Camel train at Petra in southern Jordan
Elsewhere by Graham Reid

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brenda lee

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Brenda Lee, I'm Sorry (1960)

Brenda Lee, I'm Sorry (1960)

Little Brenda Lee -- who stood 4'9" -- was never a threat. Not to girls in her audience. "My image wasn't one of a heartbreaker," she once said. "I was the little fat girl your mother didn't mind you playing with." When Lee went to number one with this powerful and aching performance she was one of the few women --...

Genya Ravan: Junkman (1979

Genya Ravan: Junkman (1979

By the time New York singer Ravan got to her album And I Mean It, from which this track is taken, she'd already had a few careers: she'd been the singer in the Escorts in the early Sixties (the line-up included soon-to-be-producer Richard Perry); she was Goldie of Goldie and The Gingerbreads who scored a top 10 UK single with Can't You Hear My...

Kyu Sakamoto: Sukiyaki (1963)

Kyu Sakamoto: Sukiyaki (1963)

It wasn't really the name of the song that Sakamoto recorded, but that hardly mattered. When this catchy piece of MOR pop from Japan made it to the West it enjoyed enormous success. Sakamoto, who was 22, was the first and last Japanese artist to top the Billboard charts. It was also his first and last international success. Back home of...

Various Artists: The Gerry Goffin and Carole King Songbook (EMI)

Various Artists: The Gerry Goffin and Carole King Songbook (EMI)

While Carole King went on to greater fame, it is worth remembering that of the songs she wrote with her writing partner-then-husband Gerry Goffin in the early Sixties it was he who penned those memorable and often extremely adult lyrics: think of the pre-sex doubt in "will you still love me tomorrow", the post-sex pleasures of...

The Ivy League: Four and Twenty Hours (1966)

The Ivy League: Four and Twenty Hours (1966)

Britain's Ivy League were one of those bands which appeared in the wake of the Beat Boom and the Beatles and scored a couple of quick hits -- Funny How Love Can Be, then Tossing and Turning -- in '65. And that would seem to be it because a couple of key members left and . . . But there is more to their story that that. The band were...

Lou Christie: Lightnin' Strikes (1966)

Lou Christie: Lightnin' Strikes (1966)

Few people can say they celebrated their 23rd birthday in quite the same way as Lou Christie, this single was number one the US -- and just starting to go global. It was quite a comeback for Lugee Alfredo Giovanni Sacco from rural Glenwillard near Pittsburg: he'd had some skirmishes with the charts and been on Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars...

Renee Geyer: You Broke a Beautiful Thing (1999)

Renee Geyer: You Broke a Beautiful Thing (1999)

Lord knows some artists can be "difficult" -- and many of those who have tried to interview Australian Renee Geyer (never my doubtful pleasure) have returned chastened, frustrated and sometimes downright angry. It was hardly surprising then when Paul Kelly produced an album for her entitled Difficult Woman in '94. Her 2000...

Renee Geyer: The Definitive Collection 1973 - 1998 (Mushroom)

Renee Geyer: The Definitive Collection 1973 - 1998 (Mushroom)

This great Australian soul, funk and blues singer appeared at Elsewhere recently -- more of that in a minute -- but here by coincidence is 18 track collection of some of her finest moments from her four decade career, including her gutsy take on James Brown's classic It's A Man's Man's Man's World on which she really shines. Also here is her...

Joanie Sommers: Johnny Get Angry (1962)

Joanie Sommers: Johnny Get Angry (1962)

While not quite in the league of He Hit Me and It Felt Like a Kiss, this sliver of semi-innocent pop sounds slightly uncomfortable these days. Poor Joanie, just wanting to get a response from the meek boyfriend ("I want a brave man, I want a cave man") and hoping for a lecture from Johnny. She wants Johnny to be the boss, but wimpy...

Gene Pitney: A Town Without Pity (1961)

Gene Pitney: A Town Without Pity (1961)

Because many of us used to read album covers with something approaching an obsession when we were first buying records, we got to know the names of songwriters (Charles and Inez Foxx always sounded so mysterious when I found them on the first Downliners Sect album) and even producers. So imagine my confusion when I saw the name "Gene...

Eden Kane: Boys Cry (1964)

Eden Kane: Boys Cry (1964)

When Peter Sarstedt had his smash hit single Where Do You Go To My Lovely? in '69 some unfairly asked . . . where did his brother Richard go? Richard, who used the stage name Eden Kane, had enjoyed some chart success in those pre-Beatle days (hence the name change, he was in there with Adam Faith, Marty Wilde, Billy Fury et al) but had...

BILLIE COMES TO TOWN (1999): The working life of pop princess

BILLIE COMES TO TOWN (1999): The working life of pop princess

You don't see it often and when you do it’s only briefly -- but it drains through Billie’s face for an instant. “Yeah, I’m really tired. I’ve been up since 5.30 so now I’m like, urghh.” She forces a smile, then momentarily disappears back into her own world. It’s Wednesday afternoon...

Billie: Honey to the Bee (1998)

Billie: Honey to the Bee (1998)

That the innocent wee Billie Piper -- 16 when she did a promo tour in New Zealand on the back of her debut album (see here) -- should later go slightly off the rails and start behaving in an "adult" way should have come as no surprise. Her short-lived marriage to UK DJ Chris Morris in 2001 -- she 19, he 16 years her senior -- was...

Haysi Fantayzee: Jimmy Jive Jive (1983)

Haysi Fantayzee: Jimmy Jive Jive (1983)

It's entirely possible that this British pop duo (with the svengali figure of Paul Caplin guiding their brief career) spent more time in make-up than they did on the charts: they knocked out four singles and an album  . . . but their chief feature was their risque glam-raggamuffin look which was used to greater effect by their contemporary...

Bertie Higgins: Key Largo (1982)

Bertie Higgins: Key Largo (1982)

Bertie Higgins -- born in Florida despite his London East End-sounding name -- didn't make much long-term impression on the charts, except for this ballad about the romantic Golden Age of the Silver Screen which topped Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart in '82. Higgins, who had been a drummer in Tommy Roe's backing band in the Sixties,...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Carole King: Tapestry Legacy Edition (Sony)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Carole King: Tapestry Legacy Edition (Sony)

The literary term "roman a clef" refers to a novel which is a thinly disguised story based on real events, and maybe we could also use it in the context of film and telelvision. Certainly the '96 movie Grace of My Heart by Allison Anders -- which starred Illeana Douglas as a jobbing songwriter turned solo singer -- followed fairly...

Los Bravos: Black is Black (1966)

Los Bravos: Black is Black (1966)

People speak casually about the global village as if it had been invented by the internet, but how is this for an implosion of cultures. This song was written by a couple of British guys, was recorded by a Spanish group who had hooked in a German singer, the song was sung in English and went into the charts in the US, UK, Australia and New...

Joe Jones: You Talk Too Much (1960)

Joe Jones: You Talk Too Much (1960)

Sometimes there is an eloquence and directness in simplicity: "Wild thing, you make my heart sing . . ." Hard to improve on that. Or this blunt sentiment by Joe Jones, a rhythm and blues singer from New Orleans who once had the gall to claim he wrote the classic Iko Iko for the Dixie Cups whom he managed. Wasn't the first time...

Maxine Brown: Funny (1961)

Maxine Brown: Funny (1961)

There's something very satisfying about don't-care-anymore songs. The world is awash with the luvvy stuff but every now and again a song comes along which says, "Yep, but I'm over you". An Elsewhere favourite is Solomon King's exceptional Happy Again which really put that grand passion into perspective. Yeah, I loved and I lost...

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