Saturday, 1 August 2009

Geordie: Electric Lady (a-side), Arrows: I Love Rock n Roll (b-side)

"I didn't want to get sucked into that second-generation glam rock, My next thing won't be glam rock. I'm telling you that, babe. I don't want to be involved in any of that. I don't put down anyone who is involved in it, but once the vision takes over from the music they're in bad shape." Marc Bolan 1973
We were never to find out if Marc Bolan would ever get any distance between himself and glam rock, but he was right about the so called "second generation" of glam acts. For most it was a case of image over any clear musical talent, with most performers just jumping onto the glam rock band wagon while it was still popular. Some had tried their hand at other styles long before glam came along (Alvin Stardust, Gary Glitter), while others were just manufactured, purpose made glam acts (Hello, Slik).

Fitting into the first category are Geordie who were a rock band from Newcastle upon Tyne. They had been around for some time before their first single, "Don't Do That" broke into the UK Top 40 in December 1972. Their sound was influenced by British rock bands of the day such as Led Zeppelin, as well as glam acts like Slade. They only had one UK Top 10 hit, 'All Because Of You' in April 1973 and one UK Top 20 hit, "Can You Do It" in July 1973.

Geordie are best known for their lead singer Brian Johnson, who would later join AC/DC after the death of their former frontman Bon Scott in 1980.

'Electric Lady' is an up tempo rocker in the Slade style released in August 1973, but only reaching number 32 in the UK. Although not having any great success this song is one of their better offerings and deserved to get higher than it did.

The Arrows fit more into the manufactured glam acts category. Originally a three piece who had hit singles in 1974/75 with Chinnichap songs 'Touch Too Much' and 'Toughen up', they were produced by Mickie Most for his RAK record label.

They also had two 14-week television series (The Arrows Show) in 1976 and 1977 on Granada Television, and are the only band to have two weekly TV series and no records released during the run of either series. Their final single "Once Upon A Time" was released two months before the first show of their first series in 1976. The reason given for this was contracts and lack of record label co-operation. They eventually split in 1977.

In spite of the lack of label cooperation, they left their mark and legacy in a song. The Arrows are now known in rock history as the band that wrote, recorded, and released the first version of "I love rock n roll", a song that has lasted 30 years in cover versions, most famously by Joan Jett which was a US number one in 1982. Britney Spears and others have also released versions of the song.
This version was first released as a B-side, but was soon re-recorded and flipped to A-side status on a subsequent pressing of the record. The song was not a hit in its original version as a result of non-existent promotion by the band's label.