In 1973, David Bowie released an album titled Pin Ups, which was a collection of cover versions of some of his favourite British hits of the 1960s. For fun, I thought I’d look up all of the originals. Some of them are well-known, some are not.
The Pretty Things, “Rosalyn” (1964)
This is standard 1960s garage rock. If you like the style, you’ll probably like this. If you don’t, you won’t. I thought it was okay, though a bit repetitive. The Pretty Things’ guitarist, Dick Taylor, was very briefly a member of The Rolling Stones back in 1962.
Them, “Here Comes The Night” (1964)
This song is wonderful.
Them were from Belfast, and featured the young Van Morrison as their frontman. Morrison wrote “Gloria” during this time; even if he had done nothing else, he would have earned a place in rock music history for that alone.
Yardbirds, “I Wish You Would” (1964)
This was the Yardbirds’ first single, and is one of their few recorded songs to include Eric Clapton as lead guitarist (though he isn’t featured prominently on this song). Whether you like or not will depend on whether you like singer Keith Relf’s harmonica.
Pink Floyd, “See Emily Play” (1967)
This is from the very early days of Pink Floyd, when Syd Barrett was their frontman and guitarist and they were being psychedelic instead of spacey. The strangely silly video doesn’t appear to include Barrett; instead, it appears to feature his replacement, David Gilmour.
The Mojos, “Everything’s Alright” (1964)
A British hit single in 1964, it sounds like a cross between the Yardbirds and Mitch Ryder. I had never heard it before now. It’s mostly harmless, if a bit busy.
The Who, “I Can’t Explain” (1964)
It’s only three chords, but it’s three very good chords! The video shows a bunch of what I assume are random Mods dancing. The most interesting bits are the footage of Peter Townshend – he looks like he has a whole lot of emotions bottled up.
Easybeats, “Friday On My Mind” (1966)
Dig the striped suits! The Easybeats were from Australia, and were the first pop band from that country to score a major hit. Guitarists George Young and Harry Vanda later went on to form Flash and the Pan, who had a few hits in the late 1970s. Lead singer Stevie Wright passed away at the end of 2015 after having battled substance abuse problems for many years.
The Merseys, “Sorrow” (1966)
I mentioned this song in my other Bowie posting, as his version is one of my favourite Bowie songs of all time. His version is a fairly faithful cover of this version, which is in turn a cover of a B-side by The McCoys. I like The Merseys’ version better than The McCoys’ version. The Merseys were a vocal duo formed from the remains of The Merseybeats, who had a few British pop hits during the time of Beatlemania.
The Pretty Things, “Don’t Bring Me Down” (1964)
Here’s another song by The Pretty Things. This sounds a lot like early Yardbirds – in fact, when I heard Bowie’s version, I assumed that he was covering the Yardbirds. This isn’t really one of my favourites.
The Yardbirds, “Shapes Of Things” (1966)
Now this is the Yardbirds! The lettering of the band’s name on the bass drum is so 1960s. For some reason, guitarist Jeff Beck decided to remain on his knees for the duration of this promotional video. Keith Relf looked unfamiliar to me in this song until I realized that he is usually filmed wearing sunglasses.
The Who, “Anyway Anyhow Anywhere” (1965)
More early Who, in which they get to go a bit nuts during the instrumental break. You can almost see Keith Moon kicking over his drum set. Lots of fun!
The Kinks, “Where Have All The Good Times Gone” (1965)
The singalong chorus is the most fun part of this song. Otherwise, it plods a bit, I think – it needs more of The Who’s manic energy or something. Or perhaps I’m just British Invasioned out by now, and am ready to go back to 2016.