Tuesday, 16 May 2017

I've Got My Own Album to Do (No.1)

Welcome to the world of the solo project. There was a time when it was almost compulsory for a band member to come to the conclusion that their creative energies could no longer be confined to the limits of the group situation. Most obviously, the lead singer, with their ego massaged by the adulation of the crowd, would feel the need to spread their wings and prove that their songwriting chops were at least the match of the lead guitarist. Then the guitar picker himself (it was almost bound to be a bloke, after all) would realise that his genius was probably wasted on the rest of the band, so he'd better get an LP of his own done. All well and good (or not) and you knew you were in for a real treat when the bass player or the drummer did their own thing as well. All this time, no doubt, the keyboard player would be composing a symphony to be performed by robots on ice. You remember all this, I'm sure. Does it still go on? I expect you know of modern day examples that I'll only be too pleased to look into but, to start, let's go back to the halcyon days of this nonsense which did, on occasions, produce some worthwhile stuff but so much junk you had to wade through in the meantime. Sorting the good from the grim is going to be a bit of lottery. Jump in.

I suppose much of this sort of thing started here, with George Harrison's first extra curricular project, Wonderwall Music, composed for Joe Massot's film, Wonderwall (1968). Harrison took the chance to further expand his interest in Indian Classical music for a number of the pieces but also threw a variety of styles into the mix,.It adds up to quite an oddball collection which, to be fair, were written as a soundtrack, so maybe we shouldn't judge this one too harshly.

Drilling a Home (1968)

An album that you can judge all the way to Hades and back if you like is Keith Moon's Two Sides of the Moon, recorded with the assistance of various LA drinking buddies and released in 1975. A fine example of everything nobody asked for. What a wonderful drummer.

In My Life (1975)


  1. 'Wonderwall Music' is the sort of record that would these days be re-issued through Finders Keepers, were it not Fab-related. A very interesting bunch of stuff and no mistake. 'Two Sides of the Moon', on the other hand, is a shocker.

  2. Yes, 'Wonderwall Music' was a worthy addition to the world of the solo project but not one I would choose to listen to often. Best for us to start high before we sink too far into the mulch.

  3. Great idea for a theme, SB. Looking forward to what surprises you'll unearth, especially if it's a keyboard player composing a symphony to be performed by robots on ice.... Then I remembered Rick Wakeman!

  4. Two Sides Of The Moon is a great album title though.

    The worst thing about Wonderwall Music was the fact that it inspired those Gallagher muppets all those years later. George would do far better solo work once the day job packed up.

    Best examples I can think of in the modern world are Jason Isbell who left the Drive-By Truckers in the dust with his recent solo work... and Father John Misty who may be in danger of doing the same to Fleet Foxes, unless their next album is a blinder.

    1. Thank you for the tips, Rol. Been meaning to chase up Jason Isbell for a while.

  5. Oh, and I won't win any muso points for saying this, but that Harry Styles kid ought to have quit One Direction years ago if his debut solo single is anything to go by. Best song Richard Aschroft never wrote.