Q: Can you help me find a song? It starts out “The changing of sunlight to moonlight.” I think it’s from the early ’70s.
A: The song is “Reflections of my Life” by Marmalade. The band formed in Scotland in the early ’60s and performed for many years as Dean Ford & the Gaylords. In 1964, they were signed to a recording contract by EMI-Columbia. While the band was popular in Scotland, they moved to London in order to reach a bigger audience. After the move, they hired a new manager, changed their name to Marmalade, and signed a new recording contract with CBS Records. After deciding to adopt a more commercial sound, they scored their first UK Top Ten hit with “Lovin’ Things” in May 1968. They followed that hit with their version of the Beatles “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” which reached No. 1 in December 1968 and became one of only a few Beatles songs to be released by another artist prior to being released by the Beatles. In the early 1970s, they had their first American hit with “Reflections of my Life,” which peaked at No. 10. Marmalade had more UK hits throughout the early ’70s but never reached the American Top 40 again.
Q: I have a question about the Guns N’ Roses song “November Rain.” I have heard that the original recording of this song was over 20 minutes and was then cut to nine minutes for the radio version. Was the longer version ever released?
A: “November Rain,” Guns N’ Roses’ second biggest hit behind “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” was one of Axl Rose’s earliest songs. Started in the early ’80s, it was eventually recorded during the Use Your Illusion sessions.
The song was originally over 20 minutes long, but was eventually shortened to just under nine minutes. After reaching No. 3 in 1992, “November Rain” became one the longest Top 10 hits ever and contains the longest guitar solo ever on a Top 10 hit. Despite all the interest in the song, the longer version has never been commercially released.
Q: I’ve heard that U2’s Bono lost the lyrics to the songs that were ultimately planned for their second album, “October.” What’s the real story?
A: The incident to which you referred occurred in 1981 while the band was playing in Portland, Oregon. Two young women came backstage to meet the band. After they had left, Bono discovered that the briefcase he kept his writings in had disappeared, along with $300 he kept in it as well. At the time he was devastated because the case contained the lyrics for the songs that he was writing for their second album, which was to be recorded once the U.S. tour ended. As a result, the lyrics had to be reconstructed and the songs hurriedly written. Bono has since admitted that he made more of the incident at the time than he should have because, in actuality, there was not much substance to the writings that he lost. In 2004, 23 years later, Cindy Harris — who had not been involved in the original theft — presented the lost briefcase to Bono. She said she found it in 1981 in the attic of a rental house in Tacoma, Washington, but had not realized they had been stolen until years later.