The New Cue #334 November 10: David Holmes, La Force, Gurriers, Heartworms, The Clockworks, Julia Holter, Babybird, Cardinals, The Rhythm Method
“I wanted to see how a photographer would feel if he was in a thong sat on a car.”
Hello, it’s Friday or to give it its full name: Recommender Friday. That means that there is some Recommending about to begin. You have been warned although it’s not a warning more someone stopping you in the street and telling you the winning lottery numbers. Or maybe that’s too much: telling you the secret codeword to say in the pub to get two free pints. Yeah, that’s it. OK, enjoy – we’ve also got a Story Behind The Song from Babybird and two mind-blower entries from La Force and Gurriers.
Here’s this week’s playlist:
Enjoy the edition, by the way the codeword is: Fondant Fancy
Ted, Niall and Chris
The Story Behind The Song
How we birthed a classic
You’re Gorgeous by Babybird, 1996
Babybird, aka British songwriter Stephen Jones, on his unexpected smash hit You’re Gorgeous…
“I released five lo-fi albums in a year’s period and they used to get in the Top Ten charts that they used to run in Sounds, NME and Melody Maker. From that, there was loads of interest. It was all four-track recordings, very lo-fi stuff, not aiming to be anything big like You’re Gorgeous became. It was all taken from 400 songs and You’re Gorgeous was a demo which I thought was too silly to be on those albums. We re-recorded with the band and all those albums got big interest and then I moved to Sheffield and the band was formed. You’re Gorgeous was one of those ones that the record company thought was a ‘chorus song’ and we re-recorded it and it became ridiculously big at that point.
The old version came out on a B-side somewhere and it was just with a shitty little drum machine that I bought from Woolworths. It was more silly and that’s why it never made it on those early albums. People still might regard it as a silly song but I think it became more mature when we brought the band in and produced it properly.
Not that a man can be a feminist, but that was the attempt in the song. It’s a song of two parts – you’ve got the bit that people play at their weddings even though if I was pointing at you and singing ‘You’re gorgeous!’, it’s kind of sarcastic, but the verses were very much about what was happening in the papers when I was growing up where you’d have a woman on the bonnet of a Ford Capri being filmed by a photographer so I wanted to flip that round and see how that photographer would feel if he was in a thong sat on a car. That was the original intent for that song.
I’d been making music for ages, since the early 90s, and we’d tried to get interest for two years. Nick Beggs from Kajagoogoo was an A&R man at that point and I think he said, ‘Piss off and write a middle-eight’. So we were trying to flog these early songs for two years so when it came along that there was a bit of a feeding frenzy – we had Virgin and EMI involved – we couldn’t cope with it. I don’t think we were intelligent enough or savvy enough to deal with what might happen, because they take you and they get everything out of it. I must say, in a good way – I’m eternally grateful because You’re Gorgeous is like a ghost that comes back, a nice friendly ghost that comes back and allows me to do what I do today, it pays for that.
We were told midweek where it was in the charts, we were told it was Number Three and it might go to Number One so already you’re going to be a little bit disappointed if it doesn’t go up to Two or One. Even with something so fantastic as Number Three, you’re thinking, ‘Oh, it could be more than that’. But we were sat around in a table with friends. We’d rented a house in London that apparently Jimi Hendrix had slept in, our guitarist slept in his bed, and we were all sat around this round table waiting for the actual result where it was going to be. The single before that, Good Night, was rumbling around, I think it went to 27, so we had no idea that You’re Gorgeous would do that. People think a lot of songs are written to be hits but none of my songs were so it was a shocker.
Immediately after You’re Gorgeous, there was lots of press and flying around Europe and stuff and doing very weird Italian kids TV. We did Italian TV and we were told we were going on for a rehearsal for the lights and stuff but then we walked on, the guitarist and bass player had no bass or guitar, the drummer just had some sticks put in his hand, I walked up to the front, there was no microphone, no stand and suddenly the music went on with no prompting and someone went, ‘sing! Sing!’ and I started singing… we thought it was a rehearsal but it wasn’t, that was it. We’ve never seen that back, I’d love to watch it.
I lived in Manchester for ages at the time and once at two in the morning, a load of cars turned up where I lived and started shouting ‘Oi gorgeous man!’ and then another car would come up. That was probably the strangest experience. That made me move to London, it was getting mental in Manchester. You couldn’t go to a bar. I’ve had a little tiny hint of what it’s like to be well-known and I left that behind as quickly as I could and went to London, you could blend in there.
I’m still making music today on Bandcamp. All that’s changed is it’s not on cassette, I’m doing it on a laptop. My songwriting has never changed, it’s just something I do. It’s the same as mowing the lawn. I still find music a hobby, I sit at the piano and clear my head and don’t think about anything, it’s brilliant.”
Babybird’s recently-reissued Ugly Beautiful (2LP) and ‘Ugly Beautiful’ (Digital Audio Expanded Edition) are out now on BMG. Order here.
An Album Two Albums To Blow Your Mind #1
Canadian indie polymath La Force picks two…
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