Those Were The Days-

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Now a Nightclub called Lennon’s, this place in Onslow Road Southampton used to be The Onslow Pub. As a child I played with Susan the daughter of the landlord in the flat above. Then when I went to Art College I used to go along with friends to listen to the Bob Pearce Blues Band – Bob used to do his duckwalk along the bar and knock people’s drinks over. It was popular with students and throughout the punk era we used to discuss politics and think we were sorting out the world. Those were the days!

 

Whenever I pass by Lennon’s Bar in Onslow Road in Southampton, I think of the song “Those Were the Days”.  So for my Music Monday today, I present 5 different versions, so click on any of the underlined blue names to hear a YouTube track with video:

I first heard the song sung by Mary Hopkin when it went to No1 in the UK Charts in 1968. The Welsh folk-singer was one of the first to record on The BeatlesApple label and it was produced by Paul McCartney. The words on this version are credited to Gene Raskin.

However the tune was originally from an old Russian folk song called “By the Long Road” (Dorogoi Dlinnoyu). Composed by Boris Fomin with words by the poet Konstantin Podrevsky. It deals with reminiscence upon youth and romantic idealism. So more-or less about the same thing and why it haunts me. The most popular version sung in Russian, is by Sergey Lazarev.  The first recording of the song was made by Alexander Vertinsky in 1926.

After the Berlin wall came down in November 1989, I went to visit some British and American friends of mine working in Berlin. We went to a nightclub in East Berlin and Those were the Days by Mary Hopkin was played repeatedly after every few records.

Later in 1992, while I was working on the Algarve in Portugal, I went to a festival in Portimão and saw The Leningrad Cowboys, a Finnish rock band, perform their version in English. If you click on their name the short video that accompanies it is a real treat.

I think my favourite version has to be by The Paganini Duo, a gypsy band in Australia who play the traditional folk version with a violin.

A more recent cover, is sung movingly by  Cynthia Lennon  with a backdrop of Beatles photos. So, we have come full circle now to Lennon‘s – I doubt if you will find me in the club now, but “those were the days”.

 

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5 thoughts on “Those Were The Days-

    1. I used to be friends with the daughter of the Landlord of the Dorchester too. But the last owners were a pretty rough lot – stabbings even. Do tell me more about Hammy! It is now a board-game place. They sell teas, coffees and sandwiches but no alcohol. Quite original.

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      1. I’ve often thought about going in the new games place, i love a board game, but i dont know if its aimed at adults ot kids so dont know if im the target audience.
        I never saw any trouble at the Dorch but i did see them in the paper. Shame, it was a great venue.
        DJ Hammy is a legend, I’m surprised you haven’t seen him. He plays anything and everything from 50s to today, usually alternative type stuff. lots of reggae/ska, 80s/90s indie, goth, electronica… whatever the crowd wants. You get a real mixed group who all have one thing in common – they love their music. I believe he plays in the Shooting Star in Bevwaaahhhh Valley now but I haven’t been there for a while.

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      2. The boardgame place is mainly for adults but they don’t sell alcohol so you can take kids in. There’s a separate room for dungeons and dragons types. Some jazz friend keep asking us to go to the Shooting star – not getting out much these days though.

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