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Ritchie’s Newsletter


Music is significant and important to most people.
It reminds us of the many aspects of life such as who we are and where
we came from, the happy and sad times, and much more.

When we hear a song, for the first time, it can be likened to
exploring a new world, or going on an adventure.
The song either grows on us, as one we really like,
or is filtered in our minds as one of the many we listen to,
that we rate, or allot into certain categories.
Usually one remembers the time, place, people, and relationships
happening around the period that we first heard a particular song.

We hear some songs many times over when they’re replayed as a hit.
It’s similar to watching a replayed movie,
one learns more every time we listen to a song.

I recall clearly one particular song that grew on me, when at school,
living on our farm, sometime in early 1973.
It seemed like a busy full year to me: Colin Meads had recently retired
from rugby; the last Apollo moon missions had been played out,
oil prices were about to sky-rocket, Nixon’s scandal with Watergate,
and many other prominent current affairs
that were occurring during this period.

Our cowshed had a loud radio, that was always blasting out the
latest hits during milking – perhaps the cows liked the
hits of the 60’s and 70’s as they gratefully gave their milk.
My elder brothers milking the cows certainly liked the latest hits.
The cowshed was a noisy place with all the machinery pulsating away.

Around midday, one of my chores was to wander up to the cowshed
to clean the large vat after the tanker had collected the milk.
It was a quiet time then, no cows, or other people, no noisy machines.
I’d switch on the old valve AM radio and listen to music
for the short time I was there – and invariably the DJ would be playing
ANGIE which The Rolling Stones had recently released.
It was a hit going to No. 1 in the US and No. 5 in the UK.
Ironically, the Record producers wanted to leave this “odd song” out of the Goatshead Soup album.
Thankfully they were overruled by Mick and Keith.

I think ANGIE is one of the top 20 songs of the past few decades.
I wondered what inspired Keith to write it?
History, from rumors and gossip,
suggested it was about Mick Jagger and David Bowie’s wife (Angie)
which Mick categorically denied.
The song was written by Keith for his daughter Dandelion.
The Swiss maternity clinic, where she was born, gave her a local Saints name: ANGELA.
Keith had spent years in Switzerland rehabilitating from heroin addiction.

I used to stop my chores for a few minutes, and gaze out across our
rich green milk producing fields, and wondered where
The Rolling Stones were; probably living somewhere in the
middle of London, practising their new songs and recording them.
I pondered what music studios looked like, or what it felt like when
playing and recording in real studios.

It would be decades for technology to progress so that
any novice musician would be able to record and produce
their own music in their own home;
and decades before I even set foot in any music studio.
Back then in the 60’s and 70’s, any thoughts one had of recording music
in a real studio was merely a dream for most musicians.

I learnt this song soon after it was released – it seemed so different to
The Rolling Stones normal genre – to me it sounded like a
parallel to classical music, with prominent piano,
accompanied by acoustic guitar and symphonics.
It strongly influenced my own composing style years later.
I believe Mick Jagger took vocal lessons before it was recorded.
I could understand why, given his normal vocal genre style.

The song has relatively difficult vocals;
it’s just within my comfort zone – on a good day.
As a performing musician, it’s a cover song I regularly play for practice,
so I can measure where I’m “presently at” for use as a grounding.

ANGIE  is one of the Pop Classics of all time.

Best Wishes – Ritchie