Imagine: John Lennon, guardian of good table manners

The egomania of popular music receives far too few mentions in official lists
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The magazine Mojo this week produced a fascinating list of moments that changed the course of pop music history (and in just a few cases arguably even the world). From Elvis Presley paying to make his first demo record to The Beatles capturing America on the Ed Sullivan show, Mojo certainly had most of the key events that turned popular music into popular culture.

But I have another list; a list of moments that have been written out of the script, but which, in their way, also define the stars and us, the fans.

At number one, I would place the day at the height of Beatlemania when BBC Radio included in its news bulletins updates on the state of Paul McCartney's flu. We may enjoy the sight of the group on Ed Sullivan capturing the hearts of those sentimental Americans; but we tend to forget how this country very nearly went potty.

Mojo has prominently in its list John Lennon's song "Imagine", which certainly attempted to change the world with its radical, hippie concepts.

But at number two in my list is another Lennon memory. It is an interview with his first wife Cynthia in which she revealed that John was a strict father who often told their son off for his lax table manners. Behind most Sixties radicals was a traditional Fifties education.

Mick Jagger was, of course, in the Mojo list for one of the Rolling Stones' best-known, lip-curling anthems, "Jumpin' Jack Flash".

But at number three in my list is another of their songs, "Let's Spend The Night Together". It is not the song itself that makes it into my chart, but rather the time that it was played on Top of the Pops. Jagger sent a message for Jimmy Savile to read out, saying that the song was about a "rave up" and not about actually spending the night together in that sense. Behind every Sixties lothario was a Fifties sense of propriety.

Neil Young makes it into the Mojo chart for his trio of Seventies albums that signalled a change of direction for the superb singer/songwriter; but there is no mention of the concert at Wembley Arena a couple of years earlier when Young used a voice distortion machine and was unrecognisable to the thousands of fans who came to hear songs from Harvest and After The Gold Rush. The frosty reception he received that night must also have made him change direction - back to a normal voice. But that evening, too, has long been written out of the script.

If that is number four in my list, then a must to complete the top five is the gun-toting Phil Spector. The wall of sound producer's moments of pointing a gun at the Ramones and on a separate occasion at Leonard Cohen to make them get a move on with cutting their discs must merit a place in any list of significant moments in pop.

They were also prophetic moments as Spector, who was arrested earlier this year following a shooting at his home, will know.

The egomania of popular music receives far too few mentions in official lists. My favourite example, a must for number six, was the arrival of Barbra Streisand for her Nineties concert appearance in London. As record company executives drove her from the airport to her hotel she spied a poster announcing her concert as "The Event of the Decade".

"Only the decade?" she is said to have queried in high dudgeon. The worried executives sent a team round London in the dead of night to remove every poster.

A moment of awful realisation that an icon has taken a disastrously wrong turn is my number seven. In 1970, Bob Dylan brought out a double album of mainly cover versions of pop and folk standards called Self Portrait. Sung in almost a falsetto (he had given up smoking and the effect on the famous sand and glass voice was alarming) the album bewildered fans. Was it another brilliant change of direction, a trend-setting move that was ahead of its time? At last Rolling Stone magazine came out with its review. 'What is this shit?' asked the memorable first line. And Dylan went back to being Dylan.

I will stop there; and I hope readers will e-mail me some of their significant moments in pop, which tend to get left off official lists.

¿ Your e-mails continue to come in, expressing irritation and anger over theatre booking fees. But Mr Paul Brownsey of Glasgow almost found a way to get his own back.

As theatres claim that these fees are for administration costs, Mr Brownsey tells me decided to charge the theatre's management for administration costs that they caused him.

After cancellations and reschedulings by the King's Theatre in Glasgow, he sent them an administration bill to cover the phone calls he then had to make to people he had invited to see the plays and also to cover his transport costs to take the tickets back to the box office.

Despite the theatre's philosophical belief in fees to cover administration costs, no one deigned to reply to his letter.

d.lister@independent.co.uk

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