Monday, September 13, 2010

The Screwiness Of Obsession.


I have made this one observation of myself in the past that I am a person who finds it difficult to calm my mind. It is always working, always processing things and I have experienced many a restless night because of it.  


One of the things that really gets my cogs ticking over is an almost obsessive interest in the trivia of people. Like - I like to often drop the useless bit of trivia that Fletcher Christian - that infamous Bounty mutineer from long, long ago had syphilis. Why I know that, I don't know but I know it none-the-less. Also, I am the guy that stays behind in his seat in the cinema, after the movie has finished because I like to watch the credits to spot who the cinematographer on a particular picture was or who the girl in the back ground was in a particular scene because I know - I JUST KNOW - that I have seen her in some other film in an equally obscure background scene. 

I predicted a long time ago that Uma Thurman was going to be big...now that's freaky isn't it. I mean, why the F*** would I bother with that little freaky nugget???


And so it happens that I know just about every backing vocalist who has ever paired up with British rock icons Pink Floyd since the early 1970's. This particular piece of useless information is especially that...useless but I can't help myself. 

Such is that, which is my mind. 


And of all the backing vocalists who have ever graced the stage with this most favored bands of mine, one - in particular - has intrigued me to the point of being a little too screwy.


I speak of course of Rachel Fury.


I first sat up and took notice of the singer Rachel Fury as a 14/15 year old back in 1989 when my father came home from the video store armed with a VHS version of the world beating 'Delicate Sound Of Thunder' concert, complete with the girls wearing those totally HOT figure hugging dresses and the long gloves that were seriously sexy. From the moment I saw her, I was completely besotted by Rachel Fury and I have watched that concert over and over again in the proceeding years - countless times - just to indulge in the vision of her performance. I thought her contribution to "Great Gig In The Sky" and her duet with David Gilmour on "Comfortably Numb" were sublimely hypnotic and there was some footage of her during their performance of the song "Momentary Lapse Of Reason" that hooked me every time. I have to profess an unhealthy kind of love for this woman.





Rachel Fury performs "Great Gig In The Sky" on the Delicate Sound of Thunder Tour, 1988 which featured some of the most impressive visual art by Storm Thorgerson.


Why it was then, that I sort of forgot about her for 18 odd years after-wards is something only the universe can explain. I grew up, stepped out of my adolescent brain and became a cynical prick I guess. But my love for Pink Floyd has never waned over the years even though it has perhaps become somewhat dormant from time to time. 


A few short weeks ago, going through my impressive music collection here at home, I fished out David Gilmour's superb third solo album "On An Island". I was in the mood for the atmospherics of that album and I was - of course - not at all disappointed. Here you go - here's another piece of useless triva - David Crosby and Graham Nash performed backing vocals on that very album. Listening to the sounds of Gilmour and Wright, Carin and Pratt - and Crosby and Nash's contributions - something was suddenly touched off in my mind, an almost long forgotten memory of that beautiful woman from so long ago.



Cover art for David Gilmour's third solo album "On An Island" (2006).

For years I had (erroneously) deduced that her name was in fact Margaret Taylor. It seemed to fit with her - she looked like a Margaret to me. But once I jumped on the interweb a few weeks ago and began searching I around, I quickly realized that I was wrong. The information on her is sparse as to be almost non existent. But after a few hours of clicking around on Google and other search engines this is what I came up with...


Rachel Fury is (or was) a session singer who first appeared on the radar in the very early 1980's. The only evidence of this comes by way of a MySpace image (below) for the profile of British guitarist Alan St.Clair who was a noted musician in the punk and new wave movements at that time. One might surmise that Rachel Fury toured regularly with St.Clair and his colleague Howard Devoto (of Buzzcocks and Magazine fame) but this would need to be confirmed.



Rachel Fury poses with Alan St. Clair and Howard Devoto c. 1983

The next significant snippet of information comes from some information on the noted music producer, James Guthrie, who it appears, introduced Rachel Fury to Pink Floyd in or around the mid 1980's. She and Guthrie were in a relationship at the time. Fury's talent as a session singer must have impressed the band members significantly because she is credited as a singer on the reimagined Pink Floyd's 1987 album "Momentary Lapse Of Reason" and was contracted to tour with the band for the world beating "Delicate Sound Of Thunder" tour between 1987 and 1989.

From what I have read on various message boards, there is some suggestion that there may have been some sort of romantic "thing" between David Gilmour and Rachel Fury during the 87-89 tour. Various message board lurkers refer to concert footage suggesting an "innate" chemistry between the two on stage. I read this as drawing a very long bow and I prefer to think that it is more a case of there just being a good vibe between all the members of the mid 80's Pink Floyd line-up.



Video of Comfortably Numb from the "Delicate Sound Of Thunder" tour circa 1988.


It is after the successful DSOT tour that Rachel Fury all but drops of the precipice into a swirling black hole of ... well ... nothing. The only singer from that trio from the DSOT tour to continue with Pink Floyd is the equally fabulous and still prolific Durga McBroom (who is credited on "The Division Bell" album and appears in the "P*U*L*S*E" tour line-up. As a side note and yet another example of my love of trivia, Margaret Taylor - the third singer from the DSOT tour - is also still active in the music industry, though today she goes under the name Machan Taylor.


The last snippet of any significance that I can find is a mention that by 1995, Rachel Fury had given up singing altogether and had become involved in the animal rights movement. 


But this is not the last thing.


Drilling a little deeper, I have unearthed an additional snippet that confirms something I wondered about for a long time - that Rachel Fury was not actually her real name. Over this past weekend, I have some evidence that confirms this. Again, from some other message board sources I have found that her name is (or was)  actually Rachel Brannock. There is a Facebook page titled "All Things Brannock" - evidently a page dedicated to the Brannock family. Clearly visible on the Left hand sidebar of the page under pictures, a picture of the very Rachel (Fury) Brannock that has stuck like a claw in my thoughts these past fews weeks.



Rachel Fury, her enigma is both powerful and lovely...


Who knows if this is all true or not. But I would like to think that there is still some hope that Rachel might surface one day. Perhaps she is living on ... I dunno ... Guernsey perhaps? Happily married with a couple of kids, still looking pretty damned hot and running a successful vet practice ... perhaps. One morning she opens her laptop while sipping her coffee and indulges in that little thing that I'm sure we've all done in the recent past and Googled herself. She might see this and decide to respond? Either that or she's dead, a hippie who renounces all forms of modern technology or she's just not that into all this worship...


*sigh*


I take heart in the knowledge that I am not alone in wondering just what happened to this lovely lady Rachel Fury/Brannock. All over the internet, people just as (crack potted) dedicated as me are posing the same question. Where did she go? Does she still sing? Is she actually alive??


One can but live in hope...


DFA.


12 comments:

  1. You sir have captured my essence. All that is in this article, nee blog has described me to a level that is at once uncomfortable and yet at the same time liberating.

    I was at the concert in Cleveland in September, 1998. I was, at the time, dating the woman who would eventually become and remains my wife (of 22 years). I must admit, however that as amazing as the lights, lasers, and visuals were, I watched the woman known to me at the time as "The one on the right" for what was an eternity and yet not long enough.

    Two days ago I was listening to a Pink Floyd song, which I do frequently. But I recalled the name Durga McBroom; a name that is, once heard, never forgotten. I googled her and found the name of our lovely lass. Rachel.

    I have also scoured the length and depth of the Internet. Only to find that, sadly, there is more of me out there than her. She has become, for my own inner-peace, a challenge.

    My hope, similar to yours, is that she is the mother of several, the grandmother of a few and the proud guardian of numerous formerly stray animals. If her heart today is in any way similar to her beauty in videos and seen live in the 1980's she has touched the world in a far greater manner than singing with my all-time favorite group could accomplish.

    If I were not married, I would proudly express how enamored I was, am, will be with "The one on the right".

    Thank you,

    Jimmy

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  2. I'll also admit to being completely obsessed with Rachel for years on end. I used to be jealous because of her supposedly being involved with David Gilmour, which later in life turned into a supremely huge crush that I still can't shake. I still spend hours on Google occasionally, drooling over pictures and trying to figure out what the heck happened to her.

    -amanda

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  3. I too share the obsession with Rachel Fury (even my wife knows this). As I sit here in my office on a Sunday afternoon - I find myself listening to 'Great Gig in the Sky' googling Rachel Fury. This is how I found your blog post (I'm embarrassed, yet profoundly proud of this).

    From the first time I watched DSOT - I was smitten. The neat thing - is that my wife resembles Rachel Fury (life is good). I recall sitting on a sofa, watching DSOT for the xxxxxth time and my friends saying, "hey, she looks like your wife."

    Awesome, awesome blog post. Thank you for capturing my adolescent feelings so accurately.

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  4. Thanks Issac and indeed thank you all for stopping by and reading this article. It has fast become one of my most read pieces and it serves as a testament to the endurance of Rachel's appeal among Floyd fans world wide. I recently came by a DVD version of DSOT and have ported it to my smartphone to listen to on the run.

    She is something special isn't she...DFA

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  5. Wow I finally find a post about the ghosted beautiful voice of Rachel. Everything you say, ditto. I am a photographer and needless to say a forever Floyd fan. The first time I saw her and heard her voice she became engraved in my very thought. Over and over I can hear her sing, the very being of her voice locked in my mind in a very good way. Great Gig has absolute power and strength, I am a universal believer in vibrational energy and to me that concert, that day, Rachel effortlessly exhaled the voice of energy manifesting into birth, we get one chance most of us and without knowing to be used in some way to evoke a message. It reaches, changes and stays where it needs to. Thank you Rachel whoever you are for being Superb. To all the Rachel fans, well imagine never have heard her manifestation? I could not. Thanks DFA

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  6. Thanks Freddie for taking the time to read this. It still gets me every time when someone happens across this post. I'm really starting to think I deserve a spot in Rolling Stone.

    I'm forever in love with Rachel Fury.

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  7. It feels good to know that I'm not the only man on earth with this strange infatuation/enamorment for Rachel Fury. I happened to hear "One Slip" on the radio yesterday, and my mind immediately recalled the Pink Floyd show I attended at Madison Square Garden, in October of 1987, and my fixation on "the one on the right". Her beauty, talent, and presence was forever burned into my brain that night. Thanks for rekindling some dormant, but wonderful memories.

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  8. Thanks for stopping by John. You would be surprised by the number of people / devotees of Rachel Fury who are out there still. It remains one of the greatest mysteries in my life that I seek to have answered - just what became of her.

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  9. It always warms my heart to see yet another Rachel Fury seeker. I have found a great bit of information concerning this lovely lass, although always reaching either a dead-end or a quiet-end. I've befreinded one of her co-backup singers (Lorelei) and sent queries to former friends, co-workers, etc. Either all are unknowing or very tight-lipped. Regardless. The unknowing makes the story and her all the more interesting.

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  10. I, Sir, enjoy these occasional updates. I am certainly not the foremost authority on or dear lass, but I am no less curious. I have contacted James Guthrie (no reply) and befriended Lorelei McBroom (no knowledge) concerning the ojectct of our queries.

    Yes, our lovely "Rachel" has at least two other names. But I think I enjoy the fact that we just don't know what became of her. It seems apropos in some way. Not unlike the music and band she once supported. There are certain lyrics that we cannot discover the meaning of without extensive searching. Not knowing makes it all the more intriguing.

    It is odd though - we know more about Vera Lynn than "Rachel".

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  11. I too have had a non-secret crush on Rachel Fury from the moment that she graced my eyes and ears.
    funny thing is... since the early 90's and until today I always thought her name was Durga McBroom.
    much like you, I was mistaken... but either way...
    first time poster... long time floyd fan...

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  12. I too have had a non-secret crush on Rachel Fury from the moment she first graced my eyes and ears.
    funny thing is... since the early nineties and until today, I actually thought her name was Durga McBroom. much like you, I was mistaken... but either way... she rocks!
    first-time poster... long-time floyd fan...

    ReplyDelete