Tuesday, 28 March 2017

And you say I dress too well









There has been a slew of "significant" birthdays of late - not least the fact that, had he lived, the gorgeous Mr Billy MacKenzie would have been 60 years old yesterday.

I loved him. With his cheekbones-to-die-for, his unique almost-operatic vocals, and the fact that his band The Associates was so utterly cool - emerging as they did in the midst of a cascade of "edgy" post-Punk electronic music in '79/'80 alongside the likes of The Cure, Simple Minds and Joy Division (and of course my fave Gary Numan) - he was the epitome of everything that era represented for me.

I first heard The Associates on the legendary John Peel show on Radio 1 back in 1981. They'd already garnered a flurry of "music meejah" interest, having launched their career with a cheeky cover of Bowie's Boys Keep Swinging mere weeks after The Thin White Duke released the original; but it was White Car in Germany that did it for me:




When, however, it became obvious that the cameras found Billy as appealing as I did, he and the band were rocketed to pop stardom, with a succession of hits:

Club Country:

Those First Impressions:

[See also my recent Burns Night post.]

But it was for this song, his and the band's finest hour, that everyone remembers Mr MacKenzie. I still (try to) sing along to it whenever it's on the radio. Just that ecstatic piano intro is enough to send shivers down my spine...

It is, of course, Party Fears Two:


I'll have a shower and then phone my brother up
Within the hour I'll smash another cup
Please don't start saying that or I'll start believing you
If I start believing you I'll know that this party fears two

And, what if this party fears two
The alcohol loves you while turning you blue
View it from here from closer to near
Awake me

Don't turn around I won't have to look at you
And what's not found is all that I see in you
My manners are failing me I'm left feeling ugly
And you say it's wonderful to live with I never will

So what if this party fears two
The alcohol loves you while turning you blue
View it from here from closer to near
Awake me

I'm standing still and you say I dress too well
Still standing still I might but it's hard to tell
Even a slight remark makes nonsense and turns to shark
Have I done something wrong
What wrongs the wrong that's always in wrong

I'll have a shower
And then phone my brother up
Within the hour
I'll smash another cup...


Billy suffered all his life with depression, and - twenty years ago this year - the world awoke to horrible news that he had taken his own life.

RIP William MacArthur "Billy" MacKenzie (27th March 1957 – 22nd January 1997)

2 comments:

  1. I'm sorry to say that I'd never heard of The Associates until this day. However, I do know "Party Fears Two" from The Divine Comedy's cover.
    I'm going to listen to those other tracks you've posted, now (I had "White Car in Germany" on as I wrote this - I like it!). THanks, Jon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How bizarre - maybe they never reached Norfolk? Jx

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