16
Apr 04

ADAM FAITH – “What Do You Want”

Popular • 2,452 views

#93, 4th December 1959

I’ll state the obvious: British pop is rarely if ever cut from whole cloth. The template at a given time is generally American; the attitude and voice tailored to local sensibilities. The question of accent is central to UK pop’s hybrid identity – how British can a singer sound and still convince? (By “convince” I mean “sell”). The various answers are the raw data for an index of British pop self-confidence, or self-sufficiency. Or to be more specific: the first few years of the sixties sees British pop throw forth a gaggle of stars whose hit records can be heard as experiments in fitting local accents to the international pop sound. Eventually the formula fizzes up, overflows its island test tube and the Capital S Sixties can get going. For now though, here’s Adam Faith, with music arranged by John Barry.

Faith had been working as a TV sound-effect man; Barry was a year away from his first film soundtrack, on the up as a bandleader and arranger. The two took Johnny Worth’s pert little song and turned in one minute and forty seconds of smart, cutting-edge pop: highly produced, entirely affected and very, very British. Barry’s contribution was the pizzicato strings, which jerk the song towards a whole new level of perkiness. Faith brought along an outrageous singing accent, half plum half cockney, summed up in his lip-smacking “bey-beh”. Both these hooks rapidly turned into schticks. In 2004 it sounds terribly awkward and not a little camp: in 1959 it must have seemed marvellously modernist, a tiny window onto the new decade.

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Comments

  1. 1
    Marcello Carlin on 25 Jul 2007 #

    In 1959 this would have borne the same relation to “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” as 1959 Morecambe and Wise would have done to Martin and Lewis.

  2. 2
    Sundaeg1rl on 11 Jul 2008 #

    ‘What Do You Want’ is everything a good pop song should be – short, sweet and straight to the point. And the pizzicato strings are delicious!

  3. 3
    wichita lineman on 11 Jul 2008 #

    So short and sweet that I think it holds the shortest no.1 record – one minute thirty nine seconds. Adam’s overnight transformation from pre-Beatles has-been (Walkin’ Tall with its quacking and mooing rhythm section) to beat-fuelled man of the ’63 moment (The First Time, We Are In Love, It’s Alright) was maybe pop’s first. No, I’m not including Frank Sinatra.

  4. 4
    Billy Smart on 13 Jul 2009 #

    Light Entertainment Watch: As you might think, Adam Faith was on British television an awful lot. Here’s a list of programmes that are now lost;

    AS YOU LIKE IT: with Sandie Shaw, Dave Clark, Manfred Mann, Adam Faith, The Singing Postman (1967)

    THE BEAT ROOM: with Adam Faith and the Roulettes, The Isley Brothers, Alan Elsdon and the Voodoos, Howling Wolf and Hubert Sumlin, Shelly Jam Douglas (1964)

    THE BILLY COTTON BAND SHOW: with Adam Faith, Danny Williams, Peter Goodwright, Mrs Mills, Alan Breeze, Kathie Kay, The High-Lights, The Leslie Roberts Silhouettes (1962)

    BOY MEETS GIRLS: with Freddy Cannon, Michael Cox, Adam Faith (1959)

    BOY MEETS GIRLS: with Adam Faith, Little Tony (1960)

    BOY MEETS GIRLS: with Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, Billy Fury, Adam Faith, Jess Conrad (1960)

    BOY MEETS GIRLS: with Ronnie Hawkins, Michael Cox, Billy Fury, Adam Faith, Davy Jones (1960)

    CHRISTMAS NIGHT WITH THE STARS: Adam Faith (1962)

    COMEDY BANDBOX: with Adam Faith, Billy Dainty, Harry Bailey, Willie Heckle, Mack and Kirk (1963)

    DAN FARSON MEETS…: with Adam Faith (1962)

    DEE TIME: with Joe Brown, Robin Douglas-Home, The Easy Beats, Adam Faith, Cliff Richard, Lois Lane, The Paper Dolls (1968)

    READY STEADY GO!: with Adam Faith and the Roulettes (1963)

    READY STEADY GO!: with Adam Faith and the Roulettes, The Searchers,
    Marty Wilde, Daryl Quist, Christopher Sandford, Ted Heath (1963)

    READY STEADY GO!: with Adam Faith and the Roulettes, The Applejacks, The Fortunes (1964)

    READY STEADY GO!: with Adam Faith and the Roulettes, The Hollies, Herman’s Hermits, Françoise Hardy (1964)

    READY STEADY GO!: with Adam Faith and the Roulettes, The Merseybeats, Mike Hurst, Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, Louise Cordet, The McKinleys, The Marauders (1964)

    READY STEADY GO!: with Adam Faith, Bill Haley and his Comets, Doug Shelton, The Roulettes, Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers, Rita Bartok, Tony Jackson and the Vibrations (1964)

    READY STEADY GO!: with Adam Faith, Marianne Faithfull, The Roulettes, Gene Pitney, The Zombies (1965)

    READY STEADY GO!: with Adam Faith, The Kinks, Herman’s Hermits, Doris Troy (1965)

    READY STEADY GO!: with Adam Faith, The Spencer Davis Group (1966)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Adam Faith, Billy Fury, Matt Monro, Tony Osbourne, Big Jim Sullivan Combo, Jackie Atom, Carol Deene, Sam Costa (1961)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Adam Faith, John Leyton, The Brook Brothers, David Macbeth, Geoff Goddard, The Dale Sisters, Dion, Alan Freeman (1961)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Adam Faith, Matt Monro, The John Barry Seven, Gerry Dorsey, Susan Grey, Ken Jones (1961)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Adam Faith, Bernard Cribbins, Joyce Blair, The Ray Ellington Quartet, Danny Williams, Susan Maughan, Tommy Steele,
    Pete Murray (1962)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Adam Faith, Marty Wilde, The Springfields, Eddie Calvert and the ‘C’ Men, Kenny Lynch, Dave Cones, Christine Campbell, Don Moss (1962)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Adam Faith, Rolf Harris, Humphrey Lyttelton and His Band, Gary Miller, Peppi, Sheila Southern, The Springfields, Jack Train (1962)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Adam Faith, Frank Ifield, Susan Maughan, Ben Richmond, Doug Sheldon, Kenny Ball And His Jazzmen, Don Moss (1963)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Adam Faith, Kitty Lester, Mark Wynter, The Four Seasons, Don Charles, Clodagh Rodgers, Rod & Carolyn, Cyril Davies and his Rhythm & Blues All Stars, Kent Walton (1963)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Adam Faith, Mike Sarne, Chris Barber and his Jazz Band, The Bachelors, Carol Deene, The Roulettes, The Chants, Carol Elvin, Peter Noble (1963)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Adam Faith, The King Brothers, Gene Vincent, Winifred Atwell, The Roulettes, Annie Ross, Rolf Harris, The Dave Clark Five, Frenesi Watson (1963)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Adam Faith, Winifred Atwell, Gerry And The Pacemakers, Jess Conrad, The Eric Delaney Band, Wes Sands, Pete Murray (1963)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Adam Faith, Janice Nicholls, Doug Arthur (Guest Disc Jockey), The Roulettes, Dickie Valentine, Jackie Trent, Manfred Mann, Kris Jensen, Heinz (1964)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Adam Faith, Sam Costa (Guest Dick Jockey), The Roulettes, Mark Wynter, Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, Sounds Inc, Julie Grant, Dave Nelson, Chick Graham And The Coasters (1964)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Adam Faith, The Animals, Jackie Trent, Them, Anita Harris (1964)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Adam Faith, The Fourmost, Eden Kane, The Beach Boys, Martha and the Vandellas (1964)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Adam Faith, The Rolling Stones, Mark Wynter, Dionne Warwick, The Eagles (1964)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Adam Faith, Herman’s Hermits, Jackie Lee, Gene Pitney (1965)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Adam Faith, Manfred Mann, The Honeycombs, Mia Lewis (1965)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Adam Faith, Petula Clark, Gene Pitney, Lulu, The Moody Blues (1965)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Adam Faith, Sandie Shaw, Gerry And The Pacemakers (1965)

    THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS: with Brian Matthew, Adam Faith, Lulu, Rolf Harris, Anne Shelton, Paul & Barry Ryan (1966)

    THIS IS YOUR LIFE: Adam Faith (1971)

    THE VAL DOONICAN SHOW: with Adam Faith, Dave Allen (1965)

    But some programmes do survive;

    ABC POP SPOTS: with Adam Faith and the Roulettes (1965)

    BIG NIGHT OUT: with Mike and Bernie Winters (Hosts), David Hamilton (Voice Over Opening Credits), Lionel Blair and his Dancers, The ABC Television Showband, Adam Faith, The Roulettes, Patsy Ann Noble, Margo Henderson (1964)

    DODDY’S MUSIC BOX: with Adam Faith, David Hamilton, Vince Hill, Anita Harris, Nigel Hopkins, Graham Stark, Rita Webb, Arthur Mullard (1968)

    FREDDIE STARR: with Adam Faith (1993)

    PARKINSON: with Adam Faith, Trevor Howard, Lynda Carter (1980)

    PARKINSON ONE TO ONE: with Adam Faith (1988)

    RUSSELL HARTY: with Doug McClure, Edith Evans, Adam Faith (1974)

    THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE: Adam Faith – August 1973 (1985)

    WOGAN: with Billy Bragg, Daniel Day Lewis, Adam Faith, Marie Helvin, Merry Mac Fun Show, Eddy Shah (1985)

    WOGAN: with Anita Dobson, Adam Faith, David Green, Mike Reid, Labi
    Siffre, Julie Walters (1988)

  5. 5
    rosie on 20 Jul 2009 #

    This song is performed by Barry Mason in the film Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. Mason, as you know doubt know, was a prolific songwriter in the 1960s and although he didn’t write this (Les Vandyke did), he did co-write at least one future number one – Love Grows Where Rosemary Goes.

  6. 6
    wichita lineman on 21 Jul 2009 #

    Thanks Rosie, I never knew that was Barry Mason. It’s a great scene, even though they chickened out of showing the sailor throwing up all over the Hyacinth Bouquet-alike next to him. I love Albert Finney’s excuse for getting into a drinking contest: “You get thirsty working that lathe all week”.

    Barry M also wrote two of the worst Popular entries (The Last Waltz, I Pretend), and one hit that fell one place short of Popular – Tom Jones’ Delilah – while The Drifters’ rather cracking late period hit There Goes My First Love stopped at no.3.

  7. 7
    Dispela Pusi on 27 Dec 2010 #

    Billy Smart: does the famous “Face to Face” interview with John Freeman survive?

  8. 8
    Billy Smart on 28 Dec 2010 #

    It does – You can even buy it on the near-complete* BBC ‘Face To Face Collection’ DVD!

    (*missing the Albert Finney one for unspecified copyright reasons)

  9. 9
    crag on 13 Apr 2011 #

    DESERT ISLAND DISCS WATCH:

    Adam Faith, singer (1961)

    Anita Dobson, actress (1988).

  10. 10
    Len Jones on 24 Jun 2013 #

    Billy Smart missed out the entire “Drumbeat” series , broadcast on BBC TV, April to August 1959!

  11. 11
    Patrick Mexico on 6 Oct 2013 #

    What kind of monster picks their own song on Desert Island Discs?

  12. 12
    Mark G on 9 Oct 2013 #

    Well, when the Hunny Monster gets to appear on Desert Island Discs (and it can only be a matter of time…)

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