May 09

RENEE AND RENATO – “Save Your Love”

FT + Popular67 comments • 7,781 views

#512, 18th December 1982

It goes almost without saying that this is outrageous bilge, with a stripe of cynicism as wide as Renato’s spangly lapels. Renato who, of course, was allowed to appear as himself in the video, where his Pooh-Bearish charms win the heart of a replacement Renee – a forerunner of the Beijing Olympics pretty-voice-meet-cute-girl move, though the Chinese government are mere amateurs next to the steel-hearted nabobs of British Light Entertainment.

The record’s plonking self-confident awfulness is like critic-proof armour plate. You say it’s bad? They’re aware of that, and not in a comically knowing way either: they’ve made a stinking record which will sell a lot and make some people happy and do no great harm (certainly it passed the playground test – “SAFFE YOUR LUFF MY DAHLINK!”). Maybe you fancy a clever sneer, comparing Renato to the Just One Cornetto advert. Tough luck: he IS the Just One Cornetto advert. Records like “Save Your Love” are to the British charts what a nasty pissing shower of unspectacular rain is to the British weather: you take it, wait till it sods off and enjoy a satisfying grumble afterwards.



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  1. 31
    wichitalineman on 8 May 2009 #

    Re 28: Malcolm Roberts wrote Contact??? Kenny Pickett of art-mod legends The Creation wrote Clive Dunn’s Grandad (I’m sure we’ve mentioned that before). Barry White wrote We’re The Banana Splits and other songs in the tv series (but sadly not the Tra La La Song).

    I’m rather mindblown to discover that Clint thingy from Pop Will Eat Itself is now a highly respective soundtrack composer. He did The Wrestler? Nuts!

  2. 32
    wildheartedoutsider on 8 May 2009 #

    OK – I just forced myself to have a listen to this again – just for research purposes, you understand (I like to think of it as “taking one for the team”!) A number of observations occurred:

    In some ways this is another example of a musical style from a bygone era having an unlikely resurgance many decades later. As a piece of song-writing it’s not dissimilar in style to the type of light operatic popular music made fashionable in the first decade of the Twentieth Century by singers like Henry Burr and Harry MacDonough. Equally the instrumentation and arrangement of the recording are virtually inseparable from any number of other slushy ballads recorded over the previous couple of decades.

    The only thing which really makes this anything other than just another bland romantic ballad (of which there are of course very many) is Renato’s accent. As I listened to it I tried to imagine the same lines sung by Elvis Presley – and it was surprisingly easy to do so – and I wonder if it would inspire the same contempt as a song if it had been sung in a mid-Atlantic accent by an established artist.

    It has often intrigued me, the different attitudes towards songs sung with different accents. It strikes me that when singers choose to sing in Cockney accents (such as the Sex Pistols) or Northern English (eg Arctic Monkeys) it is generally viewed as being somehow more honest and “earthy” than singing with an American twang… and yet if the accent is Scottish (ie The Proclaimers) or, in this case, Italian it tends to be seen as a source of amusement and mockery. Perhaps this says more about our attitude towards other cultures and accents than it does about popular music?

    I’m just speculating here, you understand!

  3. 33
    wildheartedoutsider on 8 May 2009 #

    As far as unlikely song-writers are concerned, Scottish singer Jesse Rae having written Odyssey’s “Inside Out” was one which always seemed a little bizarre to me.

  4. 34
    Tom on 8 May 2009 #

    #18 “Beat Surrender” well overtaken, sorry. The Man triumphs once again over The Kids, I fear.

  5. 35
    wildheartedoutsider on 8 May 2009 #

    …and another ‘unlikely’ song-writer I’ve always wanted to prove the identity of one way or the other is the ‘Steve Torch’ who co-wrote Cher’s “Believe”. I am 90% convinced that it IS the same ‘Steve Torch’ who was part of 80’s duo White & Torch (and who also co-wrote a couple of Dexys songs) but I’ve never been able to prove it. They certainly seem to indicate that it’s the same chap on the ‘discogs’ site, but since that’s written by people from the internet you can never be quite sure! Anyone here able to clarify?!

  6. 36
    wichitalineman on 8 May 2009 #

    Definitely him. But I didn’t know he co-wrote Dexys songs.

  7. 37
    wildheartedoutsider on 8 May 2009 #

    Ah, thanks for that. Yes, he co-wrote “Liars A To E” and got a belated co-writing credit for “The Waltz” when they re-released “Don’t Stand Me Down” a few years back.

  8. 38
    wildheartedoutsider on 8 May 2009 #

    RE: #18 (…and #34) It makes sense to me that a song such as this should generate more debate than something like “Beat Surrender”. The reasons why a song released by The Jam at the height of their popularity got to Number One are pretty obvious – they had a large enough fan-base to ensure it regardless of whether the song appealed to the broader tastes of the record-buying masses. Renee & Renato’s achievement seems to pose far more questions about what makes a particular song popular – even when logic and good taste indicate otherwise!

  9. 39
    AndyPandy on 8 May 2009 #

    32: And its even more “intriguing” when in the case of the Arctic Monkeys*, Lily Allen, Kate Nash** (the Sex Pistols slightly ruin my point here by probably being genuine but anyway)the accents are completely fake so really the diametrical opposite of “earthy and honest”.

    *surely only the most sheltered media inhabitant of Hampstead thinks theres anything “real” about the Arctic Monkeys’ accents – as someone who worked in the “community” in Sheffield for around 5 years no-one from Parson Cross or the Manor (ie 2 of the most deprived estates in Sheffield) speaks in an accent remotely resembling the “earthy” Arctic Monkeys – so why does Alex Turner the middle class son of university educated teachers from the leafy suburbs…?

    **…and even the north London chattering classes know Allen and Nash are ridiculous

    I might have made this point before but its one of my pet hates “posh” pop stars going for the prole vote when the only people they’ll impress (if anyone) are probably other members of the middle class

    and why I’m talking about class isn’t our bewilderment at this geting to Number One at least partly due to the fact that (I’d guess) the vast majority of us are now middle class/have professional jobs (irrespective of whatever “class” some of us originate from)and feel utter dumbfoundment at the record buying habits of people of “lower” down the social scale – ie I’d reckon the vast majority of buyers of this record were working class women of 25+ and with so little intersection socio-economically with those who bought “Beat Surrender” as to be virtually living in a parallel universe.

  10. 40
    wildheartedoutsider on 8 May 2009 #

    I think it’s a fair assumption that there was little cross-over between the customers who bought this and those who had bought the previous Number One! I suspect you are also right in suggesting that the average age-range of customer for this product was probably higher than that for the previous entry. I’m less convinced about the majority being “working class women” though – what is that theory based on?

  11. 41
    JonnyB on 9 May 2009 #

    Golly – was it just me, or was it all threatening to kick off a bit there? That’s the thing with Rene and Renato – the passion amongst the fans can sometimes cross the line into violence. Banned from several venues, I understand.

    Following AndyPandy #14 – yes – he was Italian. Hence the Italian voice. He did loads of light ent when the hit dried up and was on a couple of chatshows – I’m sure he hammed it up a bit, but came across basically exactly how you’d expect: a fairly uncomplicated, jovial, Italian restauranteur who’d have been rejected from a bit part in a drama about jovial Italian restauranteurs as being ‘too stereotypical’. A chance fell into his lap to make a record and – well, who wouldn’t?

    So I agree with many of the commenters here. It’s a naff one, but a score of 1 means that it can’t be any worse. And it can, oh God it can.

    Even though I don’t like the song, I can think of so many things more to say about it than Efficient-Jam-By-Numbers. Thinking about it hard, perhaps I’m defending it because I do mourn the inclusivity of the charts. It’s a cliche to say ‘there used to be something for everyone’, but I don’t begrudge the mums and grans their occasional number one (ahem – that might be a truly outrageously sexist remark – I apologise. I’m really talking about MY mum and my gran).

    After R&R, what was there for them, Cliff Richard aside? And although not having this sort of thing on my radio improves the quality of my life no end, the idea of generic ‘chart’ music depresses me. The fact that everything musically different was filed under ‘novelty’ – no room for light cod-opera such as this, but also no room for folk, or metal, or any number of other genres that didn’t fit.

    Perhaps I am wrong and look back on this with the opposite of rose-tinted glasses, whatever they may be. Shit-tinted glasses. Perhaps I should not look to R&R to champion this thesis.

    Agree lots with #32.

  12. 42
    Billy Smart on 9 May 2009 #

    #2 Watch: Two weeks of Shakin’ Stevens interpretation of ‘Blue Christmas’.

  13. 43
    fivelongdays on 9 May 2009 #

    @32 – Growing up in West Oxfordshire, I, and most of the people I hung round with the 90s, had a trace of what could, euphemistically, be termed a ‘burr’.

    The only band I can remember who sung anywhere near the way we talked were Reef, who (for all their faults) were unfairly pilloried for having West Country accents when they came from, erm, Somerset.

    A bit random, I know…

  14. 44
    wildheartedoutsider on 9 May 2009 #

    Yeah, I think the Wurzels had a similar problem being taken seriously with their West Country accents!

    I suppose that’s a major part of the problem with accents in songs – there is obviously a tradition of them being used for comedy purposes in novelty songs: “Goodness Gracious Me”, “Shaddap You Face”, “Donald Where’s Your Troosers”, etc.

  15. 45
    wichitalineman on 9 May 2009 #

    Re 43:

    “I hate the guts of Shakin’ Stevens for what he has done
    The massacre of Blue Christmas
    On him I’d like to land one on”

    Presumably Mark E Smith, if no one else, was pleased to see Renee & Renato keep the top spot at Christmas.

    Re 43: The Troggs from Andover weren’t taken too seriously by their manager – unless Larry Page was 100% serious in renaming two members Presley and Bond. I wonder if the Troggs Tapes would be less funny if they had any other accent?

  16. 46
    peter goodlaws on 10 May 2009 #

    Let’s face it, this was a piece of crap. I don’t agree at all that “the vast majority of the buyers of this record were working class women of 25+”. I would suggest that a good number of older working class men of 40+ were attracted to it as well – huge, uncultered, old white van type blokes, who smoke roll-ups, drink light and bitter and have wives who make Susan Boyle look like Helen of Troy’s tastier younger sister.

    Rosie – You’ve nearly had Waldo in tears with your sorry tale of your Mud-style Xmas with more tales of woe to come. He says he can’t believe anyone who seems to smile all the time could ever be miserable. Waldo’s always happy too, as you know, but that’s because the fat bastard’s always shot to fuck.

  17. 47
    wichitalineman on 10 May 2009 #

    Unlikely songwriter no.27: “Micky” by Toni Basil was written by Racey singer Richard Gower, originally as “Kitty”. Racey’s Smash And Grab album is about to come out on cd for the first time on the 7Ts label through Cherry Red. Nolans and Dooleys later in the year. I’m quite excited.

  18. 48
    wildheartedoutsider on 10 May 2009 #

    That seems MORE than unlikely to me… I think you’ll find it was written by Chinn & Chapman… who having also written “My Sharona” I would have thought were about the LEAST unlikely people to have written such a similar sounding song!

  19. 49
    katstevens on 11 May 2009 #

    I gave this a 2 because I managed to sit through the video right until the end.

  20. 50
    wichitalineman on 11 May 2009 #

    Oops. I shouldn’t go trusting Racey press releases, should I? Berton Averre and Doug Fieger of the Knack wrote My Sharona, tho.

    Kat, I’d still give the song 1 but I think the video is worth a 5. Somewhere between Mind Your Language and Mulholland Drive – what the hell is that creepy bedroom scene about, with Renee’s dissolving head?

  21. 51
    AndyPandy on 12 May 2009 #

    32,43 etc:

    the ‘burr’ (ie the rolling of the r’s etc) is common to what are known as “rhotic” accents was once common down the whole Western side of England (as little as 70 years ago).

    Now however it is confined to only the West Country and various parts of Lancashire (Burnley/Blackburn etc).

    So I wonder if pop music as we know it had existed say 90 years ago if we’d have been subjected to a whole lot of ‘burrs’ in the charts…

    46: Yes you’re probably right certain older working class men + many women of similar backgrounds of 25 or maybe 30+ (remember we’re talking people who’d now be well past 50). But they’re still people who wouldn’t generally have a clue about the Jam or any concept of what the music media thinks is “good” or “bad” music…

  22. 52
    AndyPandy on 12 May 2009 #

    Further to my comment related to 43: I can think of a couple of other appearances of a West Country accent in modernish-pop Beth Gibbons certainly shows signs of it on the last Portishead album and I seem to remember XTC occasionally showing traces of it

  23. 53
    wildheartedoutsider on 12 May 2009 #

    Oops from me too! Well, that tops my list of surprising non-writers then! I guess the similarities must be down to their distinctive production style!

  24. 54
    AndyPandy on 12 May 2009 #

    No 40: no great theory on working-class women buying this but can you really imagine any middle class or even aspirational working class women buying this. Back then even DLT and the most clueless Radio 1 djs were treating this record as a joke. The “working-class women over 25” bit was not to disparage them- far from it (I’m a person who’d never use the word “chav” for instance)but as a person who spent most of his life up until around 30 working etc with the kind of people who contained amongst their number people who’d buy stuff like this and didn’t give a toss about what even the Sun pop column had to say on the merits of various records.As I remember it they tended to be unreconstructedr working-class, female and agewise not as young as me those who were my age would have all been buying Evelyn King, Sharon Redd and the Funkmasters…

  25. 55
    wichitalineman on 26 May 2009 #

    K-Tel watch: the closing track (it had to be I suppose) on side one of Street Scene. The very “street” line-up went:

    1. Heartbreaker – Dionne Warwick
    2. I Wanna Do It With You – Barry Manilow
    3. Knock Me Out – Gary’s Gang
    4. Changes – Imagination
    5. Back On The Chain Gang – The Pretenders
    6. Jack & Diane – John Cougar
    7. Don’t Pay The Ferryman – Chris De Burgh
    8. I Don’t Want To Be The One – The Searchers (!)
    9. Danger Games – The Pinkees
    10. Give Me Your Heart Tonight – Shakin’ Stevens
    11. Save Your Love – Renee & Renato

  26. 56
    MikeMCSG on 15 Jul 2009 #

    For a long time this was the last no 1 to feature the drumming of former Tornados man Clem Cattini who famously played on more number 1’s than any other musician. That was until Tony Christie’s resurrection of “Amarillo” in the noughties.

  27. 57
    Daryl McGarry on 30 Jul 2009 #

    Oi. Quit bashing this sing! Renee and Renato are one of the best one-hit-wonders ever and is alot better that some of this modern rap r’n’b crap. And before you suggest it, i am not 45, i am 21. Just because i’m young, doent mean i cant appreciate good music. “Save your love my darling”, “just one cornetto” and his restaurant called “Renato’s” are lovely. Anybody know who the model was in the music video?

  28. 58
    Daryl McGarry on 30 Jul 2009 #

    I meant song^^

  29. 59
    rosie on 5 Aug 2009 #

    So it’s farewell Renato

  30. 60
    lonepilgrim on 5 Aug 2009 #

    am making mental note of surroundings so I can remember where I was when I heard the big R had died.

  31. 61
    Conrad on 31 Mar 2011 #

    28, in reverse, Erithian – Geoff Deane, original lead singer of Modern Romance, ended up writing for sitcoms like Birds of a Feather

    Anyway, I popped back back in here to remark that having had cause to listen to this the other day, it seems a very obvious attempt at replicating the success of Julio Iglesias the previous Christmas. And in that context doesn’t really appear as that surprising a release (It’s nowhere as good, mind)

  32. 62
    Edward on 17 Jun 2012 #

    Sadly Renato is no longer with us having succumbed to a brain tumour in July 2009 aged 69, however, notwithstanding the mickey taking and criticism, he was the proud possessor of a magnificent tenor voice. Three years before ‘Save your love’ was released I was at a function where he was a guest and brought the house down with a rendition of ‘Nessun Dorma’; he could also be heard during half time entertaining the crowds at Aston Villa FC during the early 90s. To top it all he was a lovely man too.

  33. 63
    Auntie Beryl on 15 Feb 2013 #

    Dividing line: the next number one I remember in full on Technicolor, this one I associate with childhood. And why not; it’s shite. Embarrassing nonsense that probably put me off pop music for the years six to eight. One out of ten.

  34. 64
    Romancehater2013 on 19 Jun 2013 #

    thus track used to have me in tears when I was when I was 11. I am now 40, and each time I see tears in Renee’s eyes as she tearfully farewells Renato, I say quietly “it ain’t no use! you won’t have me in tears any more!” or ” it won’t work now you filthy bitch!

  35. 65
    Romancehater2013 on 19 Jun 2013 #


  36. 66
    Romancehater2013 on 19 Jun 2013 #

    this track used to have me in tears when I was when I was 11. I am now 40, and each time I see tears in Renee’s eyes as she tearfully farewells Renato, I say quietly “it ain’t no use! you won’t have me in tears any more!” or ” it won’t work now you filthy bitch!”

  37. 67
    Gareth Parker on 13 May 2021 #

    I would go with a 2/10 here. Not quite in the St Winifred’s and co. Hall of Shame.

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