Tag Archives: Jeff Wayne

October 5th 1975

David Essex. Didn’t get up until 12 o/c. Did TD all afternoon. Watched superb “East of Eden” in the evening”

For all my prog rock / psychedelic / jam band / art rock leanings as a 17-year-old boy I will admit to having a soft spot for the more ‘poppy’ offerings of teen hearthrob David Essex.

He’s quite a nice boy really” was the refrain from many a mother in the mid-70’s. My mother amongst them.

Until he got into the utterly disgraceful awfulness of his early eighties hit “A Winter’s Tale” and that acting hiccup starring in the derisible “Silver Dream Racer” he appeared to make fine (and non conventional) career choices whichever way he turned.

Not for him the simplistic pappy pop his fellow teen idols (Osmonds, David Cassidy etc) were churning out, but preferring to write songs which enhanced his credibility beyond that of mere hormonal girls.

His first hit “Rock On” was a slice of superb musical minimalism leaning far closer to originality than many could admit at the time.

He followed that with a succession of other finely crafted pop songs such as “Lamplight“, “America“, and “Hold me Close“. He starred in – and was GREAT in – a pair of old fashioned ‘rock & roll” movies – “That’ll be the Day” and “Stardust” – infusing his acting performance with a sense of ‘been there, done that’, bafore taking a leading voice-over and singing role on Jeff Wayne’s 1978 magnum opus “War of the Worlds

Until he became – as I have said – a little too much of a ‘housewives choice’ (and I’m sure there are many housewives who would have taken that choice and grabbed it with both hands) I always liked the guy and appreciated what he brought to rock & roll’s little table.

So much so in fact that I evidently planned to see him live in concert this night in 1975. For whatever reason I nixed the idea – perhaps I sold the ticket or perhaps I never bought a ticket in the first place, who knows? – and thus never had the opportunity to spend time in a theatre squeezed into the middle of a gaggle of screaming teenage girls any of whom could have drunkenly mistaken me for the aforementioned Mr Essex and taken me back to their place for a good seeing to (as it was sometimes described back then) after the encore.

Instead – and after a (half) day of toiling over a hot Technical Drawing board – I sat and watched Elia Kazan’s movie “East of Eden” starring one of my new idols, James Dean. I may have described this film as ‘superb’ in 1975, but years later I realise it is instead a somewhat gloomy and embittered tale packed with lots of conflict and little joy. It certainly looks good – Kazan made full use of the then-new technology of ‘Cinemascope’ – but in terms of telling a story (this one based on the bible fable about Cain & Abel) I now think it falls flat.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under 1975 Diary Entries

April 12th 1973

“All work all day. Got wages for something 2.84 (wow!)” / “Roxy Music at Gaumont. Sharks support”

So, my third ever concert was Roxy Music at the Southampton Gaumont.

Nice of me to write so very much about it eh?

Naturally, I can’t remember anything about the night, even more surprised by my diary entry that Sharks were the support act!

I know I would eventually buy “First Water”, the Sharks’ debut album. How do I know this? Because, for some inexplicable reason, I still own it! I say inexplicable because having found and played this cut on youtube, I can’t understand my fascination one little bit.

The Sharks were formed by bassist Andy Fraser after the rock band Free split up in 1972. He was joined by drummer Marty Simon, Vocalist Steve Parsons (a.k.a. “Snips”) and guitarist Chris Spedding.

The same Chris Spedding who produced the original Sex Pistols demos, played on Jeff Wayne’s “War of the Worlds” classic concept album, featured on Harry Nilsson’s “Nilsson Schmilsson” LP, and even toured in a furry costume as a band member of cult kid band The Wombles (yes, that’s him on guitar)

However, in my mind Spedding is aces for just one thing. The magnificence of his 1975 hit single “Motorbikin’“. Sadly, there appears to be no footage available of this stand-out track, so the link comes courtesy of just a 30 second snippet via last.fm

In what is something of an ironic twist, Spedding played as a member of a reformed Roxy Music during their 2001 tour of the UK.

I seriously wish I could remember at least something from the evening’s proceedings, especially as this tour was the last one to feature Roxy’s electronics guru Brian Eno. (I am now such an Eno fan, you wouldn’t believe it)

Did I dress up at all? (Unlikely). Did other concert go-ers dress up in glamware? (Undoubtedly, yes) How did I get there? How did I get home? Who did I travel with? What was the encore? (Probably “Virginia Plain“?)

*sigh*…. as ever I must consign myself (and you, dear reader) to (sadly) a whole lotta nuthin’

I will hazard at an educated guess that the band did songs from both their debut album AND their recently released “For Your Pleasure” LP, something which – it appears – I had not yet heard before attending the concert. (I know this because I have read ahead couple of days ahead in my diary!)

So, 15 years old and my concert-going list so far consists of: 1) Oval Rock Concert w/ELP, Genesis, Focus, Wishbone Ash, etc 2) ELP & 3) Roxy Music. Not too shabby a start really.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1973 Diary Entries