Friday, April 19, 2024

Author: Gareth Jones

In praise of Michel Polnareff

A superstar in his native land for nearly sixty years, a colossal star in Japan, but despite living for many years in the United States, Michel Polnareff is disappointingly little-known in the English-speaking world.

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Sooner or Later: The great lost power pop song of The Innocents

“Sooner or Later” is one of the great, lost power pop 45s. Issued, according to various discographies, in June 1980, just as the Australian winter set in, it had everything a great 45 should have: a catchy hook, strong lead voice delivering simple, engaging lyrics, counterpoint vocals, polished harmonies, a tidy guitar riff and an endearing sense of joie de vivre that every band wants to emulate but which very few can manage.

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Who was the first recording artist to cover a Beatles song?

Sixty one years ago, on 11 January 1963, The Beatles released their second single, and the world would never quite be the same again. A few days after its release, it entered the UK charts, buoyed by a television appearance on Thank Your Lucky Stars. Climbing rapidly and continuously over the following weeks, it hit the top spot on the New Musical Express charts on 23 February, giving the band their first UK number one hit (don’t believe the Official Chart Company – it really was a number one hit!). By then, the band had already recorded their first album, and other artists were queuing up to cover their songs. Which leads to a conundrum, and a controversial quiz night question: Who was the first recording artist to cover a Beatles song?

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The Beach Boys: Holland

Fifty years ago on January 8th, The Beach Boys released their Holland LP. Their fourth album since leaving Capitol Records in 1970, it was also the third in a series of albums that had sought to move them away from the sun and surf image that had dogged them since the sixties and to reposition them as a serious, progressive music band.

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Fairyale Of New York

There are some songs that hit you like a bullet the first time you hear them, sweeping you away into their world and eating into your emotional core, only to be washed away with time as over-exposure, over-praise and over-familiarity dull their brilliance to the point where you could happily never hear them again.

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The Songs The Beatles Gave Away

Ever since the Beatles broke up in 1970, fans have spent countless hours imagining what the next album might have been like, if only they had stayed together. Trawl internet chatrooms, blogs and fan sites and you can find dozens, if not hundreds of suggestions.

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In praise of Del Shannon

A driving guitar. An other-worldly keyboard solo. A powerful, ballsy voice, breaking into a piercing falsetto. An eternal, lost love lyric. “Runaway” It’s one of the most recognisable rock ‘n’ roll songs on the planet, a golden oldie that no golden oldie show could ever be complete without. Emerging three years ahead of the British Invasion, Del Shannon has been (unfairly) miscast by history as a fifties throwback.

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Burt Bacharach, 1928-2023

Burt Bacharach and Hal David were perhaps the missing link, the tandem who rode the bridge from the old world to the new, bringing old-fashioned songcraft into the heart of the sixties pop revolution and crafting dozens of enduring classics along the way

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Adios, Renée, and thanks…

The Australian music industry was left a poorer place this week with the unexpected and devastating news of the passing of Renée Geyer at the terribly young age of 69. For fifty years, Renée was the yardstick against which other singers could measure themselves and would usually come up wanting. Bold, defiant, nobody’s fool, Renée blazed a trail for others to follow, although few could do so as soulfully and powerfully as she.

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