Cilla Black; and writing about comic books

So THAT’S what I am, a comics industry observer.

cillaPriscilla Maria Veronica White OBE, the singer and, later, UK television personality, better known as Cilla Black, died this past weekend at the age of 72.

I was waiting impatiently for Dustbury’s take. And he did not disappoint: “Perhaps the very definition of ironic: the first I heard about the death of an iconic Liverpool star was from two girls trying to make it big in Liverpool fifty years later.”

I always associated Cilla with the Beatles, of course. Lennon-McCartney wrote a few songs for her, including Love of the Loved and It’s for You [LISTEN], and she covered Beatles tunes such as Yesterday, For No One, Across the Universe, and The Long and Winding Road.

Moreover, I bought LP The Big Hits From England & U.S.A. back in 1965, featuring songs by the Beatles, the Beach Boys, plus two L&M songs by Peter & Gordon. On Side 2 were songs for the “grownups” by Al Martino, Nat Cole, and two from Cilla, Suffer Now I Must [LISTEN], which was just OK, and the last song on the album You’re My World [LISTEN], which I really loved.

She was introduced to [Beatles manager Brian] Epstein by John Lennon, who persuaded him to audition her. Epstein had a portfolio of local artists but initially showed little interest in her. Her first audition was a failure, partly because of nerves, and partly because the Beatles (who supported her) played the songs in their usual vocal key rather than re-pitching them for Black’s voice. In her autobiography What’s It All About? she wrote:

I’d chosen to do “Summertime”, but at the very last moment I wished I hadn’t. I adored this song, and had sung it when I came to Birkenhead with the Big Three, but I hadn’t rehearsed it with the Beatles and it had just occurred to me that they would play it in the wrong key. It was too late for second thoughts, though. With one last wicked wink at me, John set the group off playing. I’d been right to worry. The music was not in my key and any adjustments that the boys were now trying to make were too late to save me. My voice sounded awful. Destroyed—and wanting to die—I struggled on to the end.

Check out Cilla Recording Alfie in Abbey Road Studios with Burt Bacharach, and Beatles producer George Martin.

Now that Jon Stewart is leaving the Daily Show, and there is a slew of articles about him, I’m fascinated by the program’s evolution, best covered by the New York Times in Jon Stewart and ‘The Daily Show’: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at 9 Essential Moments. I watched the program occasionally by 2004 but recorded and viewed it regularly for only the last seven or eight years.

Thanks to that rascal Alan David Doane, I’m in Trouble with Comics, again, trying to do some writing about the four-color phenomenon as I did most recently with the late, lamented Flashmob Fridays.

So far:
Comics Industry Observers Respond to Black Lightning News; so THAT’S what I am, a comics industry observer.
The TWC group answer the question, “What single comics creator has had the greatest influence over how you perceive the comics artform, and why? Can’t believe someone else selected MY pick.
*I review Archie & Friends Wacky Wild West

The Comics Beat touted the TWC return, and Tom Spurgeon of the Comics Reporter has taken notice as well.