Hard to imagine it these days, but back in the late Sixties and early Seventies many artists had a cushy little sideline performing hits of the day for compilations on budget labels such as Top Of The Pops, Saga, Rediffusion and Hallmark. There was also a craze for making uncredited guest appearances on friend’s records, mainly due to record company rules at the time. Was that not Mick Jagger in the background on Carly Simon’s ‘You’re So Vain’? Isn’t that Rod singing lead on ‘In A Broken Dream’ by Python Lee Jackson? John & Paul sang on the Stone’s ‘We Love You’; Clapton played
Roy Wood of Wizzard was, at the time of his huge hit ‘See My Baby Jive,’ dating TV and pop singer Ayshea Brough. Ayshea sang backing vocals and performed with them on Top Of The Pops, (sadly now wiped by the BBC). Roy then wrote, played on and produced what was essentially a Wizzard track for Ayshea called ‘Farewell’. Even the dream combination of Wood, Harvest Records and Pan’s People couldn’t get her a hit though!
The bubblegum pop song ‘You’re Ok With Us’ that accompanied the TV commercial for ‘Us’ underarm deodorant was sung by David Essex. This was released as a single before Essex-mania well and truly took hold.
All this led to much debate in the school playground, especially when it became known that certain popular superstars had been moonlighting in their pre-fame days and earning a few extra quid by doing session work for covers LP’s. These records were hugely
Elton John was the king of the cover version around 1970, before ‘Your Song’ hit the charts. There are some fabulous versions of songs like ‘Spirit In The Sky,’ ‘Yellow River’ and ‘Baby Loves Lovin’’ to be found on Top Of The Pops and the Chartbusters labels. These records are much sought after by Elton fans and can still be found at boot sales and charity shops for
This trend continued in the Rock underground scene, too. Thin Lizzy made a whole album of Deep Purple covers under the name of Funky Junction. Sixties Freakbeat band The Eyes made a tribute to the Rolling Stones on the Wing label under the nom de plume of The Pupils (get it?). The budget album of Raga pop by Sagram, ‘Pop Explosion Sitar Style’ on the Windmill label, was in fact the Acid folk band Magic Carpet. They, along with singer Alisha Sufit, went on to make a much sought after self-titled album on the Mushroom label.
Space Rock band Hawkwind did their super-fan sci-fi writer Michael Moorcock