A Bit Like You And Me Radio

June 28, 2012

Mark Wirtz & Tomorrow - Grocer Jack (Excerpt from A Teenage Opera) (1967)

In January 1966, Mark Wirtz had an idea for a rock opera album "A Teenage Opera". The opportunity to create the album presented itself when Wirtz was hired by EMI as a record producer in January 1967. The next month, Wirtz shared the idea of his rock opera with his famed engineer, Geoff Emerick, and they got to work. The completed grand idea, still in Wirtz’s mind, was an album in which each song was a story surrounding characters living in a village and a boy named Sam telling these stories to his female companion. (Sam would later inspire Pete Townshend’s Tommy). Eventually, Wirtz hoped, the album would be turned into an animated feature akin to The BeatlesYellow Submarine. Needing a band, he employed The In Crowd, who would soon change their names to Tomorrow.

The first song that was released from the budding album, heard below, was originally called “Excerpt from A Teenage Opera,” indicating to listeners that it was only the beginning of what was intended to be created. Released on July 28th, 1967, it received heavy air time throughout the Summer of Love, largely due to the pirate radio stations popping up on both sides of the Atlantic. Eventually, rumors began to circulate that the entire album had been finished in September and that a musical was already in the works. Sadly, in actuality, the next few singles released would do very poorly, and, mixed with Wirtz’s time being dedicated to producing Tomorrow, the album was put aside for nearly thirty years until its 1996 release.

album art

Mark Wirtz & Tomorrow - Grocer Jack (Excerpt from A Teenage Opera) (1967)

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Lyrics:

Cast the days into years
Yes, eighty-two brings many fears
Yesterday's laughter turned to tears
His arms and legs don't feel so strong
His heart is weak; there's something wrong
Opens windows in despair
Tries to breathe in some fresh air
His conscience cries, "Get on your feet
Without you, Jack, the town can't eat"

Grocer Jack, Grocer Jack, get off your back
Go into town, don't let them down
Oh no, no
Grocer Jack, Grocer Jack, get off your back
Go into town, don't let them down
Oh no, no

The people that live in the town
Don't understand; he's never been known to miss his round
“It's ten o'clock,” the housewives yell
"When Jack turns up, we'll give him hell"
Husbands moan at breakfast tables, no milk, no eggs, no marmalade labels
Mothers send their children out to Jack's house to scream and shout

(Grocer Jack, Grocer Jack, get off your back)
(Come into town, don't let us down)
(Oh no, no)
(Grocer Jack, Grocer Jack, get off your back)
(Come into town, don't let us down)
(Oh no, no)

It's Sunday morning, bright and clear
Lovely flowers decorate a marble square
People cry and walk away, think about the fateful day
Now they wish they'd given Jack more affection and respect
The little children, dressed in black, don't know what's happened to old Jack

(Grocer Jack, Grocer Jack, is it true what Mummy says?)
(You won't come back?)
(Oh no, no)

(Grocer Jack, Grocer Jack, is it true what Mummy says?)
(You won't come back?)
(Oh no, no)

(Grocer Jack, Grocer Jack, is it true what Mummy says?)
(You won't come back?)
(Oh no, no)

(Grocer Jack, Grocer Jack, is it true what Mummy says?)
(You won't come back?)
(Oh no, no)

(Grocer Jack, Grocer Jack, is it true what Mummy says?)
(You won't come back?)
(Oh no, no)

2 comments:

  1. Good post Zolland - never heard this before and it's what I'd describe as a little treasure! Suddenly I feel compelled to track down the album!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. You'd be doing yourself a great service getting the entire album. It's definitely a treasure!

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