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Friday on my Mind 163: Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son/Les Sucettes. RIP France Gall

France Gall who has died recently won the Eurovision Song Contest for Luxembourg in 1965. She was French as was the song’s composer Serge Gainsbourg. I blieve this video is of her performance on the night.

France Gall: Poupée de Cire Poupée de Son

Gall was apparently the subject of a particularly cruel trick by Gainsbourg when he persuaded her to record the song Les Sucettes (Lollipops) about whose double meaning Gall claims she was unaware. (Though the Guardian obituary linked to above says that when requested to lick one for a TV performance, she declined.) The film below makes the lyric’s inference obvious.

France Gall: Les Sucettes

This video outlines the story, along with Gall’s viewpoint.

Isabelle Geneviève Marie Anne “France” Gall: 9/10/1947 – 7/1/2018. So it goes.

Something Changed 1: Linger. RIP Dolores O’Riordan

I haven’t previously had a category for 1990s music – the spur for Friday on my Mind, Reelin’ in the Years and Live it Up wasn’t there. I had been thinking of a starting point, but not this one.

I have been shocked into it by the premature demise of Dolores O’Riordan, lead singer of The Cranberries, who first entered the public consciousness in the 1990s. 46 isn’t 27 but it’s still shockingly early. O’Riordan had a distinctive voice which I shall be coming back to.

The Cranberries: Linger

Dolores Mary Eileen O’Riordan: 6/9/1971 – 15/1/2018. So it goes.

Not Friday on my Mind 49: Legend of a Mind. RIP Ray Thomas

Ray Thomas, who died this week was a multi-instrumentalist not very well-served by most of the time on stage with The Moody Blues merely flourishing a tambourine or otherwise not seeming to do very much. That perception would be to undervalue him greatly.

It was his contribution as a flautist where he really counted, a contribution that only added to the already distinctive sound of the band. As a flautist in a rock band he was for a while unique. (Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull came along later as did Peter Gabriel with Genesis.) That flute embellished mightily the power of Nights in White Satin, the song which became emblematic of the revamped Moody Blues.

A founder member of the band in its first (bluesy) incarnation – Go Now etc – his solid bass voice enhanced the vocal harmonies which were so much a part of the re-incarnated band’s sound.

For some odd reason there seemed to be a regular order of song-writers in those early albums by the “new” Moodies with Thomas always having song three* on side one as one of his spots.

Among his songs were Another Morning*, Twilight Time, Dr Livingstone, I Presume?*, Dear Diary*, Lazy Day, Floating*, Eternity Road, with his collaborations with Justin Hayward, Visions of Paradise and Are You Sitting Comfortably? being especially memorable.

It was song five, side one on In Search of the Lost Chord, though, that was his apotheosis. That song was Legend of a Mind with a lyric about Timothy Leary and supposed mind expansion, “Timothy’ Leary’s dead, No, no, no, no, he’s outside looking in.” Apparently Leary once told Thomas the song made him more famous than anything he had ever done for himself.

But who needed drugs when music itself could be this transportive?

Here’s a promotional film for Legend of a Mind made around the time of its first release. Thomas’s flute solo here is sublime.

The Moody Blues: Legend of a Mind

Ray Thomas: 29/12/1941 – 4/1/2018. So it goes. Thanks for the trips round the bay.

Friday on my Mind 162: The Rain, the Park and Other Things

I mentioned the Cowsills a few weeks ago. They never had a hit in Britain but had more success in the US of which this song was the breakthrough single.

The group was apparently the inspiration for The Partridge Family.

The Cowsills: The Rain, The Park and Other Things

Here’s a rather impressive live version recorded in 2013.

The Cowsills: The Rain, The Park and Other Things

Not Friday on my Mind 48: I Am a Rock

“A winter’s day/In a deep and dark December.”

Today is just about as deep and dark as December gets.

So here’s a song about darkness in the soul.

Simon and Garfunkel: I Am a Rock

Friday on my Mind 160: Happy Together

The Turtles were one of those male vocal groups the US seemed to produce so easily in the mid-60s. The Association and The Cowsills also spring to mind along with The Happenings. The Beach Boys, however, were always a cut above the rest.

Their name had an unfortunate resonance with the US label they signed for, White Whale, and they feared they might be thought of as a novelty group as a result. There were no such problems in the UK on London American.

The single of Happy Together seemed to hang about the lower reaches of the British charts for weeks before finally climbing into the top twenty, during which time I bought it, but it’s one of those which has had an extensive after-life, unlike its successors She’d Rather Be With Me and Elenore – both bigger hits in the UK (or at least higher chart placings.)

The Turtles: Happy Together

Friday on my Mind 159: William Chalker’s Time Machine

The Idle Race wasn’t the only Birmingham group to like (Here We Go Round) the Lemon Tree. The band that recorded the song here liked that earlier one so much they took their name from (part of) its title.

The somewhat psychedelic – not to say SF tinged – William Chalker’s Time Machine was written by Ace Kefford, who had just left The Move, and produced by Andy Fairweather-Low (of Amen Corner and solo fame) and Trevor Burton of …. The Move.

It didn’t bother the charts.

The Lemon Tree: William Chalker’s Time Machine

Not Friday on my Mind 46: (Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree

This Roy Wood song was originally planned as a single but ended up as the B-side of Flowers in the Rain famously the first song to be played on Radio 1, fifty years ago this week

There’s a great rhyme in the lyric: plans/underpants. Not to mention cider/beside her.

The Move:- (Here we go round) The Lemon Tree

Jeff Lynne (of ELO fame)’s first group The Idle Race also recorded it as a single but it was only released in Europe and the US.

The Idle Race: Here We Go ‘Round The Lemon Tree

Friday on my Mind 157: Carpet Man

The death of Glen Campbell and his rendering of Wichita Lineman (and Galveston) reminded me of how good a songwriter Jimmy Webb was. Webb’s style was kind of out of tune (ahem) for the times but there were still a lot of hits that came from his pen.

Looking it up I’m surprised this one wasn’t a hit in the UK. As I recall it a got a lot of airplay.

5th Dimension: Carpet Man

Friday on my Mind 156: Wichita Lineman – RIP Glen Campbell

Sad to hear the news earlier this week of the death of Glen Campbell.

He had one of the clearest voices in popular music. Though he had among other things previously been a touring member of The Beach Boys and I must have heard his version of By the Time I Get to Phoenix he first really came to my attention with Wichita Lineman written by Jimmy Webb which it seems Campbell recorded even though apparently Webb hadn’t finished the song.

This apparently live performance doesn’t have the “Morse Code” strings which come in at the end of the refrain.

Glen Campbell: Wichita Lineman

The video below – featuring clips from throughout Campbell’s career – does though, as the recorded version provides the backing.

Glen Campbell: Wichita Lineman

Glen Travis Campbell: 22/4/1936-8/8/2017. So it goes.

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