Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Far From Mechanical: Cliff Richard: "Wind Me Up (Let Me Go)"

And now 1965 draws to a close; a tradition begins here as Cliff performs a song I thought at first was from a pantomime (he and The Shadows did Aladdin in '64), but is actually from his show Cliff Richard's Christmas Cheer. Yes, Richard was at this time so big and established that he could host his own show, cementing his 'all-around-entertainer' status. So far, so normal; but what tugs here is something more profound. (Ah, if only I wrote about superficial songs with no meaning - but songs do not become hits without having some import.)

It is the singing toy, the object that becomes real and has feelings because the boy/girl gives it a life. I am not sure how important this is psychologically as a stage, but whenever anything inanimate is given life, a name, a history, it is alive. (Thus the pathos of the song, which Richard handles very well.)

To others it is a thing, but not to the kid who loves it. And here we have the pathos of an unloved toy, a tin soldier, who would rather be alone than belong to someone who didn't care for him. The leap to a man who loves unrequitedly isn't a big one, so the song applies to adults as well as kids, but it's still a bit odd to think of Richard singing this as an adult (he was 25). In a weird parallel to The Who, this is also a song of someone who wants to be left alone, and is in a way more sympathetic as he is admitting to wanting to cry and obviously as a soldier is being nobly brave through his near-tears. This song is not that far off from this one, save that Richard demands to be let go instead of being forgotten about - which is healthier in a way, though I still feel it strange to be writing about a singing toy. But that is where things stand; Richard sings a ballad for Christmas, it's a hit...but the singing tin soldier angle makes me think something different is going to happen soon, beyond this cozy season. Coming up next: a welcome trip to Canada.

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