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Wednesday 1 February 2012

This One Always Gets Me.

Yesterday i was re-aquainted with a piece of music i hadn't heard for a few years. A piece of music that has an effect on me every time that i hear it. A piece of music that everyone should hear at least once and doesn't get the exposure that it fully deserves.

A local friend of mine on Facebook posted a link to a YouTube video of the track.
Here it is and i suggest that you watch it now before reading any further:

Powerful stuff isn't it?

As i said earlier, i feel that everyone should hear that piece of music at least once and once it all it usually takes to embed it into your head forever.

I can honestly say that, although i had no idea what the song was when i first heard it, it was something that i didn't forget.
The friend who posted it yesterday said that they can remember hearing it broadcast on Radio North Sea, an offshore radio station. They were listening on a small transistor radio at the time, under the bedclothes. Does that sound familar?
I'm pretty sure that i first heard that track under similar circumstances. Although my radio station would have been the famous/infamous Radio Caroline. This would have been in the mid 1970's.
I heard it a few times back then, via Radio Caroline, but i never did catch what the song was actually called, or who it was by. The only piece of information that i heard was the word "MoWest", which meant absolutely nothing to me at the time and in those pre Internet days, that's the way it stayed.
Despite this, it was a piece of music that i never forgot.

I can't remember exactly when i next heard it, but it was certainly many years later.
I had a feeling that it was on the BBC radio program, Desert Island Discs, or at least that's what i thought. I have since checked and according to their records, Tom Clay's track has never been chosen.
But, i distinctly recall hearing somebody mentioning the track and playing, at least a part of it, on the radio. I remember this because i was instantly transported back to the first time i ever heard it and all the reasons that made it such a memorable song were instantly there, once again.
The person talking about the song was also saying how much it had affected them too. So, i was not alone.

Thankfully, during that interview, i finally heard and wrote down the name of Tom Clay. And, luckily, the Internet was now with us and a quick search revealed details about the track and about Tom Clay himself.
Even then, the track proved rather elusive when it came to trying to purchase it and i still couldn't get my hands on a copy.

The mystery of the word "MoWest" was revealed though. MoWest was the record label that the song was released on, it was a subsidary of the great Motown label. It was released in 1971 and got to number 8 in the Billboard charts, selling over 1 million copies.

A few years later, i found the piece of paper with "Tom Clay - What The World Needs Now/Abraham, Martin and John" written on it. This time an Internet search found the track and i was finally able to download and listen to this elusive song that i had first heard all those years ago.
I can promise you that that first play of "What The World Needs Now" had the same effect on me as did all previous listens.

Tom Clay's masterpiece is one of those tracks that i have to be in the right frame of mind to listen to.
In fact i hardly ever play it, but then i don't really need to. I can remember it well enough without hearing it.
There have even been times when i've thoughtt of playing it, now that i have that luxury, but i've stopped myself from doing so. I think that is mainly because of the effect that the track always has on me.
As with yesterday, one listen can get me thinking. remembering and even blogging!

I can honestly say that i don't think there is any other piece of music i know, that has the same effect on me. That is not something that i've ever really thought about until now, but i certainly believe that to be true.

Maybe this is because of the era, the 1960's, that the song is all about? The 1960's were, after all, my formative years and the track mentions events, albeit on another continent, that i remember vivdly. Events that have stuck in my mind ever since
One of my first memories is of the assasination of President Kennedy in 1963, when i was 5 years old.

I know that there is more to it than that though. The effect on me also comes from the interviews that are heard during the song and the answers given by the small children to the questions they are asked.

Now the subject matter of what those innocent children were talking about is, unfortunately, still all too relevant in 2012. You can almost imagine similar interviews taking place right now.
I'd like to think that the answers given would be the same too.

Maybe we haven't come as far as we thought we had?

PS: That's two days running that i've written about music and certain songs reminding me of my past and the effect that those songs have had.
I can see a trend developing here.

If you want to find out more about Tom Clay, go here:

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