Apr 08

BAY CITY ROLLERS – “Give A Little Love”

FT + Popular102 comments • 5,526 views

#374, 19th July 1975

A few entries ago I compared “Oh Boy” to Westlife, which got a few commenters disagreeing. The boyband genes of “Give A Little Love”, though, are far less recessive, and when the Rollers amble into that chorus like a tram on a track you can almost see them bestooled and swaying. There’s enough rock in the rollers for the song to play out with an incongruous and entertaining guitar solo (nodding back to the Beatles’ “Something” if I’m not mistaken) but mostly this is purest plod, with yet another hand-wringingly sincere spoken passage to sap us further. It’s pretty enough, though, and there’s something almost endearing about how brazenly it presses its various buttons – but only almost. There’s no harm in it, but no delight either.



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  1. 91
    Tom on 9 Apr 2008 #

    We do a teenage survey at work (I think a previous Popular entry mentioned this), and teenagers’ ideal future age is one of the questions we ask: it’s consistently two-three years ahead until 19 is reached and then it stabilises and drops.

    I like the “you’re only as good as your last track” theory.

  2. 92
    Marcello Carlin on 9 Apr 2008 #

    I’d be surprised if the writers (John Goodison and Phil Wainman, for what it’s worth) put more than about half a second of thought into that “dream”/”seventeen” rhyme.

    They switched to the covers because (a) they’d decided to part company with Martin and Coulter who wrote all their ’74 hits (and “Saturday Night”) and (b) Tam told them to, even though, as their albums demonstrate, they actually wanted to rock or at least power pop and write their own stuff.

  3. 93
    wichita lineman on 14 May 2008 #

    Going waaay back to 39, I guessed “Phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust” was about the stage show Beatlemania which came to London in ’79 (I think, I remember a feature on Nationwide) and, umm, bit the dust quite quickly.

  4. 94
    Brooksie on 9 Feb 2010 #

    The Rollers actually wrote some pretty good stuff themselves (for teenyboppers). But they never really got the chance to show it. I like this, and I think it does what it needs to do, but it’s a little weak.

    I agree with the “only as good as your previous single” theory. But I don’t think that works as well for The Rollers. Groups like The Rollers whose teen audience is totally teenage girls-and-their-hormones related, will always sell with consistency that will taper off with time. For the Rollers their drop off from this # 1 to the # 3 ‘Money Honey’, and the drop off from the # 1 album ‘Once Upon A Star’ to the # 3 ‘Wouldn’t You Like It?’, has far more to do with a new school year moving up – meaning a whole chunk of their fans suddenly feel too old to but them anymore, and the new year feels like they’re the band their big sisters liked – than anything to do with musical quality. Groups are also tied to fashions, and when the fashions change if they are associated with them then they will fall. The most these bands can hope for is 3 solid years at the top – with 1 year ascent and 1 year descent at either end – and they *must* have broader appeal to manage 3 years rather than 1. More nuanced groups can manage a little longer, if they time things just right. For example; Wham! managed to split in June ’86, before a new school year moved up. Duran (who were older than Wham! and had already lost fans to A-ha) came back in October ’86 and couldn’t break the top 5. Culture Club’s ‘War Song’ was a very silly song, and it slammed the breaks on their career, especially with a critically mauled album (which was actually pretty good, just not as good as their previous effort). One could point at ‘Ant Rap’ as another example of a silly song which damaged the maker, but Adam got rid of the Ants and came back with a good pop track both of which helped to halt any damage, plus Adam had a *lot* of male fans.

    The Rollers peak year was Sept ’74 ’til Sept ’75, after that it was all descent. They had one more year and then they were done; they never bothered the top 10 after Sept ’76.

  5. 95
    wichita lineman on 9 Feb 2010 #

    I think their descent was hastened by Money Honey’s sequel, rock-a-ballad Love Me Like I Love You which sounded really dated in the spring of ’76. Plus the odd fact they only released two singles that year. In the US they also released powerpop anthem Rock’n’Roll Love Letter in spring ’76, but went the whole summer without a single in the UK. Nuts! Hardly surprising that they fell off the map in ’77.

  6. 96
    Brooksie on 10 Feb 2010 #

    This is true; in ’76 The Rollers left for the US which meant their presence to the teenybopper fans in the UK wasn’t felt the way it should be. I agree that ‘Love Me Like I Love You’ was weak; it sounded like they were trying to write a ‘Bye Bye Baby’ for themselves – and it didn’t work. In charts now filled with the production glories of ABBA, The Rollers sounded tinny and weak, and they weren’t even around to promote themselves.

  7. 97
    wichita lineman on 25 Jun 2010 #

    Those terrifying Rollers fans caught on camera:


  8. 98
    Chelovek na lune on 11 Sep 2010 #

    The third number one of my life, and I don’t think I’d heard it before today. Nowhere near as bad as I feared it would be. (Very interesting comments thread, this one, too.) Dare I say that this is preferable to the Aswad number of the same name? I think I dare…

  9. 99
    lonepilgrim on 8 Nov 2019 #

    I had a knee-jerk disdain for the Rollers at the time because they were making music for girls. In retrospect that seems a reasonable and time honoured motive for much pop music but this is still a leaden dirge

  10. 100
    Musicality on 20 Jan 2020 #

    Not as memorable as their previous number one record earlier that year.

  11. 101

    Very funny coincidence of discussing both Aswad and the infamous Matt Bianco/Five Star phone-in disasters here. I clearly recall a CBBC Q&A c. 1994 when Brinsley Forde and co themselves received a prank caller asking “What do you think of twats?” Riding high in the charts that summer with Shine, they seemed to quietly giggle like schoolgirls. Toby Anstis, on the other hand, uber-camply exclaimed something like “Well there’s always one… bad.. apple that spoils.. the.. bunch.”

  12. 102
    Gareth Parker on 2 Jun 2021 #

    #27 A good question and you are entitled to answer it, I wish the idiot at #28 would get a life. If he doesn’t want to engage he doesn’t have to. 3/10 for the Rollers imho.

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