The unexpected success of Thunderclap Newman’s 1969 hit single “Something in the Air”

The song produced by Pete Townshend peaked to No.1 in 1969

The unexpected success of Thunderclap Newman’s 1969 hit single “Something in the Air”

Written by Speedy Keen who also sang the lead vocals, “Something In The Air” by Thunderclap Newman remains one of the quintessential 1960’s songs. Released in May, 1969 backed with “Wilhelmina”, this absolute Rock classic was produced by The Who’s Pete Townshend, who also played bass guitar on it under the pseudonym Bijou Drains. Townshend was in fact the catalyst behind the formation of Thunderclap Newman, in what started to be a concept band with songs uniquely written by drummer and singer Speedy Keen, who also had written The Who’s “Armenia City in the Sky”, the first track on the 1967 album “The Who Sell Out”. Pete recruited the jazz pianist Andy “Thunderclap” Newman, an old friend of his and the 15 year old guitarist Jimmy McCulloch (later of The Wings). “Something in the Air”, that was originally titled “Revolution” but was renamed to avoid confusion with The Beatles song of the same name, surprisingly peaked to the top of the charts worldwide, and in the U.K, went No.1 on July 2, 1969, where it remained for three weeks. The song’s success surprised everyone involved in the project and so, with no plans to tour, Thunderclap Newman released only one album, “Hollywood Dream” in 1970, which included “Something in the Air”.

Look back at a rare appearance of Thunderclap Newman performing “Something in the Air”, at the Beat Club German TV Show in 1969

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