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Sun's Shining Yet Again

Back in the olden days when people bought vinyl records and there weren't limitless outlets by which you could hear music, there was always a frisson of the forbidden when a record was banned or deemed 'unsuitable' for airplay.

Drugs and sexual innuendo were the most common reasons for restricting the suggestible public's access to such potentially Satanic songs, although in 1967 in the US there was more outrage caused by the line 'Girl we couldn't get much higher' in The Doors' Light My Fire than there was to Jefferson Airplane's hit White Rabbit, one of the druggiest songs ever recorded.

In Britain there was the hilarious scenario whereby Radio 1 DJ Mike Read gave Frankie Goes To Hollywood's faltering debut Relax a major boost by apparently smashing it up on air when he copped on to what it meant.

For some strange reason the BBC had always been particular about songs which mentioned specific products, leading to the bizarre situation in 1970 whereby Ray Davies had to go back into the studio to tweak the lyrics of Lola to 'Rum and cherry cola' rather than the original 'Rum and Coca-Cola' which would, of course, have tainted British airwaves with commercialism and made those nice people at Pepsi very upset indeed.

A stranger case on a similar note involved The Lambrettas a decade later. The band's fourth single, Page Three, was ready to roll and looking likely to add to what had been a pretty good year for the band. The song's subject matter saw singer Jez Bird (who passed away in 2008) taking a pop at the pictures of topless dolly birds which were a part of British tabloid culture by way of a sparky Jam-like power pop song only for the release to be delayed when The Sun threatened to sue, claiming that, not only did they own the copyright to the phrase 'Page Three', but that the sleeve's mock-up of a Sun-like tabloid was a brand infringement.

The result was that the song had to be renamed, as Another Day (Another Girl), and rather than the controversy providing added impetus to the song's prospects there was the suggestion that radio stations were scared of upsetting the redtop and so the single barely limped into the Top 50.

Which was a pity really as The Lambrettas were the most successful of the Mod revival bands up to that point. They had only played their first gig the previous summer, but with Quadrophenia being filmed in Brighton, The Jam entering their pomp and other similarly influenced bands such as the Merton Parkas, Secret Affair and Purple Hearts filling the post-Punk, pre-New Romantic void they seized their time with aplomb.

Signed to Elton John's Rocket Records it was A&R man/producer Pete Waterman who suggested that they release live favourite Poison Ivy, a ska'd-up version of the old Coasters tune, as a single and they were duly rewarded with a No.7 hit and sales of over 250,000.

The self-penned follow-up D-a-a-ance was even better, a joyous summer rush of a song and one which captures the feeling of youth and all its possibilities. Expect mile-wide nostalgic grins for this one tomorrow night and a rousing chorus of boos when Rupert Murdoch's name is mentioned.

The Lambrettas play Whelan's tomorrow


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