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Not Friday on my Mind 62: I’m a Man – RIP Spencer Davis

Spencer Davis, leader of his eponymous group and discoverer of Stevie Winwood (who played keyboards and sang on all the group’s big hits) died earlier this week.

The top ten hits Keep on Running, Somebody Help Me, Gimme Some Lovin’, I’m a Man all came in the years 1965-1967 and were split by the No 12 When I Come Home (which I confess I do not remember at all but of which there’s a film clip on You Tube featuring Nicholas Parsons!)

When Winwood left to form Traffic the group’s sound changed to something more heavy and psychedelic – I featured Time Seller here – but only that song touched the top 30 and that at no 30. Its follow-up Mr Second Class was a no 35.

Davis later moved into the record business as a promoter.

This was the last of the top ten hits:-

The Spencer Davis Group: I’m a Man

Spencer David Nelson Davies (Spencer Davis): 17/7/1939 – 19/10/20. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 195: You Got Soul – RIP Johnny Nash

I noted the passing of Johnny Nash last week. Apparently he was instrumental in ensuring Bob Marley’s first recording contract. He certainly recorded Stir it Up and got a UK hit with it.

Nash’s most famous song is of course I Can See Clearly Now (1972) but his only No 1 was Tears on My Pillow in 1975. His first UK hit was Hold Me Tight in 1968. This song was its follow-up and shows off his rock-steady/reggae background.

Johnny Nash: You Got Soul

John Lester (Johnny) Nash: 19/8/1940 – 6/10/20. So it goes.

Reelin’ in the Years 181: Angie Baby – RIP Helen Reddy

This makes a companion piece to last week’s offering in this slot as the two songs share a girl’s name.

Sad that nearly coincided with the death of Helen Reddy.

Reddy is famous for writing the feminist anthem I Am Woman. I always thought her voice wasn’t quite strong enough to carry that song though.

It was more suited to this, her only significant UK hit.

Helen Reddy: Angie Baby

Helen Maxine Reddy: 25/10/1941 – 29/9/2020. So it goes.

Mac Davis

Nine years ago I featured Mac Davis, who died last week, at Reelin’ in the Years 22.

I suppose, though, that the song he wrote that most people will recognise would be In the Ghetto which was a hit for Elvis Presley who also recorded Davis’s A Little Less Conversation and Don’t Cry Daddy.

It wasn’t just Elvis who had success with Davis songs. Kenny Rogers and the First Edition had a hit with his song Something’s Burning (see Reelin’ in the Years 173) as well as Everything a Man Could Ever Need, a hit for Glen Campbell.

I see from his Wiki page Davis also wrote Rock And Roll (I Gave You The Best Years Of My Life) which was a hit in the UK for Kevin Johnson and I had as Reelin’ in the Years 32.

Here is Davis himself singing In the Ghetto.

Scott Mac Davis: January 21/1/1942 – 29/9/2020. So it goes.

Reelin’ in the Years 180: Angie

I know I have said previously no Beatles and no Rolling Stones but that was for the 60s and this came out in 1973.

(I have in any case featured the Stones before, but that was a special case.)

The most prominent instrument on this track – one of the intermittent ballads the band recorded – is the piano, but there’s no sign of a pianist in the clip.

The Rolling Stones: Angie

Live It Up 72: Absolute Beginners

One of Bowie’s many great songs. From 1986 and the film of the same name (itself adapted from a previous book.)

David Bowie: Absolute Beginners.

Something Changed 38: Unbelievable

This was always going to be a hit: it just has so many hooks. Once heard never forgotten.

The band’s name (apparently an abbreviation of Epsom Mad Funkers) always made me think of voltage (emf, or electromotive force, is measured in the same unit – volts. Oh, the joys of a scientific training.)

EMF: Unbelievable

Not that you would necessarily have thought that Tom Jones would have taken it up for his own shows.

Here’s the man himself singing with the band (after a wee chat with two of them.)

EMF and Tom Jones: Unbelievable

Friday on my Mind 194: A Whiter Shade of Pale

I suppose this track really ought to have been much higher up this list. However, I didn’t want the category to contain any obvious songs from the 60s (hence no Beatles, no Rolling Stones) nor – certainly after a few weeks – repeats of the same artist. When I posted the band’s Shine on Brightly I thought I had already featured Homburg here. (I had, but before I started the Friday on my Mind category.)

A Whiter Shade of Pale is so quintessentially 60s that it’s a bit clichéd as an exemplar from the decade.

But this still sounds so fresh, possibly because of its source material, Bach’s Air on the G String.

The original video/film was surely in black and white. That’s certainly how I remember it. This one must have been colourised.

Anyway here’s where Prog Rock might be said to have begun – at least in the public’s mind.

Procol Harum: A Whiter Shade of Pale

Reelin’ in the Years 179: Bang Bang

Glasgow’s own B A Robertson’s first UK hit. From 1979.

After a small flurry of hits he graduated to writing songs for others including hits for Cliff Richard and Mike and the Mechanics.

Here he is “performing” the single on Top of the Pops.

B A Robertson: Bang Bang

Live It Up 71: Sugar Mice

The second single from the Clutching at Straws album, which overall dealt with the effect, and strains, of continuous touring and presaged the split of Fish from the band.

This one contains one of Steve Rothery’s signature (and excellent) guitar solos.

Marillion: Sugar Mice

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