Musical coincidences # 18

August 28, 2009

This musical coincidence involves a rock track and a classical piece. The coincidence also involves the rock track having a slightly complicated history. I’ll try to make it mercifully brief.

To get things going, I’ll start with the rock track. Here’s the main melody of “Make Your Stash” (1972) by Daddy Cool:

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If you’re a classical music fan, you’ll recognise that tune immediately. It’s one of the melodies in Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity from The Planets by Gustav Holst. Here’s the melody:

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The performance here is by the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal (that’s the Montreal Symphony Orchestra to you and me), conducted by Charles Dutoit in 1987. (Recording details.)

Right, now for a bit of back story on the rock track. This is going to get a little complicated…

“Make Your Stash” was written by Ross Wilson, an extremely well-known Australian musician who is best known depending on which musical decade you grew up in. If you grew up in the 70’s, then Ross Wilson is best known as the driving force behind the legendary Daddy Cool, a band that was one big tribute to 50’s doo-wop and rhythm-and-blues and played 50’s covers as well as original, doo-wop/rhythm-and-blues-inspired, songs by Ross (one of Ross’s Daddy Cool songs, “Hi Honey Ho,” was Song of the day a while ago). If you grew up in the 80’s, though, Ross Wilson is best known as the driving force behind the very-successful-but-not-quite-as-legendary Mondo Rock, a band that specialised in nothing in particular (it was a slick-but-generic 80’s rock band).

However, before all of that, Ross Wilson had a prog rock band in the late 60’s called Sons Of The Vegetal Mother which was heavily influenced by Frank Zappa.

During his time in the Sons, Ross wrote the aforementioned – and decidedly proggy – “Make Your Stash,” which actually is about what you think it’s about. The Sons of the Vegetal Mother never recorded “Make Your Stash” (they only ever recorded one EP, and “Make Your Stash” wasn’t on it).

But back to Daddy Cool. When it came time for Daddy Cool to record a follow-up to their amazingly successful debut long-player, Daddy Who? Daddy Cool, Ross was in the mood to stretch his musical legs and expand on the 50’s doo wop and rhythm-and-blues-inspired tunes they’d specialised in, so he decided to drag* “Make Your Stash” out of his old-song drawer and have the band record it for their second album, Sex, Dope, Rock’n’Roll: Teenage Heaven. In keeping with the “make it very different to the first album” ethos there was also an ambitious three-song suite, “Teen Love” / “Drive-In Movie” / “Love In An FJ”. (For non-Australians, an “FJ” is a make of car.)

(*No pun intended.)

Potentially uninteresting side note: The Sex, Dope, and Rock’n’Roll part of the title was dropped for the American market, so it was released as Teenage Heaven there. (No sex, dope or rock’n’roll for those Americans…)

Just when you thought that’s all you needed to know about “Make Your Stash” (i.e.: it was written in the late 60’s; it was performed by Sons of the Vegetal Mother but never recorded by them; it was recorded by Daddy Cool for their second album), things get even more complicated…

There’s an earlier version of “Make Your Stash” on record.

Now, before I get to that, I want to go back to the Sons of the Vegetal Mother (I’m trying very hard not to make this any more complicated than it already is)…

Along with the band’s founder, Ross Wilson, Sons of the Vegetal Mother also contained band member Mike Rudd who formed Spectrum, another prog rock band (there were plenty popping up in Australia in the early 70’s).

The reason I’m mentioning this is that Spectrum recorded “Make Your Stash” for their 1971 debut album Spectrum Part One.

Here’s the Spectrum version of “Make Your Stash” (1971):

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Thanks for persevering with all of the above.

And now, hopefuly, to the last word on the musical coincidence. (I have a feeling that I’ve made this all much more complicated than it needed to be…)
 
You may think that this instance of Ross Wilson using Gustav Holst’s tune is yet another unacknowledged rip-off of classical music by a rock musician – and there have been plenty of classical music tunes used in rock music – but that’s not the case here. Ross has always stated unequivocally that he used Holst’s tune. For example, this is from the Wikipedia entry on Sons of the Vegetal Mother:

One of the new songs incorporated into the set but never recorded by the band, according to its author, was ‘Make Your Stash’. “[It] was later recorded by both Spectrum and Daddy Cool and the source for inspiration for Manfred Mann’s Earth Band album that used Holst’s ‘Planets Suite’,” claims Wilson. “‘Make Your Stash’ used one of the themes from that suite with my lyrics and bridge which Mick appropriated for Manfred Mann using new lyrics.”

Finally, as a reward for staying the distance with this post (or even if you didn’t and just skipped to this bit), here are the full versions of both “Make Your Stash” and “Jupiter”:

Daddy Cool – “Make Your Stash” (1972)

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Gustav Holst (1874–1934): The Planets, Op. 32 – Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity
(Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, conducted by Charles Dutoit)

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Daddy Cool on MySpace

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