Thursday 29 April 2010

Forgotten Music - On the Flip Side

In my quest to find something else of interest and great obscurity for Scott Parker’s monthly series about Forgotten Music, I’ve tracked down some very rare footage from a genuinely forgotten musical written in 1966 for television called On the Flip Side. The musical featured former teen idol Ricky Nelson, who sought to mark his transition to entertaining a more mature audience by the cunning device of changing his name to – Rick Nelson. Joanie Somers co-starred.

The musical was written by (you guessed it) Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and, although a few of the songs – notably the excellent ‘They Don’t Give Medals to Yesterday’s Heroes’) - survived and were covered by the likes of Dionne Warwick, Chuck Jackson and Jackie De Shannon, the musical itself promptly disappeared from sight and even diehard Bacharach-David fans were mostly unaware of it until its rediscovery a few years back. The soundtrack is now available on CD, and the music is enjoyable, as you might expect from two songwriters who were at their peak. Some years ago, a friend sent me a grainy VHS recording of the show, and it has to be said that the performances (let alone the clothes) have not stood the test of time as well as the music.

But it’s a curiosity, and I’ve now discovered a link to a good quality Youtube
clip which features three of the songs. Enjoy!

Incidentally, although On the Flip Side was no masterpiece, it paved the way for Bacharach and David’s one and only stage musical, Promises, Promises. That show was enormously successful, and it’s just about to be revived on Broadway. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice say that Promises, Promises changed the way in which stage musicals were written. But perhaps it might never have happened but for the groundwork of On the Flip Side.


Anonymous said...

Martin - How delightful! Thanks for sharing that Youtube video! I hadn't heard of this musical before, but how reminiscent of the era : ). Thanks

pattinase (abbott) said...

Sad to see it didn't get a very good review in the NYT a few days ago. Sometimes things speak to and of a certain time I think.

Paul D Brazill said...

Fantastic piece. I do love a bit of Burt Bachache, I do. Will pop over to You tube for that clip. I'd never heard of On the Flip Side.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Forgotten music! That's fun. Thanks for sharing the piece with us, Martin. I'm going to enjoy this series.

Mystery Writing is Murder

George said...

I hadn't heard of this, either. Thanks for the heads up!

Scott D. Parker said...

I love Bacharach's material. Frankly, I really liked the musical song that showed before the Nelson song better. I really dig that late 60s look and feel.

Martin Edwards said...

Glad you liked this post about a very obscure show.
Patti - I saw a good UK revival of Promises in 1996, but I'm not sure about the casting in the new Broadway version. There are some fine tunes in it, though.

pattinase (abbott) said...

There certainly are, Martin. I think it was directorial problems and some miscasting.