I know it’s not good form to speak ill of the dead but I’m afraid I can’t share the “National Treasure” stuff surrounding the passing of Cilla Black. She was undoubtedly a substantial entertainment figure of the 1960s though, with several big hits and many smaller ones. Yet to my mind her singing voice became too harsh when she upped the volume. In softer tones she could be quite effective though.
As to her later incarnation as a television presenter, I saw Blind Date once. It wasn’t for me. I never watched Surprise, Surprise.
I went off her completely when she was introducing some awards ceremony or other and mentioned Margaret Thatcher, at which the audience booed. Cilla then protested (against all reason) “But she’s put the great back in Great Britain.” Maybe for successful entertainers, but not for those left behind.
This was Cilla in her 1960s pomp, in a clip from Top of the Pops:-
Cilla Black: Surround Yourself With Sorrow
And here she is in her softer register. (Interesting that in the intervening almost forty years since I first heard her perform this song, to reflect our modern sensibilities the lyric has been changed from “ye’ll gerra belt from yer da’,” to “Ye’ll get told off by your da’.”)
Cilla Black: Liverpool Lullaby
Priscilla Maria Veronica White (Cilla Black): 27/5/1943-1/8/2015. So it goes.
Sweet tunes, romantic tunes, The Beautiful South certainly had them; but allied to bitterly ironic – even cynical – lyrics.
The opening line here, “I love you from the bottom of my pencil case,” is just about on the bounds of tastefulness but the lyric goes on (partly to comment on the process of writing a cheap love song) by listing a series of girls’ names with the tag, “I wrote so many songs about you, I forget your name,” then adds a cutting parenthesis, “(I forget your name)”.
The cynicism is increased in the second round of the melody where we have, “Oh Cathy, Oh Alison, Oh Phillipa, Oh Sue. You made me so much money, I wrote this song for you.” Jennifer, Deborah and Annabel are added to the list in the next two lines. It’s brutal in its lack of regard.
The B-side of The Ferret Song (see last week) had a tune based on the middle part of one of John Philip Sousa’s marches, The Washington Post, and had a lyric which became typical of the Monty Python style since the song references a slew of philosophers and artists and also includes nods to popular culture as well as Shakespeare – all wrapped around an idea of the utmost silliness.
I really like the cleverness of the rhymes with the word tart, though.
John Cleese with the 1948 show choir: Rhubarb Tart Song
I woke up this morning to the news that Gerry Goffin has died.
In his collaborations with Carole King hewrote the lyrics to some of the most enduring popular songs from the 1960s. The list is stunning. At the end of the article in the link are songs he wrote with others.
His lyrics tended to be carefully worked out and belied the frothy nature of the productions of the era.
Look at the words of Will You Love Me Tomorrow. Their underlying poignancy was highlighted in King’s own version on her album, Tapestry.
Tonight you’re mine completely/You give your love so sweetly.
Tonight the light of love is in your eyes/But will you love me tomorrow?
Is this a lasting treasure/Or just a moment’s pleasure?
Can I believe the magic of your sighs?/Will you still love me tomorrow?
Tonight with words unspoken/You say that I’m the only one
But will my heart be broken/When the night meets the morning sun?
I’d like to know that your love/Is love I can be sure of.
So tell me now and I won’t ask again/Will you still love me tomorrow?
This, though, is the early 60s take by The Shirelles.
The Shirelles: Will you Love Me Tomorrow
And then there’s this:-
A little bit of freedom’s all we lack.
So catch me if you can I’m goin’ back.
Dusty Springfield: Goin’ Back
Gerald “Gerry” Goffin: 11/2/1939 – 19/6/2014. So it goes.
This is perhaps my favourite Stealers Wheel track.
It was never released as a single as far as I know and came from the third Stealers Wheel album Right or Wrong. By the time it appeared the group had long since ceased to exist and both its leading lights, Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan, were no longer working together.
From the outside I would say that the lyric maybe says a lot about a West of Scotland RC upbringing.