Friday, December 12, 2014

Looking back to 1966

I took a trip back to 1966 the other day to revisit my life as a trainee journalist on the Croydon Advertiser, a local newspaper in south London. As well as my day job of reporting local news, I was part of the 'Young Outlook' team that the paper hoped would encourage a younger readership. My role was to review records as they came out and write about the pop music of the day. Searching through the micro film of the Advertiser at Croydon Library I came across quite a few record reviews that I wrote at the time. They are brief and to the point and focus largely on whether they will be a hit or not, but it was fascinating (to me at least) to read what I thought of records which are now well known but which were new to me at the time. Others, of course, are now forgotten. I received hundreds of 45s from record companies over a period of about three years, some of which I still have. If I had known then how valuable some of them would become I would have taken better care of them!
Over the next week or two I may print some of my reviews (if anyone is interested) but for the time being, here's a report I wrote about Chris Farlowe in January, 1966, a few months before he hit the big time with 'Out Of Time'.
'A star in his own right after five years of hard graft as a relatively unknown singer – that’s Chris Farlowe, a 25 year old from Islington, whose praises are sung by everyone from the Stones downwards, and whose latest record ‘Think’ is currently bounding up the charts (writes Nick Cobban).
Chris has sung in Croydon and Bromley more times than he cares to remember in the past five years, and it was on one of these occasions, at the Star Hotel, London Road, West Croydon, that I went to see him. Later, during the interval, we took refuge in a nearby fish and chip shop where Chris explained his sudden upsurge in popularity in the last few months.
Until last summer his name meant nothing to the record-buying public, although scores of people ‘in the business’  admired his gutsy soul singing. Suddenly last summer, however, things began to happen for Chris. He received a tremendous ovation for his live performance of ‘In The Midnight Hour’ on ‘Ready Steady Go!’ and all five Rolling Stones raved about the ‘coloured’ sound to his voice.
Since then, more RSG appearances and a bluesy recording of the old Jamie Coe song ‘The Fool’ have helped put Chris’s name even more in the public eye. Now with ‘Think’, a song specially written for him by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Chris seems to be making an impression on the charts at last. The results of ‘Think’ are already showing themselves. He has a tour of Scandinavia and a three day stint at the famous Olympia in Paris lined up.'


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