for Sunday 23rd April 1967

In this week's Field's Fab Forty The Travelin' Man, #4, can Move, #3, with the Shotgun Express from Euston Station or The Magic Bus. Some prefer The Boat That I Row, #8, and others (I) Can Fly, #20. Which direction to go? (Sheila) Southern, #23, or Western (Union), #24? See The World, #38, New York #7, Bombay, #26, or Dublin(ers), #28. Follow The Jimmy Ruffin Way to The Town of Tuxley, #29, and stay on the West Point (Supernatural) of the Beach (Boys).

Presented by Ed Stewart – on his 26th birthday!
Birds And Bees Warm Sounds
Purple Haze Jimi Hendrix Experience
I Can Hear The Grass Grow Move
Travelin' Man Stevie Wonder
What'll I Do Peddlers
Pictures Of Lily Who
New York Mining Disaster 1941 Bee Gees
The Boat That I Row Lulu
It's Wonderful (To Be In Love) Cash McCall
Gonna Give Her All The Love I've Got Jimmy Ruffin
Funny Familiar Forgotten Feelings Tom Jones
Come Back Girl Jackie Edwards
I'm Gonna Get Me A Gun Cat Stevens
Ha! Ha! Said The Clown Manfred Mann
Little Games Yardbirds
The First Cut Is The Deepest P P Arnold
A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You Monkees
Show Me Joe Tex
I Got Rhythm Happenings
I Can Fly Herd
Nick Knack Zoot Money's Big Roll Band
Sometimes Rockin' Berries
A Girl Without A Boy Sheila Southern
Western Union Searchers / Five Americans
Don't Go Home (My Little Darlin') Susan Maughan
Maroc 7/Bombay Duck Shadows
I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You) Aretha Franklin
Seven Drunken Nights Dubliners
Town of Tuxley Toymaker Billy J Kramer
Silence Is Golden Tremeloes
Say You Don't Mind Denny Laine
The Magic Book Gibsons
Bless My Soul (I've Been And Gone And Done It) Studio Six
Bernadette Four Tops
Time Will Tell West Point Supernatural
Let's Live For Today Living Daylights/Rokes
I Know You Love Me Not Julie Driscoll
Get Me To The World On Time Electric Prunes
Peanuts And Chewy Macs Cymbaline
Girl I Need You Artistics

Pictures Of Lily Who Track 604 002

According to Pete Townshend, Pictures Of Lily was, "Merely a ditty about masturbation and the importance of it to a young man". This sexual allusion was lost on most of us naive and youthful Big L listeners, and apparently on Big L management too, as it bounded straight into the Fab Forty at #6, reaching #1 two weeks later. It also hit #4 in the Nationals. However, in the USA, radio stations sussed that Townshend's lyrics weren't merely about appreciation of the art of photography and this resulted in a lack of airplay that kept 'Lily' at a lowly #51 in the Hot Hundred.

Let's Live For Today Rokes (RCA 1587) Living Daylights (Philips BF 1561)

Last week, (April 16th), Let's Live For Today appeared as John Peel's climber by the Living Daylights. This week the single enters the Fab accompanied by a second version by the Rokes.

The Rokes were Norman David (Shel) Shapiro, Johnny Charlton, Bobby Posner and Mike Shepstone. Originally called the Shel Carson Combo, they took a stab at the big time early in 1963 with a Top Ten Club residency in Hamburg. Later that year, the band transferred to Italy to back Tommy Steele's brother, Colin Hicks, who was very popular in that country. The 'Combo' was obliged to change its name to the Cabin Boys, as they were replacing a previous backing group of that name. When the unfortunate Hicks lost his voice, the Cabin Boys took over the show. They were soon signed by Teddy Reno, already manager of Italy's successful singer Rita Pavone, (who achieved two UK national entries) and were rechristened the Rokes when they supported Rita on her countrywide tour.

The Rokes were to remain hugely successful in Italy for around eight years. How popular were they? On July 23rd, 1966, they entered the Italian Top Ten with their single Che colpa abbiamo noi (Cheryl's Going Home - the b-side of Bob Lind's Elusive Butterfly). It remained in the Top Ten till October 15th, an amazing thirteen-week run, which included a week occupying the #1 slot on August 20th. Only two weeks later, the band was back in the Ten again with their follow-up E' la pioggia che va! In the 1966 Top 100, the Rokes held positions #11, #12 and #77, outselling numerous Beatles and Stones singles as well as recordings by international stars the Kinks, Tom Jones, Pet Clark, the Animals and the Beach Boys! The press dubbed the Rokes 'The Italian Beatles' and their photos appeared on merchandise such as keyrings, a la Fab Four. Their many hits included covers of Jackie De Shannon's When You Walk In the Room and The Hollies' I'm Alive.

Let's Live For Today began life as the Italian-language Piangi Con Me, the B-side of previously-mentioned mega-hit Che colpa abbiamo noi. Shel Shapiro penned the song with Mogol (Giulio Rapetti) and a third writer, Julien.

The US English-lyric version, by P F Sloan's group, Grass Roots, entered the Hot Hundred in May '67 and carried them to the #8 slot, their second-highest placing out of 21 entries. The single sold around two million copies, but Shapiro, Mogol and Julien allegedly never received any royalties.

To quote a Japanese site, verbatim: "After Grass loots made hit, Rokes released English version too."

Now Fred Clemens has written from the USA to fill some of the gaps regarding the song:

GREAT SITE! Just what I'd been looking for! And then some!!

I do have some data input for your Chart W/O April 23, 1967, regarding the song, "Let's Live For Today".

The song DID indeed start out in Italian by the Rokes as "Piangi Con Me" in 1966. The song was THEN issued in its first English language form by the Skope, from Heerlen in the Netherlands, as "Be Mine Again". This was near the end of 1966. The song made the Dutch Charts on January 28, 1967, peaking at #36 during a 4-week Chart run. This version was apparently unknown to the Rokes, since they re-wrote their own English version as the familiar "Let's Live For Today". They recorded it and had it sent to England for release. But a more local Newcastle band, the Living Daylights, was given the song instead. I've been unable to pinpoint a release date on their single, but I'll accept your Chart debut week (4-16-67) as being close enough for now. It was this single that Grass Roots member, Warren Entner, supposedly heard while on a visit. He brought the song home for the Grass Roots to record.

The earliest US Charting I could find on the Grass Roots version was when it was chosen as a Station "Long Shot" on April 19, 1967. on WMCA-AM Radio in New York. The Rokes single in the UK, on RCA 1587, shows a release date of "21-4-67" (April 21, 1967). Based on how the Grass Roots perform the song, it sounds like they copied the Living Daylights single, as well as the Rokes Italian original (since their English version was yet unreleased). It might be they never had a copy of the actual records and relied on taped versions, which might explain, and/or excuse(?), the lack of writer's credits on the Grass Roots Dunhill single.

Of note is that when the Living Daylights' version was brought Stateside, it was issued on the Buddah label (#2). Also of note is that 5-8 seconds was chopped off at the end of the song! Their song did make some noise in the US, being played exclusively of the Grass Roots version over WOR-FM, also in New York. On that Station, it even made it into the Top 10!

As far as I've been able to find out, the Rokes version received virtually no airplay in the US. I know of no Station that played it, anyway. When their version made the trip out of the UK, the song also befell the same fate as the Living Daylights, in that it lost time at the ending in the transfer. It also lost some character, in that it was remixed, losing the familiar build-up contrast of what makes the song likeable. Some critics claim the song is more subdued than the Grass Roots version, but it seems obvious they never heard the UK version. Comparing the two is like day and night.

It was the Living Daylights' version that inspired the song to be re-made in Japan by the Tempters, their version as a Stereo single on the Philips label. The popularity even saw re-issue of the Living Daylights' single in Japan (also on the Philips label) in Stereo, but rechanneled. This was in October, 1967. By then, the Living Daylights had re-formed to a quintet (from a quartet), with only brothers Garth and Norman Watt-Roy as common members.

Many thanks to Fred for this comprehensive input. Berton Averre, of the (US) Knack observes:

I found it curious that in this otherwise comprehensive rundown of any and all versions of the tune there wasn't mention of the gallingly blatant ripoff of a hit from an earlier era, to wit, I Count The Tears by the Drifters (lead singer Ben E. King).  The absolute signature of the Grass Roots song is the "Na Na Na Na Na Na live for today". The chorus of the Drifters song is "Na Na Na Na Na Na late at night", same melody, same chords.

Berton is right, of course and we appreciate his input. (Berton's bio on The Knack's website is here)

There is clip on Youtube of the Rokes performing Let's Live For Today live, in a medley starting with a song called Che Mondo Strano (Let's Live For Today starts around 3 minutes in). The band recorded their last album in 1968 and in August 1970, performed a farewell concert for 12,000 Italian fans. In recent years there have been Roke reunions. Bob Posner's Rokes Site contains some great pictures, old and new, including one of those photo-keyrings!

Newcastle's Living Daylights were Curt Cresswell, gtr, Roy Heather, drms, Garth Watt-Roy, gtr, vcls and his brother Norman Watt-Roy, bs, vcls. They released two singles in 1967, both produced by Caleb Quaye.

Curt and Roy had begun their musical careers in a Harlow band called the Cossacks. By 1964, the band was called the Naturals, and they became one-hit-wonders with their cover of the Beatles' I Should Have Known Better.

In 1968 the Watt-Roy brothers formed a nine-piece soul band called The Greatest Show On Earth and toured US bases in Germany, backing American soul singers. Norman may be best-known in Anorak circles as a member of Ronan O'Rahilly's mid-Seventies Loving Awareness band. He later became one of Ian Dury's Blockheads.

Let's Live For Today was also successful for Sixties Japanese band the Tempters, and was covered by Dutch group the Skopes, who changed the lyrics and retitled the song Be Mine Again.

In late 2006, Priscilla Hallare wrote with more information regarding Japanese covers of Let's Live For Today.

Hello! Awesome site!
I ran into the Radio London site as I was searching for information about the song "Let's Live For Today" which I first heard recently as a Japanese language cover (Date: 01.10.1981, Code: CMA-2015, by Hironobu Kageyama (who later became known for songs in the animation and live action hero genres) and as a more recent Japanese cover with different lyrics by HAKUEI. After looking up several other sites, including the Japanese one quoted, your site finally cleared up questions on the origins of that song and the route it took.
Kudos to you and keep on rockin'!!

Many thanks to Priscilla for this update. She did include the title of the version by Hironobu Kageyama, but sadly we don't have any Japanese fonts available to reproduce it on the website.

Webmaster note: Italian chart information was researched from HitParadeItalia Amazingly, the Rokes also have a musical connection to Aylesbury's Micro-Star John Otway.

DJ Climbers:    
A Certain Misunderstanding David Garrick Tony Blackburn
Funny 'Cos Neither Could I Shotgun Express Chuck Blair
Bowling Green Everly Brothers Tony Brandon
The Wind Cries Mary Jimi Hendrix Experience Pete Drummond
Tears Tears Tears Ben E King Paul Kaye
Children Pretty Things Lorne King
Sunshine Girl Parade John Peel
The Moving Finger Writes Len Barry Mark Roman
24 Sycamore Wayne Fontana Keith Skues
Shake A Tail Feather James & Bobby Purify Ed Stewart

With Purple Haze only just arrived at #2, The Wind Cries Mary is already picked as Pete Drummond's climber. By next week, both Hendrix tracks will have moved 16 places!

Aboard the Galaxy this week

April 28th
I remarked in my diary that Tony Blackburn had 'done a broadcasting marathon from 5.30am to 9.30pm'. Nine hours of this was news duty and the rest was presenting shows. Perhaps there was a bug going around, as Mark Roman was already off the ship on sick-leave. Illness amongst those left behind was clearly causing severe staff shortages.

Besides climbers that were played at the time of the broadcast of the Sunday Fab Forty, Alan kept a note of others he heard later in the week and incorporated them into his list.

The Magic Bus Pudding
Take Me In Your Arms And Love Me Gladys Knight & the Pips
Samantha's Mine Spectrum
Euston Station Barbara Ruskin
Jonathan Wotsit Vic Richards
Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon Neil Diamond
Rhyme Boy, Rhyme Roulettes
Things Get Better Johnny Carr
Music To Watch Girls By Andy Williams (*)
I'm Under The Influence Of Love Felice Taylor
Mama Come On Home Tony Kingston
Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat Bob Dylan
The Laughing Gnome David Bowie
Oh! That's Bad; No That's Good Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs
The Happening Supremes (+)
All The Children Sleep Force West
Disc of the Week:  
Then I Kissed Her Beach Boys
Album of the Week:  
The Jimmy Ruffin Way Jimmy Ruffin

The Magic Bus Pudding Decca F12603

The Record Collector Rare Record Price Guide puts a value of around 50 on a mint condition copy of this US band's version of Magic Bus, released a year before the Who's. (click on the picture for an Amazon link to more information about the Record Collector Rare Record Price Guide)

There is currently no Soul Set or Ballad Box information available for this week

Green additions to the climbers indicate singles sourced from 'Monty's Diary'. (See Fab Forty for 010167). Monty has noted that I'm Under The Influence Of Love, Laughing Gnome and Mama Come On Home continue to be played as climbers, as per the previous week.
(+) On a recording of the Tony Blackburn show from Wednesday 26th April 1967, Tony announces The Happening as a 'Radio London Exclusive.' Although not released until May 5th, it had appeared as a climber the previous week, 16/04/67, as observed by Hans Evers.
Alan Field did not hear the records sourced from Monty's Diary played or announced as climbers.
(*) Brian Long does not have a comprehensive climber list for 23rd April. Alan's notes do not include the Andy Williams record, but Wolfgang Buchholz recorded hearing it played as a climber this week. Music to Watch Girls By was certainly undergoing a change of status around this time: it was in the Ballad Box last week, and next week (April 30th) would be listed by Brian Long as a climber

The Caroline 'Countdown Sixty' chart (south ship) for this week is here

Tune in next week for another Field's Fab Forty

Back to Fab Forty Index