Sunday, 31 May 2015

Live It Up! aka Sing and Swing (1963)

I have my friend Sharon to thank for introducing me to Talking Pictures TV, the channel for obscure and long forgotten films from yesteryear on Sky channel 343. Thanks to that tip off I watched the 1963 film Live It Up! (also known as Sing and Swing) earlier today, a British teen movie showcasing the music of one of my heroes, the great Joe Meek, and his many performers.

As with a lot of these quickies capitalising on the music of the day, the plot plays second fiddle to the pop star turns. A young David Hemmings stars as Dave Martin is a GPO despatch rider with a dream to make it big in the pop world with some of his mates down at the depot, including Meek star signing Heinz Burt and future Small Faces star Steve Marriott. 

Since the excellent film Telstar, much has been made about Heinz's perceived lack of talent and why Meek placed so much faith in, and emphasis on, him; I can't say I'm sure that I totally agree or believe with all of that, but I can certainly say he's no actor. Marriott on the other hand is perhaps unsurprisingly the quintessential Artful Dodger type, with a natural charisma and presence on screen and a flair for dialogue. 

Heinz on a bike!

Steve in a car!

Primarily though, the film's main aim is to deliver up the tunes of the day and does so with the likes of The Outlaws (featuring a young Ritchie Blackmore later of Deep Purple and Chas Hodges later of Chas and Dave) The Saints, Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen and American rock legend Gene Vincent who at the time was enjoying a last gasp of fame here in the UK thanks to several Meek tours around the country with the likes of The Outlaws, The Echoes, Sounds Incorporated and, of course, Eddie Cochran.

There's also Coronation Street star and Wigan's own Jennifer Moss, taking the opportunity of an Equity strike on the cobbles to branch out onto the big screen and a sideline in singing for Meek with the rather sweet 'Please Let It Happen To Me'. 

Unfortunately, her pop career failed to take off and drink and drugs would see her sacked from the nation's number one soap ten years later, something it could be argued she never truly recovered from until her death aged just 61 in 2006. Look out too for such vintage stars as Aussie actor and star of Skippy Ed Devereaux as Hemmings' seemingly disapproving and square father, Crackerjack's Peter Glaze as a talent scout and BBC continuity announcer Peter Haigh as himself.

Live It Up! is of course cheesy and naff and I would hazard a guess it was seen as such even back in '63, but if you're looking for nostalgia and a sense of life in the early stages of the swinging decade then Live It Up! serves as an interesting social and historical document and a great opportunity to see these acts perform on screen.

You can see it again on TV this week or on full on YouTube if you don't have access to Sky. 

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