Jul 06

LONG JOHN BALDRY – “Let The Heartaches Begin”

FT + Popular8 comments • 2,857 views

#240, 25th November 1967

long john baldryBrazenly unconvincing love-lost flummery by the same people who wrote the previous Number One. Baldry, wearing his serious bluesman’s hat, later professed to hate the record but listening to it I don’t believe him for a second: this sounds like it was a huge amount of fun to make, and it’s reasonably fun to listen to, too. Baldry chews up every word – if he thought he was going to get another hit, or even another go in the recording studio, you couldn’t tell it from this – and he reaches a peak of endearing hamminess in the half-spoken final chorus. He’s backed by all the fuss and pomp of contemporary production trappings: what the Beatles and Engelbert – opposing bosses of ’67 pop – had in common was a maximalist approach to arrangements, and every canny hitmaker seemed to follow suit.



  1. 1
    Chris Brown on 21 Jul 2006 #

    I know I wasn’t born yet, but it’s amazing how few of the Number Ones from this supposedly golden age I can actually remember hearing. And this isn’t one of them. In fact, pretty much all I know about Long John Baldry is that Elton John is half-named after him.

  2. 2
    rosie on 27 Jul 2006 #

    Another classic example of how some performers are represented by work which is far, far from their best, or even typical.

  3. 3
    Doctor Mod on 31 Jul 2006 #

    The song rather strikes me as an imitation of Tom Jones imitating Engelbert.

    Baldry (god rest his soul) was great–just listen to his It Ain’t Easy LP–but you wouldn’t know it from this record.

    But then his best stuff never made the charts.

    Rosie is right. How many times haven’t we said this about other artists–Dusty Springfield, Sandie Shaw, etc., etc., etc.

  4. 4
    Waldo on 9 Apr 2007 #

    I always felt that this was a wind-up. Any doubters should listen again to the final chorus which Long John prefaces with a cry of “Yes!” before dissolving Johnny Ray-like into a ludicrous display of sobbing, panting and sobbing, whilst the backing singers try their best to drown the idiot out. Wonderfully funny.

  5. 5
    Lena on 15 Nov 2011 #

    Another sob story, literally: http://musicsoundsbetterwithtwo.blogspot.com/2011/11/in-public-dave-clark-five-everybody.html Thanks for reading, everyone!

  6. 6
    Jimmy the Swede on 19 Sep 2012 #

    Whilst waiting for Erithian to arrive for our footy game last Saturday, the Swede ducked into a drinker called Guy Earl of Warwick which is bang next to the ground in Welling, Kent. Christ, what a dive! I was just finishing my pint when suddenly a record came on to break the silence. It was none other than Long John Baldry singing “Mexico”, a disc which peaked at #15 in the autmumn of 1968 in celebration of that year’s Olympiad. I recognised it immediately but I certainly had not heard it in well over 40 years. I mentioned this to Erithian and he had to admit that he couldn’t recall it. I wonder how many of you guys know it? I certainly urge you to YouTube it whether you do or not. It’s a laugh-out-loud experience in any case.

  7. 7
    lonepilgrim on 19 Sep 2012 #

    @6 I just listened to it on Youtube and didn’t hate it too much – although It’ll be no great loss if I never hear it again.

    Long John Baldry was one of the few singers who stuck in my memory from growing up as a kid in the 60s – probably because I thought he was or should have been a pirate

  8. 8
    Gareth Parker on 27 May 2021 #

    I love the sweeping nature of this track. 8/10 for me.

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