Doris Stokes – Welcome to my World

Weird Musical History #11 Doris Stokes was Britain’s foremost medium in the eighties. She was a regular on television, had a series of autobiographical books and toured the world selling out theatres with her displays of mediumship. She was spiritual advisor to the stars – John Inman, Freddie Starr and members of the cast ofContinue reading “Doris Stokes – Welcome to my World”

It was 80 years ago today… Cycling Scientists on Acid

Weird Musical History 10 – Bike Psych On the 19 April 1943 chemist Albert Hofmann became the first person in history to give themselves a dose of a newly synthesised mind-altering drug. When things got too weird in his laboratory, he went on a psychedelic bicycle ride home through the mother of all bad trips.Continue reading “It was 80 years ago today… Cycling Scientists on Acid”

Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft

Weird Musical History #9 In 1977, NASA launched the probes spacecraft Voyager 1 and 2 on a journey that will eventually have them leave our solar system far behind. They each carry a twelve-inch golden phonograph record with a message to any aliens who might in the distant future find one of the probes. TheContinue reading “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft”

Music for Plants Weird Musical History #8

I recently came across an odd vinyl album on Hebden Bridge flea market called Music for Plants by the Baroque Bouquet (pictured above). The record’s back sleeve claims that playing it to your plants will keep your plants happy and healthy. What kind of music do plants like? Well, that was worth coughing up myContinue reading “Music for Plants Weird Musical History #8”

Uri Geller ~ The Album

Weird Musical History #7 In the early 1970s a young Israeli self-proclaimed psychic called Uri Geller made his first appearances in Britain, gaining tabloid headlines and demonstrating his supposedly supernatural powers on TV. The superpower that Geller became best known for was the rather prosaic one of bending spoons with the power of his mind,Continue reading “Uri Geller ~ The Album”

Splatter Platters – Top Ten Teen Tragedy Death Discs

Weird Musical History #6 One of the strangest sub-genres of pop music and one that I have a macabre affection for is the death disc – songs of teenage tragedy – that rode high in the charts of the early 1960s. These splatter platters told tragic stories of teenagers and their loved ones meeting stickyContinue reading Splatter Platters – Top Ten Teen Tragedy Death Discs

Mandolinquents – Weird Musical History #5

Among top musicians, claimed one newspaper in 1932, the mandolin is much maligned and seen as ‘a tinkling toy, fit only for people whose musical ambition, like their musical ability, is severely limited’.[i] Not true, of course. I’ve unearthed a couple of French stories that show that the mandolin has played a role in heinousContinue reading “Mandolinquents – Weird Musical History #5”

Weird Musical History #4 ~ The Cat Organ

In 1549, a huge pageant was held in Brussels in honour of the entry of King Phillip II of Spain into the city. The musical highlight of this spectacle was a moving float upon which a live bear played tunes on an organ. But it wasn’t just any organ. It was a cat organ, sometimesContinue reading “Weird Musical History #4 ~ The Cat Organ”

Weird Musical History #3 ~ The Elvis Presley Séance (1979)

Two years after Elvis Presley died, a seance was arranged in a North London Spiritualist Church. The aim was to contact the King of Rock and Roll from beyond the grave. The event was recorded and released as a vinyl LP by Shadow Records in 1979. The event is narrated by the softly spoken RadioContinue reading “Weird Musical History #3 ~ The Elvis Presley Séance (1979)”

Weird Musical History 2 ~ Musaire! Calderdale’s Unsung Pioneer of Electronic Music

In the spring of 1950, an unsung pioneer of electronic music and variety star returned to his native Calderdale for a series of concerts at the Drill Hall, Halifax as part of the Halifax Home and Industrial Exhibition.[i] His name was Joseph Forest Whiteley, but he was best known by his stage name Musaire becauseContinue reading “Weird Musical History 2 ~ Musaire! Calderdale’s Unsung Pioneer of Electronic Music”