DESPITE HAVING TASTED pop stardom, hipster cachet and light entertainment ubiquity at various points during in his career, music still has the capacity to surprise Georgie Fame, as he tells MOJO this month.
Reflecting on a life in music in our new issue (November 2015 / #264), on sale now in the UK, the sharp-dressed singer recalls his time playing organ in Van Morrison’s band, admitting that despite his years of experience the first time he recorded with The Man he was taken aback.
“The first recording I did with Van, I went into the studio, the backing track was there, I put some headphones on and I said, OK, run this thing down,” he recalls, having joined the group in 1989. “They ran it down and I started to feel my way through it and three minutes later at the end of the track I said, Put the light on, we’ll take it, and the engineer said, ‘We just did!’”
Morrison’s off-the-cuff approach may have taken Fame unawares. But as the keyboard maestro explains to MOJO’s Lois Wilson, it wasn’t the last time the Irishman would ruffle Fame’s legendary poise...
“The only other times I’ve cried like that was when I saw Ray Charles and Thelonious Monk.”
“Van’s one of the few musicians who has reduced me to tears emotionally on the bandstand,” he declares. “I was playing Hammond in Milan with him and he was singing his heart out and his ass off and I just couldn’t believe it and there were tears running down my cheeks. The only other times I’ve cried like that was when I saw Ray Charles at Hammersmith Odeon in 1962 and when I saw Thelonious Monk.”
Get MOJO now for the full interview, including tales of dodging the sexual advances of pop Svengalis, being the second man in Britain to own a Hammond Organ, the curse of light entertainment and much more.