Gordon Thompson is Professor of Music at Skidmore College. His book, Please Please Me: Sixties British Pop, Inside Out, offers an insider’s view of the British pop-music recording industry. Below is a hint to a musical riddle with sixties British rock and pop as its subject. Be sure to check back Friday for the answer. Check out Thompson’s other riddles here. Feel free to guess the answer in the comments.
British pop musicians in the sixties transformed what had been quiet imitations of Americana into the height of hip artistic creativity. In the early sixties, the only British music to break into the American charts sounded weird (Joe Meek’s production of the Tornados performing “Telstar” in 1962) and wacky (Lonnie Donegan’s “Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It’s [sic] Flavor (On the Bedpost Over Night)” in 1961). A few years later, Time declared London to be the self-evident center of the western cultural universe. Whether you considered James Bond, Twiggy, Mary Quant, or the Who, the Brits had established a place in pop culture that in the fifties we could hardly have imagined.
In another twisted attempt to obscure the obvious, I offer one more of my riddles celebrating an anniversary in sixties British pop. I look forward to your guesses. We will post a solution in two days.
Riddle me when, riddle me why; can you name the song this time?
Ole blue eyes thought this was the best, even if he named the rest.
More than nothing, a quiet plateau; some friendly help, a bass concerto.
Sthā’ī-antarā gat nahi; an unknown answer to a desperate plea.