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Not Friday On My Mind 35: RIP Cilla Black

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.

Live It Up 23: No Mean City (Theme tune to Taggart)

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.

Maggie Bell: Taggart Theme Tune (No Mean City)

Live It Up 22: Song for Whoever

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 Beautiful South: Song for Whoever

Friday on my Mind 123: Hi Ho Silver Lining

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.

Jeff Beck: Hi Ho Silver Lining

Not Friday On My Mind 34: The Truth

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.

The Truth: Girl

The Truth: I Go To Sleep

The Truth: Sueno

Val Doonican

Yet another voice from my young past has been extinguished.

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.

Friday on my Mind 122: Fly Away Bird

The reason I was googling The Left Banke last week was because I finally stumbled across an embeddable file of the version of Walk Away Renee that I actually bought. The one by The Truth.

The B-side, Fly Away Bird, is fairly stripped down.

The Truth: Fly Away Bird

Just for completeness here’s the A-side. There’s much more production on this.

The Truth: Walk Away Renee

Chris Squire

I wasn’t much into Yes – not at all in fact – but Chris Squire, their bassist who died recently, seems to have been their main driving force; and they were famous purveyors of Prog Rock.

Christopher Russell Edward “Chris” Squire: 4/3/1948 – 27/6/2015. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 121: Pretty Ballerina

I’ve just been googling The Left Banke again and discovered that their bassist Michael Brown passed away on 19th March this year.)

He was a co-writer of Walk Away Renee (which I featured here) but this song, Pretty Ballerina, was all his.

The Left Banke : Pretty Ballerina

Michael Brown (Michael David Lookofsky): 25/4/1949 – 19/3/2015. So it goes.

Reelin’ In the Years 104: Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters

For some reason last week’s featured song always merges into my head into this one by Elton John (from his Honky Chateau LP.)

The mandolin on this is great.

Elton John: Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters

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