Long Player Episode 10 - 'Hank Marvin'
In the UK, the 1960s beat and blues boom yielded more world-beating British guitarists than any era before or since. And among those guitarists – from Jimmy Page to Eric Clapton – the one common influence was Hank Marvin and his group The Shadows. After a run of hits backing Cliff Richard, The Shadows dramatically found their signature sound in 1960 with Apache. Central to their appeal was the playing of their de facto frontman.
The Shadows' aesthetic mirrored the bold forward momentum of post-war Britain. To a generation of emerging guitarists, Marvin's work on Wonderful Land, Man Of Mystery, Apache and F.B.I. was aspirational, achievable and utterly modern.
In final episode of this series of Long Player, Hank talks to Pete Paphides about The Shadows' vertiginious early ascent, the cult albums he and Bruce Welch made as part of a "British Crosby Stills & Nash", his new top ten album Hank and, lest we forget, his feud with Jet Harris's incontinent monkey.
Long Player Episode 9 - 'Simon Napier-Bell'
The subject of the ninth in this series of Long Player is Simon Napier-Bell – a music business legend best known for helping steer the careers of artists such as Marc Bolan, The Yardbirds, Japan, and Wham!
In recent decades, he has also carved out a reputation as an author of gripping showbiz memoirs such as You Don't Have To Say You Love Me and Black Vinyl White Powder. For his new book though, he has truly surpassed himself. Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay takes the reader through the 300 year-old history of the music industry – taking in countless outrageous yarns along the way – and in doing so, its author contends that all things about the industry that are frowned upon: hype, payola, artifice and greed have also directed in most of the wonderful music in our record collections. Taking in Wham!, Japan, Pet Shop Boys, Michael Jackson, Vegas and Thailand, Simon Napier-Bell is essential listening.
Long Player Episode 8 - 'Allen Toussaint'
In the 56 years since he made his first record, Allen Toussaint has assumed a talismanic role in the post-war musical history of New Orleans. In the 1960s, he presided over the careers of singers such as Ernie K-Doe, Lee Dorsey, Irma Thomas and Aaron Neville, providing them with songs Working In A Coalmine, Mother-In-Law and Here Come The Girls. In the early 70s, he helmed an extraordinary run of records by the likes of The Meters, Labelle, Lou Johnson and Dr John. He didn’t leave New Orleans in pursuit of success, but then he didn’t have to, with the likes of Paul McCartney and Frankie Miller seeking him out. In the 1970s, Toussaint finally took centre stage with a succession of solo albums, which garnered universal acclaim. Over the ensuing decades, his songs have been covered by artists such as the Rolling Stones, Robert Plant & Allison Krauss, Paul Weller, Bonnie Raitt and Glen Campbell. Allen dropped into the studio to relive the highs and lows of a stellar life in music.
Long Player Episode 7 - 'David Arnold'
Since bagging a Grammy for his fourth film score Independence Day, David Arnold has gone onto become the most consistently successful British film composer of the past 20 years. In 1997, he stepped into John Barry’s shoes and – with Barry’s blessing – scored Tomorrow Never Dies and four further Bond movies. Along the way, he has also composed music for a succession of Hollywood blockbusters – among them The Chronicles Of Narnia, Godzilla and Stargate. But he’s arguably better still when bringing his considerable gifts to bear upon British projects. As musical director of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, he devoted himself exclusively to the job for 18 months, and says he was left transformed by the experience.
More than any of this stuff though, what David Arnold really likes to talk about is biscuits. Not just biscuits, but also a range of other savoury and sweet snack treats. For the seventh Long Player, he lets Pete Paphides in on his criteria for a perfect biscuit.
Long Player Episode 6 - 'Linda Thompson'
The 1970s was a golden age in the history of British folk-rock and, together with her husband Richard, Linda Thompson made some of the greatest music of that period. Years before they opened their account with 1974’s I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight, Linda was an active presence in the London underground folk scene, in demand as a session singer and friendly with Nick Drake and temporary British habitué Tim Buckley.
After Shoot Out The Lights, the pair’s final album together, Linda went into partial retreat from music. Having been beset by spasmodic dysphonia (a condition which inhibits vocal cords from functioning properly), Linda re-emerged with 2002’s Fashionably Late – and has followed it with two more hugely acclaimed albums, most recently last year’s Won’t Be Long Now. For all the aforesaid reasons – and for the fact that she is never less than fabulous company – Pete Paphides pays her a visit in her Chelsea apartment.
Long Player with Pete Paphides. Episode 5 - 'Paddy McAloon'
Thirty years have elapsed since Prefab Sprout's debut album Swoon saw their frontman Paddy McAloon garlanded with superlatives. In the interim, his perfectionism has resulted in a body of work which – featuring highlights such as Steve McQueen, Jordan: The Comeback and Andromeda Heights – stands shoulder to shoulder with the best of his peers. It's unlikely that Paddy's profile will ever return to its late 80s peak when, for a time, Prefab Sprout were appearing on Top of the Pops and fielding Going Live phone-ins. However, last year, with the breathtaking Crimson/Red, Prefab Sprout returned with their most acclaimed set of songs for over two decades.
For the fifth Long Player, Paddy McAloon talks about a huge array of subjects: among them, the oddness of seeing his songs covered by Cher and Kylie; the bittersweet ubiquity of King of Rock 'n' Roll; and his lingering Scott Walker regret. Oh, and once in a while, he'll pick up his guitar and illustrate his point.
Long Player with Pete Paphides. Episode 4 - 'Lloyd Cole'
Last year, the heavens aligned for Lloyd Cole. His Standards album was hailed by critics and fans alike as his greatest record since he (and his Commotions) landed fully-formed with 1984's deathlessly magnificent Rattlesnakes. In the intervening decades, Lloyd has trodden a singular path: pop star, critical whipping boy, adopted New Yorker and, latterly, moonlighting music critic. Almost by stealth, he has steadily amassed an enviable canon of literate pop gems, taking in the orchestral peaks of Don't Get Weird On Me Babe and the masterful Music In A Foreign Language. Speaking with Pete Paphides, the fourth episode of Long Player finds Lloyd casting his memory over the years with disarming honesty.
Long Player with Pete Paphides. Episode 3 - 'Neil Finn'
Over a decade since his last solo album, Neil Finn is back with Dizzy Heights, the most daring and critically-acclaimed album of his career. In the third long player, the sometime Crowded House frontman casts his gaze over a life spent in and around music: his overwhelming maiden festival experience, aged 14; the life-changing moment his brother Tim asked him to join him in Split Enz; the song that they wrote and recorded together whilst coming up on mushrooms; and the challenges posed by Crowded House's "character-building" comeback gig at Coachella, playing for 30,000 increasingly impatient Rage Against The Machine fans. Finally, he can laugh about it now...
Long Player with Pete Paphides. Episode 2 - 'Clint Mansell'
For any film director seeking to combine innovative storytelling with box office clout, Clint Mansell is one of a handful of composers who can be relied upon to deliver a soundtrack that will rise to the challenge.
Perhaps best known for his work with Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem For A Dream, The Fountain, The Wrestler, Black Swan), Mansell has further cemented his reputation with breathtaking scores for Moon, L’Affaire Farewell, Stoker and Filth.
It’s surely an outcome that – in his former life as the frontman with Stourbridge indie/hip-hop troupe Pop Will Eat Itself – Mansell himself would not have dared imagine. Now resident in Hollywood, he meets Pete Paphides and, in his inimitably self-deprecating style, attempts to piece together how it all happened.
Long Player with Pete Paphides. Episode 1 - 'Jimmy Webb'
Jimmy Webb is the featured artist in the first Long Player. In a career stretching back almost five decades, Webb has established himself as one of the songwriting giants of his generation. Among the great American songbook classics that bear his imprint are Wichita Lineman, MacArthur Park, P.F. Sloan and By The Time I Get To Phoenix.
He's in excellent form in this interview, talking to Pete about his hell-raising exploits with Harry Nilsson, Richard Harris and Peter O'Toole and shedding a little light on the elusive art of writing a masterpiece.