We are now slap bang in the middle of the 1960s, and we’ve arrived at perhaps the most sixties-sounding song yet. It shimmers, it glistens, it drips… It’s absolutely drenched in the sixties.
Where Are You Now (My Love), by Jackie Trent (her 1st and only #1)
1 week, from 20th – 27th May 1965
La…la-la-la-la-la… la-la-la-la-la… a cute little Latin-tinged rhythm, and a voice that is rich and honeyed. I like her voice. I want to listen to it some more. I want it to sing me to sleep. When shadows of evening gently fall, The mem’ry of you I soon, Recall… She sings properly, with a mildly posh way of stressing her words – a slight pre-rock throwback. I imagine this disc playing in a luxury New York apartment, overlooking Central Park at sunset, as a man dressed like an extra from ‘Mad Men’ pours a cocktail for a woman in a daringly short skirt and a beehive…
Then the chorus soars – as the chorus of every mid-sixties, female-led ballad simply must – with swirling violins and portentous drums. Where are you now, My love…? Where are you now, My love…? To be honest, I’m struggling to pay much attention to the lyrics. They are stock-lyrics, lyrics that exist because, well, a song needs them. This record is much more about the sound. About being a gorgeously identifiable moment in time. Listen closely… It’s the sixties…
It’s yet another grown-up pop song. That’s the theme of the first half of 1965: the more we move away from the simple Beat-pop ditties of Herman’s Hermits, Peter and Gordon and the like, the more mature everything is getting. The Righteous Brothers, The Moody Blues, Jackie Trent. I’m no songwriter, but ‘Where Are You Now (My Love)’ sounds like a complex song. Upon closer listen, it’s still a verse-verse-chorus-repeat then middle-eight kind of number. But it sounds complex, the way one section leads softly into the other, fading then rising.
(Note that pretty much everywhere lists the song title as ‘Where Are You Now (My Love)’, except for on the disc itself…)
You could be forgiven for thinking that this is another Bacharach and David number – it’s just got that feel about it – but it’s not. It was written by Trent herself, with her song-writing partner Tony Hatch. Apparently it featured in a popular TV series of the time, ‘It’s Dark Outside’, the exposure from which saw the song reach #1. The pair wrote several other sixties hits, primarily for Petula Clark, but also for Sinatra, Shirley Bassey, Scott Walker, and more. You can’t get much more ‘cool sixties’ than that list of names… Come the seventies, though, and the hits were drying up for Trent, both as a performer and as a writer. She was reduced to writing songs for Stoke City, to celebrate their appearance in the League Cup Final. And that seemed to have been that…
Until the ‘80s when Trent and Hatch, by this point married, moved to Australia. Where they only bloody went and wrote the theme to ‘Neighbours’. Yes, the theme. Neighbours, Everybody needs good neighbours – played on British TV, twice a day for the past thirty-odd years. Given that no TV show – outside of X Factor, Pop Idol etc. – has contributed more to the pop charts over the years than ‘Neighbours’, it’s amazing to think that (with a slight stretch of the imagination) you can claim ‘Where Are You Now (My Love)’ as the first ‘Neighbours’ hit… twenty years before the pilot aired!
Jackie Trent then, ladies and gentlemen, who sadly passed away in 2015. Sit back, press play and enjoy her one and only UK #1 hit – her most famous song-that-isn’t-the-theme-to-an-Australian-soap-opera…
Follow along with every song below:
8 thoughts on “195. ‘Where Are You Now (My Love)’, by Jackie Trent”
I never heard of her or the song before but you nailed it with the Mad Men reference.
“Reduced to writing songs for Stoke City” is probably not quite true. Yes, she did co-write the club’s Cup Final song, and yes, they are not the game’s most popular or successful club – far from it, but she was after all a native of North Staffordshire and supported Stoke, and considered it a great honour to be associated with the club’s biggest day. The song is still played before every home game too.
Apologies. It was a labour of love rather than the only gig she could get, then. I know a Stoke fan, and was probably getting a subliminal dig in with my word choice…
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