Friday, 2 July 2010

Hommage a Cowell

Happy July everybody!

Today's bottom of the barrel-scraping tune comes courtesy, once again, of occasional contributor Ross Hamilton, although I'm sure many of you are familiar with the genesis of this particular poptastic track. Personally I can recall, working as the singles buyer for HMV in Gloucester at the time of its release, the seemingly endless number of free copies of this single foisted upon us in an effort to help it climb the charts.

Let me hand over to Ross: 'Another piece of trash that I re-discovered the other week. I remember this mostly from a guy I use to hang around with in the mid 1980's who only owned about three records....and this was one of them. I use to love it but, in those pre-eBay days, could never find my own copy - even though, when you are 10, I don't suppose anyone looks too hard for anything! I never forgot the track though, and on one quiet work afternoon (no doubt a Friday) I was looking through eBay and put the title in as a bit of a laugh. A copy was available and I bought it.

Playing it brought back some memories but little did I know that the person who had originally plugged this hit (it reached the top 40 back in 1982) was none other than the wrecker of music Simon Cowell.'

It's true! Basically Cowell, in his early days as a record plugger, heard a track by a German 'artist' by the name of Harry Thumann, who produced a song that sampled dogs barking and called it Ruff Mix. Tumann wasn't the first, or last, producer to do this. Stiff/Virgin Records in the UK released a single by the Singing Sheep (which I have somewhere and will post at a later date), and I used to have an entire album of Beatles tunes covered ala Ruff Mix credited to the Beatle Barkers. Cowell, who was a partner in the British outfit E&S Music with his former boss at EMI, Ellis Rich, acquired rights to the song and began promoting it, crediting it to Wonder Dog. Simon actually dressed up as Wonder Dog and appeared on a handful of UK kids TV shows to promote the song.

Fittingly E&S, who scored several hit records traded from offices in a converted gent's toilet in the NCP car park on Brewer Street in London's Soho.

If you haven't seen the footage on one of those 'before they were famous'-style compilation programmes that ITV put out every couple of months, here it is in all its glory. Listen carefully to the voice....

Ross continues: 'Cowell has been responsible for other novelty recordings travesties featuring the likes of wrestlers of the World Wrestling Federation, Teletubbies, Zig and Zag and the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers but this is the first. By the time those other songs came out, I had become a bit older and a bit wiser with my record purchases.'

Thanks Ross, for reminding me of this travesty.



  1. This bloody talentless wanker earns millions a year! What a sick, decayed world we inhabit!

  2. That was funny for the first 30 seconds or so, but after a while...good gravy, I couldn't take it anymore. - I bailed out half way thru.

    This confirms my worst suspicions about Simon Bowel.

  3. Beatle Barkers is much better than this.
    Beatle Barkers is the name of the album not the group. The group is The Woofers & Tweeters Ensemble.


WWR Most Popular Posts