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Something Changed 4: Hello

A song packed full of cultural references from around 1990.

I especially liked the line, “Leslie Crowther, Come On Down.”

The Beloved: Hello

Something Changed 3: Something Changed

This is the song with which I would have started off this category in the best of circumstances.

It’s the lyric on this that I really like. It has that sense of contingency, of paths that might not have been taken, and in that context reminds me of Abba’s The Day Before You Came which you may remember I waxed lyrical (ahem) about some moons ago now.

It was the last single taken from Pulp’s big breakthrough album Different Class but not the least.

Pulp: Something Changed

Reelin’ In the Years 146: Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone – RIP Dennis Edwards

Dennis Edwards died earlier this week. He replaced David Ruffin in the line-up of The Temptations and was an important part of the new grittier sound which had more chart success in the UK than the band’s earlier incarnation.

An example of one of those less romance-leaning songs is Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone from 1972.

The Temptations: Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone

Dennis Edwards: 3/2/1943 – 1/2/2018. So it goes

Something Changed 2: Zombie

In the first of this category’s posts I mentioned that Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries had a distinctive voice. There was a distressed quality to it that spoke of demons in the way that Janis Joplin’s also did. O’Riordan’s childhood experiences and subsequent bipolar disorder can perhaps be discerned in her vocal performances.

(Listening to the guitar on this I think Snow Patrol may well have listened to this sort of thing.)

The Cranberries: Zombie

Ursula Le Guin

I’ve just looked at the Locus website and discovered to my deep sadness that Ursula Le Guin has died.

She was one of the greats of Science Fiction and Fantasy and will be sorely missed.

Probably most famous for her “Earthsea” series of books she first came to my attention in the 1960s. I cannot now remember which book of hers I read first but I think it must have been the acclaimed The Left Hand of Darkness. I went on to scour bookshops for her work. I confess I wasn’t as impressed (in my relative youth) by the even more critically praised The Dispossessed – I probably hadn’t enough life experience then to appreciate it fully – but since those days her fiction has always been the background to my SF reading life, my anticipation of each new book never disappointed by its content.

Most recently I always enjoyed her book reviews for The Guardian, which showed a mind as sharp and incisive as ever.

Tonight the world – the universe – feels like a much smaller place.

Ursula Kroeber Le Guin: 21/10/1929 – 22/1/2018. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 163: Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son/Les Sucettes. RIP France Gall

France Gall who has died recently won the Eurovision Song Contest for Luxembourg in 1965. She was French as was the song’s composer Serge Gainsbourg. I blieve this video is of her performance on the night.

France Gall: Poupée de Cire Poupée de Son

Gall was apparently the subject of a particularly cruel trick by Gainsbourg when he persuaded her to record the song Les Sucettes (Lollipops) about whose double meaning Gall claims she was unaware. (Though the Guardian obituary linked to above says that when requested to lick one for a TV performance, she declined.) The film below makes the lyric’s inference obvious.

France Gall: Les Sucettes

This video outlines the story, along with Gall’s viewpoint.

Isabelle Geneviève Marie Anne “France” Gall: 9/10/1947 – 7/1/2018. So it goes.

Something Changed 1: Linger. RIP Dolores O’Riordan

I haven’t previously had a category for 1990s music – the spur for Friday on my Mind, Reelin’ in the Years and Live it Up wasn’t there. I had been thinking of a starting point, but not this one.

I have been shocked into it by the premature demise of Dolores O’Riordan, lead singer of The Cranberries, who first entered the public consciousness in the 1990s. 46 isn’t 27 but it’s still shockingly early. O’Riordan had a distinctive voice which I shall be coming back to.

The Cranberries: Linger

Dolores Mary Eileen O’Riordan: 6/9/1971 – 15/1/2018. So it goes.

Not Friday on my Mind 49: Legend of a Mind. RIP Ray Thomas

Ray Thomas, who died this week was a multi-instrumentalist not very well-served by most of the time on stage with The Moody Blues merely flourishing a tambourine or otherwise not seeming to do very much. That perception would be to undervalue him greatly.

It was his contribution as a flautist where he really counted, a contribution that only added to the already distinctive sound of the band. As a flautist in a rock band he was for a while unique. (Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull came along later as did Peter Gabriel with Genesis.) That flute embellished mightily the power of Nights in White Satin, the song which became emblematic of the revamped Moody Blues.

A founder member of the band in its first (bluesy) incarnation – Go Now etc – his solid bass voice enhanced the vocal harmonies which were so much a part of the re-incarnated band’s sound.

For some odd reason there seemed to be a regular order of song-writers in those early albums by the “new” Moodies with Thomas always having song three* on side one as one of his spots.

Among his songs were Another Morning*, Twilight Time, Dr Livingstone, I Presume?*, Dear Diary*, Lazy Day, Floating*, Eternity Road, with his collaborations with Justin Hayward, Visions of Paradise and Are You Sitting Comfortably? being especially memorable.

It was song five, side one on In Search of the Lost Chord, though, that was his apotheosis. That song was Legend of a Mind with a lyric about Timothy Leary and supposed mind expansion, “Timothy’ Leary’s dead, No, no, no, no, he’s outside looking in.” Apparently Leary once told Thomas the song made him more famous than anything he had ever done for himself.

But who needed drugs when music itself could be this transportive?

Here’s a promotional film for Legend of a Mind made around the time of its first release. Thomas’s flute solo here is sublime.

The Moody Blues: Legend of a Mind

Ray Thomas: 29/12/1941 – 4/1/2018. So it goes. Thanks for the trips round the bay.

Live It Up 43: Only You

A few weeks ago I featured Yazoo’s Nobody’s Diary. Their first hit had been Only You which they took to no. 2 in 1982.

The Flying Pickets went one better a year later scoring a no. 1 with their a capella version.

Here’s them miming on German TV.

The Flying Pickets: Only You

And this is the original, with the somewhat weird video.

Yazoo: Only You

Friday on my Mind 162: The Rain, the Park and Other Things

I mentioned the Cowsills a few weeks ago. They never had a hit in Britain but had more success in the US of which this song was the breakthrough single.

The group was apparently the inspiration for The Partridge Family.

The Cowsills: The Rain, The Park and Other Things

Here’s a rather impressive live version recorded in 2013.

The Cowsills: The Rain, The Park and Other Things

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