Love Affair – The Everlasting Love Affair (1968)

FrontCover1Love Affair was a London-based pop and soul group formed in 1966. The group had several UK Singles Chart Top 10 hits, including the number one success, “Everlasting Love”.

Love Affair’s first single, “She Smiled Sweetly”, written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, released on Decca Records flopped, but the band reached the top of the UK Singles Chart in January 1968 with “Everlasting Love”. By this time the group had relocated to CBS Records. The song was first recorded by Robert Knight, whose version had reached No. 13 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the autumn of 1967, and it was previously offered to Marmalade, who turned it down. On the B-side was a cover version of “Gone Are the Songs of Yesterday”, which was written by Phillip Goodhand-Tait. After its success, Goodhand-Tait saw an opportunity and signed a contract with Love Affair’s managers John Cokell and Sid Bacon. Goodhand-Tait went on to write more songs for Love Affair.

The Soul Survivors

Ellis had a similar vocal style to Steve Marriott of the Small Faces, and the production was similar to a Motown soul record. Controversy ensued when the group admitted they had not played on the record, but that all the work was done by session musicians, although such a practice had long since been common. Their first recording of the song, produced by Muff Winwood, had featured them playing all the instruments. But the record label rejected this version in favour of one produced by Mike Smith, recorded with a recording studio rhythm section, strings, brass, flutes and backing vocalists, arranged by Keith Mansfield[3] – and Ellis as the only member of the group to be heard. The backing vocals were provided by four female singers who became well known in their own right: Kiki Dee, Madeline Bell, Lesley Duncan and Kay Garner (as one of the Ladybirds). The bass part was played by Russ Stableford and Clem Cattini played drums.

Four further Top 20 hits followed, “Rainbow Valley”, “A Day Without Love” (both 1968), “One Road” and “Bringing on Back the Good Times” (both 1969). At the end of that year, they released the album, The Everlasting Love Affair.

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The group became frustrated at being treated like teen idols, unable to hear themselves on stage because of the constant screaming and at being pigeonholed as a “pop group”. All the A-sides featured heavy orchestral and brass arrangements behind Ellis’s vocals, with minimal participation from the others, although they wrote and played on the heavier B-sides themselves.

As Ellis wrote in the booklet notes to a later compilation CD, Singles A’s and B’s, “In an attempt to break the mould we recorded a song far removed from the anthemic-like previous hits.” The song was called “Baby I Know”. Released at the end of 1969, competing with releases from other big names for a place in the charts over Christmas, it failed completely. Ellis felt the band had run its course and he left in December 1969 for a solo career: “We never really made it big anywhere but Britain and I think that if we had started to happen in America, I wouldn’t have left”. The rest of the band soldiered on without any further success, continuing briefly as L.A. with new vocalist, August Eadon (aka Gus Yeadon). Further releases likewise never charted.

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In 1971 they recorded the song “Wake Me I Am Dreaming”, cover of “Mi ritorni in mente”, written by Lucio Battisti for music and by Mogol for the original text in Italian.

The group has since been revived, though sometimes without any original members, for cabaret dates; and Ellis has also performed live with a reconstituted Steve Ellis’s Love Affair.

Love Affair’s first hit song, “Everlasting Love”, was used in the film, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. However, the CD of the soundtrack contained Jamie Cullum’s cover version, instead of the Love Affair version used in the film. Cullum’s version is played over the end credits. (wikipedia)

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Originally formed in 1966, this London, England-based quintet comprised Steve Ellis (vocals), Morgan Fisher (b. 1 January 1950, London, England; keyboards), Rex Brayley (guitar), Mick Jackson (bass) and Maurice Bacon (drums). Although Ellis was barely 16 years old, the band performed frequently in clubs on a semi-professional basis. Fisher was briefly replaced by Lynton Guest and the following year Ellis, backed by session musicians, recorded a sparkling cover version of Robert Knight’s ‘Everlasting Love’ for CBS Records. By January 1968, the single unexpectedly hit number 1 in the UK and Love Affair became instant pop stars with Ellis’ cherubic looks gracing teen magazines throughout the nation. With Bacon’s father Sid overseeing the management, the band resisted the solicitations of more powerful entrepreneurs, yet failed to exploit their potential. Four more Top 20 hits followed, ‘Rainbow Valley’, ‘A Day Without Love’, ‘One Road’ and ‘Bringing On Back The Good Times’, but by 1969 Ellis had left to start a solo career. He recorded a few singles and the soundtrack to Loot before collaborating with Zoot Money in Ellis, who released two albums for Epic Records (1972’s Riding On The Crest Of A Slump and 1973’s … Why Not?). Ellis later sang with Widowmaker, and in 1978 recorded a solo album (The Last Angry Man) which was briefly made available on cassette before finally being given a full release in 2000.

The Poland edition:
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The remaining quartet recruited new vocalist Gus Eadon (b. Auguste Eadon; ex-Elastic Band) and began to steer the band in a more progressive direction. The second Love Affair album, released at the beginning of 1971, was credited simply to LA in an attempt to attract a more mature audience. The record was a commercial failure and six months later the band was dropped by CBS. They resigned to Parlophone Records as Love Affair but were unable to revive their fortunes. Bacon and Fisher left to form Morgan, recording 1973’s Nova Solis for RCA Records.

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Fisher later reappeared in Mott The Hoople and the Third Ear Band before releasing some bizarre solo material for Cherry Red Records during the 80s and launching a career in Japan. Bacon moved into music publishing and management, while Jackson worked his way up to become an important figure in the Alfa Romeo car group. A line-up of the Love Affair featuring no original members went on to issue obscure singles for Pye Records and Creole, before successively plundering the band’s name for cabaret/revivalist bookings. (by allmusic)

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Love Affair was one of the great, all-too-unheralded pop bands of the late ’60s in Britain, not a million miles in approach from the Small Faces — and in Steve Ellis they had a soulful belter who was close to the genius of Steve Marriott. “Everlasting Love” was the big hit, a wonderful slice of music that crossed and recrossed the line between soul and pop, and which still stands proudly after all these years. But it’s far from being the only excellent work here. The covers of “Hush,” “Tobacco Road,” “Handbags and Gladrags,” and “The First Cut Is the Deepest” positively steam, while “Rainbow Valley,” although a formulaic retread of the big hit, still has plenty going for it. Perhaps the big problem for the band was that they were tagged simply as a pop band, so when they attempted to break that mold, they weren’t taken seriously. That’s a shame, as “The Tree,” which veers into both psychedelia and prog rock (close neighbors in those days) is an excellent piece of work, and “Once Upon a Season” offers a few echoes of Traffic. That’s not to say everything is wonderful: “Could I Be Dreaming?” and “The Tale of Two Bitters” are readily dispensable, and a couple of other tracks are simply nondescript. But the ratio of good to bad is extremely high, and Steve Ellis is convincing throughout. (by Chris Nickson)

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Personnel:
Maurice Bacon (drums)
Rex Brayley (guitar)
Auguste Eadon (flute, vocals)
Steve Ellis (vocals)
Morgan Fisher (keyboards)
Lynton Guest (keyboards)
Mick Jackson (bass)
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Peter Kelly (bass on 01.)
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a bunch of unknown studio musicians

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Tracklist:
01. Everlasting Love (Cason/Gaydon) 3.03
02. Hush (South) 3.41
03. 60 Minutes (Of Your Love) (Hayes/Porter) 3.38
04. Could I Be Dreaming (Ellis/Fisher) 3.20
05. First Cut Is The Deepest (Stevens) 3.23
06. So Sorry (Gerard) 3.11
07. Once Upon A Season (Jackson) 4.01
08. Rainbow Valley (Cason/Gaydon) 3.50
09. A Day Without Love (Goodhand-Tait) 3.14
10. Tobacco Road (Loudermilk) 3.55
11. The Tree (Ellis/Fisher) 2.48
12. Handbags And Gladrags (D’Abo) 3.52
13. Build On Love (Goodhand-Tait) 2.30
14. Please Stay (Hilliard/Bacharach) 4.16
15. Tale Of Two Bitters (Ellis/Fisher/Cokell/Smith) 2.36
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16. Gone Are The Songs Of Yesterday (Single B-side, 1967) (Goodhand-Tait) 2.56
17. Some Like Me (Single B-side, 1968) (Ellis/Bacon/Brayley/Jackson/Guest) 3.24
18. I’m Happy (Love Affair) 2.19
19. One Road (Single A-side, 1969) (Goodhand-Tait) 3.11
20. Let Me Know (Single B-side, 1969) (Love Affair) 2.31
21. Bringing On Back The Good Times (Single A-side, 1969) (Goodhand-Tait/Cokell) 3.25
22. Another Day (Single B-side, 1969) (Brayley) 4.14
23. Un Giorno Senza Amore (‘A Day Without Love’ Italian Version) (Goodhand-Tait/Mogol) 3.13

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