Sunday, March 01, 2009

Matt Monro: We're Gonna Change the World

Having discovered this morning that Matt Monro acted in a film, I thought I would choose him as this week's record - even though it is just an audio recording.

Monro's easy-listening style is not greatly to my taste (though "From Russia with Love" is one of the great Bond themes). This song, however, is worth a little consideration.

Round about 1970, when this single was released, the counter culture began to seep into Radio 2 style music. I am thinking of records like "Banner Man" by Blue Mink (best known now from its use in the film East is East) and "United we Stand" by the Brotherhood of Man in their pre-Eurovision incarnation.

The consensus on the internet seems to be that "We're Gonna Change the World" was first used in a Kellogg's cornflake commercial. That certainly explains the jaunty, early-morning woodwind that begins the song and puts it in the company of the New Seekers' "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" - another famous song that began life in a television advertisement.

Whoever supplied the new words for "We're Gonna Change the World" made them redolent of sixties unrest without making it clear exactly what they are about. The result is an interesting historical curiosity: the singing bus driver meets the counter culture and sounds surprisingly at home with it.

I chose this song as one of my guilty pleasures back in August 2006.

Later. A few weeks after posting this I received an email from David Matthews, who wrote the music for this song. He said "The lyrics were about the lives of my co-writer's ex-fiances. The song was never used in a cornflakes commercial (unfortunately!)"


Unknown said...

T. Harris was my friends father who wrote the lyrics he has now sadly passed away. A great song.

Unknown said...

A true classic! The lyrics paint so many evocative pictures and are skilfully overlaid upon a wonderful melody with uplifting arrangement. Matt Monro works his magic to complete period perfection.

Bob Kingsley said...

Such a great song - I remember Kenny Everett championing it on his Radio One show in the early 70s; I've often wondered about the women featured in the lyrics - now, after all these years, I have a better idea!