Tag Archives: YouTubes

Neil Innes – How Sweet To Be An Idiot

Sad news today that musician, comedian and writer Neil Innes has died. A local Goldsmiths College alumni, he’s known for being a member of the avant-pop Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band; dubbed the ‘Seventh Python‘; part of Rutland Weekend Television, most notably in the Pre-fab Four spin-off The Rutles; and in other comedy bands, as well as being a successful solo performer.

I’ve seen him live a handful of times – at the BBC; playing in various London pubs (once with Mitch Benn and another with The Idiot Bastard Band, which included Ade Edmondson, Phill Jupitus, Simon Brint and Rowland Rivron) and also solo in a tiny village hall down windy country lanes out near Southwold.

A lover of the ukulele, there’s a nice interview with him speaking to John Tribe from Ukulele Tutorial. Chords for almost two hundred of his songs are on his website.

Here’s Linda Louden‘s cover of My Little Ukulele:



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UK Christmas Number Ones – 1984 (& 1989 & 2004)

The original version of the hugely successful charity single Do They Know It’s Christmas?, written by Bob Geldof & Midge Ure in reaction Michael Buerk’s BBC reports of famine in Ethiopia, was performed by Band Aid, a group comprising of the biggest names in British music at the time. It even led to the enormous Live Aid benefit concert the following summer.

In addition to various reissues, the song was re-recorded in 1989 by Band Aid II and 2004 by Band Aid 20,  giving three different versions of the same song the top slot in their respective years.

Here’s an excellent collaborative cover version produced by Ronin Wong, who gathered 43 performers around the world – mainly uke players – into this video collage (full credits & back story). See how many faces you recognise!

And, if you’ve been enjoying this trip down chart memory lane, why not try Smooth Radio’s Christmas Number Ones quiz or Uke Hunt’s annual Xmas ukulele-themed one?

More info on Wikipedia.


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UK Christmas Number Ones – 1974

Glam Rock band Mud swapped their Tiger Feet for crepe-soled shoes to play their Elvis Presley pastiche Lonely This Christmas.

Here’s Ukulele Paradijs with a delightfully cheesy version, recorded in Gouda:

More info on Wikipedia.


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UK Christmas Number Ones – 2015

The Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir, from PLUC’s local NHS Trust, were responsible for 2015’s charity Xmas number one. Released after they were runners up in the BBC’s The Choir: Sing While You Work  and at a time of crisis for the NHS, A Bridge Over You combines two previous hits: the iconic Bridge Over Troubled Water (probably Simon & Garfunkel’s best-known hit) and Coldplay’s Fix You (used for various good causes, such as a tribute highlighting the aftermath of the 7/7 London Bombings in 2005).

Helmut Bickel gives one of his fingerstyle tutorials for Fix You.

Enjoy Paxukulele & Sunny performing Bridge Over Troubled Water:

More info on Wikipedia.


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UK Christmas Number Ones – 1994

Stay Another Day has proved to be East 17‘s biggest hit.

It was written by the band’s lead songwriter, Tony Mortimer, and is about his brother Ollie, who took his own life. For 2019 Mortimer has recorded another version with the Waltham Forest Youth Choir to raise money for the charity CALM.

Here’s a group from Learn To Uke Ukulele Tutorials, fittingly playing in Walthamstow, E17:

More info on Wikipedia.


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UK Christmas Number Ones – 1985

The UK’s biggest-selling singles artist of the 1980s, Shakin’ Stevens took Merry Christmas Everyone  to the top in 1985. Its original planned release was put back by a year to avoid clashing with the runaway success of Band Aid’s charity single Do They Know It’s Christmas?

Here’s some footage of Wirral Ukulele Orchestra at a local gig:

More info on Wikipedia.


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UK Christmas Number Ones – 1973

Merry Xmas Everybody, written by lead vocalist Noddy Holder and bassist Jim Lea at the height of Slade‘s popularity, is by far their biggest hit.  A perennial favourite, it’s been released every decade since 1973 & covered numerous times, ensuring them a comfortable pension from the royalties!

Here’s a gentle take on it from Uke Nukem:

More info on Wikipedia.


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UK Christmas Number Ones – 1971

Ernie (The Fastest Milkman In The West) was a novelty hit from Benny Hill, utilising some of the same gags from his earlier number Gather In The Mushrooms. He’s a real fun guy!

Here’s a suitably daft reenactment from Ukulele Hooley Ernie:

More info on Wikipedia.


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UK Christmas Number Ones – 1962

As today is the Royal Mail’s last recommended posting date for Second Class items (and Fri 20 Dec is the last for First Class), it seems appropriate to mention 1962’s Xmas number one, Return To Sender, from Elvis Presley.

Here’s The Cypress Street Band performing it:

More info on Wikipedia.

Return To Sender


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UK Christmas Number Ones – 2016

Clean Bandit‘s Rockabye is the first song in UK chart history to become Xmas number one after already being at the top of the charts.

Here’s Peppermint Ollie with an interesting ukulele rendition:

More info on Wikipedia.


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