This week Paul and Sean are joined by podcast regular Pany Bogdanos and author of 'The Worst Band in the World' Liam Newton. Both bring some welcome perspectives and factual accuracy to this week's look at Eric Stewart's work in the 1960s.
We try to give Eric's 60s work a thorough going-over here. We cast the time machine back to Eric's first record, his first band and some lucky coincidences that saw his early career reach giddy heights very quickly indeed. Their 'Game of Love' was a huge hit on both sides of the Atlantic, at a time when Manchester bands were enjoying disproportionate success Stateside. Harvey and Ric would have been key players in this of course! At first playing lead guitar fiddle behind singer Wayne Fontana, Eric was thrown into the spotlight as lead singer once his predecessor had flown the nest, and scoring a monster hit with the classic 'Groovy Kind of Love'. Paul relishes his moment to tell us where the song's brilliant writers Wine and Bayer-Sager came by its melody! The band, the now Wayne-less Mindbenders never managed to match the success of this wonderful record, but their attempts became ever more interesting and worthwhile. The immediate follow-up, 'Can't Live With You, Can't Live Without You' for example is an absolute beauty.
We put a lot of focus on this fascinating period for the band, where they embrace many of the musical tropes of the time, and become a little psychedelic in the process. And very effectively too. Perhaps most interestingly, we see Eric start to develop as a songwriter, and a number of his tunes can be found on the b-sides of these later singles. 'My New Day and Age' in particular is a cracker. We also discuss his fascinating vocal journey; Eric hasn't found his natural voice yet, but he makes some highly proficient attempts. He's almost unrecognisable in places from the man who would blossom into one of the best, and most underrated singers in 1970s pop.
So, much to enjoy here. Onto the late 70s and early 80s next time, with Eric's first solo projects 'the 'Girls' soundtrack and 'Frooty Rooties.