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Jan 14

ROBSON AND JEROME – “What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted?” / “Saturday Night At The Movies” / “You’ll Never Walk Alone”

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#750, 9th November 1996

satan In an act of unprecedented generosity, Robson and Jerome’s return single – the first from a new LP of reworked covers – was a triple A-side. If they were indecisive over the lead track, that’s no surprise – each of these songs is a worthy addition to the Robson and Jerome catalogue, quite the equal in quality of “I Believe” or “Unchained Melody”.

Why such a bold treble-header release? Perhaps, deep down, they knew that – in the words of another triple-disc-making member of rock’s pantheon – all things must pass. Much like the Jam, Robson and Jerome split at the peak of their fame. This is their final single, making the dying chords of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” – a true people’s anthem, given a highly affordable production here – that much more poignant. Their legacy is immense: not only did they help launch the career of hitmaker Simon Cowell, they remain the only act whose every original release – single and album – hit the top of the charts. It’s a stunning testament to their efforts and the judgement of their fans.

The other tracks on this landmark single are just as good as “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. “Saturday Night At The Movies” sees the boys tangle with the Drifters back catalogue again – which they showed such sympathy for on “Up On The Roof”. They’ve been practising in their time away, though – high notes which would have given Jerome (or Robson) pause last time are now yomped over with something close to aplomb. But best of all is “What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted?”, a powerful reading of the Jimmy Ruffin hit. “All that’s left is an unhappy ending”, Ruffin sang. But it’s a mark of the imagination and goodness of Robson and Jerome that they won’t let that depressing state of affairs lie. Instead they give us a happy ending – with a cannily-placed key-change and an exciting drum break to end on. “Now departed – yeah!” And as these two men themselves depart, let’s not forget that nothing really ends. Robson and Jerome are gone, back to the starry world of television, but maybe we will see their like again.

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Comments

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  1. 51
    mapman132 on 21 Jan 2014 #

    #38-39: You laugh, but due to arcane rules about club play the entire Thriller album occupied #1 for while on Billboard’s Dance chart in 1983: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_number-one_dance_singles_of_1983_%28U.S.%29. Apparently this occasionally happened with other albums as well.

    Billboard charts are very strange sometimes.

  2. 52
    iconoclast on 21 Jan 2014 #

    #51: Not to mention the Beatles’ second album being one of the top 20 singles in Britain one week…

  3. 53
    admin on 21 Jan 2014 #

    750!

    In all the site change kerfuffle I forgot to give a big cheer to Tom making it to 750. Well done, dude! (Half way there?)

  4. 54
    Tom on 21 Jan 2014 #

    Pretty much exactly three-fifths through – the next number one will be #1250.

  5. 55
    Alan on 21 Jan 2014 #

    Zeno’s paradox of pop

  6. 56
    Lazarus on 21 Jan 2014 #

    Anyone who’s an occasional visitor to this site, who last looked in when Barlow was the latest entry and who’s just checked in to see if Tom has got around to ‘Wannabe’ yet, will be pleasantly surprised I would think, even bewildered.

  7. 57
    taDOW on 21 Jan 2014 #

    ha – the billboard dance chart is so weird in general. ‘thriller (all cuts)’ topping it for a couple of months seems perfect, i suspect if you went out to a club in winter 83 you would eventually hear the entire album after a few hours. robson & jerome remain a mystery (though not a complete one apparently – lo and behold game of thrones), i don’t think they crossed over to the continent and obv they didn’t to the states. the first i can recall seeing them was circa ‘common people’ and wondering wtf robson & jerome was. eventually thx to popular i learned tv stars putting out a cash-in oldies cover, which was disappointingly mundane though i suppose there was no chance the answer would turn out to be interesting. still have never heard a note but i lived thru the return of bruno so i think i get the idea.

  8. 58
    23 Daves on 21 Jan 2014 #

    #52 Yes, I’ve often wondered about this but never thought to question it (until now). Why did the early British singles charts occasionally have albums in them? Does anyone know? Was it as simple as it being an overall records sales chart, and if any LP ever sold enough copies it found its way in? I seem to recall a Frank Sinatra LP barging its way into the list once as well.

  9. 59
    Rory on 22 Jan 2014 #

    #51 Many a true word was spoken in jest, apparently. (And to think that Thriller was my second choice for that joke. I was going to use Dark Side of the Moon, but it has ten tracks and I wasn’t sure ‘decuple’ was a word. Although apparently it is.)

  10. 60
    enitharmon on 22 Jan 2014 #

    I would imagine that there were so few albums around in the early chart days, and even fewer that sold in numbers comparable to singles. And sheet music, remember that those 50s charts included sheet music too.

    What about albums that are effectively singles anyway? Jethro Tull’s Thick as a Brick and A Passion Play spring to mind.

  11. 61
    Brendan F on 22 Jan 2014 #

    Blue Room by The Orb was released as a single (and made the singles chart) despite being about 40 minutes long

  12. 62
    Ed on 22 Jan 2014 #

    @60 – Prince’s ‘Lovesexy’ is a single track now in digital formats, for no good reason I can work out.

    I am pretty sure it had separate tracks when I had it on cassette.

  13. 63
    lockedintheattic on 22 Jan 2014 #

    @62 Lovesexy was originally released on CD as a single 45 minute track ‘for artistic reasons’, it was only later a tracked version was released.

  14. 64
    iconoclast on 22 Jan 2014 #

    For some reason SNatM has put me in mind of Queen’s “Man on the Prowl”.

  15. 65
    Paulito on 22 Jan 2014 #

    @32, 35 etc: the Stones hit #2 in ’71 with a triple A-side comprising Brown Sugar, Bitch and Let It Rock. I’m pretty sure there have been other such instances, although none spring to mind…

  16. 66
    flahr on 4 Feb 2014 #

    I seem to remember one of the early 80s anarcho-punk acts putting out a triple A-side – possibly Zounds.

    Right, after some research “Can’t Cheat Karma”/”War”/”Subvert” by Zounds was either a triple A-side or an EP or a double A-side with a B-side. As far as I can remember “Subvert” was the only one that was any good.

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