Mojo (UK)


Ten key ALAN HULL songs. Selected by JAMES McNAIR.


LADY ELEANOR (Nicely Out Of Tune, 1970)

Spectral organ, spidery mandolin and a lithe, loping bass line star in an unlikely UK Number 3 hit. “I wrote it almost in a trance,” Hull recalled. “It’s a very mystical song, but I know it’s about death.”

CLEAR WHITE LIGHT (PT. 2) (Nicely Out Of Tune, 1970)

“Kind of metaphysic­al,” declared producer John Anthony. With its stunning a cappella opening, the spirituall­y-charged Clear White Light was sung at Hull’s funeral. “Alan was definitely anti-organised religion, but I think he felt there was something out there,” notes Rod Clements.

WINTER SONG (Nicely Out Of Tune, 1970)

“Do you spare a thought for the homeless tramp/Who wishes he was dead?” sings Hull of winter’s bite in a song of palpable, frosty magic. Hull fan Sam Fender’s November 2020 cover version raised money for homelessne­ss charity People Of The Streets.

JANUARY SONG (Fog On The Tyne, 1971)

Codified, certainly, but a deeply personal song as Hull explores themes of community and mutual support while eyeing himself in the mirror: “I see that he is trying to cry/But the tears they will not fall.” The simple arrangemen­t is all the song’s fine melody needs.

ALL FALL DOWN (Dingly Dell, 1972)

A diatribe with a sing-along chorus, this early Green-leaning anthem skewered corrupt town planners (“We can have a motorway/ With motorway dough”). Hull fan Elvis Costello cites it as a melodic influence on his own Tramp

The Dirt Down.

MONEY GAME (Pipedream, 1973)

Clever chord modulation­s drive a melodicall­y adventurou­s waltz lampooning fat cats who accrue moolah in search of status. “What does money mean, anyway?/I’ve got more than all that,” Hull tells Anna, the daughter of one such bread-head.

I HATE TO SEE YOU CRY (Pipedream, 1973)

“Was it written for [Hull’s wife] Pat?” says Ray Laidlaw. “I’ve always assumed so.” Another sublime piano ballad, deliberate­ly placed in a key that stretched Hull’s vocal range, so his voice cracked with emotion. Heartrendi­ng and fully lived-in.


Recorded live in the studio, just vocal and acoustic guitar, CGW’s ribaldry deepens as Hull lays stress on the first syllable of ‘Country’. “Alan loved doing that,” says Ray Laidlaw. “He really laid it on thick.”


Exquisitel­y arranged for piano, strings and brass, this strangely moving plea for unity celebrates booze as social grease; as healer, even. “Let’s have another drink for God’s sake,” implores Hull. Heady stuff.

GOLDEN OLDIES (Squire, 1975)

“John Lennon was a huge influence on Alan,” says Rod Clements. “The edginess of his writing, his social conscience.” Hull paid homage here, name-checking John Winston and a certain Robert Allen Zimmerman. He was already pining for a lost golden age.

 ?? ?? Working-class hero: Hull reveals his favourite Beatle, Newcastle City Hall, September 30, 1972.
Working-class hero: Hull reveals his favourite Beatle, Newcastle City Hall, September 30, 1972.

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