I’ve just returned from New Zealand where, among other things, I finally compiled my 40 song retrospective which, I’m assured, will be released by ODE in time for Father’s Day this year.
It was an interesting exercise trying to choose 40 songs – 2 CDs worth – that might truly represent my body of work over the last 40 years. An almost impossible and entirely subjective exercise, but ultimately rewarding. In the end what I’ve done is to put 20 songs recorded before 1980 onto one CD and 20 songs recorded between 1980 -2010 on the other CD.
Most of the songs were chosen from albums (vinyl or CDs) that were released, but there are a few bonus tracks. These include a single released in Sweden and some beautiful acoustic tracks that I recorded in 1976 for ‘Use Your Eyes’ but had to leave off the album because of the limitations of vinyl.
If you’re a fan you’ll find most of your favourites included in this compilation but if you don’t, the good news is that everything I’ve ever released has been remastered and will soon be available online. Yes, it’s true folks, I’ve completely joined the digital age.
Which brings me to the real point of this particular blog.
With the renewed journalistic interest in my upcoming retrospective release I’m constantly asked for old photographs and/or videos of me at work in the 70s but, sadly, I have neither. My fame, such as it was, was spawned by radio not TV. We never made a video of any of my songs – not even the so-called hits. The closest we came was for Higher Trails, which Mike Firth used in his movie Off the Edge resulting in spectacular footage of two pioneering hand gliders, Jeff and Blair, soaring over some of New Zealand’s most breathtaking locations.
This video can now be found on youtube and along with a couple of other still picture videos of Damn the Dam obviously cut together by dedicated fans. But that’s it. As much as I would love to have videos of my past and present music, none exist.
Well … that’s what I thought until this afternoon when I decided to search for myself on youtube. Imagine my surprise when I found three videos for a song I recorded in the 90s called ‘A Distant Sound’. All the more surprising when I never officially released that song into the market. (How it got out there is another story). But I also discovered this afternoon that you can get A Distant Sound as a free download. Then again, I imagine you can get most of my stuff as free download if you know where to look.
Now, I’m not going to get my guts in a twist by looking into what music of mine might have been pirated. I see no point in that. When you have a guy in NZ living in a castle on Auckland’s North Shore, who is basically a folk hero after accumulating billions by facilitating the distribution of pirated music, you can pretty much gauge public sentiment on that point.
History tells us that pirates become legends while those plundered disappear into anonymity. Apparently, what always was, always will be.
So, folks, since it would appear that my only hope of getting videos posted on youtube is through the enterprise, ingenuity and hard work of those who like my music enough to pirate it and then put pictures to it, I say Go Right Ahead.You have my blessing. If your pictures help bring my music to the world, I will be forever in your debt.
In fact, within the next few weeks I’ll put up some songs on this site so you can download them for free and use them to your heart’s content.
I look forward to the day youtube is replete with videos of my songs made my people who cared enough to make them.
Yo Ho Ho 🙂
John Hanlon, May, 2013