By Olive Butler
Defining this topic provoked much discussion between the Landlord and I, but I’m pleased to say that the regulars rose (sunk?) to the occasion magnificently. Bravo to one and all. Inevitably there were a few noms where the songs themselves didn’t quite live up to (or down to?) their laugh-out-loud titles; and there were others were the videos seemed to be the real star of the show. In compiling the playlists, I’ve tried to focus on intrinsically awful musical material – horribly misconceived, badly executed and/or just unbearable to listen to.
But enough of me. I want to keep the write-up brief and let the music do the talking – which I think it does, as eloquently as a rambling, psychotic drunk, staggering around in piss-stained trousers.
The Atrocious A-List Playlist:
1: The Seekers - Emerald City
2: Linda Jardim - Energy In Northampton
3: The Alexander Brothers – Nobody’s Child
4: Arcesia - Butterfly Mind
5: Katerine - Bla Bla Bla
6: Adrian Street – Imagine What I Could Do To You
7: Unknown Singer (On Behalf Of American Standard) - My Bathroom Is A Private Kind Of Place
8: Lil’ Markie - Diary Of An Unborn Child
9: Rex Dallas, Jan Windolf & George Dobbie – I Yodel For Jesus
10: Splodgenessabounds - Saying Goodbye To His Horse
11: Georgina Dobson & Cupboard Simon – The Message
12: The Tartan Horde - Bay City Rollers, We Love You
If I’d been permitted more than twelve selections, I’d have surely found space for Wild Man Fischer, The Turtles, David Steel (‘I Feel Liberal, Alright!’) and The Dooleys (‘A Rose Has To Die’), so kudos to those who nominated them.
“Then why not include them in the B-List?” I hear you ask. Because this week I’m taking a slightly different approach with the B-List. Without trying to seek a consensus, I’ve decided to arrogantly force through my own Hard B-List. Instead of a Didn’t Quite Make The A-List set, I’ve devoted this week’s B-List entirely to bad cover versions which were simply too numerous – and too horrendous – to ignore. Incidentally, connoisseurs of crappy cover versions should also seek out the wonderfully-named Balsara & His Singing Sitars – especially their 1968 album entitled ‘Great International Hits’.
The Bottom-Rung (Or Should That Be ‘Bottom-Wrung’?) B-List of Bad Cover Versions:
1: M.A.Numminen - Yes Sir, I Can Boogie
2: Raphael – Aquarius
3: William Shatner - Rocket Man
4: Los Punk Rockers - Anarchy In The UK
5: Altered Images - Song Sung Blue
6: Paul Shane - You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’
7: Su Pollard - Back In The Ussr
8: Vladimir Putin – Blueberry Hill
9: Gipsy Kings - Hotel California
10: Telly Savalas – If
11: El Principe Gitano - In The Ghetto
12: Barbara Cartland - How Deep Is The Ocean
This Week’s Guru Wildcard is a Four-track Mixtape:
1: Jack Warner – You’ve Got The Gear
At the time he recorded this, septuagenarian actor Jack Warner was still playing the eponymous policeman in the BBC TV series Dixon Of Dock Green, a role from which he only retired at the age of 81. Luckily for us, he found time to cut this record in which he offers fatherly advice to his son “in your own language” - i.e. full of embarrassingly contrived colloquialisms from the late 60s.
2: Paul Henry – Benny’s Theme
Another actor, Paul Henry played loveable village idiot ‘Benny’ in the long-running ATV soap, Crossroads. Here’s an in-character monologue committed to vinyl, featuring music by Simon May, composer of the theme tunes to Howards’ Way and EastEnders. In fact, I’m surprised May’s ‘hymn’ version of the EastEnders theme (‘Glory Be To God On High’) wasn’t nommed this week. Go and search for it on YouTube. You know you want to.
3: Reginald Bosanquet – Dance With Me
Reggie Bosanquet, as Brits of a certain age will recall, was a newsreader who wore a terrible toupée and often appeared to be somewhat over-refreshed when he read the News At Ten. This record defies belief – was it scripted or improvised? Why is he snarling? Was he angry? Was he drunk? Whose idea was it? Who cares – it’s breathtakingly bad.
4: Equipe 84 – Auschwitz
The title alone will be a trigger warning for some, but this track is a well-intentioned anti-war protest song which sadly never recovers from a catastrophic failure of taste in the opening lyrics:
“I died when I was a child
I died with hundreds of people
From a furnace
Through a chimney
And now I’m cradled by the wind.”
Not quite ‘Springtime For Hitler’, but pretty damned close. And, as I’ve found to my cost, guaranteed to kill the buzz at karaoke nights.
These playlists were inspired by readers' song nominations from last week's topic: Do your wonderful worst: songs out of the comfort zone. The next topic will launch on Thursday at 1pm UK time.
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