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Toppermost of the Poppermost - UK Number Ones : part 3 - The 1970s

Started by daf, August 02, 2021, 01:55:00 PM

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The Culture Bunker

Quote from: bigfatheart on August 25, 2021, 09:01:53 PM
Maybe they were tapping into the piss fetishist market.
You never know, but I'd imagine the market for that kind of thing in West Cumbria circa 1970 was pretty minimal.

Piss fetishism, I mean, not Christie records.



Well, I hate to contradict a brainbox like daf, but I was in the schoolyard in the 70s, and I have it on good authority that Yellow River was written by I. P. Freely.


Quote from: jamiefairlie on August 25, 2021, 05:37:09 PM
I'm 54 and I remember my mum dancing to it at a wedding. They did "the slosh" to it, a kind of line dancing thing very common in Scotland at the time.

The Slosh:

Not Yellow River though. And a reference to The Dashing White Sergeant at the end (credit for not mentioning the Gay Gordon).



288b. (NME 291.)  Free – All Right Now
+        (MM 236.)  Free – All Right Now

From :  8 - 28 July 1970  |  18 July - 8 August 1970
Weeks : 4
B-side : Mouthful Of Grass
Bonus 1 : Long Album version
Bonus 2 : Live 1969
Bonus 3 : Beat Club 1970
Bonus 4 : Live at the Isle of Wight 1970
Bonus 5 : Legs & Co (1978)

The Story So Far : 
QuotePaul Bernard Rodgers was born in Middlesbrough, England. He played bass for a band named The Roadrunners. Colin Bradley originally had the lead vocal slot, but convinced Rodgers to sing and front the band as he was primarily interested in playing rhythm guitar and his oldest brother Joe (who managed the band) supported the idea.

Paul Rodgers : "There was a particular club called the Purple Onion and I used to have a band and we'd play shows and then go to the club. We'd listen to all this soul music and we'd be around 14, 15, 16. This was the music being played. A lot of Stax and, especially, Otis Redding. That's how the influence came to me. Booker T. and the MG's had been through. A lot of blues, too with John Lee Hooker, B.B. King and Albert King, so I'd been soaking a lot of that up before I came down to London from my hometown and formed Free."

Just before leaving Middlesbrough for the London music scene, the band changed its name to The Wildflowers. Other members of this band included Micky Moody (later of Whitesnake) and Bruce Thomas (later of Elvis Costello and The Attractions).

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Simon Frederick St George Kirke was born in Lambeth, South London. Kirke spent his early years living in the countryside of Wales. Leaving school at 17, he returned to London and set about finding a drumming job in the booming blues scene. After a fruitless 22 months he was resigned to returning to the country when he met Paul Kossoff who was playing in a band called Black Cat Bones. Kirke was offered the drumming position in the band.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Paul Francis Kossoff was born in Hampstead, London. Aged nine, Kossoff started classical guitar lessons with Blanche Monroe. His classical guitar training continued until he was fifteen. In December 1965 he saw Eric Clapton with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers at The Refectory, Golders Green, North West London. This encounter inspired him to purchase a Gibson Les Paul guitar.

During 1966 Kossoff worked as a junior salesman at Selmer's Music Shop in Charing Cross Road. He received lessons from session guitarist Colin Falconer, who worked in the guitar department.

In 1966 Kossoff joined the Chicago-style blues band Black Cat Bones. The band played with touring blues piano player Champion Jack Dupree, often supporting Fleetwood Mac and other gigs with Fleetwood Mac co-founder Peter Green. Kossoff's bandmate in Black Cat Bones was drummer Simon Kirke and the two went on to play on Champion Jack Dupree's April 1968 album 'When You Feel the Feeling You Was Feeling'.

Kossoff saw vocalist Paul Rodgers singing with the band Brown Sugar while visiting the Fickle Pickle, an R&B club in London's Finsbury Park. He was immediately impressed and asked if he could jam with Rodgers onstage.

Paul Rodgers : "The first song I ever wrote was "Walk In My Shadow". That came about because I had a band called Brown Sugar in London and they started playing this riff and I started singing over it and went, 'Oh, this is interesting, I think we just wrote a song,' and they told me that it was an old blues riff so I thought we couldn't steal that. I thought that if I wrote my own riff and put my own lyrics on then I'd have written my own song and that's what I did. I wrote a 12-bar blues around the riff and came out with Walk In My Shadow. That gave me the confidence to know that I could write songs."

Along with Kirke, they began the search for a fourth member. Alexis Korner recommended Andy Fraser to the band, who had already been playing with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Andrew McIan Fraser was born in the Paddington area of Central London to a Barbadian/Guyanese father of mixed European and African ancestry, and an English mother.

He began playing the piano at the age of five. He was trained classically until twelve, when he switched to guitar. By thirteen he was playing in East End, West Indian clubs and after being expelled from school in 1968 at the age of 15, enrolled at Hammersmith College of Further Education. There, another student, Sappho Korner, introduced him to her father, pioneering blues musician and radio broadcaster Alexis Korner, who became a father figure to him. Shortly thereafter, upon receiving a telephone call from John Mayall who was looking for a bass player, Korner suggested Fraser; still only 15, he was now in a professional band and earning £50 a week, although it ultimately turned out to be a brief tenure.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The group played their first gig at 19 April 1968 at the Nag's Head pub, which was at the junction of York Road and Plough Road in Battersea, London. All members were relatively young. Bass player Andy Fraser was 15 years old, lead guitarist Paul Kossoff was 17, and both lead singer Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke were 18.

By November of that year, having been given the name Free by Alexis Korner, they had recorded their first album, titled 'Tons of Sobs', for Island Records and, although it was not released until the following year, the album documents their first six months together and contains studio renditions of much of their early live set. To promote their forthcoming debut album they also opened some gigs at the end of 1968 for The Who, who played a short theatre tour with Arthur Brown.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

'Tons of Sobs' was released in the UK on 14 March 1969. While the album failed to chart in the UK, it did reach number 197 in the US.

With the band signed to Chris Blackwell's Island Records, Guy Stevens was hired to produce the album. He opted for a minimalist attitude to production, due to the extremely low budget of about £800, creating a very raw and raucous sound – although it may have been that the relative inexperience of the band was also a contributing factor to this. As such the album is a marked contrast in production terms from the band's later albums.

The majority of the album was recorded over the course of a few days in October 1968. Originally slated for a November release, the album was delayed to early 1969 due to the late addition of their cover of "The Hunter". This track was a mainstay in their live sets and was recorded in a December 1968 session at Stevens' insistence. Other songs featured on the album included : "Over the Green Hills (Pt. 1)"  /  "Walk in My Shadow"  /  "Wild Indian Woman"  /  "Goin' Down Slow"  /  "I'm a Mover"  /   "Moonshine"  /  "Sweet Tooth"  /  and  "Over the Green Hills (Pt. 2)"

Paul Rodgers : "When we first started, we were a blues band, really. I had written a couple of songs, I'd written Walk In My Shadow and Over The Green Hills, I was making a foray into songwriting. We had a meeting and I said to the guys that it would be good if we could phase out the blues and phase in as much of our original material as possible. I said that would give us an identity and it did. There was one song we could never phase out though and that was The Hunter [Albert King]. We could never write a song better than it, we always had to do The Hunter and it always had to end the show. That's where All Right Now was born out of, we wanted to write a song better than The Hunter. I don't know if it is better or not because The Hunter is a great song."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

They released their first single, "Broad Daylight" (b/w "The Worm") in March 1969 . . .

Their second single, "I'll Be Creeping" (b/w "Sugar For Mr. Morrison"), was released in June 1969. Both A-sides would be included on their second album.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Their second album, 'Free' was released in October 1969. The album is notable for having innovative artwork from Ron Raffaelli of The Visual Thing Inc. Raffaelli made the cover by photographing his model with strobe lights to make a silhouette of her against a background, on which he could then overlay the design. Hence, the album has a design of a woman made of stars leaping across the sky. The band's name is printed in extremely small letters at the top of the cover.

The band had spent time touring after their debut album the previous year, and there is a marked difference in the musicianship of the band as well as Paul Rodgers's voice. This album also saw the burgeoning of the songwriting partnership between Paul Rodgers and sixteen-year-old bassist Andy Fraser, which had been glimpsed on the first album. here, eight out of the nine tracks bear a Fraser/Rodgers credit. Fraser's bass guitar is far more prominent here than on the previous album, being used as a rhythm guitar, driving the songs, while Kossoff's lead guitar develops from it.

While Fraser and Rodgers made a strong writing partnership, tensions in the band increased. Kossoff, whose natural spontaneity had been given free rein up to then, particularly resented being taught very specific rhythm guitar parts by Fraser. Songs featured on the album included : "Songs of Yesterday"  /  "Lying in the Sunshine"  /  "Trouble on Double Time"  (written by Fraser, Rodgers, Kirke, and Kossoff)   /  "Woman"  /  "Free Me"  /  and "Mourning Sad Morning"

The album performed poorly on release, reaching only No. 22 in the UK charts, and failing completely in the US.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

'Fire and Water', their third studio album, was released in June 1970, and became the band's breakthrough, achieving widespread commercial success. Mike Sida devised the album's cover image, with Richard Polak being the band's photographer.

Free recorded Fire and Water from January 1970 to June 1970 in London, the group using the engineering facilities of Island Studios and Trident Studios. Free produced the work, with assistance from Roy Baker who provided particular help with the audio engineering.

The songs on the album were mainly written by Andy Fraser and Paul Rodgers, and included  : "Fire and Water"  /  "Remember"  /  "Heavy Load"  /  and  "Don't Say You Love Me". "Mr. Big" was a band-written effort, and "Oh I Wept" was a rare Rodgers & Kossoff collaboration.

Paul Rodgers : "It was such a great band because Paul Kossoff was such a great guitar player. Each of them were great. When I would bring an idea along, like I brought Mr Big along, they would fall in to the pattern of the song and we'd play with it. They were such good musicians that they elevated the song. Fire and Water is another where that happened. We would work on how we wanted to interpret the already existing song with each playing wonderfully on their instrument."

Unlike their previous albums, 'Fire and Water' was a huge success largely due to its hit single "All Right Now", which reached #2 on the UK official singles chart and No. 4 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart . . . 

The Single :
Quote"All Right Now" was written by Andy Fraser and Paul Rodgers, and recorded by their band Free.

The song was originally written in the Durham Students' Union building, Dunelm House.

Simon Kirke : "'All Right Now' was created after a bad gig in Durham. We finished our show and walked off the stage to the sound of our own footsteps. The applause had died before I had even left the drum riser. It was obvious that we needed a rocker to close our shows. All of a sudden the inspiration struck Fraser and he started bopping around singing 'All Right Now'. He sat down and wrote it right there in the dressing room. It couldn't have taken more than ten minutes."

Originally appearing on the 1970 album 'Fire and Water', an edited new mix of "All Right Now" was released as the album's second single, and hit number 4 on the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in the US. Although stalling at #2 on the official UK Singles Chart, it topped both the NME and Melody Maker charts in July and August 1970.

Paul Rodgers : "I said that it had to have an extra dimension, you needed something that you could get an audience singing, something really simple like, 'All right now,' and I went, 'That's it! That's the chorus.' I worked backwards from there and I thought, 'Well, what's all right then? Well how about if you were walking down the street and there was this fantastic girl there.' It just went from there and was very much a boy meets girl kind of song."

In July 1973, the song was re-released, reaching number 15 on the UK chart. In 1991, a remix of the song was released, reaching number 8 on the UK chart.

Other Versions includeKenny Wayne and The Kamotions (1970)  /  Electric Food (1971)  /  Lea Roberts (1975)  /  Red Baron (1979)  /  Witch Queen (1979)  /  Rod Stewart (1984)  /  The Alarm (1985)  /  Pepsi & Shirlie (1987)  /  Undercover (1991)  /  En Zo (1996)  /  "Go Right Now" by ApologetiX (1998)  /  Party Animals (2000)  /  Big Jim Sullivan (2001)  /  Lemonescent (2004)  /  Ali Campbell (2010)  /  Puddle of Mudd (2011)  /  Danny McEvoy (2012)  /  Andrew Page (2013)  /  Laura Cox  (2013)  /  Manfred Mann (2014)  /  CarulliBRB (2015)  /  Free Company (2018)  /  Ken Tamplin (2020)

On This Day :
Quote8 July : Beck, musician, born Bek David Campbell in Los Angeles, California
10 July : John Simm, actor, born John Ronald Simm in Leeds, West Yorkshire
10 July : Jason Orange, musician (Take That), born Jason Thomas Orange in Wythenshawe, Manchester
12 July : Thor Heyerdahl crosses the Atlantic ocean on the raft Ra II, arrives in Barbados from Morocco after 57 days
15 July : Denmark beats Italy 2-0 in 1st world female soccer championship
16 July : 9th British Commonwealth Games open in Edinburgh, Scotland
17 July : Mandy Smith, singer, born Amanda Louise Smith in Tottenham, London
18 July : Gruff Rhys, musician, born Gruffudd Maredudd Bowen Rhys in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales
18 July : "The Boy Friend" closes at Ambassador Theater NYC after 119 performances
19 July : Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, born Nicola Ferguson Sturgeon in Irvine, Scotland
19 July : 57th Tour de France: Defending champion Eddy Merckx of Belgium wins general, mountains and combination categories
21 July : Day of Revenge : Libya orders confiscation of all Italian and Jewish property
26 July : Joan As Police Woman, musician, born Joan Wasser in Norwalk, Connecticut
26 July : Cuba's Prime Minister Fidel Castro offered to resign after announcing on Radio Havana that his economic strategy had failed.
27 July : Boum! : France performs nuclear Test at Mururoa atoll
29 July : Andi Peters, TV presenter, born Andi Eleazu Peters in Chelsea, London
29 July : Sir John Barbirolli (Giovanni Battista Barbirolli), British cellist, and conductor, dies of a heart attack aged 70
30 July : 30,000 arrive to attend Powder Ridge Rock Festival, Middlefield, Connecticut, despite it having been cancelled due to local residents opposition
30 July : Christopher Nolan, film director, born Christopher Edward Nolan in Westminster, London
30 July : Damages totaling £485,528 were awarded to 28 British Thalidomide victims.
30 July : MC Trouble, rapper, born LaTasha Sheron Rogers in Los Angeles, California
31 July : Black Tot Day: the last day of the officially sanctioned rum ration in the Royal Navy (started 1740)
31 July : Israeli cabinet of ministers led by Golda Meir voted to accept a U.S. government peace proposal for a three month ceasefire in the War of Attrition that had continued after the 1967 Six-Day War
1 August : David James, footballer goalkeeper, born David Benjamin James in Welwyn Garden City, England
2 August : Quand notre coeur fait Boum! : France performs nuclear test at Fangataufa Island
2 August : Rubber bullets used for the first time in Northern Ireland
3 August : Christopher Hampton's "Philanthropist" premieres in London
4 August : Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson marries Barbara Charren
4 August : Pongy Rock Oaf Jim Morrison arrested for public drunkenness in Los Angeles
5 August : Robert Morley's "or" premieres in London
6 August : M. Night Shyamalan, film director, born Manoj Nelliyattu Shyamalan in Mahé, Puducherry, India
6 August : Tout avec lui dit Boum! : France performs another nuclear test at Mururoa atoll
7 August : First all-computer chess championship is conducted in New York and won by CHESS 3.0 (CDC 6400), a program written by Slate, Atkin & Gorlen at Northwestern University
7 August : Christine Perfect joins Fleetwood Mac

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! :


288c. (NME 292.)  The Kinks – Lola

From :  29 July - 4 August 1970
Weeks : 1
B-side : Berkeley Mews
Bonus 1 : Original 'Cherry Cola' mono single
Bonus 2 : Top of the Pops performance

The Story So Far : 
QuoteThe Kinks eighth album, 'Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One', was released in November 1970. A concept album, it is a satirical appraisal of the music industry.

Ray Davies : "It's an old story of artists getting signed to impossible contracts. I took it personally."

The Kinks ban by the American Federation of Musicians on performing in America, which had been in force since 1965, was lifted in 1969, so the group's management arranged a North American tour. However, members of the band fell ill, and the tour was shuffled, resulting in the band playing only a few dates in America and Canada. A follow-up tour in 1970 met with similar results, with the group performing at only a select number of venues, with many dates cancelled.

Dave Davies : "I think it was a really interesting time for us. It was a transitional time for the Kinks. We had had issues with our managers, and Ray was involved in lawsuits and issues with his publisher. And we finally got back to touring America. That was big, since we had had a few years of not being able to tour there; it was a good time to reconnect. There were those emotions of reconnecting with America. It was a vibrant, energetic time."

The Kinks returned to England to start work on their new LP in spring 1970. The group used Morgan Studios, an independent studio in Willesden, London, which was a change for them. Recording began in late April/early May. Some of the first songs recorded were "Lola", the outtake "The Good Life", "Powerman" and "Got to Be Free".

Keyboardist John Gosling was added to the Kinks' lineup in May. He auditioned on the final backing master track for "Lola", and was hired soon after. He was initially taken on solely for their upcoming US tour, but his post evolved into a more permanent position soon after.

Dave Davies : "It was [manager] Grenville who thought we should use a piano and keyboards. So John Gosling joined thinking that, 'Hey man, I've hit it big!' We very quickly brought him down to earth. He was Lola for that song and then an ape."

The song's bold subject matter came from an encounter at a nightspot in Paris the group frequented called the Castille Club :

Ray Davies : "One of our crew at the time met this beautiful blonde and he took her back to the hotel. In the morning, he saw the stubble growing on her chin. So, he got a surprise! We used to dress up and have parties at home. Men dressed as women. My dad, who is the most macho man you could imagine, used to put on a wig occasionally and dance around and make a fool of himself, which I encouraged. It's part of the musical hall culture we have over here. It's more accepted in London."

The sessions for "Lola" were especially long, and the recording continued into late May. Davies would recall later how he achieved the signature clangy sound at the beginning of the track :

Ray Davies : "I remember going into a music store on Shaftesbury Avenue in London when we were about to make 'Lola'. I said, 'I want to get a really good guitar sound on this record. I want a Martin.' And in the corner they had this old 1938 dobro  that I bought for £150. I put them together on 'Lola' which is what makes that clangy sound: the combination of the Martin and the dobro with heavy compression."

The album is a satirical look at the various facets of the music industry, including song publishers ("Denmark Street"), unions ("Get Back in Line"), the press and the hit-making machine ("Top of the Pops"), accountants and business managers ("The Moneygoround") and the road ("This Time Tomorrow"). Other songs featured on the album included opening track "The Contenders", Dave Davies' "Strangers", and the gentle ballad "A Long Way from Home".

Despite the success of its lead single, "Lola", which topped the New Musical Express charts in the UK, and reached #2 on Melody Maker and the official Record Mirror charts, the album failed to chart in the UK. However, it reached #35 on Billboard, and on the Record World charts it peaked at #22, making it their most successful album in the US since the mid-60s.

The success of the singles and album allowed the Kinks to negotiate a new contract with RCA Records, construct their own London Studio, which they named Konk, and assume more creative and managerial control.

Dave Davies : "We were embarking on a new phase of our careers, really. It was very different from the '60s singles, making singles all the time. We were getting more into conceptual ideas, which were interesting. Lola Versus Powerman grew out of what was going on in our lives at the time. We had been management and record companies and publishers, so it was kind of like a concept in a way about what was going on in our environment. Studios we've never worked in before, going to America again. So, it was an important transitional period in our careers anyway. So, it was an important time for us. Coming out of the '60s and the newness of the '70s and new ideas and touring again was a big thing for us."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The second single from the album, "Apeman", was released in November 1970. While it did not do as well on the US charts as "Lola" did - only reaching #45 - it was a major hit in the UK, peaking at #5 in the singles chart, becoming their last Top 10 entry in the UK. It was also the band's final Top 10 hit in Australia, where it reached #9.

Another track from the album, "Rats", written by Dave Davies, was featured as the B-side.

Dave Davies : "There's two different ideas in 'Rats.' Way back when we first started and living, everyone was going to school or going to the labour exchange for work. It was a rat race, everyone was just climbing over each other to survive. We've always been outsiders, the Kinks, and it was always a bit of a struggle to get on. That goes way back to when Ray and I were learning to play and performing duo gigs at pubs."

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Before the release of 'Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One' the band discussed the possibility of it being released as a double album. A sequel album was planned for release sometime in 1971, but was ultimately scrapped. It is unclear what songs would have appeared on this album, and it is unknown if any songs were even recorded, with the possible exception of some unreleased backing tracks. Almost certainly no songs were completed or mastered.

Ray Davies : "Lola Versus Powerman... was good versus evil, obviously, and in Volume Two, I sketched out how you become your worst nightmare, how the good man goes so far he becomes the evil person he always fought against. But we had to do another tour, we had the RCA deal, and we had other recording projects that we had to work towards, and it got lost, unfortunately."

The Single :
Quote"Lola" was written by Ray Davies and performed by The Kinks.

The song details a romantic encounter between a young man and a possible trans woman or cross-dresser, whom he meets in a club in Soho, London. Ray Davies has claimed that he was inspired to write "Lola" after Kinks manager Robert Wace spent a night in Paris dancing with a cross-dresser.

Ray Davies : "It was a real experience in a club. I was asked to dance by somebody who was a fabulous looking woman. I said "no thank you". And she went in a cab with my manager straight afterwards. In his apartment, Robert had been dancing with this black woman, and he said, 'I'm really onto a thing here.' And it was okay until we left at six in the morning and then I said, 'Have you seen the stubble?' He said 'Yeah', but he was too pissed to care, I think."

Mick Avory : "We used to know this character called Michael McGrath. He used to hound the group a bit, because being called The Kinks did attract these sorts of people. He used to come down to Top of the Pops, and he was publicist for John Stephen's shop in Carnaby Street. He used to have this place in Earl's Court, and he used to invite me to all these drag queen acts and transsexual pubs. They were like secret clubs. And that's where Ray got the idea for 'Lola'. When he was invited too, he wrote it while I was getting drunk."

Ray Davies : "When I write songs, I put myself in the part. In 'Sunny Afternoon' I wanted to know who this broken-down aristocrat was, and I became him. In Lola's journey, I did a bit of research with drag queens. I admire anyone who can get up and be what they want to be. Drag queens started coming to our shows. Good! The album is about freedom. Freedom of expression, freedom to be what you want."

Dave Davies : "I've always loved that song. I think Ray wanted to try and create a single type track and I think it worked really well. It's got country influences and I think it's a fun track. But it's also about growing up and experimenting with ideas and trying to find a sexual identity when you're young apart of trying to find your identity in the world as a musician and a player and just growing up. It was a lot of—growing up in the music business. it's very intense, very."

Written in April 1970, "Lola" was cited by Ray Davies as the first song he wrote following a break he took to act in the 1970 Play for Today film 'The Long Distance Piano Player'. Davies said that he had initially struggled with writing an opening that would sell the song, but the rest of the song "came naturally".

Ray Davies : "I had a 1-year-old child at the time, she was crawling around singing 'la la, la la Lola.' I thought, 'If she can join in and sing, Kinks fans can do it.'"

The guitar opening on the song was produced as a result of combining the sound of a Martin guitar and a vintage Dobro resonating guitar.

Ray Davies : "I wanted to write a hit. It wasn't just the song. it was the musical design. It wasn't a power chord song like "You Really Got Me". It was a power chord beginning. It needed a special acoustic guitar sound ... sonorous, growling, with an attack to it. My dad was a banjo player. If you want a hit record, you have to get a banjo on it.' The National guitar was the next best thing."

Initial recordings of the song began in April 1970, but, as the band's bassist John Dalton remembered, recording for "Lola" took particularly long, stretching into the next month. During April, four to five versions were attempted, utilizing different keys as well as varying beginnings and styles. In May, new piano parts were added to the backing track by John Gosling, the band's new piano player who had just been auditioned. Vocals were also added at this time.

Mick Avory : "I always liked 'Lola', I liked the subject. It's not like anything else. I liked it for that. We'd always take a different path."

Originally, "Lola" saw controversy for its lyrics. Some radio stations would fade the track out before implications of Lola's biological sex were revealed. In November 1970, "Lola" was banned from being played by some radio stations in Australia because of its "controversial subject matter" - aw, diddums!

The BBC banned the track for a different reason: the original stereo recording had the words "Coca-Cola" in the lyrics, but because of BBC Radio's policy against product placement, Ray Davies was forced to make a 6000-mile round-trip flight from New York to London and back on June 3, 1970, interrupting the band's American tour, to change those words to the generic "cherry cola" for the single release.

The song was released in the United Kingdom on 12 June 1970, while in the United States it was released on 28 June 1970. Commercially, the single reached number nine in the US, and while it peaked at number two on the Official UK Singles Chart printed in the Record Mirror, it topped the mint and skill NME chart for a week in August 1970.

"Lola" received positive reviews from critics. Upon the single's release, the NME praised the song as "an engaging and sparkling piece with a gay Latin flavour and a catchy hook chorus." Writing a contemporary review in Creem, critic Dave Marsh recognized it as "the first significantly blatant gay-rock ballad"

Dave Davies : "In fact, when 'Lola' was a hit, it made me feel a bit uncomfortable. Because it was taking us out of a different sort of comfort zone, where we'd been getting into the work, and the writing and the musicality was more thought about. It did have that smell of: 'Oh blimey, not that again.' I found it a bit odd, that period. And then it got odder and weirder"

Other Versions includeNina & Mike (1970)  /  ABC Company (1970)  /  C.C.S. (1973)  /  The Raincoats (1979)  /  Los Salvajes (1981)  /  Swan Arcade (1984)  /  Tanit (1984)  /  Heinz Rudolf Kunze (1984)  /  "Yoda" by "Weird Al" Yankovic (1985)  /  Cud (1989)  /  Andy Taylor (1990) [urgh! - horrible drums!]Bad Manners (1992)  /  Natural Born Hippies (1999)  /  Damon Albarn & Einar Örn Benediktsson (2001)  /  McFly featuring Busted (2004)  /  Madness (2005)  /  Jacqui Naylor (2006)  /  Robbie Williams (2007)  /  Leif Garrett (2007)  /  Travis (2008)  /  Ray Davies & Paloma Faith (2010)  /  Danny McEvoy (2012)  /  Phil Jakes (2014)  /  Lake Street Dive  (2016)  /  The Famo's feat. Jasmin (2017)  /  8-Bit Arcade (2019)  /  Ben Crosland Quintet (2019)  /  MonaLisa Twins (2020)  /  Jason Bodlovich (2020)

On This Day :
Quote29 July : Andi Peters, TV presenter, born Andi Eleazu Peters in Chelsea, London
29 July : Sir John Barbirolli, British conductor, dies of a heart attack aged 70
30 July : Christopher Nolan, film director, born Christopher Edward Nolan in Westminster, London
30 July : Damages totaling £485,528 were awarded to 28 British Thalidomide victims.
30 July : MC Trouble, rapper, born LaTasha Sheron Rogers in Los Angeles, California
31 July : Black Tot Day: the last day of the officially sanctioned rum ration in the Royal Navy
1 August : David James, footballer goalkeeper, born David Benjamin James in Welwyn Garden City, England
2 August : Rubber bullets used for the first time in Northern Ireland
3 August : Christopher Hampton's "Philanthropist" premieres in London
4 August : Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson marries Barbara Charren
4 August : Lizard Wally Jim Morrison arrested for public drunkenness in Los Angeles

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! :

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Previously :
177.  |  The Kinks - You Really Got Me
187.  |  The Kinks - Tired Of Waiting For You
218.  |  The Kinks - Sunny Afternoon


289.  Elvis Presley – The Wonder Of You

From : 26 July – 5 September 1970
Weeks : 6
B-side : Mama Liked the Roses
Bonus 1 : Promo Film
Bonus 2 : Alternate Take

The Story So Far : 1970
QuoteIn January 1970, Elvis Presley retured to the International Hotel in Las Vegas for another month-long engagement, breaking his own attendance records. The iconic one-piece Elvis jumpsuits made their debut and karate moves emerged as a big part of his stage show.

Elvis first single of the Seventies in the UK, "Don't Cry Daddy", backed with "Rubberneckin'", was released in February 1970, and reached #8 in the UK charts.

His next single, "Kentucky Rain" (b/w "My Little Friend"), was released in May 1970, and reached #21 in the UK charts. During Presley's February 1970 engagement, he performed it some sixteen times, introducing it as a new song "out about a week."

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'On Stage - February, 1970' was a live album released on RCA Records in June 1970. It was recorded between 22-25 August 1969 and 17-19 February 1970 and at the International Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada. The album reached number 13 on both the Billboard 200 and country music charts. The album is notable for not showing Elvis' name anywhere on the cover. The album has remained in print since its release date and has sold more than ten million copies globally.

The album features the worldwide number one single "The Wonder of You". While the song peaked at Number 9 in the US, it topped the UK charts for 6 weeks over the late summer. Other selections include "Yesterday", Tony Joe White's "Polk Salad Annie", Del Shannon's "Runaway", and a version of "Let It Be Me". "See See Rider" would go on to become Elvis' frequent introductory number at his concerts.

In July 1970 Elvis returned to Las Vegas for what his dodgy manager 'Colonel' Tom Parker dubbed "The Elvis Presley Summer Festival". He opened on 10 August and closed on 7 September. MGM were on hand to shoot a documentary film called "Elvis - That's the Way It Is" that would show Elvis on stage, off stage, in rehearsals, and in the recording studio.

During this engagement, he was threatened with murder unless $50,000 was paid. Presley had been the target of many threats since the 1950s, often without his knowledge. The FBI took the threat seriously and security was stepped up. Presley went onstage with a Derringer in his right boot and a .45 pistol in his waistband, but the concerts went ahead without any incidents. After the end of his International engagement on 7 September 1970, Presley embarked on a week-long concert tour, largely of the South, his first since 1958. Another week-long tour, of the West Coast, followed in November.

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The compilation album 'Almost in Love' was released in November 1970. It was the first of several albums on the low-priced RCA Camden label to make available in LP format tracks that had previously been available only on 45 rpm singles or EPs.

Tracks of note include 1968's "A Little Less Conversation" from the soundtrack of Live a Little, Love a Little (this was a different take than the unreleased version made for his 1968 TV Special which would later be the basis for a remix in 2002) and "Rubberneckin'", from the film 'Change of Habit' that had been recorded in Memphis during the 1969 recording sessions.

The track "Stay Away, Joe" (the theme from Elvis's 1967 film of the same title) was included in error as it was already released earlier in 1970 on the compilation 'Let's Be Friends'; when RCA reissued Almost in Love in 1973, it replaced it with a different song, "Stay Away", from the same film, which had never previously been available on an album.

Other songs included "Almost in Love" (from 'Live a Little, Love a Little')   /   "Long Legged Girl (With the Short Dress On)" (from 'Double Trouble')  /  "Edge of Reality" (from 'Live a Little, Love a Little')  /  "Clean Up Your Own Back Yard" (from 'The Trouble With Girls')  /  "U.S. Male"  /  and "Charro" (from 'Charro!')

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"I've Lost You" (b/w "The Next Step Is Love"), released in November 1970, peaked at #9 in the UK charts. Written by Alan Blaikley and Ken Howard for Ian Matthews, it was originally recorded in 1969 and released on 'Matthews' Southern Comfort' - Matthews' first solo album after leaving Fairport Convention.

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'That's the Way It Is', the twelfth studio album by Elvis Presley, was released in November 1970. It accompanied the theatrical release of the documentary film Elvis: That's the Way It Is, although it is not generally considered a soundtrack album. The album peaked at number 21 on the Billboard 200 and at number eight on the country chart.

The original vinyl LP consisted of eight tracks recorded in the studio in Nashville at the marathon sessions in June 1970 that would also yield several singles and the Elvis Country album, and four tracks from his August 1970 engagement at The International Hotel in Las Vegas.

The track "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" had been released as the advance single on October 6 1970; its B-side, "Patch It Up", appears in a live version here. Released as a single in the UK in January 1971, it reached #9 in the UK charts. The song had been a hit for Dusty Springfield in 1966 - who had heard the original version, "Io che non vivo (senza te)", at the Sanremo Festival in 1965.

"The Next Step Is Love" had previously been released as a B-side in July 1970, and its A-side "I've Lost You" appears in a live version here too.

The concert version of "I Just Can't Help Believin'" from this album was released as a single in the United Kingdom in November 1971, reaching #6 on the UK Singles Chart. Its B-side "How the Web Was Woven" was also taken from this album.

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On 21 December 1970, Presley engineered a meeting with President Richard Nixon at the White House, where he expressed his patriotism and explained how he believed he could reach out to the hippies to help combat the drug culture he and the president abhorred. He asked the blue-chinned ghoul for a Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs badge, to add to similar items he had begun collecting and to signify official sanction of his patriotic efforts.

Nixon, who apparently found the encounter awkward, expressed a belief that Presley could send a positive message to young people and that it was therefore important that he "retain his credibility". Presley told Nixon that The Beatles, whose songs he regularly performed in concert during the era, exemplified what he saw as a trend of anti-Americanism.

The Story So Far & Further : 1971
QuoteIn January 1971, he released his thirteenth studio album, 'Elvis Country (I'm 10,000 Years Old)'. Recorded at RCA Studio B in Nashville, it reached number 12 in the US, and peaked at number six in the United Kingdom, selling over one million copies worldwide.

The bulk of the album came from five days of recording sessions in June 1970 which yielded 35 usable tracks. Presley performed every track "live", recording his vocal part in the same take as the band, as was standard practice for him. Eight tracks from the session were released two months earlier in November 1970 on the 'That's the Way It Is' album. During the sessions, Presley and producer Felton Jarvis realised they had several country songs in hand and decided to record several more to create a full album of country material. Needing two more satisfactory tracks, Elvis returned to the same studio in September where he recorded "Snowbird" and a manic, one-take version of "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On".

Nearly every style of country music is represented : bluegrass, honky tonk, Western swing, rockabilly, countrypolitan, and even the then-nascent "outlaw" movement. Snippets of the song "I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago" are idiotically cross-faded up and down between every song on the sodding album. Madness!

Other songs featured on the album included : "Tomorrow Never Comes", "Little Cabin on the Hill", "Funny How Time Slips Away", "It's Your Baby, You Rock It", "The Fool", "Faded Love", "I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water", and "Make the World Go Away".

The lead single of the album, "I Really Don't Want to Know" backed with "There Goes My Everything", peaked at number 21 in the US, and #6 in the UK charts in March 1971.

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Released as a single, "Rags To Riches" (b/w "Where Did They Go, Lord") reached #9 in the UK charts in May 1971.

In June 1971, the two-room house Elvis was born in opened to the public for tours in Tupelo. The house was restored by the East Heights Garden Club. In addition, a long stretch of Highway 51 South, part of which runs in front of Graceland, was officially renamed Elvis Presley Boulevard (worra big'ead!!).

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'Love Letters from Elvis', his fourteenth studio album, was released in June 1971. The album was critically panned upon release, and failed to crack the top 20 of the Billboard album charts but did reach #7 on the UK best-selling albums chart.

The album was made up of leftovers from Elvis' marathon June 1970 recording sessions in Nashville. Most of the other 35 songs recorded during those sessions had been used in Elvis' 1970 albums 'That's the Way It Is' and 'Elvis Country'. Wanting to squeeze out a third album from the sessions, RCA records had producer Felton Jarvis mix, overdub and compile the remaining songs.

The song's title track, "Love Letters", was a rare instance of Presley re-recording a past hit in the studio, his original version of "Love Letters" having been released as a single in 1966. "Got My Mojo Working" is edited down from an impromptu jam session.

Three songs from this album were released on singles. The single "Life" / "Only Believe" was released in March 1971 and reached only #53 on the US Billboard Singles chart. It was Elvis's lowest chart position for a single since "Almost in Love" had reached #95 in late 1968. "Heart Of Rome" was placed on the B-side of the non-album track "I'm Leavin'" released as a single in August it reached #23 in the UK in October 1971.

Other songs featured on the album included : "When I'm Over You", "If I Were You", "This Is Our Dance", "Cindy, Cindy", "I'll Never Know", and "It Ain't No Big Thing (But It's Growing)" (!!!)

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'Elvis Sings The Wonderful World of Christmas', his fifteenth studio album, was released in October 1971. It was his first Christmas album with new recordings since 'Elvis' Christmas Album' in 1957. The album's single, "Merry Christmas Baby" / "O Come All Ye Faithful", was later released in November 1971.

Recorded in May 1971, The album topped Billboard "Holiday Albums Chart", but failed to appear on the proper chart as from 1963 to 1973, 'holiday albums' were not allowed.

Several of the songs on the album were published by Elvis Presley's publishing company, such as "Holly Leaves and Christmas Trees", "I'll Be Home on Christmas Day", "If I Get Home on Christmas Day", and "On a Snowy Christmas Night". Presley is accompanied on most of the songs by The Imperials Quartet.

Other songs featured on the festive platter include : "Winter Wonderland", "The Wonderful World of Christmas", "It Won't Seem Like Christmas (Without You)", "Silver Bells", and his tribute and salute to the young crinkly bottomed Radio 1 DJ - "The First Noel".

The Story So Far & Further : 1972
Quote'Elvis Now', his sixteenth studio album was released on 20 February 1972.

Despite the "now" in the title, The Beatles' "Hey Jude" was a leftover from the sessions at the American Studio in Memphis in early 1969. The rest of the songs were from more recent sessions held at RCA Studio B in Nashville in March, May, and June 1971, and included : "Help Me Make It Through the Night", "Miracle of the Rosary", "Put Your Hand in the Hand", "Early Mornin' Rain", and "Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear to Tread)".

"Until It's Time for You to Go" / "We Can Make the Morning" reached number 5 on the UK Singles Chart in April 1972, and the superb "Sylvia" - the penultimate song recorded on the last day of the prolific Nashville recording sessions in June 1970 - became a chart topper in Brazil.

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'He Touched Me', his seventeenth studio album, was released on 1 April 1972. Recorded between March and June 1971, the album was his third and final studio gospel album, and the most contemporary of the three, earning him his second of three Grammy Awards.

Songs featured on Side 1 included : "He Touched Me" (#cancelled!), "I've Got Confidence", "Amazing Grace", "Seeing Is Believing", "He Is My Everything", and the progressive Trans anthem "Bosom of Abraham"

Side 2 kicked off with : "An Evening Prayer", followed by "Lead Me, Guide Me", "There Is No God But God", "A Thing Called Love", "I, John", and the album closed with the Depeche Mode cover "Reach Out to Jesus"

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His next release was the live album 'Elvis: As Recorded at Madison Square Garden'. Recorded at the Madison Square Garden on Saturday 10 June 1972, it was rush released and hit the shops later the same month. The concert, and the subsequent album, were promoted as being Presley's first live concerts in the "Big Apple" since the 1950s.

The concert included on this album was the evening show. An afternoon performance was also recorded, but remained unreleased until the 1990s. Drummer Ronnie Tutt claimed that Colonel Tom Parker, Presley's dodgy manager, sped up the mixes so that more tracks could be on the album, increasing his publishing royalties.

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Kicking off a run of classic singles, he released "An American Trilogy" (b/w "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face").

The song medley was arranged by country composer Mickey Newbury, and first appeared on his 1971 album 'Frisco Mabel Joy'. The medley uses three 19th-century songs: "Dixie" — a popular folk song about the southern United States; "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" — a marching hymn of the Union Army during the American Civil War; and "All My Trials" — a Bahamian lullaby related to African American spirituals and widely used by folk music revivalists

Presley began singing "An American Trilogy" in concert in January 1972. Presley modified Newbury's sequence by reprising after "All My Trials" both "Dixie" (in the solo flute) and with a bigger ending on "Battle Hymn". While Elvis's version only reached No. 66 on the US charts, it peaked at #8 in the UK charts in June 1972.

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By now Presley and his wife had become increasingly distant, barely cohabiting. In 1971, an affair he had with Joyce Bova resulted—unbeknownst to him—in her pregnancy and an abortion. He often raised the possibility of her moving into Graceland, saying that he was likely to leave Priscilla.

The Presleys separated on 23 February 1972, after Priscilla disclosed her relationship with Mike Stone, a karate instructor Presley had recommended to her. Five months later, Presley's new girlfriend, Linda Thompson, a songwriter and one-time Memphis beauty queen, moved in with him. She would remain his main female companion until late 1976.

Presley and his wife filed for divorce on 18 August 1972. According to Joe Moscheo of the Imperials, the failure of Presley's marriage "was a blow from which he never recovered."

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Originally released by Arthur Alexander earlier in 1972, Elvis' next single, "Burning Love" (b/w "It's A Matter Of Time"), was a huge hit in the US - topping the Cashbox chart. In the UK it peaked #7 spot in September 1972.

He finished the year on a high with the single "Always On My Mind", which peaked at #9 position on the UK charts in December 1972. "Separate Ways", the A-side in the US, was written by Red West and Richard Mainegra.

Richard Mainegra : "It's a big understatement to say getting an Elvis cut was the highlight of my career. At the time, I was only 22 and right out of Slidell into the music business. Red West, who co-wrote the song, was one of the 'Memphis Mafia' – Elvis' bodyguards and buddies. At the time, he was heading the publishing company I happened to stumble into a year earlier. One day I had a melody going that Red really liked, so he began writing lyrics to it. Before long, he had a look of real excitement in his eyes as if he knew we had something special going. We started leaning the story line toward Elvis' break-up with Priscilla and how it affected their daughter."

Both sides of the single were included on the Camden compilation album 'Separate Ways' released in December 1972. Aside from the two new songs, the rest of the album consisted of previously released recordings from 1960s Presley film soundtracks. US and UK covers featured slightly different covers, with the UK variant showing Elvis busking in the middle of a busy motorway - the giant nutter!

Richard Mainegra : "A few months later, after we all had moved to Nashville, we got word that it was going to be the flip side of the single Always on My Mind. How cool that was!!! A few weeks later, we were informed Separate Ways was going to be released as a pop single. I've had cuts by some pretty major artists since then, but nothing has ever matched the feeling I had when I first heard 'The King' sing a song of which I was lucky to be a part!"

The Single :
Quote"The Wonder of You" was written by Baker Knight, and sung by Elvis Presley.

The song was originally recorded by Vince Edwards in 1958, but this recording has never been released. In 1959, "The Wonder of You" was first released by Ray Peterson as a single. The song peaked at #25 in the US and #23 in the UK.

Elvis Presely's single was a live version recorded in Las Vegas, Nevada in February 1970. It was released as a single on 20 April 1970, and charted at #9 in the US.

Ray Peterson : "He asked me if I would mind if he recorded 'The Wonder of You.' I said, 'You don't have to ask permission; you're Elvis Presley.' He said, 'Yes, I do. You're Ray Peterson.'"

"The Wonder of You" was one of his most successful records in the UK ever, topping the UK Singles Chart for six weeks in the summer of 1970. It is his fifth biggest seller in the UK to date, with sales of 891,000. It also stayed at number one in the Irish Charts for three weeks that same year.

The song has been adopted by English Association football club Port Vale, which runs out to the song at the start of its home matches, while the club's fans sing the song throughout their matches, periodically with altered lyrics.

Other Versions includeRonnie Hilton (1959)  /  Jeannie Sterling  (1959)  /  Ken Dodd (1962)  /  The Delltones (1964)  /  Catherine McKinnon (1967)  /  The Platters (1968)  /  The Sandpipers (1969)  /  Bobby Hatfield (1969)  /  Billie Jo Spears (1970)  /  Bobby Curtola (1970)  /  "Sä ihmeitä teet" by Arto Sotavalta (1970)  /  "Das Wunder bist du" by Peter Alexander (1970)  /  Little Jimmy Dempsey (1971)  /  Lloyd Parks (1976)  /  Die Kavalier (1981)  /  Dickie Rock (1982)  /  Cynthia Schloss (1985)  /  Whistle Bait (1990)  /  Ingmar Nordströms (1990)  /  Foster & Allen (2002)  /  Robson Green (2002)  /  The Monks of Moramanga (2003)  /  G4 (2005)  /  Danny McEvoy (2012)  /  Skytone (2014)  /  Elvis Presley with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (2016)  /  Black Dyke Band (2017)  /  Jim Falbo (2017)  /  Puddles Pity Party (2017)  /  Villagers (2019)  /  Wedding String Quartet (2020)  /   Erick Del Imperio 8-Bit (2020)

On This Day :
Quote26 July : Joan As Police Woman, musician, born Joan Wasser in Norwalk, Connecticut
26 July : Cuba's Prime Minister Fidel Castro offered to resign after announcing on Radio Havana that his economic strategy had failed.
29 July : Andi Peters, TV presenter, born Andi Eleazu Peters in Chelsea, London
29 July : Sir John Barbirolli (Giovanni Battista Barbirolli), British cellist, and conductor, dies of a heart attack aged 70
30 July : 30,000 arrive to attend Powder Ridge Rock Festival, Middlefield, Connecticut, despite it having been cancelled due to local residents opposition
30 July : Christopher Nolan, film director, born Christopher Edward Nolan in Westminster, London
30 July : Damages totaling £485,528 were awarded to 28 British Thalidomide victims.
30 July : MC Trouble, rapper, born LaTasha Sheron Rogers in Los Angeles, California
31 July : Black Tot Day: the last day of the officially sanctioned rum ration in the Royal Navy (started 1740)
31 July : Israeli cabinet of ministers led by Golda Meir voted to accept a U.S. government peace proposal for a three month ceasefire in the War of Attrition that had continued after the 1967 Six-Day War
1 August : David James, footballer goalkeeper, born David Benjamin James in Welwyn Garden City, England
2 August : Rubber bullets used for the first time in Northern Ireland
3 August : Christopher Hampton's "Philanthropist" premieres in London
4 August : Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson marries Barbara Charren
4 August : Boozy Rock Oaf Jim Morrison arrested for public drunkenness in Los Angeles
5 August : Robert Morley's "or" premieres in London
6 August : M. Night Shyamalan, film director, born Manoj Nelliyattu Shyamalan in Mahé, Puducherry, India
7 August : First all-computer chess championship is conducted in New York and won by CHESS 3.0 (CDC 6400), a program written by Slate, Atkin & Gorlen at Northwestern University
7 August : Christine Perfect joins Fleetwood Mac
10 August : Priapic Rock Oaf Jim Morrison's trial for "lewd and lascivious behavior" begins in Miami
11 August : Former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali was granted a license to box for the first time since being stripped of his title in 1967.
11 August : Andy Bell, musician (Ride), born Andrew Piran Bell in Cardiff, Wales
12 August : Singer Janis Joplin gave what would prove to be her final concert, appearing before 35,000 people at the Harvard University Stadium
13 August : Alan Shearer, footballer, born in Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne
14 August : Steven Stills arrested for drug possession
17 August : USSR spacecraft Venera 7 launched - destination Venus
17 August : Jim Courier, tennis player, born James Spencer Courier in Sanford, Florida
19 August : The Chinese Community in South Africa is granted 'White' status
20 August : Fred Durst, musician (Limp Bizkit), born Frederick Allen Mayne III in Jacksonville, Florida
21 August : Roman Catholic Church issued an edict declaring that only one patron saint would be allowed for any Catholic religious order, nation, province, city or village - Spoilsports!
22 August : USSR launched Kosmos 359 into Earth orbit, with the statement that it was intended for "space research"
23 August : River Phoenix, actor, born River Jude Bottom in Madras, Oregon
24 August : Actor Peter Sellers marries model Miranda Quarry
25 August : Elton John's 1st US appearance at the Troubador club, West Hollywood, Los Angeles
25 August : Claudia Schiffer, supermodel, born Claudia Maria Schiffer in Rheinberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, West Germany
27 August : Jimi Hendrix creates his last studio recording at Electric Lady Studios in New York, an instrumental called "Slow Blues"
27 August : Peter Ebdon, snooker player, born Peter David Ebdon in Islington, London
31 August : Debbie Gibson, singer, born Deborah Ann Gibson in Brooklyn, New York
1 September : Bee Gees singer Barry Gibb marries former Miss Edinburgh Linda Ann Gray
2 September : NASA announced the cancellation of the Apollo 18 and Apollo 19 manned lunar landing missions
2 September : Plucky Britain attempted its first launch of an orbital satellite from the RAAF Woomera Range Complex in South Australia. The Black Arrow rocket lifted off successfully, but crashed into the Gulf of Carpentaria off of Australia's northern coast
3 September : Bill Haley & His Comets reject $30,000 for 15 date tour of Australia
3 September : Alan Wilson, musician (Canned Heat), dies of barbiturate overdose aged 27
4 September : Russian ballerina Natalia Makarova defects to the West while on tour with the Kirov Ballet in London and is granted political asylum
4 September : Marxist Salvador Allende wins Chile's presidential election
5 September : Formula One driver Jochen Rindt killed during qualifying races for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! :

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Previously :
62.   |  All Shook Up
64b. |  Party  (Melody Maker 18.)
67.   |  Jailhouse Rock / Treat Me Nice
80.   |  I Got Stung  /  One Night
85.   |  I Need Your Love Tonight  /  A Fool Such As I
99b. |  Stuck On You  (Melody Maker 51.)
106b|  A Mess of Blues  (Melody Maker 57.)
109. |  It's Now Or Never
112. |  Are You Lonesome Tonight
115. |  Wooden Heart
119. |  Surrender
125b|  Wild in the Country (NME 121.)
129. |  Little Sister  /  His Latest Flame
133. |  Can't Help Falling In Love
136. |  Good Luck Charm
140. |  She's Not You
143. |  Return To Sender
154. |  (You're The) Devil In Disguise
197. |  Crying In The Chapel
274bElvis Presley - In The Ghetto (MM 221.) + (NME 271.)     
+        The Story So Far : 1968-1969 
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The Culture Bunker

Eh, Elvis in general has never been a singer I've been able to get into - but bar the odd exception (ie 'Suspicious Minds') I find his 70s work particularly obnoxious. Far too Vegas, to be filed alongside Foghorn Jones, Tony Orlando and such.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

The Wonder of You is Elvis at his most supper club Vegasy, no doubt about that, but he recorded some of his best stuff in the late '60s/early '70s. He was in a totally different league to the likes of yer Jones', Orlandos' and Humperdincks'. A proper artist, if you will.

The Culture Bunker

Quote from: Ballad of Ballard Berkley on September 01, 2021, 05:55:48 PM
The Wonder of You is Elvis at his most supper club Vegasy, no doubt about that, but he recorded some of his best stuff in the late '60s/early '70s. He was in a totally different league to the likes of yer Jones', Orlandos' and Humperdincks'. A proper artist, if you will.
I know, I know... I've heard it all from my old man and others and I end up feeling like Jimmy Rabbitte from 'The Commitments'. Close to everything he did leaves me completely unmoved.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

Which is fair enough. I feel the same way about certain revered artistes, they just don't touch my soul at all.


Quote from: The Culture Bunker on September 01, 2021, 02:16:26 PM
Eh, Elvis in general has never been a singer I've been able to get into - but bar the odd exception (ie 'Suspicious Minds') I find his 70s work particularly obnoxious. Far too Vegas, to be filed alongside Foghorn Jones, Tony Orlando and such.
Elvis 1968-1971 is my favourite period, even more than his Sun sides.

The Culture Bunker

Quote from: kalowski on September 01, 2021, 06:39:21 PM
Elvis 1968-1971 is my favourite period, even more than his Sun sides.
Those Sun sides don't do a whole lot for me either - I guess I come to it from the perspective of knowing about people like Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and Howlin' Wolf. Elvis just seems so tame in comparison - and if we want to keep it to the white boys from that scene, I'll go with Johnny Cash everytime.


I like the Sun stuff, he really doesn't sound like anyone else. It's just that nowadays I'm much more likely to listen to That's the Way it is


Some hidden gems scattered around in the early 70's period. Despite being a number one on Brazil in 1972, until I got his albums box set a few years ago, I don't think I'd ever heard Sylvia before.

Quote"Sylvia" was recorded on the last day of the prolific Nashville recording sessions in June 1970. Possibly saving it for a single release, RCA Victor did not include the song either on 'That's The Way It Is' album in 1970 or on 'Love Letters from Elvis' album in 1971, though it was recorded during the same sessions and was thematically appropriate for both these albums. It eventually appeared on 'Elvis Now' in 1972.

The Culture Bunker

Quote from: kalowski on September 01, 2021, 08:39:12 PM
I like the Sun stuff, he really doesn't sound like anyone else. It's just that nowadays I'm much more likely to listen to That's the Way it is
Oh aye, if there's one thing I can give Presley, it's that he has a voice unique to himself. That it grates to me is my issue entirely: I said I liked 'Suspicious Minds' up above, but I'd much rather hear the Fine Young Cannibals take than the Elv original.


I picked up a Free compilation (CD) for a euro recently.  It's pretty good.


290.  Smokey Robinson and The Miracles – The Tears of a Clown

From : 6 – 12 September 1970
Weeks : 1
B-side : Who's Gonna Take The Blame
Bonus 1 : Stereo Version
Bonus 2 : Mono Album Version
Bonus 3 : TV Performance

The Story So Far : 
QuoteThe Five Chimes were formed in 1955 by Smokey Robinson, Warren "Pete" Moore, and Ronnie White who had been singing together since they each were around the age of eleven. Following the replacement of original members, Clarence Dawson and James Grice, with Emerson "Sonny" Rogers and his cousin Bobby, they changed their name to The Matadors. In 1957, Sonny Rogers left to join the United States Army and Claudette Rogers, his sister, who had been singing with the sister group The Matadorettes, joined them shortly afterwards. Following two years of courtship, Smokey and Claudette married in November 1959.

The group auditioned for Brunswick Records in front of Alonzo Tucker (an original member of The Midnighters), Nat Tarnopol (Jackie Wilson's manager) and one of the label's staff songwriters, Berry Gordy. Tucker was unimpressed by the audition, stating that because there was The Platters that "there couldn't be two groups in America like that with a woman in the group". After the Tarnopol and Tucker rejection, Gordy, discovering Robinson's notebook full of songs he had written and having been impressed with Robinson's singing voice, agreed to work with the group.

Smokey Robinson : "When I met Berry, the Miracles had gone to an audition with Jackie Wilson's managers. Berry was there that day to hand in some new songs. We sang five songs I had written. Jackie Wilson's managers didn't like us at all, but after they had rejected us, Berry came out and said, "I liked a couple of your songs, man — where did you get them from?" I had 100 songs in a loose-leaf notebook. But most of them were haphazard, because my first verse had nothing to do with my second verse."

Gordy recorded their first single, "Got a Job" (b/w "My Mama Done Told Me"), and struck a deal with George Goldner's End Records to distribute the single. Before the song was released, the group changed their name to The Miracles. After earning only $3.19 for his production success, Gordy was told by Robinson to form his own label, which Gordy did, forming Tamla Records in 1959.

One of the Miracles' first Tamla singles, the ballad "Bad Girl", (b/w "I Love Your Baby"), became the Miracles' first song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 Pop chart in October 1959 when it was licensed to and issued nationally by Chess Records. The next Miracles song, "It", was credited to Ron & Bill, in a duet between White and Robinson, and was released on Tamla and nationally distributed by Chess subsidiary Argo Records.

Smokey Robinson : "Berry had already produced a record for us called 'Get A Job' which was our very first record and released out of New York on this record company called End Records. Then we made another record for them called 'I Need Some Money' backed with a song called 'I Cried'. So we had two records on the End label in New York. And they didn't pay us! So Berry just said he was going to start his OWN record company, and the first Motown record ever was on the Tamla label - a record called 'Come To Me' by an artist named Marv Johnson, but the company was only set up for local distribution. Then we, The Miracles, released a record called 'Bad Girl' on Motown locally, and it was just like a big smash hit in Detroit and the surrounding areas. So Berry sold our national distribution rights, for two records only, to Chess Records in Chicago - and THEY didn't pay us!"

Following a dismal reception at the Apollo Theater in 1959, Robinson recruited guitarist Marv Tarplin to join them on a few touring dates after Tarplin played with The Primettes (later the Supremes), with Tarplin officially joining the Miracles shortly afterwards. With the addition of Tarplin, the Miracles' "classic lineup" was complete.

In February 1960, the Miracles reached the charts with "Way Over There" (b/w "Depend On Me"), their second national hit.

Smokey Robinson : "So then our next record was 'Way Over There' and Berry and I were talking one day, and I said 'Hey man, why don't you just go national with this record because, you know, nobody's paying us anywhere. So what have you got to lose?'... So he did - and 'Way Over There' by The Miracles was the very first Motown record that was a national release, and that was the birth of what started to happen!"

In October 1960, the Miracles released "Shop Around", backed with "Who's Lovin' You", which became the group's first smash hit, reaching number one on the R&B charts, number two on the Billboard Hot 100, and number one on the Cash Box Magazine "Top 100" Pop Chart, and was the first Motown single to sell a million copies.

In June 1961, they released their debut album, 'Hi... We're the Miracles'. The styles of the album tracks vary from the late doo-wop to upbeat R&B, and included their version of Motown's first hit single, Barrett Strong's "Money (That's What I Want)". As well as being the first Miracles album, this has the distinction of being the first album ever released by the Motown Record Corporation.

During this early period, the group suffered some problems as Robinson caught Asian Flu and had to be bedded for a month, leaving wife Claudette Robinson to lead the Miracles on tour until he recovered. Claudette herself had her share of problems, having suffered her first miscarriage that occurred after a car accident and Pete Moore was drafted to serve in the United States Army.

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'Cookin' with the Miracles', their second album, was released in November 1961. Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson co-wrote most of the songs, including the two charting singles "Ain't It Baby" (#49 US) and "Everybody's Gotta Pay Some Dues" (#52 US). Another single, "Mighty Good Lovin'" was issued in between those two, but was not included on the album.

'Cookin' with the Miracles' is one of only two classic Miracles albums to feature on its cover the complete original six-member group lineup: Smokey Robinson, Bobby Rogers, Claudette Rogers Robinson, Pete Moore, Ronnie White and Marv Tarplin.

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'I'll Try Something New', their third album, was released in July 1962. The album featured the singles "What's So Good About Goodbye" and "I've Been Good To You", plus three covers of the easy listening standards "I've Got You Under My Skin" written by Cole Porter, "On the Street Where You Live" from the Broadway musical 'My Fair Lady' and "Speak Low" by Ogden Nash Gone Flake and Kurt Weill, on which both Smokey and Claudette Robinson sing lead.

The album also features a rare lead by Miracles baritone Ronnie White on "A Love That Can Never Be", and a lead by Claudette Robinson on "He Don't Care About Me".

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Their fourth album, 'The Fabulous Miracles', was released in February 1963. The album featured the million-selling hit, "You've Really Got a Hold on Me", plus the singles "A Love She Can Count On" and "I've Been Good To You". The album also features "I Can Take a Hint", which had been issued as a B-side.

The Miracles' bass singer Pete Moore is not featured on the album or the cover, as he was serving in the U.S. Armed Services and was stationed in Germany at the time this album was recorded.

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Released in May 1963, 'Recorded Live on Stage' was the first of three live albums the group released during their career, it features live R&B numbers recorded at either the Apollo Theater in New York or The Regal Theatre in Chicago, Illinois during their 1962 and 1963 tour. Highlighs included the opener "Mighty Good Lovin'" and "I've Been Good To You".

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Their next album, 'Christmas with The Miracles', was released at the end of October 1963. It features traditional Christmas songs, including : "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town", "Let It Snow", and "Winter Wonderland", with one Smokey Robinson original, "Christmas Everyday". The entire album was produced by Miracles member Ronnie White.

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They released their sixth album, 'The Miracles Doin' Mickey's Monkey', a couple of weeks later, in November 1963. It includes the group's Top 10 smash single "Mickey's Monkey", and the Top 40 hit, "I Gotta Dance to Keep From Crying" - both written and produced by Holland-Dozier-Holland-Dozier-Holland-Dozier-Holland.

Aside from the Robinson penned "The Groovey Thing", much of the rest of the album is made up of cover versions of popular dance songs, including : "The Twist", "Twist and Shout" and The Contours' hit "Do You Love Me". Claudette Robinson takes the lead on a cover of The Orlons' hit, "The Wah-Watusi".

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Released in 1964, 'Like It Like That' was compiled for the UK market and featured a combination of several new-for-1964 songs along with previously issued material from the group's album from the year before.

New for 1964 songs included the single "I Like It Like That", the Bobby Rogers-led flip side "You're So Fine and Sweet", "That's What Love Is Made Of", and "Would I Love You". Several of the group's other 1964 songs, including the chart hits "(You Can't Let the Boy Overpower) The Man in You", "Come On Do the Jerk", and its B-side, "Baby Don't You Go", were not included.

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Around 1964, Smokey Robinson became Motown's vice president, while the other members of the Miracles also began to work staff jobs with the company.

In early 1964, Claudette decided to retire from the road and remain at home in Detroit after another miscarriage, her sixth. From this point on, Claudette did not tour with the Miracles or appear in any official group photographs or on television, although she remained as a non-touring member of the Miracles, and continued to sing backup with the group in the studio until 1972.

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To launch the Tamla Motown label in the UK, The Miracles, along with Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, and Martha and The Vandellas visited the UK as part of a 24 day package tour that took them around the UK visiting 21 theatres for two shows a night – plus a live TV special.

Unlike other Motown artists, whose songs were written for them by staff songwriters, the Miracles were one of the few Motown acts that composed their own songs, adding to the group's already impressive reputation. In addition to penning their own material, they wrote for many of their labelmates as well, including songs for The Temptations ("The Way You Do The Things You Do", "My Girl", "Get Ready"), Marvin Gaye ("I'll Be Doggone", "Ain't That Peculiar", "One More Heartache"), The Marvelettes ("Don't Mess With Bill", "My Baby Must Be a Magician", "The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game"), The Contours ("First I Look at the Purse), Brenda Holloway ("When I'm Gone"), and Mary Wells ("My Guy", "The One Who Really Loves You", "What Love Has Joined Together", "Two Lovers").

Smokey Robinson : "Mary Wells was the first artist that I started to work with on a regular basis - the first hit I had with her was called 'I'm The One Who Really Loves You'. I had about five Top Ten records with her, then I did 'My Guy' which was Number One. Then shortly after that she left - she'd fallen in love with her road manager who convinced her to leave because he said he could get her more of everything. I tried to talk her out of it because I knew the guy didn't know what he was doing... But he convinced her, and she became oblivious. It really was a big shame, because I think had she stayed at Motown she could have been around always."

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Released in November 1965, 'Going to a Go-Go' was the first album to credit the group as Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. It includes four of the Miracles' Top 20 hits: "Ooo Baby Baby", "Going to a Go-Go", "My Girl Has Gone" and "The Tracks of My Tears" - which reached #9 on the UK chart in May 1969.

Smokey Robinson : "The Tracks of My Tears" originated with my guitarist, Marv Tarplin, and was cowritten with Pete Moore. Marv put his guitar riffs on tape and gave them to me to write lyrics. The first thing I came up with was, "Take a good look at my face, see my smiling side of the place, be the closest thing to trace, that you're gone and I'm not." And I said, "No, that's not it." Then, "It's easy to trace that I miss you so much." And I said, "No, that's not it." Then one day I was at my mirror, shaving, and I said, "What if a person cried until their tears had actually left tracks in their face?" Then I was able to finish the song."

With the exception of the song, "My Baby Changes Like The Weather", this entire album was written by The Miracles, and included "From Head To Toe", "In Case You Need Love" and "A Fork in the Road" - which was regularly performed as part of the Miracles' live show.

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Released in 1966, their next album, 'Away We a Go-Go', features the singles "(Come 'Round Here) I'm the One You Need", written and produced by Holland-Dozier-Holland; and "Whole Lot of Shakin' in My Heart (Since I Met You)", written and produced by Frank Wilson. "More, More, More (of Your Love)" was planned for release as a single but was never issued. The Stevie Wonder composition, "Can You Love A Poor Boy", was released to radio stations as a promo single, but was never given a general release.

Also featured are covers of contemporary hits, among them The Temptations' "Beauty Is Only Skin Deep", Dusty Springfield's "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me", and two Dionne Warwick songs, "Walk On By", and "I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself".

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Their next album, 'Make It Happen', was released in August 1967, and featured ballads such as the hit singles "The Love I Saw in You Was Just a Mirage" and "More Love", as well as the up-tempo "The Tears of a Clown" co-written by Stevie Wonder and his producer Hank Cosby.

Three years after the album's release, "The Tears of a Clown" was issued as a single, and charted at #1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and UK Singles Chart. As a result, the album was reissued in 1970 with the new title 'The Tears of a Clown'.

Stevie Wonder was also contributing writer on two other tracks on the album: "After You Put Back the Pieces (I'll Still Have a Broken Heart)", and "My Love Is Your Love (Forever)". Holland-Dozier-Holland contributed the good-times dance song "It's a Good Feeling". Smokey's fellow Miracles Warren "Pete" Moore and Marv Tarplin collaborated with him on the songs "You Must Be Love", and the Top 20 hit "The Love I Saw in You Was Just a Mirage". "The Tears of a Clown" on the mono version of the album features an alternate lead vocal.

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In 1968, the album "Greatest Hits" was released in the UK. It featured the 1964 non-album single "Come On Do The Jerk", plus the recent smash hit I Second That Emotion".

As they had released the double album 'Greatest Hits from the Beginning' back in 1965, the version of the album issued in the US was titled 'Greatest Hits, Vol. 2'. It also featured a slightly different track list, and included the B-sides "Choosey Beggar" and "Save Me".

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Released in August 1968, their next album, 'Special Occasion', featured three Top 40 hits: "If You Can Want", "Yester Love", and "Special Occasion". Also included are versions of the Motown hit "Everybody Needs Love" and The Beatles' "Yesterday".

The Miracles were actually the first group to record "I Heard It Through the Grapevine", before the later hit versions by Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight & the Pips.

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'Smokey Robinson & the Miracles LIVE!', their second live album, was recorded in 1968 at Detroit's famous Roostertail Restaurant, a popular venue where Motown artists appeared during the 1960s and 1970s. Released 6 January 1969, it charted at #71 on the Billboard Pop Album Chart and at #7 on the Billboard R&B Album Chart.

There were two important changes in the group's personnel since the previous live album. Miracles' bass singer Pete Moore, whose career had been interrupted by military service, had returned to the group by this time and was present on this album, while Miracles member Claudette Robinson, who was on the first live album, had retired from live performances five years before this album appeared.

The concert that spawned the album was aimed at an adult 'supper-club' crowd, instead of the group's usual teenaged market. It consisted of a combination of several of the group's greatest hits, along with standards which included the Bing Crosby number "Poinciana", Dionne Warwick's "(Theme from) Valley of the Dolls", and "Walk On By", plus the Fifth Dimension's smash hit "Up, Up and Away".

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Released in July 1969, 'Time Out for Smokey Robinson & the Miracles' featured four Top 40 singles, including : "Doggone Right", "Abraham, Martin & John", "Here I Go Again". The album also features covers of Motown songs such as "For Once in My Life" and the Robinson-penned songs "My Girl" and "The Composer".

By 1969, Smokey Robinson sought to leave the Miracles and the stage, to settle for continued work as Motown's vice president as well as become more of a family man to his wife Claudette and their children. Robinson's departure plans however, were put on hold after "Baby Baby Don't Cry" hit the Billboard Top 10.

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Their next album, 'Four In Blue' was released in November 1969 and was the final Miracles album of the 1960s. The album is a combination of cover versions and original material, including : The Beatles' "Hey Jude", The Supremes' "My World Is Empty Without You", The Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" and The 5th Dimension's "California Soul".

Original songs penned by Robinson included : "You Send Me (With Your Good Lovin')", "Dreams Dreams", "A Legend in Its Own Time", and "When Nobody Cares".

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'What Love Has...Joined Together' was released in April 1970. A concept album consisting solely of six extended-length love songs, it featured songs written by noted composers, such as Stevie Wonder ("My Cherie Amour"), Berry Gordy, Frank Wilson, Brenda Holloway and her sister Patrice Holloway ("You've Made Me So Very Happy"), Burt Bacharach and Hal David ("This Guy's in Love With You"), Marvin Gaye ("If This World Were Mine"), The Beatles' John Lennon & Paul McCartney, ("And I Love Her"), and Miracles members Smokey Robinson and Bobby Rogers ("What Love Has Joined Together").

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Released in September 1970, 'A Pocket Full of Miracles' included the singles "Point It Out", and the topical Ashford & Simpson song "Who's Gonna Take the Blame", plus the B-side "Darling Dear", which was later covered by The Jackson Five.

Other songs featured included "Get Ready", "Flower Girl", "Backfire", and the melancholy "The Reel of Time". Covers include versions of Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge over Troubled Water", and the medley "Something / Something You Got".

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Robinson's plans to retire were further dashed in 1970 when the Miracles' 1967 song "The Tears of a Clown" was released as a single becoming a number-one hit in the UK. It was subsequently released in the U.S., where it duplicated its U.K. success, reaching number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Pop Chart and selling over 3 million copies . . .

The Single :
Quote"The Tears of a Clown" was written by Hank Cosby, Smokey Robinson, and Stevie Wonder and originally recorded by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles in 1967.

Stevie Wonder and his producer Hank Cosby wrote the music for the song. Wonder brought the instrumental track to the 1966 Motown Christmas party because he could not come up with a lyric to fit the instrumental. Smokey Robinson, who remarked that the song's distinctive calliope motif "sounded like a circus," provided lyrics that reflected his vision and sang lead vocal.

Smokey Robinson : "Stevie had recorded that track, and he couldn't think of a song to go with it, so he gave it to me. I wanted to write something about the circus that would be touching to people. When I was a child, I heard a story about Pagliacci, the Italian clown. Everybody loved him and they cheered him, but when he went back to his dressing room he cried, because he didn't have that kind of love from a woman. So that's what "The Tears of a Clown" is about. It's a version of Pagliacci's life."

In the song, his character, sad because a woman has left him, compares himself to the characters in the opera Pagliacci, comedians/clowns who hide their hurt and anger behind empty smiles. He had used this comparison before: the line "just like Pagliacci did / I'll try to keep my sadness hid" appears in this song as well as in "My Smile Is Just A Frown (Turned Upside Down)", which he had written in 1964 for Motown artist Carolyn Crawford.

"The Tears of a Clown" was an album track on 1967's 'Make It Happen' but was not released as a single. The version on the mono version of the album contains an alternate lead vocal with a slightly different verse melody.

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In July 1970, to capitalize on the Miracles' success there, and due to a lack of new material from the group, Motown Britain selected "The Tears of a Clown" for single release. It became a #1 hit on the UK Singles Chart for a week in September 1970.

One account suggests it was Karen Spreadbury, head of the British division of the Motown Fan Club, who first recommended the track to John Reid, then UK manager for the American Tamla Motown label, when he asked her which track she'd favour as a single from the 1967 album. Reid reportedly then gave the go ahead for "Tears of A Clown" to be issued as the single.

Smokey Robinson : "Anyway, we recorded that song in 1967 and nothing happened with it in The States - just an obscure cut on an album. Then in 1970 this girl who worked for our Motown office over here in London said 'Hey, this would be a great hit over here!'. So they released it over here, and it was Number One! So Berry said 'Hey, if it's Number One over there, then we're definitely gonna release it over HERE!'... And it was like Number One all over the world! That was really something, to have a song that just laid around for that time period and then came back like that!"

This newfound popularity prompted Motown to release the song as a single in the United States, using a new mix of the song made in February 1970. It became a #1 hit on both the pop and R&B charts within two months of its release. The record is one of the few hit pop singles to feature the bassoon, which was played by Charles R. Sirard.

The single was issued with several different B-sides: in the UK, the first pressing had "Who's Gonna Take The Blame", with "You Must Be Love" appearing on the second. In the US, "Promise Me" was featured as the B-side. The song charted again in the UK in 1976, peaking at #34

In 1979, British 'Two-Tone' band The Beat released a cover of the song as their debut single. The double A-side with "Ranking Full Stop" reached number 6 on the UK Singles Chart, making it the band's third biggest hit.

Smokey Robinson : "The best version that I've ever heard of "The Tears of a Clown" is by a jazz singer who did it as a ballad. Her name is Nnenna Freelon. She had a violin crying in the background, and it was beautiful, because it's a sad song. My version is upbeat only because of the musical track that Stevie gave me, but in essence it's a sad song."

Other Versions includePetula Clark (1971)  /  The Chosen Few (1975)  /  Leo Sayer (1976-ish?)  /  Shalamar (1977)  /  The Beat (1979)  /  The Merton Parkas (1979)  /  Deodato (1982)  /  The Flying Pickets (1984)  /  Junior English (1984)  /  Baby Tuckoo (1986)  /  Sugar Merchant (1986)  /  Bassix (1987)  /  Enuff Z'nuff (1994)  /  La Toya Jackson (1995)  /  Potshot (1997)  /  The Re-Bops (1998)  /  Bertrand Burgalat Meets A.S Dragon (2001)  /  Nnenna Freelon (2002)  /  Phil Collins (2003)  /  Peter Cox (2004)  /  Annie Frances (2005)  /  Pat Boone and Smokey Robinson (2006)  /  Soul Definition (2011)  /  Danny McEvoy (2012)  /  Cee Lo (2013)  /  The Doughboys (2014)  /  John Spencer & The Dixleys (2014)  /  Boyzone (2014)  /  The Cat and Owl (2017)  /  Andrew Johnson (2018)  /  Luke McMaster (2020)  /  Soul Research Foundation (2020)  /  Brent Seavers (2020)  /  Ian Pritchard Sax&Soul (2020)  /  Spells and Curses (2020)  /  Roberts family band (2021)

On This Day :
Quote6 September : USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
6 September : Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine hijacks 4 planes and forces them to land at Dawson's Field, Jordan
6 September : Jimi Hendrix performed his final concert, in an appearance on the West German island of Fehmarn.
8 September : Percy Spencer, inventor of the microwave oven, dies aged 76
8 September : Neko Case, musician (The New Pornographers), born Neko Richelle Case in Alexandria, Virginia, USA
8 September : Black September hijackings begin, three airliners hijacked and blown up by Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
11 September : 88 of the hostages from the Dawson's Field hijackings are released. The remaining hostages, mostly Jews and Israeli citizens, are held until September 25.
12 September : Palestinian terrorists blow up three hijacked airliners in Jordan, continuing to hold the passengers hostage in various undisclosed locations in Amman.
12 September : LSD professor Timothy Leary escapes from California Men's Colony West, near San Luis Obispo, where he had been serving a prison sentence for possession of marijuana
12 September : Supersonic airliner Concorde lands for the 1st time at Heathrow airport
12 September : Soviet unmanned spacecraft Luna 16 launched to the moon

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! :

The Culture Bunker

This is much more like it for me. Not my favourite Miracles tune, but still an absolute classic. Sort of a last hurrah for the original Motown sound before Marv and Stevie take things in a different direction. I can remember hearing this for the first time on some compilation tape my dad had, when I was 12 or 13, and thinking "woah, what a voice". I love the Beat's version too.

Quite how Smokey's solo US hit 'Crusin'' went nowhere over here is a mystery to me, especially as he'd score a chart-topper with a lesser song not that long after.


As mentioned in the notes, there are actually three versions of this - the original 1967 stereo and mono album versions (both feature different vocal takes), and the third is a new mono mix made in February 1970 (using the stereo LP vocal), which was released as the single.


Quote from: kalowski on September 01, 2021, 08:39:12 PM
I like the Sun stuff, he really doesn't sound like anyone else. It's just that nowadays I'm much more likely to listen to That's the Way it is
This arrived on vinyl today. Gawd this is the Elvis I love!!


Let's face it, Tears of a Clown is an utter monster of a track. One of the best things ever recorded.


Just submitting another cover of Tears, this was big news down under in 1994, Sydney band Caligula:


291.  Freda Payne – Band Of Gold

From : 13 September – 24 October 1970
Weeks : 6
B-side : The Easiest Way To Fall
Bonus 1 : Stereo Mix
Bonus 2 : Unedited Alternate Version
Bonus 3 : Soul Train
Bonus 4 : Live TV Performance

The Story So Far : 
QuoteFreda Charcilia Payne was born in Detroit, Michigan. Her first recordings were made at the age of 14 with Berry Gordy, but were never released.

Freda Payne : "I was Berry Gordy's first female protégé when I was a teenager. He wrote three songs for me and recorded me in Detroit, pre-Motown, around 1958. I understand they're just in the archive. They were never released, because my mother wouldn't let me sign a contract. She didn't agree with his business terms. He never gave in and she never gave in!"

As a teenager, she attended the Detroit Institute of Musical Arts; she soon began singing radio commercial jingles, and took part in local TV and radio talent shows.

Freda Payne : "I kind of started out singing in Detroit while I was still in school, high school. I graduated when I was 16. When I was 17 I went on the road with Pearl Bailey. You might say my singing career at 17, even though when I started out with Pearl Bailey, I was not a featured singer, but one of her background singers. Then I sang with Duke Ellington very shortly. Then when I was around 18, 19, I met Quincy Jones and I sang with his Big Band, I'd say about a good ten years before I got my first record deal."

Her first single, "(Desafinado) Slightly Out Of Tune" (b/w "He Who Laughs Last") was released in September 1962. The follow-up "Grin And Bear It" (b/w "Pretty Boy") was released in April 1963 - both on the ABC-Paramount label.

Freda Payne : "My first recording was done in 1963 in New York. I was signed to ABC Paramount and they put out a single called Slightly Out of Tune, which owed a lot to the old hit "Desafinado," which Stan Getz had a hit with. Then I was on Impulse!, which was a legendary label right up there with Blue Note and Verve."

In 1963, she moved to New York City, and the following year released her first album, 'After the Lights Go Down Low and Much More!!!, on the Impulse! label. The majority of the songs on the album were covers and jazz standards, and included both sides of her single, "Sweet September" (b/w "It's Time"), which was released in January 1964.

In 1965 she toured Europe for the first time recording the album, 'Freda Payne in Stockholm', with Don Gardner and Bengt-Arne Wallin in Sweden. Songs featured on the album included jazzy versions of : "The Friendliest Thing", "Nobody Wants You When You're Down And Out", and "See See Rider,

In May 1966, she released her second American album, 'How Do You Say I Don't Love You Anymore'

Although regarded primarily as a jazz album, there are also several covers of pop songs featured, including the Beatles' hit "Yesterday", "Let It Be Me", "Feeling Good" and "If You Love Me (Really Love Me)." A single from the album, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" (b/w "Sad Sad September"), was released in May 1966, but failed to chart

Freda Payne : "I grew up in Detroit and saw my peers that started at the same time — people on Motown like Diana Ross and Martha Reeves and Mary Wells. I saw them having all these big hits and I wanted to get a hit! I was working supper clubs. I never worked the chitlin' circuit. I was mostly working white high-class supper clubs in places like the Catskills, Miami, and Puerto Rico, although I did work some black clubs like the Club Harlem in Atlantic City where Sammy Davis Jr. and Sam Cooke would perform. I did pretty good — I worked the Playboy Club circuit as well."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

She understudied Leslie Uggams for the Broadway show Hallelujah Baby in 1967, and appeared with the Equity Theatre in a production of Lost in the Stars. In 1969, her old friends back home in Detroit, Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Edward Holland, Jr., persuaded her to sign with their newly formed record label Invictus.

Freda Payne : "I was living in New York in Manhattan — this was 1968 — and I got a call from a lady named Tameka Jones, and she said "an old friend of yours is sitting with me. He's visiting from Detroit." I said, "Who is that?" She said, "Brian Holland." I said, "Oh, I went to school with Brian." We'd had a class in high school together. Well, at that time they were Holland-Dozier-Holland, and they'd become famous. She said, "He wants to see you — can you come by?" I said sure, and went by the apartment, and we reconnected and exchanged pleasantries. Then, he asked me what I was doing and if I was tied up with any contracts. As it happened, my contract was just up with ABC, and so was my management contract of five years with Joe Scandore, who also managed Don Rickles. I was literally free of any contractual obligations. So Brian said, "Would you like to come with us? We just left Motown and formed our own label called Invictus." I flew to Detroit and that was it."

In November 1969 she released her first Invictus single, "The Unhooked Generation" which was a minor hit, reaching #43 on the R&B charts.

The single was featured on her first Invictus album, 'Band of Gold', released in August 1970.

Almost immediately following its release as a single in February 1970, "Band of Gold" became an instant pop smash. Global sales were estimated at two million. The follow-up, "Deeper And Deeper", reached #24 in the US in October 1970, and #33 in the UK in November 1970.

Freda Payne : "My career took off. I started getting requests for interviews, booked on TV shows, my salary went up, and everything, in turn, went up. Once you get a hit like that and become a star, all of a sudden you have more expenses. Everything's relative. Everything starts going up — your way of living — and you are spending more money for things."

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Her next album, 'Contact' was released in 1971, and included the anti-war single "Bring The Boys Home" (b/w "I Shall Not Be Moved") - which peaked at #12 in the US charts in August 1971.

Freda Payne : "Well it was the timing. We're talking 1971 and the United States was in the midst of the Vietnam War. It wasn't a very popular war at all. They came up with this song and they played it for me and it brought tears to my eyes. So I loved it and they loved it and we went into the studio and cut it then put it out. It just addressed what was going on at that time."

Other singles featured on the album included  : "Cherish What Is Dear To You (While It's Near To You)" (b/w "The World Don't Owe You A Thing") - which reached #44 in the US, and #46 in the UK; and "You Brought The Joy" (b/w "Suddenly It's Yesterday") - which reached #52 in November 1971.

Her final chart entry, "The Road We Didn't Take" (b/w "I'm Not Getting Any Better"), reached #100 in the US in January 1972.

The Single :
Quote"Band of Gold" was written by 'Edythe Wayne' and Ron Dunbar, and recorded by Freda Payne. Edythe Wayne was a pseudonym for the songwriting team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Edward Holland, Jr. who were were embroiled in a lawsuit with with Motown. Ron Dunbar was a staff employee and producer for Invictus.

After Holland-Dozier-Holland left Motown in 1967, they were still in contact with Motown's house band, the Funk Brothers and when they started their own recording company, with the intention of self-producing the songs they wrote, they asked the Funk Brothers to play on those songs.

Golden World/Motown session singers Pamela Vincent, Joyce Vincent Wilson, and Telma Hopkins provided the background vocals on the record. Joyce and Telma would later go on to form the group Tony Orlando & Dawn. Also singing in the background is Freda Payne's sister and future member of the Supremes, Scherrie Payne, who was also signed to Invictus at the time as a member of the Glass House group.

The distinctive electric sitar part was played by Dennis Coffey. The lead guitar on the selection was performed by Ray Parker Jr., who later headed the team Raydio before becoming a solo recording artist in his own right.

Released in February 1970, the song became an instant pop smash : reaching #3 on the Billboard chart, #1 on the Record World chart, and was Number 1 the UK chart for six consecutive weeks, giving Payne her first gold record.

The song tells a story which is open to a number of interpretations – based on the lyrics in the most commonly heard version of the song, which is the seven-inch single, the story is of a recently married woman whose husband is incapable of loving her, resulting in the couple sleeping in separate rooms on their honeymoon, to her dismay.

When they first offered the song to Freda Payne, she balked at the idea of recording it, finding the material more appropriate for a teenager or very young woman while she was nearly 30 years old. Payne reluctantly gave in after much persuasion by Dunbar.

Freda Payne : "Well, it wasn't like I wasn't going to do it, I was going to do it whether I liked it or not. I just thought the lyrics were a little strange. I mean, why would a young girl on her wedding night want to stay in another room? The lyrics say "that night on our honeymoon / we stayed in separate rooms." What's up with that? I said to them, "This is for a 15-year-old girl or something — it's so immature. But you know, I think those lyrics actually drew more interest to the song."

Allusions to the husband either being impotent or gay have been suggested as the cause of the breakdown of the relationship, but an earlier studio recorded version of the song includes some lyrics which were cut from the seven-inch single, which reveal the story as somewhat different :

She was still living at home ("You took me from the shelter of my mother"), the boy was her first boyfriend ("I had never known or loved any other"), and the relationship was probably unconsummated ("and love me like you tried before"). The couple rush into marriage and the relationship crashes on the wedding night, when the woman rejects her groom's advance ("And the night I turned you away") emotionally wounding him, resulting in him leaving her. After the hurt she had caused, they spend their wedding night in separate rooms. She then expresses her regret at her mistake ("And the dream of what love could be, if you were still here with me").

Ron Dunbar : "They said this song is a smash in the gay community. And I said, gay community? They said, yeah man, it's a smash. And I says, why is it that? And they said, well it's what the lyrics are saying. She said the guy couldn't make love to her so they figured he had to be gay! And I said oh no! And I remembered when they said that to me and I listened back to the song and there was a part in there... because I remembered when we were editing that tune, it was too long, so we had to cut a section out of the tune so the section we cut out of the song really brought the whole song together."

Other Versions include"Le jonc d'amitié" by Anne Renée (1970)  /  Marcia Griffiths (1970)  /  Ronnie Dyson (1970)  /  Joan Ross (1970)  /  Olivia Newton-John (1971)  /  The Armada Orchestra (1975)  /  "Lauf Nicht Davon" by Sally (1976)  /  The Chanter Sisters (1976) (!)  /  The Merton Parkas (1979)  /  The Reels (1980)  /  Modern Romance (1982)  /  Charly McClain (1983)  /  Sylvester (1984)  /  Super Lard (1986)  /  Bonnie Tyler (1986)  (horrible 80's drums!)Belinda Carlisle (1986)  /  Afghan Whigs (1992)  /  Kimberley Locke (2007)    The Bostonians of Boston College (2010)  /  Duffy (2010)  /  Danny McEvoy (2012)  /  Joanne Pollock (2019)

On This Day :
Quote13 September : IBM announces System 370 computer
13 September : Louise Lombard, actress, born Louise Marie Perkins in Redbridge, London
14 September : Stevie Wonder marries Rita Wright [Syreeta]
14 September : The BBC Nine O'Clock News began a 30-year run on British television.
18 September : Jimi Hendrix, musician, dies from asphyxiation aged 27
20 September : Soviet spacecraft Luna 16 lands on Moon's Mare Fecunditatis & drills a core sample
20 September : Boorish Booze-hound Jim Morrison found guilty of "open profanity and indecent exposure" after allegedly getting his old chap out at a concert in Miami in 1969
22 September : Rupert Penry-Jones, actor, born Rupert William Penry-Jones in London, England
23 September : Ani DiFranco; folk singer; born Angela Maria DiFranco in Buffalo, New York
24 September : Soviet space probe of the glorious socialist motherland Luna 16 lands on earth after 1st unmanned round trip to moon
25 September : Ringo Starr releases his album "Beaucoups of Blues"
28 September : Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egypt President, dies of heart attack aged 52
28 September : Anwar Sadat replaces the late Gamal Abdel Nasser as acting Egyptian President
29 September : The Red Army Faction robbed three banks in West Berlin simultaneously
29 September : Edward Everett Horton, American actor, dies aged 84
29 September : Emily Lloyd, actress, born Emily Lloyd-Pack in London, England
2 October : Donovan marries Linda Lawrence at Windsor Registry Office
3 October : "Coco" closes at Mark Hellinger Theater NYC after 333 performances
4 October : Janis Joplin, singer, dies of a drug overdose aged 27
4 October : Jochen Rindt of Austria posthumously clinches Formula 1 World Drivers Championship at the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen
8 October : Matt Damon, actor, born Matthew Paige Damon in Cambridge, Massachusetts
8 October : Soviet author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wins the Nobel Prize for Literature
8 October : Sadiq Khan, British politician and 1st Muslim Mayor of London, born Sadiq Aman Khan in Tooting, London
9 October : Khmer Republic (Cambodia) declares independence
10 October : Édouard Daladie, 72nd Prime Minister of France and PM at the start of World War II, dies aged 86
10 October : Fiji gains independence from Britain
10 October : Matthew Pinsent, Olympic rower and broadcaster, born Matthew Clive Pinsent in Holt, England
13 October : Angela Davis arrested in NYC
13 October : Paul Potts, opera singer, born in Kingswood, South Gloucestershire
17 October : Anwar Sadat sworn in as the 3rd President of Egypt
20 October : Zond 8 the last in the series of circumlunar spacecraft launched
21 October : 777 Unification church couples wed in Korea
24 October : Alonza Bevan, bassist (Kula Shaker), born Alonza George Bevan in Hounslow, Middlesex
24 October : Marxist Salvador Allende elected President of Chile by the Chilean Congress

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! :

John Peel once said that he and Sheila did a lot of love-making to this track. He also played it on his 40th birthday show.

The Culture Bunker

It's a very good song, but feels like it should have been from 1966 or so. What with Smokey and the lads topping the charts with a reissue just before this, it's almost like people were yearning for the 60s already - I think throughout the early 70s a fair few old soul 45s got back in the charts, in part due to their popularity on the Northern Soul scene.


Yeah, you're going to get the Tams at number one next year as an example of that sort of thing.

I do think this is a bit more contemporary, though - Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours) is from 1970 too, and has a similar sound, classic Motown but with some sitar-soundalike guitars. It's a Shame by the (Detroit) Spinners too. Album-wise a lot of soul's getting progressive and psychedelic, but I think single-wise the advances are being snuck in like a pill in dog food.

FWIW this song (which is ace) always reminds me of a co-worker who was insistent it was by Diana Ross. When I said it was Freda Payne she rolled her eyes and said "well, yes, whoever that is did it, but Diana Ross had the hit with it."