Monday, August 24, 2009

Whoops, I've Fallen Into The Pool: Jim Dale: "Be My Girl"

And now we come to a bellwether, a notable moment, a stopping place: this is the first #2 of the rock 'n' roll/pop era by someone from the UK. And how...appropriate that it be almost a perfect template of its time (semi-yelping big-eyed-puppy longing) and a past-is-prologue to everything that is to come. The high-pitched tinkly piano comes from Winifred Atwell and is still alive with Lily Allen; the backing singers are a little too polished to be the Jordanaires and thus may as well be the Mike Sammes Singers, minus the girls. The whole thing has the air of being well-rehearsed and yet just casually put together in that adorable slackerly way most (not all!) UK musicians have. Dale was going to be a pop idol but then found out that "his entry into the UK singles chart came about more by accident than design, for his ability to fall over without sustaining injury far outweighed his vocal skills" - and so the first time I ever saw him (looking like Davy Jones' uncle) was in Digby, the Biggest Dog in the World and not in a record collection of any of my friends' moms. Music turning to comedy; comedy informing and enriching music; this is the unlikely yet inevitable precursor to just about everything to come, either directly or inadvertently. (That he is the straight, loyal guy to the butterfly-like girl in the song only underlines all this, in case you were wondering about the narrative details, as such.)

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