Here’s some proof, if any was really needed, that everything in music has been done before and will be done again to the nth degree. A regular visitor to these pages once pointed out to me how similar The Libertines ‘Last Post on the Bugle’ sounded to Australian psych-heads The Masters Apprentices 1967 track ‘War Or Hands Of Time’. Making a mental note I promised to myself I’d listen to both records back to back before writing a bit about them.
The Masters Apprentices
I’d forgotten all about this shallow promise until the other day when The Masters Apprentices track shuffled up on my iPod. And I didn’t recognise it at first. “I don’t remember putting those Libertines demos on here,” I thought. Then it clicked. It wasn’t the Libertines. It was ‘War Or Hands Of Time’. And it sounded an awful lot like ‘Last Post On The Bugle‘. It really does.
Johnny Thunders Pete Doherty
A check on the sleevenotes of the self-titled Libertines second album reveals a wee clue – Last Post On The Bugle is jointly published by EMI and MCA/Universal Music Publishing. A further bit of internet digging reveals that the track is written by Doherty/Barat/Bower. Doherty and Barat you’ll know…..but you may not know that Bower is (presumably) Michael Bower, guitarist with The Masters Apprentices. Voila! Not quite an admission of theft from Pete ‘n Carl (there’s no writing credit on the album sleeve), but nonetheless, they’ve given half the publishing over to a long forgotten hippy living on the other side of the world.
When I turn cold, I will be thinking of you
When I’m far away, try to remember what I said
The day I live, I’ll still be dreaming of your love
Wait for the clouds to pass your way
Wait for me I’ll be back some day
Whereas the original track was written about a soldier embracing his sweetheart before heading off to war, Doherty keeps the melody and rewrites the song’s original lyrics to address the break up of his friendship with Carl Barat and The Libertines.
If I have to go
I will be thinking of your love
Oh somehow you’ll know
You will know
Thinking of your love
Slyly they whispered away
As I played the last post on the bugle
Go Compare! As I said, proof that everything in music has been done before. Proof, also, that junkies will steal just about anything. Even the melody from an old long-forgotten slice of Antipodean psychedelic rock.
It’s a fair cop, guv etc etc