It reminds me of America, one of the Shadows told Jerry Lordan when he played them his latest instrumental. America seems like a wonderful land, said somebody else, and the name stuck. A sweetly-struck six-note figure becomes a sweep of the arm taking in America’s open skies, its nobility, its glamour, its youth, its space – so much space! – and for the cramped Britain that kept the Shadows’ record at the top for six weeks, its exotic difference.
On the 24th March, as the record reached No.1 in Britain, the young President of the Wonderful Land was in bed with its most beautiful, starriest star. According to Marilyn Monroe’s biographer, Donald Spoto, the night she spent with Kennedy in Palm Springs was the only verifiable time the pair were ‘intimate’. Their affair is one of history’s too-perfect, too-corny moments (even if, like most hopeless flings, its reality was sad and grubby) – two star-crossed icons! But icons of what? Of a sixties that didn’t end up happening. You can hear it in the two widescreen minutes of “Wonderful Land” – no tension, no division, simply optimism and energy, a promise that things would not only get better but get better smoothly.