Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Kirsty MacColl

Singer/songwriter Kirsty Anna MacColl was born on October 10, 1959 in Croydon, South London, England. She was the daughter of famed folk singer Ewan MacColl and dancer Jean Newlove. She and her brother, Hamish, grew up in Croydon, where she attended Park Hill Primary School and Monks Hill High School , making appearances in school plays. At the time of MacColl's birth, her father had been in a relationship with folk singer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Peggy Seeger since 1956 (a relationship that would continue until his death in 1989) and already had a son with her. She came to notice when Chiswick Records released an EP by local punk band Drug Addix with MacColl doing backing vocals under the pseudonym Mandy Doubt in 1978. Stiff Records executives were not impressed with the band but liked her and subsequently signed her to a record deal. Her debut single, They Don't Know (yes, that song comedienne and briefly pop star Tracey Ullman got an enormous hit with), released in 1979, peaked at #3 in terms of airplay. However, a distributor's strike prevented copies of the single getting into shops, and the single consequently failed to appear in the official UK single charts, which were strictly based on record sales only. Kirsty released the follow-up single, You Caught Me Out in the same year, but felt she lacked Stiff's full backing, and left the label shortly before the song was to be released. The single was pulled, and only a few white label promo copies of the single are known to exist. MacColl then moved to Polydor Records in 1981. This change of labels signified a huge step in her career as she later got her first hit, There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis, which peaked at #14 in the U.K. charts. This was taken from her critically acclaimed debut album, Desperate Character. In 1983, Polydor dropped her just as she had completed recording the songs for a planned second album (to be called Real) which used more synthesizers and had a more New Wave sound to it. She returned to Stiff Records, where pop singles such as Terry and He's on the Beach were unsuccessful but a cover of Billy Bragg's A New England in 1985 got her her first Top 10 in her career. This included two extra verses were especially written for her by Bragg. Also around this time, MacColl wrote and performed the theme song for London Girls for Channel 4's short-lived sitcom Dream Stuffing (1984). Around this time she got married to famed producer Steve Lillywhite and since she didn't have a record deal at the moment and no one wanted to buy her contract (due to Stiff Records going bankrupt in 1986), she dedicated her time to do backing vocals for the artists that her husband produced for, such as Frida (from ABBA), The Smiths, Talking Heads, Big Country, among others. She also appeared in the videos Welcome to the Cheap Seats by The Wonder Stuff and (Nothing But) Flowers by Talking Heads. In 1985, she became a mom of eldest son Jamie and in 1987, she became a mom once again to son Louis. In 1987 also she re-emerged in the British charts just in time for Christmas season, with her duet with The Pogues, Fairytale of New York. This led her to accompanying The Pogues on their British and European tour in 1988, an experience which she said helped her temporarily to overcome her stage fright. In December 2007, after being rereleased several times, Fairytale of New York created controversy because of the usage of the word faggot, "to avoid offense". Many people, including Kirsty's mother criticized this decision and the song was broadcast on the radio airwaves with the word faggot. It was cleared that in Ireland, faggot has a totally different connotation than the one in the rest of the world. Faggot means someone that is lazy. Needless to say, the popularity of this song made it into a staple for Christmas songs and it was voted as favorite Christmas song by VH-1 in 2004, 2005, and 2006. In March 1989, MacColl sang backing vocals on the Happy Mondays' Hallelujah EP. After the contract issues was resolved, MacColl returned to recording as a solo artist and released her critically acclaimed album, Kite. The album was widely praised by critics, and included collaborations with David Gilmour and Johnny Marr. MacColl's lyrics addressed life in Margaret Thatcher's Britain on Free World, ridiculed the vapidity of fame in Fifteen Minutes, and addressed the vagaries of love in Don't Come the Cowboy with Me, Sonny Jim! Although Kite contained many original compositions, MacColl's biggest chart success came with her cover of The Kinks' Days, which gave her a Top 20 hit in the U.K. During this time, MacColl appeared in the highly popular sketch comedy show French & Saunders, appearing as herself singing songs like Fifteen Minutes and Girls on Bikes (a reworking on the B-side Am I Right?), and with comedy duo Raw Sex, the Frank and Nancy Sinatra's hit Something Stupid. In 1991, she released her third studio album, Electric Landlady, which included her most successful chart hit in North America, Walking Down Madison. Despite the song's U.S. chart success, the album wasn't a hit for Virgin Records, and in 1992, when Virgin was sold to EMI, MacColl was dropped from the label. In 1993, she released her follow-up album, Titanic Days, released and written on the wake of her divorce from Steve Lillywhite. However, her record company this time around ZTT Records had agreed to only release the album as a one-off and that she wasn't gonna have a record deal. In 1995, she released two new singles on Virgin, Caroline and her cover of Lou Reed's Perfect Day, which she duetted with Evan Dando. In this year, her compilation Galore was also released. Galore became her only album to make it into the Top 10 in the U.K. MacColl would not record again for several years; her frustration with the music business was exacerbated by a case of writer's block. MacColl herself admitted that she was ready to give up the music world and become an English teacher in South America. After several trips to Cuba and Brazil, MacColl recorded the world-music inspired album (particularly Cuban and other forms of Latin American music), Tropical Brainstorm, which was released in 2000 to critical acclaim. It included the song In These Shoes? , which got airplay in the U.S. and was covered by Bette Midler and featured in the HBO Show, Sex and the City. It would be later adopted by Catherine Tate as the theme tune for her BBC TV show and feature on the soundtrack to British film Kinky Boots. MacColl was very known, musically speaking, for her lyrics which were at turns, humorous, biting, and achingly sad. This sometimes presented a challenge to the commercial viability of her work. She developed a severe case of stage fright, which first struck on her early tours and she never overcame it. She was also devoted to her children, and would spend long periods of time away from the spotlight in order to focus on raising them.
In 2000, following her presentation of a radio program she had done for the BBC in Cuba, she took well-deserved vacations with her kids and her partner, musician James Knight. On December 18, 2000, she and her sons went diving in Cozumel, Mexico, as she intended to teach them and transmit her love for diving to her kids. She took them to an area restricted to diving and no watercraft could trespass that zone. With the group was the local divemaster, Iván Díaz. As the group was surfacing from a dive, a speeding powerboat entered the restricted area. MacColl saw the boat coming before her sons did: Louis was not in the boat's path, but Jamie was; Kirsty pushed Jamie out of the way (he only got sustained minor head and rib injuries) but in doing so, she was hit by the boat and killed instantly. MacColl's remains were repatriated to the United Kingdom and the subsequent funeral took place at Mortlake Crematorium in London. The boat involved in the accident was owned by Mexican supermarket millionaire Guillermo González Nova, who was on board with several members of his family. An employee of González Nova's, José Cen Yam, claimed to have been driving the boat at the time the accident occurred. Several published reports and eyewitnesses have stated Cen Yam was NOT the one controlling the boat; eyewitnesses also indicate that the boat was travelling much faster than the speed that Cen Yam had claimed. Cen Yam was found guilty of culpable homicide and was sentenced to 2 years and 10 months in prison. However, he was allowed under Mexican law to pay a punitive fine of 1034 pesos (about $90) in lieu of the prison sentence. He was also ordered to pay approximately $2150 in restitution to MacColl's family. Published reports have included statements from people who spoke to Cen Yam after the accident, claiming Cen Yam had received money for taking the blame for the accident. González Nova family members claimed that divemaster Iván Díaz failed to put out a warning that it was an area exclusive for diving and there is confusion as to whether he pull out the correct flag on his boat. After the accident, MacColl's family created a campaign in response to the events surrounding her death. The lawyers representing the family have stayed in contact with the Mexican government and made an application to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Also, it was found that there was lack of cooperation from the Mexican authorities. In May 2006, Emilio Cortés Ramírez, a federal prosecutor in Cozumel, was found liable for breach of authority in conjunction with his handling of the MacColl case. Also, the BBC featured a documentary entitled Who Killed Kirsty MacColl?; also, U2 and Bono, a friend of Kirsty's, spoke about the incident during a concert in Monterrey, Mexico in February 2006. The Mexican government released a statement after the concert indicating that they would take action. However no additional details were immediately forthcoming. In December 2009, it was announced that the Justice For Kirsty campaign was being wound up since "the committee was successful in achieving most of its aims" and "it is unlikely that any more could be achieved." The campaign's remaining funds will be divided between two charities "of which Kirsty would have approved", Casa Alianza Mexico and Cuba Music Solidarity. A few traditions that still remain up to this day due to Kirsty's unfortunate and untimely death are that Billy Bragg whenever he performs at concerts and he performs A New England, he includes the two extra verses she performed. Kirsty was honored in 2002 with a memorial concert in London at the Royal Albert Music Hall, featuring a number of musicians that had worked with her or been influenced by her. Another tradition is that in 2001 a bench was placed by the southern entrance to London's Soho Square (which is the title of one of Kirsty's songs) as a memorial to her. Every year on the Sunday nearest to Kirsty's birthday, fans all around the world gather at the bench and pay tribute to her and sing her songs. A redhead angel, a singer/songwriter who was able to write with sarcasm, humor, sadness and happiness all in one, a singer/songwriter who was among the first --if not-- the first British artist to incorporate Latin music into her songs, a mother, a human being who encountered with death at a young age and in a very unfair and tragic way, an artist who shook off the pop star label and didn't want to be commercial, an artist who knew what artistic integrity was, a gutsy female artist (as British pop diva Kim Wilde once pointed), in short words, a beautiful human being, that's what Kirsty MacColl is in a few phrases and on a side note, on behalf of the owners of this blog and Kirsty's fans, we want to say that even though Kirsty's not in the flesh anymore in this planet, she still remains in our hearts and her music still is and will always be listened to and cherished and her legacy will never be denied.
Desperate Character (1981)

Desperate Character is Kirsty MacColl's debut album, released in July 1981 through Polydor Records. This album is notorious because of its critical acclaim and because it contains one of her most famous hits, There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis. The music of this album is mainly retro rock & roll, though Mexican Sofa has a bit of a Latin sound, a la Mexicana to it. Kirsty even flirts with country music, with the country version of There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis. The original release contains 12 tracks but her 1985 re-release (renamed Kirsty MacColl) includes 14 tracks and 3 tracks that appeared in the original release were left out. This album has never been released on CD and it remains out of print. The file that will be uploaded is of the original 1981 tracklisting. The only single spawned from this album is There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis (#14 U.K.).


1-) Clock Goes Round.
2-) See That Girl.
3-) There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis.
4-) Teenager in Love.
5-) Mexican Sofa.
6-) Until the Night.
7-) Falling for Faces.
8-) Just One Look.
9-) The Real Ripper.
10-) Hard to Believe.
11-) He Thinks I Still Care.
12-) There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis (Country version).

Kirsty MacColl tracklist: (Special Edition only)

1-) Clock Goes Round.
2-) See That Girl.
3-) There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis.
4-) Teenager in Love.
5-) Annie.
6-) Until the Night.
7-) Falling for Faces.
8-) Roman Gardens.
9-) The Real Ripper.
10-) Hard to Believe.
11-) He Thinks I Still Care.
12-) Berlin.
13-) Man with No Name.
14-) Sleepless Nights.

Kite (1989)

Kite is Kirsty's second studio album, released on May 8, 1989. It was produced by her then husband, Steve Lillywhite and it was her first album with Virgin Records. The album charted at #34 in the U.K. album charts and it was certified with a silver disc by the BPI. The album was reissued in 2005 with 5 bonus tracks and alternate mixes of 4 songs on the album. The singles spawned from this album were Free World (#43 U.K.), her cover of The Kinks' Days (#12 U.K.), Innocence (#80 U.K.), and Don't Come the Cowboy with Me, Sonny Jim! (#82 U.K.). Kirsty played guitar, acoustic bass, steel guitar, autoharp, and even percussion in this album.


1-) Innocence.
2-) Free World.
3-) Mother's Ruin.
4-) Days.
5-) No Victims.
6-) Fifteen Minutes.
7-) Don't Come the Cowboy with Me Sonny Jim!
8-) Tread Lightly.
9-) What Do Pretty Girls Do?
10-) Dancing in Limbo.
11-) The End of a Perfect Day.
12-) You and Me Baby.

Electric Landlady (1991)

Electric Landlady is Kirsty's third studio album, released on June 25, 1991. It was her second Virgin Records release and second collaboration with producer/husband Steve Lillywhite. The title was given when MacColl found it to be the name that was accidentally written on some early pressings of Jimi Hendrix's album Electric Ladyland. This album was her most successful U.S. release, owing to the lead track Walking Down Madison, which peaked at #4 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. This song also features guest vocals by rapper Aniff Cousins. Also, MacColl flirts with Latin music, with her song My Affair. Kirsty is considered by many people as one of the very first, if not the first, British artists to incorporate Latin music fully into her music. Kirsty even sings some lines in Spanish in this song. The singles spawned from this album were: Walking Down Madison (#23 U.K.), My Affair (#56 U.K.), and All I Ever Wanted. This album was reissued in 2005 with bonus tracks. The album charted at #17 in the U.K. album charts.


1-) Walking Down Madison.
2-) All I Ever Wanted.
3-) Children of the Revolution.
4-) Halloween.
5-) My Affair.
6-) Lying Down.
7-) He Never Mentioned Love.
8-) We'll Never Pass This Way Again.
9-) The Hardest Word.
10-) Maybe It's Imaginary.
11-) My Way Home.
12-) The One and Only.

Titanic Days (1993)

Titanic Days is Kirsty's fourth studio album, released on October 5, 1993. This album was released after Kirsty's divorce with producer Steve Lillywhite, though they remained friends; hence, the somber lyrics of some of the tracks of this album. As in the same case of her two previous studio albums, Titanic Days was remastered in 2005, but in a 2 CD set. The second CD includes non-album tracks, including live versions. The song Angel was the only single released from this album. Even though Soho Square was never released as a single, this song is among Kirsty's most popular songs, especially because of Kirsty's bench that is in the Soho Square, which serves as a memorial and pilgrimage place for Kirsty. The album charted at #46 in the U.K. album charts. Kirsty played guitar and keyboards in this album.


1-) You Know It's You.
2-) Soho Square.
3-) Angel.
4-) Last Day of Summer.
5-) Bad.
6-) Can't Stop Killing You.
7-) Titanic Days.
8-) Don't Go Home.
9-) Big Boy on a Saturday Night.
10-) Just Woke Up.
11-) Tomorrow Never Comes.

Tropical Brainstorm (2000)

Tropical Brainstorm was Kirsty's fifth and last studio album. It was released on March 20, 2000. After the failure of her last singles, Caroline and Perfect Day, and her disappointment with the music business and after overcoming a period of severe writer's block, Kirsty contemplated the idea of quiting the music business and becoming an English teacher in South America. During these trips to South America and Cuba, Kirsty found renewed inspiration and wrote new material but this time around basing it around world music, especifically Latin American music. This was not the occasional track from an album with Latin sound. This time it was an album fully made up of that Latin American sound. Many tracks include either Spanish or Portuguese lyrics. The album was released with 3 extra tracks in the U.S. and with two further bonus tracks plus a video for Mambo de la Luna, when it was rereleased in 2005. The album received a lot of critical acclaim. The singles spawned from this album were Mambo de la Luna (#114 U.K.) and In These Shoes? (#82 U.K.), which has been used in movies and in TV shows like Sex and the City. The album charted to #39 in the U.K. album charts.


1-) Mambo de la Luna.
2-) In These Shoes?
3-) Treachery.
4-) Here Comes That Man Again.
5-) Autumngirlsoup.
6-) Celestine.
7-) England 2 Colombia 0.
8-) Não Esperando.
9-) Alegria.
10-) Us Amazonians.
11-) Wrong Again.
12-) Designer Life.
13-) Head.

Kirsty Plus

This is a compilation made by ourselves which consists in a lot of (cause there are still many more non-album and unreleased Kirsty tracks) Kirsty's non-album tracks. Here you can find hits like Terry, A New England, Fairytale of New York, among others. Also covers like Astor Piazolla's (and later Grace Jones's) Libertango, The Beach Boys' You Still Believe in Me. Also, duets like Miss Otis Regrets (with The Pogues) and Perfect Day (with Evan Dando). Even the songs that are really really hard to find like You Caught Me Out, Boys, Annie, I Don't Need You, I'm Going Out with an 80 Year Old Millionaire, among others. It's a 2 CD set and hope you enjoy it.


CD 1:

1-) They Don't Know.
2-) You Caught Me Out.
3-) Boys.
4-) I Don't Need You.
5-) Over You.
6-) You Still Believe in Me.
7-) Queen of the High Teas.
8-) Annie.
9-) Shutting the Doors.
10-) Terry.
11-) A New England.
12-) I'm Going Out with an 80 Year Old Millionaire.
13-) He's on the Beach.
14-) Fairytale of New York.
15-) You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby.
16-) Happy.
17-) Am I Right?

CD 2:

1-) El Paso.
2-) La Foret de Mimosas.
3-) Complainte pour Ste. Catherine.
4-) Still Life.
5-) Miss Otis Regrets/Just One of Those Things.
6-) Don't Go Near the Water.
7-) One Good Thing.
8-) Darling, Let's Have Another Baby.
9-) All the Tears That I Cried.
10-) Dear John.
11-) Caroline.
12-) Perfect Day.
13-) As Long as You Hold Me.
14-) Libertango.
15-) Golden Heart.
16-) Things Happen.
17-) Good for Me.
18-) Sun on the Water.

Descargar parte I/Download part I

Descargar parte II/Download part II

1 comment:

  1. I know this post is from a while ago, but I'm looking for those two exclusive tracks on the "Special Edition" of the "Kirsty MacColl" LP ("Man With No Name" and "SleeplessNights"). Any chance of reactivating the download link?