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Reelin’ in the Years 172: Wuthering Heights

This was the song that introduced Kate Bush to the world.

And over forty years later I finally got round to reading the book which inspired it.

Kate Bush: Wuthering Heights

Reelin’ in the Years 171: Ain’t No Sunshine. RIP Bill Withers

Another 1970s songwriter gone.

Writing a love song, or at least a good love song, is a difficult trick to pull off. That Bill Withers managed to tread the line between enuine feeling and mawkish sentimentality on the right side speaks of his talent.

He had very few hits but the songs for which he’ll be remembered in the UK, Lean on Me, Just the Two of Us, Lovely Day and Ain’t No Sunshine, do just that. Lovely Day is one of the few examples of a feel-good song that is pitch perfect.

The last of those four seems more appropriate to mark his passing though.

Bill Withers: Ain’t No Sunshine

William Harrison (Bill) Withers: July 4/7/1938 – March 30/3/2020. So it goes.

Reelin’ In the Years 165: Do Anything You Wanna Do

The lead singer of Eddie and the Hot Rods died suddenly earlier this month. The Rods were a kind of precursor punk band more or less superseded by the likes of the Sex Pistols when they came along. Their brief heyday was in 1977 when this song – released under the name The Rods – became their biggest hit.

The Rods: Do Anything You Wanna Do

Barrie Masters: 4/5/1956 – 2/10/2019. So it goes.

Reelin’ In the Years 157: That’s The Way

A couple of weeks ago I featured a song with this title. It’s not the first one that would have come to my mind when I thought of it.

That would be the following, side 2, track 3 on the album Led Zeppelin III, from 1970.

Led Zeppelin: That’s The Way

Reelin’ In the Years 118: All Around My Hat

Here’s that song containing the phrase “a twelvemonth and a day” which I mentioned a couple of posts ago.

Produced by Mike Batt this is Steeleye Span’s folk rock* take on a traditional 19th century song apparently interpolated with lyrics from another song from the same era, Farewell He.

Steeleye Span: All Around My Hat

*Wikipedia seems to differentiate folk rock from electric folk.

Reelin’ In the Years 117: Evie. RIP Stevie Wright

I’ve come to this late. Stevie Wright, lead singer of Australian band The Easybeats, whose Friday on my Mind I chose as the first song in my 1960s music category of the same name, died in December. I only saw his obituary in The Guardian earlier this week.

Evie was a solo no 1 hit for him in Australia, possibly the first 11 minute song to reach no 1 anywhere in the world.

The song manages to encompass the three main themes of the love song as a form. Its first two parts are reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac’s Oh Well or Derek and the Dominos’ Layla in that it starts in an up tempo rocking style and then segues into quieter mode. Like Evie both those were split over two sides of the corresponding single release. Evie, however, returns to a higher tempo for its third part.

Stevie Wright: Evie

Stephen Carlton “Stevie” Wright: 20/12/1947 – 27/12/2015. So it goes.

Ring in the New. (Reelin’ In the Years 115: Ding Dong, Ding Dong)

A bit of festive cheer for the coming of 2016.

After all, 2015 wasn’t so hot was it?

Happy New Year everybody.

George Harrison: Ding Dong, Ding Dong

Reelin’ In the Years 114: California Man

The roots of both ELO and Wizzard are evident in this, the last of the hits by Birmingham band The Move, which by this time had lost original members Carl Wayne, Ace Kefford and Trevor Burton and reeled in Jeff Lynne from The Idle Race. ELO’s first single 10538 Overture was released only a month or so after this.

The Move: California Man

Reelin’ In the Years 113: Ball Park Incident

It’s that time of year again. I was in a shopping mall yesterday and over the tannoy came the sound of I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day. It was the nineteenth of November!

Still, it got me to thinking about the band that recorded it, Wizzard, a project that Roy Wood had (ahem) moved on to from The Move following a brief stint with the earliest incarnation of ELO.

I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day never made it to no 1, among other things having the relative misfortune to be first released in the same year as Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody. I don’t suppose Roy Wood will complain. The residuals he gets every year for I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day must keep him in mince pies well enough.

This was the world’s introduction to Wizzard. Their first single.

Wizzard: Ball Park Incident

Reelin’ In the Years 111: The Combine Harvester

From the sublime (Al Stewart, last two weeks) to the gorblimey.

I’d almost forgotten about this till the good lady said she’d heard it on the radio this week

The Wurzels were a band from Somerset – a traditional rural farming county – who dubbed their style Scrumpy and Western after the name for a type of cider and a USian music genre.

A parody of Melanie (Safka)’s Brand New Key from 1971 with lyrics more appropriate to agriculture this, believe it or not, was actually a number one hit in the UK in 1976. For three weeks!

Bits of it are still funny, though. I especially like the spoken, “Just you wait till I get me ‘ands on your laaaaand,” towards the end.

The Wurzels: The Combine Harvester:

Another Wurzels parody, this time of Una Paloma Blanca, got to number three in 1976.

The Wurzels: I am a Cider Drinker

There are clips on You Tube of the Wurzels performing this on TV but on one of them they are introduced by a paedophile and the other is incomplete.

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