Friday, 26 May 2017

Not me at all

Reading an old issue of Uncut (#148, Sept 2009) over breakfast this morning and the centerpiece of the issue is an article celebrating The Beatles influence on culture in the form of 69 fascinating and sometimes fanciful factoids. I generally consider Uncut writers to a reliable bunch of scribes, but shame on the usually reliable David Cavanagh for reprinting that old howler that David Bowie recorded a cover of Penny Lane for the cut-price Music For Pleasure label in those hungry pre-fame days. I think I first read about the Penny Lane rumor in Nicholas Pegg’s excellent 2002 Complete David Bowie compendium (found in the Apocrypha section), so clearly Uncut dropped the ball on this one. I was debating on whether to post the offending cover version here - God forbid someone might skim over the post and shrug “Bowie covered Penny Lane ? That’s interesting” and propagate the myth further, but for the sake of completeness, you can listen to it here. David Cavanagh seems to have been thoroughly hoodwinked by this, writing "Note the hilarious out of time trumpet and Bowie's northern accent..." - as you will note, the vocalist, identified by Record Collector's Chris Groom as one Tony Steven, sounds nothing like the Deram-era Bowie. The Penny Lane cover first appeared on the Hits '67, one of those innocuous budget compilations that were designed squarely for the indiscriminate listener and his pitiable portable picnic player (12 Top Hits Superbly Recorded promises the front cover Can you tell the difference between these and the original sounds ?)

Incidentally, the album's entry over at Discogs includes a comment that explodes the myth, which is just as well - a seller is currently offering a copy of the album for the king's ransom of £15...

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