Like many of the singles on the 500 singles list, how I happen to be in possession of this particular gem by actor, songwriter, crooner, raconteur, former husband of Joan Collins and role model for the young David Bowie is an absolute and total mystery. But here it is.
Now better known as an actor (he was the Artful Dodger in David Lean’s definitive film version of Oliver Twist and Matthew Mugg in Richard Fleischer’s equally definitive film version of Doctor Dolittle) and songwriter (writing the theme from the James Bond film ‘Goldfinger’ with John Barry and the soundtrack to the film ‘Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory’ with co-writer Leslie Bricusse, which proved to have a life far beyond the garishly coloured film). Most surprisingly, in a revelation as shocking as the news that Michael Nesmith’s mother invented Tipp-Ex or that Hedy Lamarr invented the fore-runner to Bluetooth, Newley and Bricusse also penned the Nina Simone classic ‘Feeling good’. Although if you have a listen to Newley’s own version you’ll hear it has none of Nina’s balls.
Released by Decca in 1960, hot on the heels of two consecutive Number 1 hit singles for the 28 year old from Hackney with the cheeky smile (‘Why’ in January 1960 and ‘Do you mind’ in March 1960) the single, whose actual A side is ‘If she should come to you (La Montana)’ is a double sided croony gem of the kind that was damned to imminent extinction by the looming sounds coming out of Detroit and, ultimately, Liverpool.
If you have any doubts about the Newley/Bowie comparisons can I suggest that you listen to Anthony’s ‘Pop goes the weasel’ and David’s ‘The laughing gnome’ back to back if you can manage it.
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The Great Cassette Experiment - The Joy Of Cassettes