Tuesday, November 23, 2010

it doesn't get much better than this

at least in terms of my personal "memoradelic" archive

for years i carried around a faint-yet-vivid memory of this song as sublime.. in 1978, on Top of the Pops, it had really made an impression on me... probably the first time I got a sense that pop music could be a glimpse of something Beyond... in the memory it grew to have an almost Velvet Undergound-like quality, blurry transcendence... i wish YouTube still had the TOTP footage, cos the bluey celestial backdrop (intended to suggest aurora borealis probably) behind the band really added to that effect

when finally at some point in the nineties i tracked the song down on vinyl, i heard the frou-frou aspect I'd forgotten, or more likely never noticed.... (on the back cover of the album one of the guys wears a Prokofiev Rocks T-Shirt!)

still despite the frilly bits it is a lovely song

i guess this was Renaissance's attempt to do a folk-prog Abba maybe

it worked - #10 in the summer of '78

the search for "Northern Lights" also trawled up Renaissance's earlier full-force prog LPs (a lot of copies loitering in the second-hand stores, going cheap... Renaissance actually had some success in the States, Joy remembers hearing one of their concerts broadcast on the radio)... on which LPs you'll find lots of overblown legend-laden song suites, but nothing to compare with the song that Renaissance's proper fans scowl at as a sell-out