Ther are many songs that have meaning for me, but I have chosen two for you today.
Back in 1992, I started going to the gay scene in Liverpool and to a club called Reflections, sadly it is no longer there as it was outdone by one of the “superclubs” called Garlands. Back in 1992 I got myself an apartment and was living in Liverpool, and had a pen friend from LA called Rocko who was staying with me for a few months, we decided that we would venture to the scene in Liverpool for the first time. Together we went into a bar called “Reflections” and it seemed like a piano bar, quite quiet for a Friday night in a big vibrant city. Rocko decided to go and find a toilet, and on his return, open mouthed with glee written all over his face he said: “Oh my god, I have found a whole new world, come on!” I followed him with a little excitement and a touch of trepidation down a longs staircase with music emitting from the depths. We got to the bottom and he turned to me and said “Ready?”, I nodded, and as he opened the doors to the club, I was engulfed in lights dry ice smoke and an atmosphere I will never forget. The song that started playing when we went in was my first choice. It was such a memorable time in my life, I even remember what I was wearing which was a pair of denim dungarees, a white v neck tee shirt, red tartan Dr Martin boots with green laces, and a black bomber jacket. I had the time of my life and went to Reflections many times. When it closed down I, like the rest of the scene ended up in Garlands, which was and still is a great club, and I ended up a podium dancer there, but that’s another story.
Dr. Alban – It’s My Life
My second pick for today is a song that brings back many memories from my club days. I had moved up north to a seaside town, and as well as my day job I used to work in the towns largest night clubs and ran the champagne lounge, so with that I had many many famous guests, but one of my guests was Edwin Starr. Now, at the time I was, and still am, to be honest, a fan of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, and they had done a cover of War by Edwin, and it was one of many favourite songs at the time. When Edwin was a guest, I asked him if he would perform War for me, and he duly did, it was one of many highlights in my life, and I have fond memories of that night.
So today our quest is a song about drugs and alcohol. there are many to pick from, but not very many of them I can consider songs that I like. One thought that I adore is White Rabbit. This was written by Grace Slick, who based the lyrics on Lewis Carroll’s book Alice In Wonderland. Like many young musicians in San Francisco, Slick did a lot of drugs, and she saw a surfeit of drug references in Carroll’s book, including the pills, the smoking caterpillar, the mushroom, and lots of other images that are pretty trippy. She noticed that many children’s stories involve a substance of some kind that alters reality, and felt it was time to write a song about it.
Slick got the idea for this song after taking LSD and spending hours listening to the Miles Davis album Sketches Of Spain. The Spanish beat she came up with was also influenced by Ravel’s “Bolero.”
Grace Slick wrote this song and performed it when she was in a band called The Great Society with her first husband, Jerry Slick. The Great Society made inroads in the San Francisco music scene, but released just one single, “Somebody To Love” (written by their guitarist, Jerry’s brother Darby Slick), before calling it quits in 1966. Grace moved on to Jefferson Airplane, and the group recorded both “White Rabbit” and “Somebody To Love” for their first album with her, Surrealistic Pillow. The songs were the breakout hits for the band, with “Somebody To Love” reaching #5 US and “White Rabbit” following at #8.
The Great Society Version of “White Rabbit” was released in 1968 on an album called Conspicuous Only In Its Absence (credited to “The Great Society With Grace Slick”), a live recording of a show at The Matrix in San Francisco. This version runs 6:07 and meanders through four minutes of Indian stylings before Slick’s vocals appear. The Jefferson Airplane rendition is a tight 2:29 with a far more aggressive vocal from Slick. This version I give you is from Woodstock on 17th August 1969, 48 years ago tomorrow.
Jefferson Airplane – White Rabbit
Again this challenge brings up a lot of songs, but today, a song with a person’s name in it has to go to my all time favourite song, I hope you enjoy all 17 minutes of this incredible track.
Marillion – Grendel
Today holds lots of music from TV shows, but this track stuck out a million miles when I watched “American Horror Story: Hotel” I am a big fan of this band, and back in the 90’s managed to see them a few times in concert. Be warned, this is not the best quality video, but the music is perfect. So without further a do, I give you…
The Sisters Of Mercy “Lucretia My Reflection”