“A guilty pleasure is something, such as a film, a television program or a piece of music, that one enjoys despite understanding that it is not generally held in high regard, or is seen as unusual or weird. For example, a person may secretly like a movie but will admit that particular movie is poorly made and/or generally seen as “not good.” It can also be used to refer to one’s taste for foods that are considered to be advisable to avoid, especially for health reasons.” (Wikipedia)
A funny day and I’m in a funny mood. A phrase from “Pinball” keeps coming back to me. Two CD’s arrived today : the remix of “Stage Fright ” by The Band along with a live recording of their Royal Albert Hall gig in 1970 and Aaron Lee Tasjan who I know little about apart from the fact that he sounds a bit like Paul McCartney. I’ve tried playing both but didn’t fancy them. I listened to a podcast which included an interview between Barney Hoskins and Nick Kent and they were eulogising about “Fun House” by The Stooges so I tried listening to that but had to switch it off because it was annoying me. I’ve eaten too much ice cream, I didn’t sleep well last night, there’s no live sport to watch and I’m at a loose end. “I’ve run out of pale ale and I feel like I’m in jail and my music bores me once again.”
Brian Protheroe’s single “Pinball” reached Number 22 in the UK charts in 1974. It was his only hit and he has subsequently had a successful acting career, appearing in “Reilly: Ace Of Spies”, “Lovejoy”, “Spooks” and many others. “Pinball” is an autobiographical account of how bored he was one weekend. The song includes a great saxophone solo played by Tony Coe, who played on John Martyn’s “Solid Air”, Mike McGear’s , “McGear”, Paul McCartney’s “Tug Of War”, Loudon Wainwright’s “I’m Alright” and many others.
With a father who was a tour manager for Cliff Richard and The Kinks, Adrian Gurvitz was performing in bands backing Crispian St. Peters, Screaming Lord Sutch and others by the age of 15. With his brother Paul, he formed a band called Gun who had a hit with “Race With The Devil”, temporarily changing their name from Gurvitz to Curtis. They subsequently formed Three Man Army with Buddy Miles, a highly regarded American drummer. The next band was the Baker Gurvitz Army with Ginger Baker. All this detail is meant to state that Adrian Gurvitz’s musical pedigree is unarguable and it was a big surprise when he had a Number 8 hit in the UK in 1982 with “Classic”. It’s very middle of the road and I love it. I’m not sure why I like the opening lines so much when, objectively, they’re terrible. “I’m gonna write a classic. I’m gonna write it in an attic“. He has continued to have a successful, if low key, musical career. The contrast between Adrian Gurvitz and Brian Protheroe couldn’t be more marked.
Unlike the previous two songs, “Kung Fu Fighting” got to Number One in the UK charts in 1974. Carl Douglas is a Jamaican singer and songwriter who recorded the song in 10 minutes at the end of a recording session in which he assumed he was recording a B side. He said he went a bit overboard with all the “huh”‘s and the “hah”s because nobody would ever listen to the B side. It has sold over 11 million copies world wide. Again, I love the lyrics so much that I could quote them all but maybe my favourite line is “There were funky China men from funky Chinatown”.
“Minuetto Alegretto” is one of Roo’s favourite songs. I’m not joking. She especially likes the exhortation to “come on chaps“. The Wombles were a children’s group and musical direction was by Mike Batt, an extremely talented musician. He also produced albums by The Hollies, Cliff Richard, Linda Lewis and David Essex. Lead guitar was provided by Chris Spedding, who co-wrote the song with Mike Batt and played on albums by Jack Bruce, Harry Nilsson, Cass Elliot, Elton John and “Tug Of War” by Paul McCartney. “Minuetto Alegretto” is a very clever song, based on Mozart’s Symphony Number 41. It reached Number 9 in the UK Charts in 1974. Once again, lots of brilliant lyrics. Try this: “Young Womble Bulgaria was listening with glee. ‘If I Minuetto Allegretto, a very old wise Womble I shall be’. Minuetting minutes later, he was Wombling away. Though he used to Womble allegretto, now it’s andante cantabile”.
“Love Me For A Reason” by The Osmonds also got to Number One in the charts in 1974. The song was written by Johnny Bristol and was covered by Boyzone in 1994. Rob’s favourite lyrics on this song are “I’m just a little old-fashioned. It takes more than physical attraction. My initial reaction is honey, give me love, not a facsimile of”
Everything links together. Cream links Adrian Gurvitz and The Wombles (Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce). Musicians on “Tug Of War” included Tony Coe and Chris Spedding. My guilty pleasures never “bore me once again” and I return to them time and time again when all else fails.