During the waning days of Top-40 AM radio in 1968, one song stands out in my mind as never being identified, always used as either lead-in to the news, lead out to a commercial or somehow dropped into the middle of a set virtually unnoticed. Yet somehow it wound up being the song that would often repeat in my head, usually around three in the morning, and always followed with "what the f**ck is the name of that song?"
At first I thought it was one of those oddball instrumentals by The Who (remember Waltz For A Pig, the b-side of Substitute by The Who Orchestra?), since there was a prevalent French Horn in the song and Pete Townsend was going through his French Horn phase (The Overture to Tommy) I figured maybe it was yet another Who masterpiece masquerading as the flip side to something.
And it wasn't until years later that I heard the song again and found out it was by Raymond Lefevre and His Orchestra - a big hit in Europe, racing up the French charts and an instrumental version of a song originally written by French Ian Hunter look-alike, Michel Polonareff.
Since 1968 the song had been hijacked by the "Beautiful Music" format of 1970's FM and turned into something of a Middle-of-the-road classic. And, truths to tell, the song did straddle the worlds of Bland and Pop pretty well for a long time.
But Raymond Lefevre was no slouch or anonymous hack. He was a first rate film composer with an impressive list of credits and he was a widely respected musician and arranger who was much in demand in French music circles.
But, as I suspect a number of you who remember hearing this song over and over and not knowing the name of it or who did it, here's the answer to your sleepless nights: Soul Coaxing (Ame Caline - in french) by Raymond Lefevre and His Orchestra.
Another of life's elusive questions is answered.
And the world of Pop Music spins quietly and deceptively on.