The Others were part of the last wave of mid-1960's British beat bands, formed at Hampton Grammar School in Middlesex with Paul Stewart on vocals, Bob Freeman and John Stanley on guitars, Ian McLintock on bass, and Nigel Baldwin on drums. They were well suited to covering American rock 'n roll, with a lean, tough sound that allowed them to turn in a fierce version of Bo Diddley's "Oh Yeah," issued by Fontana Records in the fall of 1964. They 1965, the group had disappeared from the annals of recorded music, although they lasted long enough for a teenaged Brian May to pass through the group's line-up long before he hooked up with Roger Taylor on their way to forming Queen. Stewart, Freeman, Stanley and company were last heard of in the late 1960's working under the name Sands, aigned to Reaction Records and producing some very pleasing psychedelic music.
Listen To The Sky is a fascinating journey through the changing musical landscape of the '60s as realised by a group of young musicians from Richmond, Surrey. Influenced by local heroes The Rolling Stones and The Yardbirds (who wasn't?), they started out as The Others in 1963. Their guitarist had been kicked out of Hampton Grammar School for wearing his hair too long and they were soon signed up by the Bryan Morrison/Jimmy Duncan agency in London, home of The Pretty Things. With their R&B credentials in place, their first single was a respectable reading of the Bo Diddley staple "Oh Yeah" in 1964. Sadly, various band members were pressured into quitting the band and continiung their studies and the band was reborn with a more pronounced Who/pop-art influence, first as The Army, then as Sands. They were managed by the Marquee Organisation and enjoyed a residency at the esteemed London venue in late 1966/early 1967 before being snapped up by Brian Epstein and Robert Stigwood at NEMS who put them on stage at his one of their infamous Saville Theatre nights as support to Cream and Edwin Starr. By the time they came to record their next single, Sands had lost band members to the Jeff Beck Group and Procol Harum (then at number one!). Stigwood insisted they record "Mrs Gillespie's Refrigerator", a tune by his new darlings The Bee Gees but the B-side, "Listen To The Sky", is all their own work... with a little help from Holst's "Mars God of War" from The Planet Suite. The track has since become an acknowledged classic of British psychedelic pop, making regular appearances on compilations such as the Nuggets 2 and Mojo magazine's Acid Drops And Space Dust box sets. Following Epstein's death, interest in Sands disappeared and half the band quit, leaving just two members to forge ahead as Sundragon. Signed to MGM and assigned to producer Derek Lawrence, they were convinced to cover The Lemon Pipers' recent US smash "Green Tambourine" as their debut and Sundragon's excellent version became a minor UK hit in 1968. The album that followed features further US covers ("So You Wanna Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star", "Windy") alongside strong psych-orientated originals ("Five White Horses", "Look At The Sun", "Peacock Dress") with muscular musical support from the nascent Deep Purple. As was so often the case, neither the album nor the follow-up singles fared very well. A handful of pseudonym singles (High Noon, The Cruisers, McClintock) followed before the close of the decade saw this particular musical storybook close with it. Featuring all the original '60s releases by The Others, Sands and Sundragon! First time on CD for almost all of these 23 tracks! Includes four previously unreleased bonus tracks! Features R&B belter "Oh Yeah", psych-pop classic "Listen To The Sky", soft-pop favourite "Far Away Mountain" and bona fide UK hit "Green Tambourine"! In-depth liner notes by Stefan Granados featuring all-new interview material with original band members! Remastered in the usual astounding Rev-Ola style! A must for all fans of British '60s pop, psych, soft-pop, R&B, blue-eyed soul and even Deep Purple!