Wednesday, June 20, 2012
PLEASE ALLOW AN OLD MAN TO GET ALL NOSTALGIC..
What follows is a shortened version of piece I put together back in June 2008 when I revealed the identity of the #4 song on the all-time favourite singles (this version cuts out the history of the band)....
It was back in 1983 that I plucked up the courage to move out of the family home into a student flat in time for my third year out of four at university. And aside from a couple of times when I've returned to mum and dad's place to sleep on a spare couch, numerous flatmates (and two wives) have been the ones that have had to put up with my mood swings for more than a quarter-of-a-century. They’ve also had to put up with my taste in music, although thankfully, just about everyone (bar wife numero uno) who ever lived under the same roof as me liked what I was playing.
This particular song is the one that I most associate with my first flat.
‘Well you didn’t wake up this morning cos you didn’t go to bed’ - as an opening line seemed to capture what every weekend was designed for.
‘This is the day your life will surely change’ - as a chorus seemed to capture what the hope of every Friday and Saturday night was going to be about as I set out in the hope of finding a true soulmate
This particular song is the perfect companion piece to How Soon Is Now? by The Smiths, yet another great hymn of the 80s dealing with angst, loneliness and a desire to belong. And while the genius guitar work of Johnny Marr was at the heart of what made his band’s song so special, so the accordion work of someone simply called Wicks turns This Is The Day into an instant classic.
Matt Johnson is probably the most under-rated and unappreciated singer/songwriter of my generation. He started off using The The as just another name for his solo efforts augmented by hugely talented guest musicians, including Jools Holland (who contribute a memorable piano solo on the LP version of Uncertain Smile) and Zeke Manyika who gave the drums one hell of a pounding on most of the LP Soul Mining, in a style that was completely different from his work with Orange Juice.
I was sure this was a minor hit back in 1983 – I certainly recall seeing the promo on the telly as well as Matt making at least one appearance on a Channel 4 chatshow performing the song. And yet it barely scraped the Top 75. Maybe that’s why the song was given a radical makeover in 1994 as the main track of the Dis-Infected EP which did hit the Top 20 and saw the band appear on Top Of The Pops.
The 1983 single was yet another 7” single that was lost for many years, but now I have a copy back in the collection. The version I owned was a limited edition double-pack, and it’s that which I picked up (at some expense) on e-bay a couple of months back. And here are all the songs in their full glory...
mp3 : The The – This Is The Day (single version)
mp3 : The The – Mental Healing Process
mp3 : The The – Leap Into The Wind
mp3 : The The – Absolute Liberation
I bet the b-side and the other two tracks weren’t what you would have expected given the pop brilliance of the single……each of them were culled from an unreleased LP called The Pornography of Despair.
And as I get older....and as my dancing days become more or less are consigned to the past....I do wonder if This Is The Day will take its place at the top of the songs I have loved most in life.