Abba When All Is Said And Done Lyrics P.F Sloan and Steve Barri

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P.F Sloan and Steve Barri

Even if you don’t immediately recognize the name PF Sloan, chances are that somewhere in the depths of your record collection, perhaps in the section reserved for the 1960s, you’ll find a song written by the talented teenage musician, or indeed, even a track or two he recorded under one of his many pseudonyms. .

Phil Sloan, as he was known, had a false start as a singer behind him when, in 1964, at the tender age of eighteen, he signed as a staff writer for the West Coast branch of Screen Gems. He was soon paired with another young songwriter, Steve Barry, and together they wrote a stream of Billboard 100 hits, one after the other, in genres ranging from R&B and folk-rock to girl group and surf-pop. Sadly, a feud with Dunhill Records president, Jay Lasker, largely a by-product of Sloan’s understandable desire to perform under his own name, led to him being summarily fired from the new label at the end of 1967. Barry, who had always been content with his role as a writer/producer, became the label’s head of A&R before taking the same position with Warner Bros. Records. He currently earns a living on the college circuit lecturing on the history of rock ‘n’ roll.

After releasing two solo albums, Measure for Pleasure (1968) and Raised on Records (1972), Sloane disappeared without a trace. He has since admitted to being ‘reclusive and mentally ill’ for a long time. A 1993 LA Times review at the Troubadour in West Hollywood to promote his comeback album (still in progress) Eve of Destruction suggests that his troubles may not be entirely behind him:

‘Unfortunately, Sloan’s eccentric performing methods often clash uncomfortably against the more catchy qualities of his songs. Constantly on the move, full of nervous play and movement, constantly chewing gum, he frequently interrupted the flow of the music with long, unfocused narratives disconnected to the point of disconnection. As the evening progressed, he occasionally added aggressive harangues in support of a vague socio-political agenda.

He then recorded another album titled Selover in 2006.

His incredible work rate at Dunhills, in the years leading up to his disastrous breakdown, must have had an effect. Between 1964 and 1967 he partnered with Barry to write hits for some of the decade’s biggest acts, including The Searchers, The Mamas and Papas, The Fifth Dimension, The Turtles, Herman Hermits and Johnny Rivers. In addition, his anguished protest song “Eve of Destruction”, written in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis, became a worldwide hit for Barry McGuire. The first and last time he charted in the UK under his own name, or at least, his latest incarnation, PF Sloan, was in 1965 when his Dylanesque pot-boiler ‘The Sins of a Family’ reached No.38.

Throughout the Dunhill years, Sloan also recorded around the clock with Barry, The Lifeguards, The Wildcats, Sheridan Hollenbeck Orchestra and Chorus, Philip and Stephen, Willie and the Wheels, The Fantastic Baggies, Themes Inc., The. Street Cleaners and Grass Roots. The Fantastic Baggies, perhaps the best of these side-projects, cut the truly wonderful surf pop album Tell Me I’m Surfin’ in 1964, which is still regarded as one of the best albums in the genre’s history. When he wasn’t writing or recording songs, on an industrial level, Sloan was busy playing guitar on several seminal records like The Mamas and the Papas’ all-time classic “California Dreaming.”

It all ended in tears, of course, as Sloan’s insistence on moving center stage ultimately cost him his Dunhill career. His attempt to “ride the lightning bolt between creativity and professionalism” ended at the age of 22. An alternate reading of his son/daughter break-up song “Let Me Be”, which the Turtles took on at no. 28 on the Billboard charts in 1965, can be seen as defining his attitude towards art in general and his ongoing conflict with Lasker in particular;

‘Please don’t mistake me or try to make me/Someone’s shadow/You think I’m not him or her/I’m just trying to be myself… And I’m not one. To be told how to move the pawns / I’m sorry I’m not the fool who thought you’d play by your rules’.

If it was a verbal warning or a plea to understand that he no longer wanted to be considered a “hired gun,” the power-brokers at Dunhill were concerned.

This 2010, 25-track compilation, lovingly put together by Ace Records, includes all the essential cuts from his halcyon days, as well as lesser-known offerings like “The Sh-Down Song,” credited to The Ginger Snaps featuring Dandy Dawson, is “summer”. future Beach Boy Bruce Johnston delivering the goods on Ramona King’s no-nonsense slapstick, “You Say Pretty Words” and the wounded Ann-Margaret, “You Sure Know How to Hurt Someone”. Additionally, the album is a superbly informative and A well presented booklet that answers some of the questions surrounding the mysterious Sloan.

It includes a particularly poignant anecdote about Sixties soft pop exponents The Association, represented by Sloan’s 1967 composition on You Baby, “On a Quiet Night”, which repeats in this review. While headlining an event for the National Association of Songwriters in 1992, Sloan enjoyed listening to the song “PF Sloan”, which legendary songwriter Jimmy Webb wrote as a tribute to him in 1970. When Sloan left. Backstage to introduce himself to the band, he refused to believe that PF Sloane was the subject of the song, insisting that he was a fictional character! It should be noted that Webb, for whatever strange reason, spread rumors that PF Sloan was in fact a figment of his imagination. The lyrics themselves are fairly obscure –

‘I’ve been looking for PF Sloan / But nobody knows where he’s gone / Nobody heard that song / That good boy put on wings / The last time I saw PF Sloan / That summer had burned and winter had flown / He turned the corner all alone / But He continued to sing’.

It’s easy to forget, all these years after the event, that in the mid-’60s, Sloan and Barry were helping to define and codify the burgeoning language of pop, in much the same way that Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly had done for rock ‘n’ roll a decade earlier. The song titles alone recreate a familiar story – “Wherever the Girls Are”, “I Found a Girl”, “Summer Means Fun”, “Unless You Care”, “Where Were You When I Need You”, “Another Day, Another Heartache”, “Only When You’re Lonely”, “Things I’ve Been Meant To Say” and “All I Want Is Loving” – testosterone angst, hormonal heartbreak, teenage trauma by day.

You Baby not only records the best work of an exceptionally gifted song-writing partnership, it also serves as a glorious reminder of pop music’s salad days.

* For those wanting to delve a little further into PF Sloan’s work, Ace released a collection of Sloan’s own Dunhill recordings, Here’s Where I Belong: The Best of the Dunhill Years 1965 to 1967, in 2008 and Sloane co-wrote it. Life stories, including SE Feinberg’s interesting, if somewhat unreliable autobiography, What’s Exactly the Matter with Me: Memoirs of a Life in Music.

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