David Soulsby Reflections
by David Soulsby, author of the novel "Somewhere in the
Bringing It All Back Home
- OK, so Bob Dylan’s lyrics have been broken down, put
through the mangle, trodden underfoot, interpreted and misinterpreted, brought to their knees,
thrown up in the air, dismantled and dismissed, and criticized for being too full of obscure
symbolism, but, hey, hasn’t it been fun along the way?
Carole King: Queen of the Sixties
Hits - With the highly-acclaimed stage musical
Beautiful currently celebrating the musical genius of Carole King it’s a fitting time to look back at
her substantial Sixties accomplishments.
The Mighty James
Brown - It was a live performance out of this
world!. It was March 1966 and a young James Brown was in town on his first visit to England. The father
of funk, the caped crusader, the energy-fuelled R&B revolutionary, was out to give of his best —
1964 - The Music
Lives On - Fifty years sure does fly by, but time has been kind to the
music from 1964. It was my final year at school and a year full of classic songs and great bands
and solo performers.
Legacy of The Wild
One - I first saw Marlon Brando’s biker classic The
Wild One in 1967, a full 14 years after it was made. The movie had been banned in Britain for all
that time because of its subject matter. There had been a few screenings over the years by
film societies but they had been watched by only a handful of people. So, when a group of
journalists, myself included, were invited to a special showing to mark its general release with an
adults only X-certificate, we were keen to see and hear what all the fuss had been
What Made the Sixties
Great - The Sixties started out full of uncertainty and angst: the icy tentacles
of the Cold War were everywhere, creating tension and mistrust between east and west. No one was
sure what was going to happen to our world.
A Portrait of the
Buckinghams - I PICKED up on The Buckinghams’ million-selling hit Kind Of A Drag via the radio. There was a regular weekly show in
Britain that included a look at the American top-selling singles and albums and provided listeners
with information about the artists. Also, the respected British weekly newspaper, the
New Musical Express, mentioned them in February 1967
when they were top of the charts in US.
What I Say About Ray
Charles - When push comes to shove when asked who’s my all-time top male singer, I have to
say that Ray Charles is the number one. He beats Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison into second and third
place, but only by a whisker.
Happy 50th Birthday to "A Hard Day's Night" - If ever a movie captured the
true verve and essence of a rock band, it has to be A Hard Day’s Night. The film came out in the summer
of 1964 and cemented The Beatles’ phenomenal hold on the music scene, exposing them to an even bigger
worldwide audience and declaring that they were undoubtedly the best group
On High with the Jefferson
Airplane - As I cross the brow
of the hill, I make out the band tightly packed on the cramped open-air stage. It’s a long way
from the sunny climes of San Francisco to the dull, wet skies that hang threateningly overhead
but the Airplane obviously aren’t fazed. The sultry dark-haired singer Grace Slick and her fellow
band members look comfortable and in command.
1966 and All
That - With a dramatic goal in the final moments of what was a nail-biting match, England
finally became soccer World Cup champions, securing a 4-2 win over West Germany at London’s Wembley
Stadium. It was just one of the many highlights of 1966 that are etched on my memory from a year
that had its fair share of controversy and tragedy as well as producing some outstanding
Darin- I became an instant Bobby Darin
fan the moment I heard Dream Lover booming out of the fairground speakers as the carousel whirled
round merrily in its giddy, up and down jerky fashion. It was a song that captured the moment: I was
in my early teens and life seemed so innocent and free of worries. It's a song that remains with me
to this day.
Friday, November 22, 1963- It started out like any other Friday during school term. Along with a close group of
friends I was looking forward to our regular end of week visit to the famous Studio 51 in London’s West
End, where we indulged in our love of blues and rock music.
You couldn’t turn on the radio in September 1967 without hearing Scott
McKenzie telling you that San Francisco was the place to be, and if you made it there you were
advised to have floral decorations in your hair. The sentiment summed up perfectly the Summer of
Love, that innocent, freewheeling time that captured a mood so perfectly. September was always an odd time when I was in my teens, stuck as it was between
the last hazy days of summer and my impending birthday in October.
Long Live Louie
Louie- Few songs have had as much impact on rock music as Louie Louie, the calypso-beat mid-Fifties song by Richard Berry that
mutated into the raucous 1963 version by The Kingsmen, and then became a popular part of pop
The Kinks Really Got
Me - From the outset, the opening riff of
You Really Got Me announced a clear no-nonsense
message of intent: The Kinks are here and you had better believe it! They’ve served their
apprenticeship in scores of small, sweaty rhythm and blues clubs and now they are ready to make
their mark big time.
Trio Who Made the Sixties
Swing- Rock music in all its guises
certainly dominated the Sixties, but the verve and sophistication of the Swing Era never went
away. There were three vocalists at the time that epitomised this spirit of survival. The trio
were all ultra professional, well grounded in their musical heritage and, arguably, had reached a
peak of perfection: Jack Jones, Mel Torme and Sammy Davis Jr.
Magical Movie Moments
- If you were a regular moviegoer in the Sixties you would
have had a wonderful choice of magical silver screen moments to savour. There were moments that
played with your feelings, creating laughter, tension, tears or excitement, sometimes all at the
same time. There was something for everyone.
A Tribute to a Talented
Trio - For me, three singers in the opening years of the Sixties stood out head and
shoulders from the crowd. They were Clyde McPhatter, original frontman of the legendary
Drifters, Jimmy Jones, the owner of the amazing voice that distinguished the Sparks of Rhythm group
before he went solo, and the genial gentleman Gene McDaniels.
The Outstanding Otis
Redding- Soul singer Otis Redding first crossed
my music radar in a meaningful way in 1966. Sure, I’d heard him many times during the past year or
two but it was his live appearance on a special edition of the groundbreaking British television
show Ready Steady Go! that really caught my full attention.
1969: Creedence, Led Zeppelin and the Beatles
- It was around the time of Palach’s death that I bought
my first Creedence Clearwater Revival album, the classic Bayou
Country, and recall being totally enthralled by the mesmerising pounding beats and
growling bluesy voice of lead singer John Fogerty. It was a revelation. I’d bought the album after
reading a favourable review.
Elvis and the Big
Freeze - Elvis Presley topped the Christmas
charts with Return To Sender, the sentiment of its title often light-heartedly aimed at the
inclement weather. If you could have parcelled it up and sent it back where it came from, that would
have been, if you pardon the expression, so very cool.
Van Morrison: Them and Beyond: I’ve just recently finished listening to Van Morrison’s latest album, appropriately
called Born To Sing, and my thoughts are whizzing back to 1965 when, as a young editorial assistant on
The Guardian newspaper in London, I often saw rock stars arriving at reception prior to boarding the
lift up to the neighboring Sunday Times offices where iconic photo shoots were held for the paper’s
groundbreaking glossy magazine.
The Beatles: It Was 50
Years Ago - A catchy harmonica riff identified a new record that hovered around the lower
regions of the British hit parade in late October 1962. It had a familiar ring to it: Bruce Channel
had had a big hit with a similar motif earlier in the year on his classic Hey Baby, and throughout
the summer an Australian singer named Frank Ifield enjoyed massive worldwide success with I Remember
You, the harmonica again featuring strongly.
Scary, Spooky Movies
- A disembodied hand creeps its way downwards
in the dim light, transfixing the horrified figure trembling at the foot of the stairs. As the hand
gets nearer, the wide-eyed watcher becomes more and more crazed with fear. The tense atmosphere is
heightened by the accompanying atmospheric music. There’s nowhere to go to escape, no way out, for
the terrified onlooker.
The Magnificence of
Motown - Mention the word Motown and a
classic song, singer or group will invariably come to mind. So many greats graced the label in a
magical Sixties period when the Berry Gordy-driven Detroit music factory churned out nearly as many
classy groups and unforgettable songs as the city’s car industry production
Stones: Highbury Fields Forever - When I
was growing up in north London during the Fifties, my friends and I would spend many hours in
Highbury Fields, an oasis of grass, tall trees and tranquillity flanked by a mixture of impressive
Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian dwellings. It was the ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of
the nearby area. Many of us lived in drab-fronted houses and blocks of flats that had survived the
German bombs that had hurled down in the Second World War.
The Beach Boys on the
Beach - Wouldn’t it be nice, hopes Rick, if the reunion goes well, echoing The Beach Boys’
sentiment on the car radio as he travels down from Seattle to California along the Pacific Coast
Highway, admiring the scenery and looking forward to meeting up again with friends from his teenage
The Searchers Still Going
Strong - Hundreds
of screaming girls, arms thrust forward in frenzied animation, their bodies shaking with intense
excitement, create a crescendo of noise so loud that the song being performed by the smartly dressed
group on stage is barely recognizable.
The Hollies Hit
50 - Eagerly
flicking through the racks at the local record store, my gaze is attracted by the five fresh-faced
young men smiling out from the bright, colourful album cover. Their eyes are focused fully on the
camera, confident in what they’re doing, not in an arrogant way, but simply letting everyone know
that they’ll be doing the best they can to make a name for themselves in a tough, highly competitive
1962 -Is it really almost 50
years since I was a gangly 16-year-old-coming-on-17, as I was at the start of the summer of 1962?
Where has the time gone? Rewind back all those years and golden anniversaries are everywhere, some
personal, others universal
Shouting about the
Twist -Rummaging in the loft just after New Year, I came across some of my old vinyl
records. Flicking through them, one in particular caught my attention: it was Chubby Checker vs Gary U.S. Bonds, a Canadian issue LP that I’d bought
in the late 1970s.
Gentle Glen on My
Mind - Early
1965 and I’m tuned-in to the early-morning radio, getting ready for work when from out of the blue
comes this thunderous opus, a song that crackles through the air and swirls round you like a cloak.
It’s the Phil Spector–produced Wall of Sound classic, You’ve Lost
That Lovin’ Feelin’, by The Righteous Brothers, and I’m instantly
1963: Good Times, Bad
Times - With his trademark cheeky grin and bubbly delivery, Gerry Marsden with his group
The Pacemakers performs his latest single for an adoring television studio audience. It’s October
1963 and the song is You’ll Never Walk
Once Upon a Time in a
Western - Seated expectantly in the
dark, my eager young eyes transfixed on the big screen with its larger-than-life figures towering
overhead, I would be transported to another time and place, a Hollywood-hued world that was more
often than not the wonderment of the Wild West.
1969: Tommy's Amazing
Journey - YES, I can hear you, Tommy,
loud and clear. It was resoundingly so in 1969 and still rings true today. The years may have
flashed by like a speeding pinball, but the impact remains — and now, more than 40 years on, we have
a resurgent Roger Daltrey triumphant after touring England with a refreshed rendition of the iconic
rock opera, breathing new life into the deaf, dumb and blind kid’s rocky rite of
Rave on Buddy Holly
- I’ve finally caught up with the stage musical Buddy: The
Buddy Holly Story, which has been running at theatres round the world for a staggering 20-plus
1967: The Who and The
Beatles - The Beatles had the clever,
toe-tapping, delightfully-melodic songs, the Stones had the pulsating, animalistic, howling songs,
but it was The Who that had the chest-pounding, lung-searing, ear-deafening songs, songs that
rocketed and roared, slapping against the audiences’ faces like sharp tentacles hurling from the
stage, the thunderous roar of the guitars and drums reverberating through their bodies from the
bottom of their feet to the top of their heads, a truly awesome visceral and cerebral
Bob Dylan Hits 70
- My, how time flies! One minute he’s an enigmatic young
newcomer, stirring up the music business, the next he’s 70! It’s as if everything Bob Dylan has
achieved in nearly 50 years of performing and song writing has happened in the blink of an eye. It
does make you realise that life is, indeed, short. You don’t, of course, think like that when you’re
young and growing up: old age just seems so remote, so very distant in the future. You might, to
paraphrase a Dylan song, try to stay forever young, but time is relentless and
Recalling Roy Orbison
- Possessing a big voice that was blessed with a range as
imposing as Texas, his home State, his songs were equally as big, grandiose and operatic in their
intensity. He had a big, commanding stage presence that held audiences in his spell. Roy Orbison was
indeed The Big O. There was just no one quite like him.
Million Dollar Memories
- Just back from seeing the London West End version of the
musical Million Dollar Quartet, based on the famous 1955 jamming session at Sun Records when Elvis
Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis created great balls of
1961: Seven Special
Songs - It’s February 1961 and I’m just four
months into my 15th year, John F Kennedy has a few weeks ago been sworn-in as America’s 35th
President (‘a momentous event’ according to one teacher at school, ‘what with him being so young and
charismatic’), and the song going the rounds in the school playground is The Shirelles’ Will You
Still Love Me Tomorrow?
Them Old Winter Blues -
5,4,3,2,1 … there I was counting down the days to an invigorating shot of Sixties nostalgia at the
Maximum Rhythm ‘n’ Blues concert at the English coastal resort of Southend, when what should come
along to spoil things but the heaviest early-winter snowfalls to hit Britain for nearly 20
British Experience - The Seattle-born Hendrix lived in the top-floor flat at number
23 Brook Street between 1968/69, and would have been seen regularly on the streets in around the
capital city’s Mayfair, Soho and West End areas, wild-haired and dressed in his trademark colourful