9
Apr 08

THE STYLISTICS – “I Can’t Give You Anything But My Love”

FT + Popular60 comments • 5,079 views

#376, 16th August 1975

For a song about a guy with empty pockets, this certainly sounds opulent! But its largesse of strings and brass is a little too showy, too ostentatious, at least compared to the understated richness of the sound the Stylistics achieved with Thom Bell. Even if this bling might be fake, “I Can’t Give You Anything…” is a fine record: Russell Thompkins Jr’s falsetto is as strong and lovely as ever – though sometimes he’s having to fight the turbulent backing when he could be soaring over something more sympathetic. That backing, by itself, is also good – arranger Van McCoy taking his delightful horn rhythms from “The Hustle” and beefing them up. The record ends up an intriguing and enjoyable mismatch, still slightly less than the sum of its high-quality parts.

7

Comments

  1. 1
    Mark G on 9 Apr 2008 #

    I accidentally got a stylistics single when I collected Smiths coupons off crisp packets and put the wrong symbol down on the order sheet (I actually wanted the Status Quo one). They’d made this new format which was meant to be more flexible, resistant to wear and more high fidelity…

    Yep, it was a 2 sided flexidisc.

    Funnily enough, I liked the single better after getting it than I had before.

  2. 2
    Marcello Carlin on 9 Apr 2008 #

    The critical inclination of the time was that the Thom Bell Stylistics were immaculate and brilliant and that the Hugo and Luigi/Van McCoy Stylistics signified cabaret/chicken in a basket time. Certainly the body of Bell work, which included such flexions of magic as “People Make The World Go Round” (check the full-length album version and die), “Betcha By Golly Wow” and above all “You Make Me Feel Brand New,” is about as vulnerably perfect as any soul of the period.

    That having been said, “I Can’t Give You Anything” sounds nicely sprightly nearly 33 years down the road, even if the opulence of its arrangement (deliberately? ironically?) belies its subject matter – or nearly; the eruptions of strings and drums behind Tompkins’ “I’m just an ordinary guy” are Tosca-esque. But its jolly optimism remains cheery (as indeed do McCoy’s sneaky references to “The Hustle” in the second and third choruses); I like the “Spanish Harlem” brownstone trumpet-and-harp intro and the video, which panned over a series of skyscrapers to find the group up on the roof, so to speak, was rather memorable.

  3. 3
    rosie on 9 Apr 2008 #

    My cat, Tosca, just pricked up here ears and came sniffing at the screen. Now I know why! (Tosca? She’s a jealous, possessive, impulsive, temperamental but ultimately loyal diva. Just like my cat.)

    Where the seventies (and everything that came after) differs from the sixties, which was my own teenpop period, is that I’m not fully immersed in everything that’s going on, and I can take or leave most of what’s about, but there are things I like a lot. This is one of them, and it conjures up brilliantly both the laid-back spirit of the mid-seventies and that long, lazy, hot summer of ’75. (The summer that followed may have been even longer and even hotter but it was far from lazy for me, as will become apparent.) I love it. It’s not particularly original or startling, so the most I could give it is 8, but I like it a lot.

    And isn’t it odd, both in the light of the previous discussion and recent controversy about “blue-eyed soul”, that the Stylistics could take their place alongside Typically Tropical and nobody at the time thought anything about it? This is music that is undoubtedly ‘black’ in origin, but which can embrace everbody because it doesn’t feel like a point-blank leer.

  4. 4
    Marcello Carlin on 9 Apr 2008 #

    Has it not occurred to you that things like “Barbados” could equally be viewed as a “point-blank leer” from the other, less cosseted end of the telescope?

  5. 5
    Tom on 9 Apr 2008 #

    MC who are you suggesting is cosseted? From what I know of Rosie she hardly fits that bill. Let’s not have a reumption of unneccessary comment thread hostilities please.

    I’m not sure what’s meant by “point-blank leer” though?

  6. 6
    Marcello Carlin on 9 Apr 2008 #

    Neither am I, but it sounds questionable in this context.

    What I mean by “cosseted” is that it is easy for Black & White Minstrels, Typically Tropical to mock blacks (whether intentionally or unintentionally) from a position of relative privilege as was unquestionably the case in ’75 Britain, but when blacks – who pretty unarguably had a case for responding – attempt to refract that picture it is interpreted as “shut up, behave yourselves, do as the Romans do,” and this could apply from everyone to the Blue Notes to Burning Spear, who don’t/didn’t have the luxury of being white and excusing themselves to fall back on.

    For example, Mongezi Feza, the great South African jazz trumpeter resident in Britain, died in ’75 of double pneumonia in the (name omitted for legal reasons) Hospital, untreated because staff there routinely thought he was “just another crazy black guy”; maybe he looked at them the wrong way?

    Remember also the general tensions which (a) were to explode in the ’76 Notting Hill Carnival riots and (b) more or less led directly to the passing of the race discrimination laws in this country, also in ’76.

    Also the concomitant rise of the NF, Bowie coked out of his head at Victoria Station, etc.

    Persistent kicking sooner or later inspires a bite back, and it is my view that black Britons had plenty of good reasons to bite at that time, as indeed they do now.

  7. 7
    jeff w on 9 Apr 2008 #

    One of the greatest singles acts of the 70s finally nabs a #1. (Seriously, who’s the competition back then in terms of consistency over several years in that decade: T.Rex, Abba, Roxy? That’s probably it.) And while it should have been “You Make Me Feel Brand New” that topped the chart, and some of the Hugo & Luigi stuff is a little too smooth for my tastes, “Can’t Give You Anything” will always get me punching the air and singing along at the disco.

    Strongest memory of the time of the Stylistics: they featured along with Quo, the Rollers and others in a crisps promotion (it might have been Smiths, as they were the biggest noise in savoury snacks in the mid 70s, just as Walkers is now) where you could collect tokens from the packets and send off for a 2-track flexi disc of hits by your favourite pop act. It’s a measure of the extent that Thompkins & co had crossed over to the mainstream by 1975 that they featured in this promotion.

    I was also pleased to note that the CD collection of their hits and most popular LP tracks released in the UK last year (recommended as a primer btw, it contains pretty much everything you need) did OK chart wise.

  8. 8
    jeff w on 9 Apr 2008 #

    haha I failed to notice Mark G’s comment at #1 before posting the above

    I think we got the wrong flexi too!

  9. 9
    LondonLee on 9 Apr 2008 #

    The Hugo and Luigi productions weren’t all that successful in the States but did very well in Britain, better than their Thom Bell stuff I think.

  10. 10
    Billy Smart on 9 Apr 2008 #

    ‘I’d Rather be Hurt by You than Loved by Somebody Else’ is certainly one hell of a title!

  11. 11
    rosie on 9 Apr 2008 #

    By ‘point-blank leer’ I meant a reference to the kind of contemporary ‘urban’ music which, to me anyway, projects an aggressive, in-yer-face, up-yours attitude. Maybe it wasn’t the most elegant phrase I could have chosen, but nor do I think guilt-tripping the honkies is the ideal way to bring about harmony. And as for leering, perhaps only a woman could experience the chill of running the gauntlet of a group of bruvvers hanging-out on a street corner in somewhere like St Pauls in Bristol, being, yes, leered at, propositioned, grabbed and even spat at. It’s not all one-way traffic, oppressor and oppressed.

    And lest anybody get hold of the wrong ideas, I have worked very hard with both the Notting Hill and St Pauls Carnival organisers and been thanked for it. I’ve been in the thick of things working for change. And yes, I have strong views about black music. I’m very much for it. Yes, it’s true that I have a copy of Legend and I’m not ashamed of that at all. In my collection you’ll also find Bessie Smith, Howling Wolf, Memphis Slim, Billie Holiday, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Dinah Washington, Youssou N’Dour, Hugh Masakele, Wilson Pickett, Sonny Boy Williamson, Sarah Vaughan, Stevie Wonder, do you really want me to go on? Oh yes, even the Stylistics! Not a lot of gangsta rap I’ll admit. It’s not to my taste. If you want to make an issue of that, that’s fine.

  12. 12
    Erithian on 9 Apr 2008 #

    Another one I didn’t much care for at the time but look back on fondly now, for all kinds of nice touches. Honourable mentions too for “Stone In Love With You” (clever lyric) and “Rock’n’Roll Baby” (for squeezing the word “orthopaedic” into a pop song!)

  13. 13
    rosie on 9 Apr 2008 #

    jeff, in 1975 Walkers were a big noise in savoury snacks for those in the know. They were made on a small scale near Leicester and a few discerning pubs outside their main trading area stocked them rather than the inferior Smiths and Golden Wonder. Their location was passed round by word of mouth, and a pub that stocked Walkers was likely to take more care over other details too.

    Then the late Richard Boston gave them publicity in his Guardian column and his book Beer and Skittles, leading to Pepsico buying them out. The result – and Tom knows my views on this sort of thing – was a triumph of Brand over Product.

  14. 14
    Tom on 9 Apr 2008 #

    I had no idea that Beer And Skittles actually led Pepsico to buy Walkers! Of course there are now new “indie crisp” brands that FT readers and writers have strong feelings about (Seabrooks, for instance).

    Aggression elicits mixed feelings for me in music too – except for me it was the aggression in rock that turned me off, rather than the attitude of hip-hop and gangsta rap: doing Popular got me into the Stones, which has done a lot to help me enjoy the power and nuance in rock aggression. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with not enjoying aggression in music when you feel it’s being aimed at you – for one thing, if it is, the musicians presumably don’t WANT you to enjoy it.

  15. 15
    Marcello Carlin on 9 Apr 2008 #

    And as for leering, perhaps only a woman could experience the chill of running the gauntlet of a group of bruvvers hanging-out on a street corner in somewhere like St Pauls in Bristol, being, yes, leered at, propositioned, grabbed and even spat at.

    Opening section of Lester Bangs’ “The White Noise Supremacists” essay to thread I think.

  16. 16
    Tom on 9 Apr 2008 #

    “(not to mention the sexism, which is even more pervasive and a whole other piece)”

    Did Bangs ever write that whole other piece? Guess not.

  17. 17
    vinylscot on 9 Apr 2008 #

    My abiding memory of this song is how much “Bigger” it sounded, compared to previous Stylistics hits. From reading the comments above it appears that this was down to a change of producer. Being a few years older now that is quite obvious.

    There was a marked shift from the sweet soul sound of tracks like “You Make Me Feel Brand New” and “Stone in Love With You”, to this more poppy, accessible sound.

    Despite this song giving them their number one hit (which they undoubtedly deserved), the material in the H&L and Van McCoy periods was not as strong and within a year of this they were singing corny songs like “16 Bars”, and later the even cheesier “$7000 and You”, neither of which will remotely concern this blog!

    It’s a perfectly good song, but a little clumsy, and not really what I imagine they would wish to be remembered for.

  18. 18
    Matt DC on 9 Apr 2008 #

    It’s depressing how some things seemingly never change – last time I objected to language I found racially offensive I was called a “pompous twat”. I’m wondering if you have any views on that, Mr Carlin?

  19. 19
    Marcello Carlin on 9 Apr 2008 #

    My view is that this isn’t ILx.

  20. 20
    Erithian on 9 Apr 2008 #

    A (white) friend of mine who’s in her late 40s explained her liking for gangsta rap thus: “I like having an angry black man shouting at me now and again”. Presumably only on the in-car stereo though.

  21. 21
    Brian on 9 Apr 2008 #

    Can we stick to the music ? This pugnacious posturing is a real pain …..

  22. 22
    Steve Mannion on 9 Apr 2008 #

    Maybe we should hold off on the gangsta rap talk until we get to actual hip-hop hits at #1 – I’m having a hard enough time preparing for D******** H******.

  23. 23
    Waldo on 9 Apr 2008 #

    Okay, youse guys, hands up who remembers the film clip accompanying this on TOTP? The Stylistics were “performing” the song on top of a roof probably in Philly. The cuddly dwarfy lead singer with the squeaky voice I’ll give you. But the rest of them? Yer ‘avin’ a larrf! One of them is clearly totally wankered (or has St Vitus’ Dance) and deserves to be taken out by a police marksman. The others just jive around out of sequence but I swear to God that this is inadvertent high comedy of the finest calibre. Having taken the piss thus, it would be disingenuous not to acknowledge that this song did have merits. In fact it’s a strong performance, although not a patch on “You Make Me Feel Brand New” from a year earlier, which I thought was just class in a glass and still do. It tragically got stuck at Number Two. The B-side to this was the equally sublime “Only For The Children”, which deserved laurels in its own right. You just would not figure how the idiots on the roof could have come across with gold like this.

  24. 24
    Waldo on 9 Apr 2008 #

    Ref Rosie #11 – “It’s not all one-way traffic, oppressor and oppressed.”

    I would invite people to take heed of this as it is perfectly true. I, like Rosie, can speak from personal experience. As regular bloggers may have been aware, I attended a particularly hard comprehensive school in Lambeth. As is my nature, I have attempted to introduce humour into my homey little anecdotes about Stockwell Manor but the fact of the matter is that some moments were particularly terrifying if you were a white (or asian) kid. You were wise to get out of the place quickly at home time lest you were confronted by groups of black lads, who used to take great delight in “helping” you down the stair cases. These attacks were entirely racist but were totally ignored. Had it been white boys attacking blacks, all hell would have broken loose. I ought to mention as an aside to this that whilst it is certainly true that any marauding gangs were principally if not exclusively black, there were also the lone nuts, who were quite frankly psychopaths and were given wide berths even by the gangs. These were all white. I can recall one being placed in my own class in a typical “progressive” experiment to see if the “clever kids” could urge this boy to learn. My abiding memory of him was being in a science lab six floors up and watching the boy attempting to drop a heavy metal tripod on the head of our commerce teacher crossing the playground. Had it landed it would undoubtedly have killed the man.

    I have never understood or tolerated predjudice in any shape or form. Part of this critique is to accept that it simply won’t do to take the unswerving stance of “bad whites/good blacks” and stick to this. This, I have to say, has rarely been view of black groups themselves. It has rather been the bleatings of highly politicised whites, oftentimes from the middle classes with upbringings where black people simply didn’t appear on the radar. These people have much to say but have very little qualification to say it, it seems to me.

  25. 25
    rosie on 9 Apr 2008 #

    Some time in the future we’ll come to a piece (as so often in this exercise, one of my absolute favourite performers represented only by a lesser work) which came from a film. The woman reviewing this film in City Limits declared that “all women will find this film offensive”. I hurled my copy of CL against the wall and never bought another one.

  26. 26
    Erithian on 9 Apr 2008 #

    To return to the music and lighten the tone a bit – do you remember the Mad magazine parodies of song lyrics? I got a book of these in summer ’75 and one of the songs featured was “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby” – the Al Jolson number referred to by Marcello in the “Barbados” thread. Had a devil of a job trying to get the alternative lyrics to fit the Stylistics tune – I didn’t find out why until some time afterwards…

  27. 27
    rosie on 9 Apr 2008 #

    Well, to return to popular music at large and lightening things up a little, I’ve just learned that I’m invited to be a guest on a late night show on the local Abbey FM station and I’m to choose eight gramophone records to be played during the session, which are restricted to Top 20 from 1960s to present. Now, where should I begin…

  28. 28
    LondonLee on 9 Apr 2008 #

    I passed up the chance to see The Stylistics when I was at college in the 80s to my eternal shame. Not that I wasn’t a fan of theirs then but they were playing a bingo hall and appeared to be there as entertainment between games.

    I doubt if it was the original line-up but still.

  29. 29
    Jonathan Bogart on 10 Apr 2008 #

    One minor point of fact: the old standard “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” was not a Jolson song, or at least nothing like primarily; it was a Jimmy McHugh/Dorothy Fields composition for the all-black Broadway show Blackbirds Of 1928, in which among others Bill “Bojangles” Robinson first came to national prominence, and was one of the early hits of mainstream black pop in the US. Louis Armstrong had the first hit version, and Ethel Waters, Billie Holiday, and Fats Waller were also associated with it in its first decade.

    Maybe the Jolson association came about because it’s on Judy Garland’s 1961 Carnegie Hall album, which was largely Jolson material?

  30. 30
    Snif on 10 Apr 2008 #

    Just wanted to say that I’ve only ever been to the UK once, and Walkers’ crisps are great!

  31. 31
    rosie on 10 Apr 2008 #

    Snif: But a pale shadow of what they were when they were produced by a small family company and not an international megaconglomerate. Which is almost invariably the way, I find. (Is this taught in economics courses?)

  32. 32
    Mark G on 10 Apr 2008 #

    Tudor crisps, folks!

    They were only available in the North of England (Scotland too?), but they were made in Reading, ironically enough.

  33. 33

    PLANTAGENET CRISPS

  34. 34
    Erithian on 10 Apr 2008 #

    Jonathan (#29) – the Jolson association came about because Marcello said it was a Jolson song! Tch, MC, usually so authoritative…!

    Rosie (#31) – I thought about Walkers the conglomerate on Saturday, when during the BBC’s Grand National preview they asked various Beeb sports presenters when they’d first backed a horse in the National. Gary Lineker’s first was the one narrowly beaten by Red Rum in 1973… Crisp.

    Tom (#14) – interesting that it’s doing Popular which got you into the Stones. Now that you’re nearly 23 years’ worth of number ones into this project, are there any other discoveries you find yourself surprised by?

  35. 35
    Marcello Carlin on 10 Apr 2008 #

    It is a shame that the distracting drizzle of egocratic racism masquerading as misplaced moral gliberalism has continued unabated.

    With regard to #24, I could tell similarly horrifying stories about Glasgow in the seventies and replace the terms “black” and “white” with the terms “Catholic” and “Protestant”. Since I am wise enough to avoid crass strawmanism, however, I prefer to view the bigger picture, namely to look at why this prejudice historically exists – and saying that the blacks were just as bad/worse round “my” way is yet another manifestation of what is essentially endemic, or at least ingrained, racism, in blissful and total ignorance of the circumstances which brought this sort of attitude and behaviour into being in the first place.

  36. 36
    Matthew H on 10 Apr 2008 #

    Some of my best friends are, um, called Neil.

    Anyway, I’m just too young (never thought I’d declare that again) to remember the Stylistics, but have a particularly lovely version of ‘You’ll Never Get To Heaven (If You Break My Heart’ on a Bacharach and David comp. I know ‘You Make Me Feel Brand New’, obv, but that’s the limit. Am getting the impression I should seek out more.

  37. 37
    Mark G on 10 Apr 2008 #

    Jonathan (#29) – the Jolson association came about because Marcello said it was a Jolson song! Tch, MC, usually so authoritative…!

    Um, no he didn’t. He said that he had a song of the same name, on the “Typically Tropical” Barbados discussion.

  38. 38
    mike on 10 Apr 2008 #

    I’ve always thought that the Village People’s original “YMCA” video was something of a nod towards the rooftop cavortings of the Stylistics.

    Not much to add about this one. I felt fairly neutral about it at the time, although I had quite a soft spot for its rather elegant, stately (and OK, not a little preposterous) follow-up, “Na Na Is The Saddest Word”. It’s the intro which sticks in my mind the most; there’s a cheesy lushness in there which puts me in mind of later US TV theme tunes – yer Dallas/Dynastys and such-like.

  39. 39
    Billy Smart on 10 Apr 2008 #

    Re 36: The Stylistics’ version of ‘You’ll Never Get To Heaven If You Break My Heart’ is sweet, but the Dionne Warwick version is one of the very best things either she or Bacharach ever did. It’s a wonderfully tactful reading of the song, from a singer who seems to know suffering, but has a real hope that her beloved might be good to her.

  40. 40
    Marcello Carlin on 10 Apr 2008 #

    I must say I’m kind of glad that Cilla didn’t cover that one (at least, not as a single) – her terrifying bark would have been totally out of place!

  41. 41
    LondonLee on 10 Apr 2008 #

    I’d just like to put in a word for Chipmunk crisps. I don’t think they make ’em anymore but their salt n’ vinegar was potent.

  42. 42
    Marcello Carlin on 10 Apr 2008 #

    Don’t think we ever got those up in Scotland. My preferred “crisps” at the time were the barbecue beef Potato Sticks that you used to get from M&S. Don’t know why they stopped making them ‘cos they were fab.

  43. 43
    Erithian on 10 Apr 2008 #

    Possibly the most memorable crisps ad ever:
    Newcastle United supporters’ coach returns to Tyneside, and Dad meets his lad off the coach.
    Dad: “How about that eh? 4-0 win away at Arsenal!…”
    Lad: “Aye, but they had horrible crisps…”
    (Dad gives lad a packet of his favourite Tudor crisps)
    Lad: “Aye, that’s canny… tell yer what, if they’d had Tudor crisps in London I’d have settled fer a gerrl-less draw!”

  44. 44
    Marcello Carlin on 10 Apr 2008 #

    Blimey. We definitely got Tudor Crisps but I remember that advert not at all.

    I distinctly remember Viv Stanshall’s ad for Smith’s Quavers, mind.

  45. 45
    Billy Smart on 10 Apr 2008 #

    I can remember the initial McCoys campaign “The BIG chip from the BIG country”, which I enjoyed because of its ASA-imposed suffix “Made in the UK”.

  46. 46
    Waldo on 10 Apr 2008 #

    Marcello # 35 – Sorry, I don’t agree with you at all.

  47. 47
    o sobek! on 11 Apr 2008 #

    who knew popular comments were filled w/ so many bernie goetz sympathizers? disturbing stuff

  48. 48
    Mark G on 11 Apr 2008 #

    I do remember the ad mentioned in #43.

    I don’t remember Viv’s Quavers ad but we all remember “Mr Cadbury’s Parrot”

  49. 49
    rosie on 11 Apr 2008 #

    o sobek!: I really do think that this matter should be close down now, but all the same I want to ask who has advocated shooting? There’s a world of difference between feeling menaced and overreacting to it.

    I once asked my late ex-partner Frank, a former lieutenant in the Royal Marines, what he would do if we were menaced while walking through St Pauls (it happens – accept that). He said we would cross the road to avoid a confrontation. I asked what he would do if we were pursued. He said he would ask the pursuers politely to desist. I asked what he would do if the pursuers ignored the request. He said he’d break their arms.

  50. 50
    Marcello Carlin on 11 Apr 2008 #

    o sobek! OT-freaking-M.

  51. 51
    rosie on 11 Apr 2008 #

    Tom, will you sort Marcello out please? He’s spoiling it for everybody else again.

  52. 52
    Marcello Carlin on 11 Apr 2008 #

    Responding firmly to repeated casual racism on the part of careerist trolls = “spoiling.”

  53. 53
    Erithian on 11 Apr 2008 #

    To paraphrase Clement Attlee, a period of silence on this subject would be much appreciated. It generates more heat than light.

  54. 54
    Tom on 11 Apr 2008 #

    I’m not “sorting anyone out” – as I’ve said before, both Rosie and Marcello contribute a lot to Popular and I would like them both to continue doing so.

    In this particular case Rosie made some controversial comments, then expanded on them. If people still wanted to continue the argument – and I’d have been surprised if they didn’t! – they could have done exactly that. Continue the argument. Spell out what they think, explain why they find what Rosie’s saying offensive, etc. Maybe take it to email if it got too heated.

    Not go the ILX route of one-liners and cryptic references and passive-aggressive sniping, this kind of superstring version of internet debate where every post has 6 curled-up dimensions hidden inside it. (And yes, I’m as guilty as anyone here – post #16 – and I apologise for it: old habits die hard.)

    I don’t want to keep argument out of Popular, or political comment – I don’t want it to overwhelm the threads either, but we’re all grown-ups and politics and personal experience are inescapably part of pop. But if you’re going to make a point, make a point clearly. Thanks.

  55. 55
    CarsmileSteve on 13 Apr 2008 #

    #43 Erithian, are you saying it was better than the “ah’d climb a mountain forra bag a tudor” (shockingly seemingly unavailable on youtube, resign internets!)?

  56. 56
    Erithian on 14 Apr 2008 #

    Steve – possibly the most controversial statement on this thread, but yes. Anything involving a 4-0 home defeat for Arsenal is fine by me.

  57. 57
    Roadhog on 26 Apr 2008 #

    The inclusion of the walkes Crisps debate is such an amazing coincidence for me.
    At the time this was high in the charts a peak time viewing programme devoted to the Stylistics was shown (It was called “The Other Broadway” don’t ask me how I rember that!. I remember it being on the night before my dad and I went down to my gran’s in Wiltshire to spend a week as he painted her house. Well every evening my dad would go across to the local pub and get himself a bottle of beer and a couple of packets of crisps for us. These crisps were Walkers crisps the first time I remember seeing them I particularly remember the “Did You Know?” fact on the back of the packet. In the South East where I lived it was all Smiths and Golden Wonder so it seems they were a more provincial thing back then.

  58. 58
    Chelovek na lune on 12 Sep 2010 #

    This is one of my favourite number 1s from this year (provisos about some of their earlier material being better – or even classic – notwithstanding), although I also hadn’t heard it before.

    Moving away from crispy potato products, there’s just one thing that gets me about this that I’m surprised hasn’t been mentioned here, which I’d like to present to the many knowledgeable minds here.

    There’s a sequence in the intro (and that is repeated later on) that seems to me to be remarkably similar, melody-wise to part of Christopher Cross’s “Arthur’s Theme” from a few years later….I found myself singing “you know it’s crazy, but it’s true” . So, coincidence? Or a direct, acknowledged lift on the latter’s part…or is there some other connection?

  59. 59
    wichita lineman on 3 Sep 2011 #

    File under unlikely: Betcha By Golly Wow was first recorded by the coy and cooing Connie Stevens, most famous for the gooey Sixteen Reasons from 1960.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tDXGhmtDew&feature=related

  60. 60
    lonepilgrim on 9 Nov 2019 #

    I’m surprised how muscular and rich the instrumentation sounds – in my memory this is more soothing and mellow. The lead vocal does have some of that quality but it’s the music that powers this along

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