Archive Page 2

17
Mar
13

(Bad) Cover Version #16: ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ by Metal Mickey (1983)

The origin of the cover: Released as a single
Original recording artist: The Beatles
Grade: D

The act of a fictional robot covering The Beatles sounds abnormal and fey. It even sounds slightly deranged.

But what remains even stranger is that this cover was not Metal Mickey’s début single. He had already released FOUR singles prior to the release of ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’.

His first single, a version of the Chordettes’ ‘Lollipop’, was issued by EMI in January 1979, just months after the robot made one of his earliest television appearances on Southern Television’s ‘The Saturday Banana’.

Meanwhile, on BBC One’s ‘Nationwide’, John Stapleton described him as a “friendly and an occasionally tuneful robot to keep you company while you work”. Yes, quite.

After the arrival of London Weekend Television’s family sitcom ‘Metal Mickey’ (produced and directed by Micky Dolenz, fact fans) in 1980, three further flops were released on Mickeypops Records: ‘Metal Mickey Magic’, ‘Sillycon Chipp’ and ‘Do The Funky Robot’. They all, quite frankly, sound terrible.

And then came ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’, a cover that doesn’t have any right to be good.

The problem with covering this particular song is that some artists can easily fall into the trap of coming across as needy and desperate, or just plain creepy.

Even worse, they could be dealt with a triple whammy of sounding needy, desperate AND creepy.

And this problem can be multiplied by a hundred if it involves a robot of some kind – especially one that has most likely uttered the words “[c]all my baby lollipop” on vinyl.

But, to be fair, this is a sweet – albeit extremely dated – version, and its relaxed tone certainly prevents it from becoming sinister.

More pressing issues, however, lie with the song’s production. Not only is it flimsy and sluggish but – astonishingly, for a song that lasts just over two minutes – it starts to outstay its welcome at the end.

The production ends up being far too weak to make any long-lasting impression, and it really lacks the glam rock fun of the theme music to ‘Metal Mickey’.

As a cover, ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ just about makes the grade but, in all honesty, it offers nothing more than a brief fling of intrigue.

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06
Feb
13

(Bad) Cover Version #15: ‘Teenage Kicks’ by Crush (1996)

The origin of the cover: Album track on ‘Teenage Kicks’
Original recording artist: The Undertones
Grade: D-

Regarding chart success, spin-off singles from the children’s television drama, ‘Byker Grove’, have been a very mixed bag.

PJ & Duncan AKA, Point Break, Freefaller and Summer Matthews all reached the UK Top 40, but a similar number of acts flopped.

Grove Matrix, whose line-up featured PJ & Duncan AKA, failed to reach the Top 75 with their only single, 1993’s ‘Rip It Up’. Charley had also suffered the same fate in 1990 with ‘The Best Thing’.

Two other flop acts, meanwhile, included two ‘Byker Grove’ actresses: Jayni Hoy and Donna Air.

In December 1994, Hoy and Air teamed up with fellow ‘Byker Grove’ star Victoria Taylor to release ‘Love Your Sexy…!!’, under the Byker Grooove! band name, for the Christmas market.

The one-off single sounded like a no-frills version of Shampoo and, unsurprisingly, never peaked beyond Number 48 in the UK Singles Chart.

And, although the trio still participated in music magazine shoots during the early months of 1995, Taylor left the music industry, and Hoy and Air were known as pop duo Crush by 1996.

Their sound was lighter, and had some traces of airheaded Britpop, but they still struggled to make a commercial breakthrough: ‘Jellyhead’ stalled at Number 50 in February 1996 and their follow-up single, ‘Luv’d Up’, fared little better, peaking at Number 45 in July 1996.

However, in the USA, ‘Jellyhead’ became a minor hit in the Billboard Hot 100, and they were tipped to “give the Spice Girls a run for their money”.

Also, they released their début album, ‘Teenage Kicks’ (which included THREE songwriting collaborations with Saint Etienne’s Sarah Cracknell), in Japan and South Korea. And that’s where it begins to look a bit more interesting.

‘Teenage Kicks’ featured three covers: The Go-Go’s ‘We Got The Beat’, Blondie’s ‘Picture This’ and, inevitably, The Undertones’ ‘Teenage Kicks’.

Yes, that’s right, the album showcased DONNA AIR COVERING ‘TEENAGE KICKS’. And that’s exactly when this cover stops being interesting.

Technically, there isn’t much wrong with it; there’s a little bit of light Garbage, with splodges of Sleeper and Pulp elsewhere.

But, while ‘Jellyhead’ and ‘Luv’d Up’ were faintly catchy, this cover has very little to offer.

Crush have gone down the credibility route and, even if it does sound perfectly competent, no thought or imagination has been put into this cover.

‘Teenage Kicks’ just sounds depressingly familiar to the original, and not a single foot-tap was made while listening to it.

Don’t get me wrong, this could have been a lot worse. After all, the sheer thought of Donna Air covering John Peel’s favourite song is enough to drive anyone to the bottle.

But, to be perfectly honest, hearing a car crash of a cover would have been more entertaining than a vapid interpretation that just plods along to the next album track.

You won’t remember a single second of it, trust me. It’s that pointless.

08
Jan
13

Revisiting 90 Minutes’ Nightmare League

scan0003During the 1990s, 90 Minutes ran an annual Nightmare League.

Think of it as an alternative to Fantasy Football.

Readers of the defunct magazine – instead of choosing the best players in the Premier League – picked who they thought were the worst players, and competed in regional and occupational leagues.

Premier League footballers were ranked on various statistics.

For example, they would be awarded three points for every goal that they scored and four points for every clean sheet kept by a defender or goalkeeper.

However, if they scored an own goal or received a red card, they would be deducted five points. Meanwhile, yellow cards would be rewarded with minus three points.

Also, whenever a defender or goalkeeper conceded a goal, they would score a single minus point.

And, for every time a midfielder or striker played a minimum of 45 minutes without scoring, they would be deducted one point.

Therefore, the worst players would attain a significant minus score at the end of the season and the readers, who had the lowest marks, would win their regional or occupational league.

And, while the magazine published a “worst players of ’95/96” list, they never picked a Nightmare League XI.

This was surprising, considering that they published “The Chaos Theory XI”, “Hoddle’s First 11 – the players that could figure in the new England manager’s plans” and the “Nightmare Team of the tournament [from Euro 96]” during the summer of 1996.

However, after scouring through old editions of 90 Minutes, here are their worst players from the 1995/1996 Premier League season.

GK: Keith Branagan

Club: Bolton Wanderers
Nightmare League points total: minus 40

Surprisingly, goalkeepers were a rarity in the Nightmare League.

For instance, only three other goalkeepers scored less than minus ten points: Sheffield Wednesday’s Kevin Pressman with minus 22 points, Leeds United’s John Lukic with minus 15 points and Nottingham Forest’s Mark Crossley with minus 11 points.

But, after conceding 59 goals in 31 games, Keith Branagan was easily the worst goalkeeper in this league and joint 20th worst player overall.

LB: Alan Kimble

Club: Wimbledon
Nightmare League points total: minus 43

Although Wimbledon finished 14th in the 1995/1996 Premier League, they had defensive problems following Warren Barton’s move to Newcastle United.

The Dons conceded 70 league goals and only Bolton Wanderers had an inferior defensive record.

Therefore, it should not surprise you that Alan Kimble is in this XI – after scoring minus 43 points and grabbing a joint 14th placed spot overall.

His form was so bad, Kimble’s only realistic contender was Sheffield Wednesday’s right-footed left back Ian Nolan with minus 37 points.

CB: Jimmy Phillips

Club: Bolton Wanderers
Nightmare League points total: minus 58

The Nightmare League was full of centre backs and the worst of them was Jimmy Phillips.

The second-worst player in this league was one of just six players to score minus 50 points or less.

No one can argue about the fact that he was one of the main reasons why Bolton struggled so much in their first Premier League campaign.

CB: Paul Williams

Club: Coventry City
Nightmare League points total: minus 49

Paul Williams’ first season in the Premier League, after his move from Derby County, won’t be remembered for the right reasons, and the Sky Blues conceded 60 league goals during the 1995/1996 season.

Bolton’s Chris Fairclough was only two points ahead and, if he had played more than 24 games, Wimbledon’s Alan Reeves could have nicked this spot after scoring minus 42 points.

Queens Park Rangers’ Steve Yates, meanwhile, also came close with minus 46 points.

RB: Kenny Cunningham

Club: Wimbledon
Nightmare League points total: minus 78

Kenny Cunningham may have gained some plaudits over the years but, according to the Nightmare League, he was the worst player by far, after being minus 20 points behind Jimmy Phillips.

Interestingly, two other right backs were in the top six worst players: QPR’s David Bardsley and Sheffield Wednesday’s Peter Atherton, who both scored minus 50 points.

LM: Alan Thompson

Club: Bolton Wanderers
Nightmare League points total: minus 39

Alan Thompson may have played for England in 2004, but he was this league’s worst left-footed winger. This was after being placed 23rd in the league with minus 39 points.

However, this does not come as a surprise because, after scoring Bolton’s first league goal of the season against Wimbledon on 19 August 1995, he failed to score in his other 25 appearances.

And, as competition for this position was so scarce, Thompson’s closest rival was Newcastle’s David Ginola with minus 31 points.

CM: Garry Flitcroft

Club: Manchester City
Nightmare League points total: minus 54

Another relegated club means the inclusion of another footballer in the Nightmare League.

This time it’s Garry Flitcroft, the worst midfielder and third-worst player in this league.

90 Minutes couldn’t even spell his name correctly in the final listings.

CM: Barry Horne

Club: Everton
Nightmare League points total: minus 47

This was actually a tie, as two other central midfielders had accrued the same amount of points.

But, as Barry Horne had played less Premier League football in the 1995/1996 season than Coventry City’s Kevin Richardson and Middlesbrough’s Jamie Pollock, Everton’s lowest ranked player gets the final central midfield spot.

Horne was the joint eight-worst player in this league – but the aforementioned trio faced tough competition from Chelsea’s Dennis Wise (minus 45 points), Everton’s Joe Parkinson (minus 43 points), Aston Villa’s Andy Townsend (minus 42 points) and Manchester United’s Nicky Butt (minus 41 points).

RM: Steve Lomas

Club: Manchester City
Nightmare League points total: minus 50

There was a real lack of right-sided midfielders in this league; therefore, Steve Lomas is the midfielder that best fits this slot.

Lomas was the joint fourth-worst player in this league and, along with Flitcroft, Manchester City had the two lowest ranked midfielders.

The only right-footed winger that came close was Coventry’s Paul Telfer, who was placed 24th and scored minus 39 points.

FW: Mark Hughes

Club: Chelsea
Nightmare League points total: minus 40

With the potential to score lots of goals, it was difficult to score lowly in the Nightmare League. Even Forest’s Andrea Silenzi scored minus six points.

However, due to his 11 yellow cards and one red card, Mark Hughes is the second-worst striker in this league.

During a difficult first season at Chelsea, the Welsh forward only scored eight league goals in 30 games and, if he hadn’t scored four goals in his final four games of the season, a joint 20th placed finish could have been beyond him.

FW: Trevor Sinclair

Club: Queens Park Rangers
Nightmare League points total: minus 43

Some people could suggest that Southampton’s Matthew Le Tissier should be in this XI, after scoring minus 38 points.

But, during the 1995/1996 season, he often played in midfield, as Gordon Watson and Neil Shipperley were Dave Merrington’s preferred strike partners in a 4-4-2 formation.

What’s even more surprising, though, is that Trevor Sinclair bags this final spot after a joint 14th placed finish.

Although he has played on both sides of the wing, Sinclair was regularly utilised as a striker during the 1995/1996 season.

90 Minutes, meanwhile, claimed in July 1996 that “he insists on playing down the middle of the park”, making it more likely that some saw him as a forward in the mid-1990s.

Despite being named in five consecutive England squads, during the build up to Euro 96, Sinclair only scored two league goals and failed to score in his final 26 games of the season.

The only real pretenders to the strikers’ throne were Bolton’s John McGinlay and Wimbledon’s Dean Holdsworth, who both scored minus 20 points.

16
Dec
12

Ten of the biggest Christmas single flops by television stars

If you’re a television personality, having a hit Christmas single is harder than it looks.

For instance, UK Top 10 singles such as ‘I’m Walking Backwards For Christmas’ by The Goons, ‘Your Christmas Wish’ by The Smurfs and ‘I Believe in Christmas’ by the Tweenies are exceptions to the rule.

Also, because several of these singles have flopped, even minor Top 40 hits such as Mr Blobby’s ‘Christmas In Blobbyland’ and The Goodies’ ‘Make A Daft Noise For Christmas’ can be considered as success stories.

And this is without considering the numerous tie-in singles that were released during the Christmas period. For example, ‘Supermarket Sweep (Will You Dance With Me?)’, by The Bar-Codes featuring Alison Brown and M.C. Dale [Winton], reached Number 72 in December 1994.

There are too many celebrity-related Christmas singles to mention – including ‘I Dream Of Christmas’ by Anita Dobson, ‘The Christmas Singles’ by Spitting Image, ‘Light Up The World For Christmas’ by The Lampies and ‘Help Yourself/Bigamy At Christmas’ by Tony Ferrino – but here are ten of the more interesting flops.

‘White Christmas’ by Freddie Starr (1975)

Surprisingly, Freddie Starr has released a number of serious-minded singles and albums. This stemmed from his collaborations with the Midnighters and Joe Meek in the 1960s, and his Top 10 single ‘It’s You’ in 1974.

Also, between 1974 and 1990, he released four easy listening LPs, which mostly contained cover versions.

The comedian’s version of ‘White Christmas’, however, took a ‘comedic’ turn, as it involved Starr impersonating Elvis Presley and Adolf Hitler throughout the song.

Considering that it was Starr’s second and last UK Top 75 single – peaking at Number 41 in December 1975 and having a month-long stay in the charts – it can be seen as a minor success for Starr.

Additionally, Jim Davidson’s version of the same song reached Number 52 in December 1980.

‘Home For Christmas Day’ by The Red Car and The Blue Car (1991)

For those who aren’t in the know, “The Red Car and The Blue Car” was a Milky Way television advert from the late 1980s.

‘Home For Christmas Day’ reworked the advert’s 40-second jingle and, unsurprisingly, turning it into a three-minute pop song was too much of a stretch for it to work.

After entering the UK Singles Chart at Number 73 in December 1991, it eventually rose to Number 44; making it one of the more successful Christmas single flops.

‘Boom Boom/Christmas Slide’ by Basil Brush featuring India Beau (2003)

In December 2003, Basil Brush teamed up with his ‘The Basil Brush Show’ co-star India Beau to release a double A-side single.

And it’s particularly telling that Right Records, rather than BBC Worldwide (who released singles by the Teletubbies and Tweenies, among others), released this single.

In a non-shocker, ‘Christmas Slide’ is soulless pap and only the most easily pleased group of tiddlers will enjoy it.

No wonder it faltered at Number 44 in the UK Singles Chart.

‘Rockin’ Good Christmas’ by Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown (1996)

There are three things about Roy Chubby Brown’s Christmas single that shouldn’t surprise you: a) it features lots of swearing, b) it peaked at Number 51 in the UK Singles Chart and c) it’s a beggared song, aimed at fans of tasteless vulgarity.

‘Another Blooming Christmas’ by Mel Smith (1991)

Mel Smith’s ‘Another Blooming Christmas’ – which was taken from the animated short, ‘Father Christmas’ – should have replicated the Top 10 success of ‘Walking In The Air’ during the 1991 Christmas period.

However, there was one problem. The single was released before Channel 4’s original transmission of the cartoon on 24 December 1991, and it made its last appearance in the UK Singles Chart just five days later.

Had it been released a year or two later, it would have been a sure-fire Top 30 hit, at the very least, and Epic Records must have been disappointed with its Number 59 peak.

‘Old Fashioned Christmas’ by Anne Charleston and Ian Smith (1989)

Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan were all the rage in 1989, so it surprised no one when other Australian soap stars jumped on the bandwagon.

Craig McLachlan and Home & Away’s Dannii Minogue reached the UK Top 10 in the early 1990s, but Madge and Harold Bishop’s short-lived music career raised more than a few eyebrows.

The duo, Anne Charleston and Ian Smith, went on the promotional chase in December 1989, as they appeared on 22 television shows to promote the single including kids’ programmes ‘Going Live!’ and ‘Wac 90’.

However, they couldn’t muster up a hit single – it entered the charts at Number 89 and, although it climbed to Number 77, a week later, it soon sunk without a trace.

Still, at least it didn’t flop as much as Mark Stevens’ non-hit wonder ‘This Is The Way To Heaven’ in 1991.

‘Christmas Wrapping’ by Tony Robinson and The Angel Voices (1990)

Tony Robinson’s venture into novelty rap records was perhaps overlooked and unappreciated in December 1990, as it stumbled into the UK Singles Chart at Number 78.

Also, the fact that it was released by independent label Nico Polo wouldn’t have helped matters at all.

It’s a genuinely amusing song, though, and the dance-cum-choir mix is a nice touch.

And it wasn’t even a cover of The Waitresses’ ‘Christmas Wrapping’, as Robinson co-wrote the song.

Furthermore, and very interestingly, the ‘Blackadder’ actor seemingly performed the song under the guise of his Sheriff of Nottingham character.

‘Christmas Wrapping’ may have performed far better if it had been an official ‘Maid Marian and her Merry Men’ tie-in single.

‘Give Us A Kiss For Christmas’ by Pinky and Perky (1990)

Here’s a surprising fact: until May 1993, Pinky and Perky had never entered the UK Top 75.

And that wasn’t going to change with their cover of Lionel Bart’s ‘Give Us A Kiss For Christmas’.

Especially when their version – which failed to peak beyond Number 79 in early December 1990 – was originally recorded in 1962.

Old-hat doesn’t even come into it.

‘Cashing In On Christmas’ by Bad News (1987)

Before 1987, comedy fans knew all about spoof rock band Bad News. After all, Channel 4 had aired a ‘Comic Strip… Presents’ episode, entitled ‘Bad News Tour’, in 1983.

Over four years later, Bad News – also known as comedians Adrian Edmondson, Nigel Planer, Rik Mayall and Peter Richardson – teamed up with Queen guitarist Brian May (as a producer) to release a self-titled LP.

Also, two singles were released from the album: a cover of Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘Cashing In On Christmas’.

Both the LP and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ reached the Top 70, but ‘Cashing In On Christmas’ sounded tepid and the joke was perhaps becoming a parody of itself.

Despite the 7” single featuring a range of free gifts – including a signed Christmas card, press release, foldout poster and fake £10 note – ‘Cashing In On Christmas’ peaked at Number 81 in November 1987.

‘Songs For Christmas’ (EP) by Minipops (1986)

Although the ‘Minipops’ television series on Channel 4 lasted for only six weeks in 1983, it was successful enough to spawn a bunch of singles and albums during the 1980s.

One of them, the ‘Songs for Christmas’ EP, was in aid of the Leukaemia Research Fund’s Silver Jubilee Appeal.

In May 1986, the TV Times launched a competition for under 18s to write a “Song For Christmas”.

The entries were whittled down to four shortlisted songs, which were performed by the Minipops on TV-am’s ‘Wide Awake Club’.

The programme’s viewers selected ‘Adventures of Santa’ as the winner, but the other three songs (‘Christmas Scenes’, ‘Ring A Bell For Christmas’ and ‘Rock Baby Jesus’) were also featured on the EP.

Although it sold poorly – it peaked at Number 88 in December 1986 – two further ‘Songs For Christmas’ EPs reached Number 39 in 1987 and Number 97 in 1988.

29
Nov
12

(Bad) Cover Version #14: ‘Eye of the Tiger’ by Frank Bruno (1995)

The origin of the cover: Released as a single
Original recording artist: Survivor
Grade: F

If you want to discover minor hit singles by media stars, the 1995 UK Singles Christmas Chart is for you.

Michael Barrymore’s ‘Too Much For One Heart’ charted at Number 25, and was surely an inspiration for Father Dick Byrne’s ‘The Miracle is Mine’.

Meanwhile, Mr Blobby’s ‘Christmas in Blobbyland’ – which peaked at Number 36 – was more like a selection of conversations with Noel Edmonds, with added choirboys, than an actual song.

And then there was Frank Bruno.

Regarding bad cover versions, the boxer teaming up with Mike Stock and Matt Aitken to cover Survivor’s ‘Eye of the Tiger’ sounds like a match made in heaven.

This is especially the case if you have heard Bruno’s vocal performance during his, Sam Fox, Bruno Brookes and Liz Kershaw’s reworking of Mike Sarne and Wendy Richard’s ‘Come Outside’ for the 1991 Children In Need appeal.

But, on the surface, this cover doesn’t seem too bad.

There’s no denying that it is sub-standard, and the production duo are going through the motions, but it wouldn’t look out of place on a cheaply assembled “sporting anthems” compilation.

Then it hits you. This cover doesn’t feature ANY creative input from Bruno.

All there is are some cheap Hi-NRG production and an unknown session singer, who isn’t credited in the sleeve notes AT ALL.

And, to make matters worse, BMG Records were more than happy to give Sky Sports a plug, as their commentary for Bruno’s world championship victory was sampled, but they couldn’t even credit the song’s only vocalist.

However, by Christmas 1995, this was nothing new.

For example, in May 1995, The Farm were given a mere production credit for Everton FC’s ‘All Together Now’, despite the former performing the majority of the song.

You would expect Bruno’s single to be a novelty cover but, sadly, this isn’t the case. At the time, it represented a new low and it still remains a complete rip-off.

It also shows that Stock and Aitken only care about money and chart performance. For instance, Stock told Billboard in July 1996:

“Record shops have become like libraries – they are repositories of knowledge. I believe if a record shop looked like McDonald’s, red and yellow and fun-looking, they would sell more records.”

But the worst thing about Bruno’s ‘Eye of the Tiger’ is that the public was fooled by this stunt; it peaked at Number 28 in the UK Singles Chart.

Just imagine the look on little Billy’s face when he played Bruno’s single for the first time on Christmas Day.

And I don’t care if this version sounds barely passable – that’s dull. I want to hear Bruno making a dog’s dinner of it.

Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Frank Bruno: shame on you.

And, if anyone says that Stock and Aitken care about music, just object and show them this single.

25
Oct
12

(Bad) Cover Version #13: ‘Agadoo’ by Chumbawamba (1992)

The origin of the cover: Recorded during a Peel Session
Original recording artist: Black Lace
Grade: B+

John Peel liked cover versions. He never liked the bog-standard replicas, but he enjoyed thoughtful cover versions.

For example, in January 2004, he told ‘The World Today’: “When somebody comes along and does something original that you wouldn’t have expected, then that is particularly welcome.”

Chumbawamba seemed like a group who would throw such a curveball.

In fact, when they recorded a Peel Session on 2 August 1992, they only performed cover versions.

Their interpretations of ‘Knock Three Times’ and ‘Y Viva España’ were perhaps a bit too wishy-washy, while their ‘Birdie Song’ instrumental was never going to be memorable.

However, the opener for this Peel Session, a version of Black Lace’s ‘Agadoo’, has aged particularly well.

It’s clearly a camp joke, but it’s also clever and subtle. Praise, of course, must go to the band for this – being conservative was not Chumbawamba’s forté during the Alice Nutter and Danbert Nobacon era.

It even sounds similar to the original – it still has the familiar tinpot sound while retaining the calypsos.

And, of course, this was the right decision.

The track didn’t need any extra cheese – and the idea of Chumbawamba covering ‘Agadoo’ should be enough of a novelty without it becoming a farce.

The fact that Chumbawamba haven’t cheaply and cynically gone for laughs means that it’s still an unexpected cover.

Instead, they have relied on their charm and craftsmanship to ensure that this cover works as a song. And it’s all the better for it.

Chumbawamba were never going to turn ‘Agadoo’ into a great song, but it’s still a great cover.

They have proven that anyone can polish a turd.

02
Sep
12

(Bad) Cover Version #12: ‘I Know What Boys Like’ by Shampoo (1996)

The origin of the cover: Released as a single
Original recording artist: The Waitresses
Grade: F

I’m not afraid to defend the musical merits of Shampoo.

For example, ‘Trouble’ was irritatingly catchy and infectious – the duo got the song’s cheeky teenage angst down to a tee and the track was a lot of fun.

Although their follow-up singles, including ‘Viva La Megababes’ and ‘Girl Power’, were vacuous and shallow, they still had stains of likeability.

And, best of all, their songwriting collaboration with Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs in 2000 brought about a number of credible ditties including ‘Shampoo’s Cupboard‘.

When it came to covers, though, Shampoo were like a group from ‘The X Factor’.

This doesn’t mean that their cover versions were bad but, for them to be good, they needed to pick the right song.

Their version of East 17’s ‘House Of Love’ (which appeared on their début album, ‘We Are Shampoo’) was performed without a hint of irony and, minus Tony Mortimer’s rapping, almost sounded like a replica of the original.

Similarly, their cover of Gary Numan’s ‘Cars’ (a b-side to 1996’s ‘Girl Power’) had a low-budget sound and was a little rough around the edges but, as per usual, it had its quirks.

Meanwhile, The Rezillos’ ‘Top Of The Pops‘, a b-side to ‘War Paint‘ was also faithfully covered by the girls and suited their rebellious streak.

And their next cover, The Waitresses’ ‘I Know What Boys Like’, looked like a good choice on paper. After all, Shampoo clearly modelled their sound and look on the likes of Fuzzbox and The Waitresses.

The original was deliberately raw, clunky and repetitive – they were, in fact, qualities that made the track likeable. In that respect, ‘Trouble’ was a very similar song but this cover doesn’t work at all.

‘I Know What Boys Like’ should be a contemporary-free zone; it doesn’t need slick production and there definitely shouldn’t be any clichéd guitar solos.

Shampoo ignored key elements of this song at their peril and, subsequently, it ripped out the original’s good humour and subtlety.

And, unlike The Waitresses’ version, this was not tongue-in-cheek; it sounded tacky and boorish. Not only is it embarrassing, but it’s the musical equivalent of middle-aged women wearing mini-skirts.

At best, it’s a mess and, to make matters worse, it still sounds like someone vomiting all over a Helen Love record.

They really should have known better.




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