03 Oct Trev talks Donovan and Geraldine Tangerine
Twenty five years ago in 1990, when everyone was wearing psychedelic bucket hats, hoodies and baggy jeans and stepping out (and stepping on) to the sounds of the Happy Mondays and the Stone Roses, The Singing Corner (aka Trev and Simon) released a version of Donovan’s classic hippy dippy 1968 hit, Jennifer Juniper, with the man himself – yes, the actual Donovan, (no, not Jason Donovan)…Donovan…(no, not Borrovan)…Donovan! Yes, Donovan! The actual Hurdy Gurdy Man. The Mellow Yellow One. The Seasoned Witch himself.
I didn’t quite believe it at the time and now, twenty five years later, I’m starting to doubt it actually happened – but it really did. Mainly thanks to our manager at the time, the legendary Pete Brown. Pete was determined that we should release a comedy single but Simon and I weren’t too sure about the idea. So we decided to make things difficult for him (as usual!) and said “Okay we’ll release a single, if we can sing it with Donovan!” Donovan. Britain’s self-styled Bob Dylan. Donovan. Friend of The Beatles. Donovan. Jane Caldwell’s mum’s favourite singer. (never mind). It actually wasn’t very difficult for Pete. That’s what he liked to do. He liked to make things happen – so he did – and before we knew it, we’d signed a record deal and Donovan was on his way to the recording studio!
Soon we were at No.61 in the UK pop charts, guests on BBC1’s prime time chat show, Wogan and we were on the front page of the NME! Not bad for a couple of idiots who’d ruined a perfectly good pop song for the sake of comedy. We also had the pleasure of appearing on Jools Holland’s TV show, Juke Box Jury where our comedy mate Rowland Rivron described the single as “shite” and Bob Geldof and Dusty Springfield gave it the thumbs down – at which point we appeared from behind the curtain to surprise them – oh, how we all laughed!
In the bar, after we’d recorded Juke Box Jury, Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer chatted to us and insisted that they both preferred the B-Side of the single– Geraldine Tangerine. What a compliment that was because who had written it? Us of course; well The Singing Corner, that is. You see, Donovan had come along to the studio to sing Jennifer Juniper with us and then after one perfect take, left. But this was still the era of 7 inch vinyl singles (CDs were only just about to become the next big thing!) We needed a B-Side. Every single had to have a B-Side (except double-A Sides – but that’s another story). So, after Donovan had gone home and all was quiet in the studio, The Singing Corner were allowed back into the studio. The only other persons present were the producer (Matthew Vaughan… with an extra ‘a’. so not the Kick Ass X-Men one), the sound engineer (Hugo Nicholson) and our old friend Paul Brophy. Now you can listen to what happened in full. I heard it again for the first time in many years, just recently. It features a reference to another Singing Corner song – Space. Is it strange? We’ll let you decide.
25 years later Simon and I are still making things difficult for our manager – who is now Clare Eden, of course. Like Pete Brown and all good managers, Clare likes to make things happen as well. Clare made STRANGENESS in SPACE happen, with the backing of all our Mirthling friends – and it shot straight into the iTunes download charts. We are now on the verge of releasing STRANGENESS in SPACE, Episode 2. Episodes 3, 4 and more are waiting in the wings. You can make them happen too– by becoming a Mirthling. So please do and let’s all keep making things happen.
(Thanks to Grant Perkins for The Singing Corner backing image to Geraldine Tangerine. If you can’t see the image just click the box on the right hand side to make the screen full screen).