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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.

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.

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.

Friday on my Mind 210: For What It’s Worth

Buffalo Springfield were a particularly North American phenomenon even if they did spark the careers of Stephen Stills and Neil Young. I don’t recall them ever having a hit in the UK. This song though is redolent of that mid 1960s anti-establishment the-times-are-changing vibe. (Not that the times ever did change.)

As to this video I have to say I find it difficult to take anybody wearing a cowboy hat seriously. (That was as true in the mid-60s as it is today.)

Buffalo Springfield: For What It’s Worth (Stop, Hey What’s That Sound)

Friday on my Mind 55 Years On

A recording of The Easybeats’ first performance of Friday on my Mind on Top of the Pops on 24th November 1966 long thought lost to the world has been discovered in Australia. The story is here and includes the relevant clip.

The sheer joy of the lead singer’s performance is delightful to see.

He seems to be singing two lines of the lyric of the chorus in a slightly different order to that on the ’45 single which I bought, though.

Not Friday on my Mind 69: Late Lament – RIP Graeme Edge

I was saddened to read in the Guardian of the death of Graeme Edge of the Moody Blues on Armistice Day.

As a drummer he perhaps wasn’t spectacular but he did the job. He was one of the group’s original members (in the days of Denny Laine, Clint Warwick and Go Now) and continued on to the glory days of the late 60s and early 70s. His contribution to the group’s œuvre was not initially musical but spoken word (poetry if you will) starting with the Morning Glory sequence from Days of Future Passed whose first verse,

“Cold hearted orb that rules the night,
Removes the colours from our sight,
Red is grey and yellow white,
But we decide which is right,
And which is an illusion,”

is returned to in Late Lament, the spoken coda which comes after the final song, Nights in White Satin. Unfortunately this clip omits the gong right at the end.

The Moody Blues: Late Lament

Graeme Charles Edge: 30/3/1941 – 11/11/2021. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 209: Eloise. RIP Barry Ryan

I’ve been meanning to post Eloise here for ages but never quite got around to it. Sadly its singer Barry Ryan died last month. He had a few minor hits in the UK when in partnership with his twin brother Paul, who eventually gave up being onstage in favour of being a songwriter. Apparently influenced by Richard Harris’s success with the Jimmy Webb song MacArthur Park, Eloise was the fruit of that and became a no 2 hit in the UK (with some chart compilers having it at no 1.) Paul predeceased Barry in 1992. So it goes.

Eloise is almost sui generis (despite any comparison to MacArthur Park.) It doesn’t really sound like any other 1960s song. It could be said to be overproduced and overwrought but once heard is never forgotten. Dave Vanian of The Damned liked it so much he had the band record it in 1986, when it reached no 3 in the UK.

It was released under the credit Barry Ryan (with The Majority) but is always referred to as if Barry Ryan were the sole performer. He certainly gave it his all in the recording.

The follow-up to Eloise, the similarly overblown Love is Love, can be listened to here and The Damned version of Eloise here.

The clip is from the German pop show Beat Club.

Barry Ryan: Eloise

Barry Sapherson (Barry Ryan,) 24/1/0 1948 – 28/9/2021. So it goes.

Not Friday on my Mind 68: Soul Deep

This was the third UK hit for the Box Tops but it only reached no 22. It’s become something of a classic, though.

This clip sounds to be the recorded version played over footage of a TV appearance.

The Box Tops: Soul Deep

Friday on my Mind 208: That’s the Way God Planned It

Billy Preston holds the singular distinction of being the only other artist to feature as a named collaborator on a Beatles single. That was with Get Back and its B-side Don’t Let Me Down, both credited to The Beatles with Billy Preston.

In the wake of that he had a top ten hit of his own in 1969 with this song though.

Billy Preston: That’s the Way God Planned It

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