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Saturday, 20 March 2010

Run For Home... Lindisfarne - The biggest band that never was...

lindisfarne Pictures, Images and Photos

You've had my musical interludette this week. Sorry about being so absent from blogging life, as if there were any other!

...And I wonder how much you know about Lindisfarne. My favourite place on earth, where my mum's ashes were cast, and the band which took its name from the island, otherwise known as Holy Island, the cradle of Christianity?

Concerning the band...

Alan Hull (James Alan Hull, 20 February 1945, Benwell, Newcastle upon Tyne - 17 November 1995) was an English singer-songwriter and founding member of the Tyneside folk rock band, Lindisfarne.

Hull took up the guitar as a boy and became a member of the band The Chosen Few alongside keyboard player (and future Ian Dury colleague) Mick Gallagher in 1962. He supported himself for one year by working as a nurse at a mental hospital while appearing as a folk singer and guitarist in local clubs before helping to form Brethren and Downtown Faction, which evolved into Lindisfarne in 1970.

Their profile was also raised when Jackson played mandolin on Rod Stewart's breakthrough hit single "Maggie May", even though Stewart only credited him on the sleeve of the parent album Every Picture Tells a Story as "...the mandolin player in Lindisfarne. The name slips my mind." one of the biggest names in British rock music, stealing the show at festivals and selling out live dates wherever they played.

In 1977 they reformed, and with a new record deal with Phonogram Records via their Mercury Records label, they were back in the charts in 1978 with the top 10 hit "Run For Home", an autobiographical song about the rigours of touring and relief at returning home, Alan Hull sitting on the train crossing the River Tyne in sight of the famous Tyne Bridge, sister of the Sydney Bridge...

Their second album, Fog on the Tyne, followed in 1971 and began their commercial success, charting late in 1971 and reaching No. 1 in the hit parade the following year. Their profile was raised when Jackson played mandolin on Rod Stewart's breakthrough hit single "Maggie May", even though Stewart only credited him on the sleeve of the parent album Every Picture Tells a Story as "the mandolin player in Lindisfarne. The name slips my mind."

For years the legend persisted that disc jockey John Peel had played the mandolin part, solely as he was invited to mime it on Top of the Pops.

Top 10 singles "Meet me on the Corner", written by Rod Clements, and a re-release of "Lady Eleanor", followed in 1972.

The band gained a huge media following, with some calling Hull the greatest songwriter since Bob Dylan, and the band was even referred to as the "1970's Beatles". By the summer of 1972 they were one of the biggest names in British rock music, stealing the show at festivals and selling out live dates wherever they played. Throughout the decades which followed, the band stormed, performed, normed and re-formed, and on 17 November 1995 while working on a new album, Statues & Liberties, Alan Hull died suddenly. His most famous songs include "Lady Eleanor", "Fog on the Tyne" and "Run for Home".

I've seen Lindisfarne many times in my life. From their seventies high-points to the days when Alan Hull's son-in-law took his place at the front of the band after his untimely demise.

I saw Ray Jackson on the day he was married, crossing Percy Street in Newcastle with his bride to get married at the Civic Centre registry office. I've worked with bosses who counted these guys as their best pals.

Now, I troll around folk gigs, bumping in to Rod Clements, now living in Rothbury near my home, who even plays dedications for local charities at our wonderful yearly country fayre on Whit Weekend.

Lindisfarne, along with Stevie Nicks, have supplied the soundtrack of my life.

Home is where the heart is, n'est-ce pas?

"Run for home, run as fast as I can, oh running man, running for home
...And I've been to the places in town
Where the faces hang round
Just to stare at each other
And I've looned with them, screamed at the moon
Behaved like a buffoon, but I soon discovered..."

lindisfarne Pictures, Images and Photos


diney said...

hi - i live near Hexham so we are neighbours by the sound of it. My next door neighbour was one of the band too - he played with them when they toured Europe and Australia as guitarist, and still plays in a local cult band called Junco Partners.

The Spiv said...

Lindisfarne ... the reason I met my wife back in 1972! I went to see them perform at The Stadium (now sadly long gone) in Liverpool, and they went on for so long that the management turned off the power to their equipment! Sadly, by the time we got out of there (management not realising that thousands of people could carry on singing without the electrics), all the last buses and trains had gone. Well, I was young and fit back then, so I jogged the 16 miles back home. Oh how I wish I could still do that!

Getting ready for work the next morning, after 4 hours sleep, I decided that I ached a bit. When I got to work, I had to go to the office where a certain Dolly Bird worked, and unlike every other day where I had been hoping to catch her eye, I was noticed! Probably had something to do with the bags under my eyes.

Well, we got talking that day and, to be honest, we haven't really stopped since! (35th wedding anniversary comming up in 7 weeks time). At the time, the "Dolly Bird" had no idea who Lindisfarne were, but we've seen them many times since then. She's even managed to run both Dave Hull-Denholm and Billy Mitchell over in her wheelchair at a concert in Reading! I'm pleased to report, that they both found it amusing...

We still both love the band and listen to their cd's on a regular basis. It's a shame there aren't as many "musically gifted" groups around any more - if there were, we'd (hopefully) have less of the manufactured c**p that pollutes the airways today.

Sorry about that last bit, but I am a fully-qualified payed-up Grumpy Old Man.

Fab, feisty and fifty... said...

run for home...YEAH!!! l have..run as fast, as l can whoa oh, running man running for home...

yes thats me...

we (!) saw Lindisfarne in 1978...fab fab fab

this is one of my favourite tracks ever!!! ...fab fab fab...

god we've seen some bands, way back then...at Canterbury uni....


Clippy Mat said...

Lindisfarne. ah memories. Lady Eleanor, The Fog on The Tyne, A Clear White Light etc. Pure Anthems!
and Downtown Faction. used to watch them at The Rex in Whitley Bay in the late, late 60's. Last year when walking down the street in Tynemouth I saw Simon Whatsit ride his bike past us. Completely weird.
Great trip down memory lane Fhina.
thanks pet. Run for Home. awww. That just gets me. :-)

French Fancy said...

The comments down the Lindisfarne memory lane have been as entertaining as this post, Fhi. I used to love that track 'Lady Eleanor' but for some reason I don't think I ever saw them live. How odd - I must have seen every other band that I used to like.

Jan said...

I love the band and am drawn to the place for some reason even though I've never been there - a previous life maybe ?
You've hit the spot like a warm mug of hot chocolate on a cold day
yet again
Mwah Fhina

Suldog said...

I remember seeing them perform on one of our American rock TV programs of the 70's; perhaps ABC's In Concert? I remembered the name distinctly because there was a town in the state of New Hampshire, where we teens often went, and this town had an inn with the same name - Lindisfarne. It struck me as so odd that this place, which I had no idea how it became so-named, had a band name itself after it. Of course, I found out the story behind the name soon after. Good, forgotten band. Thanks for reminding me of them.

butterflysong said...

I'd never heard of them until now. What an intriguing write-up about them! An unfortunate end to the lead singer's life...

Thanks for sharing. As always, you never disappoint when I visit your blog! :)

carma said...

You mean there is life outside of blogging ??? Hope you are doing well :-) xxoo

mallowplant said...

My favourite band of the 70s. i was fortunate ennough to see them many times when they reformed in 78, including Newcastle City hall on 2 occasions. I have lots of photos do take a look.

Something I wrote earlier...

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