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.
There’s only one tune to go with in the week I reviewed No Mean City the novel and that’s the song which was the theme tune to STV’s long-running detective show Taggart and which took its title from the novel. Wonderfully delivered by Maggie Bell.
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.
You may remember back in the dim distant past of this category’s genesis I mentioned a competition at my workplace for favourite 60s hit. Hi Ho Silver Lining came second but not the original version by The Attack. Rather it was Jeff Beck’s recording that was voted in.
The Attack: Hi Ho Silver Lining
And here’s a footnote to why the above is now the lesser known version of the song:-
David Arden attacks the hyping of Hi Ho Silver Lining
And for comparison purposes here’s the reverse-hyped version.
Posted in 1960s, Music at 12:00 pm on 10 July 2015
The Truth found difficulty coming up with their own songs. As this link from last week says, their singles were all written by people from other, more famous bands, in order here: The Beatles, The Kinks and The Rascals.
Val Doonican was always determinedly old-fashioned and was probably more famous for Irish novelty songs, wearing woolly jumpers and singing while reclining in a chair than for ruffling the charts but he had a good crooner’s voice and five top ten hits between 1964 and 1967.
Doonican’s biggest was What Would I Be – a no 2 – and his cover of Bob Lind’s Elusive Butterfly reached No 5 in the UK charts – as, curiously, did Lind’s own version.
Val Doonican: Elusive Butterfly
Michael Valentine “Val” Doonican: 3/2/1927 – 1/7/2015. So it goes.