THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD
747) Focal Point — “Girl on the Corner”
Focal Point is one of the greatest coulda/shoulda-beens in the annals of British pop psych (see #4, 43, 198, 538). “Girl”, one of the first four songs they recorded, knocked out John Lennon and Brian Epstein. Needless to say, it knocks me out.
The band only released one single, but it all started out like a fairy tale when two guys 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. . . . [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 [Rhodes] 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 [nclusing “Girl”]. . . . 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 . . . suggested that we should form a band [and] call [it] Focal Point.http://www.marmalade-skies.co.uk/focalpoint.htm
Stefan Granados notes that “Dolan recorded several demos with Tennant and Rhodes . . . who became the first two songwriters signed to Apple after both John Lennon and Brian Epstein responded enthusiastically to the demo recordings.” (liner notes to the Focal Point: First Bite of the Apple: The Complete Recordings 1967-68 comp)
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 demise of Apple. To read about it, check out the rest of Paul Tennant’s fabulous interview at Marmalade Skies and bassist Dave Slater’s great interview at the Strange Brew: https://thestrangebrew.co.uk/interviews/dave-slater-focal-point-apple-the-beatles-pt1; https://thestrangebrew.co.uk/interviews/dave-slater-focal-point-apple-the-beatles-pt2/.
I have added a Facebook page for Brace for the Obscure 60s Rock! If you like what you read and hear and feel so inclined, please visit and “like” my Facebook page by clicking here.
Pay to Play! The Off the Charts Spotify Playlist! + Brace for the Obscure 60s Rock Merchandise
Please consider helping to support my website/blog by contributing $6 a month for access to the Off the Charts Spotify Playlist. Using a term familiar to denizens of Capitol Hill, you pay to play! (“relating to or denoting an unethical or illicit arrangement in which payment is made by those who want certain privileges or advantages in such arenas as business, politics, sports, and entertainment” — dictionary.com).
The playlist includes all the “greatest songs of the 1960’s that no one has ever heard” that are available on Spotify. The playlist will expand each time I feature an available song.
All new subscribers will receive a Brace for the Obscure 60s Rock magnet. New subscribers who sign up for a year will also receive a Brace for the Obscure 60s Rock t-shirt or baseball cap. See pictures on the Pay to Play page.
When subscribing, please send me an e-mail (GMFtma1@gmail.com) or a comment on this site letting me know an e-mail address/phone number/Facebook address, etc. to which I can send instructions on accessing the playlist and a physical address to which I can sent a magnet/t-shirt/baseball cap. If choosing a t-shirt, please let me know the gender and size you prefer.
Just click on the first blue block for a month to month subscription or the second blue block for a yearly subscription.