Aug 06


FT + Popular51 comments • 13,032 views

#246, 23rd March 1968

A little research on Dave Dee et al suggests they were a hard band to pin down – not a ‘manufactured’ group as we’d understand it now, but jobbing pop stars willing to turn a hand to whatever novelty their songwriters provided. As their name – the roll call of a sitcom, or a schoolboy gang – suggests, DDDBMT’s thing was ‘fun-loving’, low on the artistry and heavy on the gimmicks. Which is great, as a more self-conscious band would have made a complete hash of “Xanadu”.

At heart a throwback to the days when TV western themes and squibs like “Hernando’s Hideaway” would get into the charts, “The Legend Of Xanadu” preserves all the corn of those old tunes and adds a large dollop of beat group rampage and studio fun. The record is absolutely stuffed with hooks – playful Spanish guitar, urgent horns, and of course Dave Dee’s bullwhip percussion, which makes the track as exciting as it is entertaining. The record peaks with a fantastically poker-faced spoken word section before the chorus gets one last giddy spin. One of the most likeable records of the decade.



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  1. 31
    Erithian on 9 Jan 2009 #

    I’m told I met and chatted to Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich on the Isle of Man ferry when I was 5. “Hey, loved your album man, far out”, that sort of thing.

  2. 32
    AndyPandy on 9 Jan 2009 #

    I don’t know what it is about DDDBM and T’s ‘Zabadak’ and young children’s fascination with it as shown in the stories of 3 year olds and mispronunciations and teddy bears. As I was also 3 years old at the time too and i know I was fascinated with it and especially the title line.’Zabadak’ along with Hugh Montenegro’s ‘The Good, The Bad and the Ugly’, and possibly ‘Albatross’ are probably the first records I knowingly remember hearing at the time they were hits. And then strangely ‘Revolution’ by the Beatles, strangely as it wasn’t even a single and even if it had been you’d hardly think memorable for a toddler…

  3. 33
    Kendo on 12 Nov 2009 #

    Diddy David Hamilton is the match day PA announcer at Fulham FC.

  4. 34
    Dispela Pusi on 22 Feb 2011 #

    I remember clearly DDDBMT doing this on Top Of The Pops. The band were miming along to a backing track, as was usual at the time, while Dave Dee did the vocals live. And tried to crack an actual whip at the appropriate places …. and tried … and tried. But all he was able to get was a quiet and very tame-sounding “zwhooo”. Even swishing a cane or something would have been more dramatic.

  5. 35
    Terence Lowe on 19 Feb 2012 #

    Dave Dee married Carol who went by the stage name of “canasta” I think she Watson salenofbthe century. I know that I used to see her in Laverstock, Salisbury where Daves mum and dad lived. I was a kid and she was very attractive. Wish I could remember her surname

  6. 36
    Phil Donnelly on 5 May 2012 #

    Dave Dee’s real name was Harman, that’s probably common knowledge. His first wife and mother of twin son’s was ‘Sale of the Century’ girl (Canasta) Carol (or Carole) Dunning, that was her name when living in Gloucester Terrace, London W2 in 1970. I believe she married Dave Dee in 73/74 but not sure of that bit, the boys were born in April 1975 (fact). She’s seems to have dropped out of circulation when the boys were quite young. As far as I know she’s still alive and I hope well. I think she was only 24 when the boys were born. Making her 61 years of age now. She was 10 years younger than Dave Harman. I remember the boys well and their songs were pretty memorable. I thought Xanadu was brilliant being a 14/15 year old, and Carole looked stunning in Hot Pants even though she was on 5ft 5 or 6″, I was in my late teens so I always noticed her on S of the C! My brothers had the same hair cuts as Dave Dee and I followed suit.

  7. 37
    swanstep on 17 Aug 2012 #

    Don’t understand the love for this track at all. It strikes me as over-instrumented, but still somehow as pretty tuneless. The lyrics are just kind of what-the-hell irritating. For my money, it’s not close to being as good as co-Tom-Scorers such as Mr Tambourine Man and Ticket To Ride. Checking, I see that LOX did nothing in the US (yay), but it did get to #1 in NZ (damn it). I seem to remember some history of Kiwi music show where interviewees recalled LOX as being the last straw for them at the time and thinking that local lads should at least be able to do better than *that*. And they were right (a famous 1969 Kiwi #1 you may not have heard):
    4 or 5

  8. 38
    punctum on 17 Aug 2012 #

    As it happens, I hadn’t heard it – pleasant slice of late sixties clouding-over-the-sunshine pop which I see has quite a reputation in NZ, but for me lacks DDDBMT (and Howard and Blaikley)’s essential madness.

  9. 39
    Mark G on 17 Aug 2012 #

    Well, we have got all the way down to here without mentioning the wonderful Zabadak b-side “The Sun Goes Down”, a true gothic psyche-pop with echodrums and a tolling bell and a cut-ending…

  10. 40
    enitharmon on 17 Aug 2012 #

    And further evidence of the superficially evident truth that number ones seldom represent an artist’s best work and an artist’s sole number one is almost always always a lesser piece. Cf Chuck Berry, Stevie Wonder, Small Faces and others that populista will no doubt be able to name.

    There are honourable exceptions of course.

    However, it’s good that this entry gives us an opportunity to remember DDDBM&T and things like Zabadak that might otherwise be lost amongst the dust and cobwebs of classic pop that never quite made it to the nostalgia canon.

  11. 41
    lonepilgrim on 17 Aug 2012 #

    I seem to remember seeing the band ‘performing’ this on Crackerjack or another kids show. They were peddling a story that while cracking his whip DD had caught one of the band on the cheek and left a conspicuous (one might say fake) scar.
    I like it.

  12. 42
    swanstep on 17 Aug 2012 #

    @Punctum, 38. There are pretty slim pickings for Kiwi pop in the ’60s (indeed, until Split Enz really), and The Fourmyula’s ‘Nature’ has the distinction of being (I believe) the first local #1 written by a local talent. Thus, there’s every reason to believe that it’s probably over-rated down under at this point (I confess that I do love it tho’).

    I just put up one of The Fourmyula’s other pretty good songs (one of their final, unsuccessful singles) on youtube here if anyone’s interested.

  13. 43
    punctum on 17 Aug 2012 #

    Not a patch on “A Day In My Mind’s Mind” by the Human Instinct.

  14. 44
    wichita lineman on 24 Sep 2013 #

    John Rowles was a kiwi who got to no.3 with If I Only Had Time in 1968, the biggest NZ hit single in Britain I’d guess – it entered the Top 40 the week Legend of Xanadu got to no.1. I love a bit of Popular synchronicity.

    Thanks Swan, I’d never heard that gorgeous Fourmyula single.

  15. 45
    Mark G on 24 Sep 2013 #

    I have a vague memory of “If I only had time” being (over)used on various variety shows around then.

    “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, how I wonder what you are.. if I only had time… if I only had time…”

    That sort of thing. Rowan/Martin’s laugh in? Mists of time..

  16. 46
    enitharmon on 14 Jan 2015 #

    And it’s farewell Trevor Ward-Davies, aka Dozy.

  17. 47
    Mark G on 15 Jan 2015 #

    How is Beaky feeling, I wonder?

  18. 48
    enitharmon on 15 Jan 2015 #


  19. 49
    Auntie Beryl on 10 Jan 2019 #

    According to the ever-reliable Wikipedia the band is currently made up of “Dozy II, Beaky I, Mick III and Tich II”. Beakys II and III are former members.

  20. 50
    BeakysDaughter on 31 Dec 2019 #

    Original Beaky is still going strong with Mick 2 who’s been with the band for over 30 years…. They tour as DBM&T. Beaky is my Dad xx

  21. 51
    Gareth Parker on 8 Jun 2021 #

    I’m so glad Tom gives this a great write up. I could even stretch to a 9/10 here.

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