Wednesday, May 27, 2020

getting a drag

A pal of Mott the Hoople - she supplied some vocals to "Roll Away the Stone" and also came up with the daft name "Ariel Bender" for the band's new lead guitarist Luther Grosvenor, formerly of Spooky Tooth - so Lynsey D P is tangentially connected to the glam commotion as well as a pervasive participant in the frivolity of UK pop during the first half of the 1970s 

Here, she verges into glam terrain with what seems to be her attempt at her very own "Lola" - cross(dress)ed with "Arnold Layne"  and ever so slightly anticipating the scenario of Barbara Mason's "Another Man"

The tale of a relationship that founders when she discovers that he...  likes wearing women's clothing? Or is just a chronic narcissist, who spends even more time looking in mirrors and caking on make-up than she does (which would really be saying something)

A MOR take on trendy swings-both-ways / ambiguity / camp themes of the day -
"Walk on the Mild Side"

The lyrics:

Could it be? Is it true?
Was it me? Was it you?
Because I thought you were a brother
But you turned out like my mother
And it's getting a drag

I was sure, I was wrong
But before very long
I found that I had kissed a mister
Just as pretty as a sister
And it's getting a drag

Who am I? Who are you?
What am I gonna do?
Most people make up when they break up
But we break up 'cause you make up
And it's getting a drag

Bye bye, don't cry
My, my have I been had
So sad, too bad
It's getting a drag

Jonathan King essayed a few similar moves at this time, coming at it from not so much the MOR as the bubblegum / novelty pop end of things

Lyrics from the object of predation's point of view (ironically)

Now, could this be the only reference to "tinea" in a song lyric?

I wouldn't want to live in his psyche ta very much

An anti-LSD, hipper-to-be-square song in praise of straightness

Parody of psych (but also a faithful cover of a US psych classic by the Hombres)

I've strayed from the lovely (if regrettably, it appears, Tory) Lynsey

Look at the dancers in this little slice of coy sanitized raunch

Is it just me or is the drum crack in this like the snap of a whip?

She went out with one of my favorite movie stars, James Coburn, for many years

I imagining her also dating Formula One racing champions and manly types like that.

For all the ultra-femme image and cooing high-pitched voice, a driven and creatively autonomous music biz stalwart who wrote, arranged, produced, you name it.

Shame about the Tory bit though.

One of her projects was this troupe of Mott backing vocalists (they also supplied the "doot-di-doots" on "Walk on the Wild Side" as it happens)

It got to Number 30.


  1. It's statistically impossible that of all the thousands of pop/rock singers and musicians, only a handful are Tories though, isn't it?

    Especially as singers and musicians generally belong to a key Tory demographic, i.e. they are essentially self-employed or small business men and women who are disadvantaged by marginal tax rates.

    I think that the anti-Conservative sentiments expressed by pop-stars are more often than not purely performative, and just seen as being part of the territory. Like wearing sunglasses, or signing autographs. In the privacy of the voting booth, I have no doubt that a majority of them, perhaps even a significant majority, make their peace with The Man, and put their cross in the box that is labelled Conservative.

  2. I expect you are right, but in this case she sang a song called something like "Vote for Maggie" at a Tory Party Conference in the Eighties, so she's one of the very public supporters - who are a minority.

    Kenny Everett was another I think, despite Section 28
    Often these showbiz types have soft progressive pet issues like being anti-fur or animal testing.

  3. There's a difference between rock performers (identified with the young, with "the people", etc) and showbiz I think.

    The world of entertainment, variety, Ivor Novello awards, etc is instinctively "Royalist" - pro the establishment - because it knows where it's bread is buttered - this probably goes back to the restoration with Charles II, who reopened the theatres after the Puritan shutdown, whose mistress was an actress.

    i tend to argue that the implicit message of showbiz is "the world is as it only can be" - it's literally worldly (even though often peddles sentimental happy endings, the power of love, and so forth) and therefore cynical about power, the inevitability of inequality etc. "Money Makes the World Go Around" etc etc.

    whereas rock was predicated on the idea of change and disruption. not any more, but that was the promise. the youthquake. the old dying off and the young taking over.

    in America it's slightly different - there's no getting around the fact that Hollywood is rife with liberalism - there's way more examples of actors being left-wing or anti-Trump than there are the opposite (Jon Voight, James Wood, whose else?). There's a gap between the economic interests of these superrich and their value system; it's like an inverted mirror image of the gap between the economic interests of coal miners in West Kentucky and their value system.

  4. I think that's all true, but then I've no doubt that there were probably "conservative" celebrities at the Royal Variety Performance who were, in their hearts, strongly left-wing, didn't like the Royals etc.

    What the "establishment" constitutes nowadays is a bit contested, isn't it? For the Left it's the rich, non-doms, tax dodgers, financiers etc., while for the populist right it's the mainstream media, academia, the permanent state etc.

    Also, I think it's possible to argue that rock music was/is in many ways right-Libertarian in many of its instincts - "I do what I wanna do, when I wanna do it" - very much *not* about social solidarity, caring for the weak, having a long-term productive base etc. It's very difficult for me to believe that when they come to vote, rock musicians are thinking "what's best for society?" rather than "what's best for me?" The leftism in rock seems to be something of a formal convention that everyone goes along with - if you were to admit to being a Tory it would be as much of an aesthetic error as a moral one.

    BUT the story of now is that the Boomers themselves are now the old who are dying off, and their egregor is dying with them. And so, slowly, are their social, cultural and political achievements, which everyone (including me) thought were permanent. This is a very important moment, albeit in a somewhat depressing way, in that the world of mass modernity has turned out to be just another will-o'-the-wisp. I've been thinking of starting a blog on this subject because I think it needs documenting, though I just don't have much time. But when these great musical legends die it is very imporant, because their world really does die with them.

  5. It's a collective soul or spirit:

  6. getting total deja vu - almost certain i asked you that once before and you answered with the same link!

    i wish you would start another blog Phil - on that subject or anything

  7. Yeah, I'm trying to convince myself that writing a blog is actually more time efficient then letting all these ideas continuously recycle in my mind.


  8. Very late to this but-

    1) Hollywood 'creatives' (actors/writers/directors) are a center-left stronghold, but its executives and bureaucrats are either solidly Republican or play both sides of the aisle (donating to both parties, etc.) And of course places like Orange County are where Nixon/Reagan rose up from or played to.

    2) trying to nail down the exact political position of an entire genre/mode of music obviously is futile, but I think that 'rock' is fundamentally libertarian, but in a way that shifts from left to right depending on the artist and/or era. Doctrinaire Marxist-Leninism or fascism/conservatism never found much of a foothold, but you can definitely discern varying competing strands of anarchism or Randism - the old dichotomy of Blyton via Alan Moore's Land of Do As You Please vs Land of Take What You Want

  9. You can add Krist Novaselic the "anarcho-capitalist socialist moderate"


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