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Friday on my Mind 196: Fire

A piece of utter craziness from 1968. On the face of it Arthur Brown was just a little bit mad what with wearing a helmet of burning fuel on his head. Catchy, unforgettable and a world-wide hit but not easy to follow-up.

As seen on Top of the Pops. (The video looks like someone filmed it off a TV screen.)

Crazy World of Arthur Brown: Fire

Not Friday on my Mind 62: I’m a Man – RIP Spencer Davis

Spencer Davis, leader of his eponymous group and discoverer of Stevie Winwood (who played keyboards and sang on all the group’s big hits) died earlier this week.

The top ten hits Keep on Running, Somebody Help Me, Gimme Some Lovin’, I’m a Man all came in the years 1965-1967 and were split by the No 12 When I Come Home (which I confess I do not remember at all but of which there’s a film clip on You Tube featuring Nicholas Parsons!)

When Winwood left to form Traffic the group’s sound changed to something more heavy and psychedelic – I featured Time Seller here – but only that song touched the top 30 and that at no 30. Its follow-up Mr Second Class was a no 35.

Davis later moved into the record business as a promoter.

This was the last of the top ten hits:-

The Spencer Davis Group: I’m a Man

Spencer David Nelson Davies (Spencer Davis): 17/7/1939 – 19/10/20. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 195: You Got Soul – RIP Johnny Nash

I noted the passing of Johnny Nash last week. Apparently he was instrumental in ensuring Bob Marley’s first recording contract. He certainly recorded Stir it Up and got a UK hit with it.

Nash’s most famous song is of course I Can See Clearly Now (1972) but his only No 1 was Tears on My Pillow in 1975. His first UK hit was Hold Me Tight in 1968. This song was its follow-up and shows off his rock-steady/reggae background.

Johnny Nash: You Got Soul

John Lester (Johnny) Nash: 19/8/1940 – 6/10/20. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 194: A Whiter Shade of Pale

I suppose this track really ought to have been much higher up this list. However, I didn’t want the category to contain any obvious songs from the 60s (hence no Beatles, no Rolling Stones) nor – certainly after a few weeks – repeats of the same artist. When I posted the band’s Shine on Brightly I thought I had already featured Homburg here. (I had, but before I started the Friday on my Mind category.)

A Whiter Shade of Pale is so quintessentially 60s that it’s a bit clichéd as an exemplar from the decade.

But this still sounds so fresh, possibly because of its source material, Bach’s Air on the G String.

The original video/film was surely in black and white. That’s certainly how I remember it. This one must have been colourised.

Anyway here’s where Prog Rock might be said to have begun – at least in the public’s mind.

Procol Harum: A Whiter Shade of Pale

Friday on my Mind 193: Um, Um, Um, Um, Um and Pamela, Pamela. RIP Wayne Fontana

Another name from the 1960s, Wayne Fontana, died last week. He first came to public attention when fronting Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders with whom he had the unusually named hit Um, Um, Um, Um, Um (though, given the way the band pronounced it, it would be better rendered as “Mm, Mm, Mm, Mm, Mm.”)

Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders: Um, Um, Um, Um, Um

After splitting with the Mindbenders, Fontana had several hits of his own, of which this was the biggest.

Wayne Fontana: Pamela, Pamela

Glyn Geoffrey Ellis (Wayne Fontana:) 28/10/1945 – 6/8/ 2020. So it goes.

Not Friday on my Mind 61: Oh Well – RIP Peter Green

I was so sad to hear of the death of guitarist Peter Green, late of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, the first incarnation of Fleetwood Mac and the Peter Green Splinter Group.

I have featured his music before here and Here. Both of those songs speak of a troubled mind and it is no secret that Green found life and fame difficult (not helped by taking LSD.)

His work speaks for itself though.

The first clip – Oh Well Part 1 is a live performance and misses out the acoustic last part.

Fleetwood Mac: Oh Well Part 1:-

That acoustic part was repeated at the beginning of Oh Well Part 2 so is included below.

Fleetwood Mac: Oh Well Part 2:-

Peter Allen Greenbaum (Peter Green,) 29/10/1946 – 25/7/2020. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 192 and Reelin’ in the Years 175: The In Crowd

I give you two for the price of one this week. (Not that either of them actually costs anything.)

The In Crowd was hit in both these decades, first for Dobie Gray in 1965, then for Brian Ferry in 1974.

Here’s Dobie Gray in a US TV appearance.

Dobie Gray: The In Crowd

Ferry’s treatment of the song is a little different.

Brian Ferry: The In Crowd

Friday on my Mind 189: My Boy Lollipop (RIP Millie Small)

Millie, as Millie Small was known on her records, who has died this week, had one of the most distinctive hits of the early 1960s. My Boy Lollipop was the first bluebeat/ska song to be a hit but it was Millie’s delivery that really caught the ear. She just sounded so joyous.

Sadly that hit was more or less her only one and she did not gain much benefit from it.

Millie: My Boy Lollipop

Millicent Dolly May (Millie) Small: 6/10/1947 – 5/5/2020. So it goes.

Not Friday on my Mind 60: From Home

From home is where we’re all doing things at the moment. It brought this to mind.

(Not that the song has anything to do with coronavirus. Keep safe everyone.)

It was the B-side of Wild Thing, at least in the UK.

There’s that earthy very Troggy quality to this and listening to it again it presages both punk and Adam and the Aunts.

There’s a video clip here of the group performing it live in 1967.

The Troggs: From Home

Friday on my Mind 188: But You Know I Love You. RIP Kenny Rogers.

The usual output of Kenny Rogers who died last weekend, The Gambler, Coward of the County etc, isn’t really my cup of tea. It is undeniable however that he had a big following.

I had been toying with the idea of using this group’s second UK hit in this spot for some while and this would have been an ideal opportunity but I decided its title might be a little insensitive in connection with someone recently deceased. (It was also from 1970.)

Here’s one that wasn’t a UK hit at all but whose refrain has stuck in my mind for all those years – without me really remembering who had sung it.

The First Edition: But You Know I Love You

I note that Kenny’s Guardian obituary (see link above) says Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town, the group’s first UK hit, was written from the viewpoint of a Vietnam veteran. At the time the story was that “the crazy Asian war” of the song’s lyric was actually the Korean War.

Kenneth Donald (Kenny) Rogers: 21/8/1938 – March 20/3/2020. So it goes.

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