Friday, 15 September 2017

Leave It!

There have been plenty of naff TV spin-off singles, and although Don’t Cha Cry by Jerry ‘Beaver’ Mathers is hardy among the absolute worst, methinks it is still worthy of inclusion here.

Released in August 1962, the record itself is pretty innocuous, but Jerry’s flat vocal delivery is simply dreadful. The vaguely Spanish Harlem-sounding instrumental backing – Ben E. King’s version of the Jerry Leiber & Phil Spector composition had been a hit the previous year – cannot save it , and although Billboard called it a ‘sweet Latinish ballad that has a sentimental touch’, it’s hardly surprising that this would be Mathers’ only pop outing.

The single’s B-side, Wind Up Toy, is much more fun, and the peppy tune much better suited to young Jerry’s limited range. Billboard called it a ‘cute novelty item’, adding that ‘the lad sings it aggressively against medium tempo beat from a combo and chorus of chicks’. Ahh: such innocent times. I’ve included both sides here for your entertainment.

Gerald Patrick ‘Jerry’ Mathers (born June 2, 1948) is an American television, film, and stage actor best known for his role in the US TV sitcom Leave It to Beaver, which was first broadcast from 1957 to 1963. Jerry played Theodore ‘Beaver’ Cleaver, the younger son of the suburban couple June and Ward Cleaver and the brother of Wally, and he appeared in all 234 episodes of the series. Jerry, who began his career at the age of two with an appearance as a child model in a department store advert, was the first child actor ever to get a percentage of the merchandising revenue from a television show.

After the series ended he retired from the screen and returned to school (while in High School he fronted his own band Beaver and the Trappers) and later served in the United States Air Force Reserve, reaching the rank of Sergeant. He returned to University, earning a BA in philosophy, and after a break of more that a decade and a half, returned to the entertainment industry in 1978. He has since appeared in many US TV shows, on stage (in Hairspray) and in movies.

Enjoy!

Download Cry HERE



Download Toy HERE

Saturday, 2 September 2017

A Shameless Plug (and some awful music)

A bit of a two-pronged post this week: obviously it will end with some truly rotten music, but I have an ulterior motive for the theme.

My new book, David Bowie Made Me Gay: 100 Years of LGBT Music, comes out here in the UK on Thursday, September 7, and in late November in the US.

The book covers a century of LGBT people making records, from the early pre-jazz years right up to the present day. It also documents the struggle that LGBT people have had to endure over the last century to achieve equality, and looks at how musicians manage in countries where it is still illegal to be gay. I’m pretty proud of it. You can read more about it HERE and – if you want – order now from Amazon and all of the usual outlets.

I’m heading out on tour to promote the book, and will be appearing in Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham, London, Bristol and other towns and cities around the UK over the coming months. If you’re around please pop by and say ‘hello’.

On Friday September 8 we’re having a special launch event at the British Library, and I have to admit that I am excited beyond words. With live music from Canadian country singer Drake Jensen – making his UK debut - and London-based k anderson, I’ll also be joined by style icon, artist and the ‘French voice’ of Visage, Princess Julia and by journalist, former That’s Life presenter and co-founder of LGBT charity Stonewall, Simon Fanshawe. Copies of the book will be available on the night, and there will be plenty of chance to have a chat afterwards. Tickets, if you’re interested, are available now but are selling fast. Click HERE for more information.

So anyway, to the ‘music’.

During my research for the book I came across a fair amount of mediocre songs, but it was while preparing the chapter on homophobia in music that I came across the band Anal C***. I had, of course, heard of them before but I’d never actually heard them. Oh dear.

Anal C*** was an American grindcore band formed in Massachusetts in 1988. Known for their ‘controversial’ lyrics, the band underwent several lineup changes, disbanded on at least two occasions and yet somehow managed to release eight full-length studio albums as well as a number of compilations and EPs. Early songs were usually no more than a few seconds long, and their musical ‘themes’ included misogyny, homophobia, nazism, antisemitism, racism and the like, with song titles such as You're Gay, The Internet Is Gay, You Were Pregnant So I Kicked You in the Stomach, Hitler was a Sensitive Man and Eazy E Got AIDS From Freddie Mercury. Lovely.

I’m sure that there are people who will insist that this was all meant in jest, and that the band were merely taking the rise out of the politically correct; that their entire career was simply one lone bad-taste joke. I don’t particularly care either way: their songs are too pathetic to offended. I simply offer you an opportunity to listen and make up your own mind.

Singer Seth Putnam, hospitalised after a suicide attempt in 2004, died of a hear attack, aged just 43, in 2011. Here are Hitler was a Sensitive Man and Eazy E Got AIDS From Freddie Mercury. If you'd like to hear more (really?) then the whole album is available at Mr Weird and Wacky


Enjoy!

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