Yesterday I had an appointment with the local GP (and would be seen, promptly, by a very personable young lady doctor). As I waited, I was continuing re-reading Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon, a text which requires a considerable degree of focus.
In the background there was a radio, tuned to BBC Radio 2, burbling MOR pop, which I could barely hear. Somehow my attention drifted from Stephenson to the radio. It took a moment to identify the track:
I can’t say I ever paid much attention to Terry Parsons, a.k.a. Matt Munro. Probably one of the few occasions he came to my attention was as “Fred Flange” on Songs for Swingin’ Sellars. For some reason — probably because we were fans of The Goon Show (largely because we thought we spotted the dirty jokes smuggled past the BBC editorial blue pencil) — the LP was declared kosher among jazzers, as we were.
Yet this particular song resonated for me. As I recall, it appeared around 1970 — by which time I was well over the adolescent (and subsequent) music addiction.
The lyrics (apparently by Tim Harris) involve a list of Harris’s ex-girlfriends — hence Shirley Wood, Margaret Baty/Beatty and Annie Harris.
My guess: had the song appeared a decade earlier (at the height of the CND marching epidemic) it would have done a heck of a lot better.
Still: it has survived. It is as slick as anything that the London production line was churning out at that time. The sentiments aren’t too dusty, either.