Thursday, 22 April 2010

Open your arms let me go


Twinkle’s pop experience sums up the nineteen sixties music industry's relentless capacity to use up the raw fuel of talent – she was famous at 15, and all but washed up at 17.

Born Lynn Ripley (Twinkle was her family nickname) things started to happen for her when she started going out up with Dec Cluskey from the bland but very popular Irish singing group The Bachelors. Dec pulled some strings to get her signed to his own label, Decca, and in early 1964 she had her first hit with death disc ‘Terry’.

From a fine tradition of songs about love lost in tragic and messy circumstances, ‘Terry’ at first seems a rip off of the more famous ‘Leader Of The Pack’ by The Shangri-La’s (see below) until you check the dates and realise that ‘Terry’ actually came out well before the better known song. The disc, with its funereal pace and spectral vocals, not to mention some great sound effects, was actually banned by the BBC for being morbid – but it still climbed to number four in the charts, sold millions of copies and inspired cover versions around Europe.

Despite appearing at that years NME Poll Winners Poll (rigged by her publicists who sent in hundreds of votes for her) she was never able to consolidate the success with another big hit. ‘Golden Lights’, which was inspired by seeing boyfriend Dec surrounded by ardent fans and later covered limply by The Smiths, stalled just outside the Top 20, and subsequent singles failed to crack the charts at all. That said, she made some interesting, idiosyncratic records and, unusually, wrote them herself, often in collaboration with her Dad.

Presented here, apart from the obligatory (and still magnificently morose) 'Terry', we have her ostensibly more cheerful '24 Hours From Tulsa' inspired ‘What Am I Doing Here With You?’ and the positively chirpy ‘Micky’ which may even have been a comeback hit if Immediate Records hadn't folded just before it was released.

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