Jane Birkin

Jane Birkin

In The First Place

By Carol-Anne Lennie

Joe Massot's surreal '60s visual masterpiece has enjoyed somewhat of a critical revival in recent years, not least in the wake of the Oasis mega-hit of the same name. However, for those with more than a passing interest in the Beatles and '60s psychedelia the word 'Wonderwall' conjurs up more than a dreary '90s anthem.

Wonderwall the film began shooting in 1967 and would become a snapshot of swinging London at it's height. The story was slight: mad professor (Jack MacGowran) dismantles his grubby flat to eavesdrop on the freaky goings-on next-door and in so doing develops an obsession with a model (Jane Birkin) living there. Not much, perhaps, to elevate the film beyond the ranks of everyother psychedelic cash-in of the day. But add in a bit of Beatle fairydust in the shape of a George Harrison soundtrack (and the fact, apart from a rare airing on British ITV regions in the mid-nineties, the film has not been seen since 1968) and you have the stuff of (minor) legend.

Wonderwall trivia:

-George Harrison's soundtrack was re-released on in the early '90s as part of the (now-stalled) Apple CD re-issue programme.

--According to Joe Massot, George Harrison was not the first to display an interest in providing music for the film: "I had various choices, the Bee Gees were interested in doing something and came to Twickenham Studios to see me. It seemed the movie had created a vibe as Graham Nash also wanted to join in. George told me that he had been working on "Magical Mystery Tour" helping out, but that was Paul's project...that he would like to do something solo. So I told him he would have a free hand to do anything he liked musically. That was what interested him in the picture"

-One of those rumored to be amongst the musicians on the soundtrack was Monkee Peter Tork.

-Track two on the 1996 Kula Shaker single 'Govinda' ('Gokula') uses an instantly-recognisable guitar riff from the film's soundtrack. Though George Harrison/Apple would not allow a direct sample, the Mills-performed guitar figure was sanctioned with Harrison earning a co-credit on the track. Kula Shaker would later record a new (and very Wonderwall-esque) soundtrack to the Joe Massot short 'Reflections On Love' from 1965.

-The recent video release of 'Wonderwall' has seen the Indian chants over the opening titles replaced by the Remo Four track 'In The First Place', a song newly-discovered in the search of the film's original stereo recordings. The Remo Four had been brought in as sessions players on the album and although Colin Manley and Tony Ashton are credited as the song's writers this brooding psych gem positively oozes Harrison circa '68. Re-issued on CD single in 1999 by Pilar.

-Check out more on the film here

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