Woke early, almost 4-00am, still dark, still cold, flicked the radio, Paul Gambachini, old singles chart, ‘73, hazy school memories, only thing that mattered more, FA Cup draw, coming slowly alive, sleep filled eyes with Gambo’s voice,
“... 10 down 2 places ...”
stuggling, not really listening, just more than half awake,
“ ..7 it’s Gilbert O’Sullivan – Get Down, eyes rolled, a silent groan.
“ at 6 up one place, Killing me Softly with his Song - Roberta Flack”
Eyes rubbed, brain engaged what was the year, what was the year, what was I doing then, school friends changing times, music, cloths, choosing subjects,
“ at 2, none mover, Donny Osmond – Twelfth of Never”
Awah, inside a groan, a wilting drop of eyes
“straight in at number one it’s . . . . Slade “
an excited Gambo boomed “ with” a talent show hesitation,
“ babe, babe Baaabeeeaa,” guitar crashes, cymbals smash, a Christmas present being ripped open, a primal growl, a drunken hangover greets the day, “Cum on feel the noise, girls grab the boys..” 70’s glamrock at it’s toppest top, outrageous cloths, simple lyrics, melodies not Mellotrons, yeah that’s now, the 70’s a different person was listening, narrow minded, music prejudiced, what was the year? what WAS the year?? Sipped back to sleep.
Woke around 8-00, Slade in my head, imagined alarm call, showered, meds taken, yeup am at that age, song still rattling around my head. Thoughts, memories and reflections on change, physical, mental, physiological, musical, yeah music’s a bit like food, youthful loved favourites, no longer a passion, the despised, now ravenously eaten.
60’s were gone, world was hardening, tribalism shaped school memories, outrage was cloths, was skinheads, Press’s moral outrage, something’s never changed . Moral turpitude, the furore’s cause, it’s source:- skinheads? football violence? Racism? Decimalisation? The Exorcist? Kung Fu?
Nope . . . . misspelt song lyrics . NUT protests, bad grammer, questions in “the House”, possibly. The song reviving long forgotten memories, school blazers, haversacks scrawled band loyalties, tie at the right length, double knotted, play ground huddles, tranny radios softly playing at dinner’s end, waiting for that week’s number One, even rock boys like me had an interest.
. . . . March’s top ten, trying to remember songs, people, changed tastes, the year, buried memories stirred, and lyrics misheard. Googled the year, back to mid March 1973.
Gonna make you an offer you can’t refuse - Jimmy Helms
First off - nothing to do with the misquoted line from the first Godfather film.
Falsetto love song, for a wannna be long haired, BUT collar length hair ruled, 14 year old, discovering music, falling into the freaky rock tribes, this song, sickley, puney , whinney, soul - - eugh, didn’t cut it. No memory Top of the Pops songster, girls liked it, love songs, not for me, Jimmy Helms, probably called him - Jimmy Hells, a man with a girl’s voice, what was that all about, didn’t get it, didn’t like it, didn’t buy it, probably turned bedroom radio off, when it played.
Today hmmm, still not impressed, slow passionless, willingly listen to it, school memories Hazel P, bright blue eyes, natural bubble hair, did she like the song?, in my mind today she did. Check YouTube? nawh, frozen memories, slow last dance ,Youth Club disc, ballad, not a memory to chase.
Cindy Incidentally - The Faces
Rod the Mod, tartan, ginger feather cut, swagger, tartan caps, scarves, raw voice, made it all look easy, singing, arms around Ronnie ‘partner in crime’ Wood, voice a whiskey soaked rasp, girls loved him even then, already singing along with his parade of hits, radios hugged to ears. ToTP memories, live concert footage, red and purple lights, shrill screams, deeper male sing-a-long crowds. Rod had both in the palm of his hand, he had it all and I hated him.
Smarter boys, more clued than me, feather hair, confidence walks, different gang, yeah he was a rocker straight down the road. Fiona H glowing eyes for him, not for me, jealous? god yeah, truth told most of us boys were. TV memories, band played their instruments, no manufactured ‘pop’ band, ‘keeping real’ before anyone knew what it meant. Me and the heavy metal crew, Sprit, The Who, Sabbath, Argent, Purple, passed on the other side. Too poppy, a sell out, a heinous crime. Remember school pals Ian L, Alex H, turning traitor, buying the single, Rod straddled boys and girls, rock and pop, boppers and rockers.
Today raw rasping voice still loose, unrehearsed, mates messing around, getting paid. Sex, and ‘take it or leave it lover ’ a great voice then, raffish edge. Good thing, Fiona H and I became an item, bought ‘Never a Dull Moment’ different collages, different tastes, drifted apart. Swapped my ‘Rod’ Album, only to buy it years later. As for ‘Cindy Incidentally’? give me ‘Never a Dull Moment’ and I’ll be ‘Twisting the Night Away’ with Rod and memories.
Hello Hu’ray - Alice Cooper
Alice goes soft, balladeer, showman. Most feared rock perverter of youth the year before, ‘Schools Out’ crashing guitar, men in make-up, long hair, leather, snakes, he looked like a horror show, snarled like police dog controlling a football crowd, “schools out for summer, schools out for ever, schools out compleeetly “ yeah how we wished it was true. Wasted hated, feared, a DEVIL incarnate, Alice had it all, pose, attitude, we loved him.
Year later, wot the ...... he waltzs, sure he did in a ToTP, filmed on stage with a slow ballad, “let the show begin I’m ready” was he clad in white cotton? Was he without black eye make-up, was this the real Alice, who knows, his hard voice sounded wrong, he was a hard living hard driving, full on rocker.
Well I wasn’t ready for this change, school mates Pete C, Mick S stood with him, more tasteful? More mature? More loyal? Who cares, Alice’s drink it, swallow it, smoke it, too hard core for me to emulate. Wanting to be Rod ‘the’ Mod was one thing, but nobody sane wanted to be Alice Cooper’s alter ego, ( except perhaps Ozzy Osborne).
Alice a lad’s band, don’t recall any Girls loving him. They say girls mature faster than boys, . . yeup here’s exhibit one to prove that point.
Today no clearer memories, no lines leap into my head, no images, no desire to revisit, remember Pete, Mick, Alex, Stevie, hard core Alice fans, that’s all. Not sad or happy memories. if I’d not looked at the chart, sure I’d have forgotten it. I’ll not be molesting it in a charity shop.
Get Down - Gilbert O’ Sullivan
Cringe, mum and dad assumed to be buying this, or children buying it for grandma and granddad, isn’t even Christmas. Never liked, never gave it time of day. ToTP Thursday after homework, memories? grey cloths, piano, Art Garfunkle hair, shuffling dancers, it’s a song about a dog, hmm
“Get down, get down, you’re a bad dog baby, but I still want you around”
Did mum like it?, she was more Jim Reeves, Charley Pride, and Slim Whitman. Looking back, remembering Gilbert, was mum teasing me, she was cheeky, was she teaching me frivolity, flirting, who knows. It wasn’t at home then, and won’t be at my home any time soon. It’s said everyone has a revival, Vinyl junkies fingering Gilbert’s charity shop LPs, warn them? nawh, --they’ll learn the hard way, money goes to a good cause
Killing me softly with his Love - Roberta Flack
ToTP, slow ballad, spotlight slices the dark, solo Piano, a summer concert somewhere Stateside, a soft focus park stroll? Love songs again, immature boys, she was black, this wasn’t the Supremes, she was solo, this wasn’t Patsy Cline, who I remembered my mum loving, and singing along too, did she duet with Roberta? Probably. 70’s homes were like that, one TV, dad’s comments, mums sing-a-along. That’s enough, thumbs down, Mum rock, Roberta failed the ‘Old Grey Whistle Test’ (If you don’t understand OGWT - google it), no memories of girls liking it, did Caroline C, Carla K, hard to say it felt more a like a big BIG married sister’s song.
4 years on College check in, Weather Report, Santana, Chick Corea, head music , stumbled into night clubs, the real deal, new friends, Paul M, Paul H, Pat N, girls and boys, new voices, attitudes and music. It was Pat opened ears and heart to love in Soul. Glayds, Aretha, and Roberta, firm favourites, nothing changed, still love the song, right mood, soft light, warm thoughts, and it’s soft tear, perfect love song passion in each hesitant breath.
Feel the Need in Me - The Detroit Emeralds
Suits, smiles and coordinated dancers, 70’s smooth soul, I despised it, 4 singers, where were the instruments, who was the guitarist, and don’t tell me black men don’t play guitars, I’d seen Jimi Hendrix on TV, I heard Mick Jagger talking about Muddy Waters, seen pictures of Eric Clapton with BB King. It was so smooth, so harmless, the suedheads, and feather heads loved it. Top Rank, Locarno, Top Suit, ballrooms, soul holes’ to the core. Co-ordinated steps, hands, voices and feet. Suits, collars, ties they looked like waiters in a 40’s film. Girls loved the music, “ great to dance to”, learning the steps, chart show, lunch time practice, steps, arms, hands, moving in rhythm, walking in time.
The Emeralds, Spinners, and the rest, boring bloody soul bands then. Late 70s College, night club, dancing staples. Now age and condition, no dancing. Listen to the Emeralds now? hmm, lightweights, give me, The Isleys, The Jacksons, The Ohio Players, now there’s real class, still love a bit of Philly any time of the day.
Power to our Friends - Sir Cliff Richard
Christian Rock, always remember that about Cliff, proud Christian, born again. Age of Aquarius, hippy trippy John Lennon, Atheism and mysticism in Yes, Diabolist Black Sabbath, The Stones proclaiming Sympathy for the Devil. There was Cliff, black leather jacket, smiles and fist punching air, a shirt, red or blue check?
Who bought it? fans from the 50’s, and the God Squad, Helen F, Marion D, Gregg W, Steve H, yeup they may have grooved to Pink Floyd, shaken a head to Zepplin, practiced air Guitar to Layla, but their Soul was Cliff’s.
Almost 50 year on, no memories. Not anti Cliff, I was then, today not bothered. People enjoy his music, I’m not one of them, and NO NEED to KNOW- shirt red or blue?
20th Century Boy - T. Rex
Corkscrew hair, star guitar, glitter, make up, sliver jump suit, platform boots, long haired band, high in the charts, been a folkie, a hippie. Now a ‘glam rock star’ poise, pose and star light, yeah he had it all. Rock boys I ganged up with, Graham B, Ian G, loved him, had his albums. The girls Debbie S, Anne H, Julie D all loved him for his looks, liked the songs. This one, rocky in Chicory Tip sorta way, inoffensive, no bite or heart. Caught between a serious rock star, and a pop act, like Sweet, Garry Glitter.
50 years on he’s lauded a pathfinder, a template for bands to come. The song, hazy snippets,a chorus, wouldn’t recognise a verse, or a lyric line, no idea what a 20th Century Boy was, or did. Today buy a Marc CD? Passed on them in Charity shops, I’ll do the same again.
Twelfth of Never - Donny Osmond
Teeth white, suit white, image, Persil clean. Girls screaming, God’s servant infinitely more popular than Cliff, a slow lovey-dovey song that mums and girls, Judith F, Gale H, school girl fans, at least Judith F had the excuse, they were both Mormons. An old song I think, country roots. ToTP, no clear memories, running through airports, a stage with silver sets?, and lights, a TV studio, shuffling fans. Undeniably handsome, charming and mature beyond his young years, the girls loved him, boys, we all hated him, wrong songs, wrong attitudes, wrong image, but worse, so bloody good looking.
50 years on nothing changed, the song’s no better, his image unchanged, still loyal fans who’ve aged with him and still better looking than me, and I still hate him, check You Tube,
I know everything I needed to know then, yes I’m prejudice on this song, unlike Cliff’s, I still actively dislike ‘Twelth of Never’, don’t want to know if there’s a thrash metal cover.
Cum on Feel the Noize - Slade
Check trousers, DMs. Skinhead rock was their roots, boots, stomps, and agro, yeup, they were facing bans, press hate, roots in rocking blues. Picked, dusted and Glammed, straight into charts, string of hits. Pure Glam rock pop, everything I hated, meaningless songs, miming on ToTPs, so obvious dancing to the music, waving hands, platform souls, clapping when Guitar solos played, a teenage travesty.
Top hat with mirrors, Dave Hill’s silver jump suit, Noddy’s check trousers, half mast. Rock was serious, they were Sfrivolous. Loved by Skinheads, adored by Suedeheads, Dave Hill goofy and gormless adored by suedegirls, feather cuts, 2tone skirts and tasselled Lofas. Me and mates wouldn’t be seen dead, foot tapping, finger rapping, to sheer mindlessness music.
50 plus years on, I’ve mellowed, not too sure when it happened, but it did, hearing the song on the radio again, reminded me of school gang days and music tribes, tight narrow tastes and loyalties
“Come on feel the noise, girls grab the boys, we’ll get wild, wild, wild”, a magnificent slice of pure English power pop, forget the glam, the cloths and the ToTPs miming, this is real piece of pop rock at it best.
Looking at the changes, would I but any of songs I despised, hated then - today?
Rod Stewart, i’m late to the party, there’s better than Cindy,
Soulful Preston, gave me Roberta Flack, happily her early solo work, ( word to the wise stay clear of the duets), Detroit Emeralds, paved the path to Philly sounds.
Alice Cooper, a ‘ Killer’ then, now , Schools Out and so is Alice.
As for the rest;
Well Donny was never gonna cut it, Cliff? Same thing, Gilbert and Jimmy H, they’ll rest easy in charity shop racks.
That leaves Slade, yeah great song, great riffs, great fun, I’ll be swopping into the local charity shops chasing down Slade’s Greatest Hits, CD or Vinyl, and Yeup - I wanna ‘Get Down, get with it’ coz, ‘We’re all Crazeee now’.
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