musicology #169


alternativesoundtrack2..Quadrophenia #1

(Tommy Tucker – Hi Heel Sneakers)

having enjoyed laying down the alternativesoundtrack selection to one of themusicologist’s favourite films, (Good, Bad and Ugly),  so much I feel It’s time for another one…

this time it’s the turn of cult English film, Quadrophenia.

still the only cinematic portrayal of one of the most enduring and influential youth cults to emerge…’Mod’. which is amazing when we consider the impact that the movement had on music, fashion and society over the preceeding 45 years.

as a youngster growing up on the streets of South East London during the seventies, (born in 1968), themusicologist was part of the original mod/ernist legacy by having parents who were there at the birth of the movement, (1962), that had evolved out of a scattering of disparate individuals who began to congregate in pockets of London to become known, (mainly to themselves), as ‘stylists’ or even ‘modernists’.

there are many reasons for this but the most important was the change in music from ‘Rock & Roll’ to ‘Rock & Soul’ that began to happen around 1959 but also the impact of globalisation and the ‘consumer society’ that emerged out of it.

I have seen and enjoyed the film many times but the thing that I always found dissapointing was the soundtrack. I know the film was about ‘Mods’and in many ways it was authentic but also a little bit one-sided in as much as, for me, it didn’t do musical justice to the more ‘underground’ aspect of the movement so this week it’s going to be about tunes that were BIG on, and in, the ‘Billy Bean’

day 1 finds ‘Jimmy’ turning up at a club and buying his supply of FFrench Blues, (amphetamines),  to complement the night’s action at a local club.

a tune well known and loved by mods, modernists and stylists, recorded in late 1963 and released in early 1964. (the year in which the film was set). released as a 45 on the ‘Checker’ label..a Rhythm & Blues dancer that had all the neccessary requirements for getting the ‘Cats’ off their arse and on the floor..

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18 thoughts on “musicology #169

  1. I was transported straight back to the Scene in Ham Yard doing the Block with this oh so wonderful track from those times..spot on!..they cost 6d each as I recal by the way

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  2. thanks for that pearl..straight from the horses, (no offence), mouth.

    The Scene was the first club in London to cater strictly for the youth. opening in August 1963.

    the catalyst for all that followed so in many ways it was the most important in London club night history.

    nice to be able to say you were there…

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  3. Yes, best (only?) visual interpretation of the Mods. But the soundtrack was miles off. Yours is a lot, lot, closer to home.
    This one is spot on. “Hi-heel Sneakers” was one of the classic tunes of the times, played to death in every London Mod club, and yet, strange to say, it didn’t get the same treatment in the dance venues…. maybe it – the dance known as the Block – was a bit too subversive for the Eric Morley’s etc., of this 60’s world… I mean, kids danced alone, sexes danced together, the beat was “dark”, steps could be misunderstood as sexually inviting!!!!
    “Don’t Get Me Talking”, I could go on and on and onnnnnnnnnn.

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  4. appreciated..

    BIG tune, remember it well from me early Circus Street days

    nice to have you back on themusicologist

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  5. Not too sure about The Scene (the Billy Bean to south London Mods) being a catalyst; the Mod thing was up and running, not to mention posing, before then. the Scene was more effect than cause. Even so, what the scene offered was the perfect Friday night venue for the “faces, movers and shakers” to strut their stuff, music, dance and fashion-wise.
    By the way, your comment “one of the most enduring and influential youth cults to emerge… Mod”………… interesting!

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  6. Perhaps the reason dance steps like the Block weren’t performed at dance “venues” was the size of the dance floors….. venues such as the Lyceum, the Royal, the Palais, the Lorcarno, the Odeon etc., were proper Ballrooms; they had big, wooden, dance floors…. perfect for jiving. Conversely, the clubs were small, cramped, intimate… and very intense; so intense most nights you could cut the atmosphere with a knife… get my drift??

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  7. yep..condensation dripping off the walls and ceilings, been there MANY times especially in the early ‘House’ days of the late ’80’s. you probably know that the cat who ran the Scene also setup radio caroline

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  8. yes, but, (as far as I know), the Scene was the first club night to cater to a specific audience of youngbloods unlike clubs like the Whiskey which were for adults.

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  9. “the cat behind the scene”… Laurie O’Leary…. am I right? I’ll get back to you soon on the Mod club scene!!

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  10. As I knew it, Ronan was one of the front-men, L.O’L. – and the Twins – loitered somewhere in the back!! Thus, The Scene was THE favorite club for east London Mods (Stevie M. – one out of L.O’L’s stable – among them).
    Or maybe I losing track of things???

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  11. This O’Rafferty/O’Leary/Scene/Mod debate has triggered an internal dilemma… perhaps better said a quandary!!
    That being…. is what I can recall/know fact of fiction? or a bit of both????

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  12. memory served me wrong…the Ronan was right but not the O’ Rafferty…

    the cat’s name is Ronan O’Rahilly. He also started Radio Caroline

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  13. Hey!
    Thanks for the compliment concerning my father’s song “Hi Heel Sneakers”. I wish we were paid for the popularity of the song, we would be millionaires. However, time has been cruel to his offspring, where his music is concerned. However, I saw Quadrophenia and thought the song could have been featured more out front than the background it was put on in the soundtrack.

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    1. Richard,
      A real pleasure. Unfortunately as you are painfully aware, (especially where R&B/Blues is concerned), the artist reaps hardly any of the financial reward. That always ends up in the company’s bank accounts. I’m assuming that your dad was Tommy Tucker? all I can say is that the song was, (and still is), one of THE mod stompers of all time. Quadrophenia only ‘pays’ lip service to the music of the times, other than The Who’s music !! which is featured up front. Did Chess not treat your father very well? if not I’m sad to hear it. Thank you very much for taking the time to comment…most appreciated.

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  14. Musicologist:
    Thank you for your empathy concerning our father’s recognition or lack thereof. We are now trying to get him recognized as a pioneer in the blend of rock & roll and blues. Hi Heel Sneakers has done well for many artist or has been a tool used to get recognition of other up and coming artist(s) because of it’s worldwide popularity, however, Chess never has acknowledged to the family their appreciation of our father Tommy Tucker aka Robert Higginbotham’s contribution to the Chess family or the music industry in general. Over 200 artist have covered his song(s), who have reached legendary status, so, as far as the Higginbotham family is concerned, this will have to be our appreciation of his talent and legacy. Major artist such as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Waylon Jennings, Tom Jones, Jerry Garcia & The Grateful Dead, Merl Saunders, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Ramsey Lewis, Carl Perkins, Pinetop Perkins, The Everly Brothers, The Searchers, Paul Revere & The Raiders, Stevie Wonder, Grant Green, Buddy Guy & Junior Wells, Wayne Newton, Jose Feliciano, Janice Joplin, Ronnie Milsap, Ike & Tina Turner, Rufus Thomas, Boots Randolph, Paul McCartney, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Henry Butler, Laura Nyro, Lonnie Brooks, Wes Montgomery, Blue Mitchell, Alexander, Brown & Ellis, Johnny Rivers, Ry Cooder, Bill Haley & The Comets, John Lee Hooker, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Johnny Halladay (the French Elvis), Lightnin Hopkins under (Put on your Red Dress), Magic Sam, Melvin Rhyne Trio, Booker T & The MGs, David Cassidy, Cross Section, the above mentioned soundtrack, Alex Korner, Paul Filipowicz, Pete Gastenauer Band, Graham Bond Organization, Steve Marriott & the DTs, Jimmy Smith Trio, Dee Clark, Johnny Otis, Doug Lawrence, The Chamber Brothers, The Holmes Brothers, Dave Lewis (Sound King of the Northwest), Eddie Floyd, Eddie Campbell, The Bobby Fuller Four, Felix Pappalardi, Pazant Brothers, Cleo Laine, Ronnie & the Pomona Casuals, Freddy Cannon, Shortlist, Rod Stewart (with the group, Faces), Henry Butler, Catfish Keith, Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs, Jack Bruce, etc. The list goes on of lesser known artist and musicians who have attempted to acknowledge the importance of this song when the industry needed fresh sounds. This song was nominated on John Lennon’s Jukebox lp as being a barometer in the direction they as the Beatles eventually took. When the Beatles came on the scene, our father’s record was moving up the charts. It was just beginning to enter the top ten when the Beatles charted 3 or 4 songs in the top ten and prevented him from moving into that prestigious position. The ironic part is that now Paul McCartney’s former brother in law, John Eastman administers a 62.5% publisher share of the song. However, they have not been kind to our mother or brothers where royalties are concerned and we are now attempting to get back royalties from them. This is an ongoing story that may be told at another time. Thanks for your acknowledgement and I look forward to being a part of the Musicology family to learn more about the history of various artist.

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    1. Richard,
      I have a few Checker/Chess 45’s by your dad. All excellent. Some great artists in that list…particular favourites of mine are Grant Green, Ry Cooder, John Lee Hooker, Magic Sam, Dee Clark and finally my favourite on the list..Steve Marriott, whose appreciation and love of Soul, Rhythm and Blues was huge due in part to the fact that he was a first generation Mod and ALL authentic Mods would cite Hi Heel Sneakers as an anthem.

      As for the Beatles they tried to capture some of the essence of early Soul as witnessed by them covering tracks like Barrett Strong’s Money, Arthur Alexander’s Anna and The Isley Brothers Twist & Shout, (and that’s just on record), so in my opinion without repackaging Soul for middle America The Beatles wouldnt have been as successful. Or the Rolling Stones for that matter who covered many Rhythm & Blues songs in the early days. For the record NONE of them were ‘Mods’ whereas Steve Marriott, David Bowie, Marc Bolan, (to name three) were.

      As for John Eastman…no surprise there or for that matter Alan Klein, (who ‘owns’ the Sam Cooke catalogue), I wouldn’t imagine either of them were in it for the love of the music or the Artists concerned…I have heard that the Chess brothers were ‘fans’ but as you know money has NO friends and only makes enemies. Sad but true. Who ‘owns’ the rights to your fathers earlier recordings? thanks again for taking the time to comment and let us know what the situation is concerning your father whose music, at least, is loved, cherished and respected by many over here. Part of the inspiration for themusicologist is to bring such fantastic music to a global audience and I am very happy that you appreciate and enjoy what I’m doing

      themusicologist

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  15. Wow! I’ve just come across this.

    It makes my blood boil reading things like this. Mr Higgenbotham, for what it’s worth, my thoughts are with you and your family. Your Dad’s song was THE BEST of it’s kind. And that’s no sop to your loss. I know ‘cos I was there dancing to it every time it was aired or spun!!

    How comes these people got away with it? Where’s the fairness?

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