Sunday, February 16, 2014

She Loves You

....Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.

Back on 27th August 1990 a new BBC radio station hit the airwaves, it was called BBC Radio 5. The station was a mixture of news, plays, childrens programmes, phone-ins and a long forgotten radio soap set in South London. On Monday 28th March 1994 the station was re branded and relaunched as BBC Radio Five Live, the BBC's response to a 'demand' for rolling news, it provoked much anger among the existing listeners who felt that this was a betrayal of trust on the part of the BBC and even to this day the BBC still fails to even recognise the need for a place on the network for mothers and children.

Anyway back to that soap, it was called The Mall and featured a cameo performance by a young singer called Sarah Cracknell. Cracknell was, and is, one third of the London band Saint Etienne and her role in the show was simply, or so it seemed, to shamelessly plug the bands second album So Tough. The plug worked for me at least and So Tough began a twenty year (and counting) love affair with the band, the musical nous of Pete Wiggs and Bob Stanley and in Miss Cracknell the closest we have in the U.K to a French Ye! Ye! girl voice.  

Bob Stanley published his second solo book towards the end of last year: Yeah, Yeah, Yeah - The Story of Modern Pop. At 776 pages long it could come in useful as a barrier against rising floods in the weeks to come but primarily it is a work lovingly put together by somebody who not only cares about pop music but who also appreciates its place in the social history of those countries where it has set down its roots. It begins at the end of World War Two and ends, or rather peters out, around 2003 when digital downloads had begun to take over physical purchases of singles.

It is a book that needs to be read at least twice, once to appreciate the sheer breadth of the subject and again to allow the reader to place various bookmarks on the pages where there are references to tracks that have either been forgotten with the passing of time or simply not known about because of the availability of so much music, particularly in the post 'pirates' era of British radio broadcasting.

Although they probably didn't realise it at the time, the opening up of the airwaves to a variety of radio stations over the last fifty years may well have destroyed forever the communal experience of hearing a certain track for the first time but it democratised the listening habits of each successive generations, no longer were we subjects to be played to by a few men on ships off the Essex coast but the financial clout and technical knowledge of those employed by the BBC enabled audiences to listen to a whole smorgasbord of music. Well that's my take on it for what its worth.

Bob Stanley is first and foremost a music fan, no make that a pop music fan. He's one of us, it's all in the melody, the hook, those jangly guitars or those beautiful backing vocals, that phrasing or, in the case of the Small Faces Itchycoo Park, that phasing. We have all begun our musical history and pleasures in the cradle of pop music, those three minutes of pure distilled exhilaration. For me it was, so family legend has it, a tennis racket on the back step of my Grandmothers house in East London singing my head off to, inevitably, 'She Loves You'. The Beatles changed music forever, it's no exaggeration to say that and as Stanley demonstrates that the most famous phrase in popular music, from which the book takes it title, ended the pop careers of many acts from The Shadows, via Elvis Presley to Billy Fury and the famous Brill building writers in New York.

There are so many stories, facts, nuggets  across the vast acreage of popular music that it isn't possible to select one chapter at the expense of another except to say that those chapters that deal with 'Glam' and 'Punk' certainly demonstrate perfectly that Britain and America really are two countries (for the purpose of this argument) divided by a common (musical) language.

I can see that this is a book which will be kept alongside my keyboard for months, possibly years as I delve in and out locating various obscure tracks that are now available, in many cases for the first time in decades, thank to the digital age.  As one of the cover notes suggests, this book is "an extraordinary piece of work. scholarly, witty and painstakingly researched".



8 comments:

A Northern Bloke said...

A great post, Paul : worthy of a much wider audience!

That book is now on my "wanted" list!

P.S. Last Saturday saw our annual spring visit to Backhouse Park in Sunderland where I took some pictures. I've put the best ones on Flickr.

Span Ows said...

Agree with Shy! Also sounds like a good read but ave several books on the go and not finishing many lately!

Span Ows said...

hope all is well, seems you're probably as busy as me!

Paul said...

Hi Span. Thank you for your comments on the review - thank you Shy as well.

Very busy at the moment, can't believe how quickly time is racing by at the moment. Hope to catch up with posting soon and also reading other people's blogs.

Hope you are well.

oakleyses said...

longchamp outlet, nike outlet, michael kors outlet online, chanel handbags, christian louboutin outlet, ray ban sunglasses, tiffany and co, replica watches, coach outlet, tiffany jewelry, michael kors outlet online, nike air max, polo ralph lauren outlet online, michael kors outlet store, oakley sunglasses, polo outlet, christian louboutin uk, christian louboutin, burberry handbags, longchamp outlet, kate spade outlet, prada handbags, michael kors outlet, gucci handbags, michael kors outlet, coach outlet, prada outlet, kate spade, michael kors outlet online, tory burch outlet, christian louboutin shoes, coach outlet store online, burberry outlet, true religion outlet, nike air max, coach purses, oakley sunglasses, jordan shoes, longchamp outlet, ray ban sunglasses, oakley sunglasses wholesale, nike free

oakleyses said...

north face, nike air max uk, sac hermes, hollister uk, nike air force, louboutin pas cher, michael kors, oakley pas cher, converse pas cher, abercrombie and fitch uk, hollister pas cher, nike free run, jordan pas cher, nike tn, burberry pas cher, longchamp pas cher, timberland pas cher, nike air max, polo ralph lauren, nike roshe, lululemon canada, ralph lauren uk, true religion outlet, guess pas cher, vans pas cher, sac longchamp pas cher, nike air max uk, true religion jeans, hogan outlet, north face uk, new balance, air max, ray ban pas cher, nike free uk, true religion outlet, nike blazer pas cher, sac vanessa bruno, michael kors pas cher, ray ban uk, polo lacoste, michael kors outlet, mulberry uk

oakleyses said...

hollister clothing, giuseppe zanotti outlet, lululemon, wedding dresses, abercrombie and fitch, hermes belt, asics running shoes, bottega veneta, celine handbags, soccer shoes, valentino shoes, ferragamo shoes, vans outlet, mcm handbags, timberland boots, nike roshe run uk, longchamp uk, nike air max, north face outlet, p90x workout, new balance shoes, insanity workout, iphone 6 cases, herve leger, instyler, oakley, hollister, nike huaraches, soccer jerseys, nike trainers uk, babyliss, chi flat iron, ghd hair, baseball bats, jimmy choo outlet, mont blanc pens, north face outlet, mac cosmetics, beats by dre, nfl jerseys, reebok outlet, nike roshe run

oakleyses said...

ralph lauren, vans, gucci, pandora jewelry, ray ban, hollister, ugg, swarovski crystal, links of london, lancel, toms shoes, juicy couture outlet, montre pas cher, pandora uk, replica watches, converse outlet, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, coach outlet, ugg uk, hollister, ugg pas cher, uggs outlet, ugg boots, supra shoes, pandora charms, marc jacobs, louboutin, thomas sabo, juicy couture outlet, ugg boots, karen millen uk, uggs outlet, converse, swarovski, uggs on sale, nike air max, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, wedding dresses