I’ll be honest, this series is proving a lot harder to complete than I thought it would be.
The problem is, I think, that I set a target of 50, which I originally thought would be a doddle (OK, I thought it was a clever play on a Paul Simon song, which nobody seems to have got), but now, just after half-way through, I find myself scrabbling for subjects to include. But because I set that target, I can’t just let it tail off like I normally do, only to picked up like a discarded toy at some point in the future.
And so to today’s topic, not somebody that I particularly disliked at any point, but just somebody who never really crossed my radar when I was younger.
See, when I was a young ‘un my thirst for music was such that I snaffled up lots of classic artists, buying albums by the likes of Little Richard, Buddy Holly, Dusty Springfield etc etc etc.
But not this guy, despite one of his songs featuring prominently in one of my favourite films, Blue Velvet. I was just disinterested, for reasons I know not.
It wasn’t until he’d died that I finally connected, and I can pinpoint the moment precisely when his music suddenly meant something.
It’s circa 1992, and I was in a car with Daints and Louise; Daints had been the singer in the band I was in at college, Louise was (still is) his partner, and I was crashing on their sofa for a couple of weeks having secured a temporary job and moved back to Cardiff, but unable to move into my new house for a short time.
It was a really happy couple of weeks, for me anyway – they may have a different recollection and considered me to be a terrible imposition. They lived on Richmond Road in the Cathays area of Cardiff, the nearest pub (The George) was just a five minute walk away, and most nights (because we were young and could handle going to the boozer on a ‘school’ night) that’s where we would be. When we weren’t, Daints and I would sit up listening to The Smiths and eating Stilton cheese and crackers.
I don’t remember where we were going or why, but I do remember, out of nothing, Louise suddenly started singing this song; Daints and I joined in and for a brief moment it was one of those sponteneous things which seem so much better at the time and with the benefit of hindsight than it does when I see it written down.
I’ve only ever experienced impromptu singing in a car twice in my life (but I’m no James Corden, thankfully): this time and on one other occasion, which maybe I’ll write about some other time when I’m struggling for something to write about.
Because there’s something magical about that moment, when somebody simply has to and does dare to sing, unprompted, and people join in.
And that’s how I view this record: magical. Even though Jeff Lynne glossily produced it to within an inch of it’s life.
Go on, tell me you don’t feel better after listening to that, you ghoul.