This song glistens.
It is honestly one of my all-time favourite songs.
As soon as I hear the saxophone at the start of the song, I’m transported to an early morning on the streets of New York with the sun rising over the sky scrapers. So it was natural for me to do the background in tones of yellow and orange with splatters of blue as the daylight rises.
I wanted the figure to be the focus of this piece, as the song is about the girl, so I kept the background pretty abstract with hints of New York, in the taxi cab, road signs and traffic lights.
The figure is inspired by my eldest sister Fi, and how she used to dress in the late 70’s to go to work. I didn’t want to do a disco evening wear look for this piece, I wanted something gritty yet glamorous as I feel this is what the song is about especially the line ‘You’re no tramp, but you’re no lady’. She’s a hard working girl, looking for love and surviving the streets of New York. Which was quite something of an achievement in the late 70’s if you lived outside of the glamour of Manhattan, but its her home, its all she knows so she confidently struts down the street with beeping horns of cabs all around her.
Most of the songs I use as inspiration have a special meaning from my childhood. Whilst I don’t actually
remember this song being in the UK chart I do have very vivid memories of the band who sing it Odyssey. I remember seeing them on Top of the Pops with ‘Inside Out’ (another favourite tune of mine) and being completely transfixed by Lillian and Louise Lopez. In the mind of a 5 year old they were exotic Goddesses, I’d never seen anyone look so stunning and sing so beautifully. Nobody then or now looks or sounds like them.
As I grew up I discovered more songs by Odyssey, and then one day they came to play in my local town, fronted by Lillian’s son Steve Collazo, as part of the Summer concerts held annually each July at Rochester Castle. Everyone was on their feet dancing to these gorgeous hits on a hot summers evening. It was perfect just like their songs!
Thank you, Odyssey, for the joy your image and songs have bought to my life! I can’t wait to see you live again!!!