Jim Maclaine’s “DEA SANCTA ET GLORIA”

“I always felt that Maclaine’s creation of his rock opera was a shot at some form of redemption…it was like an automatic arena of atonement.” – 

by TONY G. MARSHALL 

Stardust promoIn 2008 I became the lead voice actor in a special feature-length independent radio drama. It was special because the concept was already 20 years old at the time and furthermore – I wrote and co-produced it. The idea had been conceived when I was 20 and it wasn’t until my 40th year that it finally came to fruition. The production is entitled “That’ll be the Stardust!” and is a spin-off to the classic British film “That’ll be the Day” (1973) and its award-winning sequel, “Stardust” (1974) which starred David Essex as anti-hero rock musician, ‘Jim Maclaine’The radio play production is a 20-year odyssey which chronicles the journey of ‘Jimmy Maclaine jr.’ (Maclaine’s son) and his coming to terms with having a rock star father who had deserted him when he was a baby. During the making of the production I also set about further developing his father’s rock opera in lyrical prose form which now ties-in with the overall concept. I can now honestly say that my detailed expansion of Maclaine’s musical opus is more closer to my original idea than what eventually evolved into the aforementioned radio play

‘Dea Sancta et Gloria’ is the title of the rock opera that was written and performed by the character of Jim Maclaine, played by David Essex, in the 1974 hit movie, “Stardust” – the sequel to “That’ll Be The Day”.  The rock opera was primarily dedicated to the deification, or the glory, of woman and the song of ‘Dea Sancta’ was inspired by elements surrounding the beautiful ambience of Maclaine’s Mother’s funeral. The lyrics of the song were actually written by Ray Connolly – the screenwriter of both films and author of their accompanying novels, who subsequently became the recipient of the Writer’s Guild Award BAFTA for Best Original British Screenplay (1975). The rock opera segment in the film was depicted as a live telecast from the Royal Albert Hall in London, transmitting to TV sets and cinemas/theatres around the world via satellite – just as Elvis Presley had realistically achieved in Honolulu earlier in 1973 with his groundbreaking “Aloha from Hawaii” Benefit concert. Therefore, this was to become Jim Maclaine’s seminal performance project. Furthermore, the project implied that the production consisted of an accompanying Concept Album to be marketed worldwide.  However, ‘Dea Sancta’ was the only song from the project that was defined and represented in the movie, therefore additional songs for the prospective album were not seen to be performed in neither the movie’s telecast segment nor even referred to during the album’s recording sessions segment…until NOW…       (Continued below)

The following work consists of poetry devised as lyrical prose for the concept of the song ideas in the project, most of which are autobiographical in relation to the main character. The majority of songs were written with a ballad interpretation in mind which would feature orchestrations consisting of keyboard, string and woodwind arrangements along with a choir. However, there are 3 prospective uptempo numbers in the production namely Shopkeeper’s Cry, The Stairway I Must Pass and Come 2, Come All, therefore a rock ensemble would accompany such numbers. The music that influenced the writing of the lyrics, and overall development of my interpretation of the rock opera, includes an eclectic mix of voices, string arrangements, rhythm sections and melodies from such classic albums as The Who’s ‘Tommy’, John Lennon’s ‘Plastic Ono Band’, George Harrison’s ‘All Things Must Pass’, Marc Bolan & T.Rex’s ‘Electric Warrior’, The Osmonds’ ‘Crazy Horses’ & ‘The Plan’, and the very underrated ‘From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee’ by Elvis Presley. Nine of the following songs feature links to access their lyrical ‘landscapes’ which are published on the Wattpad network (Note: you may have to create a Free profile/account on Wattpad (which takes just a few seconds) in order to read the lyrics of each song) – This is Jim Maclaine’s “Dea Sancta et Gloria”…            (Continued below)

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candle-animated-gif-3DEA SANCTA (Main Theme) –

This is the only song that represents the rock opera segment in “Stardust” and therefore lyrics already exist. The holy images and statues within the church at Jim’s Mother’s funeral, seen earlier in the movie, were major elements for his inspiration and consequential musical dedication to her:

SHOPKEEPER’S CRY –

A song written with the viewpoint of Mary Maclaine (Jim’s Mother) and depicts her cry for help to her son in the hope that he would listen.

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“One of the so-called ‘uptempo’ numbers – was written from Maclaine’s mother’s viewpoint of the time leading up to his quitting school and leaving home. I suppose Jim felt he was being suffocated at home because his mum expected him to pass his exams with flying colours and go to University just like his friend Terry Sutcliffe. At this point in the story Mrs. Maclaine was the “shopkeeper” – running the family business. Grandad’s reference in the song could be an interpretation of his early stages of dementia: “Your Grandad is not aware of your kicks” – Jim is staying out late, not studying – soaking up his ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ inspirations. However, eventually Grandad is the only one whom Jim tells that he is about to quit school and leave home, so his mother’s viewpoint in this song is deceiving because she thinks she knows what he’s up to, but it just so happens that she’s the one left in the dark…”

Click image to view lyrics to
SHOPKEEPER’S CRY
via Wattpad:

FIRST TIME SERVED
(Quickest Time Lasted)
 –

Jim’s ode to his supposedly first female encounter at the holiday camp.

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“This is one of my favourites and so much so that I already worked out a melody to it. For some reason it seemed to be inspired by the 1981 hit by Squeeze called “Labelled With Love”. But the chorus is based more on a rock power ballad of sorts. This song is all about Jim losing his virginity whilst working as a waiter at a holiday camp. In a sense it is a regret – his lady of the moment had already made a remark about this during their encounter. Therefore, I suppose it wasn’t a great pleasure for either of them afterall.”

Click image to view lyrics to
FIRST TIME SERVED (QUICKEST TIME LASTED)
via Wattpad:

THE STAIRWAY I MUST PASS 

Jim’s song for the young lady who had a young baby – he met her one night at the fairgrounds.

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“Another uptempo number, which is in reference to the ‘stairway’ Jim had to climb to get to the young woman’s apartment and then the revelation that she had left her baby alone – Jim was totally shocked and consequently fled back down the stairs and outta there! The motorcycle reference is obviously to Jim’s own vehicle at that time and the ‘caravans’ give reference to where he stayed at the fairgrounds – his place of employment. This happening was the catalyst for Jim eating humble pie and making his way back home to his mum, grandad and the family business…at least just for a while…”

Click image to view lyrics to
THE STAIRWAY I MUST PASS
via Wattpad:

A DAISY CHAIN OF BUTTERCUPS – 

Jim’s song for Jeanette – his first real true love and the Mother of his child.

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“A ‘lover’s lament’ of sorts from Jim to his ex-wife, ‘Jeanette’ – who is the mother of his child (‘Jimmy’). She is also the sister of his former best friend, Terry Sutcliffe. The song illustrates some of their early places of dating such as picnics in the local park and visits to the roller-skating rink in their “small town”. Jim recollects that Jeanette used to make daisy chains whilst visiting the park, but this song expands upon the ‘flower’ theme and references one of Jim’s poems in the final line here as featured in the film of “That’ll be the Day” . There is an occurrence of an echo of some of the words in some of the verses which is a deliberate take on ‘echoing from the past’ and those occurrences which had gone before  – just like their relationship. Jim didn’t hate Jeanette and I think he admired her more than anybody – especially for bringing up his son under very difficult circumstances when he left them and subsequently during his transformation to worldwide rock phenomenon. Furthermore, this would have been the only way he could have expressed his true feelings – in the form of a song. And, just maybe, he kept the meaning behind it relatively quiet from ‘Danielle’ – his girlfriend at the time of its creation…”

Click image to view lyrics to
A DAISY CHAIN OF BUTTERCUPS
via Wattpad:

COME 2, COME ALL –

Jim’s tribute to his encounter with the 2 blonde backing singers.

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“Written as an uptempo rock number in homage to the ménage à trois moment between Jim and two blonde backing vocalists of a band who were appearing on the same bill as Jim and The Stray Cats as seen in “Stardust”. The musical gig itself took place at a University and the arrangement of the ‘date’ with the two blondes was instigated by Jim’s friend and manager, Mike Menary. The lyrics here attempt to illustrate Jim’s viewpoint of the whole situation at the time. It was meaningless, therefore he saw the girls as being “soulless skin” throughout the situation. His viewpoint now attempts to ‘champion’ the moment and depict a glorious ‘loving’ battle (which was neither won nor lost) with two ‘goddesses’ in keeping with the concept of the ‘glorification’ of woman which is what the ‘Dea Sancta’ rock opera is all about. Incidentally, the chorus here “Come 2, Come All, Come Nightly…” is also referred to in the flashback sequence of Jim’s ‘psychedelic’ illusion fantasy in the radio play, ‘That’ll be the Stardust!’

Click image to view lyrics to
COME 2, COME ALL
via Wattpad:

NO BARRIERS FOREVER – 

Jim’s first song for Danielle from the viewpoint of their difference in language in culture – which didn’t matter through the eyes of true love.

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“Jim’s song for his French girlfriend, ‘Danielle’. I loved the construction of this song and equally so the lyrics and the picture they illustrate. It depicts Jim’s feelings about their present and future together – their overall life. Indeed there were ‘no barriers’ even though a difference in language and culture was somewhat apparent between both of them. Furthermore, Jim had found his newfound fame in the music world with his band, ‘The Stray Cats’ and that in itself presented another potential ‘barrier’, but it no doubt wasn’t going to deter Jim from building his relationship with Danielle. The song is also a statement of how he saw their future together – a family…and a possible marriage?? A speculation of probables…”

Click image to view lyrics to
NO BARRIERS FOREVER
via Wattpad:

THE GATES THROUGH THE WINDOW –

Jim’s farewell song for his Mother and the frustrations he felt at not seeing her laid to rest.

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“Another tribute to Mary Maclaine, Jim’s mother, only this time as a tribute to her life as seen from the perspective of her funeral in 1967. What a time…and what a day it was…Jim was at the height of his powers as a musical celebrity and pandemonium broke out when he showed his face at the church in Doncaster where she had lived the last few years of her life. It was this very sad occasion that provided the inspiration for the ‘Dea Sancta’ rock opera – the main title song of which bearing the very ‘fruit’ of that inspiration. Whilst in church Jim had become fascinated with all the religious artefacts and statues that surrounded the proceedings throughout the catholic mass and the carrying of his mother’s coffin. ‘The Gates Through The Window’ is in reference to exactly that as seen from the car window leading up to the cemetery. The song is a type of expansion of ‘Dea Sancta’. It also gives reference to Jim’s reunion with his son, ‘Jimmy’ and the first time he had seen him for about six years. The song is a beautiful illustration of a final and longing denouement of sorts…”

Click image to view lyrics to
THE GATES THROUGH THE WINDOW
via Wattpad:

I MUST BE VERY PROUD – 

Jim trying to come to terms with not seeing his son for a long time – written from Jeanette and Danielle’s viewpoint.

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“Jim’s guilty reflections of his own life from the viewpoint of how he thinks his ex-wife, Jeanette and former girlfriend, Danielle now feel towards him. It’s also a type of father’s lament to the son he never really knew, and furthermore wished he had taken the time to get in contact earlier, but the trappings of fame and fortune became a priority and consequently became the unbreakable ‘barrier’ which was built around his own world of existence. Primarily, the song’s title was influenced by Danielle’s statement to Jim after seeing his son, ‘Jimmy’ at his mother’s funeral in 1967. It is also one of the final statements ‘uttered’ by him during the fateful and controversial filmed interview from his castle in Spain in 1975. I love some of the images that the song evokes throughout its verses and chorus here…they are indeed very poignant to the whole proceedings.”

Click image to view lyrics to
I MUST BE VERY PROUD
via Wattpad:

WHITE MARBLE HEAVEN –

Jim’s final song for Danielle before they separate – ‘White Marble’ was how he depicted the furnishing of their future home together.

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“It was influenced by Jim Maclaine’s reference to the decor in his Spanish castle in Ray Connolly’s novel of “Stardust” (1974). I wrote the lyrics as Maclaine’s expression of love for his former girlfriend, ‘Danielle’. It was the final song I’d written for the concept of the fictional rock opera and envisaged it being the final song of the live performance with Maclaine seated at the organ. I’d been previously listening to “When You Love Someone” by Bryan Adams from MTV’s ‘Unplugged’ and I wrote ‘White Marble Heaven’ with a similar musical arrangement in mind. I contemplated having the words “so blue” in parenthesis as part of the title, but then decided just to keep them in the final verse. I have a fondness for the ideas that flowed throughout the crafting of this song…”

Click image to view lyrics to
WHITE MARBLE HEAVEN
via Wattpad:

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Immediately following the worldwide success of the televised rock opera and the subsequent album release, in September 1973, Jim Maclaine along with his manager, Mike Menary, moved to Southern Spain. It was there they set up home in a landmark castle and, after several refurbishments, lived virtually reclusive lives for the next two years. Paradoxically, this proved to be an intense and reckless period which put a strain on the Artist-Manager relationship and consequently tarnished their friendship. Later in 1975, Jim reluctantly succumbed to a request for a live television interview to be staged at his historical abode. The idea was instigated by his American management representative, Porterlee Austin…the interview itself bears the distinction of being Jim Maclaine’s notorious final ‘performance’…

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Click image below to access the expanded story entitled
“THE SLEEP OF LUXURY” at the following Wattpad link:

David Essex with the hit theme
song from “Stardust” (1974):

Click image below to access
"THAT'LL BE THE STARDUST!"THAT’LL BE THE STARDUST!

Radio Drama Production
+
Tony G. Marshall interview:

Jim Maclaine’s “Dea Sancta et Gloria” – expansion of songs/concert/album concept in
lyrical & prose format – Copyright ©2008 by Tony G. Marshall.All Rights Reserved.
Dea Sancta et Gloria” & “Dea Sancta” – original song/concert/album concept from “Stardust” film/book – Copyright ©1974 by Ray Connolly. All Rights Reserved.
Used with permission.

 

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