Saturday, August 13, 2011

In the Canyons of Your Mind...

you'll find the origins of Pete Shelley's "Boredom" guitar solo

I'm The Urban Spaceman/The Canyons Of Your Mind
(Oct/Nov 1968 Liberty LBF 15144)

In Mark Lamarr's recent BBC Radio special ("The Buzzcocks Story, Episode 1"), Buzzcocks guitarist Pete Shelley was asked how he came up with his brilliant reductio-ad-absurdum two-note solo in the song "Boredom," which first hit Britain's eardrums on the 'cocks' self-released 1976 Spiral Scratch EP. Pete referenced, of all people, The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band! Specifically the song "The Canyons of Your Mind," which was B-side of their biggest chart success, 1968's poppy "Urban Spaceman" single (#5 UK Singles Chart). It later also appeared on the third Bonzos LP, Tadpoles (1969), which was mostly a compilation of tunes they had performed as the house band on the British television comedy show Do Not Adjust Your Set.

"Urban Spaceman" was written by Neil Innes (who would later essay the John Lennon role of "Ron Nasty" in The Rutles) and on the flip side "Canyons of Your Mind," Innes himself played the purposely cacophanous, fractured and altogether off-kilter guitar solo (at the 1:08 mark of the three-minute song) that inspired a young Pete Shelley eight years later.

Watch the Bonzos play "Canyons of Your Mind" on British TV.

I never knew that before, and I'm a fan of both the Bonzos and the Buzzcocks! (No doubt, somewhere in cyberspace Bonzos buff Scott Wallace Brown of Video Americain is making tisk-tisk-tisk sounds and shaking his head at my folly as he reads this!)

Here's a 1980 live clip of Shelley playing "Boredom" for comparison purposes.

And be sure to check out Mark Lamarr's great two-part BBC 6 radio interview with all the Buzzcocks and principles:
The Buzzcocks Story - Episode 1
The Buzzcocks Story - Episode 2

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Anonymous Scott Wallace Brown said...

Hey, I never put that one together either!

11:11 PM  

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