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Not Friday On My Mind 29: Shine on Brightly

Not a single but Procol Harum were one of the forebears of Prog Rock. As this track, among many others, evinces.

Procol Harum: Shine on Brightly

Real Prog: The Court Of The Crimson King

This is probably the track which really switched me on to prog rock. I had been softened up by Procol Harum and had, I think, a few Moody Blues LPs by this time but this was something different.

I heard The Court Of The Crimson King for the first time on Pick of the Pops. Alan Freeman did not just play the top twenty but other more eclectic stuff. I particularly remember the name Rabbi Abraham Feinberg.

Anyway, one day this came on and I thought “Wow. What is that?”

King Crimson: In The Court Of The Crimson King (including “The Return of the Fire Witch” and “The Dance of the Puppets”)

Friday On My Mind 1. Friday On My Mind

The Branch Manager at my workplace had the thought that we workers weren’t having enough fun (thank you David Brent) and came up with the glorious idea of having a competition. We were to name our favourite 1960s hit – that is no purely album tracks were allowed – and pay ¬£1 for the privilege of entering it.* A committee was formed to adjudicate the results. The winner was announced and played over the tannoy – wait for it – after work on the day we broke up for Easter. Some fun!

Runner-up was the now ubiquitous but at the time relatively ignored Hi-Ho Silver Lining as by The Jeff Beck Group. It came second to Daydream Believer by the Monkees. You’ll have guessed I wasn’t on the committee. I will admit to a softish spot for the Monkees but Daydream Believer is a bit twee.

Anyway this all got me to thinking which song I would have considered. I soon realised that choosing just one is impossible but if I had to it would probably be Rupert’s People’s Reflections of Charles Brown but really it depends on the mood I’m in.

I’ve already featured a lot of 1960s songs here and any of them could have been contenders. So pick one from Rainbow Chaser, Tiny Goddess or Pentecost Hotel by the true Nirvana, the real Nirvana (see my category and scroll down.)
Or there’s America by The Nice, with which I started off my prog rock musings, plus their The Diamond Hard Blue Apples Of The Moon – even if it was a B-side – and The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack,
The Electric Prunes’ I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night and Get Me To The World On Time (both here,)
The Small Faces’ Tin Soldier,
The Who’s I’m A Boy,
Python Lee Jackson’s In A Broken Dream,
Procol Harum’s Homburg,
R Dean Taylor’s Gotta See Jane and Indiana Wants Me.
I would also have included Nights In White Satin by The Moody Blues if it hadn’t been turned into a clich√© by excessive re-releasing and overplay.

That’s most, but not all, of the 1960s songs I’ve mentioned before.

But there is a host more, of which I have fond memories and which I might have chosen.

So to start what may be a regular series this is The Easybeats and Friday On My Mind.


*Edited to add:- The money collected was to be split two to one between the respective submitters of the winner and the runner-up.

Imagery

I mentioned Procol Harum a few posts ago. When I wrote about America by The Nice I said, under the influence of a programme I’d seen on the history of the form on BBC 3 or 4, that it seemed that was where Prog Rock began. However it is arguable that Procol Harum’s A Whiter Shade Of Pale, with its debt to Air On A G String, is a truer progenitor.

Among other reasons, A Whiter Shade Of Pale is famous for the opacity of its lyric. I confess to a soft spot for the follow up single, Homburg, (based more on Sheep May Safely Graze) where the lyric is not quite so opaque. The verses are a shade apocalyptic but not the refrain.

Verse 2 runs like this:
The Town Clock in the market square stands waiting for the hour,
When its hands they both turn backwards and on meeting will devour
Both themselves and also any fool who dares to tell the time,
And the sun and moon will shatter and the signposts cease to sign.

SF/fantasy imagery or what?

But then we get a refrain dealing with (a lack of) sartorial elegance.
Your trouser cuffs are dirty and your shoes are laced up wrong,
You’d better take off your homburg cause your overcoat is too long.

Utterly bizarre.

I couldn’t find a version where the first few notes are not omitted.

Hotels In Song

I featured the real Nirvana‘s Pentecost Hotel recently. After the posting I began to think about songs featuring named hotels in their titles. There aren’t all that many that came to mind. Hotel California, obviously, and Heartbreak Hotel. A quick scan of You Tube – up to page 16! – only revealed Procol Harum’s Grand Hotel as one I hadn’t heard. (I’ve listened to it now and it’s a bit overblown.)
The only other named hotel song I can remember is this from Mike Batt. From the sublime (Nirvana) to the bathetic.

The Railway Hotel

Perhaps that bathetic should have been pathetic after all. Or is that too harsh?

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