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Friday on my Mind 185: You Can Never Stop Me Loving You – RIP Kenny Lynch

One of the few black British entertainers – one of the few black faces – to appear on British television in the early 1960s, belonged to Kenny Lynch, who has died this week.

There were US acts of course, such as Sammy Davis Jr, Nat King Cole and Harry Belafonte and Blues and Motown artistes would feature on shows such as Ready, Steady Go! and Top of the Pops but as for British performers Lynch was just about it.

There were quite a few strings to Lynch’s bow, singing on variety shows, popping up on game shows – always with a cheerful demeanour – and he also had a career as an actor but among other songs Lynch wrote Sha La La La La Lee which became a hit for the Small Faces. He was also the first singer to cover a Beatles song (Misery.)

This is his joint biggest UK hit. On it Lynch sounds a bit like Sam Cooke. No small praise.

Kenny Lynch: You Can Never Stop Me Loving You

Kenneth Lynch: 18/3/1938 – 18/12/2019. So it goes.

Not Friday on my Mind 58: White Room – RIP Ginger Baker

As I’m sure everyone knows by now, the man credited with changing rock drumming for ever, Ginger Baker, died earlier this week.

He first came to my attention as part of Cream, the so-called first supergroup. I somehow didn’t notice their first single, Wrapping Paper, when it came out, but caught them on Top of the Pops with their second, I Feel Free. Then came Strange Brew and the other songs from Disraeli Gears.

I have already featured their imperious Badge, from 1969.

This track from Wheels of Fire, shows off Ginger’s drumming.

Cream: White Room

Peter Edward “Ginger” Baker: 19/8/1939 – 6/10/2019. So it goes.

Bowie

The one name suffices. In modern times you could not be referring to anyone else.

There was (sadly that tense is now appropriate) only one Bowie: David.

For many the iconic moment of their lives was Bowie placing a carefree, languid, unthinking arm round Mick Ronson’s neck on that Top of the Pops appearance while promoting Starman and thereby validating sexualities beyond that of the straight and cis.

Bowie’s first brush with the charts came with Space Oddity in 1969, regarded at the time as a bit of a novelty record, though it wasn’t his last song to tangle with SF imagery.

He hit his stride with the Hunky Dory album in 1971 – on which nearly every track is a belter – though no hits were to come from that source till Life on Mars? was released as a single in 1973. This was of course after the breakthrough, the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars in 1972 and that hit with Starman. I would argue that Hunky Dory is the greater achievement. From Ziggy onwards Bowie seemed to be commercialising his talent. The string of hits that followed on from the Ziggy album, through his Aladdin Sane persona, up to Diamond Dogs perhaps bore that out.

He lost me with Young Americans, though. I’ve never been into that sort of music. There were stonkers still to come of course, when he’d changed his style a few more times, Heroes, Ashes to Ashes, Let’s Dance, China Girl, but it is the early stuff I’ll remember him for.

This is The Bewlay Brothers, from Hunky Dory of course.

David Bowie: The Bewlay Brothers

“Man is an obstacle, sad as the clown. (Oh, by jingo.)
So hold on to nothing and he won’t let you down.”

David Bowie: After All (from The Man Who Sold the World)

“I borrowed your time and I’m sorry I called.”

David, we’re not sorry you called.

David Robert Jones (“David Bowie”) 8/1/1947 – 10/1/2016. So it goes.

Live It Up 26: Lavender

I haven’t had Marillion here for a while. This is a clever reworking of the nursery rhyme, with a sly Yardbirds reference thrown in. As I recall when the band appeared on Top of the Pops with this Fish had a sore throat and was unable to sing so he held up the lyrics on cards à la Bob Dylan. Not that he needed to as I’m sure miming was prevalent in those days.

Marillion: Lavender

Not Friday On My Mind 22: Sweet Dream

The follow up to Living in the Past. As I recall this was a hit at the back end of 1969 and on into 1970. The group’s second single to reach the top ten.

Edited to add:- Original video no lomger available. Apparently this one is from a lost Top of the Pops, unfortunately marred by the overlays the video poster has put on the screen.

Jethro Tull: Sweet Dream

Reelin’ In the Years 87: The Story In Your Eyes

I’ve already mentioned the odd decision to release Watching and Waiting rather than Gypsy as the single from To Our Children’s Children’s Children. The former was an ideal coda to the album but not really single material.

The single that came after, Question, was the Moodies most successful in the new era, only being kept off the No. 1 slot by the England World Cup squad’s Back Home. (Oh tempora!) Despite being described as, “One of the world’s most advanced groups,” while promoting the song on Top of the Pops, the LP it prefaced, A Question of Balance, gave the first indication that collectively the band was going off the boil.

Their next single didn’t even make the UK charts despite being a belter. First below is not the album version from Every Good Boy Deserves Favour. This one has a different vocal performance and a more lush mellotron sound. The more familiar album edition follows.

The Moody Blues: The Story In Your Eyes

Live It Up 6: Platinum Blonde

Prelude’s only other hit apart from their cover of Neil Young’s After the Goldrush (see Reelin’ in the Years 31) came in 1980.

This is another Top of the Pops appearance. (The fadeout on the actual record lasts an extra minute!)

Prelude: Platinum Blonde

Live It Up 5: Punch and Judy

The place The Troggs had for me in the 60s and Sweet in the early 70s was taken by Marillion in the early 80s.

Marillion have been forever tagged with the Prog Rock label and while their first songs – especially the 17 minute long Grendel and most of the debut album Script For a Jester’s Tear – fit that bill (which was why I got into them in the first place) by the time of Fugazi they had mainly moved on to a more guitar based rock sound.

Their initial success, though, shows that Prog wasn’t as moribund a genre as its detractors would have had it.

Mind you their third and fourth LPs, Misplaced Childhood and Clutching at Straws were those most Prog of things, concept albums (though arguably one concept album spread over two releases.)

I think I first saw them on television on The Oxford Road Show (who remembers that!) when this was one of the songs they played. Despite it being from Fugazi there is still a hint of Prog and echoes of Genesis.

This clip, though, is from Top of the Pops. Check out Fish – with hair!

Marillion: Punch and Judy

Live It Up 3: Shipbuilding

The most poignant protest song from the 1980s was written by Elvis Costello – about the Falklands War – or the War of Thatcher’s Face as I like to call it.

Shipbuilding was a minor hit for former Soft Machine member Robert Wyatt – wheelchair and all. Wyatt had been paralysed after a fall from a window. When he had a 1970s hit with I’m A Believer (more famously a hit for The Monkees) the producer of Top of the Pops is supposed to have said the wheelchair was, “not suitable for family viewing.” Wyatt “lost his rag but not the wheelchair.”

Like Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart’s Last Train to Clarksville – also recorded by The Monkees – the lyric of Shipbuilding is subtle, not overtly stating its theme.

Robert Wyatt: Shipbuilding

Friday On My Mind 80: Just One Look

I was of course familiar with the cover of this that was a hit for The Hollies in 1964 (see this video of them playing/miming in what looks like the first Top of the Pops studio.)

I hadn’t heard the co-composer Doris Troy’s original version until recently. Something struck me about it immediately. Isn’t this reggae before reggae was invented?

Doris Troy: Just One Look

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