Given the past few weeks here at WMMCM, one could be forgiven for thinking that this had happened to us…
Yes, it’s been a rough couple of weeks here at WMMCM what with all the preparations for when those pesky Aztecs try to take us all out in the near future. So we’re been traveling, working, working while traveling and just generally been unavoidably occupied with all those things that need to be done so that we can survive.
Now that we’ve landed back on Earth for a short time, it seems that we’re all alone.
At least that’s how Jonathan King felt about things back in 1965 when he released his first single. And what a single it was. “Everyone’s Gone to the Moon” was a huge hit for the young college undergraduate. In fact it allowed the young Mr. King to abandon his studies and to soon become a high powered producer and record company A&R man.
The funny thing was is that the single only made it to the top ten in his native England while reaching the 17th spot in the US. Quite respectable of course but hardly a blockbuster right? Well actually it was a blockbuster. Although it never came close to topping the charts King’s single managed to sell a whopping 4.5 million copies!
“Everyone’s Gone to the Moon” was one of those rare sleeper hits. It never splashed around about the radio world or wound up on the front page of every magazine but everyone talked about it and, apparently bought it as well.
With it’s post Mersey Beat sound “Everyone’s Gone to the Moon” was an unlikely hit in the era of The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. By the time it was released pop music had simply moved on from what would have been huge only two years earlier. And yet, it was a huge hit. In fact “Everyone’s Gone to the Moon” was soon covered by Dana, Nina Simone, Marlene Dietrich, an intrsumental version by Percy Faith and even Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra.
This is the kind of song careers are made from and Jonathan King certainly did that.
“Streets full of people, all alone
Roads full of houses, never home
Church full of singing, out of tune
Everyone’s gone to the moon.”
King’s simple lyrics seem to have a way and being understood by nearly everybody.
“Eyes full of sorrow, never wet
Hands full of money, all in debt
Sun coming out in the middle of June
Everyone’s gone to the moon.”
“Everyone’s Gone to the Moon” hit on something. A feeling that nearly everyone feels at some point in their life. Loneliness, sadness, depression even, but there is never the feeling of giving up. That perhaps is why Jonathan King’s little ballad sung with a soft voice and almost lilting tone seemed to get nearly everyone in some way.
It also was a song that never could have found an audience at any other time. Mersey Beat was a recent memory though there were a few hold-outs, and with The Beatles evolving seemingly week by week, it’s amazing that King even made it into the recording studio as an unknown college student with a song in his hand.
But make it in he did and that was the start of a career in the music industry that saw Jonathon King sign five young guys from Surrey, England to their first record contract in 1967. They would soon be known by the name that King gave them and become one of the most successful bands ever. That would be Genesis of course.
Also along the way King would create pop magic with any number of artists while even being one of only two people in the world mad enough to become the financial backers for an eccentric and decidedly unproven songwriter with an even madder idea. Richard O’Brian.
For the uninitiated, Richard O’Brian is the erratic genius who wrote and created The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
All this from a record single that never should have happened by a plain looking guy with a little voice. That’s lunacy.