Today’s music video is Tar And Cement, sung here in this clip by the American singer Verdelle Smith.
This video was posted to You Tube by jimmytheferret
It was only a hit here in Australia, and in fact, it went all the way to Number One on the National Charts. It was a very minor hit in the U.S. just struggling into the Top 40, and was only a local hit in some areas, but only reaching as high as position 20 in one or perhaps two local areas, and virtually unheard in the UK.
However, where the surprise lies is here in Australia, where it was indeed a smash hit.
This was in 1966, and here in Australia, this was almost at the absolute pinnacle of what is referred to in the U.S. as The British Invasion. It was not known by that name here in Australia, but hey, virtually every song that was charting at the time for a number of years was from the UK. There were a few, well, a very small number of songs that were completely Australian, and probably as many from the U.S. Virtually everything was from the UK.
I was a teenager, only 15 at the time, and all of this music became our music. This was in an era long before MTV, long before any TV music video programs, and long before personal music equipment that you could carry around with you. All we had access to as teenagers was the radio, and all the radio stations played were the hits, and virtually all of those hits were from England.
So, when this song became a smash hit here in Australia, naturally everyone just assumed that it came from England.
The song was called Tar And Cement, and the singer was Verdelle Smith. There were just so many female vocalists from England, all huge on the charts, and this was just naturally another one of those. No one ever saw Verdelle Smith, and in fact, no one ever heard from her ever again, as this song was her one claim to fame, her only song, her one big hit, and even then, only in Australia. This was one of those fleeting songs, the One Hit Wonder.
The song was originally an Italian song and the English language version for the lyrics was written by Lee Pockriss and Paul Vance. It was popular among Australian teenagers as was mostly everything in those days.
As teenagers, we didn’t notice the irony in the lyrics, how you remember things from your childhood, but years later, when you go back to that place you remember so well as a child, nothing is the same.
Many years later, when I was chasing up the song after hearing it again on radio, and it was a huge surprise to find out she was an American singer, something that was never mentioned at the time it was a hit all those years ago in 1966, well, not that we as teenagers would have bothered to notice anyway.
It was just another of those Monster hits, the music that we grew up with. It didn’t matter that she was English or American, it was just a darned good song that we all loved.