I was sitting around the other evening (I can do that with the TV relegated to some dusty corner of an upstairs room), when I suddenly remembered the first time I heard ‘Pretty Thing’ by Bo Diddley. It must have been in about 1963 as that was when it was released in the UK. He was performing the song on TV with his oblong Gretsch guitar.
I was very excited, especially by the intro, which I still think is one of the greats. Anyway, as result of this reminiscing I thought it might be fun to do a post, or maybe more, on my favourite song intros of all time. So here goes.By the way, these aren’t in any order except as I think of them.First in the list, of course, is:
Pretty Thing – Bo Diddley.
I love the way he uses tremolo to get that pulsating effect and how it then goes into the characteristic bo diddley beat before the vocal comes in.
Strawberry Fields Forever – The Beatles
Again, a song I first heard on TV. This was on Juke Box Jury in 1967. It was actually released on my 18th birthday. Again I was blown away and the intro is still mysterious and evocative. It’s a mellotron playing a flute sound but as it plays loops of tape with the sound recorded on them it doesn’t really sound that much like a flute.
Steve used to have a mellotron in the studio, a white one. But they are difficult to keep tuned and we didn’t really do anything with it.
Shot by Both Sides – Magazine
I remember buying the single, around the same time as ‘Orgasm Addict’ by Buzzcocks. I think the intro is just thrilling.
So that’s three to be going on with. I’ve got plenty more and I’ll no doubt put some more in a future post. In the meantime, what are your favourites? I’m sure they’ll be different to mine. I love to know what music turns people on. No doubt some of the songs you love I will never have heard, just as you might not have heard some of mine.
I had always thought that when we went to see the Mothers of Invention (that’s Steve and I) in Manchester in 1969 it was at the Free Trade Hall. I’ve just discovered, through the delights of google, that they actually played at the Palace Theatre in 1969 and didn’t play the Free Trade Hall until 1970. I know it was 1969 because of the lineup – Frank Zappa, Jimmy Carl Black, Don Preston, Roy Estrada, Euclid James Motorhead Sherwood, “Bunk” and “Buzz” Gardner, Ian Underwood and Art Tripp.
It was my first ‘big’ concert (I was 20, a slow starter) and Steve smuggled a tape recorder in and recorded the concert – it’s okay, statute of limitations and all that; anyway the tape, sadly, is long lost. They were on tour to publicise Uncle Meat, which had come out earlier that year.
I had been a fan since buying their first album, Freak Out, in Morecambe in 1967. I’d never heard of them – who had in Morecambe in 1967 – but the title, the band name and the sleeve shouted New! Strange! Different! – all magnets to me at 18 when any music that was unlike any I had heard before was, by default, worth a listen (just as an aside I remember my sister Jackie, who had moved to London, telling me about a record she had by the Stan Kenton Orchestra that was ‘really weird’ and promising to bring it up to Heysham for me. She eventually did bring it and it was weird and I didn’t like it). Continue reading →
I love my shed. It’s my own private world. Okay, it’s only about eight feet square with one window facing Half Moon Bay and a door to the back garden, but I can shut myself in here and not have to think about anything else. I’ve got a couple of comfy chairs in here and a small table and, of course, my record player (a Fergurson in a wooden case with a sort of grey leatherish lid. It’s five watts! You could buy an extension to plug in to make it stereo but I don’t have that.
In fact I’ve never heard stereo, the first time I hear a record in stereo is at my Swedish friend Mick’s flat on Euston Road. He puts on Yellow Submarine and it’s amazing, the voices moving across the room from left to right – or possibly right to left). Of course this is a long time ago and, my memory being what it is, which is mainly defunct, some of the facts may be wrong. But it’s my story and this is the way I’m telling it; think of it as a kind of unreliable biography.
But the shed is real – and the record player – and the window looking down to Half Moon Bay.Continue reading →