Pop Archives

Smacka Fitzgibbon - Waterloo Road (1970)

(Mike Wilsh - Mike Deighan)
Australia Australia
#28 Melbourne #22 Perth

Single on Fable August 1970 by Graham Francis “Smacka” Fitzgibbon (1930-1979), a popular Melbourne jazz musician, entertainer and restaurateur.

His big hit was The Adventures of Barry McKenzie (1972), from the Australian comedy movie.

Some sources wrongly list this as the original version of Waterloo Road.

See also Five Foot Two, Eyes Of Blue (1954) by Frisco Joe’s Goodtime Boys (With Smacka The Singing Barman).

Further reading: Smacka Fitzgibbon biography at Australian Dictionary of biography.

Jason Crest - Waterloo Road (1969)

(Mike Wilsh - Mike Deighan)
Original version

Single on Philips February 1969 by band from Tonbridge, Kent formerly known as The Spurlyweeves and The Good Thing Brigade.

If the band’s name sounds like the name of one bloke, that’s because (as Marmalade Skies explains) it came from one of their early songs, The Collected Works of Justin Crest.

Jason Crest recorded a varied handful of singles 1968-69 without commercial success, including a version of The Move’s (Here We Go Round The) Lemon Tree produced by Roy Wood.

The writers … and the A&R man

Both writers had been in groups with Fritz Fryer who signed Jason Crest to Philips Records where was working in A&R. Fryer’s career would include many credits for writing, arranging and producing.

Mike Wilsh had been in Blackburn band The Four Pennies with Fritz Fryer. The Four Pennies’ #1 hit Juliet (1964) was written by Wilsh and Fryer with Lionel Morton, another band member who would also record a version of Waterloo Road in 1969 (see above).

Mike Deighan and Fritz Fryer had been in folk-rock group Fritz, Mike And Mo with Maureen Edwards 1965-66. They released two singles, after which Fryer returned to The Four Pennies.

Sources, further reading: 1. Jason Crest entry by Vernon Joynston in The Tapestry of Delights [digitised copy]. 2. The Jason Crest page at Marmalade Skies also goes into post-Jason Crest formations by band members. 3. Fritz, Mike And Mo biography at 45cat.com.

Thanks to HoneyDHont for initial background, via The Originals.

Joe Dassin - Les Champs-Élysées (1969)

(Mike Wilsh - Mike Deighan - Pierre Delanoë)
France France

Single on CBS, August 1969, French hit version of Waterloo Road.

The adaptation is by prolific French lyricist Pierre Delanoë (1918-2016) whose lyrics were recorded by many prominent French singers. He wrote French lyrics – original or in translation – for songs recorded by Petula Clark (see here, for example), including a number of original ClarkDelanoë compositions.

Joe Dassin (1938-1980) was an American born and raised singer with French background who worked mainly in France, where he was a star. He also acted in some films, including La legge (1959) and Topkapi (1964), directed by his father Jules Dassin.

Les Champs-Élysées is heard on the soundtrack of Wes Anderson’s 2007 film The Darjeeling Limited.

Other Australian connections: Joe Dassin recorded a French-language version of Turn Down Day: see under Normie Rowe’s version, Dassin also recorded Kevin Johnson’s Rock And Roll (I Gave You The Best Years Of My Life).

Further reading: 1. Unofficial site at JoeDassin.info. 2. Joe Dassin at Wikipedia. 3. Joe Dessin filmography (including soundtrack appearances) at IMDb.

Lionel Morton - Waterloo Road (1969)

(Mike Wilsh - Mike Deighan)

Single on RCA Victor, September 1969.

Lionel Morton was a founding member of The Four Pennies from Blackburn, Lancashire, previously called The Lionel Morton Four. Their biggest hit was Juliet (1964, #1 UK), written by Lionel Morton with fellow band members Mike Wilsh (co-writer of Waterloo Road) and Fritz Frye (also connected with the original recording of Waterloo Road, see below).

As Vernon Joynson writes of The Four Pennies in Tapestry of Delights, “Along with The Searchers they are seen as pioneers of the British folk-rock sound”.

Lionel Morton later became a presenter on BBC-TV, notably on the landmark children’s show Play School.