Saturday, 8 September 2012

Everything happens in threes...

I don't know about you, but it always seems to me that everything happens in threes... you break a plate and then, the cup and saucer.  You hear a couple of pieces of bad news and you sit on tenterhooks waiting for the third piece to be announced.  I try to pretend that I am not superstitious but if you have ever been near me when I see a magpie, you will know that I most certainly am, as I desperately look for his partner whilst saluting the solitary bird, greeting him with his military title and enquiring about the health of his wife and family... I blame Susan Stranks and Mick Robertson as the tune streaks through my head.
I once received this card from a boyfriend for Christmas... we split soon after!

By the middle of the week, the death of a third songwriter of my youth was announced and I knew I could stop counting. so who were this threesome: Joe South, Hal David and Marvin Hamlisch.  I expect you will know of all three but just not realise it, especially if you were born in the late 50s or early 60s.
Of the three, the most obscure will be Joe South, but I bet you can sing along with The Games People Play and indeed he even penned a song which appears on my personal top ten hate list... Lynn Anderson singing "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden"... still anyone can have an off day.  But even better than this he played on two of  my fave records, Aretha Franklin's Chain of Fools and Simon and Garfunkel's Sound of Silence, just one of these would be enough to make him a musical hero, wouldn't it?
Next Marvin Hamlisch, if you have ever been to an audition, this man captured the stress and strain of the process in the fabulous 70s musical A Chorus Line, he let me know that it was alright to be crap at improvisation and that I would never be an ice cream.  He worked on a film with two of my earliest film star crushes, when he re-worked the Scott Joplin rags for The Sting and starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford... doubtless there are still desks in the convent scored with their names, carved with the tip of my compass.  And then there was the theme to The Spy who Loved Me, sung by Carly Simon, I remember seeing that in the Empire, Leicester Square... actually that was also the first night that I saw working "ladies", but that is a story for another time.
And finally Hal David, the wicked wordsmith of Bacharach and David.  When my family first got a TV in the early 60s, the first show that was on, was The Perry Como Show and their first hit was Magic Moments for him.
Wherever you went in the 60s you would bump into Hal David's lyrics, he felt that every song should be a three minute film that runs in your head.  From the failure in Do you know the way to San Jose, the pragmatic determination to get over a failed love affair... until the next time in I'll Never Fall in Love Again, Paul Newman riding a bicycle in Butch Cassidy to Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head and Dusty Springfield not knowing what to do with herself or the shriek from Aretha Franklin singing, I say a Little Prayer... however did a man know how it felt to be a girl in love, just wishing and hoping?
These songs were the threads that wove through the fabric of my youth, I hear one and I am dressed in Oxford bags and wedges, another I am seeing a green pepper for the very first time when my sister brought it home from a trip to Amsterdam or being at the height of sophistication drinking a Cinzano and lemonade in the Student Union at the London Hospital.  As much as taste or smell these songs whip me back to happy and sad times and I would just like to say thank you to Joe, Marvin and Hal for your company but more than that to thank them for the legacy that sits in my CD collection and more importantly in my own memories.


Pearly Queen said...

I love that picture. I actually bought a copy in the Louvre shop, though it is so big I could never afford to get it framed! I am not superstitious AT ALL, and think magpies are lovely birds who get a bad press.
For myself, I sing: one for sunshine, two for rain, which is much nicer than the old country original...

Lyn said...

I was back in another world with those songs....magic moments indeed.

My superstitious nan had a big hand in my upbringing and to this day I still cannot cross knives (it causes arguments).