Whether you’re in America or the UK right now the chances are it’s more than a bit brass monkeys and there’s snow everywhere, so this might warm your cockles. There’s also the astonishing sideburns of Ray Dorset to enjoy.
Apologies for posting old TOTP clips two Fridays in a row but I’ve been swamped at work this week and don’t have the energy to be more creative. Besides, this is a real goodie too, a perfect combo of stomping beat and sideburns.
Looking at this school photo of myself from 1973 it occurred to me that this was taken around the same time that Simone Palmey asked me out which makes me wonder what was it that attracted her. Do you think it was my long, flowing Donny Osmond locks? If I’d had that gap in my teeth fixed I could have been on the cover of Disco 45.
Not everyone was a fan of my hair though, I still remember my teacher Mr. Grant handing me the prints of that photo and shaking his head in old fogey disdain at my girly look. My Grandmother hated it too, I was staying with her one day back then and she took me to an old fashioned barbershop in Shepherd’s Bush Market to get it chopped off without telling my parents. The barber jokingly said “we don’t do girls!” when we walked in and then gave me a very severe short back and sides with the clippers. When my Dad came to pick me up later that day he screamed at my Grandmother “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO HIS HAIR!!!!”
The other thing about the photo that occurred to me is that horrible t-shirt I’m wearing, it may have been the height of children’s fashion in 1973 but no amount of retro cool nostalgia could make it look good today — my sister had one exactly the same in pink too. I would have hoped that on school photo day my Mum would have put me in something a little less groovy, didn’t she know I’d be looking at this picture 35 years later?
If you’d like a soundtrack to this photo, this romantic little number was top of the charts about when it was taken.
Download: Skweeze Me Pleeze Me – Slade (mp3)
“Blinded By The Light” is one of those great 70s pre-punk singles that sounded brilliant coming out of a transistor radio during the summer holidays, getting you all revved up like a Chopper bike. For some reason I always think of Dave Lee Travis playing this, it’s a very Smashey & Nicey sort of record — big, overproduced, glittery, and made by men with hairy chests wearing Foster Grants.
As you probably know it was written by Bruce Springsteen and I’m not saying it’s a bad song but the lyrics are stupendously ridiculous, the convoluted ramblings of a young man who thinks that if the words are obscure enough they’ll sound like poetry — doctors call this condition “Dylan-itis” — so it’s full of nonsense like “Dethrone the dictaphone, hit it in its funnybone” and “little Early Burly came by in his curly wurly” that you need a code-breaking machine to decipher. The genius of the cover by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band is it sounds so fabulous you don’t notice that what they’re singing is daft bollocks. They set their Moog controls for the sun and flew right past the lyrics to create an epic that’s overblown and trippy in an Old Grey Whistle Test sort of way. To me back in 1976 it sounded like a space ship taking off.
This is the mega 7-minute version where they throw in everything but the kitchen sink from a big cosmic guitar solo to a bizarre bit when the piano player breaks into “Chopsticks.”