Under The Milky Way ~ The Church

The_Church_(Band)The Church is an Australian psychedelic rock band formed in Sydney in 1980. Initially associated with new wave, neo-psychedelia and indie rock, their music later came to feature slower tempos and surreal soundscapes reminiscent of dream pop and post-rock. Glenn A. Baker has written that “From the release of the ‘She Never Said’ single in November 1980, this unique Sydney-originated entity has purveyed a distinctive, ethereal, psychedelic-tinged sound which has alternatively found favor and disfavor in Australia”. The Los Angeles Times has described the band’s music as “dense, shimmering, exquisite guitar pop”.

The founding members were Steve Kilbey on lead vocals and bass guitar, Peter Koppes and Marty Willson-Piper on guitars and Nick Ward on drums. Ward only played on their debut album and the band’s drummer for the rest of the 1980s was Richard Ploog. Jay Dee Daugherty (ex-Patti Smith Group) played drums from 1990 to 1993, followed by Tim Powles (ex-The Venetians) who remains with them to the present day. Koppes left the band from 1992 to 1997[4] and Willson-Piper left in 2013. He was replaced by Ian Haug, formerly of Powderfinger. Kilbey, Koppes and Powles also recorded together as “The Refo:mation” in 1997.

The Church’s debut album, Of Skins and Heart (1981), delivered their first radio hit “The Unguarded Moment” and they were signed to major labels in Australia, Europe and the United States. However, the US label was dissatisfied with their second album and dropped the band without releasing it. This put a dent in their international success, but they returned to the charts in 1988, with the album Starfish and the US Top 40 hit “Under the Milky Way”. Subsequent mainstream success has proved elusive, but the band retains a large international cult following and were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in Sydney in 2011. The Church continue to tour and record, releasing their 24th studio album, Further/Deeper, in October 2014.

Under The Milky Way

Under the Milky Way” is a single by Australian alternative rock band The Church, released on 15 February 1988 and appears on their fifth studio album Starfish. The song was written by bass guitarist and lead vocalistSteve Kilbey and his then-girlfriend Karin Jansson (ex-Pink Champagne, Curious (Yellow)).

“Under the Milky Way” was written by Kilbey and Karin Jansson of Curious (Yellow). Kilbey and Jansson had become friends in 1983 and lived together in Australia from 1986.  Kilbey said, “I smoked a joint and started playing the piano and she came in the room and we just made it up.”  According to a press release issued with Starfish, the title is from an Amsterdam music and cultural venue, Melkweg (Dutch for “Milky Way”), which Kilbey used to frequent.

Under The Milky Way – Kilby, Jansson

Sometimes when this place gets kind of empty
Sound of their breath fades with the light
I think about the loveless fascination
Under the Milky Way tonight

Lower the curtain down on Memphis
Lower the curtain down, all right
I got no time for private consultation
Under the Milky Way tonight

Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find
Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find

And it’s something quite peculiar
Something shimmering and white
Leads you here despite your destination
Under the Milky Way tonight

Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find
Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find

Under the Milky Way tonight
Under the Milky Way tonight

  • Audio from the 1988 album, Starfish:

Starfish_album

Play Under The Milky Way - by The Church

Pictures of Matchstick Men – Status Quo

Status-Quo---1968--1Status Quo, also known as The Quo or just Quo, are an English rock band whose music is characterized by their distinctive brand of boogie rock.

The origins of Status Quo were in the rock and roll freakbeat band “The Spectres” formed in 1962. Francis Rossi and Alan Lancaster met at Sedgehill Comprehensive School, Catford, and were members of the same orchestra. They started a band called The Scorpions, later changing the name to “The Spectres”. Rossi and Lancaster played their first gig at the Samuel Jones Sports Club in Dulwich, London. In 1963 they added drummer John Coghlan. They began writing their own material and after a year met Rick Parfitt who was playing with a cabaret band called The Highlights. By the end of 1965 Rossi and Parfitt, who had become close friends, made a commitment to continue working together. On 18 July 1966 The Spectres signed a five-year deal with Piccadilly Records, releasing two singles that year, “I (Who Have Nothing)” and “Hurdy Gurdy Man” (written by Alan Lancaster), and one the next year called “(We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet” (a song originally recorded by New York psychedelic band The Blues Magoos).

By 1967, the group had discovered psychedelia and changed their name to Traffic (later amended to Traffic Jam, to avoid confusion with Steve Winwood’s Traffic). At this time the line-up also included organist Roy Lynes.  In late 1967 the band became The Status Quo, and in January 1968 they released the psychedelic-favored “Pictures of Matchstick Men”

Pictures of Matchstick Men

The song opens with a single guitar repeatedly playing a simple four note riff before the rhythm guitar comes in with chords and the drums and lyrics begin. Pictures of Matchstick Men is one of a number of songs from the late sixties to feature phasing (the audio effect).

I wrote it on the bog. I’d gone there, not for the usual reasons…but to get away from the wife and mother-in-law. I used to go into this narrow frizzing toilet and sit there for hours, until they finally went out. I got three quarters of the song finished in that khazi. The rest I finished in the lounge.”

The song is an example of bubblegum psychedelia. Their following release Black Veils of Melancholy was similar but flopped and so caused the group to change direction.

The “matchstick men” of the song refer to the paintings of L.S. Lowry.

Pictures of Matchstick Men – Francis Rossi

When I look up to the skies
I see your eyes a funny kind of yellow
I rush home to bed I soak my head
I see your face underneath my pillow
I wake next morning, tired, still yawning
See your face come peeping through my window

Pictures of matchstick men and you
Mirages of matchstick men and you
All I ever see is them and you

Windows echo your reflection
When I look in their direction now
When will this haunting stop?
Your face it just won’t leave me alone

Pictures of matchstick men and you
Mirages of matchstick men and you
All I ever see is them and you

You’re in the sky and with the sky
You make men cry, you lie
You’re in the sky and with the sky
You make men cry, you lie

Pictures of matchstick men and
Pictures of matchstick men and you
Pictures of matchstick men ….

  • Audio from the 1968 album, Picturesque Matchstickable Messages From The Status Quo:

Picturesque

Play Pictures of Matchstick Men - by Status Quo

King of the Road ~ Roger Miller

Roger Miller, the youngest of three boys, was born in Fort Worth, Texas, to Laudene Holt Miller (mother) and father Jean Miller. Jean died when Roger was only a year old, and he was subsequently sent to live with his aunt and uncle, Elmer and Armelia Miller, in Erick, Oklahoma.

Miller had a lonely and unhappy childhood. Heavily influenced by the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday nights and the Light Crust Doughboys on Fort Worth radio, he desperately wanted to be a singer-songwriter. When he was seventeen, he stole a guitar, but turned himself in and chose to join the Army rather than go to jail. He later quipped, “My education was Korea, Clash of ’52.”[cite this quote] Upon leaving the Army, he went to Nashville to work on his music career. In 1959 he wrote his first number-one song, “Billy Bayou” recorded by Jim Reeves.

Although usually grouped with country music singers, Miller’s unique style defies easy classification. He had a string of pop hits in the 1960s, and also his own TV show in 1966. Many of his recordings were humorous novelty songs with whimsical lyrics, coupled with scat singing or vocalese riffs filled with nonsense syllables. Others were sincere ballads, which also caught the public’s fancy, none more so than his signature song, “King of the Road”, a major 1965 hit, about a presumed hobo who relishes his life and freedom, riding the rails.

King of the Road

King of the Road” is a 1964 song written and originally recorded by country singer Roger Miller. The lyrics tell of a hobo who despite being poor (a “man of means by no means”) revels in his freedom, describing himself humorously as the “king of the road”.

Belgian recording artist Helmut Lotti states that the song was written at the Idanha Hotel in Boise, Idaho. In an interview with disk jockey Robert W. Morgan in the early 1970s, Miller mentioned writing it while in the Chicago area.However, in an introduction to the song on the 1981 live recording “Roger Miller Live! Silver Eagle Cross Country,” Miller said the song was written in Boise.

The King Family Show was a TV variety show broadcast from 1965 to 1969. Each week, the King Family would run through a medley of the popular tunes of the week. The family-oriented show producers were uncomfortable with the line “I ain’t got no cigarettes“, and replaced it with “no regrets”. The kids music compilation Sugar Beats changes the line to “I don’t want what I can’t get”. It also changes “worn out suits and shoes” to “clothes and shoes”.

The song has been covered by many other artists, including George Jones, Dean Martin, King (an Elvis Presley impersonation), Jack Jones, The Fabulous Echoes, Boney M., R.E.M. (a shambolic, drunken offhand cover about which guitarist Peter Buck later commented, “If there was any justice in the world, Roger Miller should be able to sue for what we did to this song.”), Johnny Paycheck, The Chipmunks, Boxcar Willie, Randy Travis, Rangers, James Kilbane, John Stevens, the Statler Brothers, Rufus Wainwright & Teddy Thompson, Giant Sand, Peligro, The Proclaimers, Ray Conniff Singers and The Reverend Horton Heat, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Joe Strummer during live performances.

King of the Road – Miller
Trailer for sale or rent
Rooms to let… fifty cents.
No phone, no pool, no pets
I ain’t got no cigarettes
Ah, but… two hours of pushin’ broom
Buys an eight by twelve four-bit room
I’m a man of means by no means
King of the road.

Third boxcar, midnight train
Destination… Bangor, Maine.
Old worn out suit and shoes,
I don’t pay no union dues,
I smoke old stogies I have found
Short, but not too big around
I’m a man of means by no means
King of the road.

I know every engineer on every train
All of their children, and all of their names
And every handout in every town
And every lock that ain’t locked
When no one’s around.

I sing,
Trailers for sale or rent
Rooms to let, fifty cents
No phone, no pool, no pets
I ain’t got no cigarettes
Ah, but… two hours of pushin’ broom
Buys an eight by twelve four-bit room
I’m a man of means by no means
King of the road.

  • Audio from the 1965 album, The Return of Roger Miller:
Play King of the Road - by Roger Miller