Tim Davey Spare a thought for Mary in that Beatles cauldron
I stayed up far, far, too late the other weekend watching one of those wonderfully overlong BBC Four tributes to rock stars. In this particular instance, the chap receiving constant accolades was one quarter of the Beatles, music-maker and sometime mystic-maker, George Harrison.
It was some days later I realised the relevance of it all.
Because, half a century ago tomorrow, The Beatles' first top 20 hit Love Me Do was released. October 5, 1962, was one of those dates that should be tattooed on my brain. And all those of my age.
I didn't know it at the time but John, George, Paul and Ringo's wailing harmonica-driven debut was about to turn not just the music world upside down, but the lives of every spotty British Sixties teenager, too.
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However, the odd thing was that Love Me Do would be the one single (and it was a single) Beatles record I would purchase until some years later when they released the magnificent Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. But I thank them sincerely for opening my eyes to a world of music which lay across The Pond in places such as Detroit.
So, as their immaculate mop-tops embarked on a spot of world-conquering, I joined the rebel cause that would be dubbed the Mod generation.
Don't get me wrong, I wasn't averse to doing a Beatles sing-a-long whenever the opportunity arose and 49 years ago next month I actually got see them, right here on my West Country doorstep. The date was November 10, 1964, and they were back at the Colston Hall in Bristol for the final date of a nationwide tour.
I was particularly drawn to this tour because of the presence of their chosen support act. That honour – and, my word, it was a big one – had fallen to a certain Mary Wells, a soul singer from Detroit, aka Motor City. Mary, like Harrison, now sadly deceased, was the voice behind massive multi-million selling smash hit My Guy. Just hearing that one song from her would be enough for me. So I bought the ticket, along with a coach full of school chums, and we embarked on our own rural magical mystery tour, motoring from deepest Gloucestershire to the bright lights of the big city that long ago night in November.
It was quite a night, with the scream factor being at record-breaking decibel levels and no one sitting down. And the infamous flour-bombing of the Fab Four.
Poor Mary was fighting a losing battle. After all, the majority had not come to hear her. And, if, like me, others in the audience had an appetite for her music, there was absolutely no way of showing one's appreciation.
To this day, I have always felt so sorry for her.