Another week gone, another rock star gone. They’re dropping like flies, it seems.
We need cheering up, right? Right.
And what better way to do that than with some late 70s/early 8os cheesy pop and disco? Right?
Glad you agree.
But let’s not dive straight in, eh? Pace yourself, that’s the ticket.
So first, to Skint Records, and to a song which for me will forever be synonymous with a sunny, if crowded, Brighton beach on July 13, 2002 (yes, I was there):
That song samples Linda Lewis’ 1972 track “Reach for the Truth”, which I’m not going to play you next, not because it’s a bad record (it’s not) but because, well, I’d be getting a bit samey if I did.
We deserve some more Linda though, so here she is:
Yes, that is an Andrew Lloyd-Webber/Tim Rice composition. What of it? Trust me here, will you? I know what I’m doing. At least it’s not an Andrew Lloyd-Webber/Ben Elton composition.
Before finding fame, Linda Lewis earned her corn as a backing singer, most notably on Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel’s “Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)”, which she performed on along with the next singer:
“I Love to Love” has had rather a new lease of life here in the UK over the past few months, after featuring heavily in the hit BBC drama series “River”. Here it is in the closing stages of the final episode (so I guess I should issue a SPOILER ALERT!! here: if you have the show backed up on series record until you find time to watch it, or got given the DVD for Christmas and haven’t got round to watching it, preferring to look at it and wonder why on earth someone would think you’d like it – if, as Denis Norden used to say, you’re ‘one of those people’, then look away now):
Now that we’re in that ever-so slightly cheesy but still rather wonderful disco-pop groove (and I make no apologies for being so utterly populist this week), let’s move swiftly on to 1979, and to Paisley in Renfrewshire, the world renowned centre of the disco movement in…er…Paisley in Renfrewshire in 1979:
Regular watchers of the music documentaries which air on BBC4 of a Friday night will know that was written by Ray Dorset of early ’70s odd-side-burn-and-afro-combo combo Mungo Jerry, and was originally going to be recorded by some chap called Elvis Presley. The keen eyed amongst you will have spotted that Kelly Marie’s version came out in 1979, two years after Elvis had died. But apparently Elvis – according to Ray – had decided to record it first; alas, he didn’t manage to get into the studio to do that before he checked out and went to permanently reside at that Great Burger and White Jump Suit store in the sky. Factoid.
Anyway, I always remember that song getting played back in the day, usually closely followed by this:
Whenever I hear that, I’m immediately transported to my cousin Brendan’s house in 1979. I would often visit (I even joined his family on a camping holiday in Cornwall one year), and as my mother sat downstairs chatting to his, we would take ourselves away upstairs, for Brendan had something I could only dream of owning: Subbuteo. Which allows me to remind you of my credentials and post this, just over 2 1/2 minutes of pop perfection:
Did somebody mention camping? Don’t mind if I do. Here is one of the campest records in history, which I’ve posted before, but which my boss keeps nagging me to post again. So, here you go, job done.
Next up, more cheese:
If I believed there was such a thing as a Guilty Pleasure, which I don’t, then that one would probably be right in there, which it isn’t, because there’s no such thing. So there.
Did someone mention stars…?
For the uninitiated, Hot Gossip were a dance troupe who would regularly pop up on “Kenny Everett’s Television Show”, and who were roped in to “perform” behind Sarah Brightman on this Top 10 hit in the UK from 1978.
For the equally uninitiated, Sarah Brightman was once married to Andrew Lloyd-Webber. See? At the risk of repeating myself, I don’t just throw this shit together you know.
Released in 1978, a year after the original Star Wars movie was released, it is plainly an attempt to cash in on the film’s success, making reference to Darth Vader and droids, and even sampling music from the movie itself.
But why have samples when you can have the (sort of) real thing?
Seriously, be thankful I only posted the edited version of that; the full version is 7 1/2 minutes long. Had I picked the Star Wars theme on it’s own: just shy of 16 minutes long. You don’t deserve that. Nobody does.
Anyway, this was, as you will have spotted if you’ve listened to it, another attempt to cash in on the all-things-Star-Wars crest of a wave craze, this one ever-so slightly pipping Ms Brightman and her Hot Gossipers to the post by bothering to get released in the same year as the movie came out. It reached No 7 in the UK, and No 1 in the US, so desperate was everybody to gobble up every last drop of sci-fi memorabilia.
Me? Nah. Though I did go to see the movie in the cinema when it first came out (yes, I’m THAT old), and finally got round to seeing the most recent episode a couple of weeks ago. I spent the whole film with a big goofy I-am-a-kid-again grin plastered all over my stupid face.
To finish up this week, one of them there mash-up things that were so popular a few years ago. I’m not a massive fan of the genre, as it goes; for my money, the producer would all too often insult the intelligence of the listener by deciding to include the lyrics from the chorus of the backing track somewhere, in a “look at me, aren’t I clever?” kind of way, as if whoever was listening hadn’t already noticed what was going on.
Sometimes, it works though, like the final track for today (which I include here as for some reason I thought there was a Star Wars sample in this too, but now I’ve listened to it again, I’m buggered if I can spot):