As we enter week 12 of what is becoming a diluted lockdown here in the UK some of the side effects of the enforced isolation are beginning to reveal themselves. For example, I have become used to staying up till midnight once a week to book a grocery delivery slot – which are now being offered to me some four weeks ahead. Before all this began it was usually possible to get a next day slot, sometimes even sameday, so that is one obvious change. Having carried out the weekly ritual last Wednesday I then couldn’t sleep until around 3am (not from excitement, I can assure you), and spent Thursday feeling totally wiped out – so much so that I had a nap that afternoon. Even for a decrepit old timer like me that was unusual.
It was therefore a suitable day for Kings College and Ipsos MORI to publish their study on how the lockdown had affected our sleep – it certainly got my befuddled attention. This was covered by several of the papers and also by the BBC, whose report can be found here. Briefly, our sleeping patterns have been buggered – as if I needed telling. We are sleeping less, waking and dreaming more, or sleeping in later than we would usually do. It probably doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that that last point was particularly true for younger age groups, though I admit to elements of all of those factors myself. I thought that sleep would make a good theme for this week’s tunes – and may still do a post on it, as I collected a great many possibilities for it. But that changed when The Times published a follow up article yesterday about how our dreams have been affected. There are some weird and wonderful stories recounted in the piece – I’m not sure how one man would react to being told that his wife had dreamed of decapitating him with a spade – and if you’d like to read more you’ll find it here. I hope that link works, as the paper is behind a paywall, so apologies in advance if it doesn’t. But it settled my choice for this week’s theme: dreams.
In previous weeks people have often commented that one or other of my song choices is new to them. As a little bonus I’m giving you three songs this week, and if any of them is new to you I can only say that you are either young or haven’t been paying attention! I don’t often go for a selection comprising only chart hits but these three were pressing me to choose them – so I have! The songs date back to a six year span, having been released between 1977 and 1983.
To get things off to a rousing start, this is Blondie:
That song was the lead single from the band’s fourth album, Eat To The Beat, and was released in 1979. It continued their habit of doing better in the UK charts than in their native USA: #2 here, but only #27 over there. I’ve always found that pattern strange, but it wasn’t the first (or last) time that we’ve picked up on someone sooner. The same is true in reverse too, in many cases. Weird thing, taste, isn’t it?
My second choice is another absolute stonker, and is the one which gave the Eurythmics their major breakthrough:
They really don’t come much better than that! It was the title track of their second album but, perhaps oddly, was actually the fourth track from that album to be released as a single. They got there in the end, though: #2 in the UK, a US #1, and a massive chart hit in many countries. It’s still one of my all-time favourites, and I love the video.
In generous (indecisive) mood I’m giving you a third song this week. This one should need no introduction as it is from Rumours, one of the biggest selling albums in history:
The album’s stats are incredible: #1 in seven countries, over 40m sales worldwide, countless awards, certified diamond on sales in several countries, and it was all done at a time when the band members’ personal relationships were in chaos. If this wasn’t a themed post I wouldn’t choose this song to represent the album – there are several tracks on it that I prefer, but there really isn’t a dud among them. Rumours was actually the eleventh Fleetwood Mac album – they began as a blues-rock band in the UK – but by the time it was released they were a mixture of Brits and Americans, and the album was recorded in the US. That may have something to do with this being a #1 US single, when it only reached #24 here. Or maybe everyone here had already bought the album!
I hope you have enjoyed this week’s themed selection – there are some pop classics here! As lockdown will be with us for a good while yet I will, like the proverbial bad penny, keep turning up. I hope you stay safe and well, and above all that you find some enjoyment in life – music is a good place to begin! Until next Tuesday: take care.