Believe it or not, today marks the 40th anniversary of the recording of White Night, the debut single from my band The Lines, which I have written about a couple of times. I don’t know where all that time went, and so very quickly…I just looked around, and it was gone! A lesson for my younger readers.
Here’s another significant anniversary: although I have dated this entry according to the session date, as is my custom, we have just passed the 20th anniversary of the release of Madonna’s finest and best-selling album.
Back in early 1997 I was in London, during the last days of the Crouch End version of Guerilla Studio. It was a creative time. Some excellent Blur mixes were done, later included on the compilation Bustin’ and Dronin’. Mainly though, William Orbit was trying to finish an album called Strange Cargo 5. I thought the album sounded fantastic, but Warner Brothers somehow didn’t share the enthusiasm and a release date was not set.
When William heard that Madonna was looking for songs he sent the album to her. She loved it, used pretty much all of it…and so Strange Cargo 5 became Ray of Light.
Madonna was in superb voice at the time, having recently completed the quasi-operatic Evita. I’ll never forget first hearing her singing on Substitute For Love: the blend of her vocal and William’s instrumental style was truly a match made in heaven. Never that much of a fan (apart from Holiday obviously), Madonna really impressed me with the strength and depth of emotion she brought to these tracks.
I personally didn’t have much to do with the album, apart from cheerleading William and trying to help him keep his aging equipment operational. I seem to recall doing a glockenspiel part on To Have And Not To Hold. It didn’t earn me an album credit, but I got a platinum disc, and here it is.
The dizzying release schedule continues apace over at Rico’s Library, where my new guitar collection range drifter is finally off the launchpad.
This post is dedicated to the great Bard of Salford. RIP Mark E. Smith.
I’m dedicating this post to the great Johnny Hallyday, who left us last week. We were lucky enough to catch him live here in Los Angeles a few years ago…an electrifying performance. He was truly one of the greats.
The track is an arrangement I did of the Purcell song for William Orbit. I think I like this best of all of his classical adaptations.
Here’s a performance with William Orbit featuring my automated drum setup. If anyone out there is interested in enhancing their presentation with this kind of thing, please contact me.
Torch Song and Sting did a few sessions together around 84-85, until he decided to ship out to the Caribbean and make his album there. This is the one track that was almost completed, although it lacks the middle eight added to the final version.
It was decided to include this version on the 12″, and I got to do the mix, my first major mix to be released. I can’t take too much credit for it though as William Orbit had practically mixed it onto the multitrack tape.
Player, engineer, editor…Holger Czukay excelled in all of these disciplines at a very exalted level. He had a massive influence on modern music and inspired countless would-be imitators, including this writer.
A big barney in a big barn. We were on just before the superb 23 Skidoo and we stuck around long enough to see their set. Later I had the pleasure and privilege of doing a few sessions with the Skidoo boys, although I don’t think anything was released that I worked on. Excuse the cliché, but that really was a band ahead of its time.
In other news: a nice review of Frogmore on the Cold War Nightlife website…thanks to Simon Helm for caring.
Last but not least, we salute another music giant lost to us this week, the great Glen Campbell.