Tuesday, August 7, 2012

England Swings

Once again, blog posting has come to a halt as my free evenings have been spent tuned into the Olympics on TV! The amazing athleticism aside, I've really enjoyed seeing footage from around London and I'm reminded what a fun and beautiful city it is. I had the privilege of visiting London four summers ago and I still can't wait to go back someday. 
During the 1960s, "Swinging London" was a catch-all term that applied to the fashion and cultural scene that flourished in this city, and of course music of the "British Invasion" (from America's perspective) was well underway.
Anyway, I thought I'd do a quick post with songs about London, as these tunes have been playing through my head as I've watchd the Olympics (if you were hoping this post was going to be all about the British Invasion, you'll just have to check out those previous posts here).

The song that presents the most stereotypical picture of England at this time was "England Swings (Like a Pendulum Do)" by American country singer Roger Miller. Written by Miller and released as a single in 1965, this catchy, little ditty reached #3 on the country chart, #8 on the US pop chart,  and #13 in the UK.  If you're interested in seeing this song get a go-go booted makeover, there's a funny version by Patty Duke here. Anyway, looks like I'll be hearing "Bobbies, two by two" in my head the next time I watch the Olympics. Sorry, no live performance footage of this song.

Released in late 1965, this next song comes from Donovan's second album, Fairytale, where he developed his British folk sound. His "Sunny Goodge Street" foreshadows the jazzy feel and descriptions of life in urban London, which Donovan would explore further in the following years.
And what do ya know, Goodge Street is an actual location in Central London around the corner from the British Museum, as pictured in this tube station signage. So here's some nice live footage with that soothing voice of the Scottish singer-songwriter doing what he does best.


 This next "London" tune is classic one that you rarely hear on the oldies radio stations these days (maybe only on Sirius XM). From Los Angeles, The Rose Garden was an American folk rock musical group that formed in 1967. Although very short-lived, they did enjoy one hit single with "Next Plane to London," which reached #17 on the US Billboard chart at the end of '67. Complete with pleasant lead vocals by Diana DeRose, here's another wonderful tune from this bygone era of Sunshine Pop! 


And of course, it's kind of silly to have a post with songs about London and not include London's anthem. We all know I love "Waterloo Sunset" by The Kinks so much that it was already featured it in it's own post last summer (if you missed it, check out the details here). And since it's that good, I'll post it again here. This time, I'll use a video that includes photos of those lovely sites around this marvelous city. From the 1967 album Something Else by The Kinks (one of my favorites in my record collection), here's that good ol' "Waterloo Sunset."

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