Last month I wrote a post (link here) about that amazing full moon we in the UK were all witness to. Having discovered that all full moons have a name, generally having come from the Native Americans who very much used the moon’s cycle as their calendar, I decided to embark on a series of “moon posts” to coincide with whenever a new one appears in our skies. Last night, despite the fact there had been solid cloud cover all day, I managed to witness the Cold Moon, so-called because it occurs at that time of the year when the cold grip of winter really starts to take hold. I tried very hard to get a good shot of it both with my phone and camera, but not easy, so here is the best I could come up with – My Cold Moon as seen in the Highlands of Scotland.
The next full moon will occur in January, so as this is my last lunar offering of 2017 I am going to feature a song by an artist who sadly left us earlier this year and whom I have been remiss in not mentioning until now. I am talking about Al Jarreau who despite having had an incredibly long career as a jazz performer will, for me, always be remembered as the guy who sang the “Moonlighting” Theme. Al started out in 1968 and during his lengthy career received a total of seven Grammy Awards and was nominated for over a dozen more. He is perhaps best known for his 1981 album “Breakin’ Away” but passed away back in February this year at the age of 76, just two days after announcing his retirement.
“Moonlighting” Theme by Al Jarreau:
Moonlighting was the American comedy-drama television series, set in the offices of a private detective agency, that ran for four years in the late 1980s. It was must watch telly in the flat I shared with my best friends and even when we all started to move out and go our separate ways, it was always a great excuse for a get-together back at the mothership!
The show made a star out of Bruce Willis and re-launched the career of Cybill Shepherd. The relationship between their characters, David and Maddie, was of course one of those “will they, won’t they” ones but naturally once they did, the magic ended. Still included in most lists of the best TV couples of all time however.
Bruce and Cybill aka David and Maddie
Next month’s full moon will be called the Wolf Moon so I shall return at the start of January with another lunar song title. A bit of a quirk next month however in that we will also have a Blue Moon. Doesn’t happen often (thus the name) but as all full moons occur every 29.5 days we will have one on the 2nd and the 31st (just snuck in there at the end of the month). Plenty of song choices for blue moons but will have to have a think about which song would be most suitable for a wolf moon. Bob Seger and his Silver Bullet Band immediately comes to mind but we’ll see!
Until next time…. RIP Al Jarreau
Moonlighting Lyrics (Song by Al Jarreau/Lee Holdridge)
Some walk by night Some fly by day Nothing could change you Set and sure of the way Charming and bright Laughing and gay I’m just a stranger Love the Blues and the Braves There is the sun and moon Facing their old, sweet tune Watch them when dawn is due Sharing one space
Some walk by night Some fly by day Something is sweeter When you meet ‘long the way There is the sun and moon Facing their old, sweet tune Watch them when dawn is due Sharing one space
So come walk the night Come fly by day Something is sweeter ‘Cause we met ‘long the way We’ll walk the night We’ll fly by day Moonlighting strangers Who just met on the way Who just met on the way
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away there lived a handsome prince called David. All the young ladies of the land collected pictures of the prince and adorned their walls with them.
Many of you will have heard that one of the 1970’s biggest teen idols died earlier this week at the age of 67. Not a massive shock this time as it had been announced earlier this year that he was suffering from dementia and then last weekend, from multiple organ failure – A transplant was not deemed possible so the life-support machines were switched off on Tuesday at noon. Still sad news however for those of us of a certain age who remember him at his shiniest best.
Of course when I heard the news I had to refer to my box of teenage memorabilia and in the folder of pin-ups and posters from the early ’70s, it turned out that most were of David Cassidy. There were also a fair few of those Osmond Brothers, TheJackson 5, David Essex, Bjorn Borg,Marty Kristian from the New Seekers and Ben Murphy of Alias Smith and Jones fame, but no, by far the biggest number were of Mr Cassidy as he was omnipresent within the pages of teen mags from 1970 to 1974.
The Partridge Family Minstrels
I have written about David Cassidy in this blog before (link here) as my first three posts ended up being about artists called David – Bowie, Davy Jones of the Monkees and David Cassidy. Sadly, not one of that triumvirate of Davids is still with us, which is a sobering thought. This revisitation of the artists of my youth is a constant reminder that we are all journeying along that conveyer belt of life apace, and with this latest departure it does give us another “mortality reality check”.
I was just at the right age for David Cassidy to come into my life – As a pre-teen I had watched him play the character Keith Partridge in the kid’s musical sit-com The Partridge Family and then as I reached my teenage years he had become the world’s biggest pop idol, selling out concerts in every corner of the globe. But was it his music we adored or was it the idol himself? As I mentioned last time he appeared on these pages, his song Could It Be Forever was the first one that made me cry, and I didn’t even know why! The teenage hormones were starting to kick in and we girls lose our sanity a bit when it comes to our idols, behaving in a totally irrational and frenzied manner. We buy all the magazines with their pictures and create scrapbooks/fanzines. We cover our bedroom walls with their posters and even iron picture transfers onto our pillowcases. Of course we also dream of them being our fantasy boyfriends, without really understanding what having a real boyfriend would mean.
I have another few things in the archive folder that refer to David Cassidy and think they are worth sharing here as a lasting reminder of just how big he was in the early ’70s. These wordy pages are often to be found on the back of the aforementioned pin-ups but are proving to be the most interesting when looking back – A little bit of pop history. (By the way in case anyone thinks it’s a bit weird that I still have all this stuff – No, I don’t sit around of an evening dressed in flares and platform shoes pouring over pictures of my teen idols, it’s just that if you’ve ever had to clear out your parents’ loft so they can downsize, you end up finding all this childhood ephemera and are somewhat loathe to get rid of it just in case you ever start writing a music blog!)
From the pages of Fab 208
FAN magazine letters page – Not sure how authentic they were
A fictional short story featuring a romantic encounter with DC
The Janey from Hollywood column – David Cassidy gossip (and a picture of Suzi with a DC haircut)
The handsomest teen idol with the best hair – The secret to his success?
Poor David’s time in the sun was short-lived as seems to be the case with most teen idols – As soon as your fan base comes of age and finds love with real-life boys, the career is over. Some manage to reinvent themselves but sadly David didn’t really ever manage to negotiate that cross-over success although he did record a new album in the mid ’80s and continued to tour until earlier this year.
But I can’t leave it there. Many of us who were fans back in the early ’70s probably didn’t give David and his Partridge Family pals much thought in the intervening years, but when the Richard Curtis film Four Weddings and a Funeral was released in 1994 there was a great scene where slightly awkward, upper-class Englishman Charles (played by Hugh Grant) attempted to declare his love for Carrie (played by Andie MacDowell). After much procrastination he finally got round to uttering those most difficult of words, “I think I love you” but of course they were attributed first to David Cassidy, when he was still with The Partridge Family – Très amusant and because of that scene (at 0:30) it has become my favourite Cassidy song.
I Think I Love You by The Partridge Family:
So, “What’s It All About?” – Poor old David Cassidy had a bit of a difficult life after his early ’70s heyday as a teen idol but that seems to be the norm for anyone who has experienced that level of idolatry. I can confirm however that having his picture on my bedroom wall back then was a real joy, and as I drifted off to sleep at night I probably whispered those five little words, “I think I love you”.
Until next time…. RIP David
I Think I Love You Lyrics (Song by Tony Romeo)
I was sleeping and right in the middle of a good dream
Like all at once I wake up from something that keeps knocking at my brain
Before I go insane I hold my pillow to my head
And spring up in my bed screaming out the words I dread
I think I love you (I think I love you)
This morning I woke up with this feeling
I didn’t know how to deal with and so I just decided to myself
I’d hide it to myself and never talk about it
And did not go and shout it when you walked into the room
I think I love you (I think I love you)
I think I love you so what am I so afraid of I’m afraid that I’m not sure of a love there is no cure for
I think I love you isn’t that what life is made of Though it worries me to say that I never felt this way
I don’t know what I’m up against I don’t know what it’s all about I got so much to think about
Hey, I think I love you so what am I so afraid of I’m afraid that I’m not sure of a love there is no cure for
I think I love you isn’t that what life is made of Though it worries me to say I never felt this way
Believe me you really don’t have to worry I only wanna make you happy and if you say “hey go away” I will But I think better still I’d better stay around and love you Do you think I have a case let me ask you to your face Do you think you love me?
I think I love you I think I love you…
I now realise I was remiss in not sharing any video footage of David Cassidy in today’s post – Here he is as Keith Partridge singing Walking In The Rain, the Phil Spector song that was first a hit for The Ronettes in 1964. This song has actually featured in the blog before (link here) when I wrote about radio, and the chart-run down shows of my early teenage years. Shirley Jones who played his mother in The Partridge Family television series was actually his step-mother in real life and has also appeared on these pages before (link here) when I wrote about the song You’ll Never Walk Alone. As I often say, we keep going in circles around here. Oh and one more thing, the eagle-eyed amongst you might just spot a young Jodie Foster in the front row of the audience in this clip as she played the daughter of Shirley Jones love interest in this episode!
My last two posts have in effect been tributes to artists who passed away in 2017. Another colossus from the world of music who died earlier this year, but whom I omitted to write about at the time, was Chuck Berry. It was not until after his death at the grand old age of 90, that I discovered he’d led such a colourful life, and not always because of his success as one of the pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll. Oh no, over the years it was common to see him having been incarcerated for a variety of misdemeanours, so despite having come from a reasonably well-off, middle class family, there was something about his personality that must have made that likely to happen.
As for me, being a child of the ’60s, Mr Berry’s rock ‘n’ roll career had kind of passed its heyday by the time I got to know about him, and ironically when I did, it was only because of the truly awful novelty song My Ding a Ling. For some reason, despite its awfulness, it must have resonated with the record-buying public back in 1972, and hit the No. 1 spot in several countries including the UK.
Chuck Berry has graced these pages before (link here) but only because I had written a post about songs chosen for crime dramas. Quentin Tarantino, a master at picking lesser-known and somehow timeless tracks for his movies, had used Chuck’s You Never Can Tell for the infamous twist contest scene in Pulp Fiction, where Mia Wallace instructs a nervous Vincent Vega that she wants to win that trophy (and what Mia wants, Mia gets).
But no, I’m sure we’d all agree that the song most closely associated with Chuck Berry is none other than Johnny B. Goode. It was written back in 1955 and was all about an illiterate, guitar-playing country boy from Louisiana who dreamt of having his name in lights. Although originally about a “coloured boy”, Chuck changed the lyrics to “country boy” to make sure of airplay and it sits at No. 7 on that list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
There also however can’t be many people of my age who don’t know that his whole career was based on a chance phonecall from his cousin Marvin Berry, who had accidentally injured his hand and needed a guitar-playing stand-in at short notice. Fortunately, a time-travelling kid from 1985 was literally waiting in the wings for his chance to shine and the rest as they say, is history – Chuck had finally found that new sound he was looking for. (Check out the proof at 1:30)
Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry:
But of course that couldn’t really have happened, even in the fanciful world of Steven Spielberg movies, as it would have constituted a paradox. Marty McFly in the film Back To The Future would never have known the song Johnny B. Goode in 1985 had Chuck not written it in 1955, but a great little bit of space-time continuum humour for the movie. In October 2015, whilst on holiday, it became apparent via social media that we were celebrating Back To The Future Day – As luck would have it the day was a bit of a miserable one weather-wise, so how better to spend it than to watch all three BTTF movies back to back – How accurate had the film-makers been in predicting how we would live in the future? Not too bad at all as it turns out although to date I have never popped to the shops on a hover board!
And here is where my geek credentials come to the fore – I do love the whole concept of time-travel (this blog’s domain name is “jukeboxtimemachine.com” after all) so I decided, once and for all, to document the BTTF journeys made by Marty and Doc Brown. It’s easy to get a tad confused over the sheer number of trips made by our intrepid duo over the course of the trilogy but by the end of film number two it was all on paper, and was making total sense – A seemingly inconsequential action taking place in an alternate past can change the future from being a rosy one, to one of utter chaos and that’s exactly what had happened. It was time to go further back in time, to 1885.
Now it was starting to get really complicated but I soldiered on over the course of the afternoon recording the many, many DeLorean journeys back and forth in time. By early evening I thought I had it, and clearly marked on the bit of paper I had commandeered from our holiday cottage sideboard, that there were indeed no paradoxes. What a fool I was however as I had clearly not considered the fact that Mr Berry’s song, duck walk and guitar riff had, according to cousin Marvin, not even been thought of yet. As it turns out, many other paradoxes have been discovered over the years by eagle-eyed fans (or should that be pedantic geeks), but on that evening of 21st October 2015, I was still feeling really quite chuffed with myself.
So, “What’s It All About?” – It seems that for someone my age, Chuck Berry is not so much remembered for being pivotal in the melding of rhythm & blues with country music and bringing it to a mainstream audience in the form of rock ‘n’ roll, but instead for a (really bad) novelty song, the music used for Pulp Fiction’s twist contest and for that highly entertaining musical paradox in a film about a pair of time travellers. What can I say, I am a product of the pop culture of my times.
I feel as if I have now caught up with this year’s tributes and am crossing fingers that no more will have to be written for a while, although unlikely considering the age of some of the rock royalty still around – We wouldn’t want to admit it but I can’t be the only one who has conjectured on who will be next. Before I go however we should really see some more of Chuck in action, as it sounds as if without him there might not have been any Beatles or a myriad of other ’60s bands influenced by him and his ilk. Without Chuck there would probably have been no British Invasion, so however his life panned out, that is quite a legacy to leave.
Until next time….
Johnny B. Goode Lyrics (Song by Chuck Berry)
Deep down in Louisiana close to New Orleans Way back up in the woods among the evergreens There stood a log cabin made of earth and wood Where lived a country boy named Johnny B. Goode Who never ever learned to read or write so well But he could play a guitar just like a-ringing a bell
Go go Go Johnny go! Go Go Johnny go! Go Go Johnny go! Go Go Johnny go! Go Johnny B. Goode!
He used to carry his guitar in a gunny sack Go sit beneath the tree by the railroad track Oh, the engineer would see him sittin’ in the shade Strummin’ with the rhythm that the drivers made The people passing by, they would stop and say “Oh my, but that little country boy could play”
Go go Go Johnny go! Go Go Johnny go! Go Go Johnny go! Go Go Johnny go! Go Johnny B. Goode!
His mother told him, “Someday you will be a man, And you will be the leader of a big ol’ band Many people comin’ from miles around To hear you play your music when the sun go down Maybe someday your name’ll be in lights Sayin’ ‘Johnny B. Goode tonight!'”
Go go Go Johnny go! Go go go Johnny go! Go go go Johnny go! Go go go Johnny go! Go Johnny B. Goode!
It may seem like we live in the sticks up here in the North of Scotland, but this year has certainly been a bumper season for tourism and there has been, proverbally, no room at the inn for most of the summer. Great for those who run hostelries and B&Bs, and great for those of us who like to have a bit of a buzz about the town, none more so than when there is a music festival and last weekend saw the last of the season.
First we had Belladrum’s Tartan Heart Festival which has already been written about (link here), then we had Groove Ness (Scotland’s biggest nightclub under the stars, apparently) and finally Jocktoberfest held at a local farm that specialises in the production of beer (oh how we laughed at that play on words – NOT).
Darling daughter and her friends all headed off to the first festival at the beginning of August however a bad cold had been brewing in the days leading up to it and sadly, possibly due to the relentless rain that muddified the event, it resulted in a trip to A&E on the Sunday night. Fortunately the final festival was blessed with glorious weather and although the smallest of the three, it was the one that proved to be the most fun.
One upside to this summer of festival-going however has been that DD is now a big fan of Sister Sledge. They were on the bill at Belladrum for the second time although sadly this year without Joni who had passed away in March aged only 60. After writing about the passing of Walter Becker of Steely Dan last time I realised that it is now September and I still haven’t paid tribute to Joni and the contribution she and her sisters made to that body of work attributed to the disco genre. Sister Sledge always symbolised strong family values and their 1979 hit We Are Family did that with bells on.
We Are Family by Sister Sledge:
I would be lying if I said I’d ever been a massive fan of Sister Sledge but they were for many years a permanent fixture on chart rundowns, their other memorable hits being He’s the Greatest Dancer, Lost in Music and the 1985 UK No. 1 hit, Frankie. That particular song was taken from their Nile Rodgers produced album “When the Boys Meet the Girls” and was apparently about Frank Sinatra (although listening to the lyrics I find that hard to believe).
The reason I particularly remember that song of theirs is because I still have the NOW That’s What I Call Music album on which it appeared! It was only the 5th edition in that long series (of which we are now at number 97 I think) and it had been acquired for a flat party. Back in the mid ’80s, just like now, young people all became property owners by about the age of 25 – Oh no, that’s right, hardly anyone can even save enough for a deposit until about the age of 40 nowadays such has been the ridiculousness of houses becoming financial assets as opposed to homes over the last couple of decades. But anyway, pre-rant my point was going to be that in 1985 most of our friends had bought their own flats and wanted to keep them all pristine, so our large rented one became party central. Looking back at the tracks on this album we had the usual eclectic mix of all that would have been hogging the airwaves that summer from Sister Sledge to Simple Minds, from Duran Duran to The Damned. I wish I could remember how the party turned out but I can’t, although I do know that we often had nice policemen turning up at the door asking us to turn the music down (before returning to join in the fun once their shift was over).
Poor Joni (pictured above) should have been at our local music festival this summer but sadly passed away of natural causes before the event. Her son however was there in her place so the strong Sledge family values will continue it seems.
Until next time…., RIP Joni
We Are Family Lyrics (Song by Bernard Edwards/Nile Rodgers)
We are family I got all my sisters with me We are family Get up everybody and sing
Everyone can see we’re together As we walk on by And we fly just like birds of a feather I’m not telling no lie
All of the people around us to say Can we be that close Just let me state for the record We’re giving love in a family dose, yeah
Living life is fun and we’ve just begun To get our share of the world’s delights High hopes we have for the future And our goal’s in sight
No we don’t get depressed Here’s what we call our golden rule Have faith in you and the things you do You won’t go wrong, oh no This is our family Jewel, yeah
We are family I got all my sisters with me We are family Get up everybody and sing
As everyone who visits here must realise by now I’m a bit of a hoarder, but it’s all well catalogued and stored so when I heard the other day that Walter Becker from the band Steely Dan had died, I just had to have a search for this. Why would I want to search for a magazine with a picture of The Glitter Band on the cover I hear you ask? (They had just changed their name to The G Band by the way, perhaps having had the foresight to distance themselves from the former “Leader Of The Gang”). Well, between 1976 and 1978 I had a subscription to this publication and along with snippets of pop news and gossip, they also printed the lyrics to 25 chart, or smash hits.
This was the first edition of 1977 and because the Steely Dan song Haitian Divorce was in the current UK Singles Chart, the lyrics appeared on page 3 (although credited to Steeley Dan I see – tut, tut, Mr Words editor). Now how is it possible that I can remember which page a set of lyrics appeared on from over 40 years ago but I can’t remember really important work-related stuff from just last week? Beyond me, but I imagine it all stems from the sheer amount of time that was spent pouring over such publications.
During the mid ’70s I spent an awful lot of hours in a day listening to the radio. Combine that with the regular purchase of a fair number of music-related magazines during those years and it means that I still have a fairly good knowledge of just about everything that made it to even the lower reaches of the ’72-’78 charts. Haitian Divorce was the first Steely Dan single to enter the UK Top 20, and I was mighty impressed by it. First of all much use was made of that device called a talkbox, which created the distinctive robotic intro. Secondly it was about a couple called Babs and Clean Willie – None of the mums and dads I knew were called that, it was all Bill and Ann, or Mike and Fiona, so all very exotic. Finally it just had a great sound and feel to it because Steely Dan’s music was characterised by “complex jazz-influenced structures and harmonies”.
Haitian Divorce by Steely Dan:
What I wouldn’t have known back in 1977 was that the lyrics to Haitian Divorce were about the tourism ploy that led foreigners who were dissatisfied with their marriages to the country of Haiti. A simple and easy divorce could take place with hardly any restrictions and only one member of the married party had to be present. Of course this is what Babs planned to do but somehow the zombie cocktail, a Charlie and a bit of Merengue dancing leads to a tearful reunion back in the USA. Nine months later a kinky-haired baby is born, but nothing is said of it.
At 16 I really wouldn’t have got any of this and there was no internet in those days to offer up an explanation but it didn’t really matter as it was still just a great sounding song and started me out on a journey of Steely Dan fandom – Not in a big way like many of you out there but I do have a fair bit of their music on my digital database and unlike many of the songs that would have appeared in Words magazine (Haitian Divorce shared a page with Grandma’s Party by Paul Nicholas!), theirs have very much stood the test of time.
So, we say farewell to yet another of the artists of our youth and this time at the suddenly very young-sounding age of 67. This year has not been quite so brutal as last (so far) in terms of the sheer number of shock deaths from the world of rock and pop, but never a month goes by without someone’s name appearing amongst the obituaries, which is now to be expected I suppose.
Before I go, as I have added this post to the Alyson’s Archive series I should really share something else from that edition of Words magazine. I give you the “Sounds Around” feature where amongst other stories there is a piece about the New York club CBGBs – It was a place where, “If the music’s good, punk bands don’t need to degrade both themselves and their audiences to attract attention”. Nice to know.
Until next time…., RIP Walter
Haitian Divorce Lyrics (Song by Donald Fagen/Walter Becker)
Babs and Clean Willie were in love they said So in love the preacher’s face turned red Soon everybody knew the thing was dead He shouts, she bites, they wrangle through the night
She go crazy Got to make a getaway Papa say
Oh – no hesitation No tears and no hearts breakin’ No remorse Oh – congratulations This is your Haitian Divorce
She takes the taxi to the good hotel Bon marche as far as she can tell She drinks the zombie from the cocoa shell She feels alright, she get it on tonight Mister driver Take me where the music play Papa say
At the Grotto In the greasy chair Sits the Charlie with the lotion and the kinky hair When she smiled, she said it all
The band was hot so They danced the famous Merengue Now we dolly back Now we fade to black
Tearful reunion in the USA Day by day those memories fade away Some babies grow in a peculiar way It changed, it grew, and everybody knew Semi-mojo Who’s this kinky so-and-so? Papa go
Like many others, I was saddened to hear last night’s news of the death of Glen Campbell. It was not one of those shock deaths we had got so used to hearing about last year as most of us who were fans knew he had been suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease for some time, but it still marked the end of an era. Here is the post I wrote last year when I was still relatively new to blogging and still called my appreciation of the music of Glen Campbell a “guilty pleasure”. I have since discovered that he was one of the most respected and accomplished artists of the 20th century, and the Jimmy Webb songs he recorded in the late 1960s are some of the finest pieces of popular music ever produced. RIP Glen – Despite your sad demise we will continue to hear you “singin’ in the wire” for a long time to come, for which I am very, very grateful.
I hope I haven’t caused confusion – Yes Elvis Presley recorded the song An American Trilogy in 1972 and it became a bit of a showstopper for him when performed during the massive event that was “Elvis—Aloha from Hawaii” broadcast in 1973. Three 19th century folk songs had been melded together and given the full jumpsuited-Elvis treatment and even today, I can’t think of anyone better suited (no pun intended) for the song. His poverty-stricken southern roots, his close affinity with black music and his subsequent elevation to all-American global superstar.
But no, the songs I want to visit today are the three Jimmy Webb compositions recorded by Glen Campbell in the late ’60s. In the UK at that time London was “Swinging” and we were listening to Sandie Shaw, Cliff Richard and Lulu but in the USA, the average “Easy-Listening” aficionado would have been enjoying Glen Campbell. He was now in…
First of all it’s Chelsea Flower Show week and back at the beginning of this week I had fully intended to perhaps write a heart-warming story about my dad, who in my opinion, had one of the nicest gardens in our village – It was small but perfectly formed and just about all the plants were grown from seed in his greenhouse. I thought I’d include a few pictures and find an appropriate florally-inclined song to accompany the post. Having already shared Barbra Streisand’s duets with both Kris Kristofferson and Barry Gibb, it was perhaps time to revisit the duet she recorded with Neil Diamond.
You Don’t Bring Me Flowers by Barbra and Neil:
You Don’t Bring Me Flowers (Any More) was actually a song about a couple who have drifted apart but somehow, taken literally, that song title really struck a cord with me this week. My dad died back in 2003 but prior to that he always used to arrive on this, the last week of May, with scores of bedding plants for my garden as he always produced way more than were needed. His green fingers meant that I too ended up with a colourful summer garden but of course since 2003 there have been no trays of bedding plants which is what made me think of that song. (Pictures from Dad’s garden below.)
An interesting wee corner in the back garden
Secondly, on Monday night before going to bed, I spotted a Facebook update from one of darling daughter’s best friends (so close she features on his FB profile photo). He was in Manchester at the Ariana Grande concert and it was obvious there was much excitement in the air. I knew very little about Ariana Grande before this week but now of course we have all heard of her and not for the reasons she would have ever wanted. It appears she started off in musical theatre which led on to a role in a very popular Nickelodeon television show and from there to life as a recording artist. She is very, very pretty (in a Cheryl Tweedy/Cole/Fernandez-Versini kind of way) which always helps, and although much has been made of her fan base being teenage girls, I know from personal experience that she is also much loved by some young men. Fortunately, the young man we know who went to the concert came to no harm on Monday night but of course the same cannot be said for those in the foyer area who found themselves at the mercy of a happening I find very hard to comprehend.
The people of Manchester have shown themselves to be predictably strong, caring and full of community spirit, with many stories of random acts of kindness unfolding in the course of the week. From taxi drivers to homeless people to nurses to schoolchildren, everyone rallied round. Life must go on as before and that great city has certainly shown that they will be doing just that (some even grudgingly applauding the fact that Man U won their match on Wednesday night). The electioneering all had to grind to a halt for a while for which I was grateful – Coming from Scotland we have now had five trips to the ballot box in just over two and a half years and for once I will not be staying up all night to watch the results come in. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m all electioned-out.
Ariana Grande herself has announced she is to return for a benefit concert in aid of the bereaved families and I’ve just had a quick delve into the music database to see if we have anything of hers stored there – It appears that we do, from back in 2013, before darling daughter went down different music purchasing avenues. Having just listened to it and watched the video, I don’t feel I can include it however, as just a bit too raunchy for this place but in the meantime here is Ariana on the Jimmy Fallon show doing some of her great musical impressions. I do think this young lady is going to have a hard time dealing with what happened on Monday night so I really hope she gets the support she will no doubt need.
Finally, this week we heard of the death of Roger Moore. He was 89 so not one of those shock deaths we had got so used to hearing about last year, but still the end of an era for those of us who remembered him well as The Saint, Lord Brett Sinclair and of course as the most light-hearted, comedic James Bond of them all. Last year I wrote a post about Bond themes (Bond Themes and Nancy Sinatra) and ranked them by personal preference. Although You Only Live Twice came at the top, it is interesting to note that the next three were from the Roger Moore era so perhaps a bit of a golden age, if not for the franchise, for the theme song. (We’ll not mention Moonraker however which came at the bottom of my list!)
Not in the mood at the moment for the big production number that is Live and Let Die nor for Sheena Easton so instead I’ll end this meandering post with the theme song to the 1977 film The Spy Who Loved Me, which was Roger’s third outing as Bond. Nobody Does It Better was composed by Marvin Hamlisch, the lyrics were by Carole Bayer Sager and it was performed by Carly Simon. It was the first theme song with a title that was different from the name of the film and for many, nobody did Bond better than Roger.
Nobody Does It Better by Carly Simon:
So, “What’s It All About?” – Despite the fact that this week has turned out to be one of great sadness, it has also provided a fair few highs as well. Because our back garden is now a much more open space with fewer bedding plants, it is perfect as a gathering place for the young people, who held an impromptu get-together to welcome the return of their friend from Manchester, unscathed. The weather has also been absolutely glorious over the last few days so tonight there is to be a party in another garden to celebrate a neighbour’s 90th birthday. Poor Roger didn’t make it to 90 but Albert has, and although he didn’t ever drive a Lotus Esprit or meet Barbara Bach, he did once serve Princess Margaret breakfast in bed. Yes, you don’t get to be an nonagenarian without having a fair few tales to tell and that one is perhaps again, for another day!
Until next time….
Nobody Does It Better Lyrics (Song by Marvin Hamlisch/Carole Bayer Sager)
Nobody does it better Makes me feel sad for the rest Nobody does it half as good as you Baby, you’re the best
I wasn’t looking
But somehow you found me It tried to hide from your love light But like Heaven above me The spy who loved me Is keeping all my secrets safe tonight
And nobody does it better Though sometimes I wish someone could Nobody does it quite the way you do Why’d you have to be so good?
The way that you hold me Whenever you hold me There’s some kind of magic inside you That keeps me from running But just keep it coming How’d you learn to do the things you do?
And nobody does it better Makes me feel sad for the rest Nobody does it half as good as you Baby, baby, darlin’, you’re the best
Well, it’s over a week since I’ve posted anything new but what shall I write about today? Time to refer to my trusty blogging notebook (it’s a thing) in order to check out the long list of “ideas for future posts” that seems to have developed. Now this list is growing faster than I can keep up with the writing, but I am drawn to a post idea that I had last June, around the time of my birthday, when I wrote about those artists who were really big around the time I was born. I always think it’s a bit silly to receive a gift with songs from the year of your birth as you will have no memory of them, or affinity to them at all, as it is not until you around six or seven that you really start to take heed of such things and remember them in later life.
Back then my chosen featured artist (from 1960) was Adam Faith but included in the long list of his contemporaries was Eden Kane. I had no idea until that point that Eden Kane was in fact Richard Sarstedt who was the older brother of Peter and Robin, both of whom I did remember from the “tracks of my years”.
The Sarstedt brothers, like Cliff Richard and many other shiny stars from the world of entertainment (is there a connection I wonder?), were born in India in the 1940s. Sadly their father died quite young after which they came back, with their mother, to live in the UK. Richard was first off the mark and formed a skiffle group. Like that other group of three brothers, theBee Gees, he included his younger siblings but after winning a talent contest changed his name to Eden Kane and went onto solo success. His 1960 song Well I Ask You even reached the No. 1 spot in the UK Singles Chart.
Eden/Richard’s career was on the wane by 1964 as groups such as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones started to take over the airwaves. On a stopover in Los Angeles later that year however he met journalist Charlene Groman, the sister of American actress Stefanie Powers, whom he went on to marry. He has lived and worked in LA ever since, and they are still happily married today.
Peter Sarstedt was the next brother to pick up the mantle of singing stardom. Although another pop artist, his music was more derived from traditional folk music. He is best known for writing and performing Where Do You Go To (My Lovely) which again was a No. 1 hit in the UK Singles Chart, this time in 1969, and even won an Ivor Novello Award. It is very much a “story song” about a fictional girl called Marie-Claire who grows up on the poverty-stricken backstreets of Naples, but soon becomes a member of the international jet set and goes on to live in Paris. The lyrics are from the perspective of a childhood friend but the rhetorical question of the title suggests that her glamorous lifestyle may not have brought Marie-Claire happiness or contentment. The lyrics of the song reflect the fact that we seemed to be having a bit of a love affair with all things European that year, what with Jane, Serge and Jacques Brel also making a massive impact. Oh dear, how things change.
Here is a great clip that not only showcases Peter, his lovely song, and stupendous moustache, but also Simon Dee whom some of us of a certain age will remember well from late ’60s Saturday night telly. Sadly Peter Sarstedt died in January this year at the age of 75 and as happened last year, I am only now getting round to writing about him, after his death. The artists who have formed the “tracks of my years” are leaving us faster than I can get round to writing about them – Will have to pick up the pace.
Where Do You Go To (My Lovely) by Peter Sarstedt:
The third brother, Robin Sarstedt (whose actual name was Clive) had a bit of a hit in 1976 with the Hoagy Carmichael-penned My Resistance Is Low. I remember this song well as it was from the era when I probably listened to more chart music than at any other point in my life. In the mid ’70s we seemed to be having a love affair with these old classics, possibly because there were quite a few films around at that time set in earlier decades and I know that girl’s clothes and hairstyles also had a distinct retro feel to them. I should know because I had a couple of dresses which were very much in the style of the ’30s and ’40s. ‘Twas the times.
So, “What’s It All About?” – I really will have to pick up the pace. If I am getting older, so are my musical heroes, and it’s much nicer writing about them when they are still alive as opposed to after they have died. I see that Joni from Sister Sledge died yesterday and last month it was Al Jarreau – Both are linked to “posts pending” in my blogging notebook so again it will have to be a “posthumous post” (so much alliteration).
And, although I don’t really do politics here, this of course is the month when the Triggering of Article 50 happens. Back in 1969 we weren’t even in Europe yet and here was Peter Sarstedt writing songs about girls called Marie-Claire from Naples, Sasha Distel, Marlene Dietrich, Zizi Jeanmaire, Balmain and Picasso. Somewhere along the line something has gone horribly wrong.
Until next time….
Where Do You Go To My Lovely Lyrics (Song by Peter Sarstedt)
You talk like Marlene Dietrich And you dance like Zizi Jeanmaire Your clothes are all made by Balmain And there`s diamonds and pearls in your hair You live in a fancy apartment Of the Boulevard of St. Michel Where you keep your Rolling Stones records And a friend of Sacha Distel
But where do you go to my lovely When you’re alone in your bed Tell me the thoughts that surround you I want to look inside your head
I’ve seen all your qualifications You got from the Sorbonne And the painting you stole from Picasso Your loveliness goes on and on, yes it does When you go on your summer vacation You go to Juan-les-Pins With your carefully designed topless swimsuit You get an even suntan, on your back and on your legs When the snow falls you’re found in St. Moritz With the others of the jet-set And you sip your Napoleon Brandy But you never get your lips wet
But where do you go to my lovely When you’re alone in your bed Tell me the thoughts that surround you I want to look inside your head, yes I do
Your name is heard in high places You know the Aga Khan He sent you a racehorse for Christmas And you keep it just for fun, for a laugh haha They say that when you get married It’ll be to a millionaire But they don’t realize where you came from And I wonder if they really care, they give a damn
But where do you go to my lovely When you’re alone in your bed Tell me the thoughts that surround you I want to look inside your head
I remember the back streets of Naples Two children begging in rags Both touched with a burning ambition To shake off their lowly brown tags, yes they try So look into my face Marie-Claire And remember just who you are Then go and forget me forever `Cause I know you still bear the scar, deep inside, yes you do
I know where you go to my lovely When you’re alone in your bed I know the thoughts that surround you `Cause I can look inside your head