Friday, July 2, 2010

mod my bed, gonna lie in it

Produced by the great Shel Talmy, this Harry Vanda and George Young classic was seemingly released first in the UK through Parlophone.

Sometime in 1977, I purchased London's "Summer of Love" EP solely for their cover of this one perfect song. Ten years later, again, and the hostelry which kept my pool cue racked behind its bar still carried the original Easybeats pressing on its jukebox.

I plugged in my change on a Monday, a Tuesday. Sometimes a Friday. That, and Them's "Gloria" kept me grounded as I chalked up a corner pocket shot and threw down the vodka.

In my head I was not so much rewriting, as amending the soundtrack to "Mean Streets". Updating the wing tips. Living it like it was - almost - 1973.

If you didn't know me well, I looked the part. If you were unlucky enough to know me at all - and I was frequently at odds with polite engagement - I was mostly a belligerent sod. Good to go, and keen to stay on the table.

Touted as "Australia's Beatles", there is merit in the observation. In 1966, while still signed to Parlophone through Ted Albert, manager Mike Vaughn convinced New York City based United Artists Records to sign a five-year contract to publish and distribute all future overseas releases. Formerly a real estate agent - and sharp as a tack - Vaughn brokered the deal with more acumen than Brian Epstein similarly evinced. A clownfish swimming with barracuda.

On July 4th, '66, Vanda returned home after recording a 'farewell' tv special in Sydney with his band to find his wife had overdosed on barbiturates. Allegedly, his young son was dispatched to live with relatives in the Netherlands while The Easybeats relocated to London just six days after the incident.

Vanda's wife was not alone in fearing the worst. Shortly after their arrival, UA vetoed sessions recorded with Albert at Abbey Road and secured Talmy on the strength of services solicited by The Kinks and The Who.

"Friday On My Mind" scored the number one spot in Australia, a top 10 position in the UK, and a respectable 16 on the US Billboard Charts.

Stevie Wright: vocals, percussion;
Harry Vanda: guitar, vocals;
George Young: guitar, vocals, keyboards;
Dick Diamonde: bass, vocals;
Gordon 'Snowy' Fleet: drums.

Produced by Shel Talmy at IBC Studios, London.

THE EASYBEATS: FRIDAY ON MY MIND from "Friday On My Mind b/w Made My Bed: Gonna Lie In It" 45 (Parlophone / United Artists) 1966 (Australia)


jonder said...

Love this song, and "She's So Fine" as well. George Young was from Scotland, and was the father of the brothers who formed AC/DC. And the name they chose for their band (before it became AC/DC) was the Velvet Underground! Maybe you knew all that. Maybe you can tell me why I can remember things like that, but keep forgetting to give the dogs their heartworm pills and other important things like that.

ib said...

Well. I knew the Youngs hailed from Scotland, but I had no idea George fathered Angus.

And Lou Reed's granmdmother's sister sailed from the Isle of Lewis. Breaking bread with a Welsh baker named Cale. And a cooper called Tucker.

My own memory only stretches so far until it atrophies and I am compelled to consult the mine of substantiated evidence which is Wikipedia. I am lucky to find a clean pair of socks in the morning. I no longer keep a cat or dog.

I just this weekend siphoned off a pound or so of algae from my son's aquarium. He has only one fish left in there. One more of my numerous failings.

Actually. The Bay City Rollers might have been every inch as subversive as the Ramones, save for Colonel Tam Paton's tinkerings. Or should that just be Colon ? He almost got it right. In the end, though, he has working with dross. Spinning yarn out of air.

I was struck by how similar the intro to "Friday On My Mind" is to Nobunny's "Hippy Witch".

That was wholly unintentional. I think.