SOME INSIDE INFORMATION ABOUT THE LAST DAYS OF ROCK & ROLL...
The opening track Too Hard features guest vocals from Hannah Elton-Wall, of the Redlands Palomino Company.
This album is the first Snakes album to feature a cover version, The French Girl, an enigmatic long lost gem discovered via Gene Clark. Simon & Johnny had previously played the song live at a Gene Clark tribute night at the 12 Bar Club in Denmark St. As a nod to The Byrds, the main rhythm guitar on this track is a 12 string Rickenbacker.
The Band Played On was originally put together by John using an edited down recording he made of the Snakes jamming at rehearsal. Adding lyrics and creating a structure, he then presented it to the band, so they could 'learn' what they'd already played.
Three Little Wishes is a heartfelt promise of love from father to child, wistfully delivered by Simon to his daughter. The song was written by Simon & Johnny, Simon started it, Johnny finished it.
The title track The Last Days of Rock & Roll, featuring a guest ‘choir’ (including Alex & Hannah Elton Wall), is a song of two halves : 3 minutes of enticingly crafted lyrics and chords, followed by 3 minutes of one single chord in a glorious extravaganza, that builds like a tower of power, in an unstoppable homage to the golden age of rock & roll, turning the vibes up to eleven! The song was essentially written by Johnny on a tube ride home from Simon's house after Simon had talked about a song idea he had called The Last Days of Rock. Johnny stole the idea, added the words '& Roll' and wrote the song! Johnny plays sitar on this track and, on closer listen you can also hear some tablas being tapped, this is Johnny & Simon messing about at Simon's house.
Guardian Angel was written by Richard and also marks his debut lead vocal on a Snakes release. The arrangement was Simon's idea, inspired by Mink Deville.
Make Mine A Broken Heart is Simon's song, a classic country acoustic guitar strummer.
Jerry’s Chair was written by Johnny, after the death of his dad, Jeremiah, a well known presence in many pubs of Coventry. The song ponders his absence, as seen through the eyes of his drinking buddies. The excellent violin was played by Jim Willis (who also plays with Johnny in James McArthur & the head gardeners), recorded in his flat in Brixton. Johnny plays a little guitar part near the start using the first guitar he ever had, a small nylon string classical that his dad bought for him for £10.
The Last Train contains references to streets in North London.
Look What We Could Have Been, The Snakes with the dial set to ‘Epic’, is Simon’s tailor made classic, stitched with vintage cloth left over from the making of Ian Hunter’s flares. It was an exciting number to record as the band members weren't sure of the chord changes, Simon having to shout out the changes live in the studio. Simon also plays all the lead guitar on this track.
Here We Go Again was written by guitarist Richard, in classic Faces / Stones bar room swagger mode. It remained untitled until the album artwork stage, generally being referred to as 'the Government song'.
The album cover was painted by Jayne Evans, a very talented artist (and Simon's other half).