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1 1


Allons, viens encore, cherie,
J'attendais un an aprŤs an,
Sous la lampe dans la vieille avenue.

10.05 a.m.
She had things to buy,
I close my eyes,
Yet I don't know why.
I gave her money, said she knew someone,
And she said she won't be long.

Lamplight, keep on burning,
While this heart of mine is yearning,
Lamplight, keep on burning,
Till this love of yours is mine.

I sat alone with my thoughts and laughed,
Then saw your face in an old photograph.
I didn't think that I could live without you,
But what am I to do?

Lamplight, keep on burning,
While this heart of mine is yearning,
Lamplight, keep on burning,
Till this love of yours is mine

Come home again dear,
I have waited year after year,
Under the lamp in the old avenue.

If God is a man that's laughing,
Why should He make us cry?


In 1969 I purchased a very different LP. It was unique - in itsí concept, in itsí packaging and in itsí content. I had been buying Bee Gees records ever since my good friend David Eele had suggested I listen to "Massachusetts" back in September 1967. I loved the "Pitney-esque" high vocals, the strong tunes and variation of sounds emanating from the Brothers Gibb. The LP concerned was "Odessa", and it really was a one-off.

A "double" album with a tactile, velvet-red cloth cover - it was unlike anything else released on the British music-buying public before. It was slightly mysterious......obviously a concept album of some description, the content was influenced to some degree by the Beatles and Beach Boys albums with strange lyrics, unusual sounds, beautiful ballads and pseudo-classical orchestral pieces.

Personally, I prefer Robin Gibbís lighter, wistful voice to the more robust vocals of brother Barry, but it was a fascinating experience listening to "Odessa" in its entirety. I put the LP on the turntable and was transfixed as well as somewhat puzzled by the strange, disjointed lyrics. However, when song no. 9 burst from the loudspeakers of my record player I was stopped dead in my tracks! I found it difficult to express what I felt about the song. All I knew was that it was very special indeed. Today - 40+ long years later - it is my favourite record of all-time. Robinís diction is not the best, and Iíll be honest with you, I couldnít understand some of the lyrics, but that wasnít important at the time because it was the melody, the sound, the beautiful harmonies - and Robinís voice - that made it so special.

The story of "Lamplight" plays a key part in the history of the group itself. This song was the cause/reason Robin actually left the Bee Gees in 1969 for several years. "First Of May" - another fabulous track from "Odessa" was chosen as the follow-up to the groupís no.1 hit "Iíve Gotta Get A Message To You". However, Robinís wish was for "Lamplight" to be the single. To his utter dismay, Barry prevailed and "First Of May" was released and reached no. 6 in the charts. Incredibly, "Lamplight" was chosen as the "B" side rather than held back for future release. This was too much for strained egos, so Robin left and started a solo career. It was very strange that the groupís record label, Polydor, took on Robin and two solo hits, "Saved By The Bell" (July Ď69) and "August, October (Feb. Ď70) followed for the estranged brother.

Meanwhile, Barry and the remaining "Bee Gees" also had more chart success during this period with "Tomorrow Tomorrow" (June Ď69) and Donít Forget To Remember" (Aug.Ď69), but it wasnít until 1975 and "Jive Talking" that the reconciled brothers had major success again.

So, dear Reader, that is the story behind "Lamplight" - a song which still brings goose-bumps up on me when I listen to Robinís lovely rendition. Itís a song I never grow tired of listening to and if youíve got the chance, sit down, take a listen and enjoy the charm and quality of this late-60ís masterpiece. "Odessa" has finally been re-released on CD with the original cloth cover, together with other rarities from the time the album was being made - including two alternative versions of this very song.

"Lamplight" - itís a fine reminder of great times, musically. Now, have I got the lyrics right? I have scoured the "net" for a definitive one, and listened intently to the three versions available on the re-issued "Odessa", but I am not at all sure that they have been transcribed correctly on many, if not most, of the lyric websites. Words are changed on each version, and as for the opening French, well I almost give up! Following this, is it "Then I may end" or is it "10-05a.m."? As for the final line, well I've heard it so many times that I begin to imagine things are being sung! If you can get hold of a copy, listen closely and tell me - what do you think?

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2 2


I can't touch the clouds for you,
I never reached the sun for you.
I've never done the things
that you need done for you.
I've stretched as high as I can reach
I guess I'm not the one for you.
'Cause I can't touch the clouds
or reach the sun for you.
No, I can't touch the clouds
or reach the sun.

I can't look inside your mind
and see the things you're hopin' for.
I can't help you chase
the dreams you're gropin' for.
You say your arms are open wide,
But Lord knows who they're open for.
I can't know your mind
or chase your dreams with you.
I can't chase your dreams
or know your mind.

I hope you find somebody who
can do the things I didn't do.
Find the road I didn't find
and build a better world for you.
I hope you find somebody bold
enough to reach and take ahold
And guide your ever-changin' mind
and free your ever-risin' soul.
But I can't...I can't.

I can't turn back time for you
and make you sweet sixteen again.
I can't turn your barren fields
to green again.
And I can't sit around and talk
about what might have been again.
I can't turn back time
and make you young again.
I can't turn back time
and make you young.

So say goodbye and don't look back -
I've had some happy days with you.
Sorry I can't be the one
who stays with you.
And if they ask about me,
you can say I was the one with you.
Who never touched the clouds
or reached the sun with you.
I can't touch the clouds or reach the sun.


It makes me very emotional every time I hear this superb song. Dennis wrings, quite brilliantly, every bit of emotion from these outstanding Shel Silverstein lyrics. There is a remarkable moment in the last verse of the song when Dennis cries, "Sorry I can't be the one who stays with you". Those few words seem to totally encapsulate what dozens of other "lost love" type songs have tried to describe over the years. Incredible.

This song is, as Dennis's performance from 1972 is, timeless. Listening to it gives no indication as to in which decade of the 20th century that it was first recorded. I have numerous favourites among the 200 plus songs Dennis Locorriere has recorded both with Dr Hook and as a solo artist, but this one song always seems to surface on the top. When he performs this live, it's a great joy for me - and to his many loyal fans too, I'm certain.

Thanks Dennis for giving me so much pleasure over the years by singing such great songs as "I Can't Touch The Sun".

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3 3


Remember when the music
Came from wooden boxes strung with silver wire
And as we sang the words, it would set our minds on fire,
For we believed in things, and so we'd sing.

Remember when the music
Brought us all together to stand inside the rain
And as we'd join our hands, we'd meet in the refrain,
For we had dreams to live, we had hopes to give.

Remember when the music
Was the best of what we dreamed of for our children's time
And as we sang we worked, for time was just a line,
It was a gift we saved, a gift the future gave.

Remember when the music
Was a rock that we could cling to so we'd not despair,
And as we sang we knew we'd hear an echo fill the air
We'd be smiling then, we would smile again.

Oh all the times I've listened, and all the times I've heard
All the melodies I'm missing, and all the magic words,
And all those potent voices, and the choices we had then,
How I'd love to find we had that kind of choice again.

Remember when the music
Was a glow on the horizon of every newborn day
And as we sang, the sun came up to chase the dark away,
And life was good, for we knew we could.

Remember when the music
Brought the night across the valley as the day went down
And as we'd hum the melody, we'd be safe inside the sound,
And so we'd sleep, we had dreams to keep.

And I feel that something's coming, and it's not just in the wind.
It's more than just tomorrow, it's more than where we've been,
It offers me a promise, it's telling me "Begin",
I know we're needing something worth believing in.

Remember when the music
Came from wooden boxes strung with silver wire
And as we sang the words, it would set our minds on fire,
For we believed in things, and so we'd sing.


The late, great Harry Chapin has been described as an acquired taste. Well, if that is the case, then I have most definitely acquired a taste for this storyteller extraordinaire. His many self-penned songs are more than just songs - they are novelettes, short stories which obviously are somewhat autobiographical. No-one could possibly make up the situations he sung about so descriptively and eloquently.

From his debut with "W.O.L.D." as a morning DJ, through "Catís In The Cradle" - a lovely father/son prophesy to "Circle" (a song he penned which took the New Seekers to no.4 in the charts in the early 70Ďs) Harry has enthralled millions of his fans with slice-of-life vignettes, mixing comedy with tragedy, bitterness with pretty tunes.

Born in Greenwich Village, New York in 1942, a son of a big-band drummer, he was a member of the Chapin Brothers together with younger siblings Tom and Steve, but really concentrated on his greatest talent - song-writing. A solo star from 1971, Harry went on to amass a catalogue of highly memorable compositions which delighted a growing army of fans.

Unfortunately, Harry Chapin - a man who had such a caring nature and who was world famous for his many charity and benefit appearances - would not live to see the fulfilment of his lifeís guiding theme, as he was tragically killed in a car crash on July 16th 1981.

"Remember When The Music" was an album released in the year preceding his death. It marked a subtle change in his style which may have pointed the way he was intending his career to go, or it could have been an attempt to be more commercial, as the album certainly contained songs which could be described as specifically written to sell to the masses rather than just fans of his stories. In the past Harry had never compromised his talents for commercial reasons!

This beautifully descriptive title song is typical Harry Chapin. It recalls an earlier, more gentle time without being over sentimental or too nostalgic. What a great talent was snuffed out in that car wreck back in 1981, but at least we have his unforgettable recordings to play and enjoy in the years to come. We can continue to remember when the music came from wooden boxes strung with silver wire strummed by one Harry Chapin.

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4 4


Parting in your hair, it's hardly ever there
Wash your face
Shabby in your dress, always look a mess
Don't you care?
Mummy's there to see you always look your best
Change your dirty vest

When you grow to be a king
Never do a thing
Four and twenty blackbirds sing along
Royal gifts they all will bring
When you are a king
Everywhere you go, people bowing low
Carriages to take you anywhere
Feet won't ever touch a thing
When you are a king

Tore your shirt again, fighting in the rain
With whats-his-name
Shoe-black on your face, you're really a disgrace
Mummy smiles and all the while
Because she loves you
She will worry so
And if you're good you know

That when you grow to be a king
Never do a thing
Four and twenty blackbirds sing along
Royal gifts they all will bring
When you are a king
Everywhere you go, people bowing low
Carriages to take you anywhere
Feet won't ever touch a thing
When you are a king

When you are a king
Never do a thing
Four and twenty blackbirds sing along
Royal gifts they all will bring
When you are a king.
Everywhere you go, people bowing low
Carriages to take you anywhere
Feet won't ever touch a thing
When you are a king


What is it about this song? A medium-sized hit when it was released in 1971, it has always held a great fascination for me. In a music world often dominated at that time by love songs in the "Moon/June" mode (nothing wrong with those style of songs), this gentle, pretty little song came along. It was so different both in its musical construction and its lyric content from other hit songs of that era.

I think this is a love song, but one sung by a father to his young son. Thereís a timelessness about "When You Are A King" - the sheer pride and the joy the simple lyrics portray must be instantly recognisable to everyone who love their own kids.

White Plains are greatly undervalued - they were influential in many ways back in the late 60ís and early 70ís and this was by far their best song. A brilliant reminder of a time when pop music was evolving rapidly from the simple four-man guitar/drums format so beloved by the 60's generation.

In the beginning there was The Flower Pot Men - on some discs, and publicity circulars billed them as Flowerpot; the time was 1967 and youth culture the world over was celebrating 'The Summer Of Love'. But what, do I hear you ask, has that to do with White Plains? Well if you're sitting comfortably, then I'll begin...

As the sun shone during mid-'67, teenagers everywhere began the next phase of 'rebelling against the establishment'; for both males and females the sartorial elegance of smart, stylish clothes made way for kaftans and beads; much longer hair became fashionable and the use of hallucinatory-inducing drugs was rather more commonplace than previously, any number of media persons suddenly admitting to experimenting with illicit substances.

Music, as ever, reflected the latest fad, and after four years of British 'beat group' domination, America hit back, with acts who personified this week's trend. They preached that California was currently the place to be, with particular emphasis towards San Francisco; everything revolved around peace, love and the giving of flowers, and with a song written and produced by John Phillips of The Mamas & The Papas - who'd already paved the way with glorious, gentle enchanters like 'California Dreamin'', 'Monday, Monday' and 'Dedicated To The One I Love'. Virginia-born Scott McKenzie forever encapsulated the moment with his worldwide seven-million seller, 'San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)'. The 'hippies' had arrived.

Britain was no less affected than any other nation by this 'psychedelic' onslaught, and two successful native singer/songwriters, John Carter and Ken Lewis, saw no reason not to organise a little tribute of their own. These two gentlemen had been working since the early Sixties with, variously, a group billed as Carter-Lewis & The Southerners and then The Ivy League, this latter a superb vocal harmony trio who'd scored heavily with 'Funny How Love Can Be' and 'Tossing And Turning' in 1965.

Multi talented, they now crafted an opus guaranteed to leave nobody in any doubt as to its intended audience: 'Let's Go To San Francisco', it beckoned. Performed by session musicians, the result was leased to British Decca's newly-inaugurated and fashionable Deram imprint and rush-released at home on 4th August. An instantaneous smash, it raced to No. 4 in the UK and made waves around Europe within weeks, leaving its protagonists with one of life's more pleasant problems: how to supply an act to perform live what they had manufactured in the recording studio.

The solution was at hand. John and Ken loaned the Flower Pot Men name to vocalist Tony Burrows, a 1967 vintage member of the Ivy League by happy coincidence, and he recruited Decca singer Billie Davis's then-band and a few other friends to plug the record around clubs and dance-halls the length and breadth of the country. On stage were Jon Lord (Keyboards), Nick Simper (Bass) - later to form heavy rockers Deep Purple; Ged Peck (Guitar), Carlo Little (Drums) and a quartet of larynx-exercisers comprising Burrows, Neil Landon, Pete Nelson and Robin (Scrim) Shaw, Lord having taken over from an ailing Billy Davidson in January 1968.

Further singles followed with 'A Walk In The Sky' (November 1967) - a No. 6 triumph in Holland - and 'Man Without A Woman' (April 1968), but the bubble had seemingly burst and band personnel changes were frequent. By March 1969, when a final Flower Pots single appeared, the appealing 'In A Moment Of Madness', Londoner Pete Nelson - real name Peter Lipscomb - and Robin Shaw were the outfit's main men, adopting piano and bass duties respectively, while both were more than capable of picking on six-string guitars. Also pertinent among the ranks in that he, too, would be a founding father of the new band to come, South African Ricky Wolff. A keen swimmer, the brown-haired and eyed writer was adept on any guitar, plus keyboards, flute and saxophone.

When 'Madness' was largely ignored by the masses, and with the label Flower Pot Men having passed its sell-by date, late in 1969 the boys decided it was time for a fresh start. The highly-respected songwriting/production team of Rogers, Greenaway and Cook, had already taken over such duties for that last single, and although, on 26th October, the numbers 'You've Got Your Troubles' and 'Today I Killed A Man I Didn't Know' were taped with the intention of issuing them under the Flower Pot Men stickering, no such event occurred.

By now a five-piece with the earlier recruitment of Harrow, Middlesex-born lead guitarist Robin Box and nearby Kenton lad Roger Hills (drums), both of whom had previously worked together backing Peter & Gordon and ex-Manfred Mann leading light, Paul Jones, a pooling of thought resources decided that they would henceforth go out as White Plains, and the two other titles cut that 26th October, Cook and Greenaway's ultra-commercial 'My Baby Loves Lovin'' and Wolff's 'Show Me Your Hand' were pencilled-in to facilitate a Plains debut.

It was agreed to postpone release of said Deram single DM 280 until immediately after Christmas, to avoid its possibly getting swamped by the usual seasonal fare, a judgement which proved sound. Following January 9th unveiling, heavy radio play ensured chart arrival four weeks later and a Top Ten placing to boot, while two months on U.S. Deram witnessed identical equivalent 45-85058 begin a lively 15-week crusade on the Hot 100 which peaked at a decidedly lucky No. 13. The happy, danceable 'My Baby Loves Lovin'' claimed converts seemingly everywhere, as country by country White Plains made their presence felt in no uncertain terms, even though in Australia a rival version of 'Lovin'' by The Joe Jeffrey Group matched them place for place on the way up to No. 13 throughout a goodly 18 weeks run.

Our subjects embarked on a hectic personal appearance tour, taking in numerous TV and radio spots beside on-stage demands. September 1970 had their first album gracing dealer issue sheets (SML 1067), and while the directly-appellated twelve-banded White Plains sold well in England, across the Atlantic its ten-track equivalent, 'My Baby Loves Lovin'' (DES 18045), scampered into Billboard's Top 200 album survey and lodged 4 weeks, besting at 166. Our cousins omitted 'To Love You' and 'Young Birds Fly' from the United Kingdom package, but it is the latter we've adopted as a basis for this collection (tracks 1-12 inclusive), albeit with Uncle Sam's overall title now instated which gives prominence to the seven-inch blockbuster which was its focal point. To this is suffixed the A-side of every British and American single pressed during their Deram tenancy. Not quite enjoying absolute chronological issue status, priority has been given to producing a pleasing running order, while the opening White Plains segment is still laid out in the manner of its vinyl ancestor.

With five Top 30 notations in this green and pleasant land between 1970 and 1973, White Plains were one of Deram's most enduring acts of the period, and only one change in their line-up occurred during that time, organist Ron Reynolds taking over from Ricky Wolff. A second U.K.-only long-player, 'When You Are A King' (SML 1092), reached the shops in October 1971, and a third was mooted, but although a track listing was prepared, neither title nor catalogue number was allocated and the project was sadly aborted when they left Deram for pastures new in 1974.

In 1971 various members from White Plains under the direction of their producer Roger Cook, formed the group CRUCIBLE. Many songs penned by Ricky Wolff and Robin Shaw were recorded, four of which were released on the EXTREMES soundtrack. There were 3 other artists featured on this soundtrack including, Supertramp, ARC and Mark McCann.

Two decades later, with a good proportion of that same personnel intact, White Plains are still packing 'em in on the 60s and 70s revival tours, while their beautifully produced discs of the past are seldom far from any music radio programme controller's thoughts. From the upbeat bounce of 'Lovin'' to the delicate 'When You Are A King' via the sing-along 'Julie Do Ya Love Me', all are here and more, but imagine, without San Francisco, the love movement and those Flower Pots, we just might have never had the opportunity to appreciate one of the finest, genuine quality pop bands of the Seventies. A commercially successful studio group which featured vocalist Tony Burrows whose other session groups included The Ivy League, The Flowerpot Men, The Kestrels, Edison Lighthouse and Brotherhood Of Man. Robin Shaw and Pete Nelson were also in The Flowerpot Men, whilst songwriter Roger Greenaway had previously been the 'David' of David and Jonathan. He co-wrote their debut hit, 'My Baby Loves Lovin'' with Roger Cook ('Jonathan') and was also in The Flowerpot Men. After their second hit, another Greenaway/Cook composition, 'I've Got You On My Mind', Greenaway and Burrows both left to join The Pipkins and Nelson and Shaw brought in other session singers for further studio and live work. This revamped line-up enjoyed a couple more UK hits - 'When You Are A King' and 'Step Into A Dream' - but disbanded in 1974, by which time interest in them had waned.

White Plains' musical format was pure and simple early seventies style harmony pop with orchestral backing, and they did it very well indeed. The "Two Rogers", Cook and Greenaway, went on to greater successes - including Blue Mink among others. However, I am pleased and proud to be able to keep White Plains' memory alive by naming them more than once in my "All-Time Top 100".

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5 5


We met as soul mates on Parris Island
We left as inmates from an asylum
And we were sharp, as sharp as knives
And we were so gung ho to lay down our lives

We came in spastic like tameless horses
We left in plastic, as numbered corpses
And we learned fast to travel light
Our arms were heavy, but our bellies were tight

We had no home front, we had no soft soap
They sent us Playboy, they gave us Bob Hope
We dug in deep and shot on sight
And prayed to Jesus Christ with all our might

We had no cameras to shoot the landscape
We passed the hash pipe and played our Doors tapes
And it was dark, so dark at night
And we held on to each other like brother to brother
We promised our mothers we'd write

And we would all go down together
We said we'd all go down together
Yes we would all go down together

Remember Charlie, remember Baker
They left their childhood on every acre
And who was wrong? And who was right?
It didn't matter in the thick of the fight

We held the day in the palm of our hands
They ruled the night and the night
Seemed to last as long as six weeks On Parris Island
we held the coastline they held the highlands

And they were sharp as sharp as knives
They heard the hum of our motors
They counted the rotors
And waited for us to arrive

And we would all go down together
We said we'd all go down together
Yes we would all go down together


Billy Joel is a fantastic singer and an even better contemporary composer/song-writer. The 20th century has produced very few better.

Those of us who actually were born before the Vietnam War, and were old enough to understand and take in itís significance at the time, must surely appreciate the power and poignancy of the lyrics of this tremendous song. Joel manages, with the very personal nature of the words, to transport the listener to that very sad, war-torn country of Vietnam. It manages, where many other "war" songs fail, to convey the desperation, sadness and futility of conflict, together with the personal, fearful experiences of the individual soldier.

Released as a single taken from the excellent album "The Nylon Curtain" (which also featured the industrial "Allentown"), Billy had a moderate-sized hit nationally with it in the UK - it deserved to do much, much better. I am deeply impressed by "Goodnight Saigon", and his live versions of the song featured on various albums also deserve high praise. Billy Joel is one of my 10 Most Influential Artists alongside the likes of Orbison, Pitney and Locorriere. Perhaps, in some respects, he is the greatest of them all. I can pay no greater tribute than that.

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6 6


You Emil, my trusted friend,
We've known each other since we were nine or ten.
Together we climbed hills and trees,
Learned of love and ABC's,
Skinned our hearts and skinned our knees.
You Emil, it's hard to die,
When all the bird's are singing in the sky.
Now that the spring is in the air,
Pretty girls are everywhere,
Think of me and I'll be there.
We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun,
But the hills we used to climb were just seasons out of time.
All our lives, we had fun,
But the hills we used to climb were just seasons out of time.

You Papa, please pray for me,
I was the black sheep of the family.
You tried to teach me right from wrong,
Too much wine and too much song,
I wonder how I got along.
You Papa, it's hard to die,
When all the birds are singing in the sky.
Now that the spring is in the air,
Little children everywhere,
Think of me and I'll be there.
We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun,
But the hills we used to climb were just seasons out of time.
All our lives, we had fun,
But the hills we used to climb were just seasons out of time.

You FranÁoise, my trusted wife,
Without you I'd have had a lonely life.
You cheated lots of times but then,
I forgave you in the end,
Though your lover was my friend.
We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun,
But the hills we used to climb were just seasons out of time.
All our lives, we had fun,
But the hills we used to climb were just seasons out of time.

We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun,
But the hills we used to climb were just seasons out of time.
All our lives, we had fun,
But the hills we used to climb were just seasons out of time.


There isnít a football crowd anywhere that hasnít sung this song - well, a customised version of the lyrics anyway! But that most definitely isnít the reason this lovely old Brel/McKuen song has achieved such a lofty position in my list.

Back in the latter part of the 60ís, the very talented British group - The Fortunes - were releasing some great pop records and I was a big fan. They released great singles time after time and when "Seasons In The Sun" made it into the shops I was convinced there was a big hit on the cards. Unfortunately, the great British record-buying public disagreed whole-heartedly with me, and this was to be one of the groupís chart failures.

The failure seemed to galvanise me into ensuring the song would not fade into obscurity, and I always featured it in any list of favourites of mine over the years. I loved the unusual lyrics as well as the catchy, easily remembered melody. It was absolutely no surprise to me when a few years later a Canadian artist, Terry Jacks, recorded the song and had a massive hit with it. You canít keep a good song down! The only sadness for me is that I felt (and still do) that the Fortunesí version was the superior one and they didnít have the hit. Irish boy-band Westlife, of course, took the song back into the charts as a double-sided hit with "I Have A Dream" at the turn of the millennium.

The song is written and sung from the point of view of a guy who murdered his best friend who was having an affair with his wife. While waiting for his execution, he was reflecting on Emil, the friend he killed, his father, FranÁoise, the wife, and Michelle, his daughter. Different, yes? I guarantee that football supporters have no idea that the song they sing was originally entitled "Le Moribond" (translated as "The Dying Man") when penned by Monsieur Brel.

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7 7


Thank you for the days,
Those endless days, those sacred days you gave me.
I'm thinking of the days,
I won't forget a single day, believe me.

I bless the light,
I bless the light that lights on you believe me.
And though you're gone,
You're with me every single day, believe me.

Days I'll remember all my life,
Days when you can't see wrong from right.
You took my life,
But then I knew that very soon you'd leave me,
But it's all right,
Now I'm not frightened of this world, believe me.

I wish today could be tomorrow,
The night is dark,
It just brings sorrow anyway.

Thank you for the days,
Those endless days, those sacred days you gave me.
I'm thinking of the days,
I won't forget a single day, believe me.

Days I'll remember all my life,
Days when you can't see wrong from right.
You took my life,
But then I knew that very soon you'd leave me,
But it's all right,
Now I'm not frightened of this world, believe me.
Days.

Thank you for the days,
Those endless days, those sacred days you gave me.
I'm thinking of the days,
I won't forget a single day, believe me.

I bless the light,
I bless the light that shines on you believe me.
And though you're gone,
You're with me every single day, believe me.

Days.


You know what? The more I listen to Ray Davies and his wonderful group the Kinks here in the 21st century, the more I appreciate the phenomenal talent of the man. OK, he is famous for not being able to hold a note easily, but boy can he interpret his many varied and beautiful compositions.

"Days" is a classic. Written at the same time as the incredibly under-rated, eclectic, album "The Village Green Preservation Society", this song stands along side "Waterloo Sunset" as the most poignant ever composed by the genius Ray. In 1968, this lovely song took the group into a respectable position in the National charts, but the album really didn't take off here as it should. Shame on the UK record buyers of the time!
"Days" was my "Record of the Year" back in 1968. I endorse that choice now well into the 21st Century. What impeccable taste I had!!! - and how much more impeccable Mr Davies and his group were. A true British icon and musical hero.

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8 8


If I could make a wish,
I think I'd pass.
Can't think of anything I need -
No cigarettes, no sleep, no light, no sound,
nothing to eat, no books to read.

Making love with you
has left me peaceful, warm, and tired.
What more could I ask?
There's nothing left to be desired.
Peace came upon me and it leaves me weak.
So sleep, silent angel, go to sleep.

Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breathe and to love you.
All I need is the air that I breathe, yes, to love you.
All I need is the air that I breathe.

Peace came upon me and it leaves me weak.
So sleep, silent angel, go to sleep.

Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breathe and to love you.
All I need is the air that I breathe, yes, to love you.
All I need is the air that I breathe.


1974 saw the release of what must surely be the crowning achievement in the history of one of Englandís very best groups.

A "Hammond/Hazelwood" song, "The Air That I Breathe" by the Hollies has always been at the very top of my list of favourites from the moment it entered the charts in February of that year. Some songs grow on you, but others - like this - immediately hit home. I was convinced it was a no.1 hit song, but it actually only reached no.2 - denied by Terry Jacksí version of "Seasons In The Sun" and "Waterloo" by Abba among others such as Paper Laceís " Billy Donít Be A Hero" (but we wonít dwell on that!).

As so often in my list of favourites, the main quality of the song is the excellent tune plus descriptive, meaningful lyrics. This has a lovely melody and the lyrics certainly are meaningful!

This great chart success for the Hollies once again endorses the view that Allan Clarke was one of the leading vocalists of his time, and although he has tragically had to retire from the group to look after his ailing wife, he will for ever be known as the voice of one of the most talented acts in pop history. I can recall quite vividly, going to the old Gaumont theatre in Taunton for one of those wonderful package tour concerts back in the mid-60's when the Hollies were on the bill. They didn't actually top it, but prior to their appearance the large guitar loudspeakers on stage were "swapped" with the voice speakers, and the soaring, piercing vocals filled the auditorium, with their musical backing becoming precisely that. I don't think anyone left the Gaumont that evening unsure who were the very highest talent around - it was most definitely the Hollies.

Formed in Manchester in 1962 by childhood friends Allan Clarke (b. 15 April 1942, Salford, Lancashire, England; vocals), and Graham Nash (b. 2 February 1942, Blackpool, Lancashire, England; vocals/guitar). They had already been singing together locally for a number of years as a semi-professional duo under a number of names such as the Guytones, the Two Teens and Ricky And Dane. They enlarged the group by adding Eric Haydock (b. 3 February 1943, Burnley, Lancashire, England; bass) and Don Rathbone (drums), to became the Fourtones and then the Deltas. Following the recruitment of local guitar hero Tony Hicks from the Dolphins (b. 16 December 1943, Nelson, Lancashire, England) they became the Hollies. Almost immediately they were signed to the same label as the Beatles, the prestigious Parlophone. Their first two singles were covers of the Coasters' '(Ain't That) Just Like Me' and 'Searchin''. Both made the UK charts and the group set about recording their first album.
At the same time Rathbone left to become their road manager and was replaced by Bobby Elliott (b. 8 December 1942) from Shane Fenton (Alvin Stardust) And The Fentones. The group's excellent live performances throughout Britain had already seasoned them for what was to become one of the longest beat group success stories in popular music. Their first two albums contained the bulk of their live act and both albums became long-time residents in the UK charts. Meanwhile, the band was enjoying a train of singles hits that continued from 1963-74, and their popularity almost rivalled that of the Beatles and Rolling Stones. Infectious, well-produced hits such as Doris Troy 's 'Just One Look', 'Here I Go Again' and the sublime 'Yes I Will' all contained their trademark soaring harmonies. The voices of Clarke, Hicks and Nash combined to make one of the most distinctive sounds to be heard in popular music.

As their career progressed the aforementioned trio developed into a strong songwriting team, and wrote most of their own b-sides (under the pseudonym 'L. Ransford'). On their superb third collection, Hollies in 1965, their talents blossomed with 'Too Many People', an early song about over-population. Their first UK number 1 came in 1965 with 'I'm Alive' and was followed within weeks by Graham Gouldman 's uplifting yet simple take 'Look Through Any Window'. By Christmas 1965 the group experienced their first lapse when their recording of George Harrison 's 'If I Needed Someone' just scraped the UK Top 20 and brought with it some bad press. Both the Hollies and John Lennon took swipes at each other, venting frustration at the comparative failure of a Beatles song. Early in 1966, the group enjoyed their second number 1, 'I Can't Let Go', which topped the New Musical Express chart jointly with the Walker Brothers''The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore'. 'I Can't Let Go', co-written by Chip Taylor, had already appeared on the previous year's Hollies and was one of their finest recordings, combining soaring harmonies with some exceptionally strong, driving guitar work.

The enigmatic and troublesome Eric Haydock was sacked in April 1966 and was replaced by Hick's former colleague in the Dolphins, Bernie Calvert (b. 16 September 1942, Brierfield, Lancashire, England). The Hollies success continued unabated with Graham Gouldman's 'Bus Stop', the exotic 'Stop! Stop! Stop!' and the poppier 'On A Carousel', all UK Top 5 hits, and (at last) became major hits in the US charts. The Hollies were quick to join the 'flower power' bandwagon, as a more progressive feel had already pervaded their recent album, For Certain Because, but with Evolution, their beads and kaftans were everywhere. That same year (1967) the release of the excellent Butterfly showed signs of discontent. Inexplicably, the album failed to make the charts in either the UK or the US. It marked two distinct types of songs from the previously united team of Nash/Clarke/Hicks. On one hand there was a Clarke-influenced song, 'Charley And Fred', and on the other an obvious Nash composition like 'Butterfly'. Nash took a more ambitious route. His style was perfectly highlighted with the exemplary 'King Midas In Reverse', an imaginative song complete with brass and strings. It was, by Hollies standards, a surprising failure (UK number 18). The following year during the proposals to make Hollies Sing Dylan, Nash announced his departure for Crosby, Stills And Nash. His replacement was Terry Sylvester of the Escorts. Clarke was devastated by the departure of his friend of more than 20 years and after seven further hits, including 'He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother', Clarke decided to leave for a solo career. The band soldiered on with the strange induction of Mickael Rickfors from Sweden. In the USA the million-selling 'Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress)' narrowly missed the top spot, ironic also because Allan Clarke was the vocalist on this older number taken from the successful album Distant Light.

Clarke returned after an abortive solo career which included two albums, My Real Name Is 'Arold and Headroom. The return was celebrated with the worldwide hit, 'The Air That I Breathe', composed by Albert Hammond. Over the next five years the Hollies pursued the supper-club and cabaret circuit as their chart appearances began to dwindle. Although their albums were well produced they were largely unexciting and sold poorly. In 1981 Sylvester and Calvert left the group. Sensing major problems ahead, EMI suggested they put together a Stars On 45-type segued single. The ensuing 'Holliedaze' was a hit, and Graham Nash was flown over for the television promotion. This reunion prompted the album What Goes Around, which included a minor hit with the Supremes' 'Stop In The Name Of Love'. The album was justifiably slammed by the critics, and only made the US charts because of Nash's name.

Following this, the Hollies went back to the oldies path, until in 1988 a television beer commercial used 'He Ain't Heavy', and once again they were at the top of the charts for the first time in over a dozen years. In 1993 they were given an Ivor Novello award in honour of their contribution to British music. The mid-90s lineup in addition to Clarke, Elliott and the amazingly youthful Hicks featured Alan Coates (guitar), Ray Stiles (bass) and Ian Parker (keyboards). The Hollies' catalogue of hits, like those of the Beach Boys, Beatles and Kinks will continue to be reissued for future generations. Their longevity is assured as their expertly crafted, harmonic songs represent some of the greatest music of all mid-60s pop. Two of the core members, drummer Bobby Elliott and lead guitarist Tony Hicks, still perform with The Hollies in the new millennium. The legendary, former lead singer Allan Clarke had retired was replaced with Carl Wayne, ex lead singer of The Move. Despite the line-up changes throughout the years, the Hollies have always managed to put out great music with the trademark Hollies three part harmony. One of the best and most successful bands from their birth professionally in 1963 to the present day. They are celebrating thirty-eight years of still charming audiences all over the world. Also in today's line up is, Ian Parker on keyboards, Ray Stiles (Ex Mud, remember 'Tiger Feet') on bass guitar and last but not least, Alan Coates on guitar and vocals.

Allan Clarke decided to retire from The Hollies due to personal circumstances. I think everyone knows what a traumatic year Allan had in 1999 and how he managed to cope admirably with the serious illness of his wife and yet still manage to complete two tours of the United Kingdom, only missing out on three shows early in the Spring Tour. Allan's decision has to be respected after such a long, successful and distinguished career in a very intensive and often intrusive music industry.

Regarded by many as the group's finest vocal achievement, "The Air That I Breathe" is a superb, classic pop record.

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9 9


If I see you tomorrow on some street in town
Pardon me, if I don't say hello
I belong to another, it wouldn't look so good
To know someone I'm not supposed to know

Just walk on by, wait on the corner
I love you, but we're strangers when we meet
Just walk on by, wait on the corner
I love you, but we're strangers when we meet

In a dimly lit corner, in a place outside of town
Tonight we'll try to say goodbye again
But I know it's not over, I'll call tomorrow night
I can't let you go, so why pretend?

Just walk on by, wait on the corner
I love you, but we're strangers when we meet
Just walk on by, wait on the corner
I love you, but we're strangers when we meet
I love you, but we're strangers when we meet


This was the record which, back in 1962, was frowned upon and condemned by the Church of England. It was, honestly. It was almost banned by the Beeb and other radio stations. It was a massive country and western hit in the States and crossed the Atlantic far from being assured of repeating it's phenomenal success here.

There seemed more press coverage in the UK about his name and whether he was some long lost relative of a famous painter (or Mary Poppins actor, perhaps!).

Now then, I've read the lyrics and I can't quite see how the religious community at the time thought the song was glorifying or encouraging extra-marital sex! There's no hint that the guy (or the girl he meets) were married. Deceit and two-timing most definitely, but that's been going on for as long as there've been human beings!

Leroy Van Dyke had a minor success earlier with a quirky little thing called "The Auctioneer" but in the first few weeks of 1962, "Walk On By" was to prove his only major chart success here in the U.K. A simple, sing-a-long country song, it was to reach a high top 10 spot while 3 massive hits - Cliff (The Young Ones), Elvis (Can't Help Falling In Love) and The Shadows (Wonderful Land) - were occupying the number 1 spot.

I really don't have any special story or reason why it is one of my top 10 favourites other than it brings back very happy memories of a very happy time of my life, when life seemed to consist of record buying and forming lasting friendships.

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10 10


Sometimes I expect a little too much
Sometimes I push too hard
Trying to see what you will be, I lose sight of who you are
You're still a young man with the world in your hands
To mould any way you choose
Your dream and mine are one of a kind
We both want the best for you.

I just wanna see you shine, son
As bright as you can
You're an exceptional boy, you'll be a helluva man
Whatever you decide to do, just give it your best
And that'll be fine
I just wanna see you shine, son
Wanna see my son shine.

I've watched you crawl, stumble and fall
I've watched you live and learn
To give and to take and how a heart breaks
And how our lives twist and turn
You don't have to be the reflection of me
You don't have to fill my shoes
But if you need a hand you know your old man
Will always be here for you.

I just wanna see you shine, son
As bright as you can
You're an exceptional boy, you'll be a helluva man
Whatever you decide to do, just give it your best
And that'll be fine
I just wanna see you shine, son
Wanna see my son shine.

Yes, I just wanna see you shine, son
Wanna see my son shine.


After the 1985 farewell tour with Dr Hook, Dennis deserted us British fans! No critisism, Dennis - you deserved your break after giving us 13+ years of regular visits, so off he went to do other things, and all we fans had were our memories and our albums. Then in 1999, Dennis decided to cross the pond again and re-awaken our interest in the bearded one by undertaking an extensive tour.

That 1999 tour wasn't too well advertised to be honest, and I wasn't "on the net" then. Fortunately, I was spending a weekend with my cousin Terry and his family at Fenny Bridges, Devon, and was reading a newspaper that he takes that I don't. There in the Entertainments section was the magical name - Dennis Locorriere.

The man was back with us, and he was appearing in Weston-super-Mare (just down the road) the following week. Immediate phone calls to the venue reserved a seat and just a few days later I was renewing an old acquaintance. Dennis performed all the old favourites, and his voice was not just as good as, but better than, ever.

There were a splattering of new songs too to enjoy. "Shine Son" being one of them. Self-penned, obviously dedicated to Jesse-James, his own son, this was the pick of the new material. A lovely, simple song which hits you in the heart - it's that sincere. It's a strong favourite with the fans and requests for it are always made at his performances.

Since that happy newspaper discovery in an easy chair in Terry's living room in '99, I've had the great pleasure of seeing Dennis in concert numerous times and regularly keep in touch with his website to find out when he's next touring the country. Go on - make the effort and join us fans when he's on tour - Dennis is a rare talent and gives a sensational stage performance. I promise you that you won't regret a single minute.

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11 11


When tomorrow comes tomorrow and today is yesterday
And this hour is just a place in history
When good night becomes good morning, there'll be such a lot to say
So when tomorrow comes tomorrow, come to me

Though it's wrong to say "I love you 'til I die"
There's a feeling in the air you can't deny
Only hours ago I didn't know your name
Yet you're still prepared to kiss me in the rain

When tomorrow comes tomorrow and today is yesterday
And this hour is just a place in history
When good night becomes good morning, there'll be such a lot to say
So when tomorrow comes tomorrow, come to me

If I give the wrong impression please be kind
I don't know what's going on inside my mind
I'm upside down and into something new
So what ever happens now, it's up to you

I'll be true and when today is through
Be sure to know that I won't let you go
When good night becomes good morning, there'll be such a lot to say
So when tomorrow comes tomorrow, come to me

When tomorrow comes tomorrow and today is yesterday
And this hour is just a place in history
When good night becomes good morning, there'll be such a lot to say
So when tomorrow comes tomorrow, come to me
So when tomorrow comes tomorrow, come to me


When someone writes the definitive history of British popular music, I bet White Plains won't get a major mention. WHY?!!! Their history is a potted history of all that's best in our music. Their voices are extremely appealing. Their songs - and I mean nearly all of them - are catchy and commercial. But, most of you will say "Who are White Plains?". Well, read about them earlier on this page - they're also at no. 4 in my Top 100.

"When Tomorrow Comes Tomorrow", a "Two Rogers" Cooke/Greenaway composition, is typical of their style. It is one of the loveliest little songs I've ever heard - it's as simple as that! The song was taken into the UK national charts in 1970 by an excellent group called The Family Dogg - which featured Albert Hammond amongst others - and I really love their version too, but it's White Plains for me as the male harmonies are really top quality in every respect.

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12 12


I once had a friend who I loved from my heart
But I went on and left her 'fore I'd made a start
Now I'm moaning the blues like the rest of the charts
Take me back
So I'll cry with a limp
Just get by on a limb
Till these blue eyes of mine they are closed
So here's to an old fashioned peck on the cheek
And farewell my sweet Northern Rose

Give me one last love song
To bring you back, bring you back
Give me one last video, just dressed in black, dressed in black
Give him a chorus and that bit at the end
Where he wails on and on 'bout the loss of a friend
Let him scream loudly 'well this love could mend'
Let it die, let it die

Those bloody great ballads we hated at first
Well I bought them all, now I'm writing worse
Save us from baldness and saving the earth
Take me back
And I'll smile with a limp
And I'll love with a limp
Till the clouds disappear from above
And as the storm moves away all I can say
Is there's a towel on the door for your love

Give me one last love song
To bring you back, bring you back
Give me one last video, just dressed in black, dressed in black
Give him a chorus and that bit at the end
Where he wails on and on 'bout the loss of a friend
Let him scream loudly 'well this love could mend'
Let it die, let it die, let it die


I'm so pleased to be able to feature a track from the Beautiful South in my final list. To reach as high as no.12 must indicate to you, dear reader, that I do like this group!

I pride myself in recognising a modicum of musical ability in one form or another, but the secret of Beautiful South's success is not that easy to quantify, as their repertoire is a strange brew. Their style is unclassable. You cannot pigeonhole them, for their compositions are as diverse as any musical act in the world.

What is undeniable is that the often catchy, likeable tunes and melodies hide bitter, caustic lyrics. An unique mix indeed. Over the years, Paul Heaton and the rest of the group confounded many by reeling off hit after hit, seemingly oblivious to current styles or fads. They must have a fan base, but from what age-group or life-style, goodness knows. How on earth do you link "Rotterdam" with "The Table" or "Old Red Eyes Is Back" with "One Last Love Song"? Well, you can - they're all Beautiful South's!

I just like the way this track flows along. It's a cleverly constructed song with deceptive lyrics and will please listeners to good music for years to come.

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13 13


Smokey Blue ran away
Chasing bits of wood
Sara Jane threw again
Everything is good
Running wild, running miles
Catch me if you can
Absolutely free awhile
Smokey Blueís away
Smokey Blueís away

Sun went down, left the scene
Smokey hung his head
Sara came home again
Sara went to bed
Smokey lay on the floor
By the kitchen door
Saw the moon
Heard the waves
He could wait no more
Soon down on the sand he played
Smokey Blueís away
Smokey Blueís away

Every day Sara prayed
Heíd run back again
She left a drink by his bed
Even shon his chain
Smokey lived with the sun
Drank the morning dew
Itís understood
You never should
Tie his spirit down
So every day
All I can say, is
Smokey Blueís away
Smokey Blueís away


I bought this lovely little song before I got "into" classical music, but when I first heard and appreciated the wonderful Dvorak Symphony No. 9 in E. Minor "From The New World", I just couldn't place that familiar tune - for quite a while. Then, I started singing "Smokey Blue ran away....." Of course, "Smokey Blue's Away"!!

I know, at the time, back in 1968, I loved the song and today it conjours up slightly fuzzy memories of a very happy time of my life. Dvorak would be very proud of that little dog chasing freedom, I think. So, who are (were) A New Generation?

Well, thanks to the often maligned "internet" and a most rewarding contact with Peter MacLennan, this is what I've found. A New Generation were Iain Sutherland (vocals, guitar), Gavin Sutherland (vocals, bass), Chris Kemp (keyboards, vocals), John Wright (drums)and, initially, Peter MacLennan (bass, vocals) - who left the group shortly after the release of "Smokey Blue's Away" in May 1968. The group had been given a recording contract with Southern Music and had commenced recording earlier in 1968, releasing 'Sadie and Her Magic Mr. Galahad' in February of that year. The group released 3 singles during 1969-70, before Iain & Gavin formed a duo, appropriately called Sutherland Brothers, which later merged with another group, Quiver, in 1973. As a duo, they had minor success with their superb song "Sailing", later to become famous by Rod Stewart. Their major chart success was the sublime "Arms of Mary" which made no. 5 in the British charts in 1976. Two other hits followed. "Secrets" (1976) and "Easy Come Easy Go" (1979, as just the Sutherland Brothers). After their break up with Quiver, they released another album as a duo. In the following years, Gavin has released two solo albums, as well as appearing on albums with friends such as Clive Gregson (alone and with his band, Any Trouble).
It's far from easy to write reams about the Sutherland Brothers. There's absolutely no doubt that they were a great band, writing some of the best songs of the seventies. Their music was a soundtrack to a generation of rock fans, and to hear them play live was an experience to relish. Their songwriting consisted of clever wordplays, wonderful expressions of emotion and a fusion of the folk idiom with rock music.
However, the group tended to let the music speak for them; they were not self-publicists and apart from an occasional photograph on an album cover, there was little information made available about them. Initially, Iain Sutherland (born 17.11.1948, Ellon), who had been writing songs while in his teens, had formed a group called the Mysteries in late 1965, before he and Gavin (born 6.10.1951, Peterhead) teamed up to go off to London to seek their fortune. There, their manager decided they would be called, much against the band's better judgement, The New Generation - which was changed again to A New Generation. Muff Winwood, formerly of Traffic, listened to a demo and immediately gave them a recording contract. The original Sutherland Brothers Band involved Gavin and Ian who made two folk-rock albums for Island Records. Their first album gained a following for the band because of wonderful tracks such as The Pie, which perhaps struck an affinity with many of its listeners because of its subject matter.
By the time their second album was released, the Sutherlands were proving themselves to be a strong pair of songwriters with exceptionally tight vocals. Their voices harmonised beautifully and their songs had a splendid lyrical quality. If anything, their weakness was in getting together a group of musicians to perform live.

So, that is the story of what has become of that fledgling band which sang a whimsical little story about a dog named Smokey Blue back in the late '60's - owing much to a much older composer's famous symphony. I am very pleased to acknowledge the talent of the Sutherlands (and that of the other equally talented members of the original group, "The Mysteries") and, of course, keep the memory of Smokey Blue alive today.

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14 14


Marie, Marie Flore was a small girl of ten
whom I met in the south end of France.
Stepping out of the crowd was the daughter
of someone with flowers for me, we were friends at a glance.
She spoke no English but sat by my side in the car
and pointed out places en route to the village of Arles.

Marie, Marie Flore came to table that night
as I dined in an ancient hotel.
The room was all fitted with things from the seventeenth century
and they suited her well.
She would eat nothing but sat in her chair like a queen
and laughed at my French but seemed always to know what I'd mean.

Marie, Marie Flore came to hear me that night
when I sang for the people of Arles.
She stood back in the shadows of a ruined arena,
her frame in my mind was never too far.
In the rush that did follow I found she was holding my hand
and ushering me through an evening the elders had planned.

Marie, Marie Flore, I will always remember
your eyes, your smile and your grace.
The gold that flowed with your laughter remains
to enlighten the image I have of your face.
For I have seen children with faces much wiser than time,
and you, my Marie, are most certainly one of this kind.

Marie, Marie Flore, all the odds say I see you again
by plan or by chance.
But if not you'll be there when I'm dreaming of rain over Paris
or sun on the south end of France.
Marie, Marie, Marie Flore.


Right - Story Time, ladies and gentlemen. Firstly, a fact or two. Joan Baez is the only solo female singer featured until position no. 79. That's a little unfair on the girls, but ladies are represented by Abba & the Beautiful South! From the early 60's with "We Shall Overcome" to the 90's with "Ring Them Bells", Miss Baez has been gracing my record collection. I've seen her immaculate performances live on stage, and I have always loved her beautifully clear, pure voice.

Joan Baez has always been my favourite female singer and I have always championed her varied and worthwhile causes. The song I've chosen to represent Joan is a track from her exceptional album, "Blessed Are.....". It is an unusual track, in that it is a "two-in-one" performance. A smooth, flowing orchestral piece leads effortlessly into the vocal second part. And there a story emerges.

Told in some detail on my webpage "La Belle France - Arles", let me elucidate further. I get the wanderlust at various times of the year! I can usually satisfy my cravings by fixing up a short break - usually in France. It was Easter 1991, and I was wondering where I could spend a few days in my favourite country. TV was on, but nothing in particular that Good Friday, so I started channel-surfing the old Astra satellite channels when there were loads of terrible German channels available! One such channel was showing a French film subtitled into German, and I was momentarily attracted to what was a beautiful old town featured in the film. Where was this magical place?

I had to wait a good hour for the credits to roll. It was a place called Arles. Now, co-incidentally, that morning I had played Joan Baez's "Blessed Are...." and one of the tracks is a story about Arles - "Marie Flore". OK, that's it - I had to see Arles for myself. It was not a disappointment, and the "old town" with the Roman Arena and other antiquities is a joy to behold. I enjoyed that first trip to Provence immensely.

So, "Marie Flore" has a special place in my heart for being instrumental in introducing me to a lovely part of France, but it is also a very delicate and mysterious little song in its own right. I didn't meet Marie Flore when I sat at the cafes which surround the ancient arena, but then I didn't expect to. But I could feel the magic of a Joan Baez performance in the beauty of the famous ruins, and shortly after this track was first featured on my website, I received a lovely email from Marie-Flore Bernard - the actual lucky little girl who met Joan Baez all those years ago. Of course, she is now a charming, beautiful woman with her own presence on the internet. I wonder if the wonderful Joan Baez will ever appear again at that Roman Arena in stunning Arles.

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15 15


Your baby doesn't love you anymore

Golden days before they end,
Whisper secrets to the wind
Your baby won't be near you anymore.

Tender nights before they fly
And falling stars that seem to cry
Your baby doesen't want you anymore
It's over.

It breaks your heart in two
To know she's been untrue
But, oh what will you do?
When she says to you there's someone new
We're through, we're through.

It's over
It's over
it's over

All the rainbows in the sky
Start to weep and say goodbye
You won't be seeing rainbows anymore.

Setting suns before they fall
They come to you. That's all, that's all
But you'll see lonely sunsets after all.
It's over, It's over, it's over
It's over.


"It's Over" came as a bit of a surprise. It was, as you can imagine, released in 1964 right slap bang at the height of Beatlemania.

All thoughts of American superstars had been effectively removed from the consciousness of the British teenager by the proliferation of Beatle clones from all over the UK. Even the most average of British bands were notching up chart successes and airplay on Radio Luxembourg, to the exclusion of just about everything else.

Now, Roy Orbison hadn't had a number one hit for some time and had not - could not - hope to copy the Mersey sound. The "Big O" was so unique that he was, to many, completely out of fashion. The big ballad was not a thing the image-conscious youngsters were buying. Then in April 1964, out of the blue, "It's Over" started climbing the charts. Taking it steadily, you might say, it moved closer the coveted no. 1 slot. You can imagine that I was very pleased, as Roy was a gigantic favourite of mine. Roy was like the slightly older cousin who you thought of in rather respectful terms, and you dared to hope would do really well. Cilla Black had been no. 1 with easily her best record, "You're My World", for a month when at the height of mid-summer, just a few days after the longest day, the impossible happened. Roy hit the top spot.

As far as I was concerned, that summer was made. I was ecstatic. Of course, the British domination soon returned and the next number ones were from the Animals, Rolling Stones, Beatles, Manfred Mann, Honeycombs, Kinks & Herman's Hermits! But Roy Orbison had done it. I've described later in this Top 100 how much Roy means to me as a singer, but what a joy for all his fans to be able to recall that little piece of history as the hot summer days of 1964 moved on towards autumn and winter.

Oh, by the way, guess who was number one later that year after all those British groups! Yes, it was Roy Orbison again, with "Oh Pretty Woman". What a man!

We didnít really appreciate Roy as much as we should have when he was with us. This gentle, softly-spoken Texan was a mighty colossus in modern American popular music. Iím glad that shortly before he died, some great contemporary musicians, including George Harrison, told him just how good he really was. His songs were pop classics and his soaring vocal range almost unsurpassed in modern times. Iím sad because he didnít live long enough to enjoy his resurgence in the charts.

When God was handing out talent, he endowed so much on Roy Orbison, and that voice is still heard regularly on radio as todayís DJsí continue to play his songs - and so they should!

It was a privilege to have seen Roy perform live on the several occasions that I did between 1963 and 1989. The remarkable canon of work recorded by Roy Orbison is tied not to any one decade but virtually to the entire lifespan of rock 'n roll. He began his career in the '50's, a friend and contemporary of Elvis Presley; he shared billings in Britain with The Beatles in the '60's; saw his work covered by the likes of Linda Ronstadt in the '70's; watched as his classic In Dreams became a keystone of David Lynch's film Blue Velvet. His posthumous album Mystery Girl - became the biggest selling album of his illustrious career. Roy Orbison remains as one of rock's truly legendary figures: a consistent talent whose influence grows with each passing year. His is a combination of voice and songs that, harnessed together, unleash a rare power which grabs listeners by the heart and holds them forever enthralled.

Orbison's was a special talent no better acknowledged than by Bruce Springsteen when inducting Roy into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1987.

"In 1975, when I went in to the studio to make Born To Run, I wanted to make a record with words like Bob Dylan that sounded like Phil Spector. But, most of all, I wanted to sing like Roy Orbison."

Born Roy Kelton Orbison on April 23rd 1936, he grew up in the heart of the Texas oil fields. He began playing and singing with local bands - his first was with The Wink Westerners.Roy moved on to The Teen Kings who - at Norman Petty's studio in Clovis, New Mexico - recorded a single which was only released locally. Acting on Johnny Cash's advice, Roy sent a copy of the song - Ooby Dooby - to Sun Records' founder Sam Phillips. Phillips liked what he heard, Roy drove to Memphis, and by June 1956 Sun had released its first Roy Orbison hit single.

Roy's time at Sun was not, however, particularly happy. Only his debut single - the recut version of Ooby Dooby - made any kind of chart impression. Other Sun cuts - Sweet and Easy To Love, Chicken Hearted and Rock House - were upbeat and went against the grain. Years later, Orbison recalled his earliest meetings with Sam Phillips who had played him some previously recorded Sun singles.

"He wasn't talking my language. I wasn't sophisticated but I was university educated. And, when he brought out the first record (Arthur Crudup's That's Alright) and the second (Mystery Train) he said, 'now sing like that.' If he'd have said 'sing with the same emotion, the same feeling in everything that you do that this man is doing' then I would have said 'I understand exactly what you mean.' But, I didn't understand what he meant, I didn't know what he was getting at. I couldn't sing like that. I had already been in the business a good while and I was patterned in my own way."

Roy left Sun in 1957 and signed to music publishers Acuff-Rose, convinced his true calling was as a songwriter. Indeed, his song Claudette - written while at Sun - was a Top Thirty hit for the Everly Brothers in 1958. A brief stint with RCA followed but neither of the Chet Atkins produced singles he recorded met with much success. Nonetheless, Roy's star was soon to be in the ascendant following a conversation between his manager Wesley Rose and a former Mercury promotion man, Fred Foster. Foster had heard a record by Warren Smith on Sun - Rock and Roll Ruby. "Fred thought I'd recorded that and so he signed me, thinking I was someone else!" said Roy.

Orbison, nonetheless, found his niche with Foster's newly formed label - Monument, beginning with the 1960 hit Up Town - one of the very first Nashville sessions to incorporate strings as opposed to fiddles. "Foster was smart enough to get out of the way at the right time. He didn't say 'sound like this' or 'play it this way.' He just knew what sounded good to him. Which is the best producer you can have. Whatever sounds beautiful to the producer is fantastic," Roy remembered.

On a songwriting level, Orbison began collaborating with fellow Texan Joe Melson. Beginning with Up Town, the pair had a long and extremely productive writing partnership. Of Roy's first 15 top 40 hits, six were penned by the Orbison/Melson team. They included the breakthrough record, Only The Lonely (Know How I Feel); a pure gold fusion of R&B and country which narrowly missed out on hitting number one in America.

In Britain, however, it didn't just top the charts but remained in the Top 40 for nearly 6 months. Only The Lonely is, of course, the song regarded by many as the starting point of Roy's classic ballad sound. Most of the hits that would follow - such as Running Scared, Crying, Dream Baby, In Dreams and It's Over - contained a vivid combination of hurtful romantic longing combined with near-operatic vocals that established Roy as a truly unique talent. But, as Orbison would stress repeatedly, his hits were by no means a catalogue of sad songs or romantic tragedy. "On balance, I'd say it was at least fifty-fifty. Dream Baby, Mean Woman Blues, Running Scared, even Pretty Woman has a happy ending!".

Eight top ten hits in the four years between 1960 and 1964 paved the way for the biggest selling record of his career, Oh, Pretty Woman. Estimated to have sold over 7 million copies in 1964 alone, it topped the American charts for three weeks, holding at bay the British invasion by bands such as The Animals and Manfred Mann. In Britain, it gave Roy his second straight Number One (It's Over had dominated the UK charts in the spring of '64) and, like its predecessor, remained on the chart for over four months.

While he was the only American vocalist to ride out the British invasion, Orbison also toured Britain regularly, initially sharing a bill with The Beatles (who, at that time, were by and large unknowns in America). "I messed up the first day I got there. I walked out in this little theatre and they had Beatles placards everywhere, life-size ones. And I said, 'what's all this? What is a Beatle anyway?' and John Lennon said, 'I'm one'. He was standing right behind me."

The Beatles, of course, were hugely influenced by Orbison and their slow-tempo version of Please Please Me was very much a tribute to him.

In 1965, Orbison signed to MGM, lured by a lucrative deal that also offered the potential of Presley-level movie stardom. Indeed, he did star in 1968's The Fastest Guitar Alive but MGM were getting in to financial trouble and Orbison's rich vein of hits began to dry up. To compound this, Roy's private life was marred when - in the midst of reconciliation with his ex-wife, Claudette, she was killed in a motor-cycle accident. Two years later in 1968, two of Roy's sons were killed in a housefire.

Reduced to touring clubs, Roy returned to his country roots and recorded for Mercury and Asylum in the '70's. His reputation as an influential master, however, began to soar once again via covers of his earlier work. Linda Ronstadt set the ball rolling with Blue Bayou (1977) and three years later, Roy won a Grammy for his duet with Emmylou Harris (That Loving You Feeling Again.) A year later, Don McLean scored with Crying, but real success came Roy's way again when his re-recording of the 1963 hit In Dreams became a pivotal element of David Lynch's 1986 movie, Blue Velvet.

Signing to Virgin, and with all of his old original recordings embroiled in bankruptcy proceedings, Orbison set about re-recording his songs "just so's they would be available" and released a double-set - In Dreams. In 1987, Roy was inducted in to the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame and within twelve months had become a member of the Traveling Wilburys alongside Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and George Harrison. With his career rejuvenated, Orbison fronted the extraordinary TV special recorded at the Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles - Roy Orbison and Friends: Black and White Night. Roy's friends, who became his backing band, were indeed stellar - Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, kd lang, Elvis Costello, T-Bone Burnett, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, J.D. Souther, Jennifer Warnes and more.

In December 1988, Roy died, suddenly, from a heart attack. Among the multitude of artists he had influenced paying tribute, U2's Bono summed up many feelings when he said, "Writing for him was like writing for Elvis, who was the only comparable vocal talent. His great gift was to turn the pain and bad luck that he experienced into ground breaking songs."

Bono, of course, had written She's A Mystery To Me especially for Roy - released after his death, it gave Orbison his last Top 30 hit in Britain. Paul McCartney simply said,

"He was and always will be one of the greats of rock 'n roll."

Posthumously released in 1989, Roy's Mystery Girl album became the biggest selling record of his career. That success was sparked by two more top ten hits, You Got It (written by fellow Wilburys' Petty and Jeff Lynne) and I Drove All Night. In 1992, Virgin released King Of Hearts, a collection of previously unissued songs.

In 1997, Orbison Records released several significant Roy Orbison recordings. Greatest Hits - In Dreams, a special nineteen song collection was re-recorded for superior sound. The historic Cocoanut Grove performance, Black And White Night was made available on CD and VHS. And a 60's television appearance by Roy and band was captured on Combo Concert 1965 Holland. In June, 1999, The Anthology was released, along with a companion home video documenting Roy's body of work over five decades.

Additional releases from Orbison Records, featuring rare or previously unavailable performances by Roy Orbison are planned for the future. Roy Orbison's flame will continue to burn brightly for decades to come.

Roy Orbison - a lovely man and a very special singer.

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16 16


Take it easy with me, please
Touch me gently like a summer evening breeze
Take your time, make it slow
Andante, Andante
Just let the feeling grow

Make your fingers soft and light
Let your body be the velvet of the night
Touch my soul, you know how
Andante, Andante
Go slowly with me now

I'm your music
(I am your music and I am your song)
I'm your song
(I am your music and I am your song)
Play me time and time again and make me strong
(Play me again 'cause you're making me strong)
Make me sing, make me sound
(You make me sing and you make me...)
Andante, Andante
Tread lightly on my ground
Andante, Andante
Oh please don't let me down

There's a shimmer in your eyes
Like the feeling of a thousand butterflies
Please don't talk, go on, play
Andante, Andante
And let me float away

I'm your music
(I am your music and I am your song)
I'm your song
(I am your music and I am your song)
Play me time and time again and make me strong
(Play me again 'cause you're making me strong)
Make me sing, make me sound
(You make me sing and you make me...)
Andante, Andante
Tread lightly on my ground
Andante, Andante
Oh please don't let me down

Make me sing, make me sound
(You make me sing and you make me...)
Andante, Andante
Tread lightly on my ground
Andante, Andante
Oh please don't let me down
Andante, Andante
Oh please don't let me down...


Why is "Andante Andante" my favourite ABBA track? Simple really - lovely tune, nice associations in the lyrics, perfect vocals, fabulous musical arrangement. And, not familiar enough to have become boring. You donít hear "Andante Andante" as often as "Dancing Queen", "Money, Money, Money" or "The Winner Takes It All". Not that this trio of smash hits are in any way boring, but they are very well known indeed, arenít they?

This is yet another triumphant track from "Super Trouper" (great album, what?). Iíve written just about everything that there is to say about Benny, Bjorn, Anni-frid and Agnetha on the other featured ABBA track (no. 27), so thatís all folks on this occasion. Abba are with us for ever!

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17 17


He's five foot two and he's six foot four,
He fights with missiles and with spears,
He's all of 31 and he's only 17,
He's been a soldier for a thousand years.

He's a Catholic, a Hindu, an atheist, a Jain,
A Buddhist, and a Baptist and a Jew,
And he knows he shouldn't kill and he knows he always will,
Kill you for me, my friend, and me for you.

He's fighting for Canada,
He's fighting for France,
He's fighting for the USA,
And he's fighting for the Russians,
And he's fighting for Japan,
And he thinks he'll put an end to war this way.

He's fighting for democracy, he's fighting for the Reds,
He's says itís for the peace of all,
He's the one who must decide who's to live and who's to die,
And he never sees the writing on the wall.

But without him how would Hitler have condemned him at Dachau,
Without him Caesar would have stood alone,
He's the one who gives his body as a weapon to a war,
And without him all this killing can't go on.

He's the universal soldier and he is really is to blame,
But his orders come from far away no more,
They come from here and there and you and me,
And brothers, can't you see,

This is not the way to put an end to war?


"The Universal Soldier", composed in 1964 by Canadian Cree Indian folk singer Buffy Sainte-Marie, is, in her own words, "about individual responsibility for war and how the old feudal thinking kills us all". Buffy has focused, in her long and varied career, on the rights and issues of the Americas indigenous peoples. Donovan released her song on an E.P. in the UK in 1965 and it was a massive hit both in the UK and the United States.

Relevant at the time of it's release to the Vietnam war, it is possible to relate it not only to modern day conflicts but to all conflicts throughout history and to those who blindly support and follow such causes. Protest songs - largely performed by 1960's social peace-minded folk artistes - were an important tool in the United States peace movement at that time. Artists like Bob Dylan, Peter Paul & Mary, Joan Baez, Bob Seeger and many more lesser names used song as an effective, legitimate way of voicing the views of the millions of us opposing war in all its guises.

It can be argued that Buffy Sainte-Marie went a stage further when she penned this song, for it faces head-on the indisputable fact that wars, planned by those "in power" could not be fought, won or lost if there were no-one willing to take up arms on their behalf - the soldier. So the individual "soldier" bears an equal responsibility with those in power.

Whether today, with all the technical advances available to them, warmongers, dictators etc. would actually need the human fodder fighting conventionally for their causes is open to question. In the 60's I was one of millions around the world frightened of the consequences of modern, conventional warfare. I supported those who were brave enough to declare their pacifist beliefs and I bought many protest songs. Now, in my 70's, I still support the views expressed in those songs. I abhor war and I lay the blame for those who have created a dangerous world equally with all countries leaders and all those who are prepared to take up arms as a chosen profession - however moral the cause - for perpetuating conflict and enabling the leaders to carry out their goals.

However, having said that, I am a realist and fully understand that it is impossible to achieve a conflict-free world. It cannot and will not happen and eventually our beautiful planet will succumb - but nothing should stop me having my own views on what Iíd really wish for. And I wish no-one would take up arms, anywhere, for any reason - including patriotism and as a career.

I have tried to keep my website free from "controversy" (thereís enough of that on the internet!), but it would have been remiss of me not to put my choice of "The Universal Soldier" into proper context. There are reasons why Iíve chosen these 100 songs and Donovanís massive hit is high in that list because he interprets the song simply, direct yet powerfully and I concur with every single word. Today, even if it persuades just one young person from taking up arms as a profession, then thatís OK by me.

May I point you to Buffy's website in which she interprets the words to her thought-provoking protest song - www.creative-native.com (Buffyís website - then click the Music page). I fail to see how any decent, peace-loving human being could fail to agree with both the words and the explanations provided, can you?

A few years after "The Universal Soldier", Rod McKuen released a protest song near the end of that Vietnam war which brought into focus the feelings of the "draft" of frightened and unwilling conscripts. He sang, "Soldiers who want to be heroes number practically zero, but there are millions who want to be civilians". Says it all, doesnít it? Just think - if every soldier, everywhere, laid down his or her arms and joined all those who refuse to fight. "Imagine", as John Lennon sang, just "Imagine". Donovan soon after left the Folk Music Protest scene behind to explore more colourful experiences!

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18 18


I can see you're slipping away from me
And you're so afraid I'll plead with you to stay
But I'm gonna be strong and let you go your way

Our love is gone, there's no sense in holding on
'cause your pity now would be too much to bear
So I'm gonna be strong and pretend I don't care

I'm gonna be strong and stand as tall as I can
Yes, I'm gonna be strong and let you run along and take it like a man

When you say it's the end I'll just hand you a line
I'll smile and say Don't you worry, I'm fine
And you'll never know, darling, after you kiss me goodbye
How I'll break down and cry.


You will learn later in this chart (see Entry no. 24) how I "discovered" the late and very sadly missed Gene Pitney, and how much I thought of him back in those unforgettable 60's. I have every intention of doing a top 20 of just Gene's recordings one day soon, and right at the top of the pile is "I'm Gonna Be Strong".

By the time this was released, as far as I was concerned Gene could record a song backwards with laryngitis and I'd have raved about it! He just didn't make anything other than fantastic records, so as I waited for a first hearing of this song back in the winter of 1964, I'd already put it in the "classic" category. Actually, I'd done that before with other artists I liked, and when the time came to pass judgement on the song in question - well, suffice it to say that I was a little let down.

You didn't get pre-release airplays of songs back in `64, so we had to wait for the discs to arrive in the shops to hear them for the first time. So........10 seconds after "I'm Gonna Be Strong" burst out over the loudspeakers in Lock's Record Shop in Station Road one pre-Christmas Friday lunchtime (I recall with great affection Mr & Mrs Pascoe, Eileen Gibbs and staff at Locks - I expect they would remember my prodigious spending and often strange orders for records that they didn't have in stock!) there was no doubts at all. This was Gene's best.

No arguments either about my judgement from the "Radlet Clan". Even those who hadn't admitted any liking for my chosen star before actually agreed that this was a good `un! Shortly after its' release, we saw Gene live at the Exeter Odeon and chased his car through the streets after the second house concert, but didn't manage to catch up with it - so no autograph, I'm afraid.

In those days, there was no time for encores, but the cheers for this song were long and genuine. The classic Pitney ending adorns the song. How did he reach those notes? It's funny, you know, even today I get goose-pimples when I hear the words "I can see you're slipping away from me". That tells me something - I rate this song very highly indeed.

One of the most interesting and difficult-to-categorize singers in '60s pop, Gene Pitney had a long run of hits, distinguished by his pained, one-of-a-kind melodramatic pitch. Pitney was a successful '60s artist, scoring 16 top forty songs in the USA from 1961 to 1968, and forty such songs in the UK all the way up to 1974. Gene Francis Alan Pitney was born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1941, but spent most of his youth in Rockville, Connecticut. Pitney studied piano, guitar, and drums while at Rockville High School while performing with his group, "The Genials" and had written and published some songs. By the time he had dropped out of the University of Connecticut he was performing with Ginny Arnell as the male half of Jamie and Jane, then as singer/songwriter under the name Billy Brian for "Blaze Records" and under his own name for "Festival Records" in 1961. Pitney broke into the music business as a songwriter in his late teens, getting his first taste of success when Rick Nelson had a hit with "Hello Mary Lou" and "Rubber Ball" for Bobby Vee in 1961. In 1962, he wrote "He's a Rebel" for the Crystals and became friends with producer Phil Spector. He also wrote for Roy Orbison and Tommy Edwards.

Yearning for a hit of his own, in 1961 Pitney went into a small four-track studio on 7th avenue in New York, and for a cost of thirty dollars, played and overdubbed every instrument and multitracked his vocals. The result was his first hit "(I Wanna) Love My Life Away" (#39, 1961). This attracted the attention of songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David who co-wrote "Only Love Can Break a Heart," "(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance," and "24 Hours from Tulsa" for him. Other than Dionne Warwick, he was the best interpreter of Bacharach-David's early compositions. Another 1961 single, Goffin-King's "Every Breath I Take," was produced by Phil Spector, and is one of the very first examples of his pull-out-the-stops Wall of Sound productions. Pitney didn't really find his metier, however, until late-1961's "Town Without Pity," which became his first Top 20 entry. Pitney's label, "Musicor Records" was primarily involved in country and western music and Pitney began recording material in that vein.

In 1964 Pitney's publicist, Andrew Loog Oldham, introduced him to the Rolling Stones, whom he produced. He recorded the Jagger-Richards composition "The Girl Belongs to Yesterday". Pitney assisted in the recording of their 12 X 5 album. With Phil Spector, Pitney sat in during a 1964 Rolling Stone recording session, during which they recorded "Not Fade Away", had a brief fling with a teenage Marianne Faithfull, and recorded songs by Randy Newman and Al Kooper long before those musicians became famous.

Pitney withstood the initial onslaught of the British Invasion fairly well, scoring Top 10 hits in 1964 with "It Hurts to Be in Love" and "I'm Gonna Be Strong." The same year he began recording albums in foreign languages. In 1965 and 1966, Pitney recorded country albums with George Jones and Melba Montgomery, scoring country hits with "I've Got Five Dollars and It's Saturday Night" and "Louisiana Mama" with Jones and "Baby Ain't That Fine" with Montgomery. By 1966, though, his popularity was fading stateside. Ironically, by this time he was a much bigger star in Britain, making the U.K. Top 10 six times in 1965-66. He could also depend on a faithful international audience throughout Europe, and frequently recorded in Italian and Spanish for overseas markets. In 1966, he became one of the first artists to reach success with Randy Newman compositions, taking "Nobody Needs Your Love" and "Just One Smile" into the British Top 10.

Pitney remained a prolific recording artist, putting out many albums a year in America in the mid-Sixties. Tremendously popular in Italy too, he recorded albums of country tunes in Italian. His last chart hit in America was in 1969, but he continued to to hit the U.K. charts until 1974, and continued to tour Britain and Europe, avoiding the oldies revival shows.

In 1970, after spending nearly a decade on the road (eleven months of every year), Gene decided to drastically cut back on his touring commitments. "I had a family at home, two boys starting to grow up, and I was getting a guilt complex about not being there with them. So I decided to make a six-month commitment to touring and spend the rest of the time at home with the family." He decided to quit the long tours of the US and, without meaning to, increasingly found himself in countries other than America due to his love of exotic travel. "There is nothing more exciting to me than to get on that airplane and know I'm going to get off in a totally different country, in a different part of the world." His annual tours of Britain, Europe, and Australia became a way of life. With every tour proving a sellout, the plan was an outstanding success.

In 1983, when an agent gently twisted his arm, Gene embarked on his first North American Tour in over a dozen years. It became a huge personal triumph. Gene Pitney was back "with a vengeance" even though he'd never been away. In the last few years, many exciting things have happened to Gene in both the studio and performance. In 1993, Gene played the prestigious CARNEGIE HALL in New York City the day THE WORLD TRADE CENTER was bombed. Gene Says, "New Yorkers, being New Yorkers, still gave us a sold-out show. No one stayed away!" The tour of the UK in the same year completely sold out, closing at the beautiful LONDON PALLADIUM. 1994 GENE saw tours in the UK and Australia, the latter closing at the BURSEWOOD CASINO in PERTH. In 1995, Gene worked the crowds at THE TAJ MAHAL in ATLANTIC CITY, NJ, and did a two-part, 46-day tour in the UK in May/June and Oct/Nov. During 1996, he performed at the UNIVERSAL AMPHITHEATER in Los Angeles and then moved onto a twenty-city concert tour of AUSTRALIA, followed by a quick trip to Catania, Italy.

1997 was another busy year with shows in LAS VEGAS, ATLANTIC CITY, FOXWOODS RESORT, ST. LOUIS, KANSAS CITY, BOSTON, THE NEW YORK STATE FAIR, and another twenty-city concert tour of AUSTRALIA, finishing at the new MELBOURNE CASINO. 1998 saw Pitney continuing to tour as his composition, "HE'S A REBEL" received a BMI MILLIONAIRE AWARD for having surpassed one million airplays in the US. 1999 saw another sellout tour of AUSTRALIA and ended with a twenty-four-city concert tour of ENGLAND, finishing at the beautiful LONDON PALLADIUM.

Very sadly, Gene passed away on 5th April 2006, in Cardiff, midway through another sell-out tour of the United Kingdom. He had lived in Connecticut, not far from where he was raised, in a big rambling Dutch Colonial house set in an old apple orchard, with his wife, Lynne, whom he married in 1966. He will be very sadly missed by fans all over the world. A true legend in popular music in the 20th Century.

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19 19


Didn't I say I wasn't ready for a romance
Didn't we promise we would only be friends
And so we danced though it was only a slow dance
I started breaking my promises right there and then

Didn't I swear there would be no complications
Didn't you want someone who's seen it all before
Now that you're here it's not the same situation
Suddenly I don't remember the rules anymore

This night is mine, it's only you and I
Tomorrow, is a long time away
This night can last forever

I've been around, someone like me should know better
Falling in love would be the worst thing I could do
Didn't I say I needed time to forget her
Aren't you running from someone who's not over you

How many nights have I been lonely without you
I tell myself how much I really don't care
How many nights have I been thinking about you
Wanting to hold you but knowing you would not be there

This night you're mine, it's only you and I
I'll tell you to forget yesterday
This night we are together

This night is mine, it's only you and I
Tomorrow is such a long time away
This night can last forever

Tomorrow is such a long time away
This night can last forever


Here's a song from two great composer/songwriters. It just happens that they come from different eras and different cultures, and are as different as chalk and cheese!

Billy Joel - a very American American whose music is, well, very........ American! His co-writer on "This Night", a track from one of the best albums of the century, "An Innocent Man", is a deaf German who knew how to pen a good tune or two - Ludwig v. Beethoven.

You knew you'd heard that tune somewhere before didn't you? It's the 2nd Movement of the Sonata No. 8 in C. Minor, known as the "Pathetique". Billy Joel has done a great job marrying together pop and classic, old and new, and has produced an unforgettable arrangement.

"This Night" has been chosen for no other reason than it's a fantastic song by a fantastic singer. Billy is one of a rare breed, in my view. He makes fine, commercial, timeless albums which are packed full of variations of styles ranging from hard-edged "contemporary" rock to gentle love songs - and he's not averse to a power ballad or two on the way either. But above all, he is the consummate stage performer. He is even better live than on record. I regret that I have never got to a concert by a man who is as dynamic as he is deep and thoughtful. I have to make do with video tapes of his performances, and even through the tv screen, you can sense an aura - a presence - which is unique to Billy Joel. I'd go as far as to name him in the top 3 of all the all-time greats live, on stage.

The great Billy Joel is undoubtedly one of the 20th century's premier artists. I'd love the chance to see him live on stage - oh!, I really, really would.

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20 20


As the snow flies
On a cold and grey Chicago morn
A poor little baby child is born
In the ghetto
And his mama cries

'Cause if there's one thing that she don't need
It's another hungry mouth to feed
In the ghetto
Oh people, don't you understand
The child needs a helping hand
Or he'll grow to be an angry young man some day
Now take a look at you and me
Are we too blind to see
Do we simply turn our heads
And look the other way

Well the world turns
And a hungry little boy with a runny nose
Plays in the street as the cold wind blows
In the ghetto
And his hunger burns

So he starts to roam the streets at night
And he learns how to steal
And he learns how to fight
In the ghetto

Then one night in desperation
The young man breaks away
He buys a gun, and he steals a car
Tries to run, but he don't get far
And his mama cries

As a crowd gathers 'round an angry young man
Face down in the street with a gun in his hand
In the ghetto
And as her young man dies
On a cold and grey Chicago mornin'
Another little baby child is born
In the ghetto

And his mama cries


So, we reach the final track in my Top 20. There is absolutely no need to introduce Elvis Presley to anyone, anywhere, ever! The ďKingĒ has sold more records, had more hits and more number oneís than any other recording artist in history. From 1956 to today, this phenomenon has set the bench-mark for all artists, and his popularity and success is unlikely ever to be equalled or surpassed.

His early rock & roll successes are legendary but for me it was, inevitably, a strong ballad (ďDonítĒ) that first drew me to Presley. I was 12 years old when I first heard that song coming from a house in Wilfred Terrace - the lodger in that abode played her ďgramophoneĒ loud, and we kids often sat outside listening to the latest sounds. Often I shouted to Audrey, imploring her to play ďDonítĒ, not really relating to (or fully understanding) the lyrics! I just loved the sound.
Through the early 60ís, Elvisís singles found their way into my collection, almost always on the day of release. Perhaps Iíve moved on to other things, but a later release, ďIn The GhettoĒ, makes it to no. 20 in my All-time Favourites.

In 1969, Presley wasnít the biggest draw anymore and I hadnít bought a single of his in a while. Then, out of the blue, came this powerful, somewhat controversial song - and I was mightily impressed. It always reminds me of a charming little 11-year-old, Pamela, who was a friend of a loyal Boysí Club member at the time. She came to me when I played it at the local ďDisco EveningĒ for the lads & their girl-friends and solemnly informed me that it was her favourite record of all time! I was impressed that one so young could be so affected by the powerful lyrics and sentiment, as it was some time before social issues became more prevalent in pop songs.
Elvis Presley will live forever in the many wonderful songs he recorded. Times will change - Elvis never will.

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