Dick’s Picks: Monster-rare glam-pop 7″ nugget by Larry Lurex a.k.a. Freddie Mercury!!
Rewind 44 years, 1973 to be precise and the U.K. charts were awash with more glitter ‘n’ glam than a Year 6 pupils make-up set. Alongside those ‘new’ artists riding the glam wave (T. Rex, Bowie, Sweet, Slade) there was a whole host of musicians who up until only recently had been nursing their pint of Light & Mild in the last-chance-musical-saloon – hello Alvin Stardust and (gulp) Gary Glitter who were now doing rather well out of it thank-you-very-much.
Throughout the summer of ’73, Queen were firmly ensconced in their soon-to-be second home Trident Studios recording their debut long player, with a little down-time on their hands the three budding musos; Freddie Mercury, Brian May and Roger Taylor hatched a cunning plan – let’s record a novelty ‘glam’ cash-in 7″ single and watch the £££s roll in – all that was needed was a name……so, using the same ‘glam act’ name generator as Alvin and Gary, i.e. normal-ish first name followed by suitably ‘glam’ surname, and, hey presto! Larry Lurex was born!
Trident producer Robin Cable suggested the Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich and Phil Spector penned ‘I Can Hear Music’, originally a hit for the Ronettes in ’66, then again for the Beach Boys in 1969, Cable thought the song a perfect vehicle for Freddie’s voice.
Needless to say, Messrs Mercury, May and Taylor didn’t strike gold with their glam-pop nugget (although by ’73 mega-fame was just around the corner), but its lack of sales meant that they did leave behind a highly coveted Queen collectable. In an ever-so-slightly bizarre twist, the single was released in the US where it scaled the dizzy pop heights of 115 (with a bullet no doubt) in the ‘Top 100 Hundred Bubbling Under’ chart, before, yup you guessed it, sinking without trace.
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