Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile AT: Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn Previous Previous Next Next
The food of ... well, play on despite that. - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
The food of ... well, play on despite that.

I’ve never made any secret of my having been born on Friday the 13th July 1962: the day Supermac sacked half the Cabinet.


The recent meme asking, in effect, What was TOTP the day you were born?, has caused me to reflect.  Mother being who she was, I was more aware of the fact that John Pritchard – appointed CBE that year – had the LPO that year; Monteux was at the LSO; dear old Sir John Barbirolli (seven years yet before being appointed CH), Glorious John, was in Manchester by choice – oddly enough – and had remade the Hallé; the RPO was now under Kempe’s baton, Beecham having died the year before; and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields was now three years old, under that mad young Marriner chap (not quite forty as yet).  One heard from New York that Leonard Bernstein and Gleen Gould were having an awful row.


My father was not particularly interested in music, beyond, say, Mr Acker Bilk (very popular then as now) and George Shearing, Marian McPartland and Humph: trad and swing were my father’s musics. 


Sinatra released an album of British standards – in the UK only, not in the States; Tony Bennett, Shirley Bassey, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nat King Cole were, quite rightly, dominant.


My birthday was rather on the cusp, so far as pop music went: Ray Charles,




followed by Frank Ifield:




(A novelty single featuring Wendy Richard had preceded Ray Charles in the top rank.  No, really.)


Interestingly enough, the US charts had seen David Rose and Bobby Vinton top the charts in the same period.


Now, what I find most intriguing about this period is how open things were.  There was no ‘ghettoisation’ of popular music: in 1962 in the US, both ‘Stranger on the shore’ – Mr Acker Bilk – and the Tornados’ ‘Telstar’ were number one hits; both were instrumental pieces.  The Tokens, Chubby Checker, Elvis, the Four Seasons, and Neil Sedaka all had a turn at the top in the US; in the UK, Cliff Richard, Frank Ifield, Elvis, and Ray Charles dominated.  Genre was irrelevant.


Oh, and the Beatles?  Couldn’t get signed by Decca, lost a member, fired a drummer, finally released a single in October.  The Stones were still making one another’s acquaintance.  And Booker T & the MGs were just forming (what did we do for Test matches before ‘Soul Limbo’?).


Truly, the past is a foreign country.

Tags: , , ,

22 comments or Leave a comment
leni_jess From: leni_jess Date: February 6th, 2010 10:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was *cough* around when that Frank Ifield song came out, and I still remember it pleasantly - possibly because of the scaling up towards the soprano area here and there (aka yodelling? heh). And I loved Telstar and Stranger on the Shore; luckily my brother has both. A good year, 1962!

Your reflections on the openness and lack of categorisation in popular music also take me back to what was, in that regard at least (possibly only), a happier time.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: February 6th, 2010 10:15 pm (UTC) (Link)

It was rather a good year.

In that regard at least, and quite possibly only, very much as you say.
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: February 7th, 2010 03:54 am (UTC) (Link)

I Haz Da Powah

I singlehandedly ended the Berlin Blockade. The number one song was one of those Gay-Nineties barbershop-quartet throwbacks. It took me weeks to replace it with "Ghost Riders in the Sky".

ETA: All us old folks like Acker Bilk...

Edited at 2010-02-07 04:00 am (UTC)
noeon From: noeon Date: February 7th, 2010 04:15 am (UTC) (Link)

I'd always wondered

Why the Platz der Luftbruecke had your name inscribed.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: February 7th, 2010 03:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

You Can Has Muttonburger.

And we can sit about and tut at the youth of today whilst you spin and knit and I tie trout flies or some damned thing, to Mr Acker Bilk on the wireless.
noeon From: noeon Date: February 7th, 2010 04:11 am (UTC) (Link)

Food for thought, certainly

I cannot imagine Sir Neville young. I know it's preposterous to get hung up on that detail among all. You had an excellent view of the world's stages.

I don't know whether they knew what a popular music chart was for in 1962. And there were so many genres poised to explode in that phase of music evolution. Not quite a Big Bang (or big band), but certainly a confluence of creative and burgeoning social forces. Or odd mish-mash, depending on the week.

If you'd written of Caruso and wax cylinders, I should have worried.

(Does that make you triskadekaphilic?)
wemyss From: wemyss Date: February 7th, 2010 02:59 pm (UTC) (Link)

As WC Fields put it ...

... 'I'd rather be in Triskadekaphiladelphia' - or at least not mired in superstition.

It was an odd time, wasn't it, caught-between-two-worlds and All That. Fortunately, serious music was as you observe stable and worthwhile, and I was privileged - down, Acafen! Sit! Stay! Good dog - I was privileged to be made free of it.
noeon From: noeon Date: February 7th, 2010 05:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

Hydrophobic Mr. Dukenfield

Would that not be the love of 13 brothers? Is that a monastic vocation? I've always found Friday the 13th to be quite lucky (opposite superstition, I suppose, but we can't all be free of our ancestral deisidaimonia).

Yes. Caught between several worlds with the Mafia, new recording technology, Barry Gordy, Mijnherr van Kuijk, novelty singles galore, not to mention Stax, Phonogram and the start of MCA.

And oh! the immortal "Green Onions"! It always makes me think of Cal. surf culture, which was right around the pop corner with Beach Boys "Surfer Girl" and Jan and Dean, "Surf City," in 1963.

Odd factlet #3,297: W. C. Fields' mother's maiden name was Felton.

wemyss From: wemyss Date: February 8th, 2010 04:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Che sanza speme Sir Viv in disio

I think you'll find that for most Britons, Booker T means one thing: 'Soul Limbo'; and 'Soul Limbo' means one thing: Test cricket.

femmequixotic From: femmequixotic Date: February 7th, 2010 04:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Stranger On The Shore...oh, how I love that song. It and Percy Faith's "Theme from A Summer's Place" make me want to put my hair up in a beehive, drape myself in a little black dress, and channel Hepburn's Holly Golightly.

Also, Ray Charles is awesome, although Georgia On My Mind is his best, I think.
noeon From: noeon Date: February 7th, 2010 02:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
So with you on "Georgia," although "Unchain My Heart" is all shades of amazing too.
femmequixotic From: femmequixotic Date: February 8th, 2010 04:07 am (UTC) (Link)
The man is wonderfully talented, really. Georgia has a soft spot though in my heart--I've the typical maudlin Southerner's sentimentality about the South, particularly having grown up an hour away from the South Carolina-Georgia border.... *g*

Van Morrison does a gorgeous cover of Georgia, BTW. I should send it to you.
noeon From: noeon Date: February 8th, 2010 04:22 am (UTC) (Link)
And honey, you know I have some of that maudlin sentimentality about the South as well and far less right to it, although I was born in southern Georgia. *g*

According to my father, "Sweet Home Alabama" is the national anthem.

OOOOH! Send the Van.
femmequixotic From: femmequixotic Date: February 8th, 2010 04:32 am (UTC) (Link)

Muscle Shoals has got The Swampers, and they've been known to pick a song or two.

All it takes are the first few opening thrums of Sweet Home Alabama to make me happy. And homesick. And more than ready to jump up and play air guitar, I'm half-ashamed to admit, but not really.

I'll email the Van to you as soon as I locate it. I must go diving through the collection for it...
noeon From: noeon Date: February 8th, 2010 04:39 am (UTC) (Link)

Lord they get me off so much. They pick me up when I'm feeling blue.

I used to listen to it ALL THE TIME when I was homesick for the U. S.

I still want to punch Kid Rock for singing that vocorded monstrosity about growing up in Michigan listening to SHA.

And go you on the name check, clever thing.
femmequixotic From: femmequixotic Date: February 8th, 2010 07:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Would you think terribly less of me if I admit I'm fond of his duet with Sheryl Crow?

I know, I know, but one has to have one's faults, after all. *g*
wemyss From: wemyss Date: February 8th, 2010 04:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

Does your conscience bother you?

Odd, how even online, the Americans I end by knowing are all either Southerners or New Yorkers.
noeon From: noeon Date: February 8th, 2010 04:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

American by birth, Southern by the grace of God

But I can't really claim genuine Southern. I was only born in the South and have a half-Southern lineage, but I'm very much a Northerner. My father is perpetually ashamed of having brought up Yankees.

Femme has the proper papers and breeding.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: February 7th, 2010 02:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

You really do want to do just that.

Timelessly stylish, that style.
femmequixotic From: femmequixotic Date: February 8th, 2010 04:17 am (UTC) (Link)

It truly is, I must say.

I utterly fell in love with Audrey in that movie when I was in high school. I swanned around in an updo and enormous black sunglasses for an entire term. My mother was just delighted it pulled me out of my Bohemian phase. Temporarily.

Ah, Miss Hepburn, you will always have a piece of my heart.
fpb From: fpb Date: February 7th, 2010 09:55 am (UTC) (Link)
I was born on July 24, same year. It places me in an odd sort of limbo - old enough to just about remember the sixties, but not to really have any responsibility for them. And however one looks at them, the sixties were a crucial moment in our recent history.

The issue of genre in popular music makes me sick. Of course, there is such a thing as jazz, such a thing as rock, and such a thing as easy listening, plus all the national styles. If you push, I will admit that country (and western) has its own culture. But really, this constant invention of new little genres serves nothing except the ridiculous purpose of making sure that everyone gets a prize sooner or later. Compare the Oscars and the Grammies. The Oscars have minimal genre recognition: they have categories for short films, for documentaries, and that's it. The academy award winner can be comedy, historical, domestic, detective, psychological drama, you name it. The Grammies, by contrast, have what seems like dozens of categories, and so some modest but successful singer such as Beyonce can pick up more Grammies in a year than the greatest stars in Hollywood will pick up in a lifetime. It is not often that one treats Hollywood as a serious place, but compared to the pop music industry, it is.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: February 7th, 2010 02:51 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes, well, I shouldn't at all care to take responsibility for the Sixties, myself.

Not unless I were allowed to go back and change them to my liking. (The sound you hear is the smack of firm government.)

As to yr views on the fissiparous multiplication of genres to no purpose, I am wholly in agreement.
22 comments or Leave a comment