Tag Archives: 60s

1971 – The Best Year in Music?

Once again we were invited to submit a piece to TURNTABLE TALK on Dave Ruch’s excellent ‘A Sound Day.‘ blog.
Dave’s site covers all genres and eras of music with insightful articles and great writing, and it’s well worth a visit.

This months topic was Those Were The Days My Friend.
Simply put, Dave was asking, what was “music’s best year.”

Here was my take on it….

This month’s Turntable Talk topic is a nice subjective one… ‘what was the best year for music?

Well, it’s no surprise to discover that every generation thinks their era was the best, which makes perfect sense – people’s memories are precious and music plays a major part in that.  

My musical consciousness began as a 10-year-old in the late 60s.
The Beatles were at their creative peak, The Stones, The Kinks and The Who were already established and there was plenty of radio friendly pop music on the radio courtesy of – The Monkees, Herman’s Hermits, Marmalade, etc.

Whilst I can remember some of it, truth be told I was too young to appreciate the cream of 60s music, with The Beatles, Dylan, Hendrix, Motown, Stax and the Laurel Canyon scene inspiring what was to follow.

And what was to follow was pretty special.

Take 1971 as an example.
Here’s a few albums you may of heard of….

  • The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers
  • Carole King – Tapestry
  • Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV
  • David Bowie – Hunky Dory
  • Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On
  • Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells a Story
  • John Lennon – Imagine
  • Joni Mitchell – Blue
  • The Who – Who’s Next
  • T Rex – Electric Warrior
  • Cat Stevens – Teaser and the Firecat
  • The Doors – LA Woman
  • The Faces – A Nods as Good as a Wink to a Blind Horse
  • James Brown – Sex Machine
  • Don McLean – American Pie
  • Gil Scott Heron – Pieces of a Man
  • Jethro Tull – Aqualung
  • Pink Floyd – Meddle 
  • James Taylor – Mud Slide Slim 
  • Isaac Hayes – Shaft 
  • Yes – Fragile
  • Paul McCartney – Ram 

It’s staggering that the majority of theses artists were able to release landmark albums of such exceptional quality on an annual basis; sustaining a creative peak whilst still finding time to live a 70s rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, which is no mean feat!

Included on this list are two of the top three albums of all time, according to music bible – Rolling Stone magazine‘s top 500 albums.
Marvin Gaye’s – What’s Going On and Joni Mitchell’s – Blue.

Another remarkable thing about this era was the diversity of the music.

Rock, pop, soul, reggae, jazz, country folk, glam, funk – it was one big melting pot.

In 1971 you would find Benny Hill rubbing shoulders at the top of the singles charts with Deep Purple and The Doors, and Jim Reeves swapping album chart positions with Led Zeppelin and Wishbone Ash.

In terms of the best year for music?

I think you could probably make a reasonable case for any year between 1967 and 1976, however, 1971 was seminal for me, it was the year I started going to record shops and buying albums, and it left a lasting impression.

Of course, I couldn’t afford to go record shopping every week, and whilst a 7yr old Jeff Bezos was still dreaming of Alexa in 71, every trip this 13yr old made to the record store was an event, and every purchase was critical.

I’m pretty sure the first album I purchased with my own money was Rod Stewart’s Every Picture Tells a Story.

(Ironically the opening line on track one, side one on Every Picture Tells a Story is one that summed up my record shop experiences up until I made my first purchase… “Felt some time feeling inferior”)

I remember travelling into the city to the record shop with a couple of mates – buzzing to be going with my own money, to make my own choices.

I can remember – the sense of privilege and belonging I felt for the first time in a record shop, as an active consumer rather than the annoying wee pleb who’d spend ages going through racks of albums, asking to hear tracks, with no intention (or means) of purchasing anything.

It made sense therefore that the record shops that made us feel welcome (or less unwelcome) were the one’s that got our business when we eventually made our buying decisions.

I can remember – the anticipation on the journey home, auditing the sleeve-notes, absorbing every bit of information, using the lyrics to sing along, a-cappella style on the top deck of the bus.

I can remember – when you got home the magic of placing the needle on track one, side one, and then settling back to hear that opening riff or vocal for the first time.

From Robert Plant’s “Hey, hey mama said the way you move” to Don McLean’s “Long, long time ago”.

From Keef’s “Brown Sugar” riff to the sax intro on “What’s Going On” – 1971 was the gift that just kept on giving.

If you need any further convincing, here’s a 1971 playlist to give you a taste of the year’s releases….

(Paul Fitzpatrick: London November 2022)

18 With A Bullet – Suspicious Minds by Elvis

Paul Fitzpatrick: July 2022, London

I went to see Baz Luhman’s ‘ELVIS’ recently, Austin Butler, the guy who plays Elvis is incredible in the role.
Tom Hanks hammy portrayal of Colonel Tom Parker aside, it’s a pretty spectacular piece of cinema.

Growing up in the 60s and 70s, big Gordon Ross, a one-man Elvis fan-club who would turn the volume up to the max whenever an Elvis song came on the radio, was the only Elvis fan I knew – to the majority of us The King just wasn’t relevant.

It was understandable really, in the early 70s we still saw Presley through the lens of his lame 60s movies, whilst the ensuing Vegas circus-act of the seventies wasn’t too appealing either.

He may have been The King to some but poor Elvis didn’t stand a chance with our generation against the Jagger’s, Plant’s or Bowie’s.

On reflection, we were too young to appreciate what a pioneer Elvis had once been, and we weren’t to know that with no Elvis, or for that matter no Chuck Berry (pre ‘My Ding-A-Ling’ of course) there would probably have been no Jagger, Plant or Bowie anyway.

Our lack of awareness also blind-sided us to the fact that there was a moment in time when Elvis re-invented himself musically and made some quality recordings that deserved our respect.

By the late 60s Elvis had become sick of the cheesy formulaic movies he was contracted to churn out, his ambition to be the new James Dean thwarted early on by Manager/Svengali – Colonel Tom Parker, who always went for the quick buck.

Elvis & The Colonel

The contract that Parker had seduced a teenage Presley into signing ensured he would pocket 50% of Elvis’s earnings.
Parker also had a colossal gambling habit to support so long-term planning was never part of his strategy.

The turning-point came in 1968 when Elvis decided to return to making the music he loved which was R&B, Gospel & Country.

The Trojan-Horse for this musical comeback would be a corny Xmas NBC Special promoted by Parker.

Parker had envisaged Elvis singing a medley of seasonal ditties around a Xmas tree, surrounded by kids whilst promoting a range of Xmas sweaters, but a reinvigorated Elvis had other ideas.

Clad head to toe in black leather and assisted musically by his original Memphis band of brothers, the ‘68 Special‘ as it became known, showcased Elvis as a contemporary artist and told his life story in music.

Instead of singing a Christmas carol at the finale as initiated by Parker, Elvis debuted a new song, a tribute to his friend, the recently assassinated Martin Luther King called ‘If I Can Dream’, a peach of a song showcasing Presley’s vocal powers, that would go on to give Presley his first top 10 hit in years.

Energised by the positive reaction to the ‘68 Special‘ and motivated to pursue the music he loved, Elvis headed off to Memphis’s own American Sound Studios to work with renowned producer Chip Moman on his next project – From Elvis In Memphis, an album that would include his first number one for many years Suspicious Minds‘.

‘Suspicious Minds’, my all time favourite Elvis track, was written by Mark James who also wrote ‘Always On My Mind‘.
James had initially recorded ‘Suspicious Minds’ for himself, but it tanked, so when Elvis came to town Chips Moman played him the track which Elvis loved, and it became the last track they recorded for the session.

There was a problem though, Colonel Tom Parker only permitted tracks to be released that Elvis (and he) got a percentage of publishing royalties on – even though Elvis had no input in the writing process.

Elvis & Chips Moman

When Parker’s team approached Moman with the ‘offer he supposedly couldn’t refuse’ his response was….
“You can take your f…ing tapes, and you and your whole group can get the hell out of my studio. Don’t ask me for something that belongs to me. I’m not going to give it to you.”

In the end, Elvis had to intervene to tell Parker that he loved the song and wanted it released regardless of any publishing issues.

Suspicious Minds was a platinum selling single which garnered critical acclaim but that made no difference to Parker who never forgot the publishing rights dispute and put the kibosh on Elvis ever working with Chips Moman again – despite the fact Elvis had just made his best and most successful album for many a year.

Now that Elvis had turned his back on movies The Colonel had to find other ways to milk his cash cow and focused instead on Presley’s return to music and touring.
After the critical and commercial success of From Elvis In Memphis, RCA and Parker would cash in by releasing 23 Elvis albums in the next 4 years, including a Christmas album – The Colonel always got his way.

With such prolific output, quality control as you can imagine, was lacking, but there were still a few classic Elvis moments in there – ‘Burning Love’, ‘It’s Only Love’, ‘In The Ghetto’ and ‘I Just Can’t Help Believing’ – a few of the diamonds that could still be found amongst the rough.

Elvis who’d wanted to take his live show overseas, instead got tied into an exhaustive Vegas residency at the International hotel on the Las Vegas strip.

He would later learn that Colonel Tom Parker was actually an illegal (Dutch) immigrant with no passport. Therefore, if Parker ever left the US he wouldn’t be allowed to return and he wasn’t about to let Presley, his prized asset, out of his sight.

The ‘68 Special‘ and From Elvis In Memphis should have been a creative springboard for Elvis, it was a period where he wanted to get back to making the kind of music he loved, tour overseas and take back control of his career, but he never could free himself from The Colonel’s iron grip and the contract he’d signed as a teenager.

By 1970, Elvis had already been pimped out to Vegas by The Colonel and in December 1976, an exhausted Elvis played his 837th and final show at the International Hotel.

Elvis Aaron Presley would die aged 42 in 1977, in poor health, strung out on a cocktail of tranquillisers, barbiturates and amphetamines, however his legacy lives on and new generations are finding out that there are quite a few gems in The King’s back catalogue…. however, none shine quite as bright as Suspicious Minds

Both Sides Now

John Allan: Bridgetown WA, July 2022

If you can remember the 60s, you weren’t really there, is one of those often repeated phrases banded about by particularly annoying people.
Like the ‘you don’t have to be crazy to work here but it helps’ stickers some people have at their workplace.
One has an overwhelming desire to punch them in the face but you don’t –  unless it’s your last day of work which it probably would be if you pummelled the coupon of a fellow employee !

My version is…. ‘if you don’t have a Joni Mitchell album from the 70s, you weren’t really there’.

I won’t bore you with Ms Mitchell’s bio because you all know your way around Dr. Google but will say – and beware another cliché alert – she was and still is the soundtrack of many of our lives.

Emerging on the folk scene in the late 60s, she already had two albums, Songs to a Seagull and Clouds behind her.
The 70s were what really defined Joni, with eight releases over the decade.

The still folksy Ladies of the Canyon was followed by the achingly soul searching sparsity of  Blue.

For The Roses had a soft-rock feel before heading to a west coast jazz-rock vibe with Court and Spark.

With The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Hejira, Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter and Mingus came a full embrace of mainstream jazz and the top players of the time.

The next three decades spawned nine further releases culminating in the luscious 2000 recording Both Sides Now arranged and conducted by the very talented Vince Mendoza.

Who can forget that scene in the film Love, Actually when Emma Thompson’s character opens her Christmas present expecting a necklace only to find a Joni CD. Even I screamed BASTARD at the TV screen when the music started before grabbing the tissues.
A case of spontaneous tourettes and a bit of dust in my eye I think !

For the music theorists out there, Joni sings ‘Both Sides Now‘ in F# on the Clouds album and the same song in D on the aforementioned 2000 version. She’s dropped a major 3rd in 3 decades. I guess chain smoking will do that to you !

Oft singing about love and lovers, Joni does not shy away from the taboo subjects of sexual abuse both familial – ‘Cherokee Louise‘ and institutional – ‘Magdalene Laundries‘.

Words and music were not her only artistic outlet, by her own admission

Oh, I am a lonely painter
I live in a box of paints

Many self portraits adorn Joni’s record covers.

I was going to put together a playlist of my favourite Joni Mitchell songs but couldn’t decide what to choose. Instead I’ve collated my favourite Joni cover versions.

There are so many out there.

I hope you like them and if you don’t and we should meet up, please don’t punch me in the face !

The Band Who Wouldn’t Die

Paul Fitzpatrick: July 2022, London.

This is about a British band formed 60 years ago, who are still performing today and who aren’t The Stones or The Who.

It’s about musicians that have flown under the radar for most of their career but who have also produced moments of real quality and cultural significance along the way.

The Zombies came to life in 1961, five music-obsessed school chums who sang as choristers at the local abbey.

As it turns out, the Abbey in question is in Saint Albans which has been my home town for nearly 40 years, and to remind everyone of the bands cultural significance to the city there’s a blue plaque outside the Blacksmith Arms pub where the lads first got together over 60 years ago.

Saint Albans is proud of The Zombies and there are plenty of old hippies dotted around the pubs of the cathedral city who’ll tell you that they were there to see the band make its debut performance.

To showcase the bands feats I’ve chosen 4 tracks from 4 different points in their musical journey……

1) ‘She’s Not There’ by The Zombies and Santana.

The Zombies were a pretty big deal in the 60’s, their career bookended by two massive hits, the first of which ended up being a lifeline for another iconic 60’s band……

‘She’s Not There’ was the Zombie’s debut single and was a global hit topping the charts from America to Japan, the song also holds the distinction of being the second British number one in America after The Beatles ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’

Written by Rod Argent the bands keyboard player, his trademark  Hohner electric piano and Colin Blunstone’s wistful vocals were the key components that the Zombies signature sound would be built around.


‘She’s Not There’ was one of those songs I’d catch on the family transistor radio and make a mental note of liking when I was a kid, but it got tucked away in the recesses until I heard the Carlos Santana version in 1977.

I immediately liked the Santana rendition because it stayed true to the original even down to the melancholy vocals (of Greg Walker), however it wouldn’t have been Santana if it didn’t feature a bit of on-brand latin percussion and Les Paul shredding, which of course it did, and this is what transformed it from a 60’s analogue classic to a Santana anthem.

The song proved to be the catalyst for a welcome and much needed Santana revival after the band had seen their popularity diminish from the early 70’s, a decline even the bands exquisite album art couldn’t arrest.

The Moonflower album the track was lifted from would be Santanas biggest seller for 30 years and helped the band regain momentum.



2) ‘Hold Your Head Up’ by Argent.

I knew all about Argent the band before I realised Rod Argent was chief Zombie in crime.
I knew this because his band Argent and this song were smack bang in the middle of my musical sweet spot in 1972.

Rod Argent had formed his self-titled band as soon as the Zombies broke up in 1968 teaming up with another local lad, Russ Ballard, who would sing lead vocals on this track.

We all loved a guitar hero but a funny thing happened on the way to the Forum in the early 70s and guys like Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman and Jon Lord started to muscle their way into the rock-god scene with their elaborate banks of keyboards and dexterous solo’s that could take up the side of an album.

Rod Argent was one such keyboard virtuoso and with ‘Hold Your Head Up’ he unveiled the radio friendly version of prog-rock. A keyboard-heavy track that found it’s way onto TOTP and into the top 20.

Argent would go on to have three top 40 hits including the Ballard penned ‘God Gave Rock and Roll To You’ later adopted and made famous by KISS.



3) ‘I Don’t Believe in Miracles’ by Colin Blunstone

Like many 60’s bands The Zombies imploded over management and financial issues, and despite the commercial success of having two number one’s in America, Blunstone had to find work as an insurance clerk for a period before embarking on a solo career.

His old mucker Rod Argent came to Blunstone’s aid, encouraging him to record his 1971 debut album which spawned the hit single ‘Say You Don’t Mind’, a track written for him by Denny Laine who had just formed a band called Wings with some geezer by the name of Paul McCartney.

Blunstone’s second album, released in 1972 featured the song ‘I Don’t Believe In Miracles‘ written & produced by Argent’s new partner in crime – Russ Ballard.

Ballard would leave Argent in 1974 to pursue a solo career and to focus on writing hits like ‘Free Me, for Roger Daltrey,  ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ for Rainbow, and just to showcase his versatility, ‘So You Win Again‘ for Hot Chocolate.

Released in 1973 at the peak of Glam Rock, ‘I Don’t Believe In Miracles‘ was only a minor hit but it became Blunstone’s signature tune and kept his distinctive vocals on the airwaves.

It’s a song I remember well despite its lack of airplay, and I can proudly say that I contributed to its chart position by purchasing a copy from Woolworths as a gift for a girls birthday.
Unfortunately, the record she wanted, Python Lee Jackson’s ‘In a Broken Dream’ wasn’t in stock, so I plumped for something similarly melancholy!



4) ‘Time of the Season’ by The Zombies

In 1967, the summer of love, The Zombies recorded their last album, except there wasn’t a lot of love in the room and the band split before the album was formally released in April 1968.

Finances and record company control were at the centre of the disharmony and things came to a head when Blunstone snapped on the recording of a new Rod Argent song ‘Time of the Season’, which ironically would go on to give the band their biggest hit.

After they split, a fake Zombies touring band was put together in America by the record company to cash in on the bands chart success. Two of whose members, Frank Beard and Dusty Hill would go on to form ZZ Top.

After various band and solo activities in the 70s The Zombies eventually got together again for projects and reunions through the 80s and 90s and formally reunited in 2001.

They have been together ever since.

In 2019, The Zombies with four of the original five band-members still involved, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,  coincidentally, performing live at the event 50 years to the day that ‘Time of the Season‘ had been number one in America in 1969.

Time of the Season at The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

So there you have it…. let’s hear it for a band that no one talks about, that have been going for the best part of sixty years, who have been feted by the likes of Paul Weller and Kurt Cobain and who are likely to be appearing at a venue near you soon….

free-range kids.

(Post by Andrea Grace Burn of East Yorkshire – June 2022)

(Header image from ‘Stuff Dutch People Like’ website.)

(Image from the Global Influences website.)

Growing up throughout the 1960s and ’70s my brothers and I were free-range children, unencumbered by the pressures of an adult world. There were only two grown-up rules: don’t talk to strangers and be home in time for tea.

Running barefoot through seemingly endless hot Virginia summers, climbing trees with skinned knees, riding our bikes and make-believe, we played-out our childhoods in the limitless landscape of our imaginations. We were free to negotiate and establish our own play rules with our friends. Through the liberty of play we took risks, established our own boundaries, solved problems and developed social, emotional and physical skills: life skills. We didn’t know it at the time but we were the lucky ones. 

(Andrea doing a handstand in her Virginia back yard, 1970)

On rainy days, Mom would tell me to ‘go play’ which opened up countless possibilities: making paper dolls from old magazines; dressing-up; playing make-believe as I flew into space inside an upturned kitchen stool (this was, after-all, the Space Age of  Apollo 11). After school clubs and activities didn’t exist and the notion of ‘quality time’ hadn’t been invented yet:  my brothers and I were rich in our parents love and our family life. We ate dinner together and talked to each other.

My parents read, told stories and sang to us but pretty much left us alone to play.  If I said, “I’m bored!” Mom would say, “Good! Children should be bored at least once a day. Use your imagination.”  Without a PC, tablet, mobile phone or social media, I had to look inside myself for adventures.

(Mmnnn! Mud pies for dolly!)

I made mud pies for my dolls; sat on the driveway and burst tar bubbles in the searing heat with a stick and watched the tar ooze; made a jewellery box for my mother with matchsticks; sailed the high seas from a sail boat in the dining-room with two chairs and an old sheet. I did cart-wheels, handstands and backflips; played ‘tag’ with my friends; looked for fairies in the pine glades and inhabited the Magic Faraway Tree.  I was Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, clicking my heels together three times before rolling down a grass bank to go ‘home’ to Kansas.

My bed served as a covered wagon where I’d sit with my feet hitched on the footboard and “gee-up” my team of horses as I headed west across the great prairies in search of gold. Wearing an imaginary calico dress and bonnet, I fought off wild critters including howling coyotes and Grizzly ‘bahrs’ with my bare hands and sang songs beneath the stars around a campfire in the middle of my bedroom floor. Why – there wasn’t a more feared hunter in all the west!

(Pioneer wagon.)

In 1970 when I was ten, my family left behind my small-town American childhood idyll and moved to Birmingham, West Midlands where I encountered not only a strange new dialogue called Brummie but a wholly new culture to draw from in my playground games: ‘tag’ became ‘tig’; ‘British Bulldog’ replaced ‘King of the Hill’; ‘Red-Light, Green-Light’ became ‘What’s the Time Mr Wolf’ and ‘Conkers’ became a playground favourite. Suddenly I was thrust into a Betjeman-esque land of 1930s suburban streets, cul-de-sacs, alleyways and gulleys to explore with my new best friends Denise and Becky.

(What’s the time, Mr Woolf?)

Mom used to say that ‘if a child isn’t filthy by teatime, they haven’t had a good day’ and we didn’t disappoint; revelling in street games,  making dens, clapping rhymes, ‘Dolly Bobbin’, ‘Cat’s Cradle’, ‘French Skipping’ and  rhymes:

‘George, Paul, Ringo, John

Next-door neighbour follow on…’

as we skipped in and out of a large rope.

‘Mother’s in the kitchen, doing a bit of stitching

In comes a burglar and out she runs

(Girls skipping – pic from British Library)

 We quickly established ‘The Gang’ with neighbourhood kids whose overriding mission was to own our own ponies. I asked my beleaguered dad every day if I could have a pony and scoured the livestock ads of Pony Magazine. I entered the annual WH Smith ‘Win a Pony Competition’ regardless of the fact that we lived in a semi with a small back garden. (I did once win a runner-up mention when I designed a sew-on badge in a competition. It said, “An apple a day keeps the vet away” with a picture of a horse’s head. )  Becky and I both kept grooming kits under our beds “just in case.”

When one of the girls in The Gang, Sam, really did get a pony, we became obsessed with trying to get a free ride. An hour’s riding lesson was £1.50 in 1972 and my pocket money was 25 new pence per week. Sam finally allowed us to sit on her pony Jet – “Just sit, mind!” – and we were thrilled.

(Andrea almost gets her wish, 1972)

Becky and I made horse jumps in my back garden out of old orange crates and bits of wood and held gymkhanas on our space hoppers, which took on the names and personalities of our favourite ponies.

(Space Hopper)

Mine was ‘Fred’ (in real life a bony old grey pony who took a shine to nibbling my jumper) and Becky rode ‘Firefly’ – a strawberry roan mare with a shaggy mane. Becky’s mum made us ribbon rosettes and as we flew over our jumps against the clock, we imagined we heard the roar of the crowd at the Horse of the Year Show. We cantered around the ring for a victory lap before our glory faded as mum hauled me indoors to do my homework and Becky had to go home. I watched through the net curtains as she bounced away down the grass verge, before tackling my History project on Neanderthal Man.

At weekends The Gang would take to the Clent Hills on our bikes; our saddlebags stuffed with cheese spread sandwiches and beakers of orange squash which leaked. We were gone all day without phones (imagine), safety helmets or a care in the world. Our parents had no idea where we were but trusted us to be home in time for tea.

(Clent Hills)

I played with dolls until I was at least twelve or thirteen (imagine kids today taking time out from their devices to play with dolls).  I had a doll house my dad made me which absorbed my imagination for hours-on-end; baby dolls, ‘Barbie’ dolls and a ‘Tressy’ doll whose hair grew out of the top of her head and could be pulled back in a chord on her back. Our dog chewed her hair off on Christmas Eve.

(Tressy)

I even had a go at making a ‘Sindy’ doll settee from a cereal box and sticky-back plastic as seen on Blue Peter; along with an Advent candle holder from two wire coat hangers and a bit of tinsel; neither of which were successful but kept me occupied on those long boring wet weekends.

(I bet there’s not ONE reader whose attempt looked ANYTHING like this!)

Young people today wouldn’t believe it; attached to their virtual worlds and virtual friends, where gratification is instant and the pressure is on to grow up too quickly. I told you we were the lucky ones.

(Copyright Andrea Burn – June 2022)

daydream believer

(Post by Colin ‘Jackie’ Jackson of Glasgow – June 2022)

(Header artwork by Linda Woods.)

(The lyrics aren’t really pertinent, but any excuse to play The Monkees …)
  • Jardine fires a long, diagonal pass from right to left. The ball flies over the heads of all midfield players and falls at the feet of its intended target. The left winger deftly controls the pass, takes the ball in his stride and he’s off! Hogging the touchline, he pushes the mud spattered white leather ball past the first defender, while he himself races by on the other side.

    The next defender moves forward to block his path, but the tricky forward strokes the ball through his legs (nutmeg!) turns infield and heads towards goal.

    Another opposition player starts to close down space, but the blue shirted danger-man is wise to his intentions, feints inside, turns out, looks up and hits a spectacular curling left-foot shot into the nearside top corner! The goalkeeper stood no chance of reaching that! A peach of a goal!!

    Just listen to that crowd!

    We’ve got Wullie, Wullie Johnston on the wing; on the wing
    We’ve got Wullie, Wullie Johnston on the wing; on the wing


    Hi! My name’s Willie Johnston. It’s 1970, and I play left wing for Glasgow Rangers Football Club.
Willie Johnston
  • The ascent began as planned, the early stages being relatively straight forward. We had practiced on these sections before so knew what to expect.

    As we gained height however, the younger and less experienced in the party questioned their ability and had to be encouraged to carry on. We made an unscheduled stop to regroup, refocus and break open the rations. As the clouds in the sky dissolved to reveal a pristine, blue sky, so too did the clouds of doubt in the party and we ploughed on to the top.

    The wind did create some problems, it has to be said, and we swayed dangerously in its breath. The decision was taken to curtail our time at that altitude, and return to base camp. The tail-enders of the ascent now became the leaders of descent, which in hindsight was not a well thought-out tactic. Being unable to see where to safely place their feet severely undermined their confidence and there were regular hair-raising slips.

    The downward journey took longer than up. But with utmost concentration we eventually reached home, where relieved family and friends joined in great celebration of yet another ‘first.’

Hello! My name is Edmund Hillary. It’s 1970 and just seventeen years ago, I became the first man to conquer Mount Everest.

Sir Edmund Hillary
  • I paced around him and picked my moment. Setting up with a few left jabs, I threw two quick left hooks to his ribs. He gasped as the air seemed to leave his body. He was definitely looking shaky. Now was my time – I went for the knockout punch. Flush on the chin, I got him. This time he rocked; rocked big time. But he was a strong and resilient opponent and just wouldn’t stay down.

    I’d have to settle for a ‘points decision.’ But a win’s a win however it’s achieved.

    I’m Henry Cooper, professional boxer. It’s 1970 and I’ve just beaten Jack Bodell to retain my British and Commonwealth Heavyweight titles.
Henry Cooper

*****

Well, not quite:

I’ll tell ya, it was just my imagination, once again

Running away with me

It was just my imagination

Running away with me.

  • It’s 1970. My name is The Pimply Kid. I’m eleven years old and playing football on the grassy area that surrounds the pylon at the top of my street.

The Jardine lad, is in fact pretty useless, and would be pushed to kick a football the length of his shadow.

I struggle to get into my Primary school team, being listed as substitute for the first two fixtures we played, and I’m only better than the other kids simply because they play rugby at their Private school. The real reason I run fast like Willie Johnston, is that I’m shooting down the steep slope we play our games on.

Crowd? The only person watching is the creepy old guy my mum and dad say I’m not to talk to – even though he says he can get me a trial for Queens Park when I turn sixteen!!

In truth the best player amongst us is Rex, the border collie from a nearby house, who, when not chasing cars, dispossesses us with ease (under threat of a nasty bite) and menacingly growls when we try to get the ball back.

Still – a boy can dream, right?

Where the bushes now are, once stood an electricity pylon – a great vantage point from which to watch our daily football matches.
  • It’s 1970. . My name is The Pimply Kid. I’m eleven years old. There is an mature, tall apple tree in our garden. Huge it is!

Having first been helped by my parents onto its lower branches as a three year, I’ve now clambered to the top many, many times now. I’ve grown up with this tree. It’s like a kindly old friend.

Today though, I’m leading an expedition of inexperienced ‘first timers’ from our secret Deepdene Club to the summit. I’m more like Sherpa Tenzing than Edmund Hillary, I suppose.

That’s the plan, anyway. I have my doubts about the little Little lad. He will have to extricate his thumb from his mouth if wants to ensure a sturdy grip.

It’s a struggle, but three of the four make it to the top. There’s tears of fear on the way back down (secret Club rules prohibit this, and disciplinary action will be taken) but we all make it safely back to base, where we celebrate with lashings of ginger beer.

Still – a boy can dream, right?

Not THE apple tree – but AN apple tree all the same.

. It’s 1970. My name is The Pimply Kid. I’m eleven years old and my Grandfather and Great Uncle were professional boxers. Henry Cooper and Muhammad Ali are my heroes.

I’d like to be a boxer when I grow up. But I’d have to be really, really good, because I don’t like being hit! And I have wee short arms and legs and a big nose, none of which would be a great asset in that case.

I need to practice. Practice hard. So I’m training by knocking lumps out of my blow-up Yogi Bear Bop Bag.

Yogi’s pure nails! He just soaks up the punishment. I give him a couple left hooks to the body then and uppercut flush on his chin … but he bounces right back up every time.

Still – a boy can dream, right?

Bop Bags.

Fifty-plus years down the line, and I’ve yet to play professional football; I haven’t even walked up Ben Lomond, never mind climbed Everest, and neither have I stepped into a boxing ring.

Still – a grown man can dream, right?

______________

saturday night special

“‘Cause Saturday night’s the night I like

Saturday night’s alright, alright, alright, ooh”

Saturday nights, are the best of the week; always have been – always will be. But although still special, as grumpy, cynical old grown-ups, we know what to expect. What we do in 2030 will be much the same as we did in 2020 albeit probably a lot slower and involving more aches, pains, groans and complaining.

Growing up in the ‘70s, though, it was all that bit more exciting:

1970 (aged 12):
Saturday nights would be special for parents too. My sister and I would often be dropped off at grandparents for the night while mum and dad went to some fancy-dan Dinner Dance at the Albany Hotel. Suited us: a Beano comic; a Lucky Bag; Dr Who and Dixon of Dock Green on TV; home-made (powdered) ice cream and a glass of Lucozade – even if we weren’t feeling poorly.

Beano – 7th February 1970

1971 (aged 13):
Dad would treat us all to his tea-time speciality – spam and beetroot fritters! Mmmmnn! Yummy!

The ice-cream van would pass down our street and we’d get a copy of the Pink Times which carried all that day’s football results. I’d then spend ages meticulously updating my Shoot! League Ladders, copying the positions from the evening paper. It was a pretty pointless exercise, I’ll grant you, but that’s just what we did for entertainment back then. With hindsight though, it’s perhaps easy to see why I struggled to find a girlfriend!

SHOOT! League Ladders 1971 / 1972

1972 (aged 14):
At 5pm, my dad and I would gather round the radio, waiting for the tune that still excites me to this day.

James Alexander Gordon would read the Classified Football Results and we’d always try to guess the away team’s score from the intonation in his voice.

(I’d then get my bloody Shoot! League ladders ready, in anticipation of the ice-cream van’s chimes.)

Really though, not a lot changed from 1971. Still too young for even under-aged drinking in the tunnel under the railway at the back of our house, I’d settle for dad’s new Saturday tea-time treat – mashed corned beef and beetroot toasties. Mmmmnn! Yummy!

(Beetroot to our family were as turnips would be to Baldrick in Blackadder, some eleven years later.)

1973 (aged 15):
I enjoyed going to watch football with my pals – not so much for the sport, as my team had been a bit sporadic in their success those past eight years, but because I had an excuse to pass on the ‘something and beetroot,’ Saturday Special! My pals and I would stop off at the chippy outside the Underground station and I’d have just the best black pudding supper and a couple of pickled onions the size of golf balls.

“Oh Dad – I’d love to try one, but really, honestly … I’m stuffed.”

And that’s about as exciting as it got. Saturday nights for fifteen year olds in Boresville, Suburbia could be a bit on the mundane side.

Black pudding supper.

1974 (aged 16):
Now Saturdays became a bit more exciting. We’d somehow blag copious amounts of beer and fortified wine from unscrupulous Off Sales proprietors and stash it in the local woods. Later that evening, we’d retrieve it, neck it, and quickly head off to the local disco.

It now all became a bit of a race against time. We’d have to time our arrival (often at the town’s Ski Club) before the alcohol got the better of us and we’d be refused entry – which did happen from time to time, I’m afraid to say.

Add another of these and a couple bottles of Newcastle Brown Ale.

1975 (aged 17):
1975 called for a bit of consolidation before we turned 18. We were however, sufficiently confident to blag a beer or two at the local hostelry – The Burnbrae.

We had become bored with the stale local disco scene though, and would instead venture into Glasgow’s fashionable West End to crash the disco nights held by some of the city’s private schools.

The all-girl schools were pretty discerning about who they let in, so we generally stuck to the all-boys schools. These events were hosted by the schools’ rugby clubs and so there were plenty of burly bouncers to evade / deceive before entry.

And the students of these schools didn’t take too kindly to us usurpers from Comprehensive schools chatting up their girlfriends. Frequently the evening would end in fights – and a girl’s false phone number scribbled onto your arm.

(Oh – just me, then?)

1976 (aged 18):
By August ’76, I may still have been a daft wee boy, but I’d left school, turned eighteen and started my first job. I dared bar staff in town to question my age. Which they did, of course – for the next five years or so. See, that’s the trouble with being a daft wee boy!

Naturally, Saturday nights became pub centric. Generally they’d be spent with old school pals at Macintosh’s Bar in Glasgow, followed by a few hours at The White Elephant discotheque.

Macintosh’s Bar.
Flyer for The White Elephant

1977 (aged 19):
I was now dating a girl I’d met at The White Elephant, so most Saturdays were still being spent in there – maybe with a pre-disco Stakis Steakhouse meal thrown in. Boy, I knew how to show the ladies a real good time!

Some Saturdays though, my mate, Derek, would sign me in to the Strathclyde University Students’ Union Bar. The beer was so much cheaper in there than the standard 38p pub pint, and bands were booked every week. One of the best, and one I had to pester him to get me in to, was The Ramones. Yeah, The Ramones! 21st May 1977 it was, and they co-headlined with another little known band of the time, Talking Heads.

Not a bad night for, I reckon, about a fiver all in!

The Ramones – 1977

1978 (aged 20):
I had met another girl in the autumn of the previous year – we’d be together two years – and her best pal was going out with my best mate. (They had introduced us on a blind date.) We would still head uptown from time to time, but the girls weren’t that keen. Looking back, we had almost instantly morphed into two boring ‘married’ couples, sitting around one of our homes listening to records and watching crap television with a Chinese takeaway meal on our laps.

Yawn.

Chinese Takeaway Meal.

1979 (aged 21):
This was much the same as the previous year until after our second holiday away together, my girlfriend and I decided enough was enough. Come September, Saturday nights were then mainly spent in the company of my athletics club pals, either in the bars or Indian / Greek restaurants of Glasgow’s Kelvinbridge area, or at The Peel pub in Drumchapel, playing darts, Space Invaders, Galaxian and Asteroids.

We would also enjoy playing ‘the puggy’ – until it was stolen! Yes, really!

Galaxian arcade game.

Six months into the next decade and I’d go on holiday to the South of France with some of those athletics pals. There, I’d meet our Diane, a Geordie lass. Saturday evenings for the next couple of years would be spent at her local Social Club, playing bingo, watching some really ropey ‘turn’ and drinking warm, flat lager (Hansa?)

Social Club

Either that, or with pals and their partners, we’d revisit some of those old, Glasgow haunts from the late ‘70s.

And so the excitement of Saturday nights continue into my sixty-fifth year – at the beginning of June, Diane and I have organised a big party to celebrate our 40th Anniversary! (But not before I’ve updated my end-of-season Shoot! League Ladders.)

“Gonna keep on dancing
To the rock and roll
On Saturday night, Saturday night.”

(Post by Coin ‘Jackie’ Jackson of Glasgow – May 2022)

Uncovering The Beatles

Paul Fitzpatrick: London, April 2022

Colin and I recently accepted a request from one of our American blog buddies, Dave at Sound Day, to write a piece about the Beatles.
Colin is fairly ambivalent about the fab 4, so I took on the task and focused on the topic of Beatles cover versions.


Dave’s excellent music blog, ‘Sound Day’ is worth checking out on….
https://soundday.wordpress.com/

I’ve no idea how many Beatle’s covers exist, but when you consider there are over 1,600 versions of the song ‘Yesterday’ then you’ve got to imagine there’s a fair few kicking around.

Everyone from Alvin & the Chipmunks to Wu-Tang Clan have had a go at covering a Beatles song, which is hardly surprising given how many standards they’ve written.

Growing up in the 60s I started getting into music just as the Beatles were heading towards their long and winding road. Truth be told I didn’t really appreciate their genius until I’d gone through my various Rock, Funk, and Fusion phases, but I got there eventually and learned to appreciate how talented and ground-breaking they truly were.

I have all the Beatles stuff and most of their solo stuff (sorry Ringo) but the fact that there’s a dearth of Fab Four covers in my music library is an anomaly to me.

For that reason, I decided to take a deep dive into the world of Beatles covers in the expectation that there must be a lot of overlooked gems that I’ve missed or ignored over the years.

That’s how I came to spend a tortuous afternoon recently, crunching through my personal music library as well as Apple Music & Spotify, searching for treasures…. truth be told it was a long day.

As an example, I love Aretha Franklin and the Beatles classic, ‘The Fool on The Hill’ is a favourite, so I had high expectations when I came across Aretha’s version. Similarly, I stumbled across a Santana version of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps‘, potentially another winning combination, but both versions left me underwhelmed, as did the vast majority of the Beatles covers I listened to that afternoon.

As mentioned previously, there are a zillion Beatles covers out there so I’m sure there will be a few notable omissions from my listings below, for which I apologise in advance…. but like they say, ‘beauty is in the ear of the beholder’

My Top 5 Beatles Covers + 1

1) Hey Jude by Wilson Pickett – Pickett makes the song his own with his rasping vocals, a great Muscle Shoals arrangement and the introduction of a young Duane Allman who marks his recording debut with a blistering guitar solo.


2) We Can Work It Out by Stevie Wonder – When I think of this song I immediately think of Stevie’s version, with the fuzzy clavinet intro and the trademark harmonica solo. Recorded in 1970 when Stevie was on the cusp of greatness and ably backed by the ubiquitous Funk Brothers.

3) With a Little Help from My Friends by Joe Cocker – Another rare case of a Beatles cover being better than the original, a fact endorsed by McCartney himself.
Cocker took this breezy Ringo Starr version from Sgt Pepper and turned it into a soul anthem featuring another cameo from a guitar great, the legendary Jimmy Page.

And of course, this song reminds me of the fabulous ‘The Wonder Years’


4) Got to Get You into My Life by Earth Wind & Fire – Recorded for the Robert Stigwood backed Sgt Pepper project in 1978. The movie bombed and the soundtrack was a flop, but this cover, given the full EW&F treatment with their potent horn section front and centre, was head and shoulders above any other Beatle’s cover on the soundtrack.


5) In My Life by Johnny Cash – The subject matter and the fact that this was one of Cash’s last recordings makes this Rick Rubin stripped-down version even more poignant.


Honourable mentions go to
Eleanor Rigby by Aretha Franklin
Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da by The Marmalade
Dear Prudence by Siouxsie and the Banshees
Strawberry Fields Forever by Todd Rundgren
Come and Get It by Badfinger (although technically Badfinger released this track before The Beatles)

All of the above are all great versions of Beatles standards but my favourite Beatles cover isn’t available on vinyl or even as an audio download… fortunately though it was captured on film.

The song isWhile My Guitar Gently Weeps and it was performed by an all star band as a tribute to George Harrison at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
The band consists of Tom Petty, Steve Winwood, Steve Ferrone, Jeff Lynne and Dhani Harrison, George’s son, who looks on in bewilderment as Prince steals the show with a captivating performance and guitar solo that his father (and Clapton) would have been proud of.

from hair to eternity.

(Post by Andrea Grace Burn of East Yorkshire – April 2022)

It’s funny how hair styles can define an era and popular culture. 

The war-time 1940s were synonymous with austerity: pin-curls, victory rolls and snoods for women which kept their hair out of harm’s way when they worked in munitions factories.

The 1950s saw a younger, more rebellious generation sweep away utilitarian styles in favour of more glamour: from bouffant to the poodle-cut  made popular by film stars such as Lucille Ball. Men kept their hair short throughout the post-war era until the 1950s, when rock and roll introduced more textured styles such as the quiff and pompadour.

Then came the ’60s with its Flower Power, anything-goes zeitgeist; but not at my house.

Mom

My parents were far more conventional when I was growing up in America’s Deep South in the ’60s.  Not one to “let it all hang out” my mother kept her long, black hair scraped up in a large bun rolled over a foam doughnut-shaped hair form; held aloft by hundreds of hair pins and a cloud of Elnet hairspray which seemed to follow her around; like the cloud of dust around Pig-Pen in the Peanuts cartoon. 

I can still smell it.  As for that hair form – it had a life of its own and seemed to crop up in unexpected places. I was scared of it.

Dad was old-school and favoured short back and sides, slicked down with a dab of Brylcreem, which gave it a high glossy sheen and controlled his unruly, curly forelock. He looked like Frank Sinatra (his musical hero), or one of those guys in Madmen.

Dad in The Sixties

Dad and I would sing along to the Brylcreem ad on TV,  “A Little Dab’ll Do Ya,” which became our special song for the rest of his life.

My grandmother kept  her beautiful white hair in a permanent wave during her weekly trips to the beauty parlour and sometimes her hair changed colour from white to mauve, which kept us all on our toes.

When my brother was about twelve and hitting new pubescent strides, he did something radical and grew out his crew-cut which my dad had insisted on, into a longer style inspired by the Beatles. My grandmother gave him five dollars to “get a decent hair cut” which he spent on records and came home with his mop intact.  Having survived our grandmother’s scorn, he had a narrow escape outside the local ice-cream parlour when some kid threatened to cut his hair off with a  knife! Life in Appalachia could be tough.

If we were going to church, Mom would slick our hair down with a dash of spit on the palm of her hand; she was even known to wheel out the Elnet for that perfect, sleek finish. I can see my brother now, ducking and diving with a mischievous grin as he tried to dodge the spit.

As a very young child, my mother kept my hair short with a fringe but as I grew, Mom let my hair grow and had fun styling it. I had low bunches, high bunches, ponytails, pigtails, plaits across my head or rolled in coils above my ears like Heidi – and buns for ballet!  And don’t get me started on French Braids! They HAD to be just like Dorothy Gale’s in The Wizard of Oz (MGM 1939).

Andrea had a feeling she wasn’t in Kansas anymore. (She never was.)

When Mom washed my hair she would twist it – stiff with shampoo – into ‘sheep horns’, ‘dog ears’, ‘rabbit ears’, ‘kitten ears’ and ‘unicorn horns,’ which I thought was funny but I’m sure was a ploy to get me to sit still long enough to have my hair washed.

 My grandpa used to say, “Why sugar – you look just like Minnie Pearl with your hair in pigtails.” Minnie Pearl was a comedienne and star of the Grand Ol’ Opry; who to my knowledge did not wear her hair in plaits. Mom insisted that I  looked nothing like Minnie Pearl, despite the fact that we were vaguely related to her. Minnie Pearl (real name Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon) was my mother’s father’s brother’s wife’s niece. Work that one out!

By the time I was nine, my hair was waist length and to my mother’s despair, “tangled at the drop of a hat.” She called them “rat’s tails.” Exasperated with my fine, knotted hair, she once took me to her hairdresser, where he held the crown of my head with one hand (getting a purchase on my scalp) and raked a fine comb through the wet tangles, at which point I screamed and Mom marched me out, telling him that he had “absolutely no understanding whatever of how to tackle tangles – or children!”

Andrea age nine with hair that provided endless hours of fun for her mum! (Who needed a Tressy doll when their daughter grew hair this long?)

The point was, my hair was in my mother’s hands, quite literally. The length and style were her choice. She even rinsed my hair in warm vinegar to make it squeaky clean, but boy did it stink! The only hair conditioner you could buy then was Creme Rinse which Mom considered an extravagance.

One of the first records I bought was ‘Hair’ by The Cowsills (1969), written by Galt MacDermot with lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni; a cover of the original song from the musical ‘Hair’. I thought it was really “groovy” and “far out man”, as I sang along swinging my “shining, gleaming, flaxen, waxen” locks. It was the dawning of the age Aquarius and my first and only foray into psychedelia. Cool.

As the ’60s gave way to the ’70s and my family moved to Birmingham, West Midlands, I became aware,  for the first time, of how hair could get you noticed. Watching Top of the Pops one Thursday evening in 1971, I was mesmerised by Rod Stewart’s feather-cut as he strutted around on stage singing Maggie May. Dad said Rod’s hair looked like a cockerel: well, that was the whole point!  And we all knew that David Essex’s trademark dark, shaggy curls were going to make him a star.

I begged Mom to let me have a feather cut – or a Lion Cut, like Jayne Bolton’s  at school –  but I was met with near hysteria from my mother who said these “fancy hair-dos were just plain ugly.” Good job she had a set of Carmen rollers; I spent hours in front of the bathroom mirror trying to perfect the Farrah Fawcett flick a la Charlie’s Angels – and half a canister of Elnet. My flick was nothing compared to Rachel Sadler’s, whose blonde tresses were sprayed into magnificent, solid waves.

One day, aged fifteen, I decided to take matters into my own hands and get my hair cut – only shoulder-length mind – but it was a significant moment. My dad greeted me in the hallway and burst into tears, “My little girl has cut off her beautiful hair! She’s all grown up!” Embarrassed beyond belief, I marched through the house swinging my new shiny bob tied back with a cotton bandana.

“Oh Dad, of course I’m grown up! Duh!”

A trip to the cinema in 1976 to see ‘A Star is Born’ starring Barbra Streisand changed my hairstyle for the next decade. In the film, she wore her blonde tresses in a soft curly-perm which I thought was the most exciting, sexy looking hair I’d ever seen. Luckily for me, Steiner hair salon in Birmingham city centre were advertising for perm models, so I took a seat, lit a cigarette and strutted out four hours later with a halo of tight curls and an afro comb.  I looked perfectly ridiculous and nothing like beautiful Barbra.

On a trip back to the States with my dad to visit my grandparents in the summer of ’78, I stepped from the plane in my high-heeled sandals and perm, which immediately caught the attention of my conservative, Southern grandmother.

Dad, Andrea …and perm.

“Your shoes are just tacky and your hair – well, there’s nothin’ I can do about your hair!”

She had a point.

As disco stirred-up a veritable Night Fever on dance floors in the late ’70s, my curly-perm took on even greater, pretentious proportions; it even had its own routine! Beneath the mirror balls and strobing lights of Birmingham’s clubs and wine bars, my hair held centre stage, glistening with gold  spray. As I sashayed along Corporation Street one afternoon to the bus stop – my perm radiating sophistication – I was approached by a sleazy photographer offering me work as a model for ladies underwear. My perm bubble was burst.

Andrea’s True Disco Connection.

The ’70s gave way to the ’80s, heralding my Liza Minelli era with a short crop which went to my head and announced my arrival at university to study Performance Arts, where I felt emboldened to take to the stage as a jazz singer with a new, sassy confidence.

Andrea – Life is a Cabarellnet.

By the mid 1980s trends were changing as the age of BIG hair arrived, influenced by TV shows such as Dynasty and executed with a tonne of mousse and attitude.  With hair as wide as my huge shoulder pads, I strutted around the office in power suits and towering heels  that Alexis Carrington Colby would have been proud of; until my hair caught fire as I lit a cigarette.

A pixie crop followed –  it was a lot safer.

These days, I keep my fine, grey hair short and think of my mother as it still tangles at the drop of a hat.                                                               

(Copyright: Andrea Burn)

when i’m sixty-four

(Post by John Allan from Bridgetown, Western Australia – April 2022.)

Lennon and McCartney of the Beatles were one of the most celebrated and prolific song writing duo of the last century. Theirs is the best known and most successful musical collaboration ever by records sold.

Unlike many songwriting partnerships that comprise a separate lyricist and composer, such as George and Ira Gershwin, Rodgers and Hammerstein or Elton John and Bernie Taupin, both Lennon and McCartney wrote lyrics and music.

To single out just one exemplar from their vast catalogue of popular hits would be extremely onerous………………………………. but they did write some absolute crap !

Yellow Submarine, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da and Maxwell’s Silver Hammer are some prime examples of the shit that they could produce.

But right up there must be When I’m Sixty Four.

Like my fellow ‘born in 58’ followers of this fine blog, I turn that age at the end of this month.

When I’m Sixty Four was released on the 26th of May, 1967 on the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. To give John Lennon credit, his only contribution to the song was the addition of the lines ‘grand children on your knee’ and ‘Vera, Chuck and Dave’.

McCartney claims he wrote the song when he was 14 in 1956. Rock and Roll was just on the periphery of his life and this was a ‘cabaret minded’ ditty.

To put thing in perspective, here are a few fellow alumni of le club soixante-quatre.

 Musicians Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, Andrea Bocelli and Kate Bush. Actors Jamie Lee Curtis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Gary Oldman, Sharon Stone and Peter Capaldi.

Those turning 64 when the song was released where actors Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Claudette Colbert. Writers George Orwell and Evelyn Waugh. Musicians Earl Hines and Bic Beiderbecke and Prime Minister Alec Douglas-Home.

And 64 when the song was apparently written – Basil Rathbone, Oliver Hardy, Margaret Rutherford, Mary Pickford, Eddie Cantor, Jack L. Warner, Gummo Marx and a couple of world leaders/dictators Francisco Franco and Josip Broz Tito !

And for the record :

  • I’m not losing my hair.
  • I don’t and never have received Valentines.
  • I do celebrate birthdays with bottles of wine as well as anniversaries, Christmas, Easter, special occasions and any other day with the letter ‘D’ in it !
  • I’m barely still up at midnight.
  • We don’t lock the door anyway.
  • Mrs A still needs me (for retrieving things off high shelves and opening jam jars mainly)
  • She still feeds me – a bit too well if I’m honest.
  • I think I could probably still mend a fuse.
  • Mrs A doesn’t knit
  • I don’t wear sweaters anyway.
  • Any Sunday morning rides are on my motor scooter.
  • I can still manage a bit of gardening if my back isn’t playing up.
  • Never got to the Isle of Wight.
  • I do live in a cottage though.
  • Scrimp and save ? Don’t get me started !
  • No grandchildren on my knee.
  • Vera, Chuck and Dave didn’t materialise.
  • What’s a postcard ?
  • I’m not filling in any forms !
  • Yes I’m 64 – now FUCK OFF !!!