Thursday, 2 October 2014

Lynsey de Paul

I was saddened to wake up to the news that Lynsey de Paul has died. Lysey will always have a special place in my 12 year old heart and I listened to the 2xCD collection of all her music between 1972-74 on the way to work and returning home this evening. Some great and truly under-rated pop songs. I've blogged before about Lynsey and will probably do so again when the mood strikes.

Whenever I hear her first hit single, 'Sugar Me', I whiz back in time to the summer of 1972 when my family was on holiday in Scarborough or Bridlington (I can't remember which) and 'Sugar Me' was played endlessly on the radio, along with Alice's 'Schools Out' and Bowie's 'Starman'. Yes, that's the company she was in. I remember not wanting to go out and play because I wanted to listen to pop music on my tiny transistor radio. I loved 'Sugar Me' then and I still do - it's elegant simplicity is a slice of perfect pop.

She was the only solo British girl pop star that wrote her own songs back then and, from that first appearance on 'Top of the Pops', she was definitely a pop star. What I didn't realise, of course, was that I'd already heard her songs, such as 'Storm In A Teacup' by The Fortunes, 'Crossword Puzzle' for Dana and the songs she wrote with Barry Blue. A year or so later she wrote 'Central Park Arrest' which was recorded by Thunder Thighs aka the backing vocalists for Lou Reed and Mott The Hoople. I loved that song with its police sirens  but I've never managed to find it anywhere (I have Lynsey's version of the song, obviously).

Lynsey followed up 'Sugar Me' with 'Getting A Drag' about Glam Rock and how men wearing make-up was causing lots of confusion ('I kissed a mister just as pretty as a sister'). Her next big hit was 'Won't Somebody Dance With Me', a slow song about being a wallflower until her prince arrived that she won her first Ivor Novello Award for (the first women to do so). I wasn't too keen on that song but I loved her first album and I still have it on vinyl. 'Surprise' really is a surprise, introducing us to Lynsey's range of songs, from the pop of 'Sugar Me' to swampy 'Mama Do' to the introspective 'Ivory Tower' to the plain odd 'Just Visiting'. That record proves there was a lot more to Ms de Paul than a 3 minute pop song and still stands the test of time.

Imagine my joy when I heard that Lynsey was going to co-host the Marc Bolan celebration at Shepherd's Bush in 2012 along with Sir Noddy Holder. Lynsey on stage? O yes! She didn't sing, sadly, but she joked with Noddy and looked splendid in a little sparkly cocktail dress. Noddy cheekily talked about chasing Lynsey round the 'Top of the Pops' studio back in the day. Bet he didn't really but Lynsey played along. Here's a photo I took of Lynsey with Sir Nod and Danielz from T.Rextacy who provided the music on the night.

Lynsey obviously did more than I'm telling you but this is my blog and my memories and, if you want a fuller picture of Lynsey, then start off with the BBC article. You'll find out lots about Lynsey with a judicious search. But this bloggie is about me and Lynsey.

I was delighted to hear of two new double CDs issued last year that collect all Lynsey's recorded works between 1972 and 1979 and I bought them straight away. My favourite is, obviously, 'Sugar And Beyond - Anthology 1972-1974' which covers the peak years of my listening to Lynsey. This is what I've been listening to today. It includes the singles, the 'B' sides (remember them?) and the first two albums, 33 songs in all. The second double CD covers 1975-79 and has another 29 songs including her Eurovision song with Mike Moran, 'Rock Bottom'.

Farewell Lynsey, you were and are well loved. I hope that's some comfort to your family. I've been listening to you for 42 years now and that will continue, at least in this small part of the internet.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Couldn't have put it any better. Sad loss of a great person who was often criminally underrated.