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Reelin’ In The Years 15: Elected

“15?” you say. “Hadn’t this category reached no 153?”

Well, yes.

I had this noted down as having been between Julie Covington’s Only Women Bleed at 14 and Tony Joe White’s Groupy Girl at 16 in this category but when I went looking for it on the blog I couldn’t find it. Its original intended publication was in September 2011. That was the time when the blog started playing silly beggars and I lost quite a few posts before later restoring them. So, either I never posted this one in the first place or it wasn’t republished along with the others.

So here it is again. I haven’t a clue what I wrote about it all those years ago.

I suppose it’s quite topical this week for our friends across the pond.

Alice Cooper: Elected

Live It Up 49: Steamy Windows – RIP Tony Joe White

I was sad to read of the passing of singer-songwriter Tony Joe White, who died last week. His was an idiosyncratic voice.

I have already noted his sole UK hit Groupy Girl. His greatest success was perhaps as a writer of songs made famous by others. Elvis Presley recorded Polk Salad Annie (I featured White’s version here.) Tina Turner had a big hit with Steamy Windows in 1989. White’s version is a bit less strident.

Tony Joe White: Steamy Windows

White’s breakthrough as a songwriter came with Rainy Night in Georgia which has been covered multiple times. His original is still quite soulful, though.

Tony Joe White: Rainy Night in Georgia

Tony Joe White: 23/7/1943 –24/10/2018. So it goes.

Reelin’ In the Years 153: Yesterday When I Was Young. RIP Charles Aznavour

Charles Aznavour, who died earlier this week, was dubbed the French Frank Sinatra which does him an injustice. He was a much, much better singer – and he could write songs too.

He was probably the last of the old guard, brought up in the French tradition, undoubtedly one of the greats.

This is a typical French chanson, fitting to mark his passing.

Charles Aznavour: Yesterday When I Was Young

His biggest hit in the UK, though, was She. So successful was it outside France in comparison to in his homeland that in later days he apparently refused to sing the song in any language other than English.

Charles Aznavour: She

Charles Aznavour (Shahnour Vaghinag Aznavourian): 22/5/1924 – 1/10/2018. So it goes.

Reelin’ In the Years 152: Poor Boy Blues

Again speaking of Stuart Henry, he must have had a soft spot for Barclay James Harvest. In his Saturday morning show on Radio 1 he later began to use the, “So goodbye, pleased to know you. We had some laughs along the way. But I have to be leaving and there’s nothing you can do to make me stay,” refrain from this song – in its second iteration at 2.23 to 2.48 minutes in – as a jingle when he was about to hand over to the next broadcaster.

Barclay James Harvest: Poor Boy Blues

Reelin’ In the Years 151: Don’t Let it Die

An odd one this; record producer Norman Smith taking the mike (yes that’s the abbreviation for microphone used back in the day) himself apparently as a demo for John Lennon to consider but fellow record producer Mickie Most said he should release it as he’d recorded it.

A plea for wildlife conservation sadly still appropriate nigh on fifty years later.

For all its rough and ready qualities there’s something oddly haunting about Smith’s singing voice.

Hurricane Smith: Don’t Let It Die

Peter Firmin

I was sad to hear of the death of Peter Firmin over the weekend.

Along with Oliver Postgate, who died nigh on ten years ago, he produced some of the most loved children’s animations of the 60s and 70s, including my personal favourite of theirs The Saga of Noggin the Nog though others may prefer The Clangers or Bagpuss or even Ivor the Engine.

Noggin the Nog is best appreciated in black and white I feel.

The Saga of Noggin the Nog. The King:-

Peter Arthur Firmin: 11/12/1928 – 1/7/2018. So it goes.

Harlan Ellison

Yesterday’s print edition of the Guardian contained the obituary of Harlan Ellison, one of the most influential Science Fiction writers of the 1960s and 70s.

Much of his most imporatnt work came in the form of short stories ‘Repent Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream and A Boy and his Dog being only three which immediately spring to mind. He also wrote an award winning Start Trek episode, The City on the Edge of Forever (but was unhappy with alterations the show’s controllers made to the script) and many other TV episodes .

He won no fewer than eight Hugo Awards plus four Nebula Awards and many more nominations.

He was also the begetter of the anthologies Dangerous Visions and Again Dangerous Visions which promoted the Nrew Wave style of writing. A third book The Last Dangerous Visions was projected and stories sought – and submitted – but it never appeared, leading to some acrimony.

He could be hard to get along with and indulged in many quarrels. His personal behaviour was certainly far from beyond reproach raising the question as to how is it possible to separate the personality of an artist from his or her work.

But his work will linger in the memory.

Harlan Jay Ellison: 27/5/1934 – 28/6/2018. So it goes.

Reelin’ In the Years 150: Hell Raiser

Well, it’s the only one of The Sweet’s big hits I’ve not yet featured here.

This is from a performance on German TV.

The Sweet: Hell Raiser

Reelin’ In the Years 149: Dragonfly

Earlier this week I learned of the death of Danny Kirwan, guitarist with Fleetwood Mac from 1968 to 1972. His Guardian obituary is here.

Much overlooked in comparison to Peter Green, Kirwan was an important part of the band’s sound during the transition after Green’s departure. The song I’ve chosen, Dragonfly, is the only Kirwan composition (he wrote the tune to set the words of a poem by Welsh poet W H Davies) to make it onto the first Fleetwood Mac “Greatest Hits” compilation.

A less harsh, more melodic touch than Green’s (Man of the World notwithstanding.)

Fleetwood Mac: Dragonfly

Daniel David Kirwan: 13/5/1950 – 8/6/2018. So it goes.

Reelin’ In the Years 148: Lonely Days

Another outing for the word nonchalant in a lyric; except here its inclusion is a little more forced.

The harmonies on the verse of this are sublime.

The Bee Gees: Lonely Days

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