Photo (courtesy of Dave Scott Morgan): The Ugly`s
Steve Gibbons had numerous band mates who have an interesting profile of their own.
Some of these have made it to the top after they played with Gibbons, for example his former bandmates in „The Balls“, Danny Laine, who later became Paul McCartney’s second man in the Wings, or Alan White, who went on to play drums for YES.
Others have had respectable careers but are not known to a wider public outside the UK. This includes David Scott Morgan, whose name probably only means something to a few in Germany although everyone there knows „Hiroshima“ the most famous song he wrote. This pretty piece of music received little attention in the English-speaking world, but was a hit several times in Germany, in both parts of the then still divided state, and is also known in the Czech Republic. We will tell you more about this below.
Making music as an alternative to dancing
But first, some words on Dave (Scott) Morgan and his connections to Steve Gibbons.
Dave Scott Morgan got his start as a musician in the 1960s in the turbulent beat and rock scene of Birmingham, affectionately called „Brum“ by its locals. Actually, Dave didn’t want to be a musician at all. But because he couldn’t dance, he looked for an alternative way to make contact with girls, which he found in playing in a band. (As he later reported with a smile in an interview, this plan worked out well.)
He already knew Steve Gibbons back then. In the lively Birmingham scene with its fixed places such as Alex’s Pie Stand, people often ran into each other. Therefore it is no wonder, that Dave and Steve met and played for the first time together in The Ugly’s
The inglorious „Balls“ followed later.
„The Balls“ were the failed attempt to create a super group. According to the motto „The mountain circles and gives birth to a mouse“, however, this project spawned just one single „Fight for my Country„.
Obviously, the Balls project was chaotically organized. The fact that an excellent equipped village pub was located next to the band’s retreat probably also contributed to the Band`s lack of efficiency.
Balls‘ in Fordingbridge, Hampshire (Photo Courtesy of Dave Scott Morgan)
If you talk to Dave Scott Morgan about this time today, the conversation may very quickly turn to Toni Secunda, who launched this project. Although the cunning manager suceeded to negotiate lavish advances from the record company, he seems to have acted rather tyrannically towards the musicians he represented.
After the project „The Balls“ dissolved, Steve and Dave went their separate ways musically. Pretty soon after, Dave wrote the song „Hiroshima“, which became his most popular song, but went unnoticed in his own homeland.
„Hiroshima“: A hit outside the UK, not only once
The reasons why this anti-war song with a very filigree text and a beautifull melody was successful in some countries and went largely unnoticed in its country of origin are obscure. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the closer you lived to the Iron Curtain, the greater was the awareness of the danger of a new global conflict involving nuclear weapons?
This theory is supported by the fact, that an impressive video on YouTube of the the Czech version by Jaromír Mayer a Mirek Černý, which goes to the heart because it individualizes the tens of thousands of death through a skilful focus on individuals who are often only seen for a second originates from Czechoslovakia, one of the countries bordering to the Iron Curtain,
In order to understand the importance of the song in Germany, you have to know that the Federal Republic of Germany in the West and the German Democratic Republic in the East usually went different ways not only politiclly but als musically.
In the East, western rock music was usually viewed very critically and was hardly allowed to be played on the radio. The only cross-border hit (sung in German was) the song „Über Sieben Brücken muss du gehen“ (You have to walk over seven bridges“) from the East German group Karat, which later was lifted to number 4 in the West German hit parade, in which it stayed for twenty weeks by Peter Maffay, a muscian whose commercial status in the German music scene may be recognized by the fact that he opened for the Rolling Stones during their 1982 German tour.
A similar success on both sides of the wall which divided Germany was achieved by Dave Morgan`s song „Hiroshima“, which reached number four (according to other sources no. eight) in the West German „Hitparade“, in which it stayed for 44 consecutive weeks in the version of the group „Wishfull Thinking“.
The song obviously also found followers in East Germany. In 1982 the group Puhdys, which were considered „The Beatles of the GDR“ recorded a German-language version, which was an integral part of the live repertoire until the end of the group
German-German hit, not only once
The status of the song, once in English in the West and once with German lyrics in the East, makes the song, written by Dave Morgan, one of the few all-German songs from the time of German division.
But that’s not all with the song’s success in Germany: More than a decade after Wishfull Thinkink`s chart sucess, the Berlin Wall crashed, but Germany was not reunited yet, German singer Sandra recorded the song (with the original English text) again.
The song made it into the charts again, staying at number 4 for three weeks.
So from a German perspective, Hiroshima is a mega hit, although the man behind it is only known to very few in Germany (and then as a member of the Electric Light Orchestra).
Germans who were teenagers in the late 1970s may also have a very special connection to the Wishful Thinking version of this song. It was, besides songs like „A Whiter Shade of Pale“, „It’s all over now baby blue“ (in the version by Them) and – of course! – Samba Pa Ti by Carlos Santana an integral part of the so-called „blues round“ at the end of youth parties of the time. The „blues round“ actually was a round of music with slow pieces where you could dance closely. For the most part, this was also the time when the boys tested whether the search for a partner that evening was successful. (You will know what I mean?!)
Dave Scott Morgan today (Photo courtesy of Dave Scott Morgan)
More about Steve Gibbons
former band mate Dave Scott Morgan, his career after playing in the Ugly and the Balls and his last CD soon here.
Visit also Dave Scott Morgan`s website.