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.