Monday, 13 May 2013
AAA Appearances on 'Colour Me Pop' TV show (News, Views and Music Top Four Issue 193)
So far on our site we’ve covered what footage of AAA bands still exists from original ‘Top Of The Pops’ and ‘Ready Steady Go’ episodes of the 1960s (mainly on News, Views and Music 69, with a few features before and after). However one show we’ve not talked about might have been the best of all. ‘Colour Me Pop’ was a BBC2 programme that offered not one or two songs but a full half hour’s worth of music from a single artist every week and was the first time almost all the bands featured had been seen on Britain in colour (if you were lucky enough to have a colour television set so early on that is!) Few fans talk about the programme now because frustratingly the series was cancelled after just two series and – worse – only four complete programmes plus a small handful of clips and off-air recordings were ever kept/handed in by collectors in the years since (which seems nothing less than criminal damage nowadays, but back in the day tapes were expensive and legal constraints meant repeats were highly unlikely so the BBC were just saving space for more recent output). Luckily for us AAA members make up for 50% of the surviving complete programmes and both The Small Faces and The Moody Blues do exist (both can be seen on Youtube, although about half of The Small Faces show is available on the DVD ‘All Or Nothing 1965-68’ (The Move and Trapeze are the other two programmes that exist complete). Surely the rest must be officially released by somebody soon?) Some off air clips of the Hollies and Kinks shows exist too so we can at least tell you something about these shows and where to see/hear them. By the way, on the very unlikely chance that someone reading this has any copies of ‘Colour Me Pop’ footage missing from the archives whether AAA-based or not then please get in touch with website ‘Wiped’ at the following link: http://wipednews.com/2009/03/29/colour-me-pop-can-you-help-track-down-missing-material/
THE SMALL FACES 21/6/1968
(available here: http://youtu.be/H7OlgJsA6Zc)
The second ever edition of the show saw the Small Faces plugging what turned out to be their last finished album, the classic ‘Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake’ (described by the announcer here as ‘one of the most idiosyncratic records on the market’ and ‘a fairystory for our times’). They even got ‘professor’ Stanley Unwin to read out the gobbledegook ‘announcements’ before each song from the ‘concept’ side two, just like he did on the record (although one or two ad-libs mean his contributions are often very different to the record fans know and love). Sadly the Small Faces themselves are clearly lip-synching and obviously not playing live, but they still put in a spirited performance (especially Steve Marriott whose clearly modelling himself as a rock guitar God here than the sweet mischievous street urchin image he had for most of his time with the band). Perhaps the funniest moment occurs in the last few minutes though when the band are all gathered round microphones for the vocal finale to ‘Happydaystoytown’ and the tape suddenly cuts out: cue looks of surprise, some feeble harmonies and much giggling! The songs played that night include the always riveting Ronnie Lane solo ‘Song Of A Baker’ (‘I can no longer stand and wonder, because I’m driven by this hunger!’), the promo video for ‘Lazy Sunday’ and the complete ‘Happiness Stan’ mini-musical (Happiness Stan/Rollin’ Over/The Hungry Intruder/The Journey/Mad John/HappyDaysToyTown). Stay cool man, stay cool.
THE KINKS 26/7/1968
(audio available here: http://youtu.be/HaSN-lPtxNk)
Alas only sound exists of the Kinks show and even then only in part. Unlike most bands who took part in ‘Colour Me Pop’ The Kinks don’t have an album ready yet (though ‘Village Green Preservation Society’ is in the works) and treat this session more as a chance to perform some of their greatest hits and recent flops, as if to remind the public they’re still around (the Kinks are selling poorly in this period and don’t have another big hit until ‘Lola’ in 1970). The Kinks are known to have performed ‘Dedicated Follower Of Fashion’ ‘A Well Respected Man’ ‘Death Of A Clown’ ‘Sunny Afternoon’ ‘Sitting By The Riverside’ ‘Picture Book’ ‘Lincoln County’ and ‘Days’ in this show – possibly they did more that hasn’t been written down by anyone as this list seems a couple of songs short of a half hour. Sadly the band only play the first three songs on the linked audio and then as a medley, but on the plus side they are quite obviously playing live rather than lip-synching as so many bands on the show did back then. It’s a pretty good performance actually, with allowances for the poor sound, and it’s nice to have a copy of the 1968 era ‘hits’ medley which was changed around quite a bit by the time the band started doing it again in the 1970s...
THE HOLLIES 7/9/1968
Alas no footage of any sort seems to exist for the Hollies show (#10 out of a total of 50 – the bands get more and more obscure as the series goes on!)so there’s no link I can give you and no real definitive list of what the Hollies played that night. However this show is worth mentioning because it would have been a crucial event in Hollies history and is pretty much the last thing Graham Nash did as a full time member of the group (his last recording with the band was ‘Listen To Me’ on the 28th August). Footage of the band from around then show a deeply uncomfortable Hollies gradually getting sucked into the ‘cabaret’ scene with performances of ‘Puff The Magic Dragon’ and country songs ‘Louisiana Man’ and ‘Dang Me’ plus Dylan’s ‘Blowing In The Wind’ as The Hollies tried to veer perhaps a little too strongly from psychedelia to the middle of the road (the band were working on a ‘Hollies sing country’ album at the time, although they abandoned it in favour of an album of Dylan covers in 1969). It’s likely, too, that without any new album out (the last had been ‘Butterfly’ in November 1967) the Hollies would have plugged at least one of their recent singles (‘Listen To Me’ and ‘Jennifer Eccles’) or reached back into their stage act (when they were playing a mixture of old hits like ‘On A Carousel’ ‘Carrie Anne’ ‘Bus Stop’ and ‘Stop Stop Stop’ plus the odd ‘psychedelic’ song like ‘King Midas In reverse’ and ‘Butterfly’ itself). Sadly no one seems to know for sure – so if you do (or know someone who might have a copy of this programme – well, it doesn’t hurt to ask does it as unlikely as that seems!) then get in touch on our comments page!
THE MOODY BLUES 14/9/1968
(available here: http://youtu.be/lcAg0EcUS2Q)
The second programme on our list that thankfully survived the BBC axe is the Moody Blues session, programme #11 and broadcast a week after the Hollies set. Again all five Moodies are clearly miming and the songs mainly come from the album the band are ‘plugging’, ‘In Search Of The Lost Chord’ (they are, in order, ‘Opening>Ride My See Saw’, ‘Dr Livingstone I Presume’, the epic ‘House Of Four Doors’ (which includes John Lodge miming the playing of a violin!), ‘Voices In The Sky’, ‘Thinking Is The Best Way To Travel’ ‘Visions Of Paradise’ ‘The Actor’ and ‘Ommmmm’ (featuring the unique sight of Hayward miming to his own sitar playing!) What’s interesting, though, is the sheer amount of ‘cutaways’ in this programme including psychedelic lighting effects, a giant version of the ‘Lost Chord’ album cover, images of Britain’s past for ‘evolution’ concept work ‘House Of Four Doors’ and even some space images for ‘Thinking Is The Best Way To Travel’. The band are in particularly bright form, caught halfway in their career between the rabbit-in-the-headlights-sudden-fame look of 1967 and the rock-Gods-couldn’t-care-less pose of the early 70s. It’s nice, too, to see so many rare songs get an airing that aren’t often featured in their setlists then or now. There are some live vocals, too, though not throughout the whole set (‘Doors’ and ‘Seesaw’ are completely mimed and even the rest have the band lip-synching to band harmonies and backing tracks). The BBC seem to have dispensed with the announcer for this programme, too, without the introductions or even the voice-overs of some of the earlier episodes. Very little footage of the Moodies in their late 60s heyday exists and this episode is a remarkable time capsule of the time when a new album was release was ‘important’ enough to receive a full half hour plug on a BBC programme (albeit on the ‘lesser’ of the two BBC channels and late at night when few people saw it!) Unfortunately this programme is still largely unavailable, although at least the clip of ‘Seesaw’ did make it to one of the ‘Sounds of the Sixties’ TV compilations collected in the late 1980s (and often repeated on the ‘Yesterday’ channel in the UK). Let’s hope somebody somewhere can fill in some of the other gaps missing in the ‘Colour Me Pop’ collection...
And for now, that’s all from us at ‘colour me Archives’ (now with added colour!) join us for more news, views and music next week!