Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pink Fluff: Lulu: "Boom Bang a Bang"

And now we return to the baffling and consternating (to this American, anyway) Eurovision Song Contest. The UK entry was this song, chosen by the UK public from several, and sung by a rather unwilling Lulu (she didn't like the song, but if the public wanted it...).

My general puzzlement with Eurovision is simply that so many of the songs chosen as entries aren't very good; Alan Moorhouse's oom-pah-pah was the same as every UK entry from this time, and Peter Warne's lyrics are so silly they were satirized almost immediately by Monty Python. But the UK public got it right, and this song won the contest...along with three other songs. Yes, there was a four-way tie, a situation that led several countries to boycott the 1970 contest as it was evident that the voting system was screwed up. I will pause here to give you, my dear readers, the other songs - "Vivo Cantando" by Salome (Spain, host country*), "De Troubadour" by Lennie Kuhr (Netherlands), "Un Jour, Un Enfant" by Frida Boccara (France). All of these songs are typical of Eurovision, but they all seem to be about something a little more meaningful than just cuddling; poor Lulu is stuck with a song that seems desperate, in comparison, to be called 'young' and 'pop' and 'fresh' while it's really just more of the same - drivel given to the UK's best singers at this time wasn't just for the men (Englebert, Tom) but evident here as well, sadly. (Even the great Sandie Shaw couldn't escape this: she hated "Monsieur Dupont" but it was a hit at the same time as Lulu.)

Whose fault is all this? (I mean song quality, not Eurovision.) Ultimately it is the public's I'm afraid; if these songs had not been hits, the producers/songwriters would not have been encouraged to do more of the same (and for everyone I've mentioned from the UK, worse). It's 1969 now but "the industry" (as Sir Cliff refers to it) still seems to think it's the swinging 60s when cheery bits of fluff were all the public wanted, and unfortunately, they were right.

As for Lulu, she followed Dusty Springfield to the US to make music; Sandie Shaw's attempts to do tougher stuff went nowhere** and she sensibly retired to raise her family. With songs like "Boom Bang A Bang" the UK had a hit across Europe, so I suppose it was a success commercially; but there is no punctum in it and it is all sugar without much substance. (I wonder how many people voted because it was Lulu, ignoring the song altogether.)

Next up: another young woman in a privileged position who has better luck with her songwriter.

*I should mention here that Austria boycotted this year's contest as it was being held in Franco's Spain. Isn't Eurovision supposed to be about the music? You can see why this American gets consternated.

**Reviewing The Situation has to be one of the great 'lost' covers albums; I say lost as the whopping majority of folks who know vaguely of her have no idea about it.

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