Make me cry like you did the other night: THE CREATION
Like a lot of people my age, the first I'd ever heard of THE CREATION was in Wes Anderson's film, "Rushmore." And I'm guessing a lot of those people had the same thought I had when we first heard those crunchy opening chords and echoey vocals: "What WHO album is this song on?"
The song was actually The Creation's "Making Time," and it was an incredibly minor hit (#49 on the British charts, #5 in Germany) 1966. The Who sound isn't much of an accident, as the song was produced by the Who's producer at the time, Shel Talmy. The story goes that guitarist Eddie Phillips (the guy who plays that crazy implosive guitar solo on "Making Time") was even asked by Pete Townshend to be the band's second guitarist.
Most bands of the era that had a hit that great got recognized for it, but for some reason, The Creation's masterpiece never lit a fire under the ass of the world's record buyers. The fact that the band was constantly swapping out members didn't help matters any. It certainly doesn't help me write a succinct and informative blog entry without babbling on for paragraphs about who played what on which song. We just don't have the time.
Contrary to the career path of The Who, The Creation started out as a psychedelic rock band and then evolved into a soul/R&B band. That may explain the similarly contrary nature of their record sales. A group in England named the Blue Jacks hired a new lead singer (Kenny Pickett) and guitarist (the aforementioned Phillips) and became the Mark Four. After a few failed singles, the rhythm guitarist and bassit (John Dalton, who would go on to replace Pete Quaife in THE KINKS) left. The band worked on an image change, and The Creation were born.
After a few more singles, Pickett quit and was replaced by Kim Gardner, who had been playing bass for a UK group called THE BIRDS (not to be confused with the North American BYRDS). The Birds were a pretty bad ass little outfit on their own, and featured future FACES and ROLLING STONES guitarist Ron Wood (who would also play for THE CREATION in the tail end of their career). Check out the sweetness: "Say Those Magic Words"
Anyway, with this new version of the The Creation, they took a stylstic step backwards from psych-rock and issued the soulful, "If I Stay Too Long." This is definitely one of my favorite Creation songs, and a damn fine inclusion on any mixed tape you may be clumsily assembling for that girl you love from afar. As a single, "If I Stay" flopped, although the band were still big enough in Germany to warrant the release of a odds and sods collection of songs called "WE ARE THE PAINTERMEN." The band would never actually record a proper LP.
A few more singles performed middlingly, which lead to the exit of both Phillips and Gardner, leaving the band without a guitarist or a singer. Polydor records kept the band's name alive by releasing seperate singles in the UK and the United States for the druggy rocker, "How Does it Feel to Feel?" The UK version (click HERE to listen) is the cleaner sounding of the two, while the US version (click HERE) is surprisingly fuzzier and more drugged-out. The greatest differences can be found on the guitar solos.
Pickett, the band's original lead singer (are we all confused yet?) would eventually reform The Creation with Gardner and Jones. This was the version of the band that featured Ron Wood on guitar for a brief while, before dissolving again. Pickett would eventually reform the band in the 1990s and enjoyed a few years of touring before dying from a heart attack in 1996. The posthumously released Creation compilation, "OUR MUSIC IS RED, WITH PURPLE FLASHES" is one of the few places to go to hear more from this great but largely forgotten band.
For more on The Creation:
- Learn more about the band at Making Time. For those readers in Philly, Making Time is also the name of a monthly/quarterly party for all the mod-rockers, goths and hip-hoppers in town (the party takes place on 3 levels of a building), and a hell of a good time.
- The Creation at Ready Steady Go
- Buy "Our Music is Red, With Purple Flashes"