Yesterday, I was exchanging musical banter with old mate and (from 20 years ago) former colleague Gordon Blackwell, for the first time in a while. Today, I awoke to the sad news that Reg Presley had died. Life is full of coincidences. Coincidence? Do I sense a few quizzically raised eyebrows? I suspect so - but perhaps not upon the faces of other aged Datanews/TRM alumni. I shall explain.
The late Reg Presley, of The Troggs, was best known for many years for 'Wild Thing,' subsequently recorded by everyone from Jimi Hendrix to the Goodies. From '94 onwards, Reg's career received a second wind, through the global re-success of his '67 composition, 'Love Is All Around,' as covered by Wet Wet Wet. Anyone over 30 will instantly recall that the song featured in 'Four Weddings and a Funeral,' the monstrously successful Hugh Grant comedy.
So, Wet Wet Wet sang a Reg Presley song in a box office smash... Except that, of course, they didn't. Wet Wet Wet were on the soundtrack album, yes, and they had the worldwide hit single, certainly - but they weren't in the movie at all. In 'Four Weddings and a Funeral,' the song is one of four performed in a marquee, during the first wedding reception, by an unnamed band.
That unnamed band, stepping outside of their normal repertoire somewhat to meet the script requirements ('Walking Back To Happiness,' anyone?), was a fine semi-pro outfit from the Herts/Beds/Bucks area: The Wright Brothers Band.
So, let me introduce to you the act you've known for all these years: at the back, pounding away on the drums, Mr. David Wright... at stage left, on lead guitar, Mr. Ray Uren... at stage right, on the bass guitar, the last surviving member of the original 'Come And Get It' Badfinger line-up, Mr. Ron Griffiths... and, front and centre, playing rhythm guitar, singing lead through gritted teeth as their street cred drained away and thinking of the hundreds (!) of pounds they were being paid for three days' work, Mr. Gordon Blackwell.
Yup, the voice on the hit record might have been Marti Pellow, but the version actually shown worldwide on the big screen featured my clearly recognisable old mucker, Gordon.
So, here's your chance to score. You already have 'Love Is All Around' and 'Walking Back To Happiness,' and I'll also give you, 'Crocodile Rock' - so, for one giant Anorak Point, what was that fourth song that Mr. Blackwell and the chaps performed at the reception...?