It would also be remiss of me not to mention today the 100th birthday of Captain Tom Moore from Bedfordshire who has been made an honorary colonel after raising almost £30 million for the NHS after walking laps of his garden. The man is an inspiration to us all. Have a happy birthday, Captain Tom.
My song today is ‘She’s Got You’. This is a country song written by Hank Cochran and was first recorded in December 1961 and released in 1962 as a single by Patsy Cline. Musically, the song is an upbeat pop song with country overtones to support it.
According to the Ellis Nassour biography ‘Honky Tonk Angel: The Intimate Story of Patsy Cline’, writer Hank Cochran remembers calling Cline and telling her that he had just written her next Number 1 hit. She told him to come over to her house with a bottle of liquor and play it on the guitar for her and friend Dottie West who was visiting that afternoon. Cline was emotionally moved by its lyrics and loved the song so much that she learned it that night, calling up her manager and producer to sing it to them over the phone. At her next session, she recorded it. This was a rare instance, as Cline and her producer, Owen Bradley, often disagreed with each other's choice of material. This time, they both agreed they had a hit.
The theme of the song revolves around material possessions of lost love:
I've got the records, that we used to share
And they still sound the same, as when you were here
The only thing different, the only thing new
I've got the records ... she's got you.
‘She's Got You’ was written as Patsy Cline's follow-up single to her two previous big hits of the previous year, ‘I Fall to Pieces’ and ‘Crazy’. "She's Got You" was released on January 30, 1962, and immediately went to Number 1 on the ‘Hot C&W Sides’ country chart. It also reached Number 14 on the ‘Billboard Hot 100’ chart. The song also went to Number three on the ‘Easy Listening Chart’. ‘She's Got You’ marked Patsy Cline’s first hit single in the United Kingdom, where it reached Number 43. ‘She's Got You’ later became classic and was one of the songs to help jump-start Patsy Cline's career. The hit led to an appearance on ‘American Bandstand’ that February and led to Cline having her own show in Las Vegas in the following November.
‘She's Got You’ has been recorded by numerous artists, such as Dean Martin, Willie Nelson, Elvis Costello, Don McLean, and Loretta Lynn, plus many others. In 1977, the Loretta Lynn remake was a Number 1 country hit.
This song was released when I was going on twenty years old. I was planning to go to Canada for a couple of years after my 21st birthday after an amount of compensation (awarded to me after a bad traffic accident when I was 11 years old) made it possible for me to travel abroad before I returned to England to marry and settle down.
It was during my two-year period in Canada when I first heard Patsy Cline and became an ardent fan of hers. Indeed, it was this American period in my life which introduced me to the genre of Country and Western songs to which I was instantly attracted and fell in love with. What I love most about C&W songs is that they all tell a meaningful story which resonates with many of life’s problems; dealing with difficult and extreme emotions that are most common to all our lives like birth, marriage, death, love, jealousy, infidelity, addiction to drugs, alcohol and other women, etc. The list is endless while the situations remain real-life ones.
‘She’s Got You’ deals with a problem that I have come across a few times in my life, especially when I worked as a Probation Officer in West Yorkshire between 1970-1995, specialising in marriage guidance counselling. My work in the marriage field frequently witnessed arguments between couples separating and divorcing who would fight like cats and dogs about the division of the spoils at the final stage of the County Court hearing when assets were decided upon by the adjudicating Judge.
It was half expected, where custody and access to child/children were concerned, that separating parents would enter into heated disputes at the divorce hearing stage, but quite another when it came to who got ownership of the family dog, cat, or goldfish! I was to learn, however, that the division of marital spoils always seemed more relevant to the divorcing couple whenever adultery was a major cause of the breakup. The divorce was always made worse when the marriage had broken up because of an extramarital affair by one of the parties, especially if one of the marriage partners had been left on their own to face the future while the other divorcee was planning a rosy life together with their new lover and next spouse. In these situations where one marriage partner lost out to another man or woman, their acquisition of marital property assumed a degree of importance any outsider just could not believe.
I have witnessed physical fights between divorcees. I have had to break up punch ups in the Probation Office and have often observed two squabbling divorcees pay their solicitor more in financial fees than the item they were fighting over cost. I recall a time when all people seeking a divorce were obliged by law to go through a ‘reconciliation process’ with a Probation Officer or Marriage Guidance Worker first before being able to proceed with their divorce in the County Court. In 99 percent of these ‘reconciliation’ situations were usually superficial. Neither party wished to attend these sessions but put on a false front for the benefit of appearing amenable in the eyes of the deciding court when the mediator reported back upon reconciliation success or its failure.
From all the items of ownership fought over that I found hardest to comprehend was the ‘honeymoon photographs’ of the divorcing couple. Initially, I just could not fathom why honeymoon photographs should be so important a thing to argue about so vigorously, especially when each of the two people getting divorced had acquired new dating partners after their marital separation. Photographs of an old honeymoon and images on the beach etc would have been the first thing to put on the bonfire as far as I was concerned, had I been in either of their positions.
For those of you whose mind is already telling you that the honeymoon photographs were too racy to be seen by others outside the marital relationship, that was not the case. This was during the 1970s, and it was highly unlikely then that couples might take sexually compromising photographs of each other. What militated against this practice of taking sexy snaps was the restrictiveness of the times. All photographs taken during the 70s were developed by a third-party photographic shop source. Had some sexual snaps been witnessed during the process of their development, the customer identity would have most certainly been immediately reported to the police, and the parties would have been instantly produced before a court of the land, prosecuted, convicted of taking immoral images and sentenced.
It eventually transpired that the much-fought over photographs revealed an excess of the bride’s ‘body fatness’ more than too much ‘sexual frontage’. When the bride went on her honeymoon, she was extremely overweight by five or six stones above her body mass index (BMI). Since her marriage, however, she had slimmed down to such an extent that she could have now walked any fashion parade as a model of slim build. Indeed, she was so proud of her present slim looks that she would have died with shame had the new man in her life seen a photograph of how grossly obese she once looked. She could not trust her ex 'not to do the dirty on her' if he got possession of their honeymoon snaps.
She believed her ex to be the most spiteful of men, and a man who would use the unflattering photographs of her to wreck her new relationship if they remained in his possession. She believed he would show her current partner how fat she was when she first married, and even taunt her new partner with the threat that she would remain (like all crash-dieters), prone to pile all her weight back on (and more besides) the very first time they rowed with him. She believed that her ex was vindictive enough to even falsely tell her new partner that she had yo-yoed between fat and lettuce leaf-size half a dozen times over their ten years of married life and was guaranteed to pile on the weight again. She believed that her ex would maliciously use her obese images on their honeymoon period to create the greatest amount of shame and maximum embarrassment and discomfort for her, if possible. She said that she would not put it past him to get dozens of copies of the offending photographs copied and post her fat image through the letterboxes of her new neighbours. All this and much more the divorcing wife believed to be possible.
Her husband’s fierce battle to retain their honeymoon photographs was eventually lost at the County Court hearing. I can safely guess what the divorced wife did with the offending photographs once she got her hands on them. They would have instantly been put on the largest bonfire of vanities ever witnessed in Huddersfield!
I remember as a boy seeing a film about two men who vied for the love and marriage of a beautiful woman. The woman in question loved each man but could not decide whom she loved most and would be happiest with, once married to. A situation was devised/contrived by her which separated the material wealth within the tripartite situation from the love to be gained from the woman in question. One man decided on his ‘love of the woman’ over that of ‘the power and wealth’ while the other man decided on staying single and instead, becoming extremely wealthy. I can recall the theme of the film as though it was yesterday when I saw it, but for the life in me, I cannot remember its title. I have had no luck with googling it either. It was a technicolour film. It wasn't a Jane Austin story, nor the Great Gatsby film, or any other period drama. It was more probably a western film from the 1950s.
How is this for a super prize for the one who can tell me the film which I am searching my memory bank for: I’ll sing you the song, ‘She’s Got You’, in a setting of your choice after the Coronavirus lockdown has ended? Or, alternately, if the winner of the contest is female, stuff the song; ‘She’s Got Me’ instead, to do with as she wants, as her first prize!
Love and peace Bill xxx