It was 39 years ago this week that John Lennon was assassinated.
It was just a few months prior to this that he’d decided to make a comeback with the Double Fantasy album. Prior to this, his last album was Walls & Bridges some six years earlier. He’d had six years of being out of the limelight (as much as he could) and enjoying family life and became the most famous househusband. The song Watching the Wheels tells of that period on inactivity.
In an interview he explained the origins of his surname Pole and that was after his great-grandfather researched the family history and discovered it went back to the Norman Conquest and learned that he had a connection to royal house of Tudor and pinned the two names together.
He formed the band Tenpole Tudor in 1977 that lasted five years. He has many acting rolls including appearances in the 1980 film The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle, The Rocky Horror Show and Absolute Beginners in 1986. In 1993, he replaced Richard O’Brien as the host of the game show Crystal Maze.
In more recent times he appeared as a street preacher in the second season of Game of Thrones.
R. B. Greaves would have celebrated his birthday this week.
Ronald Bertram Aloysius Greaves III, as he was born, originated from Georgetown, Guyana then moved to U.S when he grew up on a Seminole Indian reservation. He was the nephew of Sam Cooke recorded his biggest hit in 1969. Take a Letter Maria was recorded at the Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Alabama and talks about a businessman who works long hours and arrives home later one night to discover that his wife had been unfaithful.
The next day at work he dictates a letter for his secretary, Maria, to send to his wife and a copy to his lawyer filing for divorce. The song’s last chorus finds him discussing the situation with Maria and then asking her for date.
The song was producer by the head of Atlantic records, Ahmet Ertegun and reached number two and went on to sell a million copies. In the UK it missed the chart altogether.
He recorded some cover versions like (There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me and A Whiter Shade of Pale which were minor US hits. R.B. died in September 2012 aged 68.
He was born in Ontario to English parents who originally lived in Plymouth but emigrated to Canada in the mid-50. At the age of 15 he became the lead singer with a group called Sweeney Todd. In 1978, at the age of 19, he launch a solo career after meeting Jim Vallance, a former drummer and the pair formed a life-long writing partnership.
I had the pleasure of interview Bryan in 2005 whilst preparing a number one’s show for the once good station Capital Gold.
This is probably Bryan’s most well-known song and Jim revealed that the Jackson Browne song Running on Empty, which contains the lyrics, ‘In ’69 I was 21,’ was a subconscious influence on their writing, and that Bryan may have been influenced by the movie Summer Of ’42.