Ignored Obscured Restored
I recently read The Dark Stuff – Selected Writings on Rock Music, by British rock critic Nick Kent. The opening 75 page article on the Beach Boys was the best I’ve ever read. The articles that followed were no disappointment.
I was intrigued by a particular paragraph Kent wrote about the young Morrissey, lead singer and lyricist of the Smiths.
And then there was music. He bought his first disc at age six – a year before Hindley and Brady’s gambols on the moors commenced.1 The record featured the virginal entreaties of a very young Marianne Faithfull singing “Come and Stay with Me”. The mild sexual overtones of the lyric went well with the halcyon blend of folk guitar and baroque pop. Indeed, Ms Faithfull was Morrissey’s first love, and in a world where first loves never die it’s intriguing the the only two non-originals the Smiths have attempted were her “Summer Nights” (a thrilling harpsichord-led piece that foreshadows some early Smiths songs) and the “Sha La La Song”. Quintessential British pop, an influence either due to the radio or elder Jacqueline or his own simple rationale: “I was brought up in a house full of books and records… I devoured everything.”
Let’s check them out for ourselves.
“Come and Stay with Me” was written by Jackie DeShannon and reached #4 in the UK for Faithfull.
The “Summer Nights” single was released in July of 1965. Faithfull performed it on the American pop music variety show Shindig.
“Sha La La Song” was the B-side to “Summer Nights.”
Now, back to The Dark Stuff. Read it!
Enjoy… until next week.
1 This reference relates to the Moors murders that took place in Morrissey’s hometown of Manchester England between 1963 and 1965.