Monday, November 11, 2019

Radio Romance: Helen Reddy : "Angie Baby"

It is easy enough to state that this song was a transatlantic hit (#1 in late '74 and here #2 on Radio Luxembourg in February '75); it is also easy enough to state that the songwriter, Alan O'Day, worked on the lyrics for some time, even showing them to his therapist* to get his/her advice on them.

But what is the song about?  No one, even O'Day and Reddy, who you would think would know, don't.  This is actually rather refreshing, as how many songs actually seem to be flattened or reduced by having their meaning/origin explained?  It almost even takes away some of the power - the listener's power - in understanding and interpreting a song.  So my version of this song may not be yours, but here goes...

A girl loves music, loves it so much and thus it takes over her life.  Is she touched, a little crazy in the head?  For some reason she doesn't go to school but gets to stay at home, in her room** listening to her radio all day.  She whirls around with one song, one fantastic partner, after another. She is, as Sister Sledge will later attest, Lost In Music.  Whether she knows this or not isn't stated, but Reddy's voice is always present to hint, to insinuate, to make the case for Angie that she is a "special lady" and not one to be messed with. 

A girl's attachment to music is a strong thing.  The power of music matches her own power, which can be so great and yet so ephemeral, but always is there, and the radio becomes a means of possessing this power in a way, of having means to escape even if you are shut-in at home, it seems in the song for Angie's own good. 

But there's a boy, a ne'er-do-well, who wants Angie and looks in on her and sees only her body, of course.  He doesn't know about her "really nice place to go" but perhaps knows she's a bit "touched."  This boy wants and gets into her room, only to find himself, his very soul, spun around and somehow disappearing into the radio, never to be seen again.  The radio keeps him - he's not dead, exactly, but he can never escape.  She has a lover; she has her radio; she has her land of make-believe...or is it? 

Even here I can say that the radio, that music itself, somehow defends and protects Angie, that she who is so utterly devoted has her just reward, and that the confusing, fuzzy and emotionally and psychologically profound reactions a girl has to music are all here.  The way a guitar and drums and voice can hit your nerves, all your nerves, so that you become altered, even liberated, by what happens to you when you hear them.  The effect is instantaneous and all those radio stations who didn't need any encouragement to play this song (radio stations love songs which mention radios, after all) maybe didn't get the whole subversive sexual undertow here, or maybe they very much did. 

A girl and her radio; a radio romance.

Next up:  it's the Valentine's Day massacre.

*Hardly anything more 70s than doing this, though how much popular culture - through books, music, movies - was about young women who were deemed "odd" or "weird" or flat-out "crazy" in this decade has no doubt been written about, but also sort of written off.  The male/masculine version of the 70s has become the default understanding of the decade, with only a few women accepted as part of that male world, and this goes for all media, really.  I know this is a super-obvious point, but it always bears making.

** How much would I have loved to stay in my room say circa November 1981 and listen to the radio all day? A lot....

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Very Strange Vibration: Gloria Gaynor: "Never Can Say Goodbye"

There are few moments better than the one where confusion and doubt are conquered, even eliminated.  We are in disco when this particular and precise emotion happens to make sense, as disco is about that joy, a joy that magnetic and crushing and inexplicable, an energy that cannot be denied.  That it comes in with Max Roach-inspired drumming, swirling strings and an I’ve-lived-this-and-we-can-share-it vocal from Gloria Gaynor (who sounds as caught up in the song as anyone) is just as well.  We are far from the laid-back pleasures of "Rock Your Baby" or the get-down Miami horn blasts of KC & the Sunshine Band here.  Gaynor is singing to be heard, and that this is a Jackson 5 song seems to make no impression on her whatsoever.  She is making this her own.
What those who bought this en masse may or may have not known was that “Never Can Say Goodbye” was the middle of a trilogy from her album of the time – a “mix” really – by Tom Moulton*, which starts with “Honey Bee” and ends with “Reach Out I’ll Be There.**”  This mix was the first to appear on an album – let’s just pause to ponder this – and capitalized on Moulton’s ability as a mixer to really get into the songs – not in a complicated way, just in a way that was supposed to elongate the song, and have Gaynor’s voice in your head *even when she wasn’t audibly there*. Dancing in your head? That the very male world of disco (I have been reading Peter Shapiro’s book on it and early discos were definitely male territory, with disco becoming a more female-friendly phenomenon later on) should have a woman taking on Levi Stubbs’ aria of a song and making it sound like the veritable audio version of the last helicopter out of Vietnam is, to say the least, quite something. 
The power of the song is to worry away in the verses and then dismiss these worries in the chorus with a rising "I love you ssssooooooooooo" that has in it right there a real vulnerability/strength moment which disco (when it wasn't just exhorting you the listener to dance, which it often did) does so well.  Can you stop?  Is stopping on the dancefloor possible?  Tom Moulton didn't want you to stop, and put this together with oh say Eddie Kendricks' "Girl You Need A Change Of Mind" and it won't stop.
Next:  A radio, a woman, a man. 

 *Tom Moulton is the first person to use a 12" single to do the pressing of a song, giving the song more space to breathe, sound better and of course have more time to let the song be itself. That he found this out by accident is charming. 
**We are not done with Motown yet and in a few entries the topic of jazz will appear, with Motown popping up unexpectedly.

Friday, September 6, 2019

The Right Time: John Holt: "Help Me Make It Through The Night"

One of the contributing factors towards 1975 being the amazing year it was has to be the general openness of the charts.  The old stalwarts of pop and rock were still around, but new things, new permutations of things, abounded in the early 70s.  In short, anything went, and amidst the joy/chaos there were more than a few songs that showed vulnerability and a slight sense of loneliness and even tiredness.  Country and reggae were old friends, and here they sound just right together.

By early 1975 the high that Trojan Records had been riding was coming to an end, but label star John Holt was wise/lucky enough to have a hit album 1000 Volts of Holt (the cover screams early 70s, right down to the paisley/plaid combination which Holt pulls off because star power) come out before the financially-struggling Trojan collapsed altogether in May, bought out by Saga Records. (This could be, as is suggested in Bass Culture, that the English kids who dug reggae c. 1971 were no longer interested in it, it being passé.)

“Help Me Make It Through The Night” was released in late 1974 and got to #2 on the Luxembourg chart as a crossover reggae/lovers rock hit that was solid musically and sung with warmth and ease by Holt.  That it was so sophisticated was due to the English producer  Tony Ashfield, who had been involved in Jamaican music for some time and had worked with Holt on a previous album, The Further You Look.  That was 1972 though, and while it was a big hit in Jamaica it wasn’t elsewhere – hence Ashfield and Holt decided to do another album, one with proven songs like this one, which had already been a hit for Gladys Knight & The Pips as well as others, including a reggae version by Duke Parker.  The song suited his voice and modest mien* and its devil-may-care-desperate lyrics somehow work in with the longing in his voice.  I wonder if this song would have made it to number one had all the shops it sold in – not just Boots or Woolworths – were counted?
In the meantime, Ashfield and Holt split over differences, Holt continuing to record in Jamaica both in the lovers rock style and doing more political songs.  This song marks a moment when someone who is a worldwide star finally gets his due, and had things been different...
Next up:  Music, non-stop!



*Holt turned down a certain song which author Max Romeo eventually had to record himself.   Ahem.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Remembering the Forgotten: Ralph McTell: "Streets of London"

We have now arrived at the end of 1974; we are about to enter the then to-some scary area known as 1975.  A time of big decisions and already there's a sense that whatever will become of this decade will be worked out now.  The Nixon era has already ended and the Vietnam War is drawing to a close.  In the UK there’s the growing sense of unease coupled with two events that are responses to that unease.  This unease continues to this day and in fact its crushing and terrible logic is attempting to be worked out even as I write this.  There is hope however; there is always hope....
"Streets of London" is the sort of song that sticks; McTell is not singing of any general sense of loneliness but about specific people and to a specific person - a friend of his who was a heroin addict.  It is the realistic loneliness that stands quite opposite to the song which kept it at #2, Mud's "Lonely This Christmas."  It is a gentle, near classical song with a touch of folk; country blues, even.  The power of it is the musical simplicity which acts as a welcoming warm hug of a frame around the four people depicted, all of them alone, all desolate.
McTell's voice is warm too, familiar, as opposed to the (at this point) recently departed Nick Drake, who was more unworldly and yes, seductive.  McTell is taking the listener by the hand into the streets of London, starting at the Surrey Street Market in Croydon (where he was raised), ending on the Thames by the Seaman's Mission with a veteran (WWI? WWII?) who has been cast aside, just as the bag lady and the T.S. Eliot/Beckettian figure who does nothing but drink tea all night to pass the time.  These are all people who are alive but whom society does not want to recognize, who are yesterday's news. The addict is gently shown those who are lost, in darkness, wandering and sadly friendless.  I would like to think that some heard this song and it opened their hearts, or as McTell wanted to do, changed their minds.  Not through preaching but through the powerful examples that especially at Christmastime are a reminder to look out for others and to be more considerate.  That is the real meaning of the season as it happens.
That it took three times, three different recordings, to make this song a hit shows how sometimes a song just has to appear at the right time (and in the right way) to make its impact.  It has become a standard folk song (recorded first in '69, produced by Gus Dudgeon) so much so that punk (ah yes punk - we'll get to that in enough time) band the Anti-Nowhere League did their own cover, with altered lyrics (mais oui) "Let me grab you by the hair and drag you through the streets of London, I'll show you something that'll really make you sick" was heartily approved of by McTell himself. The song is McTell's main legacy, one he has accepted as his gift to the world, even as he continues to write and record albums to this day.  Can the world change because of a song?  Can it have an impact beyond itself? The answer is, as always, with the listener.
Next up:  Lord have mercy!

Monday, August 5, 2019

You've Come A Long Way: "Rock Me Gently" and "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet"

Now then, where was I?....

You may or indeed may not know that I have had a long break from this blog as my husband was diagnosed and tested and then finally operated on last year.  It was a big and rarely-done operation and was, thank goodness, a success.  I spent a lot of last year either at work, shopping or in the process of visiting him in hospital, which I did nearly daily until I knew he was okay physically and mentally.  2018 was a hot summer; a summer of record; but I was blanked out by the end of the day, able eventually to listen to music (impossible at first), eat dinner, rest.  And then phone early the next morning to see how he was overnight, and it would then all start over again.

Now however, he is back at work, and my brave (possibly), unheralded and amazingly unrivalled blog can continue.  If you are new here – hello!  I hope you like it and have time to catch up with what I have written already.  And if you have read it before, you know how it goes...

It just so happens that I left off at a place very few people want to be stranded in – The Fog.  Or, if you are a psychogeographer, the liminal period.  Late 1974 was confusing and contentious - the Glam Slam era was virtually over, and disco had yet to really catch on.  Naturally it was a time (as ever) when record companies wanted hits, they wanted something catchy and oh well who cared what the lyrics were about as long it had a decent chorus and some good hooks.  The sexual revolution?  Who upstairs approved of that though?

Leave it to the Canadians, as always, to inadvertently push things forward.  Bachman-Turner Overdrive, the prairie kings of HRS, were working on Not Fragile and someone from the company came along to see if there were any obvious singles from the album.  Nope.  Well what else do you have, guys?  They had a song they only used to play to warm up which no one saw as being anything great or even okay – it was just a crappy song to them.  The company man knew it would be a hit though, so “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet” was duly recorded, deliberate stuttering put in by Randy as a tribute to his brother.  And so it was a hit, this song about a naive young man who has fallen in love with a more experienced woman, and hooee is he having fun.  The stuttering works as a way of showing his shock, his pleasure – and the simplicity of the cowbell-rockin’ song does too.  That it’s a song about a sexually assertive woman and a man most happy and even greedy (“I took what I could get” he says, after “any love is good love” which actually gives the song a risqué element beyond mere greed) is very quietly revolutionary.   He is not resentful or bitter or neurotic about being the one who has things to learn – quite the opposite.  This isn’t “Summer The First Time” – the implication, as much as BTO can be bothered, is that they are equals, save for this one thing. Listen to the bass and you will see how sexy and knowing the song is, without being tiresome.
Andy Kim’s “Rock Me Gently” is a similar song, though it was very much intended to be a single, one that Kim had to finance and release on his own label as no one else was interested in it.  It was a gamble so desperate that on the b-side there was no time for another song, just the instrumental part of the a-side.  That both were hits (the b-side got airplay on US R&B stations) shows how gambles can indeed pay off sometimes.

Kim – and I’ve had a lot of time to consider this – sounds a lot more experienced than the prairie-boy narrator from BTO.  He wears linen and good cologne; he knows about art and music and yet is not a boring hipster.  He is a together dude and thus when he comes across a woman he loves and she wants...something he’s a bit unfamiliar with, he can be generous and gracious.  He knows about liberated women, the sexual revolution, and he’s perfectly fine with it, as long as it’s a gentle one.  Polite.  Thoughtful.  Sends flowers.  That kind of revolution!  Which was happening now that the 70s was busy putting the 60s ideology into actual practice. The lyric “Don’t you know that I have never been loved like this before” is sung in a way that it could be just that, or you could hear a little smile in it, implying....whatever you think it means. 
Both of these songs went to #2 here in the UK, and #1 in the US; there is a sweetness and humility and generosity in these songs that are sexy, a counterpoint in the UK at least to the usual idea of this era being something scary and most certainly macho.  
Now then, I should note that I have skipped some songs as I didn't really *feel* the need to write about them - "Wombling Merry Christmas" being one, "Far Far Away" by Slade being another and there's a Rollers song in there too - and of course "Killer Queen" by Queen I wrote about over at Then Play Long.  This is so I can better focus on the wonders of 1975, which I will be doing as usual but with the addition of the odd album or two* when needed to give a greater context to what was an exciting time musically (unlike some people who were just bored by music at the time).  Those of you who know what 1975 meant in UK terms will be waiting for June; in some ways we are living in the opposite of that time, when the UK said yes.
Up next:  a hunky folksinger takes you on a tour.
*Not in a TPL sort of way, but more as a sidebar, as such.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Searching For Light: Jimmy Ruffin: "What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted"

"I'm outspoken, I wasn't part of the clique." - Jimmy Ruffin

You may well be wondering what a Motown song from 1966 is doing in the 1974 chart, but as it stands, British radio has had its struggles with Motown for some time. 

In 1966, "What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted" got to #10, at the point late in the year where the tide for new, interesting music was turning from the UK and back to the US; just months before the pirate stations were to close, and Radio One was to begin.  In the late 60s a reissue series of Motown singles that were never big hits when they were first issued began via Dave Godin*, who worked for the distribution arm for Motown in the UK; and Tony Blackburn and Alan Freeman were only too happy to play these alongside the fresh Motown songs, in a belief that these songs deserved more airplay, sales and general respect.**

This song was rereleased (possibly by Godin; I am not sure of this) and got to #2 on the Luxembourg chart, #4 on the UK chart.  Which is only right for such a (and I don't use this word loosely) majestic song

And yet it has, as I keep thinking, something a bit rough about it too.  Ruffin grew up poor, singing in the church alongside his brother David, and went into the army for a time, then worked in a factory, and after an injury took up work at Motown, singing for sessions, doing singles that were on the Motown subsidiary Miracle, while his brother joined The Temptations (a job he had turned down).  He heard this song, written by William Witherspoon, Paul Riser and James Dean, and heard The Spinners were to record it - the song resonated with him, and he managed to convince them that he should record it instead. 

Though not on the single version, there is a spoken introduction:

A world filled with love is a wonderful sight.
Being in love is one's heart's delight.
But that look of love isn't on my face.
That enchanted feeling has been replaced.
The song was produced by Smokey Robinson, and Ruffin's voice is dignified, direct, unironic.  And the Andantes and Originals are there too, because this is one man's witness to a crowd, a congregation; though it is not a protest song explicitly, there is an inescapable sense that what he has suffered has been suffered by others, due to the many voices, voices who have growing needs but only experience is of an "unhappy ending."  Ruffin didn't want to be part of a group, and his tenor voice is too distinctive to blend in happily.  It is a voice of a man who is average, but outspoken; a man who went to the UK and Europe to work when things dried up in the US. 

The misery in this song is absolute - he is "cold and alone" and while he sees love growing everywhere for others, it does not exist for him.  There are The Andantes and The Originals testifying to this, and there they are encouraging him to keep going, to keep searching in the darkness for light;  the song's title, which is something of a question, is that the brokenhearted either give up to the bleakness or they have the faith (have to have it) to find a way out, to find someone who will care.  He is a seer; he has visions; and at first these are troubling, but he also walks towards something positive, even if he can't see it, he knows it's there.

Was this a hit in the UK of 1974 as people wanted to feel acknowledged in their hapless sense of "always moving but going nowhere"? Well, we are in the time of The Fog and the bewilderment many must have felt is echoed in this song. But the narrator is not going to "make do and mend" or "keep calm and carry on" or anything like that; he is restless, he is in pain, and passive suffering is of no use to him.  Though he may be anguished, he is active; as active as the opposite Motown song of the time, "Reach Out I'll Be There."

That this song would be covered by Dave Stewart and Colin Blunstone*** in 1981 as an anti-Thatcher protest and be a hit (I like to think Ruffin appreciated this; it was his favorite cover version) is one thing to note; that Ruffin did a version of it in Italian called "Se Decidi Cosi"**** is another.  It was made a hit all over again for Paul Young in 1991, and memorably performed in the 2002 Motown doc Standing In The Shadows Of Motown by Joan Osborne. 

But what of Motown on British radio now?  (By this I mean 60s Motown, of course.)  Tony Blackburn does a "soul and Motown" show on digital radio and it is mixed up with random 80s soul and he no doubt plays some on his other shows (he has so many now and Motown is always a part of them).  But where else does it get played?  Is it doomed simply to be comfort food radio for those who remember being young at the time?  (Always with the idea, looming in the background, that everything has gotten worse since, including the music?) 

As the 60s disappear from the radio*****, Motown persists, but it is only as a sound, not as a meaning or as anything other than "the hits."  Northern Soul still gets played, I suppose, but what of Deep Soul, that of which Dave Godin was most proud?  That is perhaps too much for UK radio, and as so much US music tends to be, left to specialist broadcasters, while regular radio clings for dear life to the chart, as if to keep utter chaos from breaking out.  So much fine music being missed out, yet again; and what will become of it?

As for Jimmy Ruffin, he sang on miner's strike benefit single "Soul Deep" by the Council Collective as he knew about the struggles of the working man; and he would have had another hit with Stock, Aitken & Waterman's "Roadblock" but his vocal was left off to make it more mysterious.  But this is the song that has persisted; and whatever the cause, I am glad it got a second chance in the UK, much as Ruffin did.

Next up:  back to Canada.

*Dave Godin also coined the terms Northern Soul and Deep Soul, more on which anon.

**"Dancing In The Street" originally got to #28 in the UK in 1964 (when "Little Red Rooster" by The Rolling Stones was #1 - Dave Godin didn't think much of that, I bet); but with the push of Godin et. al., it got to #4 in 1969, for example.

***It was originally supposed to be Robert Wyatt, but he was busy working with Scritti Politti at the time. 

****"So If You Decide"

*****Radio Two's Sounds of the 60s now comes on at 6am on Saturday and is determinedly upbeat cheery stuff, as presented by Tony Blackburn.  The previous host, Brian Matthew, was dismissed only a few weeks ago and recently was taken to hospital, and mistakenly reported as dead by the BBC.  As of this writing he is still alive. 


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Road That Sometimes Bends: The Stylistics: "You Make Me Feel Brand New"

First, a short explanation as to why there has been a pause here – apart from various holidays and birthdays, there was the rather traumatic Saturday when I came home from work, to find Marcello agitated.  By now I am used to the misery and agitation upon the announcement of a death of a musician, and a song produced by Thom Bell was playing in the background, so I naturally assumed the worst, only to be told no, Mr. Bell was very much alive.  It was only after a bit of prodding that he told me that a man who had been inspired to blog (in part) due to Marcello’s own blogging had died the previous day, by his own hand.  That man was Mark Fisher, a man I had only met once, and then only briefly, at that.  I had attended the Deep Listening Club, noting coolly that I was the only woman there, and was nearly the only woman another gathering where I half-whimsically suggested the next Deep Listening Club be Charles Spearin’s The HappinessProject. 

There was no second Deep Listening Club though.  I can relate only a few impressions of what he was like here:  nervous, enthusiastic, sensitive.  I got the idea he had his own tastes and views that had very little to do with my own (I am not especially interested in the eerie or weird, for instance).  His creating the website Dissensus and then leaving it behind are both noble gestures however, and unlike others in the circles he was in he was not “one of us” in the sense that he went to a public school, Oxbridge and/or “just happened to be” related to someone of money and importance.*

 If you live in a culture like this day in and day out, you have to be extremely careful, distanced, self-aware and self-protective.  I could not tell, from just meeting him once, how good Fisher was at this, or whether he was capable of it.  This in part is why his loss is so tough.  Marcello decided right then to end Then Play Long, for many different reasons, including the general sense that the "one of us" types have no interest in it whatsoever.

Music Sounds Better With Two, however, has never been about wanting or even really needing too much acceptance for me; it is something I do mostly (though not wholly) for my own understanding of things, with the hopeful by-product of helping others to learn things as well.   

And so, we return to the number two song behind “When Will I See You Again”:  “You Make Me Feel Brand New” by The Stylistics. 

Here we are in August 1974 and for many reasons, which (if you’re an American, especially) the Long National Nightmares are over, or nearly so.  The Fog still exists in the UK however, but look how the charts have shifted.  The Glam Slam is fading away (to be replaced by Queen in the popularity stakes, though Slade and Mud and the chart-observant Rubettes still around), and dance music – of the sort that is now apparently immovable from the Radio Two schedule – is taking over.  The word disco has yet to really become known, but it is well on its way  The beginning of the 70s is over; the Fog still exists as I said, but there are welcoming beams of something else coming from Philadelphia....

To help explain Thom Bell and why he is a genius, you have to understand that he was classically trained and indeed wanted to become a concert pianist/conductor.  He went to New York City with this ambition only to be rejected and told to go to Harlem and the Apollo and find work there.  This was a disappointing turn of events (there were black conductors in the US, but as ever one or two were seen as being “enough” by the Man) and so he went back to Philadelphia and worked as a conductor for Chubby Checker.  After tiring of the Twist, he got to work with a group he refashioned as The Delfonics, writing songs for them as the ones he tried to get for them from labels were so bad, he figured he could do better himself; so he taught himself composition, straight from books.  He had some small successes at first, but with “La-La (Means I Love You)” he had a huge hit**, and became a known figure, winning a Grammy and (along with his friends and work associates Gamble and Huff) began to define the Philadelphia sound. 

After producing and writing for the The Delfonics he then in 1971 moved along to The Stylistics, who he accepted as the voice of Russell Thompkins Jr. was (and is) so strikingly high and distinctive – pure and naive and sharp all at the same time.  And he constructed the near-classical pieces to feature that voice ,though on “You Make Me Feel Brand New” you also hear the voice of Airrion Love.  It is the great contrast between the two that in part makes the song so special.  It is a song of two voices– to have it sung by only one voice seems odd (Mick Hucknall tried and failed, spectacularly).  It is also a song of vulnerability and gratitude, utterly calm and even if Linda Creed does rhyme “friend” with “friend” this just adds to the realism.  That a sitar is in the mix should not be seen as anything other than Bell’s own determination to make his songs sound different (and he knew about the sitar from way before the Beatles made them famous; his West Indies background and experience with exchange students at an early age gave him a musical knowledge others didn’t have). 
This moment of calm and vaguely exotic and strikingly modern bliss was a number two hit on both sides of the Atlantic; it feels utterly grounded in a way and yet soars (due to the two voices) and both Love and Thompkins take it slowly, not showily, somehow fitting in as voices in the general palette but also instruments.  It is a hymn; solemn,  stately and melodic enough to have a reggae cover version (I can only imagine there is one). 
Thom Bell won the very first Producer of the Year Grammy award in 1974 - and I am sure whoever has won it since has looked up to him in some way.***  His genius was to keep pushing ahead and teach himself things when others wouldn't, and to know what he wanted and with the lyrics of Linda Creed in this case, bring a delicate and genuine moment to the charts.  The Stylistics suffered once Bell left them to Hugo & Luigi and worked with The Spinners instead; but along with Charles Stepney (a very different producer, but underrated I feel****) and Maurice White he made some of the very best music of the 70s.  It is music that speaks to the spirit and to the heart.  
Next:  we go back to go forward, so to speak.
And:  thanks for waiting, everyone!


*It may be obvious, but it needs stating:  the “one of us” types who feel entitled to everything have pretty much ruined the UK and everything good about it.  The worst ones are those who act as if they are not “one of us” but actually very much are. 

**He won a Grammy but was only able to see this in person as somehow he wangled his way to get a seat in the room – he wasn’t invited.  The president of the company, not him, accepted the award.  He hasn’t been to a Grammy ceremony since.
*** I can just imagine the temper tantrums in certain quarters when (cough) certain big-headed producers didn't get the award, and weren't even thought of to give it to first. 
****Even if Stepney had only produced this, he would be one of the greatest of all time (also co-wrote it, of course):  Rotary Connection's "I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun."