EARL OKIN'S MUSIC

Style and Influences


(HINT! THIS IS A BIG PAGE...with LOTS of PICTURES!)
Well, this is just about how it started. Earl's first featured TV spot with Brian Johnston way back in 1959, long before he became a legendary cricket-commentator for the BBC! This was in a black&white programme called 'All Your Own', absolutely NOTHING to do with teeth, incidentally. So, he appeared on TV BEFORE the chaps on the following picture...

Hey! Look at the size of the camera! notice too, that it had three revolving lenses. This was before ZOOM lenses had appeared on the scene. Earl's shirt was blue! The black&white camera didn't handle true white very well in those days...Earl'ss guitar was hand-made for him by his father...

His appearance was so successful, that the BBC offered to record Earl for free at their West End studios. Thus it is that we have 78rpm recoprding of Earl! Is this why he started collecting 78s?

When Earl started writing pop-songs in the 1960s, he was often compared to...

Why!? Well, partly because his publisher was the same Dick James who helped launch them (and also, later on, Elton John). Indeed, Earl's first single way back in 1967, was recorded at Abbey Road Studios.

Of-course, it didn't help being compared to megastars like this, but at least Earl has NEVER EVER been compared to....

for which he's profoundly grateful!


Dick James always used to call Earl his second Paul McCartney and it's true that, as with Paul McCartney (with whom Earl toured over a decade later), his melodies are very strong, especially in the ballad department!

However, Earl only wanted to be his first Earl Okin and, in truth, his influences were VERY different...



The first sort of music that Earl loved was (and still is) Grand Opera. If you ask him, for instance why he dresses as he does, he'll refer you to some pictures of his favourite singers. First, there's Caruso. A larger version of this picture of the legendary tenor...

...showed not only the bowler hat, which has become Earl's preferred headwear, (see WELCOME page), but also...SPATS...

(which have become part of his 'image' and which is indeed featured in the URL of this WEBSITE).

You don't believe me? Well, here's Caruso again, this time with another great, the finest baritone on record, Titta Ruffo. Here, they're both wearing spats. Mind you, Earl never stands like this. These days people get the wrong idea about you if you do...

Hey! Let's give you the full collection. Here's a painting of Caruso (greatest tenor), Ruffo (greatest baritone) and Feodor Chaliapin, the Russian bass and maybe the greatest of them all, sitting around a table...


But these are performers. Earl was also influenced by the music itself and, in particular, composers like...

Puccini,

Massenet, and...

Tchaikowsky.


JAZZ
Of-course, since his early days, Earl has branched out into Jazz and Bossa Nova, so, just to complete things, here is a little gallery of his main Jazz and Bossa Nova influences.
First and foremost comes the 20th century genius who also wore spats...well, at least early on in his long career...

Duke Ellington.

(NB Fred Astaire wore spats too, as did Charles Chaplin sometimes, when he wasn't being the Little Tramp. Earl therefore decided pretty early on that, if he wanted to be really GREAT, he'd better wear spats too...)

This reminds me. I definitely agree with Duke Ellington's philosophy of life. Never run if you can walk, never walk if you can sit and never sit if you can lie!


When Earl plays Jazz piano, it is Duke's idiosyncratic style that he tries to emulate. On the other hand, when he demonstrates his unique ability to sing like a trumpet, he always says that anyone can do the sound, but the difficult part is to do the solos, and, naturally, to do that, you have to listen very hard to the very best. such as...

Yes, of-course...Louis Armstrong!


Earl always says, that if you're going to phrase Jazz properly, you have to listen to the way Louis sang, too...especially in the early 30s.

Mind you, I don't think Earl wants a voice like Louis!

No, he has other vocal heroes.

Naturally, he loves all the Jazz greats like Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, but, the two singers that have influenced Earl the most are the ultra-smooth and ultra-musical, late, great...

Mel Torme...

...and, above all, the WONDERFUL...

...Peggy Lee!


BOSSA-NOVA
It was on Peggy Lee LPs that Earl first heard Bossa Nova performed, when he was studying Philosophy at U.K.C., and was immediately hooked! Thirty years on and he can look back to several trips to Brazil where he met such greats as Gal Costa and the late Elis Regina and forward to a 1999 tour of Brazil, following his current Bossa Nova CD-project 'BOSSA BRITANICA'!

Nevertheless, once more two names head the roll of honour and when you hear Earl's own Bossa Novas you immediately hear the influence of the music of...

Antonio Carlos Jobim...

...and echoes of the guitarist/vocalist who invented the whole Bossa Nova genre...

...Joao Gilberto!


Now, contrary to common belief, Bossa Nova isn't the name of a dance but simply what was then a NEW WAY of playing a Samba.

Mind you, you can certainly move to it...as you can see...

...and if you get TOO carried away, you end up dancing like THIS...

or even...

See below for Earl's effect on other women...


FINAL NOTE...
Well, that's a pretty wide range of stuff, but Earl's tastes go wider still. He'll listen to/have a go at virtually any sort of music if it's good. He's written two short classical pieces for piano, two more for violin and 'cello and a Romance for Oboe. He's about to start on the third movement of his String Quartet.

At the other end of the scale, he thinks that the songs of Stevie Wonder compare with just about anyone!


All in all, Earl is interested in just about any music, with perhaps the sole exception of ANY stuff played by people who look like this...

this...

this...

this...

but ESPECIALLY this!!!...

Yeuch!!!


RETURN TO THE WELCOME PAGE

Earl appeals, as one critic once said, to everyone from seven to senility.

The above shows his effect on ladies who are perhaps a little older...


RETURN TO THE WELCOME PAGE