Wednesday, 9 July 2014

We Have Lift Off

In the 1970s we took our pop music on the telly wherever we could get it, be it via groups appearing in guest slots on 'The Basil Brush Show', 'Crackerjack' (all together, Crackerjack!), 'Magpie' or any one of a handful of other tea-time TV favourites. Meanwhile, producing 8 series between November 1969 and December 1974, 'Lift Off With Ayshea' was a long running example of a purely pop music show, broadcasting a total of 144 episodes. Tragically, today only 3 of those 144 episodes survive in the ITV archives.

The host, Ayshea Brough, herself an accomplished pop singer, introduced us to everyone who was anyone during those pivotal years, including The Sweet, David Bowie, T.Rex, Slade and Roy Wood, in both his Move and Wizzard guises. A firm friendship appears to have developed between Brough and Wood during this time, with Ayshea featuring on a number of Wizzard's Top of the Pops appearances. Roy repaid the compliment by writing and producing a single, 'Farewell', for Ayshea in 1973. It's a fantastically bonkers, everything-thrown-in-bar-the-kitchen-sink production, sounding exactly like a contemporary Wizzard number with Wood's vocals lifted out and Ayshea's dropped in.

(I'm a Wizzard fan, but no completest. Is there a Roy Wood voiced version of 'Farewell' out there? If there is, I'd love to hear it.)


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post. You'll probably appreciate that I am a big fan of all things 'Lift Off' and Ms. Brough. I was aware of this single but cannot recall hearing it before. Although it sounds naggingly familiar I don't think Roy or Wizzard recorded it for themselves (could be wrong). I would LOVE to get my hands on a copy one day. Top marks for the 'Look-In' pic - I remember buying the very first edition. Time machine, please!

C said...

I never watched this (just a little bit before my time) but Mr SDS has told me all about it; he has vivid memories of watching Ayshea (no idea why....)

Didn't she have a fling with Roy or was that just a rumour?

The Swede said...

SB. If you manage to snag a time machine on eBay, I'll go halves with you.

C. I'm too much of a gentlemen to possibly speculate.

John Medd said...

Lift Off! Good call! But, why no mention of Ollie Beak? Ollie all but stole the show from Ms.Brough.

I remember seeing The Sweet play Wig Wam Bam on Lift Off (that would make it c.1972) and thus began my love affair with Connolly and Co.

John Medd said...

Forgot to say, there's a Roy Wood version on the Genius album

The Swede said...

John. Even though at the ages of 10 or 11, me & mates were still a way off really 'discovering' girls, if I'd have gone into school the morning after a 'Lift Off' and dared to suggest that Ollie Beak was superior to Ayshea, I would definitely have received a few firm slaps!
(Thanks for the tip about the 'Genius' LP.)

Old Pa's Corner said...

I saw the move in Inverness in 1968 I believe....can.t remember if RW was there probably was just remember that pasty white faced bloke. On of the first groups I saw. Don't remember much aboyut that programme I was probably just that bit older at that time but it does sound fantastic.

Greatest Hits