Monday, June 11, 2007

Lynne Randell RIP

Lynne Randell Tribute
Over the weekend, I heard the news that Lynne Randell died in Melbourne after a long illness. Lynne is best remembered on the UK soul scene for her Northern anthem "Stranger In My Arms" on Columbia.

In 1967, Randell, who was then 17 years old, became Australia's first teen sensation releasing a hit single Ciao Baby.She followed that with a trip to the United States where she toured with The Monkees, and performed with Ike and Tina Turner. Randell later moved to Los Angeles and married record company executive Abe Hoch and the couple had a son, Jamieson. She returned to Australia in 1980 and became Molly Meldrum's personal assistant, a role she best described as "being his nagging wife - a very organised nagging wife". In 1986, Randell moved to New York to be closer to her son and to work for Seymour Stein, Madonna's record company boss. She returned to Melbourne a couple of years later and continued working in the entertainment industry until she became ill.
Stranger was first played in '71 and went on to be one of the most played 45s on scene. It was bootlegged in '74 which meant that it was dropped from DJ playlists until Northern DJ Dave Evison reactivated it for a second shot at the big time. It was even more popular the second time around and enjoyed a second reissue on the Columbia Special Products label in '77.
I always had a soft spot for Lynne because she was originally from Liverpool before emigrating to Australia at the age of 5 with her family. I don't know of anyone else from Liverpool who has recorded a Northern classic! The song is firmly associated with me with those steamy early morning sessions the Wigan Casino when Evison was on the decks or the monthly oldies all-nighters.

She recorded the 45 in New York. And it sounded like it! She recalled: "the producer said, look I just want you to go out there and sing into everyone's headphones - just so that they get a feel for what your vocals going to be, and they can play off of that. And I did that and he came running in and went - you can sing! You can sing! I wasn't sure from those recordings in Australia."
l to r: Barry, Cynthia, some guy I don't know, David Pearl, Lynne Randell, and Davy Jones) Two of the hottest young songwriters in the 60s. They wrote a couple of The Monkees best songs, "Shades of Gray" and "Love is Only Sleeping".

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