13 Comments (since 31 Mar 2015)
There are many different treatises on this 1967 track (UK No. 2, US No. 109), from many different sources - most of them too lengthy to reproduce verbatim here. However, one account (from "ElectricSailor.Blogspot.co.uk") is concise enough for me to use, in order to give the younger listener an insight into what all the fuss was about at the time - and there was a fuss:
"One of the great 'what ifs' of the 'psychedelic era' was the ever-unfinished 'psychedelic magnum opus', 'A Teenage Opera'. Its potential was embodied on a hit single released in the UK, 'Excerpt from a Teenage Opera' by Keith West (and Mark Wirtz) [featured in this Jam]. Wirtz was a record producer; West, the leader of 'Tomorrow', one of the great 'psych' bands to emerge from London at the height of the movement.
"'A Teenage Opera' was the brainchild of Wirtz, who was given carte blanche at 'EMI' to create a concept album that would be sort of a 'rock opera' storybook, with the various inhabitants of a fictional village having their stories recounted through lushly-orchestrated songs. Imagine if 'The Beatles' had made a proper 'Yellow Submarine' soundtrack (in fact, 'Beatles' engineer Geoff Emerick contributed to the project).
"Wirtz enlisted West, who sang vocals on 'Grocer Jack', aka 'Excerpt from a Teenage Opera'. The expensive single featured soaring orchestration in the style of George Martin and a children's choir singing the chorus. There was even a promotional film. The B-side was a Mark Wirtz instrumental, 'Theme from a Teenage Opera'.
"I imagine the idea was to continue the project as a series of singles until the full-blown album essentially paid for itself, but the follow-up single, 'Sam', underperformed, and 'EMI' decided the project was not worth the investment. (Or perhaps they saw that the 'psychedelic' fad was coming to an end.) 'A Teenage Opera' was cancelled.
"'Tomorrow' split apart, partly out of resentment: this single was more popular than the 'Tomorrow' LP, and the crowds who caught them on tour wanted them to play West's solo hit, which the band refused to do (and couldn't logistically perform anyway). West briefly pursued a solo career until public interest waned." Sad but true. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excerpt_from_A_Teenage_Opera
Aye, the best laid schemes and all that..... Great piece of sixties pop, though.
Fine jam sir, a fine jam.
long time no hear,nice
Classic!!! They seemed to have such potential....Great Jam Lee
Ha! A time since I heard this lil' number. Fantastic slice of pop history, Lee...