. Three (2)
1. Paul Young (2)
2. False (2)
3. The Soup Dragons (The original version was by the Rolling Stones) (2 + 1)
4. Sound of the Underground (2)
5. Tracie (2)
6. Per Gessle & Marie Frederiksson (2)
7. Picasso’s Last Words (2)
8. False (2)
9. Gary Barlow: My Take (2)
10. Can We Fix It and Mambo No.5 (1 point for each correct title)
ROUND FOUR: LYRICS
1. The Beatles: Free as a Bird (2)
2. The Searchers: Needles & Pins (2)
3. Gabrielle: Dreams (2)
4. Michael Jackson: Wanna Be Starting Something (2)
5. Gerry Rafferty: Baker Street (2)
6. Robin Thicke: Blurred Lines (2)
7. The Sugarhill Gang: Rapper’s Delight (2)
8. Electric Light Orchestra: Shine A Little Love (2)
9. Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick & Tich: Legend of Xanadu (2)
10. The Bangles: Eternal Flame (2)
ROUND FIVE: ABBA
1. Been and Gone and Done It (2)
2. Waterloo/Mamma Mia/Fernando/Dancing Queen/Knowing Me Knowing You/Name Of The Game/Take A Chance On Me/The Winner Takes It All/Super Trouper (1 point for each correct title)
3. Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight). She personally wrote Benny and Bjorn a letter, asking for their permission. (2)
4. Ring Ring (2)
5. Marilyn French (2)
ROUND SIX: GENERAL POP KNOWLEDGE
1. Johnny Marr (2)
2. Echo was the name of the drum machine which they later replaced with Pete de Freitas (2)
3. Bob Dylan (2)
4. Neil Diamond (2)
5. Relax; Two Tribes; The Power of Love (1 point each)
6. Gerry & The Pacemakers (2)
7. Chas & Dave (2)
8. Albert Hammond. His song The Air That I Breathe (a hit for The Hollies) bore more than a passing similarity to the middle-eight of Creep. (2)
9. A unicorn (2)
10. False (2)
A-HA: TAKE ON ME
1. “Nice cold ice cold milk” (2)
2. He was having a good old wink. (2)
3. Three: a single snare drum; a keyboard and a guitar (2)
4. Monkey spanners (2)
5. “Italia” (2)
MADONNA: LIKE A PRAYER
1. A barrel or an oil can, probably the latter – either answer will do (2)
2. Behind some tyres (2)
3. Five (2)
4. As you face him, it’s the right (2)
5. Five (2)
ROUND EIGHT: YET MORE GENERAL KNOWLEDGE
1. Santa Monica: Boulevard (2)
2. Here My Dear (2)
3. B*Witched: 4; Bucks Fizz: 3; Boomtown Rats: 2; Roxy Music: 1; Bananarama: 0
4. Will Young: Pop Idol; Sheena Easton: The Big Time; Lemar: Fame Academy; Berni Flint: Opportunity Knocks; Liberty X: Popstars; Showaddywaddy: New Faces (1 [point for each correct answer)
5. The Icicle Works (2)
6. Chuck Berry (2)
7. Endlessly (2)
8. Levi’s 501s (2)
9. Curiosity Killed The Cat (2)
10. Neil Diamond (2)
ROUND NINE: REAL NAMES
1. Billy Fury (2)
2. Alvin Stardust (2)
3. Limahl (2)
4. Mike McGear (2)
5. Bono (2)
6. Shakin’ Stevens (2)
7. David Bowie (2)
8.The Edge (2)
9. Meat Loaf (2)
10. Danger Mouse (2)
ROUND TEN: EXPERTS’ ROUND
1. 28IF. According to “Paul is dead” conspiracy theorists, this represents the age Paul would have been at the time of Abbey Road’s release, had he survived. (3)
2. The song was written and arranged by Ivor Raymonde, whose son Simon went on to join The Cocteau Twins. (3)
3. Cameo (3)
4. Five To One (3)
5. River Man was arranged by Harry Robinson. Robert Kirby felt unable to do it justice. (3)
6. Roger (Jim as he was then) McGuinn; Gene Clark; Chris Hillman; David Crosby; Michael Clark (3)
7. Nick Hodgson (3)
8. Computer Love (3)
9. Gene Clark (3)
10. Crack cocaine (3)
[two points for each correct guess]