Glenda Collins – Something I Got To Tell You

22nd August 2023 · 1960s, 1968, Music

Glenda Collins slipped through the cracks of UK pop in the Sixties, leaving a slender legacy of obscure singles recorded with Joe Meek – until releasing her debut album more than 60 years later.

Phil Spector created his legendary Wall of Sound working with entire orchestras and dozens of session musicians using state-of-the-art microphones and vocal booths.

A decade later Joe Meek recreated a remarkably similar sound in his tiny flat on the Holloway Road in north London, recording vocals in his bathroom and stringing microphones along the staircase, where musicians would sit on the steps to play.

One of his many discoveries was Glenda Collins, though she had actually been discovered back in 1960, recording three singles for Decca – Take A Chance, Oh, How I Miss Tonight! and Find Another Fool – and being dropped when they all flopped.

She found a new home with Joe Meek, who saw her as a perfect vehicle for his eccentric DIY take on Spector’s successful girl-group sound, making it weird by placing Collins’ dramatic voice in amongst wheezing keyboards, twangy guitars, and (literally) a bathtub’s worth of echo.

They made eight singles together, her first being 1963’s I Lost My Heart At The Fairground; a mini-epic filled with sound effects, Telstar-adjacent keyboards, and Collins’ dramatic vocals. That same year, the more rockabilly-influenced If You’ve Gotta Pick a Baby showed off a tougher vocal sound and featured backing from The Outlaws – including future Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore.

Over the next three years Meek and Collins continued to issue singles on the HMV and Pye labels – 1964’s Baby It Hurts and Lollipop – with the sound of cork being popped -1965’s Thou Shalt Not Steal and Johnny Loves Me, 1966’s Something I’ve Got to Tell You and It’s Hard to Believe It – that stuck to their girl group guns even as the Beatles and their followers took over the airwaves.

None of them became a hit – criminally, in the case of this song in particular – and Meek’s suicide in 1967 brought an abrupt end to what had been a spectacularly unsuccessful career. But as time passed, she somehow grew into a kind of forgotten icon of the Swinging Sixties.

In 2022, having come out of retirement twice – at intervals of 20 years – to record songs for a pair of TV theme song compilations, she finally released her debut album.

Aptly titled Second Chance, it came out an astonishing (and surely record-breaking) 62 years after her first single came out on Decca.