THE REMO FOUR - 'In The First Place' (Pilar 02V) unreleased 1967 recording
Back in the late 90s American director Joe Massot decided to re-release his 1968 film 'Wonderwall' after it started to get some recognition from the music press and in particular Noel Gallagher who was the lead guitarist and songwriter for Oasis. He'd seen the movie on late night TV during the early hours and decided to write a song with the same title. A massive hit followed, along with renewed interest for the ignored 60s flick 'Wonderwall'.
The movie soundtrack was created by George Harrison who recruited Liverpool group The Remo Four to be his backing band. It has since been revealed that John Lennon, Ringo Starr and Eric Clapton also participated, although they remained uncredited due to contractual reasons at the time.
Massot set about tracking down all the original elements of the soundtrack. Several masters were located in the tape libraries of Abbey Road Studios and EMI’s Bombay studios. However there were still some music cues missing. Massot decided to contact George Harrison to see if he could be of assistance.
Harrison searched deep in his personal vaults and eventually located all the multi-track masters that he had created for the movie. He passed the tapes to Massot to be used for the soundtrack restoration. It was then that Joe Massot made his startling discovery....
The tapes contained most of the missing music cues. The Wonderwall tapes also included a hidden gem. Apparently Harrison had been working on a SONG for the movie - called "In the First Place". However since the commission had been for instrumental music and there seemed to be no obvious location for a song in the movie - he had not bothered to submit the track to the film’s director!
The song was an extremely strong piece of psychedelic pop - in the style of the Beatles’ 'Blue Jay Way' recorded by Harrison just weeks before the Wonderwall sessions. The atmospheric style perfectly matched the movie’s mood. Since he was in the process of re-editing the film, Massot felt that he could find a way to include this long-lost gem. In fact he wanted to use it as the film’s theme song. He approached Harrison with news of his discovery and his request.
REMO FOUR - In The First Place - original Abbey Road mix by EXPO67
|Wonderwall flyer from 1998 - taken from 45cat|
He sought just two minor conditions. Though the song was produced by him, clearly features his lead vocal, and is heavily influenced by his 'Blue Jay Way' eastern/psychedelic style of composition and arrangement - he was not actually the song’s composer. It had been written by two of his session players for the Wonderwall soundtrack. The composers were Colin Manley and Tony Ashton - two members of the disintegrating Remo Four group.
Harrison first of all wanted to be sure that his fellow Liverpudlian musician pals were properly credited for their composition - and that the song was not erroneously represented as having been his composition. (He acknowledged having been the sole producer of the recording - and agreed to accept the official credit as producer.)
Secondly, Harrison did not want to be officially credited as the artist or as a vocalist on the record. The song had been written by two members of a group that was barely in existence at the time of the recording - and that had indeed officially disbanded shortly after the Wonderwall sessions. But the recording had included the instrumental playing of its four members. The group - though never commercially successfully - was a well-respected Liverpool group which had provided instrumental backing for many local artists. Harrison’s guest performance on the 1970 Ashton, Gardner & Dyke album attested to his affection for his ex-Remo Four musician pals.
The shy and retiring “quiet Beatle” - Harrison requested that the track be officially credited as a performance by The Remo Four. At the time he took this decision, Harrison was also aware that none of the four members of the defunct group were in good financial health and that one of the song’s two composers - Colin Manley (who in recent years played with another old Liverpool group The Swingin’ Blue Jeans) - was also in poor physical health. In fact Manley died just a few months later.
Close friends say that Harrison’s insistence on sole credit going to a forgotten and long unsung band of pals (and to not take any credit for his performance) is a typically generous gesture by the reclusive ex-Beatle.
Two stereo mixes of 'In The First Place' were remastered. One of them is the original Abbey Road Mix which is much longer. The second is the movie mix. Both are supreme examples of UK psychedelia.
Much of the above information was written by Martin Lewis. More facts about the film Wonderwall and the song 'In The First Place' can be found here
THE REMO FOUR - In The First Place (movie mix)
|the stunning psychedelic sleeve of the 45|