Only two more sleeps, wow that’s gone quick hasn’t it? Winter solstice is over for another year and the days are getting longer again, well in the northern hemisphere at least. Any how that means that it must be December 23rd and day 23 of this years Advent Calendar blog post. Regular readers will have quickly worked out that the 23rd letter of the alphabet is ‘W’. This years subject is the ABC of British bands and for today I have chosen a band who once recorded a true Christmas classic, ladies and gentlemen please welcome Wizzard to this years advent calendar posts!
Roy Wood, the founder of Wizzard was also a leading light in the Move and co-founder along with Jeff Lynne of the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). After the first ELO album Roy was moving apart from jeff Lynne both personally and musically. he left the band to form Wizzard and the The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits says, ‘Wizzard was Roy Wood just as much as Wings were Paul McCartney‘. Given that Jeff Lynne clearly wanted to be in the Beatles maybe there are some parallels.
The band had six UK top ten hits from 1972 to 1974, including two number ones with “See My Baby Jive” and “Angel Fingers (A Teen Ballad)”. Both of those songs hit the top spot in 1973, “See My Baby Jive” was also number one in the Irish chart. Many people probably only know Wizzard for the rather excellent “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” a song which only reached number 4 in the UK on its initial release in 1973. It has re-entered the top 50 ten times since then, obviously every Christmas time. On that Christmas single the band are credited as Wizzard featuring vocal backing by The Suedettes plus The Stockland Green Bilateral School First Year Choir with additional noises by Miss Snob and Class 3C. Whatever happened to Miss Snob?
Their first two albums made the UK album top 30 in 1973 and 1974. “Wizzard Brew”, number 29 in 1973 and “Introducing Eddy And The Falcons”, number 19 in 1974. Roy Wood is a multi instrumentalist who plays keyboards, horn, cello, guitar, bass and bagpipes. he also wrote some songs that were dedicated to his one time girlfriend, Lynsey De Paul, one of which, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Winter (Looney’s Tune)” reached number 6 in the UK singles charts.
I have just read the news that British singer songwriter Lynsey De Paul has died aged just 64. Whilst I am very open about my eclectic tastes now back in the 70s it wasn’t seen as cool among my circle of friends to like Lynsey’s music. However I must confess that I actually did like quite a few of her songs. Perhaps these are some of my true guilty pleasures. She had quite a few hits in her own right; “Sugar Me”, “Getting A Drag”, “No Honestly”, “Ooh I Do” and “Won’t Somebody Dance With Me”. The latter won her an Ivor Novello award. In 1977 she represented the UK at the Eurovision Song contest with a song that perhaps predicted future UK performances in the contest. It was called “Rock Bottom” which she sang with Mike Moran and it performed really well finishing in second place.
as a co writer perhaps one of her most memorable hits was “Dancing (On A saturday Night)” which she wrote with singer Barry Blue. He took that to number two in the UK charts in 1973. One of my favourite De Paul songs was “Central Park Arrest”. It was written for Thunderthighs who had been backing vocalists to Mott The Hoople. Lynsey’s own version of the song was on the B-Side to “No Honestly”. She has a further link to Thunderthighs and Mott the Hoople. Lynsey De Paul recorded the female vocal part on the album version of Mott The Hoople’s “Roll Away The Stone”. However when the song was released as a single her contribution had been replaced by that of Thunderthighs. In yet another Mott link Lynsey was also responsible for a name change of one of the band. In 1973 when Mick Ralphs left he was replaced by Luther Grosvenor. Mister Grosvenor was for some reason contractually obliged to change his name, so Lynsey suggested Ariel Bender, which stuck.
Lynsey had five UK top twenty hits. “Sugar Me” was her highest UK chart success as a singer reaching number five in 1972. She also had number one singles in Switzerland, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium. My thoughts go to her family, friends and fans. Lynsey De Paul RIP.
There was an excellent science story in the news this week, not only that but it gives me an opportunity to bring you a couple of my favourite songs! It’s about a dinosaur, the story not the songs! The remains of the beast, in fossil form obviously, were found in a quarry in Utah. It’s been name Brontomerus from the Greek words Bronto which means thunder and Merus which means thighs. Yes this animal will now forever be known as Thunder Thighs. It has been blessed with that name because it would appear that it probably had the most powerful legs in the whole dinosaur community.
Just a brief note to any chubby chasers who have arrived here whilst searching for the object of their carnal desire, you’re in the wrong place fellas! You need to go elsewhere to sate your appetites! You can read about it on the BBC by clicking here. So how does this allow me to bring you one of my favourite songs? well back in the 70s there was a trio of female singers who all possessed quite a few curves and they too were known as Thunderthighs. Their parents named them Karen Friedman, Dari Lalou and Casey Synge.
You may not realise it but they appeared on some classic songs in the 70s. noticeably two of my favourite songs; “Roll Away The Stone” from Mott The Hoople and also “Walk On The Wild Side” by Lou Reed. They provide the “sha la la la push push” refrain for the Hoople and the “do do do, do do, do do do” vocal for Mr Reed. The spoken bridge on “Roll Away The Stone” however was not provided by one of th Thunderthighs girls, but by Lynsey De Paul. She also wrote Thunderthighs first single in their own right “Central Park Arrest” which reached number 30 in the UK charts in 1974. Of course being a big fan of David Robert Jones I should add of course that the Lou Reed song was produced by none other than Bowie and Ronson!
So without further ado go ahead and immerse yourself in some prime tasty 70s cuts!
Incidentally if you are a chubby chaser who has stayed the course and reached the end of this post just click here and you will be rewarded. However I would strongly advise non chubby chasers to steer well clear of this link!