The Fenmen — “I’ve Got Everything You Need Babe”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — May 19, 2022

454) The Fenmen — “I’ve Got Everything You Need Babe”

Fantastic ‘65 beat single! Why wasn’t it a hit, not the least because it has a killer guitar solo that sounds just like Jimmy Page? Anorak Thing says:

Backed by some strong brass The Fenmen give it their all on this Kooper/Levine composition with their trademark strong harmonies. Then out of nowhere comes a Jimmy Page style guitar solo lick (is it Pagey? Certainly sounds like his style) and the groovy horns and the bands booming harmonies that make the hairs on your neck stand on end.

Well, it turns out that it was Jimmy Page! Page realized it a few years ago while watching the BBC weather report:

One of the many tracks cut by Jimmy Page in his pre-Led Zeppelin days as a session man has surfaced on a television trailer for the BBC’s weather forecast. The track, “I’ve Got Everything You Need Babe” by cult British beat combo The Fenmen was released on the Decca label in 1965 following the band’s split with frontman Bern Elliott, but it did not replicate the success of earlier singles . . . . Page, who estimates he recorded three sessions per day in 1964 and 1965, identified his presence on the track when he saw the trailer on television. “I heard the track the other day while I was watching TV . . . . I thought, ‘Oh. That sound familiar.’ Then, all of a sudden there’s a solo that comes in and I go, ‘That is me!’ It’s something that I would have forgotten about had I not heard it again. In fact, if they hadn’t left the solo on the trailer, I may not have known I’d even played on that track.”

As to the Fenmen, Richie Unterberger gives some history:

At the beginning of their recording career, they operated as the backup group in Bern Elliot & the Fenmen . . . . The Fenmen formed in early 1962 in a suburb in Kent, England . . . . With Elliot as frontman, they had a number 14 British hit in late 1963 with the oft-covered “Money,” and a smaller one with their follow-up, a version of Gary “U.S.” Bonds’ “New Orleans.” . . . Elliott and the Fenmen separated in 1964, leaving the Fenmen to develop a different style heavily derivative of American pop/rock vocal harmony outfits. A couple flop . . . singles for Decca in 1964 and 1965 found the Four Seasons flavor especially strong, including a cover of the Season’s smash “Rag Doll.” . . . The Fenmen ended, however, at the beginning of 1967, when rhythm guitarist/singer [Wally] Waller reconnected with childhood friend Phil May, lead singer of the Pretty Things. After the two wrote “The Sun” together, May invited Waller to join . . . with Fenmen drummer/singer John Povey also joining . . . . Waller and Povey would be an important part of the band’s transition from an R&B-oriented group to a far more psychedelic one in the late ’60s and early ’70s.

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Here is the BBC Weather promo that set off the lightbulb in Jimmy Page’s head:

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