I heard this track (2 Meg mp3) on Andrew Ford’s marvellous Music Show this morning. It’s quite striking I thought and perhaps many troppodillians have heard it. But I hadn’t. It won’t take you long to figure out who is singing it, but some other things about the song might surprise or interest you – they did me. I tell you what? You play the song to youself by downloading the mp3 file that’s linked above and then click through below the fold for a few interesting facts.
You might like to ask yourself.
- Who’s singing?
- When was it recorded?
- Where was it recorded?
- Who produced it?
- How did they get the sounds they wanted.
The first most obvious fact is that it’s by Rolf Harris. Don’t suppose that surprises anyone. But the date blew me away – 1962. The voice is so strikingly Australian – which may not surprise anyone since Rolf was selling its Australianness. Still it’s not a particularly ocker accent, just Australian accents emerging in song. This has really only happened in Australian popular singing to my ear in the last decade – even the last five years. Sherbert and even Skyhooks and in many ways the Beatles sang with a range of sounds in their voice which seem clearly American.
The producer of the track? The Great George Martin. He apparently sent the word out to the radio stations that this song was so different that if they wanted to play it, they should do so for at least two months to give people the ‘hang’ of it. Rolf says that it took off after two and a half months.
The didgeridoo sound? Well no whities could play it – including Rolf and I guess there were none in London at the time anyway. So it was made by 8 double bases each playing a single bottom note as a drone. Rolf said one session double bass player left the studio saying that it wsa the most boring gig he’d ever been to.