Apr 08

TINA CHARLES – “I Love To Love”

FT + Popular76 comments • 4,704 views

#386, 6th March 1976

I get the strong impression that whoever wrote this came up with the line “I love to love but my baby just wants to dance” and then wrote a lyric around it – which is fine, it’s a great line, but it leaves Tina Charles in the position of having to sell a song around the idea of a boyfriend who never wants sex because he’s always out disco dancing. Maybe there are deeper issues, Tina. Just saying, like.

Anyway, this is British disco, not as tight as the American stuff or as futuristic as the European, with an arrangement that sounds like it’s been built from a “disco sounds” checklist, but a singer who gives it a lot of welly. Charles may not be the greatest vocalist but she actually does sell the song, or at least give you permission to howl along with it. It wrings a good deal of enjoyment out of some fairly ropey raw materials and you’d never begrudge it its success, but I end up wanting to like it more than I actually do.



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  1. 51
    rosie on 28 Apr 2008 #

    mike @ 47: Meh – there’s nothing new under the sun. When the Stones did Let’s Spend The Night Together ten years earlier it was the end of civilisation as we know it.

  2. 52
    DJ Punctum on 28 Apr 2008 #

    I gather Jo Stafford’s 1954 top tenner “Make Love To Me” also raised questions in the House.

  3. 53
    LondonLee on 28 Apr 2008 #

    Not to mention the trouble Will Shakespeare got into with the Lord Chamberlain when he penned “Hey nonny nonny is that a lute I espy in my codpiece or am I just pleased to see thee?”

  4. 54
    Waldo on 29 Apr 2008 #

    The main thrust of this, if you pardon the pun, was that Tina Charles’ “baby” was clearly of a certain persuasion. Whilst it is true that she was no Catherine Deneurve, Tina was a jolly wholesome and grabable girl who was clearly foaming for it. “Baby”, alas, preferred boogie-woogie to upsie-downsie. His loss. As a matter of fact, I recall Tina appearing on “Swop Shop” and practically verifying this truth about “Baby”, having been persistently prompted by a manic Noel Edmonds, who was flirting with her most unsubtly, thereby ticking every box which would today guarantee him a visit from a police armed response unit.

    ILTL, meanwhile, was certainly an above average pop song and Tina’s own performance was strong and first rate (very Lyn Paul). She could actually belt out a number as powerfully as any female I can think of, despite some rather odd antecedents. Having much earlier failed to capitalize following a season with The Two Ronnies (it wasn’t always Barbara bloody Dixon) when she was very young indeed, Tina settled down as a backing singer, notably for Steve Harley, before being handed this chance, which was gratefully snapped up. What stands out even more was the presence at number one of a single female British artist, the first of only four to do this in the entire decade, which is remarkable.

    DJ Punctum #2 – I rather fear that you’re one number one too late to talk about Geoff Love’s phantom chart topper, as from personal memory (I invite you to see my contribution) it affected The Four Seasons and not Tina Charles.

  5. 55
    Erithian on 29 Apr 2008 #

    LondonLee – I see your Shakespeare and raise you The Miller’s Tale, which must have got old Geoff Chaucer into hot water for lines like:
    “This Nicholas anon leet fle a fart
    As greet as it had been a thunder-dent”
    (i.e a fart like a thunderclap)

    Mind you I think it was Sounds which reported that a reverend in the US objected to “Love To Love You Baby” on the grounds that “there are 22 orgasms in it”. Sounds gleefully asked: “Who’s counting, Rev?”

  6. 56
    DJ Punctum on 29 Apr 2008 #

    Quite correct, Waldo – it was the chart w/e 28 Feb and the Four Seasons were still on top with Tina making her move to the all-important number two position.

  7. 57
    Lena on 29 Apr 2008 #

    I heard Toni Basil’s “Mickey” the other day and I guess it’s the same thing, only done cheerleader style?

  8. 58
    DJ Punctum on 29 Apr 2008 #

    What, “I Love To Love”? Not really…much more like a Brit “Rock Your Baby” as Lulu might have sung it; here’s a helpful link

  9. 59
    pink champale on 29 Apr 2008 #

    sorry, a bit late on this, and it’s not about the tina charles record which I don’t think I’ve ever heard, but the big thing about michelle mcmanus was that she would never have won pop idol if she hadn’t been fat. her winning was entirely down to a desire on the part of the audience to play out the against all odds narrative of the girl who doesn’t look like a conventional pop star but has a million dollar voice, the producers went all out to play this up too, but she was pretty much the worst singer in the final twelve. simon cowell and pete waterman consistently pointed out that this was all just wishful thinking and that a) she wasn’t a very good singer; and b) the public would have zero interest in her as a pop star. this would always be met with ferocious booing by the studio audience who i imagine were fairly representative of the people who then a) bought none of her records b) bought loads of the celeb mags and tabloids that bullied her mercilessly about her weight.
    leona lewis excepted, the thing that does get you voted off these programmes, regardless of how good a singer or how attractive you are, is being black. andrew lloyd webber had a bit of a rant about this at the weekend when the last black contestant got kicked off the oliver show – he stopped short of saying the ‘r’ word but it was pretty clear that’s what he meant.

    it could well be that michelle mcmanus was good on r4 though – as the oliver programme is proving with terrible precision, there’s a big difference between having a good voice/being a good singer and being able to sing pop songs well. or perhaps living through the terrible experiences of the last few years has given her access to the well of the pain and oppression the lies at the heart of soulful and authentic proper music…

  10. 60
    DJ Punctum on 29 Apr 2008 #

    I can’t even remember any of the other singers who were alongside Michelle in that series, which may prove something or other but I’m not quite sure what.

    I’m afraid you may have a point with the incipient racism in the public vote for these types of programmes; note for instance how the judges on the last series of Dancing On Ice were always adamant about keeping Zarrah Abrahams in the contest despite her regularly having to appear in the “dance-off” even though she was clearly one of the best dancers/skaters on the show (Alecia Dixon is perhaps the other exception that proves the rule here) and this was also very evident in the last X-Factor series where the only qualification for victory now seems to be that you cry a lot and love your mum and two immensely superior black female singers got the early bath (and ageism is also an issue here).

    Don’t know about the existence of “soulful and authentic proper music” which to my mind has become as artificial a marketing device as any other in recent years, i.e. Adele and Duffy are “soulful” and “authentic” whereas Estelle has the temerity to be (a) pop and (b) black.

  11. 61
    pink champale on 29 Apr 2008 #

    sorry, i was joking about “proper music”.
    to be honest i can’t remember the others either but i do remember thinking most of them were better than mm and shouting at the screen “no she hasn’t!!” every time they went on about what a great voice she had

  12. 62
    Erithian on 29 Apr 2008 #

    I wonder if you could add (c) British to the list? I caught a feature on regional TV the other night claiming that black British artists are being underappreciated and not supported even by urban music stations, on the basis that American=good and British=bad. The Estelle record is bloody good, but she had to get an American in to collaborate on it and use the word in the title. Meanwhile the likes of Ms Dynamite and Dizzee Rascal make a splash then suffer diminishing returns, and the likes of Beverley Knight plug away for years without being as big as they deserve. I must admit I’m not an expert in the genre, but can anybody who is comment on that?

  13. 63
    Tom on 29 Apr 2008 #

    Most of the ‘talent show’ types of programmes are vote-to-keep rather than vote-to-kick, aren’t they? Which would definitely have an impact – it stops direct voting against non-white contestants but then leaves the performers vulnerable to the audience “not identifying with” them (and also leaves the show vulnerable to over-identification with a performer or ‘storyline’).

  14. 64
    pink champale on 29 Apr 2008 #

    yes, i think it’s more to do with who the voters ‘identify with’ than it is conscious racism. underdogism probably has something to do with it too – it often seems that the audience think it makes the competition unfair if there’s anyone in it who’s actually any good at singing and withold their votes accordingly

  15. 65
    DJ Punctum on 29 Apr 2008 #

    Re. Ms Dynamite – fell into the classic British black music trap of trying to sound as American as possible and thereby eliminating everything that was fun and profound and individual about her (whereas despite the major American input, Estelle is very intent on sounding like “herself” such that something like “American Boy” sounds far closer to Saint Etienne than it does to, say, Faith Evans).

    Dizzee – momentary beneficiary of fashion craze for a brand of music which was never really going to cross over (it’s our loss since The Bugsy Malone One at the very least should have been part of Popular) or, conversely, did cross over before going underground.

    Beverley Knight I think is a long-term victim of the Zarrah Abrahams syndrome.

  16. 66
    Erithian on 29 Apr 2008 #

    pink champale (#59) – ironically, in the BBC dramatisation of “Oliver Twist” last Christmas, Sophie Okonedo was a black Nancy and did it brilliantly.

    Sorry, who is Zarrah Abrahams? – for those of us who steer well clear of that sort of thing on a Saturday night.

  17. 67
    DJ Punctum on 29 Apr 2008 #

    Zaraah Abrahams (self-spelling correction) is an actress, ex- of Coronation Street and currently appearing in Waterloo Road.

    (and Dancing On Ice was on a Sunday this year so that’s my excuse…)

  18. 68
    mike on 2 May 2008 #

    Well, there’s a thing. What should pop through my letter box yesterday but a promo for the first Tina Charles album in thirty years?

    A few Tina Charles Fun Facts from the press release:

    1. Not only did TC sing on an earlier Number One (“Make Me Smile”), but she also sang on a 1979 Number One with a very close connection to her bass player.

    2. “Blame It On The Boogie” was offered to TC in 1976, two years before The Jacksons had a hit with it.

    3. That Sanny X remix of “I Love To Love” that I mentioned? It got to #2 in France in 1989, and stayed there for eight weeks.

    4. Elton John sang backing vocals on one of TC’s early singles (“Good To Be Alive”).

    5. TC provided the vocals for “Slave To The Rhythm” for The Producers (Trevor Horn, Lol Creme et al) on their 2007 tour.

    6. In 2006, TC went Top Five in the Billboard Hot Dance chart, providing lead vocals on “Higher” by Sanny X (yes, him again).

    Let’s hear it for the Little Lady with the Big Voice!

  19. 69
    SILVIS on 13 May 2008 #

    esta genial me la he leido entera y esta escrita con mucho carisma y estusiasmo. ¡SE NOTA QUE ES INTELIGENTE!

  20. 70
    la chava on 13 May 2008 #

    joder tos los comentarios stan en inglis pitinglis y yo no tengo ni idea. voy a quedar de paleta coño

  21. 71
    one american on 13 May 2008 #

    this abaut stupit and silly boy and girl this very very goood uitry, this of cinema, is one girl for this eat one cafe yhe yhe he aprendido un poco de spanis yhea yes

  22. 72
    Ashley Pomeroy on 13 Oct 2008 #

    Ah. This was number one when I was born. It was a terrible disappointment when I found out; the song is bland and does nothing for me. I remember and can still hum most of the pop hits from 1978, 1979 and so forth – Joe Jackson’s “Stepping Out” will haunt me til the end of my days – but there’s something about the post-glam, pre-punk pop era that has been erased from British cultural history. I didn’t even know that Tina Charles existed until I took the trouble to find out who was number one when I was born. I don’t have a mental picture of her.

  23. 73
    vinylscot on 13 Oct 2008 #

    Re-reading this thread, can anyone confirm which edition of Guinness Hit Singles was the one with 1000+ errors. I had it but threw it out in disgust, and would quite like to get it back to laugh at..

  24. 74
    mike on 13 Oct 2008 #

    I threw it out as well, sorry…

  25. 75
    SteveM on 14 Oct 2008 #

    Ha ha I had AN edition with many errors (two that stand out for me, for some reason, were their confusion of the two separate charting Stardust acts and the omission of the hit song ‘Black-Eyed Boy’ from Texas’ oeuvre) so on that basis it was probably the edition published in 1999 or 2000.

  26. 76
    Jimmy the Swede on 24 Nov 2015 #

    I’ll never look at this record in the same way again after having watched “River”, a TV series I thought was utterly remarkable. It was a very dark show indeed but was top and tailed by the two principle characters (one dead) singing “I Love To Love” in utter delirium. The end where they are dancing in the street was hilarious and incredibly poignant at the same time.

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