I don’t know about you, but anytime I hear the name “Gordon”, which cropped up in my last post (linked to Sting, but every cloud, eh?), I think of this:
Jilted John – Jilted John
Still one of the greatest records ever made, in my book.
And the name of one of my favourite blogs is taken from it. Do yourself a favour and pay Crying All The Way To The Chip Shop a visit.
The first time I remember hearing “Jilted John”, I would have been 17 or so, and it was played to me by my old chum Richard, who owned it (or at least had access to it) on 7″ single. (Coincidentally, on the same afternoon, Richie also played me Springsteen’s “The River”, again the first time I’d heard it, and which featured in this week’s Friday Night Music Club.) I owe this man a lot (Richie, not Broooce, as you will see soon enough if you stick around).
Immediately after playing me that, he flipped the single over and, with the words, “Well if you like that, you’ll love this…” he played me the B-side, and proceeded to act out the song in what I can only describe as being in a Rik Mayall stylee. Consequentially, whenever anyone mentions “Jilted John” (after I’ve corrected them for calling it “Gordon Is A Moron”, or course) I point them in the direction of this:
Jilted John – Going Steady
I think I love that song even more than “Jilted John” itself, probably due to Richie’s impeccable miming capabilities.
It’s the lines “I used to think that girls didn’t like me, but Sharon’s a girl, and she loves me! She says I’m dead sexy and butch, and much better looking than Starsky or Hutch” that get me every time. Mostly as I remember the mime that accompanied it. Our little secret, Richie.
Seriously, if you don’t know “Going Steady” give it a listen. Have I ever let you down so far? (Don’t answer that!)
There’s a long standing tradition in pop music of response records, by which I mean acts recording a record which is supposed to act as a reply to the original. And “Jilted John” attracted one such song; purportedly recorded by the Julie and Gordon mentioned in the original:
Julie & Gordon – Gordon’s Not A Moron
Hmm. Methinks the lady doth protest too loud.
And when I say long standing, I mean it. The earliest example dates back to 1902 and this (apologies for the sound quality and the lack of a picture sleeve but these came out over a hundred years ago, what do you expect..???):
Arthur Collins – Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home
…and the response (curiously, also by Arthur Collins, who seems to have some sort of schizophrenic condition):
Arthur Collins – I Wonder Why Bill Bailey Don’t Come Home
Going off at a tangent for a moment, I can’t really let that pass without mentioning the other Bill Bailey, which affords me the opportunity to post this, possibly the most glorious and affectionate ribbing/tribute you’ll ever hear:
Billy Bragg & Bill Bailey – Unisex Chip Shop (Live)
Back on track, there are more famous records which inspired a response:
Big Mama Thornton – Hound Dog
..which, long before some pelvis swivelling chap called Elvis recorded his own version, prompted this:
Rufus Thomas Jr. – Bear Cat
But my personal favourite is this, from 1952:
Hank Thompson – The Wild Side Of Life
…which prompted this:
Kitty Wells – It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels
and also, since I’ve not mentioned them for a while, this:
Status Quo – Wild Side Of Life
I sense a new thread forming….