Listen: See My Baby Jive / Wizzard WizzardJive.mp3
This isn’t the first time SMRSLT has celebrated Roy Wood’s mere presence on this earth. Thankfully, he was awarded an honorary doctorate for his contribution to music by the University of Derby as recently as January 18, 2008. After all, the guy mastered guitar, bass, sitar, cello, double bass, saxophone, clarinet, trombone, tuba, recorders, oboe, French horn, banjo, mandolin, bassoon, drums, percussion, vibraphone, bagpipes and keyboards. And as a songwriter, well he’s an international treasure.
As much as The Move played a vital building block in my musical preferences, Wizzard contributed equally. For one thing, I’d finally gotten the 50′s RnR humor that had before passed me by. In the looks department, I was crazy about his multi-colored hair extravagance that, during the height of Glam in ’73, seemed commonplace. Luckily, when I landed in London that June, ‘See My Baby Jive’ was everywhere, on every pub jukebox, on every radio station.
Listen: Angel Fingers / Wizzard WizzardAngel.mp3
‘Angel Fingers’ raced to #1 that fall, and if you can believe it, I loved it even more. I could never understand why no one in the US cared about Wizzard. How could anyone seriously prefer The Marshall Tucker Band or Wet Willie (yes, ‘Keep On Smilin’ is great) to this bunch? Still baffling.
Listen: I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday / Wizzard WizzardChristmas.mp3
Of equal amazement at the time was the complete US musical disinterest in anything Christmas. Now, from Thanksgiving onward, we’re bombarded with seasonal music. Not so in the 70′s, bar maybe the Brenda Lee classic. Roy Wood had just signed to Warner Brothers, and in their haste, mistakenly pressed copies of what was clearly about to be a seminal record (see above – now how did they get those masters?). Harvest adamantly maintained ownership to ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’, and so (most) of the WB vinyl was scraped, but the sleeves (in possibly the label’s first attempt to be green) were saved and passed on to Harvest, who proceeded to use them for their release despite the Warner Brothers catalog number still present on the packaging.
So some 36 years later, on December 24, 2009, as the single’s yearly re-entry sat at #45 in the UK chart, what do I hear in Bed, Bath & Beyond?: ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’. Finally, and I lived to witness it. Despite my excitement, no one else flinched. Still, a joyous moment.