Two days in a row. Yesterday Ray Manzarek, today Trevor Bolder, bassist for David Bowie in the breakthrough years and sometime member of Uriah Heep and Wishbone Ash. It makes you dread waking up in the morning.
The track I’ve chosen isn’t one of the most played from the Ziggy era but it shows off Bolder’s bass playing.
Trevor Bolder; 09/06/1950 – 21/05/2103. So it goes.
The place The Troggs had for me in the 60s and Sweet in the early 70s was taken by Marillion in the early 80s.
Marillion have been forever tagged with the Prog Rock label and while their first songs – especially the 17 minute long Grendel and most of the debut album Script For a Jester’s Tear – fit that bill (which was why I got into them in the first place) by the time of Fugazi they had mainly moved on to a more guitar based rock sound.
Their initial success, though, shows that Prog wasn’t as moribund a genre as its detractors would have had it.
I think I first saw them on television on The Oxford Road Show (who remembers that!) when this was one of the songs they played. Despite it being from Fugazi there is still a hint of Prog and echoes of Genesis.
This clip, though, is from Top of the Pops. Check out Fish – with hair!
I first heard this parody on the radio. Along with my elder brother I used to listen regularly (every week without fail) to the comedy programme I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again (1964-1973) which along with Bill Oddie, the purveyor of this ditty, featured John Cleese, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden, Jo Kendall and David Hatch. I can still utter quotes from it even today. (Once heard, who could ever forget the strains of the Angus Prune Tune?)
Episodes from the series can be found on the BBC’s Radio 4 Extra pages. Relistening, it is now obvious from where I got my love of outrageous puns.
The track is a reimagining of a traditional Yorkshire song about the dangers of wandering on Ilkley Moor without a hat utilising the style Joe Cocker employed in With a Little Help From My Friends. It was eventually released as a single in 1970 but I’m sure must have been in a late 60s episode of the radio show. As I remember it the radio version carried more bite, though.
Another one from 1970, following on from last week’s 60s Boxtops song.
Joe Cocker is perhaps most famous for his reworking of the somewhat bland, almost throwaway, With a Little Help From My Friends from the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper, making that song into something unforgettable (though eminently parodyable) and in his “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” incarnation also had a 1960s hit with the Leon Russell song Delta Lady, but they later also transformed the Boxtops hit The Letter.
Way back in the day there was a book published – I forget its name and author – that had photographs of rock/pop stars of the 1960s (or early 70s) appearing above a line from a song lyric that was vaguely appropriate. This was an attempt of sorts to sum up the late 1960s zeitgeist.
The image/line combination that most struck me – it has remained in my mind all those years – was the last one in the book.
The line was, “Hope I die before I get old,” from, of course, The Who’s My Generation.
And the star whose image it illustrated?
That sentiment is doubly ironic now that The Rolling Stones have celebrated 50 years in “the business” and The Who themselves continue to tour. Not their fault, of course, that the line was used in such a way. It did reflect though the disregard – even contempt – in which “old men’s music” was held by the generation that grew up in the long shadow of World War 2; a generation whose 1960s efforts were partly an attempt to shuffle off the stifling shackles of that conflict and define a future for themselves. In Britain too there was the nagging sense of loss that the disappearance of the Empire caused – something no-one, quite rightly, gives a stuff about now.
I could never understand Sinatra’s appeal myself. I still can’t. The man could not hold a note. He always, always, sang flat and could ruin a song’s rhythm and meaning by eccentric phrasing.
One of the purveyors of old men’s music, indeed he was said to be Sinatra’s favourite other singer, was Matt Monro. Matt Monro was an English singer who made his name in the 1950s and 60s before moving to the US, from where, because hiw wife was homesick he later came back
Monro was one of the first singers to perform a Bond movie theme in From Russia With Love and also had a biggish hit with another song from a film, Born Free. A couple of years ago I happened to catch a TV documentary about his life and came to a deeper appreciation of his gifts as a singer. His voice has a crystal clarity with great diction and he can carry a note, or a phrase, seemingly effortlessly. The good lady heard him on the radio recently and wondered when he actually took a breath!
His image in the 60s though was deeply uncool; early LPs merely had his photo and a list of some songs as a cover design, a practice pop and rock abandoned even before the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper. I would not normally have listened to him at the time. There was one song he performed, however, which really stuck with me.
It was released in 1970 and more or less topped and tailed that attitude of the 1960s I described earlier, that intuition of something different (which, naturally enough, never came to pass; it never does.)
The song was called We’re Gonna Change The World and considering who sang it was quite a counter-intuitive choice to be put out as a single.