Wednesday, December 21, 2011

BAY CITY ROLLERS Manana 45 1972

Next time you're at a happening party and someone asks you the inevitable party conversation starter question, "Les or Duncan?", you should calmly respond with "actually, I prefer the five singles with Nobby Clark singing."
Now, I've never seen Nobby Clark's name on anybody's FAVORITE Roller list and hearing the original voice and sound of the band's early pre-plaid era Bell singles (most were never released in the U.S.) can be quite a shock for anyone expecting to have their shang a-lang'd.
NOBBY CLARK is actually a fine pop singer with a tone not unlike Bobby Sherman but technically Clark's a better vocalist than Sherman. I mean that in the best way, Bobby and Nobby. It's definitely a 'pop' voice and what you really miss on the early Roller singles is the GUITAR! The sound is lightweight and makes "Give A Little Love" seem like Sabbath. It's even questionable who played on these records but so what!?!?!!
The band's debut 45 in 1971 was a top 10 hit in the UK, a punchy remake of the Gentrys' "Keep On Dancing" (which the band re-recorded in 1975 on their "Once Upon A Star" album with Leslie singing). The second Bell 45, a flop cover version of Tommy Roe's "We Can Make Music," is the hardest to find and was never released in the U.S. at all.

By the time the Rollers third single "Manana" was released in mid-1972, the personnel was solidified with ALAN and DEREK LONGMUIR, ERIC FAULKNER, JOHN DEVINE and NOBBY. The song was a hit throughout Europe and was released as a single in many countries with different picture sleeves. When I visited Spain a few years ago, a record shop there was playing a Spanish cover version of "Manana"! Written and produced by Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley, the Rollers version won the 4th Radio Luxemburg Grand Prix International at the Nouveau Theatre in Luxemburg and went to the top 10 in Germany. It's a pretty odd sounding single!

The b-side is a Nobby Clark original called "Because I Love You." Nobby usually had the b-side on these early singles. The "Manana" single was only released in the U.S. as a promotional copy on the Bell label with the STEREO version on one side and the MONO version on the other side.

UK Bell 45
Rare U.S. Stereo/Mono Bell 45


  1. very interesting and having just seen Les McKeown perform twice last month in november 2011 in winnipeg manitoba and reading this story, I find this all very interesting and all very new to me. Thanks for sharing the two singles. Listening to one of them right now.
    Maria U

  2. So what are the five singles? I know the songs with Nobby's voice that were included on the recent CD reissues, such as "I'd Do It Again" and "Alright". What is the chronology and specific A/B side lineup of each record?

  3. Hey Billy!
    The 5 singles are:
    ...the latest remaster CDS have a few tracks from the era ("I'd Do It Again" and an early completely different song called "Wouldn't You Like It") with Nobby vocals. There should be a single CD with ALL the Nobby tracks!

  4. btw, those couple tracks I mentioned on the CDs were NOT originally released in the 70s and make their debut on the remaster CDs.