I don’t know if it was because things were so grim that people needed cheering up more, but there were a lot of novelty hits in the 1970s. 99.9% of them were terrible, but this one was marvelous and “My chiffon is wet, darling!” is still one of my favourite lines in pop.
“Disco Tex” was a fellow called Sir Monti Rock III and the group was the brainchild of The Four Seasons’ producer/writer Bob Crewe. This was a hit in 1974 before Disco went overground and became a cultural juggernaut so it was ahead of that curve, and its camp flamboyance was ahead of Sylvester and The Village People in being a hit that came out of gay club culture — both Rock and Crewe were gay and the record was made to sound like a live performance in a gay disco. Which just shows that even the silliest novelty record can have some sociological significance.
This track is probably my guiltiest of guilty pleasures, God help me I love it. I also confess I have a playlist of this sort of 70s Pomp Rock on my iPod that is my favourite soundtrack to workout to at the gym.
Keeping the (unintentional) dance music theme going this week. It’s a toss-up between this and “Lost In Music” for my favourite non-Chic Edwards/Rodgers production. Few records are this sublime and silly at the same time.
Shirley Bassey’s cover of “Something” got to #4 in the UK charts in 1970, the same spot The Beatles’ original reached the year before. I never heard the Fab Four’s version at the time and didn’t for years, but my mother had a 45 of the Shirley Bassey which she loved so that was the version I knew growing up. I even heard it by Frank Sinatra before the original too.
As a result I thought of “Something” as an adult standard instead of a pop song, so to my ears George Harrison sounded too young to be singing it. The Beatles’ version is great of course, but it feels more about the happy rapture of young love while Shirley brings a grown-up sensuality to it which I prefer. Instead of lovey-dovey infatuation, she sounds like she’s singing about sex.
I’m no expert on the oeuvre of Cheap Trick but I do remember their 1979 album Dream Police being poo-pooed by some critics because of its big production and strings which made them sound like a Power-Pop ELO. Now I don’t know about you, but the idea of a “Power-Pop ELO” sounds great to me, and I’ve always loved every bombastic second of this record.
The new album by Miley Cyr… WAIT! COME BACK! COME BACK! Bear with me, I swear I haven’t lost my mind.
The new album by Miley Cyrus is a collaboration with The Flaming Lips called Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz that also features Ariel Pink. Intrigued by this team-up and wanting to be hip to the zeitgeist I gave it a listen online thinking I would last about five minutes and need an ear bleaching after. But instead I discovered that… (whispers) it’s actually quite good.
Well, about 75% good anyway. With 22 tracks clocking in at 92 minutes it’s way too long and weighed down with Miley’s self-indulgent need to keep telling us she enjoys sex and drugs. She obviously thinks this is edgy and controversial but instead I just want to give her a clip ’round the ear and wash her mouth out with soap. The album’s rambling, druggy nature makes me think of it as her “Exile On Main Street” but The Stones were mature enough not to record stoner nonsense like “Fuckin Fucked Up” and “I’m So Drunk” — I don’t think Mick Jagger ever sang a teary song about his dead fish either.
But cut out all that bollocks and you have a very strong collection of trippy spacepop that is as wonderful as you might think a young girl singer fronting The Flaming Lips would sound like. As the father of a young girl myself I have opinions about the way Miley dresses and behaves, but I do admire her balls in putting out something as quirky as this. As George Michael said, listen without prejudice.