Our world was without color in the pair of decades prior to 1963, our pupils perceiving only black, white, and various shades of gray. Photographs taken in the BB Era (Before Beatles) invariably reveal an overcast sky above ashen-faced citizens still smarting from the aftereffects of a terrible conflagration.
But somewhere on a large and often foggy island populated by people not known for ostentatious displays, a bit of sunshine sparked a tiny growth of color. From a country whose best-known invention was the revolutionary pairing of potatoes and deep-fried cod, we heard… music! And not the tinny trumpets and sodden saxophones of darker days.
The frenzied electric blast of “She Loves You” ripped a rent in the collective gloom. Suddenly, sunny color reflected from the oily water pooled on the pavement. People on the streets were allowed to smile and shout Yeah, Yeah, Yeah! And The Yellow Melodies, previously known as The Grayscale Tunes, raised the blinds and sang “It’s a Good Day Today.”
People shook their heads, not in sorrow but to make their hair fly. Masses of guitar twangs poured from Vox amplifiers and pushed the clouds to a corner. The night sky was lit by The Electric Stars, and a population that had spent too many years huddled in holes was “Steppin’ Into the Sunlight.”
The Americans, late as always, remained monochromatic until the following year when the Fab Four descended the steps of a Boeing 707 and brought color to the New World. The Suncharms told the colonies of the sunshine that had arrived on a “Jet Plane.”
The color spread across the continent like paint spilled on a artist’s table, reaching California by autumn. On the West Coast, unnatural substances made the clocks run backwards, giving groups like TheCatherines and Nah… “So Much Time and So Little To Do.”
It was the best of times, it was the worst… No, it was the best of times. Sometimes strange, sometimes silly, sometimes (thankfully) forgotten. And for The Sound of Pop Art it was “Sometimes Jessamine.”
By decade’s end, the world had warped into a near-unrecognizable collage of color, the light refracted by a musical prism that sent rays ricocheting into sounds never heard but still repeated. Lives and minds were altered, not always for the better. I knew that a profound and potentially unpleasant change had transpired when my father traded his charcoal-gray sports coat for an aquamarine monstrosity: a polyester leisure suit. Like Young Scum, many reached for a “Seltzer.”
The songs of our soundtrack were extracted from “F.A.R. OUT – A Sunshine/Psychpop Compilation.” The album comprises fourteen original tracks (no covers!) of smile-inducing janglepop gathered together by Fadeawayradiate Records. It’s a wonderful collection, the perfect preventative for the incipient winter that, despite warnings that our globe is warming, has already chilled every bone north of the Tropic of Cancer. I plan to have “F.A.R. OUT” on heavy rotation until the middle of March and beyond.
“F.A.R. OUT – A Sunshine/Psychpop Compilation” is available on Bandcamp as a digital download or CD. Visit the Fadeawayradiate Records website to enjoy their compilations from previous years. And be sure to follow Fadeawayradiate Records on Instagram and Facebook.