Monday, 15 October 2012

Mono Monday: Amen Corner - (If Paradise Is) Half As Nice

One of my earliest memories is hearing records by Amen Corner on the radio. Tunes like Bend Me, Shape Me, High in The Sky and (If Paradise is) Half as Nice, have continued to endure beyond their chart heyday of the 1960s.

Fronted by Andy Fairweather Low the band were formed in Cardiff in 1966, they debuted in the UK chart the following year with Gin House Blues.

However they really took the charts by storm in 1968 when Bend Me, Shape Me reached Number 2 in the UK chart. The Following year they bettered that with their rendition of the Italian song II Paradiso Della Vita which was originally recorded by La Ragazza 77.

Andy Fairweather Low remembers: "Amen Corner was very much a band that if we were free on a Tuesday (and for some reason a lot of Tuesdays we were free) we'd go onto the publisher and he'd go, "Have a listen to this! and we'd go "Oh yeah, I think we can do something with that!". Bend Me Shape Me was given to us when our manager said "I think you should do that".I think a friend of Allan Jones (of Amen Corner) might have brought it to our house one day and I was given a copy, it was by a band called La Ragazza 77, an Italian song  and I thought "oh I think we could do this.""

Translated to English by Jack Fishman, Amen Corner recorded the song taking it to the top of the charts on 12 February for two weeks.

Amen Corner parted company the following year with Andy Fairweather Low forming Fairweather before embarking on a solo career. Andy is currently touring the UK and you can find out more about him and his new band the Low Riders at his official website.

You can read my interview with Andy for The South Wales Argus here; Andy Fairweather Low - Playing for pleasure, not fame.

Thanks to Andy Fairweather Low for sharing his memories.

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