Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Marmalade -- "Lovin' Things" (1968)

Our friends call us the perfect pair 
For the lovin' things, baby, that we share 

(As was noted in the previous 2 or 3 lines, I currently have three blissfully engaged children.  It seems like every song that my iPod serves up these days has some lines that reference this happy state of affairs.  To wit, see above.)

I was happy to get a compliment about a recent 2 or 3 lines from an old high school friend who went on to have a long career in journalism.  "Nice, nice column," she wrote.

The compliment was all the more meaningful because the friend was a year ahead of me in school.  When you're a junior in high school, the seniors are (to quote Genesis) "giants in the earth."  It was a red-letter day indeed when one of them deigned to notice a lowly junior.

I'd never thought of my three-times-a-week 2 or 3 lines posts as "columns" before.  But I really like the sound of "columns."  And being a "columnist" sounds so much better than being a mere "blogger." 

Of course, not everyone likes columnists.  Here's what the newspaper publisher played by Robert Duvall in the 1994 movie, The Paper, had to say about columnists:

I hate columnists! Why do I have all these columnists? . . . What every columnist at this paper needs to do is to shut the f*ck up!

(I can only imagine what this character would have had to say about bloggers.)

I thought about going to journalism school before deciding to become a lawyer.  (One of my daughters did get a master's in journalism.)  I greatly enjoyed working on my law school newspaper, and did quite a bit of freelance writing over the years before starting this blog in 2009.  Seeing my words in print -- not to mention my name -- is as satisfying a feeling as anything I know.

If you had to choose one word and one word only to describe me, "reader" would be a good choice.  I have deep admiration for good writers -- and I am absolutely awestruck by good writers who are also prolific writers. 

2 or 3 lines is the tiny grain of sand that I have contributed to the beach that is the internet, but I'm inordinately devoted to it.  (Some would say obsessed.)  It makes my day whenever someone says something positive about what I've written.

But even better than that, of course, is when someone clicks on my ads!

I was walking my dog the other day, listening to the latest batch of songs I had "liberated" from the Freegal music download service that is offered by the half-dozen or so public libraries I have accounts with.  (Power to the people -- right on!)  

Suddenly "Lovin' Things" -- a classic sixties three-minute pop song -- popped up on my iPod, and I sang along to it while my four-legged companion trotted alongside me, stopping to sniff every peed-upon mailbox along our route.

Something hit me a couple of hours later.  "Lovin' Things" had been recorded by the Grass Roots, one of the great singles groups of the late sixties and early seventies.  

But I was certain that I had searched the Freegal database for the Grass Roots and come up empty.  So where had my recording of "Lovin' Things" come from?

I hurried to my computer and found that the version of "Lovin' Things" on my iPod had been recorded the Glaswegian pop group, the Marmalade.

("Glaswegian" means someone who is from Glasgow, Scotland -- just like "Mancunian" means someone who is native to Manchester, England.  I don't know why the Brits think they're too good to use normal suffixes like "New Yorker" or "Washingtonian.")

The Marmalade are most famous in the U.S. for their 1969 hit, "Reflections of My Life."  

But in 1968, their recording of "Lovin' Things" was a #6 hit in the UK.  The next year, the Grass Roots released their version of the song -- the arrangements are very similar -- in the U.S.  

"Lovin' Things" has some almost comically over-the-top lyrics.  Here's one verse:

With your soft and sweet caress 
You brought me such tenderness 
To think I was once forsaken 
With your kiss I've been awakened

Here's another:

Then you walked into my life
Said how you'd soon end all my strife
With a smile from your young face, you 
Gave me back my inspiration 

The Marmalade released "Lovin' Things" just in time.  Their first few singles had gone nowhere, and their mean ol' record company was about to give them the old heave-ho.  The group had foolishly turned down the chance to record "Everlasting Love," which later was a #1 hit for Love Affair.  ("Everlasting Love" is a great record that 2 or 3 lines will have more to say about at a future date.)

Later that year, Marmalade reached the #1 spot in the UK with a cover of "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," perhaps the worst song Lennon and McCartney ever wrote.  But the group made up for that crappy single with "Reflections of My Life," which is a FABULOUS song.  (We'll have more to say about it in the future as well.)  

Here's "Lovin' Things":

Click here to buy the song from Amazon:

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