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Friday on my Mind 205: Birds and Bees

Another Deram release, this time DM 120. It was a top thirty hit only.

It has that baroque sound characteristic of mid 60s British pop though.

Warm Sounds: Birds and Bees

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

Happy New Year (Friday on my Mind 197)

Happy New Year, one and all.

I’ve been saving this one up for several years to wait for the next time Jan 1st fell on a Friday.

It’s the first ever single released on Decca’s Deram label – designated DM 101 – sung by Beverley (Kutner – later Martin) and featured Jimmy Page on guitar. Guitar is not the first thing that strikes you about the song, though. That would be the ringing piano chords at its start.

Beverley: Happy New Year

Deram’s releases were a curious blend of the commercial and the much less so. The label was originally set up to demonstrate a breakthrough Decca’s engineers had made in representing sound stereophonically on record.

This release was not a bad opening statement even if Happy New Year wasn’t a hit.

Howver DM 102 was; I Love My Dog by Cat Stevens which reached no 28 in the UK charts. He outdid that feat later in the year with Matthew and Son (DM 110) equalling the highest position (no 2) reached by DM 109, The Move’s Night of Fear. The oddest hit on Deram though was surely I Was Kaiser’s Bill’s Batman by the immortal Whistling Jack Smith.

Happy New Year was written by Randy Newman who is due a commendation for not adding an apostrophe ‘s’ as most USians do when talking about the day when the calendar flips. To my mind that makes it a felicitation for one day only (as in Happy Birthday! or Merry Christmas!) rather than the desire for good fortune to be with you for a full 365 (or 366) days.

Here’s Newman’s demo version – with a picture of Beverley’s single version cover sleeve.

Randy Newman: Happy New Year

Not Friday On My Mind 19: Tuesday Afternoon

I didn’t buy the Moodies’ next single, Tuesday Afternoon, a song which – like Nights In White Satin – appeared also on the LP Days of Future Passed but I remember hearing it on the radio and thinking it was almost as good. It seems the single version was edited down to a ludicrous 2 minutes 16 seconds – missing out the repeat of the opening riff and “Tuesday Afternoon” chorus.

This is how it appeared on the LP and so contains the orchestral afterpiece tagged on by conductor Peter Knight. Knight’s “classical music” interludes linked all the songs on the LP – supposedly to demonstrate the record label Deram’s new “Deramic Sound System.” The story that the band were asked to record an album based on Dvorak’s New World symphony but instead recorded their own songs without the label’s knowledge has been disputed.

Edited (7/6/14) to add:- Those orchestral interludes and the fact that it was a concept album probably make Days of Future Passed one of the first prog rock albums.

The Moody Blues: Tuesday Afternoon

Not Friday On My Mind 18: Cities

I missed the Moody Blues next single after Fly Me High, the Mike Pinder song, Love and Beauty, where his mellotron made its first appearance on record, but I actually bought the one after, the initial issue – on the Deram label, DM 161 – of Nights In White Satin, written by Justin Hayward, which crept into the UK top twenty, making no. 19.

I was impressed by the B-side too, also written by Hayward. That mono version has the harpsichord, which features more prominently on later stereo releases, much lower down in the mix.

The Moody Blues: Cities

This is the stereo version with the more pronounced harpsichord:-

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