337) John Bromley — “Weather Man”
English songwriter John Bromley has written “over 200 works with over 60 recorded and performed worldwide by major artists such as Shirley Bassey, Sacha Distel, Petula Clark, Richard Harris, Paul Anka . . . John Farnham”, Jackie De Shannon and the Ace Kefford Stand. (Facebook). He also recorded some of his songs in the 60’s, releasing them as singles (backed by The Fleur De Lys [see #32, 122]) which were eventually collected on his sole album, ’69’s Sing.
Bromley “never thought of himself as a singer. . . . “I was really only interested in performing on my own original recorded demos. . . .” (liner notes to the CD reissue of Sing). The way he was discovered comes right out of a movie:
[He was working in a record shop in London when Graham Dee] overheard a bored Bromley busking behind the shop’s counter with a cheap plastic guitar. Graham was . . . trying to place the tune that was being sung. . . . [and] was suitably impressed to learn that the song that he thought he recognized, “What a Woman Does”, was actually a John Bromley original. . . . “He asked me to hold on and he ran around the corner and came back five minutes later asking if I could slip away for twenty -minutes to record a demo of the song.” . . . Dee ran off with the demo to Atlantic Records’s European managing director Frank Fenter[, who] was impressed enough by what he heard to rush John into his office the very next day. John was shocked, “Frank loved the song . . . . he offered me a recording contract for three singles and one album on the spot! I was hoping to get one of my songs placed with a major act by Frank, not a recording contract for myself.”Mark Johnston’s liner noes to the CD reissue of Sing
Bromley wrote the B-side “Weather Man” with Graham Dee. He relates (liner notes) that the song “is a child’s song, but it was also a grown-up song about unrequited love.” “Weather Man” is indisputably “a classic slice of British sunshine pop” (liner notes). Reviewers often comment on how it and other of Bromley’s songs are imbued with the spirit of Paul McCartney: Marmalade Skies call it a “perfect little McCartneyesque tune” (http://www.marmalade-skies.co.uk/toytown3.htm), Rob Jones calls Bromley’s songs “Macca-esque psychedelia” (https://thedeletebin.com/2014/09/01/john-bromley-sings-so-many-things/), and John Reed calls Bromley “a singer-songwriter firmly rooted in the Macca tradition – and it’s possible to hear echoes of Beatles ballads such as Yesterday or Eleanor Rigby in many of his compositions.” (https://recordcollectormag.com/reviews/album/john-bromley-songs). I would venture to guess that Paul would be quite pleased to have written this beautiful and anodyne song.
If Bromley’s singles had been released a year or two earlier, they would likely have received the rapturous reception they deserved. Rob Jones perceptively notes that:
[B]y 1969, there had been a bit of a shift where this approach was concerned since the height of the psych period in 1966-67. The world had become less optimistic and open to whimsy by then, two years after the summer of love, and after some of the figureheads of the civil rights movement were no more. British psychedelia had begun to mutate into a more “progressive” and serious direction to contrast the nostalgic and twee nature of what psych bands had created. King Crimson’s In the Court of the Crimson King is a good example of a darker, and less romanticized musical and thematic landscape from bands in Britain by the end of the 1960s when Bromley’s record came out. Perhaps this is why [Sing], didn’t take off. Bromley eventually left the music business for a time, escaping the ins and outs of an often callous industry. This record has been a sought-after treasure for vinyl collectors over the years since, an artifact perhaps of a lost era that is attached, ironically, to a new kind of hazy nostalgia for many. Listening to this song now, it’s easy to appreciate its charms . . . .https://thedeletebin.com/2014/09/01/john-bromley-sings-so-many-things/
“In a little house . . . lives a little man and a little weather girl. He sees only sunshine, she sees only rain. Every time he comes out, she goes in again. Weather man everybody knows he [cares?]. Everybody knows the weather’s fair, but he’s not there to see the sun go down . . . . Never sees the sun go down. Weather girl, rain is falling on her door. Never sees the weather man up there, she’s never where she can see the rain come down, rain come down . . . . Never see the rain come down. . . . Weather’s fine. Sun is shining in the sky. Suddenly the rain begins to fall again we see them then beneath the rainbow in the sky . . . . Together now. We see them there together now. They’re together now.”
Here is Quentin E. Klopjaeger’s ’69 cover: