19
May 05

THE OVERLANDERS – “Michelle”

Popular100 comments • 8,489 views

#209, 29th January 1966

In an ideal universe the Beatles would be hugely generous to people wanting to sample their songs and deeply harsh on people wanting to cover them. The Overlanders obviously felt that this featherweight tale of chatting up an exchange student would be improved by a dose of folky sincerity: it isn’t. The flimsy charms of the original – The Beatles’ very own “Wooden Heart”, praise be – are exchanged for a different, less knowing, kind of smarm. Those pained final “I love yous” seem imported from a different, weightier song and they sink like lead shot in candyfloss.

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Comments

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  1. 51
    Waldo on 23 Feb 2012 #

    Thanks for this contribution, Peter. Great to hear from you. It’s always a buzz getting a communication from the actually folk whose number one we are actually discussing. Good luck to you!

  2. 52
    Glen Macgregor on 7 May 2012 #

    In reply to Tony Hadders (45)Rick Wild has fronted the band since 1969 to present day (and a brilliant frontman with a great voice)that`s 43 years and still gigging.
    43 years touring and gigging keeping the name going, some feat and surely must deserve recognition.I gigged with him for a number of years and he always brought the house down a very competent professional, we were always well rehearsed and smart he wouldn`t have it any other way.

  3. 53
    Waldo on 8 May 2012 #

    A wonderful contribution, Greg. Cheers.

  4. 54
    lonepilgrim on 12 Jun 2012 #

    meanwhile, over in the USA, Petula Clark hit number 1 with this:

    http://nohardchords.wordpress.com/2012/06/12/153-petula-clark-my-love/

  5. 55
    Waldo on 12 Jun 2012 #

    …giving Tony Hatch a UK/US win double!

  6. 56
    Paul Arnold (Friswell) on 2 Sep 2012 #

    Here I am again albeit 12 months later. Just turned 70; never thought i`d still be singing for a couple of bob. Dave Walsh how the hell are you. Thanks for filling in a few gaps to the old memory.Yes, we literally got michelle two days before recording it. The Alhambra Bradford, wonder if its still there.The Storyville, is that where we were? My God,Terry and I used to sing Underneath The Arches about three
    o`clock in the morning when the repertoire was exhausted.What a lousy place that was, crap digs nothing to eat. When we got back we went strait round to the manager (Harry Hammond) to tell him we`d had enough and were packing it in. “I think you should reconsider” he said, “Your records just gone in to the charts at number 15″ Well I suppose that did make a difference. So you became an Airline pilot. What an in credible story. Who`s got the film rights? Far cry from Buckie town hall somewhere in the north of Scotland. We were given an impossible double and arrived late. Buckie was a fishing village and nothing happened all week.As the curtains opened on our opening number Michelle, we were met with a barrage of bottles and coins. Came a voice from the drums,”whats happening?” “nothing Dave, just keep drumming.”
    Peter Bartholomew.How many times have I wondered where you were and what you were doing? you and Laurie were the duo I joined in 1962. We worked bloody hard rehearse rehearse rehearse. I guess it paid off.I don`t know about you guys but I`ve got every single we ever made. Pete you didn`t write enough. Anna Marie was a brilliant song. There`s a lot of duff information out there. They`ve got the credits to our songs wrong on numereous occasions. Some put me as the lead singer, I wish. I think I`ll save some more stories for another day. Now burning question since I`m not a technology buff. How can we get in touch with each other. I`love to talk to Pete,Dave and Terry. Can somebody tell this old man how we go about that?

  7. 57
    Waldo on 2 Sep 2012 #

    Hello Paul. Great to have you contact us again. Hopefully the other guys may pick this entry up and respond to it.

    I have a copy of “My Life” somewhere in my collection. It was a good pop record but alas didn’t chart.

  8. 58
    Paul Arnold (Friswell) on 2 Sep 2012 #

    Hello Waldo. Thanks for the compliment for My Life but I thought it was the worst single we made apart from the B side Boy from New York City, based on the Ad Libs Girl From New York City. The musicianship on my part was absolute rubbish although the song was full of good intent. Problem was I was never a lead guitarist although everybody wanted me to be. Yes Pete it was also covered by Manhattan Transfer.By the way Pete, do you mean to tell me you`ve still got your Guild Manhattan? God knows what it`s worth now but I remember it was one of the last to be hand made. I remember looking at the values some years ago and you couldn`t get one under £3000. One of my favourite Overlander song`s was the B side of our last single Go Where You Wanna Go, Don`t Let It Happen Again was a Laurie Mason composition. In my opinion it should have been the A side. Now that i`ve redisovered the site, I`ll keep my eyes open for future inputs from you guys out there,

  9. 59
    DAVE WALSH on 22 Oct 2012 #

    Hi Paul,
    I’ve written twice to the administrators of this site giving them the go ahead to forward you my contact email and ……..nada ! Does anyone reading this site know how to exchange personal emails ??

    Kind regards
    Dave Walsh

  10. 60

    Oops, will get on this Dave, apologies.

  11. 61
    Paul Arnold Friswell on 22 Oct 2012 #

    Hi Dave

    Surprise surprise, I opened up my emails today and received yours. Rest assured when I get a free evening I`ll settle down with a nice cuppa coco (Translaetion, Large glass of Port)and email you with a brief update. Had a quick look to see where Rojales is. I`m sure it`s a nice part of the world.Anyway, thanks for sending me your email address and I`ll be in touch shortly.

    Kind Regards

    Paul (Arnold)Friswell

  12. 62
    DAVE WALSH on 26 Oct 2012 #

    Hi Paul !

    The system works! I’ll look forward to hearing where 46 years (can you believe it? ) disappeared to.

    Kind regards
    Dave

  13. 63

    Hurrah!

  14. 64
    Waldo on 26 Oct 2012 #

    Yes, simply great stuff here. Well done Overlanders!!

  15. 65
    Erithian on 26 Oct 2012 #

    Paul/Dave – do either of you know Allen Warrender or Eira-Jane Featley (posts 32 and 33)? The more members of the extended Overlanders family we get together, the better. If you do organise a reunion, I’m sure there are some London venues we could suggest!

  16. 66
    Paul Arnold (Friswell) on 2 Nov 2012 #

    Sorry Erithian, I don`t know Alan Warrender. After I left in the summer of 66 The Overlanders lasted another six months approximately and had numerous line ups with Laurie Mason fronting.

  17. 67
    Liz Kelly on 9 Dec 2012 #

    Hi, I was a big Overlanders and Second City Sound fan. I first saw the Overlanders at the La Dolce Vita in Newcastle upon Tyne and later in London. Ir’s good to find out what you have all been up to. Very sorry to hear about Laurie though. i had often looked in the internet but couldn’t find out what happened to all of you. You probably don’t remember me anyway but you gave me many happy years listening to your music. i wish you all the very best for the future, Liz Kelly (was Anderson)

  18. 68
    Peter Bartholomew on 24 Dec 2012 #

    Hi everyone. I have recently got hold of an old Tandberg reel to reel tape recorder similar to the one I used to record our rehearsals and some songs we wrote. Some songs have now been transferred to a PC and then to CDs, quality is not great as the tapes are old but if Lance Mason or Cheryl Carter (Nee Mason?) would like a copy of some of Laury’s singing e-mail me. TEMPORARY e-mail address is peteroverlander@gmail.com
    Some of the stuff might be of interest to Terry, Dave or Paul. I’m keeping pretty busy so it will be a while before I can get round to downloading all of the tapes… but here’s hoping.
    Hope everyone has a merry Christmas and a wonderful 2013 year ahead. Peter Bartholomew

  19. 69
    Paul Arnold Friswell on 29 Dec 2012 #

    What a wonderful end to the old year to be in contact with Dave Walsh and Peter Bartholomew after all these years. Come on Terry where are you? To Jenny thankyou for your comments. Thankyou Liz, no I`m sorry I don`t remember you but I remember The La Dolce Vita now you`ve reminded me. We followed the Barron Knights who we knew well in those days. I have lots of memorabilia in my posession from all those years ago and sadly struggle to remember a great deal. The downside of growing old I`m afraid. I have a huge poster of the Overlanders at Peterborough Palais. 6/6 to get in on the night (real Money) Can`t remeber a thing about it. After reforming the group for the second time there were many experiences I do remember. I was privileged to shake the hand of Eric Morecome in 1968 on the same bill for a weeks caberet at Batley variety. Sadly that was the week he had his first heart attack and I remember how shocked we all were. I remember working alongside Dave Allen. Nobody went home when he was on. By the time he finished the Sun was just about to come up. I remember sitting on the edge of the stage watching other artists rehearsing when a young girl came and sat next to me. I couldn`t believe the question she asked me. “What`s it like to be famous?” I replied “well you know that better than me Dana”. I guess there are many things I can remeber if somebody gives my memory a jog. It`s been great to waffle on again and keep the comments coming you guys out there. Next time I`ll tell you about my 45 minute singing lesson with Rolf Harris in a payhone box in Rotherham 1965. Till then have a happy and healthy 2013.

  20. 70
    Waldo on 2 Feb 2013 #

    I perhaps should have mentioned that Brian Matthew played “Summer Skies and Golden Sands” a couple of weeks ago on “Sounds of the Sixties”. Unfortunately it was part of a trio of requests from a listener and as such we didn’t get any gen on either the record or the Overlanders, as would have been the case had Brian spun the disc elsewhere in the show. Nice to hear it, though.

  21. 71
    MELINDA on 30 Mar 2013 #

    HELLO

    I’M WONDERING IF YOU COULD HELP ME. MY MOTHER IN LAW HAS RECENTLY PASSED AWAY AND MY FATHER IN LAW IS UNDER THE IMPRESSION THAT SHE AND HER EX HUSBAND DID SOME WORK WITH THE OVERLANDERS IN THE PAST. POSSIBLE ROUND THE TIME OF MICHELLE. DO YOU REMEMBER JILL SPRAGG OR JILL RUSSELL OR HER EX HUSBAND CHRIS RUSSELL.

    I THINK JILL PLAYED BASS AND PAUL PLAYED DRUMS

    BE GRATEFUL FOR ANYTHING YOU CAN REMEMBER

  22. 72
    kenmo52 on 19 Apr 2013 #

    Hi Folks, it is SO nice to read all the history and stories, etc.
    In about 1982/3 I was playing in a band called Origin on the Wirral, the keyboard player was a great guy and friend of mine called Frank Bielicki, Frank owned a drum shop in Wallasey where the band rehearsed.
    One day, Franks wife, Barbara, introduced me to a stunning friend of hers who had come up North to visit, she was tall, with a stunning figure, very long, shapely legs and wore tight-fitting, black and white vertical striped trousers, I was lucky enough to meet her for a drink that evening, she was gorgeous. I had no self-confidence with women in those days and sadly we lost touch. I remember she told me that her ex-husband was the singer in the Overlanders when they recorded Michelle.
    Would anybody on here recognise my description of this very attractive lady, could you tell me her name ?? I have seen the name Maggie mentioned at the beginning of this forum and seem to vaguely remember that name, although I am not sure as my memory, like others, is not too good any more. Sadly both Frank and Barbara have both now passed away, so I cannot ask the question of them.
    I would really appreciate any help or hints any of you people may have.

    Ken Morris

  23. 73
    Peter on 3 Jun 2013 #

    I lived with lauris son lance mason in Clapham a great singer too

  24. 74
    Paul Arnold Friswell on 9 Jun 2013 #

    Hi to Ken Morris. I haven`t looked at this site for awhile but with reference to your question about who this Lady was, I can only assume it was Lauri`s ex wife Sandra. Maggie was the lady that Laurie went to the USA with after he and Sandra were divorced. Hope that is of help to you.

    Paul Arnold Friswell

  25. 75
    peter on 16 Jun 2013 #

    And sandra lived in larkhall rise with her son and daughter in clapham sw4

  26. 76
    kenmo52 on 27 Jun 2013 #

    Hi Paul, many thanks for your kind reply, it is indeed very helpful, it all seems such a long time ago now, 30 years or more, where does the time go to ?. I just remember being stunned by this lady’s stunning good looks, and her legs. I wonder what she is doing these days ?

    I hope you are well and still singing, you all brought so much pleasure into peoples lives in the old days. I feel very privileged to actually be talking with one of my musical icons from th 60’s.
    Kind regards Ken

  27. 77
    kenmo52 on 27 Jun 2013 #

    Hi Peter
    Many thanks for the info on Sandra, all very helpful on this site.
    Kind regards Ken

  28. 78
    David Kip Stewart on 11 Aug 2013 #

    Hi Paul , good to hear that your well and still earning a bob or two with your easy relaxed singing style. The Overlanders were a short and sweet experience for me , I´ll never forget that north east corner of England ( first time up there for me ) and Manchester ,Cardiff etc. I´ve been divorced many years now from Moggy ( Dick Roes ex secretary ) but have beautiful daughter Melody . Keep on playing it makes life sweet . Kip Stewart

  29. 79
    Waldo on 3 Sep 2013 #

    Solely because of Terry Widlake’s post at #5, where David Jacobs was mentioned, insisting that Max Bygraves was mistaken in electing “Michelle” a MISS, this seems as good a place as any to pay tribute to David on his passing. A pioneering groover of a popular music broadcaster to be sure. RIP.

  30. 80
    David Kip Stewart on 24 Oct 2013 #

    when did Rik Wilde join the Overlanders and are there any of the sixties Overlanders or “New Overlanders in the lineup at all ?

  31. 81
    mapman132 on 14 Feb 2014 #

    #16 We can now add Jyoti Mishra to the list.

    Back on topic for this record, the Beatles cover seems to be a minor subgenre in UK number ones. By contrast the only Beatles cover to hit #1 in the US was Elton John’s version of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” in 1975. (that is, unless you count whatever that Stars on 45 garbage was supposed to be)

  32. 82
    Erithian on 14 Feb 2014 #

    Mapman – others on the list since Marcello wrote that post include Martin Murray of the Honeycombs, Steve Ellis and Fergie Maynard of the Love Affair, Herbie Flowers, Doug Bush from Tommy Roe’s band, Stuart Edwards of Edison Lighthouse, Nic Culverwell the New Seekers manager, Laurel Masse of Manhattan Transfer, Brian and Michael, and Marco Pirroni of Adam and the Ants. More of this kind of thing always welcome!

  33. 83
    mapman132 on 14 Feb 2014 #

    Wow, haven’t made it to those entries yet!

  34. 84
    DanH on 15 Feb 2014 #

    Also the Doctor comments on the Doctor and the Medics thread

  35. 85
    Steve Coffey on 17 Mar 2014 #

    Hi. Can anyone tell me where the name The Overlanders came from (i.e. who chose it, and why)? Thanks.

  36. 86
    Dave Walsh on 25 Jun 2014 #

    Hello ADMIN person(s),
    I’ve sent several emails to you as I have been trying to contact Liz Kelly (post #67 Dec 2012) since then and no response. If you get this, can you pass my email on to her please,
    Many Thanks
    Dave Walsh

  37. 87

    Hi Dave,

    Done as requested. It probably is simplest if people leave requests like this in comments — the admin email does not seem to be very effective.

    yr pal,
    sükråt of that ilk

  38. 88
    Terry Widlake on 16 Jul 2014 #

    Hey, Dave Walsh! What happened to you? I lost your address and phone#

  39. 89
    Tony.T on 17 Jul 2014 #

    Hi, does anyone know how I could get in contact with Peter Bartholomew, I’ve left a message on the email address he posted but as it’s only a temporary address I don’t hold out much hope.

  40. 90
    Dave Walsh on 31 Jul 2014 #

    Hi Administrators, just had a blast from the past and a note from Terry Widlake, Overlanders bass player…..post number 88 on 16th of July, can you forward him my email please ? I would love to be in contact.
    Gordon Bennett Widlake! Living in Spain now Terry……how the devil are you?

  41. 91
    Paul Arnold on 30 Nov 2014 #

    Hi everybody out there; It`s been ages since I looked at these posts so some catching up to do. Thanks to this site I`ve been in contact with Peter Bartholomew and Dave Walsh. Would love to hear from Terry Widlake if anybody can put me in touch. Spent many loony hours in stitches listening to Spike Jones & His City Slickers with Terry. A great Bass player and I mean great. Kip Stewart, I guess that was one New Overlanders line where I lost my way. You`ll remember we looked more like Pinkertons Colours at that time. Hazy memories of playing the Trombone very badly while you sang Fanlight Fanny; mmmmh. Steve Coffey; you asked how the name The Overlanders name came about. This is the true version. We had made a typical pop single at the end of 62 which was shelved because some group called The Beatles emerged. We were told to go away and rethink our future. Dylan Peter Paul & Mary Seeger and their like were also making waves in the youth seen and we decided to go down a commercial folk/country/pop route. Having discussed dozens of names without agreement it was our manager Harry Hammond of NME photography fame who came up with the name. He was a fan of an Australian TV show at the time called Whiplash (I think) anyway there was always a stagecoach trundling across the outback called the Overland Stage Coach. He came up with the name The Overlanders. Always moving on/travelling, a folksy/ country type name. There you have it, that`s how the name came about. Have a great Christmas all of you out there and I`ll keep watching when I remember.

  42. 92
    Waldo on 30 Nov 2014 #

    Great to hear from you again, Paul. Brian Matthew played one of your records yesterday and also gave us the gen about the name. You too have a great Christmas and I hope you touch base with Terry soon.

  43. 93
    Steve Coffey on 22 Dec 2014 #

    To Paul Arnold (post 91), many thanks for your reply about the reason for the name ‘The Overlanders’. Merry Christmas from Italy.

  44. 94
    Paul Arnold on 3 Apr 2015 #

    It was with sadness that I read of the death of Jackie Trent last week. She was of course the ex wife of our recording manager Tony Hatch and as such one of the great song writing teams. When I left the Overlanders I was very fortunate to get a contract with Pie records to make a couple of singles. The first released in 1967 “Somewhere In A Rainbow” was written by Jackie Trent and a great song which perhaps would have a achieved greater acclaim if recorded by a successful solo artiste which I was not. With vocal coaching by Tony and Jackie it was probably the best I`d sung and I thank them both for the advice they gave me which has lasted a lifetime. Farewell to Jackie and thanks for allowing me a brief insight into your talent. You will be remembered with affection by many including myself.

  45. 95
    Paul Arnold on 3 Apr 2015 #

    My apologies for my typing error for you eagle eyed. It should of course be PYE Records

  46. 96
    Paul Arnold on 3 Jul 2015 #

    And so another great artist leaves us. I was sad to read of the death of Val Doonican. A wonderful entertainer and a very down to earth ordinary bloke. He had a smooth rich golden voice that brought pleasure and relaxation to millions. I still recall chatting to him in a BBC canteen before he found fame. He was the presenter of the BBC`s Easy Beat or was it Saturday club. He had all the time in the world for me and wanted to know about the The Overlanders. He was easy to talk to and though our paths never crossed again I remember him for the man he was; polite and genuinely interested, he was a thoroughly nice man.

  47. 97
    lonepilgrim on 31 Aug 2015 #

    I’ve seen the occasional post on this thread pop up on the front page from time to time but it has been quite heartwarming to read the whole thread from start to finish. It’s a reminder, to me at least, that as well as the broader impact these records have they are the fruit of individuals’ labour and of relationships that spread out to embrace a significant number of folk.
    As for the song itself, I’m not a fan of the original and actually prefer this, marginally.
    There has been a lot of stuff written of the inspiration drawn from US Rock, R & B and Soul by groups in the UK but has anything been written about the European styles adapted and used by British acts?

  48. 98
    Paul Arnold on 16 Sep 2017 #

    Its now two years since anybody posted anything on this site. Is there nobody left from that era? We`ve lost so many great artist from in the last two years. The latest sad losses and heroes of mine are Don Williams and Glen Campbell. Time marches on. Anybody have anything to comment on out there. Keep this site alive

  49. 99
    Kip Stewart on 25 Sep 2017 #

    For me the saddest loss was Glen Frey from the Eagles, I guess we´re all running out of birthdays Paul.

  50. 100
    Paul Arnold on 9 Nov 2017 #

    Hi Kip, Yeah the Eagles were also heroes of mine, multi tracked a few of their numbers when I was working solo. Packed up working about 18 months ago on doctor`s orders after I`d keeled over a couple of times. Still, been on a health kick this year and sorely tempted to come out of retirement for the fifth time, watch this space. Yes I guess we are running out of Birthdays. I`m now in my 75th year, that number didn`t exist when I was 21. It doesn`t really exist now, it`s just a number. Hope you are well and growing younger gracefully.

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