Archive for the ‘Malcolm McLaren’ Category

The Move / Jimmy Miller

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Listen: Blackberry Way / The Move
Blackberry

Certainly one of my favorite singles ever, I dare say one of the greatest records ever released. Fact not opinion.

The recent BBC documentary, THE JOY OF THE SINGLE spotlighted ‘Blackberry Way’ as just that for a teenage Holly Johnson, who relived a long walk to and from a nearby record shop, whereby The Monkees’ ‘(Theme From) The Monkees’ wasn’t available. In fact, that track was never issued on a 7″ when current, luckily. The shop clerk talked him into the latest release by The Move instead, a sale amongst many that would have contributed toward the record reaching #1 on the UK charts.

The program was another in a long list of reminders that pulling out a copy of ‘Blackberry Way’ and letting it play on repeat was yet again, a solid hour well spent in my house.

Along with high school pals Denny and Mark, I sent off to England for copies of this pre-release. We wanted it shipped day one. God knows how we’d hear about these records sentenced to teen life in upstate New York, but we did. In fact, our crowd were so into The Move that there was no messing about by this, the release of their sixth single. And one titled ‘Blackberry Way’, heaven help us, we knew it’d be stunning. I can vividly remember opening that cardboard mailer and playing it for the first time. Stunning doesn’t do the song justice.

Years later, employed in Elektra’s A&R department meant a constant search for new signings and a resulting schedule of meetings with everyone from managers, agents, lawyers and occasionally, name UK record producers with their newest projects. Through the years Gus Dudgeon, Don Arden, Jonathan King, Stuart Colman, Malcolm McLaren, Wayne Bickerton, Hugh Padgham or Shel Talmy might book in while passing through New York. On one occasion, I got a call requesting some time for Jimmy Miller.

His visit was not going to be wasted on me. I was only too keen, as was usually the case, to talk about the less travelled topics covered by most fellow A&R reps, in this instance his more obscure British productions, of which The Move was one. Turns out, he was always happy to recount his histories, including a well repeated run down of that period with The Rolling Stones. But my curiosity in The Move brought out a unexpected tale, all presented with the enthusiasm of a kid.

For starters, ‘Blackberry Way’ was the only song he ever recorded with them, and then just sitting in for the band’s usual producer, Denny Cordell. The details were rather simple and verify the often documented flying by the seat of their pants 60′s music industry. Denny and he were co-workers at Straight Ahead Productions, to whom The Move were signed. Denny was double booked on a session with Joe Cocker & The Grease Band and asked Jimmy to cover for him with The Move. These details, to be clear, were laughingly verified by Denny years later.

As a result, the band’s only UK #1 was produced, not by the guy who worked with them on every other track prior, but by his pal in the next office. A jovial recollection actually.

So as Jimmy Miller sat across from me recounting these details for the first time in my office on the 20th floor of the Warner Brothers building, I pulled out the above copy for an autograph, which seriously pleased him to no end.

Art Of Noise

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

ArtOfNoiseClose, Art Of Noise, ZTT, Trevor Horn

Listen: Close (To The Edit) / Art Of Noise ArtNoiseClose.mp3

As if overnight, suddenly there were a few Art Of Noise singles being released seemingly simultaneous in the UK and US. I did a specialty radio show at the time with Roger McCall on WCMF, and we would dig through all the latest releases every few days preparing for our Tuesday night slot. I will never forgot our jaws dropping in unison when we gave this it’s first spin on the unused production studio’s turntable. It sounded like nothing at all in the solar system – the exact similar awe we experienced upon initial listens to Malcolm McLaron’s ‘Buffalo Gals’ or Scritti Politti’s ‘Wood Beez’.

We opened our very next show with ‘Close To The Edit’.

ArtOfNoiseBeatBox, Art Of Noise, ZTT, Trevor Horn

Listen: Beat Box / Art Of Noise ArtNoiseBeatBox.mp3

As I said, as if overnight, another Art Of Noise 7″ arrived. ‘Beat Box’ just as innovative and exciting as the previous release. Now we were playing two of their tracks each program – and this went on for weeks. Even as other records were being broadcast, Roger and I would flail around the studio blasting these on the second unused turntable until moments before needing to use the bloody thing to cue up the next record. We had a few close calls, then figured out playing Television’s ‘Marquee Moon’ or The Special AKA’s ‘Ghost Town’, both quite lengthy, would allow us more time to carry on to Art Of Noise.

ArtNoiseMoments, Art Of Noise, Trevor Horn, Paul Morely, ZTT

Listen: Moments In Love / Trevor Horn, Paul Morley with Art Of Noise ArtNoiseMoments.mp3

Eventually, but not too long after, ‘Moments In Love’ graced a 7″, culled from the soundtrack to PUMPING IRON II – THE WOMEN. Not having seen the movie, I can’t understand from it’s title how the hell this track fit in – but it must have. Almost ambient, it was addictive. Sampled years later into a UK hit, ‘Moments In Love’ by JT & The Big Family, I’m pleased it earned some cash for the writers of this superb song.

Art Of Noise continued on for several years with Chrysalis. They never matched those initials few singles, well I don’t think so that is.