The Sorrows: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — August 30, 2022

THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

566) The Sorrows — “Pink, Purple, Yellow and Red”

We’ve heard the Sorrows’ UK hit, “Take a Heart” (see #407), which reached #21 over there in ’65. As Vernon Joynson writes, “[a]fter leaving Britain, because they were not able to repeat the success of Take a Heart, the Sorrows surfaced in Italy where they released an album and some singles to moderate success. . . . Their 1967 single “Pink, Purple, Yellow and Red” was an atmospheric single about depression. (The Tapestry of Delights Revisited) However, Kevin Rathert says that after the group relocating to Italy, “in June, 1967, [it] released ‘Pink, Purple, Yellow And Red’ a song presented to them by an Italian songwriter who had the basic melody but no lyrics. The band added English lyrics, the four colors allegedly representing the stages of an acid trip. The tune features revved up fuzz guitar, its trippy lyrics joining a heavy psychedelic rock riff.” (https://www.psychedelicbabymag.com/2021/07/the-sorrows-pink-purple-yellow-and-red-the-complete-sorrows-2021.html) Depression or acid? Who knows, and, if course, psychedelics are now being used to treat depression. A great rousing song in any event. Let’s call it spaghetti psych!

Mark Deming gives an accounting of the post “Take a Heart” Sorrows through ’67:

In October 1965, the Sorrows followed up their hit with “You’ve Got What I Want’ . . . a strong release that nonetheless failed to live up to “Take a Heart’s success, peaking at a disappointing chart placement of Number 47. However, the success of “Take a Heart” led to Piccadilly releasing an album of the Sorrows, also titled Take a Heart . . . . [which] stiffed on the charts[. A]fter another two singles came and went without notice, bassist Philip Packham resigned, and vocalist Don Fardon [yes, that Don Fardon] soon followed. The rest of the group soldiered on; Pip Whitcher became lead singer as well as guitarist, Wez Price moved over to bass, and Bruce Finlay continued as drummer. . . . The group had recorded phonetically translated German and Italian versions of “Take a Heart,” and the latter belatedly became a hit in Italy in June 1966, bolstered by a much-talked-about appearance at the Cantagiro Song Festival. The group was offered an extensive Italian tour, and they hit the road . . . . RCA . . . soon brought them into the studio to cut a pair of tunes for a movie starring Anita Ekberg, Come Imparai Ad Amare Le Donne (aka How I Learned to Love Women) in 1967. They would also appear onscreen in a youth-oriented feature, I Ragazzi Di Bandiera Gialla (aka The Lads of the Yellow Flag). . . . [But] Whitcher missed British life and opted to go home [as did another band member]. As the Sorrows had paying gigs booked in Europe, Price and Finlay needed to round up replacement players pronto, and through a friend they found a pair of British musicians staying in Italy . . . . With Price moving back to rhythm guitar and taking on lead vocal duties, the band did live work and cut a single issued only in Italy, “Zabadak” b/w “La Liberta Costa Cara.”

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-sorrows-mn0000429259/biography

“Life, may what it’s cracked up to be. And my friends all wish me dead. Maybe then they’ll all agree. Wrap the flowers and prove me pink and purple, yellow and red, pink and purple, yellow and red in my head. Wish me dead. My life is wasted, the fruits I have tasted at times they won’t let me down. My girl has left me, but that don’t upset me. I’ll keep both my feet on the ground. Now, all the whiskey bottles low. On my face there is a smile. Sure there’s something gonna blow. In my head I see the pink and purple, yellow and red, pink and purple, yellow and red, round my head. It’s gonna blow. Tell me I’m dreaming. I look at the ceiling and I lie alone on my bed. There’s what I’m after. The rooms full of laughter and pink, purple, yellow and red.”

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