|Meet The...okay, not quite The Beatles....|
And it’s very obvious that this song from 1964 is extremely influenced by early era Beatles. An argument can be made that they’re more than influenced by the most famous Liverpudlians in the world; the melody line and Dale Menton’s vocals seems highly reminiscent of a certain composition of Lennon and McCarthy (listen to the song and decide for yourself). But the freshness of the open composition--a composition that was most like written by one or two people and not the army that ends up writing most pop compositions these days--is pretty undeniable. This is pop at its most stripped down, before Sgt. Pepper opened people up to what could be achieved in the studio. This primitiveness has been away from mainstream music so long, it’s almost become modern again. One can easily see this becoming a very minor hit, fitting comfortably alongside The Lumineers and Mumford and Sons of this age.
The other thing that fascinates me about this song, and the Gestures in general, is that they were purveyors of that long-forgotten tradition, the Local Heroes. Now that music is so easily distributed worldwide through digital means and radio play is broadcast to several major cities simultaneously, the idea of a band that’s worshipped as Gods in their general area but is unknown outside of it is no longer commonplace. Granted, there are still vestiges of that tradition--I shudder every Christmas when New York stations start playing the hideous ‘Dominic The Christmas Donkey’--but I almost miss having songs that are ours alone, songs that we we embrace as a collective nighborhood but everywhere else just doesn’t get. These are the ugly stepchildren of pop music, unloved save for their parent location, and they are all beautiful in their own way.
The Gestures, not surprisingly, broke up decades ago. But they were inducted into the Minnesota Rock N’ Roll Hall OF Fame in 2008, so there’s that much.
No video (why am I not surprised?), but the song is available on a number of compilations.