Tuesday, October 03, 2006

"She played nobody's mistress at all..."

With Cathy McGowan on the set of Ready Steady Go, by Philip Townsend, circa 1966

It’s true – the British don’t like their girl singers to be too good, they think it smacks of emancipation, and Cilla at least seemed safe. Obviously, she was quite a nice girl. Also, she was respectable and reliable, very clean and quite unsexy, and she played daughter or maybe kid sister, steady date or fiancĂ©e, but she played nobody’s mistress at all. She wasn’t like that. Everyone patronized her like hell, waiting for her to fall, but then she didn’t fall after all, she floated instead and she’s still up there now. She won’t ever come down either – she still can’t sing much, she still comes on like a schoolgirl but she’s liked like that and she can’t go wrong. Genuinely, she’s warm and she makes people glow. In her time, she will grow into a pop Gracie Fields, much loved entertainer, and she’ll become institutionalized.

(Nik Cohn writing in 1969 for his study on the history of pop, Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom)

The Beatles and Elvis

“After a bit, Elvis said, ‘Somebody bring in the guitars’. One of his men jumped up, and within moments three electric guitars has been plugged into the amplifiers in the room. Elvis took a bass guitar, and I took a rhythm guitar. Elvis obviously wasn’t that familiar with his instrument, so Paul gave him some instructions. George was busy looking over his instrument, and it was a few minutes before he joined in. Cilla Black’s hit record You’re My World was the track that we first got off together. After that I said ‘This beats talking doesn’t it?’ - We had at last found a way of communicating. Only Ringo looked a bit down. He could only watch us and drum on the side of his chair. ‘Too bad we left the drums in Memphis’ Elvis said."

(John Lennon on the Beatles meeting Elvis – Mojo magazine)