One of my guilty pleasures today… what have you done to deserve this? This duet with Dusty Springfield featured on the Pet Shop Boys 1987 long player Actually, with that album cover.
Well, our government has collapsed, the markets are in turmoil and last night we were treated to the most abject performance I’ve seen from an England football team. Time for some humorous and bitter relief to help heal the wounds. Steve Harley had been through a fractious break-up with the original line up of the Cockney Rebel. His resentment made a great sound. ‘Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)’ was released as the lead single from the band’s 1975 album The Best Years of Our Lives.
It’s May Day bank holiday here in Blighty and that’s always cause for festivity. Nothing says celebration like the reveal and singalong to a guilty pleasure. Blue Swede recorded ‘Hooked On A Feeling’ only five years after B.J. Thomas released the original in 1968. By 1973, the song had been through a production metamorphosis. Well, they had thrown in the “ooga-chaka ooga-chaka”; those crazy guys. Have a great week.
A glimmer of 1982 always gives me the opportunity of featuring a little more Haircut 100 – one of this blogger’s guilty pleasures. It was the year they released their debut and only real oeuvre Pelican West. The long player is probably best know for a classic trio of new wave singles ‘Love Plus One’, ‘Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl)’ and ‘Fantastic Day’. But that does not go deep enough for me. ‘Lemon Firebrigade’ is a highlight arrangement of their form of jazzy blue-eyed new wave pop, but with a spoonful of calypso thrown in for good measure. The sound of a 1980s beach, a year before Club Tropicana.
Now if we are looking back, then why not to the beginning of time when Now That’s What I Call Music, Vol. 1 was fashioned out of the purest of ethylene and chlorine. The choice is a tough one, but I plump for ‘New Song’, the debut single by Howard Jones. From his 1983 album Human’s Lib, the song sounded remarkably like ‘Solsbury Hill’. Unlike Peter Gabriel’s timeless classic, this guilty pleasure is probably more famous for the aforementioned compilation than its own status. Howard and his ‘song came and went. Now’ lives on.
After The Turtles broke up in legal disputes, vocalists Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan joined forces with with Frank Zappa as members of the Mothers of Invention. A few creative turns later as Phlorescent Leech & Eddie, they left the band in 1972 and formed the aptly named derivative Flo & Eddie. Moving Targets is their fourth album and it features the song ‘Keep It Warm’, an archetype of the 1970s pastiche. The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Frank Zappa, Supertramp, 10CC… the list of indulgences go on.
‘Wichita Lineman’ was written by American songwriter Jimmy Webb. It was first recorded by country music artist Glen Campbell as the title track for a 1968 long player. At that time, Campbell was prolific, having made 10 albums in a little more than two years during 1967-69. From Delight, Arkansas, to Beach Boys session guitarist, to singer of “the first existential country song”, to variety show host… his hard work was rewarded. The existential lineman has been widely covered by other artists and understandably so. Although tarred with the easy listening and guilty pleasure brushes, it is undoubtedly one of the greatest pop songs ever composed.