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Dec 05

CHRIS FARLOWE – “Out Of Time”

Popular24 comments • 3,227 views

#220, 30th July 1966

Farlowe starts “Out Of Time” as conversation but it quickly turns into romp, a cathartic splurge of breakup bile and joyful venom. With most kiss-off songs you can dredge the remains for some spark of former finer feeling, but this performance is a document of a man discovering just how good goodbye can be. There’s not a shred of comfort here, and even the occasional tenderness in the arrangement – like the Spanish guitars – is mocking the trappings of romance. The result is a performance that’s infectiously funny and apallingly cruel. Farlowe attacks the chorus with a different glee every time, launching into it with that huge “Well!”, like it’s an invitation to a singalong, with a bunch of friends on hand to join in twisting the knife. By the end it’s a full-scale party and everyone’s invited except the song’s victim – “Out Of Time” turns into a demonstration, as well as a declaration, of her obsolescence. Farlowe’s so happy he can hardly form the words anymore – heaven only knows how his ex must feel.

9

Comments

  1. 1
    Vicus Scurra on 1 Jan 2006 #

    Welcome back.
    Yes, of course, we all agree.
    Unfortunately, I keep getting distracted by seeing that 10 against Nancy Sinatra’s name.

  2. 2
    Rosie on 2 Jan 2006 #

    Welcome back – I’ve missed you!

    Number one on my twelfth birthday, and number one when England won the World Cup. I do like putting these things in context.

    A fair assessment and a well-deserved 9. I love this song. I love its exhuberance and its triumph in the face of adversity, and it never fails to raise my spirits when I’m down. It sounds to me as fresh now as it did forty years ago and if I were doing this exercise, which I ain’t, it would be on my shortlist for a 10.

  3. 3
    Anonymous on 2 Jan 2006 #

    Doctor Mod said–

    Right said, Tom! When I first heard this in 1966, I already had an appreciation for the sardonic–I wanted to break up with someone (even though I’d never been involved with anyone) just so I could express the song’s sentiments to someone. (Yes, yes, I know–I’ve spent years in psychotherapy sorting out such drama-queen impulses.)

    While I had no vocabulary to articulate it back then, I instinctively knew those campy baroque strings at the beginning were only faux-romantic–the persistent drumbeat that accompanied them suggests something over-the-top is about to happen. And it does.

    The bitter and the sweet are ironically juxtaposed–but so ironically that, as you say, the result is exuberant rather than heartbroken. It is easily the best “kiss-off” song ever. (The second best is Timi Yuro’s “What’s a Matter Baby”–which also has a snarky baroque strings intro.) And it’s not just the song itself–Jagger and Richards did their own version, more or less an I-couldn’t-give-a-flaming-rat’s-ass-in-the-noontime dismissal. Farlowe’s laughingly growly baritone, though, suggests a true pleasure in revenge that suggests she’s getting paid back with interest.

    The review made me pull this out from the shelves and listen again. I really must get a cleaner recording than the muddy-sounding Immediate Story anthology CD I now have. But, of course, the murky sound is how I heard it on a transistor radio in the monophonic days of 1966. I suspect that there’s some fine instrumental gestures that don’t come through without digital remastering–but what you hear is certainly enough to merit a 9–or more. A Rolling Stone’s song that improved on the original.

    And, oh yes–did I ever get to live out the scenario this song inspired? Yes–it only took thirty-nine years to happen.

  4. 4
    Marcello on 4 Jan 2006 #

    My not-quite-pristine copy of the single, in its white and black Immediate sleeve (“Happy to be a part of the industry of human happiness” – note how easily “a part” can be taken as “apart”), credits “Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds,” and that’s appropriate given that the late Billy MacKenzie once described the genre of ’60s orch/mod/psychpop melodrama as “Thunderbirds in pop.” “Out Of Time” is also one of the best-sounding singles of ’66 with its brilliant, brisk (brink?) dynamics – kudos to both producer (an uncredited Mike Leander) and arranger (those telltale tubular bells give the David Whittaker game away) for a record which is as determinedly schizophrenic – or single-minded, depending on whether you side with Wolf or Dworkin – as any number one single could be; indeed the entire performance is a pitched battle between feminine signifiers – the courtly baroque strings, the delicately perfect Spanish guitar meditation which underscores the second verse (both Jimmy Page and Joe Moretti were in attendance at the session, but it’s likely that the Spanish guitar was Moretti’s work) – and happily aggressive masculinity; the shark’s teeth of those unison bass trombones, baritone saxes and cellos and a terrifyingly decisive drum track (courtesy of Andy White, he who played the drums on the single version of “Love Me Do” – and a fantastic performance in itself, e.g. those foursquare two-apiece punctuations which bridge the first chorus and the second verse).

    Above all this, Farlowe exults, sneers and perhaps sometimes pleas – those triptychs of “baby baby baby” eerily prefigure Springsteen – but there’s no questioning his triumph in her defeat. A male “I Will Survive” – and sung by a survivor, too; Farlowe was by ’66 already a battle-scarred veteran of the London R&B circuit who had been around since the days of skiffle (frontman of the John Henry Skiffle Group, no less) and the exultation in his performance is carefully shadowed by a certain weariness.

    But then I remember “Under My Thumb” from the same year and remind myself that this is yet another example of the curiously androgynous misogyny in which Jagger and Richards were only too happy to indulge during this period. And furthermore, towards the end of the record, Farlowe seems to lose himself in the wrong way, finally finding satisfaction in a bizarre series of stock R&B vocal memes (“Oh yeah,” “A-HA!,” “All right now,” and strangest of all, “Is everybody ready?”) which suggests that somewhere in the course of the record, he stopped listening to what he was singing.

  5. 5
    Joe Moretti on 26 Jan 2006 #

    Hello, Yes I seem to remember all that and being on “Out of TIme” with Jimmy page. nice to see someone keeping tabs. Go well……..Joe Moretti.

  6. 6
    alan kane on 5 Nov 2006 #

    hi

    can anyone one get me an address for joe moretti….I think my father is his long lost uncle…

  7. 7
    Waldo on 20 Nov 2009 #

    A song which Mick n Keef gifted to a mate and which (as Rosie sa) topped the poll the day they thought it was all over and was now. Tom’s right. The “poor unfaithful” dumpee gets a right royal toeing here, Farlowe simply sneering at her during the comic Spanish guitar-enhanced verses before joyously dishing out merciless correction to the point of delirium during the chorus with the cries of “WELL!” nothing less than a clarian call for all his white van mates down the drinker to pile in too. You’re not going to be looking at a re-count after that little lot, are you, sweetheart? It’s a magnificent record.

  8. 8
    thefatgit on 4 Dec 2009 #

    The B side of this (“Baby, Make It Soon”) is a song written by recently departed Eric Woolfson, of Alan Parsons Project fame. Which kind of ties in with The Rolling Stones connection, as Andrew Loog Oldham had recruited Eric as an in-house writer and session musician, working with Marianne Faithfull and Frank Ifield(!).

  9. 9
    wichita lineman on 4 Dec 2009 #

    RIP Eric Woolfson. One of pop’s Zeligs, he wrote Marianne Faithfull’s sweetest, minor-key 60s 45 (Tomorrow’s Calling), coached EMI’s own Jimmy Osmond-alike Darren Burn on the infamous Man Alive programme Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and sang the beautifully morphined-out Alan Parsons Project US hit Eye In The Sky at the turn of the eighties.

    Apparently he used to live in the penthouse of Berthold Lubetkin’s modernist Highpoint flats in Highgate. A lovely man, by all accounts.

  10. 10
    rw on 2 Feb 2010 #

    The Rolling Stones’ original version of “Out of Time” is on the British version of the LP “Aftermath”, but was removed from the American issue; a silly decision, because it’s probably the best song on it. It’s better than the hit single by Chris Farlowe, who shouts too much; and there’s also a remarkable version recorded by Del Shannon in the 1980s, shortly before he died, which I reckon is also better than Chris Farlowe’s. Chris Farlowe is good, though; have you heard his “North, South, East, West”?

  11. 11
    crag on 14 Apr 2011 #

    DESERT ISLAND DISCS WATCH:

    AA Gill, Journalist(2006).

  12. 12
    Lena on 30 Aug 2011 #

    Lonely are the brave: http://musicsoundsbetterwithtwo.blogspot.com/2011/08/tension-in-any-language-los-bravos.html Merci to all readers!

  13. 13
    fivelongdays on 22 Sep 2011 #

    Blatantly two years, erm, out of time, but @7: I’d always imagined that the singer was the one who was dumped, probably causing him a lot of hurt – now he’s moved on, and his ex has come back, and he’s telling her to bugger off.

    As @4 says – it’s ‘I Will Survive’ for blokes!

  14. 14
    Tommy on 22 Sep 2011 #

    If she hadn’t done something terrible to him in the first place, he’d have to be a cruel bastard to revel so exultantly in giving her the push off Mind you, given that Jagger wrote it, it’s not unimaginable!

  15. 15
    Billy Smart on 4 Dec 2011 #

    TOTPWatch: Chris Farlowe thrice performed Out Of Time on Top Of The Pops;

    30 June 1966. Also in the studio that week were; Dusty Springfield and The Hollies. Alan Freeman was the host.

    7 July 1966. Also in the studio that week were; Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames, Los Bravos, Petula Clark, The Kinks and The Shadows. David Jacobs was the host.

    27 December 1966. Also in the studio that holiday were; Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames and The Small Faces, plus The Go Jo’s interpretation of ‘Good Vibrations’. Alan Freeman and Simon Dee were the hosts.

    None of these editions survive.

  16. 16
    Mark G on 5 Dec 2011 #

    Didn’t he perform on Top of the Pops when it got re-released?

    I daresay that’s been wiped as well, but.

  17. 17
    Billy Smart on 5 Dec 2011 #

    #16. Well remembered! Chris Farlowe performed ‘Out Of Time’ on Top Of The Pops on 9 October 1975. Also in the studio that week were; Sparks, Morris Albert, Hello, Smokie, Bruce Forsyth (!) and John Miles. Dave Lee Travis was the host. This was the 600th edition of the programme. No copy survives.

  18. 18
    Mark G on 5 Dec 2011 #

    Ah, now wasn’t it Brucie who’s daughter was on a wiped episode but he had a video recorder so saved it? He presumably also saved this episode of himself singing something that sounded like something off Lou Reed’s “Berlin” according to Punctum (need to check).

    Then again, he might just have saved only his performance.

    October 75, hmm that’d be “Looks Looks Looks” wouldn’t it? I’m sure I’ve seen that since! (Ron Mael in blackface and smiling, hello Mr Irony!)

  19. 19
    Billy Smart on 5 Dec 2011 #

    It was ‘Looks Looks Looks’, also performed a fortnight earlier. I have seen the TOTP ‘Get In The Swing’, but not that. YouTube turns up a clip taken from ‘Supersonic’.

    Brucie’s contribution was called ‘Sandra’.

  20. 20
    doberman on 3 Mar 2012 #

    Played this non-stop on the pub juke box the evening England won the World Cup July 30 ’66.

  21. 21
    lonepilgrim on 16 Nov 2012 #

    meanwhile, over in the USA things were getting wild in the Number 1 spot – as noted here.

  22. 22
    redhairkid on 26 Jan 2014 #

    I adore this song.

  23. 23
    DanH on 22 Feb 2014 #

    I was probably raised on the Stones’ nonchalant version of this one, so I never cared for this version, thought it tried too hard. Really interesting how so many songs from Flowers were covered by British acts (and some charted).

    This one and “Ride On Baby” by Farlowe.
    “Lady Jane” by David Garrick
    “Take It Or Leave It” by The Searchers
    “Sitting On a Fence” by Twice As Much (actually my favorite of the aforementioned covers)

  24. 24
    lonepilgrim on 6 Sep 2015 #

    for some reason I always think I’m going to dislike this, but as soon as the knowing strings strike up I’m hooked. There’s an authoritative weariness about Chris Farlowe’s tone that makes the sentiment seem crushingly unarguable. I can imagine it being sung by the protagonist of ‘Sunny Afternoon’, his fortunes on the up and his girlfriend back with the car, asking forgiveness for those ‘tales of drunkenness and cruelty’ and receiving this in response.

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