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Not Friday on my Mind 66: Are You Sitting Comfortably?

The source of that “glorious age of Camelot” quote I linked to in Tuesday’s review post of Lavie Tidhar’s “King Arthur” book By Force Alone.

The song is from The Moody Blues album On the Threshold of a Dream released in April 1969. A languid, ethereal, atmospheric track. Quite unlike the book I might add.

The Moody Blues: Are You Sitting Comfortably?

Friday on my Mind 202: Different Drum

This was most people’s introduction to the voice of Linda Ronstadt as she was the lead singer in the Stone Poneys. The song had been released before by the Greenbriar Boys but wasn’t a hit. (Nor was the Stone Poneys’ version a hit in the UK.)

Its writer though was Mike Nesmith of the Monkees. He offered the song to them but the show’s producers turned it down. He recorded it himself in 1972 and his version has a much more ‘country’ feel.

The Stone Poneys: Different Drum

Michael Nesmith: Different Drum

Peter Lorimer

Another football name from my youth has gone. The death of Peter Lorimer has been announced.

He came to prominence playing in that great Leeds United side of the late 60s and early 70s, managed by Don Revie.

I actually saw him play once. He even scored. It was in a World Cup qualification game against Denmark at Hampden in 1972. Denmark outplayed Scotland all over the park except in our penalty box. Everything kind of petered out just before they reached there. Scotland won two-nil.

In the finals Lorimer was involved in the most bizarre free-kick incident ever to have happened during a World Cup. It was Scotland’s first game, against Zaire. Lorimer was lined up to take it when the ref blew his whistle and a Zaire player rushed out of the wall. Lorimer hesitated, waiting for the ref to blow for the ten yard distance to be re-established. He didn’t, and the Zaire player kicked the ball upfield. Lorimer scored the first in a 2-0 win.

Peter Patrick Lorimer: 14/12/1946 – 20/3/2021. So it goes.

Not Friday on my Mind 64: Night of Fear

The first big hit on the Deram label (DM 109, see my previous post here) was this song by The Move, which reached no. 2 in the UK. The song’s writer Roy Wood borrowed extensively from his musical hero Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture for this. While normal lead singer Carl Wayne takes the verses, the song features Ace Kefford singing the “chorus” with Roy Wood and Trevor Burton adding their voices to the harmonies. Wood first contributed a lead singer role in the bridge of the follow-up single I Can Hear the Grass Grow on which Kefford also sang the middle eight.

The Move: Night of Fear

Friday on my Mind 201: That’s What Love Will Do – RIP Trevor Peacock

Trevor Peacock, who was best known as an actor (particularly as Jim Trott in The Vicar of Dibley, died earlier this week.

However he was also a songwriter, with several hits to his credit in the early 1960s, though they were performed and sung by other people. Mrs Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter was a no 1 in the US for Herman’s Hermits, though it wasn’t released as a single in the UK.

This one was a No 3 in the UK. It is a very “early 1960s” sound, from a tiny bit before my time.

Joe Brown and The Bruvvers: That’s What Love Will Do

Trevor Edward Peacock: 19/5/1931 – 8/3/2021. So it goes.

Reelin’ in the Years 185: Nathan Jones

I was so sad to hear of the death of Mary Wilson of The Supremes. The group had one of the signature sounds of the 60s more or less introducing Motown to British audiences.

Though she started the group Wilson was not given the post of lead singer, perhaps because Diana Ross began a relationship with Motown boss Berry Gordy. Ross was pushed so much to the fore that the group’s name was altered to feature her. When she left singing duties were shared more fairly.

This is one of those later post-Ross hits, where all three members took the lead.

The Supremes: Nathan Jones

Mary Wilson: 6/3/1944 – 8/2/2021. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 200: House of the Rising Sun – RIP Hilton Valentine

I heard on the radio news on Sunday that Hilton Valentine, guitar player in the Animals, one of the signature mid-1960s British bands, has died.

The group’s arrangement of an old folk song, to which Valentine made no mean contribution with his guitar arpeggio introduction, was their breakthrough single, reaching no 1 on both sides of the Atlantic. (As I recall, though, the record label attributed the song to Trad: arr Price.)

The Animals: The House of the Rising Sun

Hilton Stewart Paterson Valentine: 21/5/ 1943 – 29/1/2021. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 199: Baby I Love You

That he committed a murder is the main fact that ought to be remembered about Phil Spector, who died last weekend.

His death would not have made the headlines, however – murderers are not usually accorded such notice – had he not, as a record producer, been the main architect of the sound of mid-60s US pop music with his ‘wall of sound.’ A sound characterised by heavy drums, layered vocals, strings and highlighted percussion. As typified in the song below, recorded by The Ronettes.

Spector’s life was always likely to come to some sort of horrific event. He had a disturbed childhood, subjected to bullying by his mother and schoolmates and further traumatised by his father’s suicide. His behaviour in adulthood could be described euphemistically as erratic or, more emphatically, as demented. He treated his second wife, Ronnie, abominably and had a history of pulling guns on people in the recording studio. He was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Without him the Sixties would have sounded very different.

The Ronettes: Baby I Love You

Harvey Phillip (Phil) Spector: 26/12/1939 – 16/1/2021. So it goes.

Let us not forget his victim, whose young life he ended tragically abruptly.

Lana Clarkson: 5/4/1962 – 3/2/2003. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 198: Ferry Cross the Mersey. RIP Gerry Marsden

2021 is carrying on from where 2020 left off. Last Sunday Gerry Marsden died.

He is of course best known as lead singer and guitarist of Gerry and the Pacemakers, a group which had the distinction of their first three hits reaching no 1 in the UK charts, something his contemporaries The Beatles did not achieve. (To be fair they had many more hits in total.)

It was the third of these number 1 songs, a cover of You’ll Never Walk Alone from the musical Carousel, which will be Gerry’s lasting legacy, a song adopted as a theme tune by the supporters of both Liverpool FC and Celtic FC, but because of Marsden’s Liverpudlian upbringing will now forever be associated with the city.

It was the following song though that was the first single I ever bought. The clip is from Top of the Pops but is either mimed or the record has been dubbed over the video.

Gerry and the Pacemakers: Ferry Cross the Mersey

Ferry Cross the Mersey was also the title song from the film the group made in 1965, a film I went to see but of which I can only remember this one scene, shot on one of the eponymous ferries with the group on its deck – complete with drum kit! – and an exchange with some woman saying, “Hello, Gerry.”

Gerard (Gerry) Marsden: 24/12/1942 – 3/1/2021. So it goes.

Colin Bell

Manchester City’s best team may have been the one of the very recent past. Certainly in terms of trophies won it is the most successful. However City’s last great side, the one of the late 60s and early 70s, is worth mentioning in the same breath.

That side’s outstanding performer, one of the greatest players Manchester City ever had, if not the greatest, Colin Bell, has died. The only one of City’s players ever to be dubbed ‘the King’, in his case ‘King of the Kippax’, after the Kippax Street Stand at City’s old Maine Road Ground. He was also nicknamed Nijinsky after a famous race-horse of the time due to the seemingly effortless way he covered the ground. The team was an attacking force to be reckoned with and Bell was its driving creative hub.

His stature at the club was such that one of the stands at City’s new ground, the Manchester City Stadium, aka the Etihad, was named for him.

There was a fine appreciation by Simon Hattenstone of what the man meant to City supporters in yesterday’s Guardian.

By all accounts he was a decent man as well as a great footballer.

Colin Bell: 26/2/1946 – 5/1/2021. So it goes.

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