Monday, November 8, 2010

Song of the Week: "Circles", Les Fleur De Lys

Listen - Les Fleur De Lys perform Circles

Today's SoTW focuses on a handful of boys from Southampton, England who went by the very un-English monicker of the Les Fleur De Lys. They only recorded a handful of singles, but had a real gem in their second release for Andrew Loog-Oldham's Immediate Records. It features the guitar work of session man, Jimmy Page and was written by The Who's Pete Townshend. I am speaking, of course, of 1966's Circles.

The Who recorded Townshend's Circles for their Ready Steady Who EP which followed closely on the heels of their debut album, My Generation. In America, it appeared on their debut album, The Who Sings My Generation. As you should know by now, this Flipster is quite a huge fan of The Who. So, when we say that this version is better than the original, we hope you'll listen.

Les Fleur De Lys had a revolving cast of characters with only the drummer staying the constant. But whatever line-up, and with whatever session men they had on this (some members have claimed Page was not on this session, but we think it sure sounds like him), this mod group made a real gem of a single.



  1. Damn impressive version. Surprised you would prefer it though. Surprised mainly because of your veneration of The Who, and Townshend. The songs in general don't need another take. That said, it is one of the best covers of The Who. It seems to be a close match structurally based on my memory of the original. I appreciate how they give it a little freakbeat flare yet otherwise respect the essence of the song.

    Being pretty familiar with the sounds Page put out a little later with the Yardbirds, I'd say its him.

  2. It just feels more dynamic and I think a large reason is Jimmy Page's nice Telecaster guitar riff as well as his subtle work throughout. Reminds me of the Misunderstood. But I also like the lead vocals and particularly the dizzying psych harmonies at :58, just before the bridge.

    The Who, of course, actually did two versions. One produced by Shel Talmy and another they called Instant Party that they produced themselves. The former is the better. I love The Who version, but just think les fleur de lys' is more interesting.

    And yes, the song structure is nearly the same. I think les fleur de lys repeat one verse after the lead. Guitar wise it sounds like Page is playing the main riff as a single sing riff as opposed to Townshend's full chords.

    Also, seek out Townshend's cool demo for the song for a real drugged out take on the song.

  3. Listen to Jimmy Page on this live video. That guitar tone is exactly the same as on Circles.