2nd December 2021


Q: I want to cover a few aspects here Tom kicking off with your younger days. Vancouver, Canada, I know you live there, are you from there?


TL: No. I was born and raised in Toronto. I was there for 34 years and then moved to Vancouver. When I was in Toronto, we used to call it a border station because we would get the radio signals from the USA and Canada so we were blessed with both sides.


Q: Can you give us an idea of what the music scene was like in Canada compared to the US?


TL: It was great! As I said we have the best of both worlds and the Canadian music scene certainly had some British influence in the early days – there’s no question about that – but being close to America, we picked up a lot on the American music going through. With the evolution in technology and radio in the 50s, we were exposed more and more to the US sound. My parents were really young when I was born so I grew up truly a child of the fifties and I was weaned on groups like The Platters and almost by osmosis, I learned all that music. Then of course when the British Invasion hit it was fascinating because the British Invasion helped America rediscover the roots of Rock and Roll. You know when John Lennon and Ringo Starr and all those guys got together, they were totally impressed by Chuck Berry and Little Richard and started doing their music, recording it and suddenly America is re-introduced to their own. Take The Animals and some of the records they did. The Blues and the R&B background they had was fascinating and we got that in spades in Canada. 


Q: Who was touring Canada back then?


TL: The Beatles came in 1964 and in 2014, we did the 50th anniversary reunion of The Beatles first outdoor concert in North America which was in Vancouver. Red Robinson was the host that night in 1964 and together, we recreated that moment in 2014. We had a great Beatles sound-a-like group and they did all the songs from that original 1964 concert. When we looked out in the crowd, Red asked the question ‘How many people were at the original concert?’ and about 40 people put their hands up.


Q: Every country has its own RnR heroes that never made it outside the country. In England we had, Vince Taylor, Vince Eagar, Johnny Kidd, etc. Who were Canada’s?


TL: Oh I loved Johnny Kidd! Please Don’t Touch was his best record in my opinion. Shakin’ All Over was covered in North America by a group from Winnipeg called Chad Allan & The Expression which became The Guess Who. They took that song into the studio and enhanced it so much it was incredible. It was a major hit in Canada. You know Paul Anka made the comment that you couldn’t get arrested in your own country so he went south of the border to the US and became famous but the one I would say would be Bobby Curtola. He was a huge Canadian artist and he did actually crossed over onto the Billboard charts with a song called Fortune Teller and another one called Aladdin but in Canada he was top 20 numerous times. His decision was to stay at home and he was part of what I call the 'Bobby' era of the early sixties with Bobby Vee, Bobby Vinton, Bobby Rydell, etc. So he was just Canada’s version of the 'Bobbys'.


Q: The impetus for you doing the book was your radio spots but what was the catalyst for your book?


TL: I need to take a step back and talk a bit about my grandfather. It’s the early seventies, I’m over at my grandfather’s and he’s getting on in years but he has no hobbies. You can’t go out and do oil changes sliding under the car or re-cement the basement and he was very annoyed with the hockey scene here as his local team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, were doing nothing so he was upset with that and he didn’t read books. So I looked at him and thought, further down the line, I’m not going to be very physical and music seemed to be my escape. That sort of started me into it. Then in the mid-seventies when I was going to university, there was a program in the US that was syndicated in Chicago by a guy named Paul Harvey. It was called ‘The Rest of the Story’ and he would start to tell you a story, go to a commercial break, leaving you thinking ‘Who the hell is he talking about?’ and after the break he would give you the rest of it. I loved the format and then in 1986 I’m thinking ‘Imagine driving to work in the morning at 8:15 am and the radio is on and they start twigging you about an artist or a song. They stop and play a commercial while you’re thinking about the artist and/or the song, and then they finish with the rest of the story and playing the song – a beautiful five-minute soundbite. That got me going and I did a demo tape of five records like that as I knew the history and since the early seventies, I had been collecting 45s. I presented it to a few people and one of the top guys who produced a lot of records in Canada said that the only bad thing about it is that there were not enough of them and that gave me the encouragement to move forward. In the late eighties I took my demo to Nashville. One of my friends there – a film producer who did all the TV commercials for radio stations – played my demo for his clients and all the radio guys said they got it but nobody was into soundbites; they wanted three-hour radio shows. So I put it to bed and then in the late nineties, I’m sitting with my friend Michael Godin (who discovered Bryan Adams) and he said he had an idea for an internet radio show and sat down and mapped it out on his desk. Three years later, I presented him with the ‘soundbite’ idea. He loved it and it’s been an integral part of his show for over twenty years. Then his listening audience contacted me saying I should put some of my ‘Moments In Time’ spots in a book. I thought that was a great idea. If you go back twenty years, one a week, I have over a thousand of these stories so then the problem became how do I pare down the number of spots to include in the book and also find the time to put them in a book format? Now I have to thank COVID as I wasn’t travelling as much and my workload decreased – this allowed me to complete the book within a year.


Q: The QR code is a very smart move as well. It links our generation to the kid on the street.


TL: It’s a unique thing. There’s no other book on the market like it where the stories finish with a QR code. You get instant gratification as you are able to hear the song featured in the story immediately. Ironically, COVID did us another favour because our age group had to go and get vaccines, and become familiar with QR codes through the vaccine identification process.


Q: It is a great read Tom and I have to say I learnt a lot and also got to hear a lot of recordings I hadn’t heard before.


TL: Thanks and that’s wonderful to hear. It is a bit North American-centric but does branch out on an international level with things like the section ‘From Across The Pond’ which is related to British songs. It’s not Beatles stuff. It focuses on other bands that came into play and Northern Soul which is a fascinating whole movement in itself - I’ve written a few stories about that that movement over the years.


Q: When it comes to the song selection, you’ve stayed away from a lot of the obvious choices which makes it a more educational read. What was your criteria for which songs went in?


TL: That was the toughest thing. I had to put myself in the realm of the listener. For some, pulling up stories that would make them go ‘Gee, I didn’t know that’ or a song that would be great to hear again. Songs that would reflect memories, to create theatre of the mind. Then I wanted to design chapters that cryptically outlined the history and evolution of Rock and Roll. As you rightly pointed out, this is a legacy book in disguise, how they got there and not just the wonderful nature of the songs.


A couple songs and singers

Q: Let’s chat about a few songs you have included. 1974, First, Beach Baby by The First Class which happens to be one of my favourite 45s and in England it is more often forgotten than remembered.


TL: Oh my – really? Wow - the identity crisis story in my book! That was a pretty amazing record and brings out the whole thing about what was happening in the studios. You know they would put a band together of studio musicians and bring someone in to sing and then go ‘Hey, this is a hit!.’ Then they would have to scramble and put a band together to go out on tour and sell it. Everything is about timing and that song just hit the right time on the charts and that’s why it did so well in America.


Q: Yes and it has that Beach Boys feel to it and it was a time in England when the Beach Boys were history. They hadn’t had a top 30 hit since 1970 and they wouldn’t have another until Lady Lynda in 1979. That aside, what a lesson in harmonies on that record!


TL: So true.


Q: 1964, Have I The Right by The Honeycombs


TL: Oh yes – I fell in love with the drummer. (laughs) I love the hard, driving beat and it was a defiant record when you think about it with that boom -boom-boom. They got their name because they were ‘combers.’ Now you see that is an interesting thing to North Americans because most don’t know that expression relates to hairdressers (drummer Honey Langtree was a hairdresser’s assistant). The group made a conscious decision to go on tour and made a lot of money on tour. They had more hits in England but they were far bigger there than in North America so they often get mistaken as a one-hit wonder in North America but that’s not the case at all. They were a really good band.


Q: Did you hear the album? It was a great album.


TL: No I didn’t but I do have three or four of the 45s.


Q: They were produced by one of my heroes as well, Joe Meek.


TL: Yeah well Joe Meek had his fingers in almost everything that was good at the time. Hey what about Mickie Most? What do you know about him?


Q: He began as a singer and was in a duo called The Most Brothers but he discovered he had a talent for spotting acts and producing and then went on to form Rak Records but he did all the Suzi Quatro stuff, the early Sweet recordings, Arrows, Mud, Hot Chocolate…loads of graet Glam Rock stuff and was producing hit after hit every month especially when he got together with Mick Chapman and Nicky Chinn who were basically the Leiber and Stoller of 70s Pop in the UK. Micky Most and Tony Hatch who did Don’t Sleep In The Subway and Downtown for Petula Clark were dominant around that time although Tony Hatch was a bit earlier.


TL: And Petula Clark for me is a phenomenal story. When she did Downtown in North America, nobody realised that it was the start of her second career. The fact is that she had her own TV show on BBC called Pet’s Parlour (1950 – 1953). She was born in 1932.


Q: A child actress as well.


TL: I know! I saw her perform in London in Sunset Boulevard playing Norma Desmond. She was fantastic and I didn’t realise the dimension of her talent.


Q: I have one of her albums and she sings in French and she does it with such aplomb you would believe she is French.


TL: There were a few women in the sixties who could do that. One of them was the youngest female to have a No.1 hit on Billboard which was Little Peggy March who did I Will Follow Him. She ended up living in Europe for thirty years and could speak and sing in five languages. The first time I ever heard I Will Follow Him in Japanese, I was blown away – it was incredible! Have a listen and you will pick her voice out in a heartbeat and she sounds good.


Q: Mony Mony by Tommy James and the Shondells. Story aside, I prefer I Think We’re Alone Now.


TL: That song is famous because it is one of those songs that got you up on the dance floor. I remember even way back wondering what Mony Mony actually meant but nobody did and nobody cared. Tommy James was one of the great talents and I Think We’re Alone Now is a great but you’ve got to start somewhere. Hanky Panky was good and got things going for him; Crimson & Clover was covered by Joan Jett and The Blackhearts. I don’t know if you know this but Tommy has his own radio show on Sirius XM Radio every Saturday and Sunday and he still sounds good. He was one guy that I thought would never make it because he had a hard time with the old sex and drugs and Rock and Roll thing but he’s coherent and funny and does a hell of a job.


The Trivia

I do love the trivia you come up with in this book Tom and the one that you had me guessing for ages was the last 78 record to reach No.1 and no, I didn’t guess it.


TL: That was 1956 and what is interesting is the time prior to that - from ’49 to ’54 - popular music was going through a transformation. It was not quite Rock and Roll, not so many of the Big Bands remained, artists were going solo and crooners were coming on the scene. By the time 1954 rolled around, singers like Perry Como and Frank Sinatra,  found themselves on the charts with The Crew Cuts and Bill Haley & His Comets. It was pretty wild times and at the same time, technology was changing. Parents bought the 78s which was their mainstay but recordings were transitioning down to the small thing called a 45 and there were jukeboxes going in places all over the country that could play these records and kids could afford to buy the single (45) so it was just like if you are changing computer programmes in that you run them parallel; the records were pressed on 45 and 78 before the 78 went by the way of the dodo bird. That last one ended up being a hit that everybody loved; it was big time. Also remember that the up-and-coming Rock and Rollers – the baby boom generation – it is a great slow dance after three or four fast records where they can hold the girl and dance. There is that practicality in it. It is also very well written and what I don’t tell in the book is that two years after that, Patsy Cline did a version of that hit record, The Wayward Wind. It’s little Country-ish but it will knock your socks off. I found it on an album that I didn’t even know I had. I was stunned by her version and that shows the power of a good song. I lean towards it even though the No.1 version by Gogi Grant was phenomenal.


Q: Tom I think there are many more conversations for us to be had about these great songs and I’ll leave it there for now. We are cut from the same cloth when it comes to honouring these recordings.


TL: I appreciate the opportunity to talk with you Glenn and, once in a while, let’s just get on a call and talk some more.

Q: Well that sounds good too me! Cheers Tom.

TL: Thanks Glenn. Bye.


*Tom’s book is available on Amazon worldwide (English only)


トム・ロック(ロック史研究家) インタビュー















TL:ああ、僕はジョニー・キッドが大好きだったんだ!「Please Don't Touch」は彼の最高傑作だと思うね。「Shakin' All Over」は、北米ではウィニペグのジ・エクスプレッションというバンドがカバーしていて、後に彼らはゲス・フーとなったんだ。彼らは、この曲をスタジオに持ち込んで、信じられないほどパワフルにしたんだ。カナダでは大ヒットしたよ。ポール・アンカが、自国では捕まらないからね、とコメントしただろ。だから彼らは国境を越えてアメリカに行き、有名になった。僕が一番言いたいのはボビー・カートラだね。彼はカナダの大物アーティストで、「Fortune Teller」という曲と「Aladdin」という曲でビルボードにチャートインしたけど、カナダでは何度もトップ20入りしているんだ。彼の決断は自国に留まることだった。彼は、ボビー・ヴィー、ボビー・ヴィントン、ボビー・ライデルなど、60年代前半の「ボビー時代」と呼ばれた時代の一部であり、まさに「ザ・ボビー」のカナダ版だった。



TL:ちょっと遡って、僕の祖父のことを話したいと思う。70年代前半、僕は祖父の家に住んでいたんだ。祖父はかなり年をとっていたんだけど、趣味というものがなかったんだ。あまり外出をしない割には、車の下に潜ってオイル交換をしたり、地下室のセメントを塗り直したりすることもできなかった。地元のホッケーチームであるトロント・メープル・リーブスの成績が悪いので、この国のホッケーシーンにとても腹を立てていて、本も読まなかった。僕は彼を見ていて、この先、自分は体育会系の人間にはならないだろうなと思い、音楽が僕の逃避先のように思えたので、それがきっかけで音楽にのめり込んでいったんだ。僕が大学に通っていた70年代半ば、アメリカではポール・ハーベイという人がシカゴで手掛けていた番組があった。「The rest of the story」というタイトルで、彼がストーリーを読み上げ、コマーシャルブレークに入り、「一体誰のことを話しているのだろう」と思っていると、ブレークの後に続きを教えてくれるんだ。このやり方が気に入っていた。1986年のある時、僕は想像してみたんだ。「朝8時15分に出勤してラジオを聴いていると、アーティストや曲についての話が始まり、コマーシャルが流れて、それについて考えていると、話の続きが出てきて、曲が流れてくる。」ってね。素敵な5分間の経験だ。それがきっかけで、僕はそのようなレコードを5枚集めたデモテープを作った。ロックンロールの歴史は知っていたし、70年代初頭から45回転のシングルレコードを集めていたからね。それを何人かの人に披露したところ、カナダで多くのレコードを制作していたトップの人が、「唯一つの問題点は、数が少ないことだな」と言ってくれて、それが前進する励みになった。80年代後半、僕はこの作品をナッシュビルに持って行った。そこにいた友人の一人が、ラジオ局の映画コマーシャルをすべて手がける映画プロデューサーだったので、彼の顧客のところに持って行ったところ、ラジオ局の人たちは皆、「これはいいね」と言ってくれたんだ。でも、誰もこの音楽企画には興味がなく、3時間のラジオ番組を求めていたんだ。それで僕はこの企画を眠らせた。90年代後半になって、友人のマイケル・ゴーディン(ブライアン・アダムスを発掘した人物)と一緒に座っていると、彼がインターネットラジオ番組のアイデアを思いついたと言い、机の上に書き出したんだ。3年後、僕は彼にこの企画「サウンドバイト」のアイデアを提示したんだ。彼はそれを気に入り、20年以上にわたって彼の番組に欠かせないものになった。そして、彼の番組を聴いていた視聴者が僕宛てに、「これを本にしたらどうですか」と言ってきたんだ。僕は、それは素晴らしいアイデアだと思った。20年前に遡って、1週間に1回のペースで書いていくと、1000以上のストーリーがあることになる。問題はどうやって時間を見つけて本を書くかだった。新型コロナウィルスに感謝しなければならないね。そのおかげで僕は旅行や他の仕事ができなくなり、1年でこの本をまとめることができたんだ。






TL:ありがとう。そう言ってもらえるのは素晴らしいことだよ。内容は北米を中心としているけど、国際的なレベルを意識して、イギリスの歌に関連した「From across the Pond」というセクションもあるんだ。ビートルズのような有名なものだけではなく、他のバンドも登場するし、ノーザンソウルはそれ自体が魅力的なムーブメントなので、長年にわたって珍しい話をいくつか書いてきたよ。







Q:収録されているいくつかの曲について話しましょうか。1974年、ザ・ファースト・クラスの「First Beach Baby」は、私の気に入りのシングルなんですが、イギリスでは記憶されずに忘れ去られてしまっている曲なんですよ。



Q:そうですね、ビーチ・ボーイズ風の感じがありますし、イギリスではビーチ・ボーイズが根付いた時代でした。1970年以来、トップ30ヒットを出しておらず、1979年の「Lady Lynda」までヒット曲はない状態でした。それはさておき、このレコードで、ハーモニーというものを学べたんですよ!



Q:1964年の、ハニーカムズの「Have I The Right」は?









Q:彼はシンガーとしてスタートし、モスト・ブラザーズというデュオを組んでいましたが、自分にはアーティストを発掘してプロデュースする才能があることに気づき、Rak Recordsを設立しました。彼は、スージー・クアトロの作品、初期のスウィートのレコーディング、アロウズ、マッド、ホット・チョコレートなどのグラム・ロック作品を手がけ、毎月のようにヒット曲を生み出していました。70年代のイギリスではリーバー&ストーラーに匹敵すると言われたミック・チャップマンとニッキー・チンと組んでね。ミッキー・モストとペチュラ・クラークのために「Don't Sleep In The Subway」と「Downtown」を手掛けたトニー・ハッチは、この頃には圧倒的な存在感を示していました。トニー・ハッチの方が少し早かったですが。

TL:僕にとってペチュラ・クラークは驚異的な存在なんだ。彼女が北米で「Downtown」を出した時、それが彼女のセカンドキャリアの始まりだとは誰も気づかなかった。1951年にBBCで『Pet Place』という自分のラジオ番組を持っていたんだ。彼女は1932年生まれなんだよね。






TL:60年代には、そういったことができる女性が何人かいたんだ。そのうちの一人は、最年少でビルボードのNo.1ヒットを出したリトル・ペギー・マーチで、「I Will Follow Him」を歌っていた。彼女は30年間ヨーロッパに住んでいて、5ヶ国語で話したり歌ったりすることができた。僕が初めて「I Will Follow Him」を聴いたのは日本語だったんだけど、とても素晴らしかった。聴いてみると、すぐに彼女の声と判るし、彼女の声は素晴らしいよ。


Q:トミー・ジェイムス&ザ・ションデルズの「Mony Mony」。ストーリーはともかく、私は「I Think We're Alone Now」の方が好きですが。

TL:あの曲が有名なのは、そのストーリーがあるからなんだ。アメリカではほとんどの人が知らないけど、本のその章の冒頭で言っているように、ダンスフロアで盛り上がった曲の一つであることは確かだ。僕は昔から「Mony Mony」の意味を考えていたんだけど、誰も知らなかったし、誰も気にしなかったので、そんな話を取り上げたんだ。トミー・ジェームスは偉大な才能の持ち主で、「I Think We're Alone Now」も素晴らしい曲だけど、意味を知らなければいけないね。「Hanky Panky」も良かったし、「Crimson & Clover」はジョーン・ジェット&ザ・ブラックハーツがカバーしてた。君が知っているかどうか分からないけど、トミーは毎週土日にシリウスXMラジオで自分のラジオ番組を持っているんだよ。今でも元気にやっているよ。彼は昔、セックスやドラッグ、ロックンロールにどっぷりはまっていた時期があって、絶対に成功しないだろうと思われていた男だけど、きちんとしていてユーモアがあって、素晴らしい仕事をしているよ。



TL:1956年のことなんだけど、この時代の面白いところは、49年から54年にかけてのポピュラー音楽は、独特の中間的なムードがあって面白いということなんだ。ロックンロールでもなく、ビッグバンドでもなく、男たちはソロで活動していて、ペリー・コモのような歌い手が登場し、彼やシナトラ、クルー・カッツ、ビル・ヘイリーなどが北米のチャートに入っていた。とてもワイルドな時代で、同時にテクノロジーも変化していた。親が買っていたのは主に78回転のSPだったけど、それが45回転のシングルという小さなものに変わり、国中のあちこちにレコードを再生できるジュークボックスが設置され、子供たちはシングルを買う余裕ができた。現代のコンピューターのプログラムがどんどん変わっていくようなものだね。レコードは45回転と78回転でプレスされ、78回転はそのうちドードー鳥のような化石的存在になってしまった。最後の78回転のレコードは誰からも愛されるヒットになったよ。いい時代だった。また、新進気鋭のロックンローラー(ベビーブーム世代)が出て来たことも忘れてはならない。アップテンポのレコードを3、4枚かけた後のスローダンスとして、彼らは女の子を抱きかかえて踊ることができたんだ。そこには実用性があったんだ。よく登場する話なんだけど、この本には書いていないことで、その2年後にパッツィ・クラインが「The Wayward Wind」のバージョンを作っていて、それはちょっとしたカントリー調で、みんながこの曲に打ちのめされたんだ。僕が持っていたアルバムに収録されていたんだけど、それに気づいていなくて、彼女のバージョンに驚かされたよ。曲本来のパワーが宿っているね。ゴジ・グラントのNo.1になったバージョンが凄かったとしても、僕はこちらを支持するね。







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