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.
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.
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.
The roots of both ELO and Wizzard are evident in this, the last of the hits by Birmingham band The Move, which by this time had lost original members Carl Wayne, Ace Kefford and Trevor Burton and reeled in Jeff Lynne from The Idle Race. ELO’s first single 10538 Overture was released only a month or so after this.
It’s that time of year again. I was in a shopping mall yesterday and over the tannoy came the sound of I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day. It was the nineteenth of November!
Still, it got me to thinking about the band that recorded it, Wizzard, a project that Roy Wood had (ahem) moved on to from The Move following a brief stint with the earliest incarnation of ELO.
I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day never made it to no 1, among other things having the relative misfortune to be first released in the same year as Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody. I don’t suppose Roy Wood will complain. The residuals he gets every year for I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day must keep him in mince pies well enough.
This was the world’s introduction to Wizzard. Their first single.
Longdancer wasn’t the only pre-Eurythmics incarnation of Dave Stewart’s music – and not his first collaboration with Annie Lennox. That came in the late 70s and 1980 with The Tourists and a couple of top ten hits of which only the song below (which is more associated with the 1960s and Dusty Springfield) made any impression in the USA.