Tuesday, 9 January 2018
Michael & The Slipper Tree/Ulla/Spinning Spinning Spinning/Grooviest Girl In The World
The original line-up of the Simple Image is as listed above, but Allan Gordon didn't stay very long and he was replaced by Gordon Wylie on drums. Barry, Harry and Gordon were all employees of Todd Motors in Wellington when they first started playing together. Harry had been around the music scene for a while, originally starting out in a group called the Young Ones, which after Harry left, went on to eventually become Larry's Rebels. Ron Gascoigne had originally played with South Island band, the Termites, before joining the Insect for six months. He left them at the end of 1966 to join the Simple Image. The Insect eventually evolved into the Fourmyula. Original drummer Allan also came from a South Island band called the Vaqueros.
Their first single was "Two Kinds Of Lovers"/"Summer Wine", and released with little fanfare, it spent four weeks in the national charts in March 1968, peaking at number 11. It was their second single which really established Simple Image outside their hometown. Producer Howard Gable used a phasing technique in the mix and it gave the song a very distinctive sound. "Spinning Spinning Spinning"/"Shy Boy" climbed to number one on the charts and spent two weeks in that position in July 1968. "Spinning" was entered into the 1968 Loxene Gold Disc Awards and narrowly missed winning the top spot.
Barry Leef left the group in June 1969 and had a short spell in a group called Retaliation, before he headed to Australia. He joined up with fellow Kiwis, Jack Stradwick, Mike Wilson and Mike Darby to form Straw Patch. They had a minor hit with a song called "Send Me No More Flowers". Barry's replacement in the Simple Image was Doug Smith and with him they chose to do a cover of a song by the Equals called "Michael and the Slipper Tree". Backed with "Mean So Much", the single was another top 10 hit, reaching number 7 in September. It was the last time the group featured on the charts. The Simple Image won the "Group Award" at the 1969 NEBOA Entertainer Of The Year Awards. Also in 1969 the group released an EP called "Four Hits From The Simple Image" and it contained "Michael and the Slipper Tree", "Ulla", "Spinning Spinning Spinning" and "Grooviest Girl In The World".
In 2001 EMI released a CD called "Spinning Spinning Spinning - The Complete Simple Image" which, using the cover from their original album, contains the entire album, plus every single they did and two previously unreleased songs.