Sunday, 27 March 2011

Indian Tears - Commercial Fears

Mike Hurst in an earlier role with The Springfields

Here is the story of a track from Mike Hurst's second solo album, entitled, In My time. The track in question is Indian Tears.

Mike's business manager had done a deal with Capitol in the US, early in the 1970s. Len Levy, the then President of Capitol liked the album a lot. Levy had previously headed Epic and had a long history of picking up British and European acts for the US market.

Indian Tears has a sort of CSN feel to it and again, it is of its time, especially lyrically. Musically it stands up today, and it deals with the kind of political mores that were prominent at the time. However, the subject matter was something of a tricky issue in the US, and accordingly it was doomed as a single release, which is what Mike had wanted it to be. 

Marlon Brando had recently (March '73) gotten flak at the Oscars Ceremony for making a political statement on the subject of Native Americans, as they came to be known later. Instead of claiming his Oscar for Best Actor, for The Godfather, he sent a young Indian woman called Sasheen Littlefeather to decline the award, on Brando's behalf. Most of the audience booed and it did not sit well with the great and the good that the Oscars Ceremony was politicised. We are talking about a period of 37 years ago and things were seen quite differently by the majority. It was left to some musicians to become campaigners.

Anyway, the President of Capitol liked the album and would go on to release it. but there would be the thorny issue of which track to use as a single. Indian Tears was strong and commercial, with its West Coast FM vibe. Hurst, put in a bid for this track to be the single.

Len Levy said, “Mike, the Indians are out this year”.

And that was the end of it, at least as a single release.

Mike recruited a lot of highly respected names for the In My Time sessions, inlcuding John Lord, Ian Paice, Tony Ashton, Dee Murray, Ray Cooper, Nigel Olsson, Rod Argent, and Ray Fenwick. Backing vocals were added by Doris Troy and Liza Strike.
Hurst's two solo albums are available from Angel Air Records. (see links).

More about Mike and his career in music HERE

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