Sep 06

THE MOVE – “Blackberry Way”

FT + Popular64 comments • 4,768 views

#265, 8th February 1969


COVER MOVE blackberry wayThe first time I heard this – one of the songs from this era that was entirely new to me – I thought it sounded like a terrible mess. Everything about it was heavy-handed, lead-footed, fuzzy, all its elements slopping into one another and crushing a pretty pop song in the process.

Then of course I realised that’s the desired effect. “Blackberry Way” gets the emotional mood of a break-up right – the mooching, washed-out misery punctuated with blurts of stupid optimism. But it also captures in its production the physical mood too – the way that in its rejection your body no longer seems to fit right with the world, making you feel clumsy and out of place.

(And by most accounts it fits 1969 too – the psychedelia it nods back to has been compromised and complicated, its colours running. A bleak record, this.)



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  1. 51
    sükråt tanned rested unlogged and awesome on 6 Dec 2013 #

    It’s the run-out (ie credits) track for IM 1, which I thought was apt and funny (rather than deferential). Haven’t seen IM 2. Obviously IM 3 is the greatest film of all time alongside PotC 3: At World’s End.

  2. 52
    tm on 6 Dec 2013 #

    Iirc, the credits start with the double speed coda from Iron Man possibly spliced with some other instrumental bits like the I AAAAAAAAM IROOOOOON MÀAAAAAAAAN intro but definitely none of the verses then cross fades to AC/DC’s Back In Black.

    I sort of imagine the film’s makers being familiar with the intro and the riff and thinking they’ll use the song to deliver the requisite badass classic rock swagger, then listening through and realising it’s actually a sad and scary song about a different Iron Man (Ted Hughes’?) delivered at a menacingly funereal pace. Which seems to sum up Sabbath’s outsider status: Tony Stark might wear their T-shirt (in the documentary Avengers Assemble) but he probably doesn’t listen to their weird, uneasy music much. Which of course makes them the classic rock band it’s OK for punks and indies to like.

    There is, however, a scene in the trailer (but not the movie iirc) where Tony kicks down the door to his captors cave prison in sync with Bill Ward’s bass drum then flies across the sky to the main riff, which is easily the awesomest thing in the Iron Man franchise.

    Iron Man 2 is like being trapped in Mitt Romney’s head for two hours.

  3. 53
    sükråt tanned rested unlogged and awesome on 6 Dec 2013 #

    ted hughes’s iron man, yes, but iirc not actually via the medium of reading, just looking at the pictures!

    (awesome if true, bcz the loneliness is spot on)

  4. 54
    tm on 7 Dec 2013 #

    Perfect Sabbath: couldn’t read the words, understood the poem anyway, somehow. Brilliant primitive.*

    Perhaps deference is the wrong word for the inclusion of Sab in Iron Man. Affection might be more like it: producers wanted them in and worked hard to find morsels of their music that would fit the story even though it runs counter to their general vibe.

    * I’m not trying to say that not being able to read the poem it good in and of itself. I think there’s a suspicion on FT that anyone who celebrates or enjoys the primitive is anti-intellectual. If you can read and understand then poem you’re brilliant, you’re Brian Wilson or Prince or Lee Perry. But I’d rather a brilliant beast like Ozzy than a routine scholar like Clapton.

  5. 55
    tm on 7 Dec 2013 #

    I heard the Move smashed tv sets on stage with axes which sounds bizarre, hearing the bubblegum of Fire Brigade or Night of Fear or Flowers in the Rain. Did any older FTers ever bare witness to this bizarre spectacle?

  6. 56
    Patrick Mexico on 7 Dec 2013 #

    Well, well, well, in 1993, Damon Albarn said this

    “If punk was about getting rid of hippies, then I’m getting rid of grunge. It’s the same sort of feeling: people should smarten up, be a bit more energetic. They’re walking around like hippies again – they’re stooped, they’ve got greasy hair, there’s no difference. Whether they like it or not, they’re listening to Black Sabbath again. It irritates me.”

    As usual with him, I’m unsure whether he’s being genuinely sincere or arrogantly revising music history for his own dubious gain.

  7. 57
    Patrick Mexico on 7 Dec 2013 #

    Re 44: Fair enough, but compared to the Mancs and Scousers, a lot of West Midlands acts don’t really express as much of a broad Brummie-ness. Then again you’ve got Simon Le Bon and his “Saaw yaw on the shawroom flawwr” on Duran Duran’s comeback (yet again) single from 1998, Electric Barbarella. It’s quite hideous, but works just fine alongside disconcerting electronica.

  8. 58

    The Iron Man is a children’s book rather than a poem. But otherwise yes: and I would definitely argue that Sabbath are differently intellectual rather than anti-intellectual. Certainly they get at some something deeper than Blur ever did: without, as you say, being remotely describable as scholars. Music and reading are very different crafts: there can be overlap, and some people do both very well, but people can be great at the first without making a mark on the second.

  9. 59
    tm on 7 Dec 2013 #

    Definitely not anti-intillectual, Ozzy comes across as quite thoughtful and socially conscious in the few early interviews I’ve read, before drugs and booze took their toll on him.

    And yes, of course it’s not a poem! I have actually read it when I was a kid, fine story it is too. This’ll teach me to post drunk…

  10. 60
    tm on 7 Dec 2013 #

    I was trying to draw a parallel between musical craftsmanship and the patience and thoughtfulness required to study literature, rather than just saying ‘if you make clever music, you must read clever books’ but I agree with you that, even on that more nuanced level, the two don’t necessarily go hand in hand.

  11. 61
    tm on 7 Dec 2013 #

    Black Sabbath’s musical primitivism seems like very much a conscious choice to reflect the themes of their songs (they can and do play more delicately sometimes as has been mentioned upthread. Compared to, say, a lot of the early punk bands who were genuinely musically naive, often teenagers who’d only recently started playing.

  12. 62
    martin on 7 Dec 2013 #

    In reply to some comments earlier about the chart hits box sets; I’ve been putting together playlists of every single in the UK top 40 by year (in order of the week they entered the charts).

    My spotify username is HodgerMccodger, I’ve set the access as public so other people should be able to access them.

    I’m only on 1963 at the moment, so if this has already been done would be grateful if anyone could point me in the direction of them. Usually there’s only 6 or 7 singles that can’t be found on spotify (and no Beatles tracks). I made a note of these in description (again not sure if that is available),

    Anyway I thought it might be of some interest to people here. If anyone can’t view the playlists or the description, please let me know

  13. 63
    hectorthebat on 27 May 2014 #

    Critic watch:

    Bruce Pollock (USA) – The 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944-2000 (2005)
    Elvis Costello – The Best Songs from the 500 Best Albums Ever (2000)

  14. 64
    lonepilgrim on 3 Jan 2017 #

    I do remember this from the time and finding the hairy singers a little scary. ‘Penny Lane is an obvious comparison for me but that combines melancholy and optimism in a lighter way whereas this seems more heavy handed – although I suspect that is deliberate.

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