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Not Friday on my Mind 39: Wilhelmina

I was sad to hear of the death of Andy Newman who lent his nickname to the group of whose biggest hit, Something in the Air (see Friday on my Mind 28) this song, an odd mix of oompah music, kazoo and a rock guitar solo, was the B-side.

My copy of the single did not credit Wilhelmina as the B-side as both were labelled Something in the Air. I’ve often wondered if that was a one-off mistake and my copy is a real rarity.

Andy “Thunderclap” Newman: 21/11/1942-20/3/2016. So it goes.

Thunderclap Newman : Wilhelmina

George Martin RIP

What do you say about the man who brought us The Beatles? The man largely responsible for the soundscapes of those ground breaking recordings of the mid-sixties starting with Revolver and continuing through Sgt Pepper (please note; not Sgt Pepper’s; not in Britain, anyway) and Magical Mystery Tour. By the time of The White Album a lot of that sonic experimentation had gone (Revolution No 9 excepted) though the album for the Yellow Submarine film stemmed from the same seam.

Martin was a crucial part of the Beatles’ sound, his facility with arrangements and classical accompaniment giving them a dimension – or dimensions – which on their own or with a different producer might never have arisen. I remember seeing him on a TV documentary saying he had come up with and played the piano interlude on a well-known song which I think was Lovely Rita.

The Beatles: Lovely Rita

I also seem to recall that the “final” version of Strawberry Fields Forever was a mix of two takes which had originally been played in different keys. One was slowed down slightly the other speeded up so that they would synch, which gave it that weird effect that it still has all these years later.

The Beatles: Strawberry Fields Forever

Then there was all that stuff with looping and playing tapes backward. Think of the swirling accordion/funfair sound in Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite.

The Beatles: Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite

Immense.

George Henry Martin: 3/1/1926 – 8/3/2016. So it goes.

Reelin’ In the Years 117: Evie. RIP Stevie Wright

I’ve come to this late. Stevie Wright, lead singer of Australian band The Easybeats, whose Friday on my Mind I chose as the first song in my 1960s music category of the same name, died in December. I only saw his obituary in The Guardian earlier this week.

Evie was a solo no 1 hit for him in Australia, possibly the first 11 minute song to reach no 1 anywhere in the world.

The song manages to encompass the three main themes of the love song as a form. Its first two parts are reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac’s Oh Well or Derek and the Dominos’ Layla in that it starts in an up tempo rocking style and then segues into quieter mode. Like Evie both those were split over two sides of the corresponding single release. Evie, however, returns to a higher tempo for its third part.

Stevie Wright: Evie

Stephen Carlton “Stevie” Wright: 20/12/1947 – 27/12/2015. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 130: Wooden Ships

This song is more associated with Crosby, Stills and Nash but was co-written by Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship and Starship, who died earlier this week. Apparently his name could not be put on the CSN release of the song for legal reasons but Kantner contributed to the lyrics. Both CSN and Jefferson Airplane performed the song at Woodstock but Airplane’s (very long) version did not appear in the film.

Jefferson Airplane: Wooden Ships

Paul Lorin Kantner: 17/3/1941–28/1/2016. So it goes.

Terry Wogan

I can just about remember when Terry Wogan wasn’t a fixture of British public life but that memory was fading. In recent years he had himself receded a little from the public eye, retiring from his braekfast show and from commentating on the Eurovision Song Contest but he still popped up with an intermittent weekly radio show on Radio 2 and the annual Children in Need telethons (all in a good cause certainly but usually so laced with embarassing performances that I found it difficult to watch so I hadn’t done so for years.)

Despite his failure to appear on last year’s Children in Need in November due to illness – a warning sign as it turned out – it was still a shock to wake up to the news today that he had died.

I also noticed there were retrospective clip shows from his thrice-weekly 80s chat show on in the afternoon in the run-up to Christmas 2015. Maybe there was a hint there too.

I wasn’t one of his listeners in the 60s – or indeed in the 70s – but in later life I found his breakfast radio show congenial listening in the short interval between being woken by the alarm clock and actually getting out of bed. Perhaps it took reaching a certain age to appreciate his charms.

He always seemd perfectly genial – a great trick to pull off in the early morning – but by all accounts this was simply him; there was apparently no difference between his public and private persona.

The world feels diminished by his death. I fervently hope it doesn’t turn out he had feet of clay (as others of his vintage had) but if all that has been said of him is true there may be no need to fear.

Michael Terence “Terry” Wogan; 3/8/1938 – 31/1/2016. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 129: For Your Love

The reference I was alluding to last week.

This seems to be a live version; possibly from an appearance on the US TV programme Shindig!.

The Yardbirds: For Your Love

Bowie

The one name suffices. In modern times you could not be referring to anyone else.

There was (sadly that tense is now appropriate) only one Bowie: David.

For many the iconic moment of their lives was Bowie placing a carefree, languid, unthinking arm round Mick Ronson’s neck on that Top of the Pops appearance while promoting Starman and thereby validating sexualities beyond that of the straight and cis.

Bowie’s first brush with the charts came with Space Oddity in 1969, regarded at the time as a bit of a novelty record, though it wasn’t his last song to tangle with SF imagery.

He hit his stride with the Hunky Dory album in 1971 – on which nearly every track is a belter – though no hits were to come from that source till Life on Mars? was released as a single in 1973. This was of course after the breakthrough, the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars in 1972 and that hit with Starman. I would argue that Hunky Dory is the greater achievement. From Ziggy onwards Bowie seemed to be commercialising his talent. The string of hits that followed on from the Ziggy album, through his Aladdin Sane persona, up to Diamond Dogs perhaps bore that out.

He lost me with Young Americans, though. I’ve never been into that sort of music. There were stonkers still to come of course, when he’d changed his style a few more times, Heroes, Ashes to Ashes, Let’s Dance, China Girl, but it is the early stuff I’ll remember him for.

This is The Bewlay Brothers, from Hunky Dory of course.

David Bowie: The Bewlay Brothers

“Man is an obstacle, sad as the clown. (Oh, by jingo.)
So hold on to nothing and he won’t let you down.”

David Bowie: After All (from The Man Who Sold the World)

“I borrowed your time and I’m sorry I called.”

David, we’re not sorry you called.

David Robert Jones (“David Bowie”) 8/1/1947 – 10/1/2016. So it goes.

George Clayton Johnston and Lemmy

I just heard today of the death of George Clayton Johnston, co-writer of Logan’s Run with William F. Nolan, and scriptwriter for Star Trek and The Twilight Zone.

And yesterday there was Lemmy, whom I see had the same birthday as me though he was older. One of those in the public eye to be known only by a single name his music wasn’t exactly to my taste (Silver Machine in his Hawkwind days – and on which he took the vocal – excepted) but he was one who certainly lived up to the rock’n’roll lifestyle of legend.

George Clayton Johnson: 10/7/1929 – 25/12/2015.

Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister: 24/12/1945 – 28/12/2015.

So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 128: Single Girl

The sentiments in this, Sandy Posey’s second hit (from 1966,) are probably a bit un-feminist for today’s tastes but the melody and harmonies are lovely and she has a good voice.

I must confess I don’t remember her other hits Born A Woman (a proto Stand by Your Man) and What A Woman In Love Won’t Do (ditto.)

Sandy Posey: Single Girl

Not Friday On My Mind 38: Blackberry Way

The Move’s only no 1 hit. Obviously influenced by Penny Lane but supposedly also Strawberry Fields Forever. I am informed that Blackberry Way is a street in The Move’s home city of Birmingham.

This is the version from the record (which means you get the mellotron flavour) but laid over a live TV performance from Colour Me Pop.

The Move: Blackberry Way

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