You need to allow me to be a bit self indulgent with this week’s Wilson Wednesday, as it has not been a regular week. My Dad passed away on April 21st, and yesterday we held his funeral service. I wanted to choose the music for the funeral, which I did. Choice one was an easy one to make – You’ll Never Walk Alone, the Gerry and the Pacemakers version. Dad liked Gerry and the Pacemakers a lot, and I have always thought that Gerry sung the best version of this song that I knew. We walked his coffin out of the chapel to this. (apologies to the Liverpudlian here who sometimes hangs around here that can’t take to Gerry at all.)
The opening song, although possibly not something I would necessarily associate with Dad, came about because of something my four year old boys said. When he was in hospital, they wanted to come in and sing him I Can Sing a Rainbow, so I thought that would make a fitting introduction to the service. I spent ages listening to different version of the song from Delta Goodrem, to Peggy Lee, to Cilla Black, but I settled on Andy Williams version.
We got Dad’s four grandkids to stand up the front. My boys know all the actions to the song, which I think represent how to say the colours in sign language, but they got a bit of stagefright and couldn’t perform on the day. That’s OK, it wasn’t an easy day.
Then I had the choice of a song to make for a photo tribute – my graphic designer brother-in-law helped me to put together a DVD slide show of various photos of Dad, and I needed to pick a song to go with it. He loved Gene Pitney, but the Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance? I didn’t think quite appropriate. He loved Jay and the Americans, so I thought about This Magic Moment, but that is really about a kiss, and wasn’t quite what I was looking for. There were others that he liked too – the Troggs, Hermin’s Hermits, Smokie, but I just couldn’t quite find the right song.
Eventually though, I turned to the Irish folk duo Foster and Allen, and the song Reminisce for a While. Its probably really a break up song, I haven’t analysed the lyrics that closely, but the sentiment was there, and some of the lines in the song really resonated, even if perhaps as a full package it wasn’t. Mum and Dad had been to see Foster and Allen on a previous Australian tour, so I thought it appropriate. The photo presentation turned out really well too.
None of that has anything to do with Wilson Wednesday, other than to say that our Wilson this week comes from a band that Dad liked, but I didn’t think had anything quite right for the service.
Michael Wilson was the original drummer (and the original Mick) for the 1960’s British Invasion pop group Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich, who hailed from Wiltshire. Bordering on a novelty act, but just managing not to tip into such waters, they had a small handful of top ten UK hits, but there most well known are probably The Legend of Xanadu, and Bend It.
Some will argue that Bend It is just a rip off of Zorba the Greek, and you can certainly hear the influence, but it’s a bit of a fun track…..just not the sort of track that you play at your Dad’s funeral, in my view!
They have just started showing the UK game show Pointless in Australia, and I am hooked, even if we are seeing episodes that are several years old, and some of the more specific UK related questions I know nothing about. Anyway, the other day I saw an episode where you had to guess who sang the Legend of Xanadu, and I immediately knew the answer, however, if I was on the show I would not have been able to give it, but even now, I still cannot remember full name of this band. Couldn’t they have come up with a better name – I know the Beatles were taken, but maybe something else? It would have been a pointless answer too. Hahaha
Anyway, Michael Wilson stayed in the group until 1975, when the role of Mick went to a guy by the name of Pete. They are still floating around performing today, I am led to believe, but Pete has now been replaced by John.