Year of Release: 1967
I've freely admitted before that I'm no big fan of The Spectrum, but I realise that they're a highly sought after act by some fans of all things popsike, so I'm including this single on the blog for the benefit of the curious.
However, because I have no great love of their work, and there's nothing particularly absurd or unusual about it either, it's rather tricky for me to wax lyrical about the contents of this disc. Suffice to say that this is a very smooth, slick blend of sixties pop which did manage to pick up a lot of airplay on the pirate stations at the time. Soulful vocals and pounding orchestral arrangements dominate, along with some agreeable electric organ work (on the flip) and close harmonies. This makes them seem like they must have been a very professional act - but there's a certain lack of energy, adventure or excitement which prevents both sides from completely winning me over. Nonetheless though, their fans will probably be happy to listen to these tracks as MP3s. Curiously, the B-side "I Wanna Be With You" is definitely the best offering, sounding like the work of a finger-poppin' mod band you might have heard playing in dive bars around the time.
RCA released shedloads of Spectrum 45s throughout the decade which frequently pop up in second hand record stores in quantities which make me suspect that some of their singles may have bubbled just outside the charts. Sadly though, that's just a hunch, and I can't tell you for definite how close they were to the big time. They made it in Spain, however, where "Heatwave" was a massive smash. So there you go.
(I originally wrote this blog entry back in October 2008 when the site was in its infancy, and it really shows - it's such a noncommittal blurb that I have to wonder why I even bothered. A blank page would have been better.
To make up for it, here are some proper FACTS. The Spectrum contained Keith Forsey and his brother Colin on drums and bass guitar, the former of whom went on to write "Flashdance - What A Feelin'" and "(Don't You) Forget About Me". He was also sticksman on Donna Summer's legendary "I Feel Love" and additionally appeared on a variety of other Moroder recordings.
A rumour has been circulating amongst popsike collectors for years that The Spectrum were formed as a deliberately manufactured band, a la The Monkees. While details of their full line-up - apart from the involvement of the Forsey brothers - are sketchy, there is nothing to confirm this as being true. What is certain is that RCA encouraged them to form an association with Gerry Anderson and dress in Thunderbirds styled uniforms for certain photo-shoots. You can't help but think that such a promotional gambit would have alienated more people than it attracted…
Since I originally wrote this entry, The Spectrum have also grown on me a lot more. I still don't think you should trouble yourselves parting with £80 for their album, but at their best they've produced some interesting sounding and quite moody psych-pop. For a more positive evaluation, head over to the Vinyl Antiquity blog where you'll read some seriously over-excited descriptions of their work.)