Friday, 14 November 2014

Dolly Wow!

Here’s a fine example of how the world – even the part of the world we cherish for our children – has been ‘dumbed down’ over the years.

Pedigree Dolls & Toys created Sindy in 1963. A rival to Barbie, Sindy's wholesome look and range of fashions and accessories made the little plastic doll one of the best selling toys in the UK - in fact she was the best selling toy in both 1968 and 1970. After an unsuccessful attempt to introduce Sindy in the United States in the late 1970s, Sindy was remodelled to look more American – a move which resulted in a decline in popularity and a lawsuit from Barbie’s manufacturer Mattel for copyright infringement, which was only settled after the doll’s then-owner Hasbro agreed to remodel Sindy's face. During the 1990s, Barbie's share of the doll market continued to grow while Sindy's diminished, but she was relaunched in 1999 and again in 2003, in celebration of her 40th anniversary.

Issued in 1966 Sindy Meets the Dollybeats is a fun little pop record issued by the manufacturers of Britain’s answer to Barbie. Side one contains the story of how she got to meet her favourite band of all time – faux Liverpudlian accents, Mary, Mungo and Midge sound effects and all. Side two features a song written by Cliff Warwick, the leader of the fictitious Dollybeats, especially for the little vinyl girl. Dolly wow!

The sleeve is a gas too. The flip of the cover bears short biographies of each member of the Dollybeats, and here we discover that it is Terry Coombes and not Cliff Warwick who is the lead guitarist of the Dollybeats, as the narrator of the A-side would have us believe. We also find out that Cliff was a former student at a Liverpool art school (remind you of anyone?) and how ‘thrilled’ Sindy is with her song. It’s a wonderful time capsule of an innocent era.

A few years later it was a whole different story. Gone is the childlike excitement, replaced by the anodyne disco drivel of Everybody Boogie!/We’re Havin' a Party! By the videO Kids (note the capital O and K, as if it’s OK to like this crap) who, as far as I can ascertain, are in no way related to the ‘other’ Video Kids featured on this blog previously  Apparently this coupling comes from the ‘forthcoming album Let’s have a party – an all-star spectacular’. I’m not aware of the album ever being released, but the videO Kids did issue an album – You’re Never Too Young to Dance.

Apparently the videO Kids producers, Steve Gilston and Paul Lynton felt that the music industry was ignoring the pre-teens and aimed to give them something to dance to. Recording commenced in 1979; the 45 was given away free with certain Sindy dolls – it certainly was available inside the box of the Party Time Doll (circa 1981), and the success of the Sindy with a single lead to the release of the album You're Never Too Young to Dance in the same year. Peter Doyle – the former member of the New Seekers who sadly passed away in 2001 - sang lead on two of the tracks, and the album also features the talents of Sky/Blue Mink alumnus Herbie Flowers.



  1. 11/15/14 Wrote:
    I remember seeing the Sindy dolls in the Kresgee & Woolworth department stores in Michigan as a child during the early 1970's, and even then I always thought she was a knock-off of the more popular Barbie doll, but supposedly the Barbie doll itself was a knock-off of a 1954 German doll (I forget the name of it, I have to look it up) I don't remember the records sold with them, though . Even Barbie had spin-off records at times (a 1962 record I remember that came with purchase with a Barbie doll was briefly available at the time, and is now worth some money.) They both definitely sound like derivative cash-in exploitations of The Beatles & Disco music that were popular at each separate times during the 60's and 70's. Sindy was cheaper than Barbie, sold she was sold as a poor girl's version of Barbie in the states. Sindy probably had more cult-favorite like status in the U.K.

  2. I wonder if Herbie Flowers mentions this atrocity on his CV? :-)

  3. We posted another Sindy single on our blog , but the download has expired. Will re-up at some point. -

  4. Sindy's "The Doll You Love to Dress" now re-up on Friendsound blog -

    Stefan M @ Friendsound


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