This is the song that I will most likely close the blog down with as and when that day eventually comes.
It’s the closing track from the 1982 compilation Music of Quality and Distinction Volume One. The album was the work of British Electric Foundation (B.E.F.) who, in effect, were Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh, the two blokes who had been booted out of The Human League but would go on to enjoy huge success with Heaven 17.
Penthouse and Pavement had been a hit album for their band in 1981 and their label Virgin Records afforded them the luxury of a vanity project that was recorded and released in 1982. The idea was to bring in a series of guest artists to perform cover versions in a style more akin to the new electric music of the 80s. I’ve previously written extensively about the album, some four years ago. Click here for a refresh if you’re so inclined.
I know that Billy Mackenzie isn’t to everyone’s taste, (hi Jonny!!), but my love for him is well documented. His take on the Roy Orbison classic, which was a #1 hit in the UK in June 1964, is one of his finest vocal studio performances. B.E.F. threw the kitchen sink at it, with cellos, harps, violins, french horns, castanets and timpanis all high in the mix, not forgetting too that John Foxx strummed the acoustic guitar while Hank Marvin did his bit on the electric guitar, and Billy responded in the best possible way.
Roy Orbison himself went on record as saying he thought it was a majestic effort by all concerned.
Play this one loud…..and listen to it preferably through speakers rather than your laptop or mobile phone.