Oct 07

ALVIN STARDUST – “Jealous Mind”

FT + Popular48 comments • 5,212 views

#345, 9th March 1974

“Jealous Mind” isn’t that bad a record – though Alvin Stardust does his best to make it one. Stardust took the rock and roll revival at its word and exhumed his own career, left for dead in the early sixties. From a commercial standpoint it obviously worked: even Chinnichap couldn’t turn out hits at a fast enough rate for the market so this tentative fumble at a glam beat sold more than it deserved to. Hearing Stardust sing, though, you can understand why he wasn’t much of a star first time round – he switches between characterless rock’n’roll stylings and a diffident, wimpy high register, and gives a tissue-paper performance with no conviction. What saves the single is his guitarist, who seems to give up early on and play whatever he wants, a soupy, skiddy underlay to the song that reminds me a bit of “Spirit In The Sky”. Even then “Jealous Mind” isn’t much, but luckily Alvin’s such a sap you can almost totally tune him out.



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  1. 31
    Mark G on 29 Mar 2011 #

    The “Kenny” singles ran in succession.

    Tony Kenny had two singles (both UK hits) as Kenny, both falsetto style, but I get the impression he went back to Ireland rather than have to continue singing like that all the time. (His next singles as himself were the “Hey won’t you play another somebody done somebody wrong song” country styles.)

    So, rather than abandon a hit-making alias, Mickie Most hired a UK band to take over.

  2. 32
    vinylscot on 29 Mar 2011 #

    I know what you’re saying, but Tony Kenny had been on TOTP – they weren’t pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes, so why bother?

    (Just had a quick listen to “Give It To Me Now” – it’s horrible. I don’t know how Mickie Most expected to get any more hits from that franchise!)

  3. 33
    Mark G on 29 Mar 2011 #

    Well, it was a different thing then.

    The song(s) were hits based on what was on the record, he didn’t have a ‘fan following’, and I do recall a fairly long gap between “Give it to me now” and “The Bump”

    (checks: June 1973 for GITMN, Xmas 1974 for The Bump, so the band themselves wouldn’t have been needed until Jan 1975)

    Funny, ChartStats has split them by renaming the former as “Tony Kenny”, but I would lay odds that the guy on the picsleeve for the european single of “The Bump” is Tony.

  4. 34
    wichita lineman on 29 Mar 2011 #

    That’s him, alright. I really like Give It To Me Now, as a piece of tuff sleazy glam. We need to get to the bottom of the Kenny vs Kenny story, it does seem to be unique.

    (Just watched The Bump on TOTP – the drummer shouting “come on everybody, do the bump!” doesn’t half sound like a South Park character).

    According to Dave McAleer, the original Shane Fenton (whose real name was Johnny Theakstone) became terminally ill in 1961 and asked ‘Bernie’ the roadie to take on the stage name. Wiki has a broadly similar story. Presumably Bernie changed his name by deedpoll otherwise Adam F would be Adam J, or even Adam S.

  5. 35
    Mark G on 29 Mar 2011 #

    Naah, it’ll be like how Kim Wilde wasn’t Kim Smith.

    Of course, she was also a party to nicking someone else’s stage name when she teamed up with Mel Smith and called themselves “Mel and Kim”.

    (Mel did say they considered calling themselves “The Smiths”…)

  6. 36
    Erithian on 29 Mar 2011 #

    Blimey – it’s as if the guy’s name became a franchise Martin and Coulter were able to bestow upon the next act they wanted to promote. And according to this – http://www.glamrocking.co.uk/kenny.htm – that act, “Chufff” (note the three F’s) weren’t originally a sub-BCRs combo but a prog rock outfit who had supported Hawkwind!

    Funnily enough I recall a Record Mirror piece saying they were “too young to drink but old enough to rock the Rollers”, which suggests they were precocious if they were prog, so they must have taken some persuasion to do The Bump! I did remember the other Kenny, but assumed at the time the similarity of names was just a coincidence.

  7. 37
    punctum on 29 Mar 2011 #

    #35: “Mel and Kim II.”

    #36: much like “Menudo” and “Sugababes.”

  8. 38
    Erithian on 29 Mar 2011 #

    Well no, Menudo and Sugababes changed personnel one at a time rather than being entirely different acts. Much like that other big pop act “England World Cup Squad”.

    The Kenny principle is more like what appears to have happened with Brotherhood of Man between “United We Stand” and Eurovision. (Or did they follow the Sugababes principle as well??)

  9. 39
    Mark G on 29 Mar 2011 #

    #37, they’re “Mel and Kim II” only on Discogs.com

    #38, I believe there was some crossover between some members of the Brotherhood of man, although…

  10. 40
    Jimmy the Swede on 29 Mar 2011 #

    In fact there are several examples of groups changing personnel through the years as opposed to simply being different groups like Brotherhood of Man certainly were. Or were they?…

    The Drifters, for example (and I mean the US soul oufit and not the old Shads), were pretty much nothing but a filter.

    As the Zen Master asked the pupil: “If you have a spade and you change the handle and later change the blade, is it the same spade?”

    Pupil: “Piss off, old man. You’re an idiot!”

  11. 41
    wichita lineman on 29 Mar 2011 #

    In the case of Kenny, though, it’s akin to Oran ‘Juice’ Jones re-emerging in 1988 as a New Jack Swing four piece. It was his bloody name! How could Martin/Coulter/Most be so callous???

  12. 42
    Erithian on 29 Mar 2011 #

    Of course the Zen master gag has been superseded, Jimmy. If you Google “Sugababes” and “Trigger’s Broom” you get 803 hits. (804 now I guess.)

    I was thinking of the Drifters too – another Record Mirror piece in 1975 was headlined “What have the Drifters got in common with Arsenal?” And that was their lead singer suggesting the analogy!

    Martin/Coulter/Most possibly foresaw what was coming when they named the act “Kenny” rather than “Tony Kenny”, to make things easier. After all, according to Monty Python’s Rock Notes, Dead Monkeys went through umpteen name changes and only got into trouble when they tried to call the band Helen Shapiro.

  13. 43
    Mark G on 30 Mar 2011 #

    Yeah, but then they split up and the producers wanted to keep the hit-making brand, so hired a girl to take up the mantle. Which happened to be her real name, by coincidence.

  14. 44
    Erithian on 29 Oct 2012 #

    Me #3 – maybe, on reflection, Alvin had another reason for not wanting to associate with Jimmy Savile when doing TOTP, as anybody who valued their reputation may well have done…

  15. 45
    thefatgit on 23 Oct 2014 #

    Farewell then Alvin Stardust, died of prostate cancer aged 72. Sad news.

  16. 46
    wichitalineman on 23 Oct 2014 #

    Very sad to hear about Alvin who sounded like a lovely man, as well as being a master of re-invention.

  17. 47
    lonepilgrim on 20 Oct 2019 #

    I used to find this and alvin in general mildly irritating and still do.
    This recent sequence of bland 50s pastiches at Number 1 (with more to come via the BCR) give some indication why Bowie was so keen to a) shed his glam persona b) emphasise his affinity with 60s RnB over the 50s on Pinups and c) move to America rather than get trapped in parochial UK Pop culture

  18. 48
    Gareth Parker on 9 May 2021 #

    I feel Tom is right to highlight Alvin’s vocal limitations, but I would go up to 5/10 here.

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