Few people know of Hungarian writer and poet Frigyes Karinthy, but you would know the phrase he coined, "six degrees of separation". Every Tuesday after 5.30pm, a music lover is invited onto Drive with Bernadette Young to continue a musical chain called The Karinthy Connection.
Yesterday was my turn. I had to pick up from where Brendan Gallagher left off last week with B.B. King. So here's my six degrees.
Bo Diddley by Buddy Holly B.B. King to Buddy Holly comes via Bo Diddley. B.B. and Bo both played in the 50s blues circuits, and both were influential not only in how they played their instruments, but in their design and manufacturing. B.B. had "Lucille", his Gibson ES series guitar. Bo created his own guitar design, notable for being rectangular. Bo's first hit was with a song named after himself, but it's this version from Buddy Holly I like the best. Released posthumously, the recording layers session players over Buddy's original demo of the song. So B.B. to Buddy. Am I cheating? Is that two steps?
The version played on the show however was the original demo, without the session players. I'd never heard it before and I think I like the song even more now.
Buddy Holly by Weezer There aren't that many songs actually named after musicians, but this was an easy step. Ridiculously catchy song with the obligatory 90s fuzzed up guitars. The song had a fantastic video by director Spike Jonze that used clever editing and a bit of computer trickery to place Weezer on stage at Arnold's surrounded by the characters from Happy Days. The sight of Fonzie Cossack dancing to the end of this song is priceless.
The Suburbs by Arcade Fire Spike Jonze has done a lot of music videos over the years and one of his most recent was for Arcade Fire. The video like the album is beautiful and unsettling. The album "the Suburbs" of which this is the title track is the first in a while for me that has felt like a proper double album that fits together as a complete piece. I'm not fussed on this idea of a "concept" album, but Arcade Fire certainly create a set of songs that give you glimpses of story. As a writer, I find that a pretty interesting space for a band to be in.
Found A Job by Talking Heads Arcade Fire have recently collaborated with David Byrne on a track called Speaking in Tongues. This is one of my favourite songs from Byrne's old band, Talking Heads. It's worth noting that, while the Clash or the Pistols have emerged as the embodiment of "punk", the movement had a much broader sound which included Byrne's idea of making the guitar as small and puny as he could - his idea to make the electric guitar should sound as natural as possible. This song certainly fits the bill.
All My Little Words by The Magnetic Fields Though Talking Heads and The Magnetic Fields both hail from New York City, the link is is through album titles. Found A Job comes from an album called More Songs About Buildings and Food (a sly reference to the band's avoidance of anything looking like a love song). All My Little Words comes from its polar opposite, though with a similarly straightforward title: 69 Love Songs.
Make You Happy by Josh Pyke This one is a personal link. I make discs for my lovely wife to play in her car and often use the opportunity to expand her horizons. The Magnetic Fields was one she didn't really take to (although I still think she should). More successful has been Josh Pyke whom she is now listening to almost exclusively. Make You Happy is a song that's pretty hard to dislike too, so it's a nice place to finish up.
Apparently next week's guest is... Josh Pyke. I imagine he should have no problem finding a link from himself.