We had been asking people what their influences were, and we asked each other what our influences were.
Completely forgot about Curved Air.
In my Sixth Form at Walbottle Comprehensive, the lads used to commandeer the record player. We listened to Led Zeppelin mostly, with Yes, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Black Sabbath and Rod Stewart to add a bit of variety. All really pompous (with the exception of Rod).
At home, my brother liked Genesis and McDad listened to Melanie; my boy friends (not a joined together word) liked Frank Zappa. I liked pop, though not all of the singles McDad brought home- not Leapy Lee's Little Arrows, definitely, though I did like Sandie Shaw.
I saw Curved Air on Top of the Pops- Sonja Kristina singing Back Street Luv. It has a mysterious melody, a very peculiar rhythm (quite sly and sexy) and Sonja Kristina's shivery vocal singing about a man's attachment to a prostitute (she sang quite a lot of songs about dark subjects like that until she became a pixie when Francis Monkman and Darryl Way left the band).
It was a really daring song, and a really daring subject. Of course the lads at school all fancied Sonja Kristina and talked about that all the time (what a great way to disarm the power of a woman performer), but to me she was a heroine.
She wasn't a twee Mary Hopkin type or a rock bellower like Janis Joplin. I loved the girl groups but they were American and they sang about dating, really. Back Street Luv was perverse and unnerving.
Sonja Kristina looked knowing and was quite obviously a really important contributor to the band.
She was really inspiring; I wrote to tell her that about five years ago but I don't think she was very impressed. Oddly, I found that inspiring too.