Archives » 1970s

Reelin’ In the Years 96: RIP Alvin Stardust

A few days ago it was Raphael Ravenscroft, now Alvin Stardust. In the words of another 70s song, “They’re dropping down like flies, man.”

I don’t remember Alvin Stardust’s first pop incarnation. (Apparently on his comeback, Tony Blackburn – who has a running joke with Graham Norton that he still hasn’t been arrested – bumped into him backstage on Top of the Pops one week and said to him, “Didn’t you used to be Shane Fenton?) I’d heard the name but couldn’t put a tune or face to it.

I do, though, remember the 1970s records and leather clad appearances on TV – complete with outrageous size ring worn outside his glove – and thought he was rather sending up the rock hard man schtick.

I haven’t opted for either of his two big hits, Jealous Mind nor My Coo Ca Choo, though.

Alvin Stardust: Red Dress

Bernard William Jewry – aka Shane Fenton; aka Alvin Stardust. 27/9/1942 – 23/10/2014. So it goes.

Reelin’ In the Years 95: RIP Raphael Ravenscroft – Baker Street

Sad to hear that the man who really played the signature saxophone solo of the 1970s, Raphael Ravenscroft, has died.

Apparently he wasn’t satisfied with his famous contribution to Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street. “I’m irritated because it’s out of tune,” he said. “Yeah, it’s flat. By enough of a degree that it irritates me at best.”

Judge for yourselves.

Gerry Rafferty: Baker Street

Raphael Ravenscroft, 4/6/1954 – 19/10/2014. So it goes.

Reelin’ In the Years 94: Have a Whiff on Me

A song with a venerable past and many variations on the title.

Very catchy, but not one of Mungo Jerry’s hits, though. It didn’t get much air time for some reason…..

Mungo Jerry: Have a Whiff on Me

There’s a video here of the band performing Have a Whiff on Me on TV but the picture quality is dreadful.

Friday on my Mind 103 and Reelin’ In the Years 93: Say You Don’t Mind

Ex-Zombie Colin Blunstone had a few solo hits in the 70s.
This was one of them. Unfortunately the video isn’t synched. (Perhaps he was miming in the first place, but it sounds like a live performance.)

Colin Blunstone: Say You Don’t Mind

The song’s writer Denny Laine (he of the early Moody Blues and of Wings) had recorded it in the 60s.

Denny Laine: Say You Don’t Mind

Friday On My Mind 102: Let’s Work Together / Reelin’ in the Years 92: Let’s Stick Together

Following on from Canned Heat last week, this live version of Let’s Work Together but more especially Brian Ferry’s reworking of the song as Let’s Stick Together may be deliciously ironic – or not – depending on the outcome of yesterday’s vote. I scheduled this post to appear today before knowing the result.

Canned Heat: Let’s Work Together

Brian Ferry: Let’s Stick Together

Reelin’ In the Years 91: Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)

This is an absolutely pitch perfect pop song. It’s the sort of thing that (for a while) was swept away by the advent of punk rock.

Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel – Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)

Reelin’ In the Years 90: The Lies In Your Eyes

Not had one from Sweet for a while.

This again is from their later phase.

Sweet: The Lies In Your Eyes

Reelin’ In the Years 89: Late Again

Just about everyone’s memories of Stealers Wheel start (and most people’s end) with Stuck in the Middle With You with the addition of, perhaps, Star, but the first time I encountered them was on the release of the eponymous LP and what I believe was their initial UK TV appearance where they performed the opening track Late Again. The blend of the voices of Joe Egan and Gerry Rafferty was distinctive and different to anything else around at the time.

Late Again may be a little slow in tempo (some may even think it a dirge) but it stuck with me and I later bought the album.

Stealers Wheel: Late Again

Reelin’ In the Years 88: Blue Guitar

After their next LP, Seventh Sojourn, which spawned two singles in Isn’t Life Strange and I’m Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band) both of which – unlike The Story in Your Eyes – troubled the charts, the Moody Blues broke up.

During the five years they spent apart most of them released solo LPs but the most successful venture was a collaboration between Justin Hayward and John Lodge which produced the LP Blue Jays but most memorably the song Blue Guitar, a no 8 hit in the UK. According to the Wiki article above Hayward actually recorded this with 10cc rather than Lodge but nevertheless the two took “Blue Jays” on the road mainly – as I recall Lodge introducing the track on stage – because of Blue Guitar.

Here they are performing it (ie miming) on Supersonic.

Justin Hayward and John Lodge: Blue Guitar

Reelin’ In the Years 87: The Story In Your Eyes

I’ve already mentioned the odd decision to release Watching and Waiting rather than Gypsy as the single from To Our Children’s Children’s Children. The former was an ideal coda to the album but not really single material.

The single that came after, Question, was the Moodies most successful in the new era, only being kept off the No. 1 slot by the England World Cup squad’s Back Home. (Oh tempora!) Despite being described as, “One of the world’s most advanced groups,” while promoting the song on Top of the Pops, the LP it prefaced, A Question of Balance, gave the first indication that collectively the band was going off the boil.

Their next single didn’t even make the UK charts despite being a belter. First below is not the album version from Every Good Boy Deserves Favour. This one has a different vocal performance and a more lush mellotron sound. The more familiar album edition follows.

The Moody Blues: The Story In Your Eyes

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