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Friday on my Mind 213: Baby I Love You

I heard on the radio yesterday morning that Ronnie Spector, lead singer of The Ronettes, has died.

The Ronettes early success came under the production of Phil Spector – the quintessential US sound of the early 1960s.

Their first hit Be My Baby also featured the wonderful drumming of Hal Blaine.

This was their second.

The Ronettes: Baby I Love You

Veronica Greenfield (Veronica Yvette Bennett, aka Ronnie Spector:) 10/8/1943 –12/1/2022. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 212: To Sir With Love. RIP Sidney Poitier

Actor Sidney Poitier died late last week.

He was certainly a good actor but will be forever remembered as the first black man to win an Oscar for Best Male Actor for his performance in Lilies of the Field. While he was later criticised for essentially presenting an ‘acceptable’ black demeanour to the wider public he was nevertheless a trail blazer for later black actors. (Their success would no doubt have come eventually but his probably made it easier for them to break through.)

His most productive year was probably 1967 when he starred in three high profile films In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and To Sir With Love.

The theme song from the last of those – sung by Lulu who also had a role in the film – made it to no 1 in the US but was only released as a B-side in the UK. I have always quite liked it however and I’ll never have a better excuse to feature it here.

Lulu: To Sir With Love

Sidney Poitier: 20/2/1927 – 6/1/2022. So it goes.

Ooft!

This ‘word’ – it’s actually more of an interjection – was used by Kirsty Wark on Wednesday night’s Newsnight programme on BBC in response to Jacob Rees-Mogg‘s assertion that Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross is a lightweight.

It was a wonderfully Scottish response as this is the preferred – instinctive – Scottish equivalent to saying “Ouch!” when someone has said something particularly harsh.

Not that Rees-Mogg is in any position to talk. He wouldn’t recognise a lightweight when he saw one in his bathroom mirror.

All the Best for 2022

I would say “Happy New Year” but that might be tempting fate.

So all the best for 2022.

We can only hope it’s a better year than any of the past half-decade or so.

Friday on my Mind 211: When You’re Young and in Love – RIP Wanda Young

I heard on the radio at the weekend of the death of Wanda Young, latterly lead singer of the Motown female vocal group The Marvelettes.

The Marvelettes were Motown’s first successful female group with a US no 1 in 1961 with Please Mr Postman (a song which was in the UK mainly associated with The Beatles – they covered it on their second album – until The Carpenters had a no 2 hit with it in 1974.)

Young became the group’s lead singer in 1965 two years before this recording, their only UK hit.

The Marvelettes: When You’re Young and in Love

Wanda LaFaye Young (Wanda Rogers;) 9/8/1943 – 15/12/21. So it goes.

Reelin’ in the Years 197: Midnight Ravers – RIP Robbie Shakespeare.

Also in the Guardian last week was the obituary of Robbie Shakespeare, one half of the rhythm section players Sly and Robbie.

Reggae wasn’t/isn’t my thing but I knew Sly and Robbie were well-regarded in the music business.

Another (private) blog I visit posted this recorded when he was nineteen as a tribute to Robbie.

Bob Marley and the Wailers: Midnight Ravers

Robert Warren Dale (Robbie) Shakespeare: 27/9/1953 – 8/12/2021. So it goes.

Live It Up 85: Smalltown Boy – RIP Steve Bronski

I saw in the Guardian that Steve Bronski has died, subsequently revealed tragically to have been by smoke inhalation in a fire.

He was a founder member of Bronski Beat, who were I believe the first openly gay band to have a big success in the UK when the song below reached no 3 in the charts.

Bronski Beat: Smalltown Boy

Steven William Forrest (Steve Bronski,) 7/2/1960 – 7/12/2021. So it goes.

Not Friday on my Mind 70: The Girl I Knew Somewhere. RIP Mike Nesmith

This posting falls out of the usual sequence of my music posts because Mike Nesmith of the Monkees died only a couple of days ago.

The Monkees may have been a manufactured band but they recorded some great songs like the one below and of course Nesmith went on to have a successful solo career. I also read that his video for Rio provided the inspiration for the setting up of MTV.

Nesmith wrote three of my favourite Monkees’ songs, Listen to the Band; Daily, Nightly; and the one below which came out on the B-side of A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You, which I bought back in the day. Its title is The Girl I Knew Somewhere. According to Wikipedia it was the first recording the group played on themselves rather than merely providing vocals.

I have mentioned before I alluded to its title in my novel A Son of the Rock. That was in the throwaway lines:-
“Who’s Sile?”
“A girl I knew somewhere.”

I must confess I’m not much of a fan of this video. It is of its time. It’s the only one I could find, though, of the original mono mix which was of course the one on that B-side.

The Monkees: The Girl I Knew Somewhere

There is another version of The Girl I Knew Somewhere on You Tube (possibly a demo?) which features Mike on vocals.

The Girl I Knew Somewhere with Mike Nesmith vocal:

Robert Michael Nesmith: 30/12/1942 – 10/12/2021. So it goes.

Live It Up 84: Losing My Mind

Musical theatre isn’t really my thing but I knew that Stephen Sondheim who died in late November was a giant in the field. I’d been aware of him as a lyricist from West Side Story and knew he had subsequently written many musicals on his own.

Send in the Clowns (from A Little Night Music) is perhaps a masterpiece but I like this 1989 Pet Shop Boys influenced version of Losing My Mind, a song which first appeared in Sondheim’s musical Follies in 1971.

Liza Minelli: Losing My Mind

Stephen Joshua Sondheim: 22/3/1930 –26/11/2021. So it goes.

Ronnie Curran

I was saddened to read today on the club website that Ronnie Curran, has died. He was a centre half for Sons in the mid to late 1960s just at the time I had begun to follow the club, making a formidable companion to Hugh Harra.

He is one of only 32 players to appear over 200 times for the club.

Being a defender in those days meant not getting forward much so his tally of three goals in total isn’t actually too shabby.

Ronnie Curran: 14/12/1940-5/11/2021. So it goes.

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