Morrissey, The Fifth Dimension and “Wedding Bell Blues”!?

Well, I am in shock. Little did I think the first time that chap who seems to be doing a good job of alienating his fanbase would appear on these pages, would be because he has recorded a song I became smitten with during my first year of blogging. I’d just been to a wedding, which coincided with me also discovering the Laura Nyro penned Wedding Bell Blues for the first time. A nice synchronicity so it was a no-brainer I should write about it. As for this version by Morrissey, it was recorded with Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day, as one of the tracks for his soon-to-be-released album of ’60s covers called California Son. We might not agree with his politics and he is definitely sporting middle-age spread nowadays, but his voice still seems to be in good shape. I don’t know about you but I’m really loving his version of the song.

If you want to compare with the original by the 5th Dimension, here is the post from 2016, written the day after my friend’s daughter got married. Being objective, which version do you prefer? I’m wavering towards the new Morrissey one – Argh, is that still allowed I wonder.

First published October 2016

We had a wedding to attend yesterday and much of the week was spent preparing for it. When the song Wedding Bell Blues by The 5th Dimension came on the radio one afternoon, I was therefore already tuned into all things “wedding-y”. Secondly, as explained in my last post, of late I seem to have found myself continually gravitating towards songs from the late ‘60s, which I find bizarre as from a time when I was still a little kid. Finally, just as my fellow bloggers also have musical guilty pleasures, I felt a little uneasy at my appreciation of The 5th Dimension, but in no time at all I was dancing around the room and made a sneaky little purchase on iTunes.

Wedding Bell Blues by The 5th Dimension:

What I find fascinating about the ‘60s is that during that decade, in the wink of an eye, we moved from boy and girl bands, dressed very smartly in identical matching outfits and very rigid hairstyles to the wild abandon that constituted the hippy counterculture. The 5th Dimension were probably best-known for the song medley Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In, from the stage musical Hair. Hard to believe now that full-scale nudity even came to Scotland in the form of a touring production of the show in 1969.

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But back to Wedding Bell Blues, it is a song that was written and originally recorded by Laura Nyro in 1966 but only really became a big hit when covered by The 5th Dimension in 1969. The song is written from the perspective of a woman whose boyfriend has not yet proposed to her, and she wonders, “Am I ever gonna see my wedding day?” The woman obviously adores her man but there is definitely a theme of frustration going on there as well.

There was a lot more to the above post, as I went on to describe the wedding, and how I embarrassed myself in front of the bride’s friends and family by embarking on the full six minute “re-enactment of the lyrics” dance to Bohemian Rhapsody, with Mr WIAA in tow (link here). For the moment though, I’m just curious, what do people think of this new Morrissey album and will you be adding it to your collection?

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Until next time…

Wedding Bell Blues Lyrics
(Song by Laura Nyro)

Bill I love you so
I always will
I look at you and see
the passion eyes of May
Oh but am I ever gonna see
my wedding day?
Oh I was on your side Bill
when you were losin’
I’d never scheme or lie Bill
There’s been no foolin’
but kisses and love won’t carry me
till you marry me Bill

Bill I love you so
I always will
and in your voice I hear
a choir of carousels
Oh but am I ever gonna hear
my wedding bells?
I was the one came runnin’
when you were lonely
I haven’t lived one day
not loving you only
but kisses and love won’t carry me
till you marry me Bill

Bill I love you so
I always will
and though devotion rules my heart
I take no bows
Oh but Bill you know
I wanna take my wedding vows
Come on Bill
Come on Bill
I got the wedding bell blues

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team Bacharach and David - The opening line to that song was "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

18 thoughts on “Morrissey, The Fifth Dimension and “Wedding Bell Blues”!?”

    1. I fell in love with their version after discovering it back in 2016 around the time I was going to my friend’s daughter’s wedding. I am drawn to this new version too though as a bit more contemporary, albeit performed by a chap who is becoming persona non grata because of his public utterances!

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  1. Warning, Alyson – you open a can of worms mentioning the M word these days – and I should know. You’ll rue the day!

    Morrissey to me is like a racist grandparent. I get embarrassed every time he opens his mouth and wish I could make him see how out of step with the times (and his fanbase) he is, but I still love him for all the good times we shared in my youth and can’t quite bring myself to stop him coming round for Sunday dinner. From what I’ve heard of this new covers album too, I suspect it’ll be getting a fair bit of play in this house, even though I risk irking the neighbours.

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    1. Oh dear, have I done the unmentionable and mentioned someone who should now (like someone else I’ve had to edit out of these pages recently) remain unmentioned. The mainstream radio stations don’t seem to have a problem with him as this song is getting a serious amount of airplay at the moment.

      I get what you day about the racist grandparent thing, but the problem is he is pretty much the same age as myself and not that much older (in relative terms) than your good self – Don’t think you can really use that as an argument, although it must hurt when as you say, you shared so many good times in the past. It’s becoming a modern-day dilemma wondering who we have to edit out of our blogs next, or just make sure we never mention them again. I do like his version of this song though and I suspect I would like the rest on the album too as lesser known ’60s songs, from the era I seem to have warmed to most since staring this blog.

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      1. Sadly though, we’re reaching the age where even our contemporaries might voice what once would have been “racist grandad” thoughts. There is some truth in the adage that Guardian readers grow up to read The Daily Mail. (As a lifelong Guardian reader, I don’t think it reflects my opinions any more… but I’m not quite ready for the Mail!) My brother, who’s just a little older than you and Moz, comes out with some right old toss sometimes (not racist as such, just… well, barking mad conspiracy stuff). He’s still my brother though, for whatever that’s worth. (Morrissey stuck by me when I was younger – can’t say my brother ever did!)

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    1. I’m going to have to investigate her further – A lovely looking lady who looks as if she could have been from today, but who sadly died too young.

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        1. No I hadn’t – Thanks for attaching the link. She has appeared on these pages a few times and I would have liked to come down and see the show last year but was sadly unable to.

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  2. Like Rol I find it hard to equate the Moz that once was with his contemporary public utterances. You’re dead right though Alyson, though he may have suffered with his health over the past few years, his pipes are still in very good order.

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    1. Yes, I’m starting to wonder if he has early onset something-or-other. We will feel bad if it turns out he is suffering from some chronic brain disease. As for his pipes, yes, they seem to be still in fine fettle which is why I am really enjoying this song at the moment if it pops up on the radio.

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  3. I’m not so keen on the Morrissey version… although he does it well, just perhaps not to my taste. For all that he’s said, and all that’s been said about him, I still can’t part with the one and only Morrissey album I have on the shelves as I love it both musically and lyrically. It’s back to that artist vs. art theme again! Although I do think that expressing controversial thoughts is one thing, and actively hurting or abusing individuals is another, so I don’t think you need to feel the same way here as re. the other unmentionable person you mentioned (if that’s not a contradiction in terms!)
    ‘Hair’! Oh I remember all the controversy about it as a child. Same for ‘Oh Calcutta!’. They were names I learned to name-drop s a kid just as examples of ‘rude’ things, even though I knew nothing else about them! We had a bit of a hippie vibe going on in my household in the 70s – mum had a kaftan! big sister was a ‘freak’- and I think they were quite into the idea of going along but I’m not sure they ever did. Me, too young, but still knew there might be naughty bits on show 🙂

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    1. I think I know by now what kind of music you warm to most and it isn’t usually this kind of fodder, but thanks for dropping by and sharing your memories – Yes, weird to think that even in the North-East of Scotland, where flower power didn’t ever really reach, people were heading to His Majesty’s Theatre (it’s old) to watch “controversial” shows such as these. Different times but in some ways people must have been a lot more mainstream broad-minded than today.

      Yes, I’m probably safe here in that I don’t have to edit Morrissey out entirely (in the way I’ve had to do with the other M) – As I said to TS above though, I’m starting to wonder if he is suffering from one of those brain diseases that makes you say outrageous things but you can’t control it. Lets see how it progresses. Still like his voice though.

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  4. Hi Alyson. The Smiths forever! By the mid ’90s, however, I grew tired of Morrissey’s solo career. It wasn’t his voice or his lyrics. I don’t like the music, and his band doesn’t do it for me. His politics alone, however, probably would not have stopped me from listening to him. I don’t look for artists that align with me. I suppose there are exceptions, but I’m a pop fan, and searching for people who think just like me would take the joy out of the experience. On a side note, I just finished Todd Rundgren’s book, and you will never find a bigger fan of Laura Nyro.

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    1. Hi Brian – Found your comment! You were right it was hiding there in spam along with some pretty unsavoury stuff (you’ll probably know what I mean) so don’t know how on earth it found its way in there. Probably all right now.

      To be honest I don’t think I’d have noticed just how extreme he had become were it not for the various posts written around here by people who used to idolise him, but are now done with him. Then again I’m noticing more and more articles appearing on my phone’s Newsfeed, especially about his latest Jimmy Fallon show appearance, so perhaps I shouldn’t have written this. I am a great fan of the song though and didn’t really know much about Laura Nyro until discovering Wedding Bell Blues. I think I would like his new album as full of the kind of lesser known ’60s songs I’ve warmed to since starting my blog – His voice still holds good and it will probably sell well but a bit torn now about him. It’s a tricky business this, music blogging.

      Thanks for dropping by and sorry it took so long to find your comment.

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