Monday, February 25, 2013

Week Ten: Take The Sheet Off Your Face, Boy, It's A Brand New Day!

Golly, dear blog reader, but this week's Spiral was really rather bloody, was it not? These were two episodes in which almost all of the various characters were, seemingly, being cruelly manipulated for someone else's benefit. And, you know, in one case getting themselves shot in the head. Which, thinking about it, is probably worse. Sometimes, the manipulation was actually a beneficial situation – horrible Herville being deliciously outmanoeuvred by Judge Roban into using Laure, his best officer, to lead his raids, is the prime example ('She's absolutely astonishing. It's just a shame she's so unpleasant!') But in other cases, it was hard to see any obvious exit strategy which doesn't involve career destruction, or violent bloodshed. Or, indeed, both at the same time. Pierre Clément and Joséphine Karlsson, in particular, seem stuck on a highway of imminent disaster with no obvious turn-off to a nearby b-road in sight. And, then there's Gilou. Goodness only knows how these disparate threads are going to be drawn together, and provide some definitive answers before the series concludes. Of the main cast, only Laure and Tintin seemed to come out of this double bill relatively free of error – and given that Tintin spent most of his time in a coma then woke only to give his colleagues the finger before bursting into tears at a dramatically inappropriate moment that's genuinely not saying much. That Laure managed, for two entire episodes, to somehow not majorly mess anything up, instead appearing blissfully happy with Vincent, is little short of astonishing. it's not all sweetness and light, however. Without Tintin around the office, Laure and Gilou became like squabbling siblings, each knowing exactly which buttons to push to wind the other one up. Some viewers may have found the false jeopardy of the storyline somewhat frustrating (Is Tintin dead? No, but he's in a coma. Is he ever going to wake up again? Maybe not. Oh, hang on, he has). But it worked for this blogger and, within an episode, we're all heading over to Tintin's never-previously-seen gaff for some champagne and a barbecue. Nice. That said, the team's ridiculous caper as they broke into his room at the hospital, and the moment when the impact of the trauma and his colleagues' thoughtful gift hit home were two of the great moments of the series so far. If Gilou hadn't been so busy smuggling an illegal gun out of his best friend's basement, maybe he could have substituted some comforting words for the highly awkward bluster and evasion. Which brings us to a very obvious question - exactly how does Gilou get himself into these tangled messes?
He has, after all, now supplied an illegal (one would hope, untraceable) gun to the Sarahoui brothers, who not only used it to shoot his informer, but - seemingly deliberately - left Gilou's own card at the scene of the crime. That's after the brothers returned his police gun to him but empty of bullets. Now he's really on the hook – and all because he wanted a tip-off for a raid. There's not a line of snow nor dodgy hooker in sight, yet he's still got himself involved with the underworld's hardest and meanest. Elsewhere, Umit Çetin has been picked up, but with only one of the two chests of serious weaponry that Herville has - rashly - promised to deliver to his bosses. The gun-running storyline also produced two superb lines of dialogue, both from Laure. When she shows Herville the recovered SIM card found in a dead criminals colon, Herville asks 'Where's this from?' 'From his arse, sir,' she replies matter-of-factly. Better still is her frustrated response to Çetin's feigned ignorance about the guns just found in his pond: 'It's your garden, you knobhead!' Excellent translation there, Beeb4. There wasn't much from Nutter Thomas and his curiously mute anarchist scum gang this week. They are, seemingly, planning to kidnap Joseph Vandernburg, head of the Belgian Property Office, who is headed for Paris to sign a contract to build a new prison outside Ostende. Their numbers have been swelled by the arrival of Yannis Tzakari, apparently released for killing a police officer on a technicality, who Riffaut says actually had his leg smashed with an iron bar. This is the sort of thing Spiral does very well: lull you into believing a described series of events, and then have them challenged by its most unsympathetic character. Riffault also put pictures up on his Cop Watch website, thanks to Joséphine. Providing names and photographs in such circumstances is bad enough, although she did at least avoid revealing their addresses. Thus far, the site had only eight hundred and forty seven online views - a bit like From The North on most days - and one imagines many of them are Riffault himself. Again, a bit like From The North. But, perhaps I've said too much.
Elsewhere Joséphine at last opens up to Pierre and reveals the backstory which has made her so hard and mean: betrayed by the police, she and her sister were sent to boarding school and their mother eventually committed suicide. It was a moving scene, and one which helped to explain a great deal in terms of three-and-a-half series of character motivation. But, despite sharing her past, Joséphine seems determined to keep Pierre at arms length in the present – even as he is busy declaring his love for her to a rather queasy-looking Laure; except, of course, for moments when Joséphine needs to save her own skin and sex seems to be the best distraction available. Special Branch, however, have also noticed Karlsson's charms – hence their demand that she gets as close to Riffaut as possible. Blackmailing Joséphine over the one occasion that she bent the rules to do someone other than herself some good, rather than ill, is a truly delicious irony. They also suggest that Pierre will be ruined, careerwise, if she is. The exchanges were spiky in the extreme: 'You defend terrorists.' 'Not especially.' Therefore, the question must be asked, why did Joséphine decide to become a double agent? Is it because that she doesn't like being bossed about? Or, because of her distrust and distaste of the police runs so deep? It's probably too much to hope for that Roban will be able to unmask Garnier's corruption, with Machard's blessing no less, and to be proved right. Instead, his decision to release Raulic on the basis of both an alibi and an eye witness who could not identify him seems to have backfired quite spectacularly with the suicide of poor Marie Bordel. This is a result that Roban could probably have foreseen during his interview with a clearly distressed Marie. The judge's reaction, crumpling against the wall, summed up the situation: his actions have - however indirectly - prompted the death of a young woman, he's now on record as telling the press that Garnier rigged the case and Machard may no longer be an ally. As Machard reminded him: 'It is always personal.' This from a man who'd earlier declared, seemingly in all honesty, 'I'd have sold my soul if I had one!' Tune in next week for yet more back-stabbing and intrigue.

Australian Doctor Who fans attending the Whovention: Gold event this weekend were fortunate enough to see a preview of the animated fourth episode of the forthcoming The Tenth Planet DVD. Clips from the animated episode were shown during panels hosted by Dan Hall and Austen Atkinson of the Australian based animation company Planet Fifty Five Studios. During the panel a number of animated clips were shown, including the famous William Hartnell regeneration scene and other behind the scenes material. Video from the animated episode will, reportedly, be available next week on the doctorwho.tv website. Also featured on the panels were Planet Fifty Five Studios animators Colin Bennett, Josh Campbell and Chris Chapman who discussed the pain-staking hours of work required to recreate the missing episode of The Tenth Planet as well as the two animated episodes from the newly restored Reign of Terror DVD. Atkinson confirmed that work on the animated Tenth Planet episode was likely to be completed in the next month with the DVD release due in the second half of 2013. Hall also confirmed that an announcement on whether the missing episodes of the forthcoming The Ice Warriors DVD would be similarly animated will be announced in the near future.
And so, dear blog reader to the latest set of yer actual Top Telly Tips:-

Saturday 2 March
In the final episode of Howard Goodall's Story of Music - 9:00 BBC2 - the composer examines the history of the past one hundred years in music, known as The Popular Age. During this period, classical music - as it is now termed - seemed to be in decline, but Howard argues that while some cutting-edge works proved too challenging to be appreciated by the mainstream audience, the DNA of the genre is alive and well in musical theatre, cinema and popular music.

Regular Spiral viewers might well benefit from a pair of second-hand night-vision goggles and a powerful torch as so much of the action in tonight's two episodes takes place in the dark - 9:00 BBC4. We are talking about industrial levels of noir here. Tonight there's a stake-out as Laure Berthaud and her gang track the gun-runners. It's one of those typically messy, screwed-up Spiral-type situations where an operation doesn't go anywhere close to being as planned. As well as the lack of light there's an added difficulty in that poor Tintin, who has just returned to work after being shot in the head is, quite understandably, suffering from a severe crisis of confidence and more than a smidgen of post traumatic stress disorder. Meanwhile, the excellent François Roban, who somehow manages to combine world-weariness with mischief and a razor sharp humour, is rapidly losing the few friends he has left. After his highly controversial decision on the rape case, his colleagues in the judiciary make no secret of the fact they are out to get him. With typical sang froid, Roban doesn't let it bother him and gets on with the job. Berthaud and her team are frustrated with new custody laws that ensure the presence of a lawyer during interviews and Roban is warned that Garnier is using underhand tactics to try and smear him. Meanwhile, Karlsson is pressured by the Special Branch to provide information on the activities of nutter Thomas Riffaut and his gang of anarchist scum. In the following episode Gilou uses the opportunity of a police raid on the Sarahouis' flat to break into their nightclub and retrieve evidence they hold against him, while Yussuf cracks under pressure and provides the team with the names of those behind the cache of weapons at Cetin's house. Elsewhere, Karlsson turns the tables on her Special Branch investigators. Hurrah! A case, very definitely, of not tonight Josephine!

King Joffrey's tyrannical rule prompts the people of King's Landing to riot, with near devastating consequences for Sansa in the latest episode of Game of Thrones - 11:10 Sky Atlantic. Meanwhile, beyond The Wall, Qhorin gives Jon a chance to prove himself. And across, the Narrow Sea, Daenerys' resolve strengthens as she vows to reclaim what she believes is rightfully hers. Fantasy drama, starring Emilia Clarke.

Sunday 3 March
In Time Team - 4:25 Channel Four - Tony Robinson and the team try to piece together the complete picture of the Manor of More, a once impressive structure masterminded by Henry VIII's right-hand man, Cardinal Wolsey. The palace had been pretty much forgotten about until the 1950s, when a group of pupils at Northwood School in Hertfordshire discovered its remains beneath their playing field. One of them joins the team on an adventure of discovery, observing remains dating back to the Sixteenth Century.
In the first of a two-part Top Gear special edition - 8:00 BBC2 - (which was originally supposed to be the motoring show's Christmas Special) Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May visit Africa on a mission to find the definitive source of The Nile, the world's longest river, which spans more than four thousand miles miles. The trio believe they can do a better job than various explorers who claim to have discovered the waterway's starting point by travelling further and faster than previous efforts - but the only tools at their disposal are determination, ingenuity and three ageing estate cars. With The Stig's Egyptian cousin. Probably.
Mayday - 9:00 BBC1 - is a drama shown over five nights about the search for a missing teenage girl in a Sussex town and its impact on several locals, who suspect their loved ones of being responsible. It's May Day and the members of a small community go about their business as they wait for this year's parade to begin. But when the May Queen - local teenager Hattie Sutton - fails to appear, several townsfolk are sent spinning by the suspicion that someone among them has taken her. Sophie Okonedo, Aidan Gillen, Peter Firth and Lesley Manville star. Continues tomorrow.

On February 15, a meteor exploded over Russia's Ural mountains and sent fireballs blazing to earth, injuring more than one thousand people. Just a day later, an asteroid passed within seventeen thousand miles of Earth. These were reminders that the planet's journey through space is fraught with danger. Professor Iain Stewart explores what meteorites and asteroids are, where they come from, the risks they pose and the role they have played in Earth's history in a Horizon special The Truth About Meteors - 9:00 BBC2.
Monday 4 March
Out-of-town Detective Inspector Alec Hardy investigates the mysterious death of an eleven-year-old boy in an idyllic seaside community, aided by local girl Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller, who has her work cut out dealing with her unyielding new boss in the opening episode of the much-trailed Broadchurch - 9:00 ITV. Meanwhile, the sadness of losing their child consumes Beth and Mark Latimer as they and the other residents of the village of Broadchurch try to cope with the media frenzy surrounding the case. Crime drama, featuring a genuinely once-in-a-lifetime cast; it stars former national heartthrob David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Andrew Buchan, Jodie Whittaker, Arthur Darvill, Vicky McClure and Pauline Quirke. Looks proper decent from the evidence of the trailer.

The quarter-finals of University Challenge continue - 8:00 BBC2 - as Manchester and University College London battle it out, with teams having to win two matches to progress to the semi-finals. Jeremy Paxman asks the questions and terrifies the students. Which, let's face it, is always funny.

Manchester United: Munich Air Crash 10:00 Channel Five - is, as you might expect, an investigation into the disaster, which occurred on 6 February 1958, when Manchester United's famous Busby Babes were returning from a European Cup match in Belgrade in what was then Yugoslavia. The aircraft stopped in Munich for refuelling, but crashed during a third take-off attempt, killing twenty three of the forty four people on board, including eight of the players and three members of the club's staff. Using accident reports, eyewitness accounts and state-of-the-art CGI, this documentary attempts to shed new light on the tragedy and uncover exactly what happened.
Tuesday 5 March
In the latest episode of CSI - 9:00 Channel Five - Russell and the team investigate the fatal shootings of eight people at a local diner, initially believing the culprit to be a man who was infatuated with one of those who died. However, the case is complicated when it is revealed a male victim was due to testify at a forthcoming trial and was on a witness protection scheme. Crime drama, starring Ted Danson and George Eads.
The Crash - 9:00 BBC3 - is a two-part drama following the story of a car crash involving a close-knit group of friends. Kate returns from university for her Christmas break and reunites with her boyfriend Tom and companions Rachel, Ethan, Ashley, Brian and Leah for a night out. The youngsters pile into two cars, but a fatal accident on the way devastates their families and the survivors, and leaves questions about who was to blame. Former Coronation Street actress Sacha Parkinson and Lily Loveless from Skins star.
Sara meets a Dutch action hero and embarks on her course of life coaching with Toria in the second episode of Heading Out - 10:00 BBC2. But, a hypnosis session has unfortunate consequences for Justine. Meanwhile, Daniel is feeling undervalued at work and lets out his frustrations on the paintball battlefield. Comedy, written by and starring Sue Perkins, with Joanna Scanlan, Nicola Walker, Steve Oram and Tony Law.

Wednesday 6 March
In Michael Grade and the World's Oldest Joke - 9:00 BBC4 - the broadcast executive traces the history of the joke with a little help from a host of historians, academics, comedy experts and stand-ups. These include Ken Dodd, Tim Vine and Barry Cryer. Along the way Michael discovers what tickled the Tudors, ribbed the Romans, lightened the Dark Ages and made yer actual Renaissance wits roar as he sets out to discover whether jokes come and go with the rise and fall of civilisations, or whether people are still laughing at - essentially - the same things their ancestors did. A fascinating conceit, well worth an hour of your time.

The body of a teenage boy is found in an abandoned greenhouse surrounded by wasp nests in the latest episode of Bones - 9:00 Sky Living. The team calls on psychic Avalon Harmonia to contact the youngster and provide an insight into his death. She senses the spirit of the boy will haunt Brennan and Booth until they bring his killer to justice, forcing the believers and sceptics on the Jeffersonian team to begin to reassess their views on life after death. Guest starring, Cyndi Lauper. Who still can't act.
Alastair Sooke presents a cultural history of the London Underground to celebrate its one hundred and fiftieth anniversary in Going Underground: A Culture Show Special - 10:00 BBC2. He follows the progress of a major new artwork for all 270 stations by Turner Prize winner Mark Wallinger and tells the story of Frank Pick, who steered the development of the Tube's corporate identity by commissioning eye-catching commercial art, graphic design and modern architecture. With contributions by writers Paul Morley, Peter York and John Lanchester.
Thursday 7 March
The Hindenburg was one of the great engineering feats of the early Twentieth Century, but on 6 May 1937, disaster struck when the airship crashed in New Jersey, killing thirty five of the ninety seven people on board, a story told in What Destroyed the Hindenburg? - 9:00 Channel Four. Ever since, the cause of the tragedy has remained a mystery, with a static electric charge, a design flaw and an act of sabotage all blamed by experts. In this programme, a team including aeronautical engineer Jem Stansfield puts the leading theories to the test with the help of three scale models.
The opening episode of Heritage! The Battle for Britain's Past - 9:00 BBC4 - looks at the birth of heritage movement and the primary arguments of radical thought from people such as John Lubbock MP, Lt Gen Augustus Henry Lane, Fox Pitt Rivers, Charles Darwin and John Ruskin who asked important questions to create the building blocks of a new world, sparking the first piece of legislation which safeguarded prehistoric and ancient structures.

In the latest The Sky At Night - 7:30 BBC4 - the impressively down to Earth new presenting duo of Chris Lintott and Lucy Green are joined by good old Jon Culshaw at the beautiful Kielder observatory in Northumberland to share the results of Patrick Moore's winter marathon, which saw him challenge viewers to seek out a list of celestial objects visible in the night sky. The programme also follows the observers as they set up their telescopes in the hope of catching a glimpse of asteroid 2012 DA14, which last month passed closer to Earth than any such object of its size.
Friday 8 March
The Ballad of Mott the Hoople - 10:00 BBC4 - is a documentary telling the story of Hereford rock band Mott the Hoople, whose best-known hit, All the Young Dudes, was written for them by David Bowie. The film features rare and previously unseen footage, with contributions by former band members Ian Hunter, Mick Ralphs and Verden Allen, as well as Queen's Roger Taylor and ex-Clash guitarist Mick Jones.
In The Review Show - 11:00 BBC2 - Clemency Burton-Hill and guests review Oz the Great and Powerful - the Disney prequel to The Wizard of Oz, and Booker Prize winner JM Coetzee's latest novel The Childhood of Jesus. They also look at Helen Mirren's part in Peter Morgan's play The Audience, in which she reprises her role as the Queen.

And so to the news: Tom Ellis has ruled out starring in the next series of Downton Abbey. The Miranda actor was rumoured to have auditioned for the role of Lady Mary's new love ­interest and been shortlisted by producers. An alleged ITV 'source' allegedly told some tabloid or other - but, probably, didn't: 'It was an absolute no-brainer to get him in for an audition. We know that Tom's got a lot of other options at the moment but if he does get the role it will be an incredible opportunity for him. A lot of the current cast have become global superstars. And it is always a bit of a coup for us to attract a major BBC star to a flagship ITV show like Downton Abbey.' However, Ellis has since tweeted: 'It's been lovely to hear all the congrats for Downton but the truth is I'm not going to be in it. But thank you for your messages.' Ellis recently signed up to play Victor Frankenstein in new ABC pilot Gothica.

EastEnders' Scott Maslen has announced that he is stepping down from his role as Jack Branning. The actor, who has been playing Jack since 2007, will depart the series at the end of his contract later this year. Maslen said: 'I've loved playing Jack, and who wouldn't want to work on one of the most successful British TV series, but I've been offered many other roles and just not been able to explore them in the past, simply because of time and commitments to EastEnders, and so now it feels like the time to tread a new path for a while. I've played Jack for five and a half years and had some fantastic storylines, but it's now time to have a break from him and try something different. I'm incredibly attached to Jack, his family and EastEnders, but as an actor I'd like to take on some new challenges for a bit. EastEnders is just incredible, it's phenomenally rewarding and I love working here, but now it's time to move on to pastures new.' EastEnders' executive producer Lorraine Newman added: 'Since October 2007, Scott Maslen has brought the wonderful Jack Branning to life on our screens. From Scott's heart-wrenching portrayal of a grieving father, to Jack's determination in the coming week to take on Phil Mitchell, the variety in Scott's material shows his fabulous range as an actor. Scott will remain on your screens until late in the year, and there is plenty more drama to be played out before his departure.'

Yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle United came from behind to win an open and absorbing game against Southampton in the Premier League on Sunday. Morgan Schneiderlin lashed in a shot for the visitors early on before Moussa Sissoko equalised with a six-yard tap in. A stunning twenty five-yard dipping strike from Papiss Demba Cisse gave the Magpies the lead only for Ricky Lambert to net at the near-post just after the break. Danny Fox's handball allowed Yohan Cabaye to score from the spot before Jos Hooiveld's own goal sealed a home win. It was the first time Newcastle had won a league game this season after conceding the opening goal and the victory moved them up to fourteenth in the League, six points clear of the drop zone. The performance also continued their upturn in form since they reinforced their squad with a number of signings in the January transfer window, with Alan Pardew's side claiming three wins from their last four top flight matches and progressing to the last sixteen of the Europa League. Southampton provided a severe test for their opponents but were brought back down to earth after beating champions Sheikh Yer Man City in their last game. They are now three points above the relegation zone. It was 'French Day' at St James' Park in honour of the club's heavy contingent of players signed from across the Channel but it was a Frenchman for Southampton who opened the scoring after just three minutes. Jack Cork's diagonal cross from the right was nodded down by Lambert and Schneiderlin turned and half-volleyed a shot past Magpies keeper Rob Elliot, whose Premier League debut in place of the injured Tim Krul started in inauspicious circumstances. Pardew was ruthlessly sacked as Southampton manager by the then-League One club in August 2010 and his current team mirrored his desire to win the match as they pressed for an equaliser. Southampton defender Hooiveld twice survived handball claims against him. Firstly, a Cisse pass came off team-mate Luke Shaw and hit Hooiveld's arm, while the ball also appeared to strike the centre-back's arm as he blocked a Steven Taylor shot. Both instances appeared to be more ball to hand than the other way around but indicated Newcastle were threatening a goal, which was deservedly provided by Sissoko. The darting Yoan Gouffran's shot was saved by keeper Artur Boruc but Sissoko was on hand to slot in the loose ball for his third goal since joining the Magpies last month. United went ahead when Cisse, who might have initially been offside, produced a spectacular long range strike on the half-volley after keeper Elliot had launched a long ball forward. Southampton regrouped and equalised shortly after the break when Lambert turned in a low Adam Lallana cross at the near post for his one hundredth goal for the South Coast club. However, a Mathieu Debuchy cross struck the outstretched arm of Southampton left-back Fox and Cabaye confidently scored form the spot to restore Newcastle's lead. Gaston Ramirez might have rescued a point for Southampton but, after his initial shot was saved, his follow-up struck the crossbar. And, later Fox's clearance from Davide Santon's left-wing cross inexplicably struck Hooiveld on its way into the Saints goal to secure Newcastle's deserved victory. In the day's other Premiership game, Sheikh Yer Man City beat a very poor looking Moscow Chelski FC 2-0.
The coolest man alive Johnny Marr has said that fans need to stop assuming their 'life will be complete' if The Smiths reform. Johnny was asked in an interview with NPR.org about being constantly besieged by fans and interviewers who ask if the band he formed with Morrissey will ever get back together. He replied: '[Fans] hope there will be some big happy ending. The fact is, there is a happy ending — I'm happy. It's all cool. It's slightly difficult when people assume that your life will be complete, or everybody's life will be complete, if this band from twenty five years ago reforms.' Marr went on to say that 'life doesn't need that to happen for things to be okay' and suggested that fans looking for some positive enlightenment should give up hoping for The Smiths to reform and 'go see the Dalai Lama or something that'll make you feel better.' It was confirmed this month that Johnny is to be named Godlike Genius at this year's NME Awards. The guitarist, who has also played with The The, Electronic, Modest Mouse and The Cribs in his career, will pick up the prize when he attends the awards ceremony, which takes place on 27 February.

Detroit has been named 'the most miserable city' in the US in a new Forbes ranking. The city topped the poll ahead of cities like Chicago, New York and last year's 'most miserable city' Miami, Yahoo! News reports. Forbes studied two hundred urban areas, taking into account factors such as crime rates, foreclosures, taxes, home prices, commute times, weather and decreasing populations. It said: 'Detroit's problems are hardly news. It has been in a four-decade decline paralleling the slide in the US auto industry.' Earlier this week, it emerged that the city is on the verge of bankruptcy and will potentially be taken over by the state in a bid to resolve issues. Other cities in the top ten included Chicago and New York. Chicago was at number four as a result of its high rates of violent crime, high foreclosure rates and declining home prices. It is also along the most expensive urban areas to live in the US. New York (number ten) was included for its high living costs too. It also has one of the country's highest income tax rates and the longest average commute time of thirty six minutes.

Cleotha Staples of the chart-topping gospel group The Staple Singers, has died at the age of seventy eight. The family group had eight US top forty singles in the 1970s, including 'Respect Yourself' and the number ones 'I'll Take You There' and 'Let's Do It Again'. They enjoyed huge success on the Stax label and Curtis Mayfield's Curtom label. Friend and publicist Bill Carpenter said Cleotha suffered from Alzheimer's. Her sister Mavis paid tribute to Cleotha's 'soothing' voice. 'A lot of singers would try to sing like her,' Mavis said in a statement. 'Her voice would just ring in your ear. It wasn't harsh or hitting you hard, it was soothing. She gave us that country sound.' The group, which also featured father Pops, sister Yvonne and brother Pervis, began singing in church in Chicago in 1948. During their early career they recorded in an acoustic gospel-folk style with various labels like Vee-Jay Records (their 'Uncloudy Day' and 'Will The Circle Be Unbroken?' were best sellers), Checker, Riverside and then Epic Records in 1965. It was on Epic that The Staple Singers began moving into mainstream pop markets, with 'Why (Am I Treated So Bad)' and an astonishing cover of Stephen Stills' 'For What It's Worth' in 1967. A year later, The Staple Singers signed to Stax and released two LP back by Steve Cropper and Booker T & the MG's — Soul Folk in Action and We'll Get Over. By 1970, Al Bell had become their producer and the family began recording at the famed Muscle Shoals Sound Studio moving in a more funk and soul direction. They were inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1999 and received a Grammy lifetime achievement award in 2005. Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy, which organises the Grammy Awards, described them as 'one of Stax Records' most important and successful acts. Their songs spread messages of hope, brotherhood and self-respect through some of R&B's finest and most passionate voices, and their music remains as vital today as when it was recorded,' he said. 'Music has suffered a great loss, and our thoughts and condolences are with her family, friends and all those who have been moved and influenced by her strong, soulful voice.'

So, here's today Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day dear blog reader. This one's for Cleotha.

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