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Aug 06

DAVE DEE, DOZY BEAKY MICK AND TICH – “The Legend Of Xanadu”

FT + Popular49 comments • 11,714 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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Comments

  1. 1
    Pete Baran on 8 Aug 2006 #

    Aaah, now this is more like it. And a song which I may have terrified many people to at college by discovering in the drama societies dressing up box, one real actual Zorro style whip. Once liberated, and hidden behind the juker, all it took was this tune to turn up and I’d whipcrackaway, as Doris Day would say.

    Not sure if it is the best song with Xanadu in the title, but it is a ridiculously high standard so…

  2. 2
    Doctor Mod on 8 Aug 2006 #

    DDDBMT made virtually no impression here, though I do recall “Zabadak” and “Bend It.” Gimmicks? Indeed. I don’t think I ever figured out where to place them musically–but their clothes were really, really FAB.

  3. 3
    otherdeb on 8 Aug 2006 #

    I loved thia song! The orchetration was just perfect for it! One of the reasons I started dating my ex was the he knew it, too.

  4. 4
    markgamon on 8 Aug 2006 #

    If in doubt, buy a whip.

  5. 5
    rosie on 8 Aug 2006 #

    I know I liked this (aged 14) and felt rather embarrassed about liking it because it seemed deeply uncool the the 14-year-old me who was just discovering Jim Morrison. I also associate it with my French Exchange trip – which turned out not the way the schools planned it as I was whisked away almost immediately on arrival and driven from Poissy on the outskirts of Paris to Sanary-sur-mer on the Mediterranean for the duration. It was a long, long car ride down there in the days before the Autoroute system was much developed, and I sang this song to myself to keep myself awake somewhere beyond midnight/Aix-en-Provence.

    Am I imagining it or do I recall a story that in a previous incarnation Dave Dee was the police constable who turned up at the crash which killed Eddie Cochran?

  6. 6
    Tom on 8 Aug 2006 #

    I think he was Rosie! That story almost made it into the write-up but I couldn’t fit it really.

  7. 7
    Alan Connor on 9 Aug 2006 #

    The same writers (BBC boys Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley) as previous #1 “Have I The Right?”!

    And the horns were down by John Gregory, who claims that he countered his distaste for DDDBM&T by asking impossibly high rates, getting them, and going on to do charts for the Bay City Rollers.

    Question: is the Steve Rowland who produced the same one that did the scary “Sympathy” with the Family Dogg that turns up on compilation CDs? And are either the same one who produced “I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper”?

    Resurrection Watch: For Ruby Trax, the NME got Danni Minogue, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Cud and some good bands to cover any #1 from the previous 40 years of ’em, so I suppose that compilation could show up here here and again. It was The Fall who did Xanadu.

  8. 8
    Erithian on 9 Aug 2006 #

    In another version of the Eddie Cochran story, Dave Dee (then plain Dave Harmon) pulled Cochran’s Gretsch guitar out of the wreck and took it home for safe keeping before returning it to his family. Which makes a strange pub-quiz link to Marc Bolan, whose first brush with fame was being allowed to carry Eddie Cochran’s guitar from the Hackney Empire to the waiting limo just a few days earlier.

  9. 9
    Intothefireuk on 9 Aug 2006 #

    ……..and the original line up still perform this with much gusto and large Bullwhip action from PC Dee (for I have seen them). This record led me to believe Xanadu was in the wild west until some years later I found out otherwise.

  10. 10
    Doctor Casino on 9 Aug 2006 #

    Well, this finally explains that bit on the Beatles Anthology where George Harrison says “Y’all will have heard that Dave Dee is no longer with us…but Mickey and Tich and I have decided to carry on…” or whatever.

  11. 11
    Ken on 10 Aug 2006 #

    Apparently, those infamous whip-crack sound effects were made in the studio by zipping an empty beer bottle down the fretboard of a guitar while two small scraps of wood were slapped together. And yes, it’s a brilliant tune.

  12. 12
    bramble on 6 Sep 2006 #

    I think you will find that the current line-up is not the original as Mick(Wilson) left in the early 70’s to become a driving instructor in Salisbury and the ‘Mick’ playing now is a different one. Interestingly enough, another sixties drummer, Freddie Marsden of Gerry and the Pacemakers, also became a driving instructor, in Southport. Maybe thats what drummers do when they have had enough.

  13. 13
    Stu on 3 Dec 2006 #

    This was the first single (I) ever bought !!! (for me by my parents!.

    I was 4 and those whips have never left me :) DD D B M & T have a lot to answer for – on the wind cross the sand !!!

  14. 14
    Hank on 27 May 2007 #

    This song was not even the best they made. I preferred Last Night In Soho.

  15. 15
    woody2shoes on 17 Aug 2007 #

    Its 11.30am on Friday 17th Aug 07, and my son has just text me to ask if I ever heard of Dave Dee Beaky Mick and Titch, so I imediately phone him back to say Yes I do, why? and he told me he was talking to the drummer, Mick Wilson, so I played Zabadak on youtube to him over the phone, and as I (incorrectly) named my childhood teddy “Gagalak” (I was only 3yrs) he is sending an autograph back to me with my son, Just thought Id tell any fans out there, that my son said he looked real great, and he couldn’t beleive he was 60yrs old! so Good on ya Mick! Cheers

  16. 16
    Linda B on 27 Aug 2007 #

    Oh the memories! Xanadu was probably my all time favourite song of theirs, but does anyone remember DD,D,B,M&T singing ‘If I were a Carpenter’ on Top of The Pops? It would have been about 1969.Jimmy Saville was nearly crushed to death by the girls rushing to the stage, and when Dave D sang the question “Would you have my baby?” half of the girls just about died trying to convince him that, yes they would!!! By the way FT’swoody2shoes,thanks for letting us know that Mick Wilson is still playing and looking good.

  17. 17
    Marcello Carlin on 28 Aug 2007 #

    Don’t recall that at all! Funnily enough I couldn’t locate it on YouTube.

    Is being crushed to death by girls Jimmy Savile’s ultimate nightmare?

  18. 18
    Pete on 28 Aug 2007 #

    He had already been crushed by someone called Shirley with a 62 inch chest, so it is possible.

  19. 19
    Marcello Carlin on 28 Aug 2007 #

    “Owowowowow” indeed.

  20. 20
    Billy Smart on 28 Aug 2007 #

    Speaking of JS, I was leafing through the BBC TV Audience Research Reports for 1964 the other day, and a consistent theme started to emerge…

    From VR/64/11 Top of the Pops 1/1/64:-

    “But the greatest number of objections was aimed at Jimmy Savile, mainly because of his appearance. ‘What an odd looking individual’ said a Solicitor; and others expanded this to call him ‘a cross between a Beatle and an Aldwych farce curate’, ‘like a Presbyterian minister’, ‘like something from Dr. Who’, ‘mutton dressed as lamb’, ‘Really horrific. It ought to have an X certificate. And there was Mr. Savile presiding over the orgy like a Puritan clergyman resurrected from his own churchyard’ (Retired Naval Officer).”

    From VR/64/63 Top of the Pops 29/1/64:-

    “It is clear, too, that many found Jimmy Savile’s manner and appearance (in introducing the programme) disconcerting to a degree. ‘Is this Jimmy Savile sane? I must say his most peculiar appearance and manner suggest otherwise. I couldn’t understand a word of his “gabble’, either.’, ‘a real nit’, ‘a proper twerp’, ‘a big idiotic nothing’.”

    From VR/64/661 Top of the Pops 10/12/64:-

    “Jimmy Savile, who introduced the programme on this occasion, was obviously disliked by a large number of the sample audience. Many indicated their aversion to this artist by remarking that anything they had to say about him would be ‘quite unprintable’, whilst comment by those who freely expressed their feelings was liberally larded with such terms as ‘this nutcase’; ‘this obnoxious “thing”‘; and ‘this revolting spectacle’. True, a small number admired and liked him – ‘Of course he is utterly zany but he puts life and laughter into the programme and he is clearly “with it” as regards pop music’ – but even some of those considered his hair style ‘a bit too much’. ‘As a disc jockey he is great but I think he ought to get his hair cut because as it is it looks ridiculous’. Many more, however, clearly found him ‘an abomination’ in every respect.”

  21. 21
    Marcello Carlin on 28 Aug 2007 #

    You never got any of that with David “Hello Thaar” Jacobs!

  22. 22
    Linda B on 31 Aug 2007 #

    Yep, Jimmy Saville was/is a bit wierd but he did raise a lot of money for charity so we’ll let him off. David Jacobs was a bit straight laced but not too bad.What about all the ex Radio Caroline D.J.’s.like Johnny Walker, Dave Lee Travis,and Tony Blackburn.Then there was Alan Freeman and Diddy David Hamilton? Does anyone know what they’re all up to these days? I’ve lived in Australia for the last 26 years and would love an update.Back to Dave Dee and co though, didn’t Dave marry the girl off Golden Shot? Carol Drinkwater or something?!!!I probably imagined that eh?

  23. 23
    Marcello Carlin on 31 Aug 2007 #

    Jimmy Savile is still running his Mar-A-THONS and rattling his jewellery goodness gracious.

    David Jacobs and Johnnie Walker are still on Radio 2.

    Tony Blackburn won I’m A Celebrity – Get Me Out Of Here a couple of years ago and hasn’t looked back since.

    DLT had a major hissy fit on Radio 1 in 1993 and walked out. He now works for local radio in the Home Counties.

    Diddy David Hamilton I believe is currently wowing the old folk on Saga Radio.

    Sadly Fluff Freeman passed away last year, aged 79… :-(

    About Dave Dee and the Golden Shot girl, I’ll have to get back to you on that one…

  24. 24
    Marcello Carlin on 31 Aug 2007 #

    Ah, the Golden Shot girl was Carol Dilworth, and she married Chip Hawkes Out Of The Tremeloes – *SPOILER ALERT: and is therefore the mother of a future chart-topper*…

  25. 25
    Linda B on 10 Sep 2007 #

    Thanks for the update Marcello.I read about’Fluff’Freeman and John Peel passing away in the International Express, but the info’ on all the other D.J’s is much appreciated. Carol Dilworth, that’s her! Don’t know why I thought she married Dave Dee? Here’s one to test your memories….Does anyone remember Tony Christie singing
    ‘Amarillo’ on The Golden Shot while his wife gave birth to their first child? I don’t know how you can find out if that’s true. Go on see what you can find out and I’ll check back in a couple of days!
    Thanks again for the update Marcello.

  26. 26
    Linda B on 20 Oct 2007 #

    That’s all folks. I’m off!!!

  27. 27
    tim davidge on 8 Mar 2008 #

    A little over-done, like much late-Sixties pop, but likeable and memorable with it. The ‘whip’ gimmick is a nice touch, and was indeed produced by scraping a glass bottle with something, with what exactly I can’t recall, but I do remember it being discussed on ‘Blue Peter’. Someone on that programme obviously had a liking for DDDBM&T, because they named one of their pooches ‘Zabadak’!

  28. 28
    exit dhmj on 30 Jul 2008 #

    ehugcmx vwxgot svomep gpjhfvsac hymrptql qrpoxwmgv akfntvydb

  29. 29
    DJ Punctum on 30 Jul 2008 #

    You couldn’t have made it up.

  30. 30
    rosie on 9 Jan 2009 #

    So it’s farewell then, Dave Dee

  31. 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.

  32. 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…

  33. 33
    Kendo on 12 Nov 2009 #

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

  34. 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.

  35. 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

  36. 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.

  37. 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

  38. 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.

  39. 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…

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 43
    punctum on 17 Aug 2012 #

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

  44. 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.

  45. 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..

  46. 46
    enitharmon on 14 Jan 2015 #

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

  47. 47
    Mark G on 15 Jan 2015 #

    How is Beaky feeling, I wonder?

  48. 48
    enitharmon on 15 Jan 2015 #

    Peaky?

  49. 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.

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