Aired on Treasure Island Oldies – Apr 23, 2023
Trident Studios was a British recording facility, located at 17 St. Anne’s Court in London’s Soho district between 1968 and 1981. It was the recording studio of choice for many of the “Who’s Who” in music during that time period, including the Beatles, Elton John, the Bee Gees, James Taylor, Joe Cocker, the Rolling Stones and many more.
Trident was blessed with one of the most talented recording engineers and producers of that time period – Robin Geoffrey Cable, acknowledged as having some of the best ears in the business with an amazing innate sense of capturing incredible sound in a recording studio.
In the early 70s, Cable experimented with re-creating Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” style and convinced the front man of a band, recently signed by Trident, to record cover versions of a couple of songs – one of which had been originally penned by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich and Phil Spector in 1966 …
The song had made it onto the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966 by the Ronettes and subsequently by the Beach Boys in 1969.
Robin Cable had heard the lead singer of Trident’s new band on some of their early demos and asked him to sing the tracks for the cover version. Cable wanted a very ‘young’ sound, so he speeded up the singer’s voice by recording it at a lowered tape speed.
Not happy with the solo section, he invited another member of the band to turn it into a guitar solo – which worked out very well.
Then came the decision of what to call the artist for the release of the record. According to the band member who created the guitar solo, Cable liked the idea of spoofing Gary Glitter and the Glam Rock movement of the time, so he came up with ‘Larry Lurex.’
Larry Lurex’s 1973 release failed to chart in the UK but it did bubble under the Billboard Hot 100 in the US reaching the #115 position.
The guitarist who created the solo was Brad May of Queen. May was also accompanied by Queen drummer Roger Taylor on percussion and backup vocals. As for Larry Lurex, we know him better as Freddie Mercury.
And according to May, “ … in a sense our first ever release on vinyl was under the name ‘Larry Lurex’ and not Queen.”
One thing all the members of Queen would agree on is that Robin Cable was very justified in saying, “I Can Hear Music,” this week’s Tom Locke moment in time.
Epilogue: Michael Godin, the host of Treasure Island Oldies, had the great pleasure of getting to know and work with Robin Cable on several recording projects during Godin’s days as Vice-President of A&R at A&M Records.
YouTube video of this song:
This “Moments In Time” story is yet another example of a “golden oldie” or forgotten favorite that earned its place in the evolution of Rock & Roll.