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Oct 07

ALVIN STARDUST – “Jealous Mind”

FT + Popular46 comments • 4,022 views

#345, 9th March 1974

“Jealous Mind” isn’t that bad a record – though Alvin Stardust does his best to make it one. Stardust took the rock and roll revival at its word and exhumed his own career, left for dead in the early sixties. From a commercial standpoint it obviously worked: even Chinnichap couldn’t turn out hits at a fast enough rate for the market so this tentative fumble at a glam beat sold more than it deserved to. Hearing Stardust sing, though, you can understand why he wasn’t much of a star first time round – he switches between characterless rock’n’roll stylings and a diffident, wimpy high register, and gives a tissue-paper performance with no conviction. What saves the single is his guitarist, who seems to give up early on and play whatever he wants, a soupy, skiddy underlay to the song that reminds me a bit of “Spirit In The Sky”. Even then “Jealous Mind” isn’t much, but luckily Alvin’s such a sap you can almost totally tune him out.

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Comments

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  1. 26
    wichita lineman on 29 Mar 2011 #

    RAK 178 (Mud), RAK 179 (Dum)… not sure what Les & Co would have done either if In The Mood had been a hit. With reference to the matter in hand, Peter Shelley (or was it Marty Wilde?) is meant to have sung My Coo Ca Choo and that didn’t stop Shane Fenton from fronting it… who wasn’t even the REAL Shane Fenton because he died and Bernard Jewry, the Fentones’ roadie, acquired his name…

    Pop… bloody hell.

  2. 27
    Erithian on 29 Mar 2011 #

    This is glam’s answer to “Paul Is Dead”. Tell us more Wichita!

  3. 28
    Mark G on 29 Mar 2011 #

    I actually got to ask Les Gray about this.

    Apparently, there was a difference of opinion as to which should be the new single. “In The Mood” was the band’s choice (I believe), “Rocket” being the label’s. Only one got the proper billing and promotion, hmm guess which…

    So, they got to release both, simultaneously. The “Dum” one I got second-hand, and despite being an avid popwatcher, I knew nothing about it.

    Note: The b-side, “Watching the clock” resurfaced as the b-side of “Oh Boy” with the “dum” writer credit intact (the website has that single wrong), it was an instrumental knocked out for b-side use. A later single had “Still watching the clock” which was the same tune, slightly slower. Les admitted it was an easy, quick and cheap way to furnish/finish the single.

  4. 29
    wichita lineman on 29 Mar 2011 #

    Erithian, will attempt to verify… now… must… work…

  5. 30
    vinylscot on 29 Mar 2011 #

    RAK seem to have a history of doing this sort of thing. In 1974-5 they had two different acts called “Kenny”, and both had hits with Martin-Coulter songs. The first was Irish showband veteran Tony Kenny, and the second was a group of sub-BCR London lads, formerly named “Chuff”.

    I presume they had big plans for the original Kenny, and these didn’t quite work out. It’s quite common for the session singers to be ignored when an act unexpectedly has to make public appearances, but I always thought this a little odd, as they were such different acts – one solo bloke vs five kids!

    Maybe, if “The Bump” hadn’t been a hit, we would never have known!

  6. 31
    Mark G on 29 Mar 2011 #

    The “Kenny” singles ran in succession.

    Tony Kenny had two singles (both UK hits) as Kenny, both falsetto style, but I get the impression he went back to Ireland rather than have to continue singing like that all the time. (His next singles as himself were the “Hey won’t you play another somebody done somebody wrong song” country styles.)

    So, rather than abandon a hit-making alias, Mickie Most hired a UK band to take over.

  7. 32
    vinylscot on 29 Mar 2011 #

    I know what you’re saying, but Tony Kenny had been on TOTP – they weren’t pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes, so why bother?

    (Just had a quick listen to “Give It To Me Now” – it’s horrible. I don’t know how Mickie Most expected to get any more hits from that franchise!)

  8. 33
    Mark G on 29 Mar 2011 #

    Well, it was a different thing then.

    The song(s) were hits based on what was on the record, he didn’t have a ‘fan following’, and I do recall a fairly long gap between “Give it to me now” and “The Bump”

    (checks: June 1973 for GITMN, Xmas 1974 for The Bump, so the band themselves wouldn’t have been needed until Jan 1975)

    Funny, ChartStats has split them by renaming the former as “Tony Kenny”, but I would lay odds that the guy on the picsleeve for the european single of “The Bump” is Tony.

  9. 34
    wichita lineman on 29 Mar 2011 #

    That’s him, alright. I really like Give It To Me Now, as a piece of tuff sleazy glam. We need to get to the bottom of the Kenny vs Kenny story, it does seem to be unique.

    (Just watched The Bump on TOTP – the drummer shouting “come on everybody, do the bump!” doesn’t half sound like a South Park character).

    According to Dave McAleer, the original Shane Fenton (whose real name was Johnny Theakstone) became terminally ill in 1961 and asked ‘Bernie’ the roadie to take on the stage name. Wiki has a broadly similar story. Presumably Bernie changed his name by deedpoll otherwise Adam F would be Adam J, or even Adam S.

  10. 35
    Mark G on 29 Mar 2011 #

    Naah, it’ll be like how Kim Wilde wasn’t Kim Smith.

    Of course, she was also a party to nicking someone else’s stage name when she teamed up with Mel Smith and called themselves “Mel and Kim”.

    (Mel did say they considered calling themselves “The Smiths”…)

  11. 36
    Erithian on 29 Mar 2011 #

    Blimey – it’s as if the guy’s name became a franchise Martin and Coulter were able to bestow upon the next act they wanted to promote. And according to this – http://www.glamrocking.co.uk/kenny.htm – that act, “Chufff” (note the three F’s) weren’t originally a sub-BCRs combo but a prog rock outfit who had supported Hawkwind!

    Funnily enough I recall a Record Mirror piece saying they were “too young to drink but old enough to rock the Rollers”, which suggests they were precocious if they were prog, so they must have taken some persuasion to do The Bump! I did remember the other Kenny, but assumed at the time the similarity of names was just a coincidence.

  12. 37
    punctum on 29 Mar 2011 #

    #35: “Mel and Kim II.”

    #36: much like “Menudo” and “Sugababes.”

  13. 38
    Erithian on 29 Mar 2011 #

    Well no, Menudo and Sugababes changed personnel one at a time rather than being entirely different acts. Much like that other big pop act “England World Cup Squad”.

    The Kenny principle is more like what appears to have happened with Brotherhood of Man between “United We Stand” and Eurovision. (Or did they follow the Sugababes principle as well??)

  14. 39
    Mark G on 29 Mar 2011 #

    #37, they’re “Mel and Kim II” only on Discogs.com

    #38, I believe there was some crossover between some members of the Brotherhood of man, although…

  15. 40
    Jimmy the Swede on 29 Mar 2011 #

    In fact there are several examples of groups changing personnel through the years as opposed to simply being different groups like Brotherhood of Man certainly were. Or were they?…

    The Drifters, for example (and I mean the US soul oufit and not the old Shads), were pretty much nothing but a filter.

    As the Zen Master asked the pupil: “If you have a spade and you change the handle and later change the blade, is it the same spade?”

    Pupil: “Piss off, old man. You’re an idiot!”

  16. 41
    wichita lineman on 29 Mar 2011 #

    In the case of Kenny, though, it’s akin to Oran ‘Juice’ Jones re-emerging in 1988 as a New Jack Swing four piece. It was his bloody name! How could Martin/Coulter/Most be so callous???

  17. 42
    Erithian on 29 Mar 2011 #

    Of course the Zen master gag has been superseded, Jimmy. If you Google “Sugababes” and “Trigger’s Broom” you get 803 hits. (804 now I guess.)

    I was thinking of the Drifters too – another Record Mirror piece in 1975 was headlined “What have the Drifters got in common with Arsenal?” And that was their lead singer suggesting the analogy!

    Martin/Coulter/Most possibly foresaw what was coming when they named the act “Kenny” rather than “Tony Kenny”, to make things easier. After all, according to Monty Python’s Rock Notes, Dead Monkeys went through umpteen name changes and only got into trouble when they tried to call the band Helen Shapiro.

  18. 43
    Mark G on 30 Mar 2011 #

    Yeah, but then they split up and the producers wanted to keep the hit-making brand, so hired a girl to take up the mantle. Which happened to be her real name, by coincidence.

  19. 44
    Erithian on 29 Oct 2012 #

    Me #3 – maybe, on reflection, Alvin had another reason for not wanting to associate with Jimmy Savile when doing TOTP, as anybody who valued their reputation may well have done…

  20. 45
    thefatgit on 23 Oct 2014 #

    Farewell then Alvin Stardust, died of prostate cancer aged 72. Sad news.

  21. 46
    wichitalineman on 23 Oct 2014 #

    Very sad to hear about Alvin who sounded like a lovely man, as well as being a master of re-invention.

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