In Memoriam: movingtheriver.com Salutes The Fallen Of 2020/2021

We salute the fallen musicians, producers, promoters, actors, writers and presenters of 2020 and 2021.

Janice Long (pictured left – the first woman to have a daytime show on Radio 1, the first female presenter of ‘Top Of The Pops’ and a great supporter of upcoming artists)

Nick Kamen

Charlie Watts

Henry Woolf (teacher, poet, actor and member of Harold Pinter’s ‘Hackney Gang’)

Terence ‘Astro’ Wilson (co-founder of UB40)

Mick Rock

Baron Browne (bassist with Billy Cobham, Steve Smith’s Vital Information, Jean-Luc Ponty)

Joan Didion

Dean Stockwell

Jimmy Heath

Eddie Van Halen

Lyle Mays

Betsy Byars

Jon Christensen (drummer for Keith Jarrett, Jan Garbarek etc.)

McCoy Tyner

Ian St. John & Jimmy Greaves (Saint & Greavsie)

Wallace Roney (jazz trumpeter)

Onaje Allan Gumbs (keyboardist with Will Downing, Phyllis Hyman, Billy Cobham etc.)

Hal Willner

Lee Konitz

Little Richard

Jimmy Cobb (drummer on Miles Davis’s Kind Of Blue)

Gary Peacock (bassist with Keith Jarrett, Miles Davis etc.)

Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry

Deon Estus (bass player with Wham!, George Michael and Marvin Gaye in Ostend, solo artist and producer)

Nanci Griffith

Dusty Hill (ZZ Top bassist)

George Wein (pianist, impresario and founder of the Newport Jazz Festival)

Phil Schaap (jazz historian and key contributor to Ken Burns’ ‘Jazz’ documentaries)

Pee Wee Ellis

Stephen Sondheim

Matthew Seligman (Thomas Dolby/Thompson Twins/Soft Boys bassist)

Genesis P-Orridge (co-founder of Throbbing Gristle)

Cristina (post-punk singer of ‘Drive My Car’ fame)

Michael Apted (director of ‘The Coal Miner’s Daughter’, ‘Ptang Yang Kipperbang’, ‘Gorillas In The Mist’, ‘Bring On The Night’, ‘The World Is Not Enough’, ‘Gorky Park’ and co-creator/director of the ‘Seven Up’ TV series)

Ed ‘Duke Bootee’ Fletcher (teacher, hip-hip pioneer and co-writer of Grandmaster Flash/Furious Five’s ‘The Message’)

Phil Chen (bassist on Jeff Beck’s Wired and Blow By Blow)

Phil Spector

Cicely Tyson (Academy Award/Emmy-winning actress and wife of Miles Davis)

Larry McMurtry

Lawrence Ferlinghetti (Beat poet)

Charles Grodin

Bill Withers

Al Schmitt (recording engineer for Steely Dan, Toto, Diana Krall etc.)

George Segal

Jackie Mason

Robbie Shakespeare (Sly & Robbie bassist)

Una Stubbs

Ed Asner

Jean-Paul Belmondo

Yaphet Kotto

Chick Corea

Malcolm Cecil (jazz bassist and co-producer/synth programmer on Stevie Wonder’s Innversions, Talking Book and Music Of My Mind)

Greg Tate (jazz and soul writer)

Barry Harris (bebop pianist)

Pat Martino

Rick Laird (Mahavishnu Orchestra bassist)

Milford Graves

Jon Hassell

Alan Hawkshaw (composer of many great TV and film themes including ‘Channel 4 News’, ‘Countdown’, John Carpenter’s ‘The Fog’ and this cracker which soundtracked much of my 1980s:)

I wrote this cos I’d like to shake your hand/In a way you guys are the best friends I ever had
LOU REED, 1984

Story Of A Song: Rolling Stones’ Undercover Of The Night

Rolling+Stones+Undercover+Of+The+Night+-+Stoc+141290bSo here it is: The Stones’ last great single.

‘Undercover’ is essentially a one-chord groove with powerful lyrics, stinging guitar licks, a memorable hook and notable video.

Though Mick and Keef share a writing credit, the song was apparently largely a Jagger composition, with Richards later saying: ‘Mick had this one all mapped out. I just played on it. There was a lot more separation in the way we were recording at that time. Mick and I were starting to come to loggerheads…’

Guitarist Ronnie Wood concurred but also had reservations: ‘There was a great acoustic version which is the kind of song it should be. The final, polished version may have been Mick’s vision of the song…’

Reading between the lines, Jagger was clearly keen to bring outside players into an increasingly dysfunctional band situation. Recording took place during the summer of 1983 at Compass Point Studios in Nassau, giving Jagger the opportunity of using some great local players, many of whom light up ‘Undercover Of The Night’.

A raft of percussionists including Sly Dunbar, Martin Ditcham, Moustapha Cisse and Brahms Coundoul accompany drummer Charlie Watts on various instruments including bongos, Simmons drum and even a timpani (there are rumours that a complete different version of the song exists featuring a rhythm section of Sly and Robbie).

Producer Chris Kimsey also enters into the spirit of things with an ingenious ‘dub’-style arrangement (or is that the work of Brian McGee, credited as ‘editor’ on the vinyl label?).

Jagger claimed that his lyric was heavily influenced by William Burroughs’ 1981 novel ‘Cities Of The Red Night’. The song is a disturbing vision of Latin America’s dirty war.

This was, after all, an era in which thousands of ‘political prisoners’ were tortured and killed in the ESMA detention camp in Buenos Aires, less than a mile from the stadium where the 1978 football World Cup Final was taking place (according to many reports, the cheers of the fans obscured the screams of suffering prisoners).

Excellent documentary ‘The Shock Doctrine’ claims that many torture techniques used by the Chilean and Argentinian junta (including rape and genital mutilation) may have been ‘learned’ in the US-run School Of The Americas. Jagger manages to crystallise many of these disturbing aspects in a powerful lyric:

Hear the screams of Centre 42
Loud enough to bust your brains out
The opposition’s tongue is cut in two
Keep off the street cos you’re in danger
One hundred thousand disparos
Lost in the jails in South America

Cuddle up baby, cuddle up tight
Cuddle up baby, keep it all out of sight
Undercover of the night

The sex police are out there on the streets
Make sure the pass laws are not broken
The race militia has got itchy fingers
All the way from New York back to Africa

All the young men, they’ve been rounded up
And sent to camps back in the jungle
And people whisper, people double-talk
And once-proud fathers act so humble
All the young girls they have got the blues
They’re heading on back to Centre 42

Down in the bars, the girls are painted blue
Done up in lace, done up in rubber
The johns are jerky little GI Joes
On R&R from Cuba and Russia
The smell of sex, the smell of suicide
All these sweet things I can’t keep inside

Undercover, all out of sight
Undercover of the night

Julien Temple directed the controversial video, shot in Mexico City. As he relayed in the book ‘I Want My MTV’, his dealings with Jagger and Richards gave him a pretty stark insight into the state of their relationship:

‘I wrote an extreme treatment about being in the middle of an urban revolution, and dramatised the notion of Keith and Mick really not liking each other by having Keith kill Mick in the video. I never thought they would do it. Of course they loved it. I went to Paris to meet with the band. Keith was looking particularly unhappy. He was glowering with menace and eventually said, “Come downstairs with me.” My producer and I went down to the men’s room. Keith had a walking stick and suddenly he pulled it apart. The next thing I know he’s holding a swordstick to my throat. He said, “I want to be in the video more than I am.” So we wrote up his part a bit more. That was Keith’s idea of collaboration!’

The video was initially considered too violent for MTV (though they did eventually air an edited version after 9pm) and it was heavily censored when shown on British television, leading to a fractious interview on ‘The Tube’ during which presenter Muriel Gray questioned Jagger and Temple about the extreme content and their motives for making the video.

‘Undercover Of The Night’ was released as the first single from the accompanying Undercover album on 1st November 1983. It got to #9 in the US singles chart and #11 in the UK – not bad. No Stones single has gone higher since.