Wilson Wednesday – Michael Wilson

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.

18 thoughts on “Wilson Wednesday – Michael Wilson

  1. Very, very sorry to hear of your loss. Never easy losing a loved one especially when they have to undergo medical procedures. Best wishes to you and your family.

    Here’s a Wilson (Cassandra) on mortality.
    Tossed between
    the sky and sea,
    we’ll sail
    until we find the harbour lights.
    A life is but a dream
    of blue in green although it seems
    the end draws nearer with each passing day
    we’ll always sail
    this way, until
    we find our home.

  2. Wow what a personal post – so sorry to hear about the passing of your father but thank you for sharing. Mine is still alive so this moment will – probably – come. I think about it from time to time. I’m the eldest so much will fall to me.
    As for Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky Mick & Tich – we had quite a few of their singles in our house – my mum had them (dad had gone by then) including the rather splendid Last Night In Soho.
    LAter on when I was about 16 I hitchiked down to the Free Festival at Stonehenge and dropped some acid. About four hours later I was watching Dozy Beaky Mick and Tich as the dawn came up, playing side two of Abbey Road – really well. Quite extraordinary.

    • thank you Magicman. I think I needed a place to share, and thought you people will like hearing something about the music, so glad you appreciated me sharing it. The music was probably a more fun part of all the tasks and organisation etc you need to do. My mum and I were joking that people take a year to plan a wedding, yet you have to do a funeral in a few days, and many of the decisions are very similar – where to hold it, celebrants, flowers, music, catering etc.. Needless to say, I am exhausted now – and now its back to normality of work etc….

      You are right, Last Night in Soho is great. linky for anyone unfamiliar.

      Thanks for your Free Festival story too,,

  3. Commiserations, deano; I hope your family is coping OK with the loss of your Dad. Take care and keep remembering.

    Mine died almost exactly 3 years ago (April 27th). He had already chosen What A Wonderful World for his funeral but I also used Bach’s Air On A G String as the ‘walking in’ music as I remembered how he loved the old Hamlet ads on TV (some readers may be old enough to understand this reference….).

    DDDBM&T used to make me cringe inside.

    • Thanks Chris, What a Wonderful World does indeed make a great choice for a funeral song and would be a contender if I was to be planning my own. Hope your own 3 year anniversary went Ok. Dean

  4. Sorry to hear about your father’s passing, Deano. I saw your earlier post about his illness. I do wonder sometimes how people manage to cope with all the responsibilities on top of the bereavement. Perhaps it helps in some ways to have something you need to focus on getting done.

    I am around the right age to have really liked DD,D,B,M&T, being about 8 years old when they started having hits. I used to love The Legend of Xanadu, Zabadak and Hold Tight, which they performed on British kids show Blue Peter.

    Dave Dee once reminisced that their gigs were more like kids’ shows or pantomimes. Even getting children on the stage to sing with them sometimes.

    In later years I saw the renowned artists Gilbert and George dancing to Bend It, which is a fine sight indeed.

    • thanks Sev. I think when I last posted about Dad I was still optimistic that he was going to get through, but a number of complications and other issues meant that the optimism faded and medical staff could only advise not to prolong suffering. Getting called in for “that” conversation is really hard.

      There are indeed a lot of responsibilities that you need to get through, but you do it. You just step into autopilot mode and do what you need to do. My wife thinks I did more than my fair share but you pick your battles. The music meant a lot to me, so my sister took no part in that. Conversely, I was out of my comfort song picking flowers, so I deferred to Mum on to make the call on that one.

      Needless to say, I am exhausted now.

      Glad that Dave Dee (and the rest) were able to give you some nostalgic memories.

  5. Sorry to hear of your loss. My condolences.

    That’s a fine piece of writing – it’s always good to remember how different songs can mean important things to different people.

    • Thanks Scott. Indeed, the power of music. As you would have no doubt already discovered in your guru stints, people can make impassioned pleas for favourite songs, and as the guru you listen and can’t get the relevance to the topic or why the song is so revered. Doesn’t mean either are right or wrong, it just demonstrates how music can have that meaning in our lives.

  6. Sorry to hear about your dad, it’s such a sad time and you are right to keep busy. Music is such a wonderful way to remember people. It’s nearly 30 years since my dad went; I would have liked to do something similar but was out-voted by my mum and brothers – fair enough, we kept everything simple. But I still hear songs now and remember him liking them or joining in – he liked classical music but also had a slightly weird sense of humour, so Xanadu was probably right up his street. This isn’t quite appropriate, but the title at least speaks of better things to come: Delroy Wilson – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhoWYMJR0jk

    • Thanks Ali, another Wilson I was unfamiliar with to add to the list, and I quite liked it. I feel for my Aunty and Uncle, in the space of two and a half years, they have now lost both of their brothers and their mother.

      I imagine the music tastes of your Dad would be an amazing thing to reflect on from time to time.

    • thanks Sarah. And I will eventually get to join in on one of your wheel of tune segments. I think its a great concept, just haven’t found the time recently.

  7. Music is a great memory maker – it helped me when sorting stuff for my mum last October – but those memory can be incredibly intense at the most surprising times (and sparked by the most surprising tunes!).

    Look after yourself and all those around you too – it was about two months after my mum died that I had a sudden sense of intense emotion emptiness that escaped from me.
    Huge virtual hugs Deano.

    • thanks Shane, I appreciate your words. Music is a pretty powerful thing. Calling it the soundtrack to our lives is very cliched, but I can certainly understand where that cliche comes from.

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