A Bit Like You And Me Radio

May 30, 2014

Thunderclap Newman - Something in the Air (1969)

In 1967, The Who decided to record a song, “Armenia City in the Sky,” which had been written for them by the band’s chauffeur, John “Speedy” Keen. It was the only song The Who ever recorded that was written for the band by somebody outside of the band. Speedy Keen also shared an apartment with The Who’s Pete Townshend, who would later be responsible for giving Keen his big break.

In 1969, Townshend wanted to get Speedy Keen in the limelight to expose his talents as a guitarist, drummer, singer, and songwriter. Keen had been working on a song, so Townshend put a group together around him to get it recorded. Speedy Keen sang the lead vocals, played guitar, and played drums. Pete Townshend was under contract with his current label, so he played bass under the pseudonym Bijou Drains, as well as producing. For the rest of the outfit, Townshend brought in fifteen year old Jimmy McCulloch on guitar (who would later join Wings) and an old friend from his art college, Andy “Thunderclap” Newman, on piano. Townshend, at one point, had agreed to work with each of the aforementioned artists, individually. At the persistence of Kit Lambert (manager of The Who), Townshend brought everyone together to fulfill all of his promises at once, giving him more free time to work on The Who’s latest project, Tommy.

Below is the song written by John “Speedy” Keen and performed by the newly put together band. It was originally titled “Revolution,” but was renamed since The Beatles’ had come out with a song with the same title a year prior. Released in May 1969, the song went to number one in the UK for two weeks, holding off releases by both Elvis Presley and The Beatles. By December 1969, it had sold more than a million copies.

album art

Thunderclap Newman - Something in the Air (1969)

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Lyrics:

Call out the instigators
Because there’s something in the air
We’ve got to get together sooner or later
Because the revolution’s here

And you know it’s right
And you know that it’s right

We have got to get it together
We have got to get it together now

Lock up the streets and houses
Because there’s something in the air
We’ve got to get together sooner or later
Because the revolution’s here

And you know it’s right
And you know that it’s right

We have got to get it together
We have got to get it together now

Hand out the arms and ammo
We’re going to blast our way through here
We’ve got to get together sooner or later
Because the revolution’s here

And you know it’s right
And you know that it’s right

We have got to get it together
We have got to get it together
Now