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May 08

DAVID SOUL – “Don’t Give Up On Us”

FT + Popular44 comments • 2,530 views

#399, 15th January 1977

Pretty much as soon as I finish one Popular entry, the next song earworms its way into my head as a memo to self – get thinking about this. With “Don’t Give Up On Us”, though, something odd’s been happening – I can’t keep the song in my brain and it keeps shifting back into “If You Leave Me Now”. There’s not a lot of melodic similarity but the tracks share a theme and a sappy intensity – unfortunately Soul’s tune, while pleasant enough, comes off the loser in this mental war and floats off into insignificance.

If you’d had a crush on Soul in ’77, though, this must have been pretty much perfect – the straight-to-camera video nailing its hammy intimacy perfectly. For me, it’s a bit of a drag, momentarily enlivened by the “I really lost my head last night…” middle eight, suddenly hinting at a way more interesting story behind the song. Tell us more, Dave! But the moment, all-too-quickly, passes.

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Comments

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  1. 26
    and everybody elses Mark G on 28 May 2008 #

    yeah, I had the same thing happen with Pusscat and Demrouss.

    Yeah, it’s a rare thing when a TV tie in produces something that actually isn’t mediocre. Usually a polite cover version. Oh there was that um, northern actor who managed bothARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. 27
    Drucius on 28 May 2008 #

    This didn’t do much for me, since I was the wrong gender, but why do I know it was on Private Stock?

  3. 28
    DJ Punctum on 28 May 2008 #

    I think that David was also the only chart-topping artist on the dubiously-named Private Stock record label (inevitably it conjures up a picture of dusty urban back lanes filled with PRIVATE SHOPS); they had first call on Blondie but Chrysalis picked them up, I think after the label had gone bust. Not quite sure why they went bust since I remember one of those Channel 4 docs where Soul was apparently the year’s biggest-selling singles artist in the UK (at least the biggest-selling living artist, if that’s not too much of an SB carrot).

    We had Casey Kasem’s America’s Top 10 show broadcast on ITV at various times – usually at 12:30 on Saturday lunchtime, or at around three or four in the morning – for a spell in the eighties. The voice of Shaggy in Scooby-Doo with a questionable taste in pullovers but probably best known now for his various blooper outbursts, e.g. “fuckin’ English band U2,” “fuckin’ dog dyin’,” “PONDEROUS, man, fuckin’ PONDEROUS!” et al.

  4. 29

    small labels actually being bankrupted by very big hits is by no meansunheard of — the huge unplanned-for bills for pressing and distribution come due way sooner than the money drifts back in from the sales

    (i think this is partly to do with the manipulative lock the majors had on pressing, distribution and outlets — it’s used as leverage to buy up hit artists from little labels, or buy out the labels)

    (it was i imagine one of the issues the indie boom just now beginning to emerge — i mean in the late 70s — was battling to address, to establish a workable ecology for small labels to have big crossover hits, as opposed to safe niche-directed mini-hits)

    (this is guesswork in this particular instance: the era i know more about is the late 40s and early 50s in the US, back when indies were called “mongrels”)

  5. 30
    and everybody elses Mark G on 28 May 2008 #

    It’s true though: Why Jilted John had to go to EMI International rather than stay on Rabid Records. Couldn’t afford the repressings and no-one to advance them the readies.

  6. 31
    DJ Punctum on 28 May 2008 #

    Ditto Undertones/Sire/Good Vibrations.

  7. 32
    Erithian on 28 May 2008 #

    Private Stock was also Mud’s post-RAK label for hits such as “L-L-Lucy” and “Show Me You’re A Woman” – so they weren’t entirely unprepared for Top 10 hits.

  8. 33
    wwolfe on 28 May 2008 #

    This is the first #1 in a long time that made a real impression on me as a teen listener in America. I was a big “Starsky & Hutch” fan, and I found this surprisingly likable for a style of song that wasn’t my cup of tea. Had I known at the time that it was written by the same guy who wrote “Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes,” I would have understood the source of the record’s pop appeal.

    This is a case, I believe, where the singer’s lack of vocal firepower actually helped the record. If Soul had the chops to really clobber the tune, the record would lose most of what charm it possesses. His modest vocal instrument is the right vehicle for his modest request.

    I have an extremely slight after-the-fact connection to this song: a good friend of my band’s lead singer wrote “Kansas City 1927,” another quiet ballad sung by Soul on the album that contained this song. Of course, I wouldn’t meet my band’s lead singer for another twelve years after this song made #1, but what the heck.

  9. 34
    intothefireuk on 4 Jun 2008 #

    I liked Starsky & Hutch but even so I would still gladly have rammed Soul’s guitar up where the sun doesn’t shine and quite frankly, this can follow it – number one – pah!

  10. 35
    Andy Pandy on 25 Aug 2008 #

    I actually like all 5 of David Soul’s British hit singles and as someone said probably the best most classy tv spin off stuff there’s been. Especially like the two number ones, decent production, nice lyrics and adequate voice. i even like this as an 11 year old. Nice memories of listening to the Capital Radio Hitline in front of my dad’s radiogram in December 1976 when this seemed feature for ages sort of occupying a similar vibe as the also very good If You Leave Me Now by Chicago a few weeks before…

  11. 36
    JonnyB on 1 Aug 2009 #

    Yep – this is good stuff. Agreed with Waldo #24. As a song and as an arrangement it’s a step above lots of similar fare, although I can see the comparison with the Chicago number, which also strikes me as not bad of its ilk.

    I was never allowed to watch Starsky and Hutch so didn’t really get the connection. Although I could see The Sweeney, as my mum was at badminton on Monday nights.

  12. 37
    Brooksie on 10 Feb 2010 #

    I think this is (as said above) one of the few “TV star turned singer” incidents that actually worked; Soul was good-looking, he could play the guitar, he could sing (reasonably), and the song was strong enough to have been a hit in anyone’s hands.

  13. 38
    wichita lineman on 10 Feb 2010 #

    Re 28: Never thought of Private Stock in that way, but it might explain how they ended up releasing and withdrawing (gosh) Nancy Sinatra’s Kinky Love.

  14. 39
    Mark G on 10 Feb 2010 #

    ooh, want some.

  15. 40
    Mark G on 10 Feb 2010 #

    That’s gonna look wrong on the front summary page, so quickly I post…

  16. 41
    Dispela Pusi on 17 Dec 2010 #

    Boring, boring, BORING. Would it have got anywhere without the “Husky and Starch” connection? Halving the score would still be over-complimentary.

  17. 42
    Lazarus on 24 Oct 2011 #

    As Ken Bruce pointed out on his show a couple of weeks ago, the recent Glen Campbell single “Ghost on the Canvas” employs the same seven notes as the chorus of DGUOU. I have to say I like this, all the more for not being over-exposed/covered to death, and can easily go a 6.

  18. 43
    richard thompson on 18 May 2012 #

    He was popular with the girls at school, I was 14 then, they were just past David Cassidy and the Rollers, S & H were at their peak then, can remember Mike Yarwood impersonating both of them together where he starts singing this tune and Starsky says what do you call that?
    “some would call it singing”
    “what about the people who ain’t deaf?”

  19. 44
    mapman132 on 8 Jul 2014 #

    So was David Soul the David Hasselhoff of the 70’s? Unlike the Hoff, he took this single not only into the US Top 40, but all the way to US#1. Never had another US Top 40 hit though, and I’m certainly not complaining about this.

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