Sadly, Blanche passed away this past week at the ripe old age of 104. And she does indeed seem to have had an extraordinary life. No, this chap is not going to wax lyrical about her influence on such English doyens a Ian Fleming or Noel Coward – if you want that – there are other places to read all about it. No, this is to remember the support she gave her young son in the late 50s and early 60s who in turn influenced so much of my life when I was growing up – because Chris (who is now 80 years old himself) is the founder of Island Records.
When I meet people for the first time, I sometimes ask them ‘what is the sound track of your life’. Try it some time, it can provide a fascinating insight into the person you are talking to. In some ways my ‘Life Soundtrack’ could be summarized with the phrase ‘Harvest and Island Records’.
Without Chris, we might never have heard of Bob Marley, The Spencer Davis Group, Steve Winwood, Nirvana, Traffic, King Crimson, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Jethro Tull, Cat Stevens, Grace Jones, Free, Fairport Convention, Richard Thompson, PJ Harvey, John Martyn, Nick Drake, Roxy Music, Robert Palmer, Melissa Etheridge, The Cranberries, U2. and so many more.
And without Blanche supporting Chris, we might not have had Island Records … and the soundtrack of so many lives would have been very very different.
RIP Blanche – and thankyou.