Thursday, June 2, 2011

Life of Surprises

If there was one thing I miss about buying cds, it's the liner notes.

Been spending the week preparing for the company's anniversary celebration.  By some twisted reasoning, I find myself again part of the team tasked with creating celebration materials and by that we mean videos and other mementos.

Anyway, scatterbrained that I am, I was immediately reminded of the loveliest 'look-back' entry I've read as far as my limited memory now can recall.  Of course, I'm biased but man, the way he wrote the liner notes to the compilation, there's no other way of putting it. 

Like the album title, hope mine can also be a 'life of surprises'.

Liner notes:


How does the song go ? " Memories light corners of my mind. Misty water-coloured memories of the way we were. "*

As we all know, memories can be fabulous liars, and looking back over ten years since we released our first record, "Lions in my garden", I'm not unhappy to see that the day-to-day details of our legendary career have become smudged upon the canvas of time, forming some unbelievable misty water-coloured memories.

Did we really record all the backing tracks to our first album "Swoon" in an afternoon, believing upon its completion one month later that it would rival "Thriller" as a commercial proposition ?

Did we really audition 147 drummers over 5 days only to realise that applicant number one was the man for the job ?

Who was it that spent three expensive days in the Studio with medium Phyllis King in an attempt to record the voice of the late Elvis Presley - only to contact a troubled spirit identifying itself as Colonel Tom, who wanted 35% of any deal we were making ?

Did Johnny Marr appear in R.A.K.´s studio with a cassette player and tape of "William It Was Really Nothing" while we were making "When Love Breaks Down ?" And did we really release that single 5 times within 18 months before it finally became a hit - monopolising the U.K. number one spot for five weeks ?

Was it a dream or did we eavesdrop on Stevie Wonder as he rehearsed his harmonica solo for "Nightingales" - sat beneath a giant painting of Jimi Hendrix in Westworld Studios ? Do we treasure the photograph ?

Did we really not tour for five productive years ? Have we spent months arguing over tiny details, suppressing the bittersweet knowledge that they´re only records, they mean everything and nothing ? And we were really recording in a Los Angeles studio when the famous voice in the world - that a man from Hoboken - asked us if we´d like a slice of pizza on the occasion of his 69th birthday ? Do we remember that or has time rewritten every line ?

Ten years of making records may justify a Best Of, but it´s hard to feel nostalgic when you hope that the best is yet to come. And who knows ? It´s a life of surprises.

Paddy McAloon May '92

* Apologies to Alan and Marilyn Bergman

Johnny Marr with Morrissey created The Smiths and "William It Was Really Nothing" was one their big hits.

That Hoboken man was, of course, doobie-doobie-doo, Frank Sinatra.

Head over to for more info about the band.  Excellent site.