THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD
538) Focal Point — “Hassle Castle”
A magical, wistful song by Focal Point, one of my favorite bands of all time (see #4, 43, 198). Focal Point only released one single, but it all started out like a fairy tale when they cornered Paul McCartney walking his dog Martha in Hyde Park . . . . As co-founder Paul Tennant recalled:
It was . . . the summer of 1967 . . . . We knew which house Paul lived in due to the large amount of girls hanging about outside. . . . . Then all of a sudden the gates opened and a mini shoots out and away. Without a second thought we were on his tail, and there in the back of the car was a large sheepdog . . . . I never let it out of my sight . . . [W]e were at Hyde Park, the mini stopped and out stepped Paul, let the dog out and waved to the driver – Jane Asher and he was away walking the dog. Well Dave looked at me and I looked at him . . . . [W]e shouted to [Paul] and he turned around. We then told him . . . we were writing songs and didn’t know what to do with them, could he help? . . . . [H]e said to us “I could get you a recording contract just like that” and flicked his fingers. “But why should I?” It was then that he proved to be human by planting a finger up his nostril. Dave laughed and he laughed. Dave then said . . . “Because we are good, our songs are good.” It was just like that, Paul then wrote down . . . a phone number . . . . “Phone this guy and tell him I sent you” and he was then gone . . . . [W]hen we got back to Liverpool, Dave and I phoned . . . . Terry [Dolan] listened and told us Paul had told him we were going to ring and when could we go down to London. . . . Out came the guitars and we sang four of our best songs . . . . He said he liked our songs and would like to get acetate done of them. . . . “John loves your songs, he is absolutely going mad over them” said Terry. We were . . . gob smacked. He wants me to play them to Brian”. . . . “Brian agrees with John, your songs are fantastic” . . . . Brian and John . . . wanted to sign us to a five year publishing deal with Apple Publishing. Brian also suggested that we should form a band [and] call [it] Focal Point.http://www.marmalade-skies.co.uk/focalpoint.htm
And then it all came crashing down. I often talk about the singer/songwriters and bands that became collateral damage in the collapse of Andrew Loog Oldham’s Immediate Records. Focal Point, however, fell victims to the Beatles’ Apple’s demise. To read about it, check out the rest of Paul Tennant’s fabulous interview at Marmalade Skies.
“The [?] was out of tune. Alone in a crowded room. Smoke-filled atmosphere tends to disappear. Place where nothing’s clear to me. Hassle castle, filled with dreams. Hassle castle, your magic schemes. The [terrible?], no one hears. They say that the walls have ears. Try to sing along, [true?] to sing a song, but the key is wrong for me. Hassle castle, filled with tears. Hassle castle, your magic fears. . . . The king with his shiny jewels old?]faces and all the fools. He talks about his past, when he was first, [?] made so fast for me. . . .”
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