Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

Thunderclap Newman’s Rush Follow-Up

I was pleased – and surprised – to see a special section devoted to single releases in the Rolling Stone Record Review, originally published 1971.  The review of “rush” follow-up to UK #1 hit — 1969’s “Something in the Air” by Thunderclap Newman — caught my eye, since The Who‘s Pete Townshend produced and played bass on the original hit.  Says Ed Ward:

A follow-up to “Something in the Air,” this record has all the makings of another one.  Newman’s trip is a strange one, and this engaging number is a catalogue of children hit by trains, run over, and such, all set to a wonderful tune.

“Love is just a game / You fly your paper plane / There is no wind” — say the words to the fadeout.  Meditate on that.

AndyThunderclapNewman – piano
Jimmy McCullough – guitar
JohnSpeedyKeen – guitar/drums/vocal
Jim Avery – bass

Accidents” was written by Speedy Keen, who penned The Who Sell Out‘s opening track, the sonically arresting and unusually psychedelic for The Who, “Armenia City in the Sky.”  How amusing to learn, as I did just now, that Thunderclap Newman met for the first time when they recorded their #1 hit at the behest of Townshend, who was in the throes of writing Tommy and lacking sufficient time to devote to the solo efforts of each of the individuals in the group.

German 45 picture sleeve

Belgian 45 picture sleeve –

Rugby‘s distinctive typeface

Thunderclap Newman 45

Italian 45 picture sleeve

Rugby‘s encore appearance

Rugby – also featured here

Released in June 1970, “Accidents” would peak at #46 in the UK pop chart, the first of three singles from the group’s one and only album, Hollywood Dream, for which the group would record a very different (and much lengthier) arrangement of “Accidents.”

The group would disband by April of the following year, while Keen, interestingly, went on to produce debut albums for both Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers and Motorhead.

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