Monday, January 28, 2008

pop on film


In the official UK chart ( that's the one where the Buzzcocks don't have half a dozen no.1's, i.e. not mine ) there have been some strange no.1's. A surfeit of appalling chart toppers definitely and even a few very good ones but here are some that were just too good to push their way through the chaff to the vertiginous peak that is the top spot, and yet they did, somehow.


Inexplicably a no.1. How did this bluesy number beguile the British public, most of whom would never have heard of Muddy Waters or Son House. Jagger takes the name Partially Sighted Yelping Hyena and the lily white kids of suburbia can't control an urge to get down and mucky, if not in the farmyard at least in their own back gardens. Nowadays when R & B stands for raunch and boobs this sounds like an authentic slice of Mississippi blues with a rhythm as drowsy as a lazy dog but with a mean snarl if provoked. My theory is that its resting on the chart summit was due to perfect timing. A year earlier, 1963, the charts were in the grip of the frivolous uptempo sounds of Merseybeat; in 1965 the music scene went meaty and beaty. But in December 1964 there was a void that Cilla Black and Herman's Hermits were too insubstantial to fill. The signs were there in July when the Animals took House Of The Rising Sun to the top. It was lewd and spotty but that swirling organ softened its seediness and was pleasing to the ear. Little Red Rooster had a threatening indeterminate filth that seemed to sully the listener. No surprise then that it was no.1 for only a week, knocked off the top my those pretty boys in suits, the Beatles.