Friday, August 5, 2011

Sound Bank: 3) Bucks Fizz

Look, I never said this series was going to portray me as an infallible baraometer of musical taste. My first 15 years of pop fandom went roughly like this:

1976-1981: Abba
1981-1986: Bucks Fizz
1986-1989: Five Star

In retrospect, I think the quality threshold is on a steep downward spiral from the very beginning -- although I maintain that Five Star's first album (the one Paul Hardcastle produced) stands the test of time better than other pop'n'r'n'b records of the era... Love Take Over is due a revival. System Addict, less so.

Anyway, Bucks Fizz get to be one of the "sounds of my life" entries, as they were the first group I really fixated on. I joined the fan club, I traced the band logo onto my school jotter, I sent them "get well soon" cards after that horrific coach crash in Newcastle. What's more I stuck with them long after they ceased to be a viable chart act... even when they recorded a song written for them by Meatloaf. It wasn't pretty.

But back at the beginning they had some good tunes... The multi-track harmonies on My Camera Never Lies are pretty impressive for a manufactured pop act, for example. But I'm going to embed this video for Can't Stand The Heat instead. I can vividly remember the kitchen-cloth costumes Jay and Cheryl wore. This episode of Crackerjack may mark the moment I first truly understood the difference between a man and a woman.

Bucks Fizz - Can't Stand The Heat

Years later, I interviewed Bucks Fizz as an apertif before covering the Eurovision Song Contest (two childhood dreams fulfilled in one). Unlike modern pop stars, they were delightfully off-script and completely 100% bonkers. Mike Nolan, in particular, took great joy in making awful puns about trousers. He also tried to get me to admit that, as a child, I would kiss my posters of Cheryl Baker goodnight. I went so red that I could have camoflaged myself against a London bus.

The interview - thankfully minus that segment - is here.

Sound Bank is a series of blog posts I'm running in August while I'm on holiday. If you want to know more about it, there's an explanation on this page. Normal pop blog service will be resumed around 25th August

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