Saturday Deluxe / 8 April 2017
Alan (far left) in The Escape in 1982
SDE is sad to report that guitarist, songwriter and producer Alan Griffiths has died aged just 57.
In his younger days Alan formed Bristol bands Apartment and The Escape and in the 1990s would go on to work with Roland Orzabal on two Tears For Fears albums, Elemental from 1993 and 1995’s Raoul and the Kings of Spain (he also played guitar on the Songs From The Big Chair tour).
These weren’t the hit-packed years of the 1980s (although first single Break It Down Again did well) but Griffiths’ contribution to the Tears For Fears story is rather unsung. As well as being a multi-instrumentalist and co-producer, he co-wrote 18 songs with Roland across those two albums. To put that into context, Curt Smith co-penned just two songs across the band’s first three albums.
In later years, Alan had a successful career producing music for TV and films, notably for the ‘CSI’ franchise in America.
Alan co-wrote nine of the 10 tracks on 1993’s Tears For Fears album Elemental
In a moving Facebook post Tim Palmer (who co-produced Elemental) described Alan as “a super, kind, gentle and extremely talented musician and songwriter” and “pivotal in the making of that album“.
I interviewed Roland a few years ago and we discussed the Elemental album in some depth. He spoke very warmly of his time working with Alan and last week remembered him on twitter as “beautiful man” and a “close friend“.
There’s plenty of great songs from Elemental and Raoul and the Kings of Spain, but in this instance the Orzabal/Griffiths composition Goodnight Song, seems the most appropriate to sign off with. RIP Alan Griffiths.
Impressive stuff from Fleetwood Mac‘s Tango in the Night as the reissue enters the UK Physical Album chart at number 14 – the highest charting archival release. It’s number 23 on the ‘proper’ album chart, which of course takes into account downloads and streaming. This compares to Macca at number 41 last week with Flowers in the Dirt (which was #29 on the physical chart). That reissue has now disappeared completely from both charts.
Better news for McCartney, is that his work with his ‘old band‘ is doing okay, as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band re-enters the physical album chart at number 62. This isn’t the newly announced reissue of course – which isn’t out until 26 May – but the fact that there was so much publicity in the UK this week around the impending 50th anniversary combined with the album being a staple in British supermarkets that stock vinyl, has undoubtedly helped it vault up the charts.
Neil Diamond‘s three-CD 50th anniversary set only manages to enter at number 71, which might mean that this is one greatest hits to many for hardcore fans and two CDs more than casual fans want! Warner’s other big reissue this week was The Doors‘ debut album, which celebrates its 50th anniversary. It’s new in at 85 on the physical album chart which isn’t overly impressive. Like the Fleetwood Mac reissue fans are ‘forced’ to buy vinyl as part of the super deluxe package, which may have dented sales. Granted, the same issue exists for the top-of-the-range Tango in the Night, but there was far more pent up demand for that reissue, which probably explains why it’s 71 places higher in the chart.