Monday, November 7, 2011

Loneliness Is Such A Drag: Tom Jones: "I'll Never Fall In Love Again"

Ah, and now to someone this here blogeuse will get to know only too well. Tom Jones was a star by this time, his anguished voice and more saucy demeanor a contrast to the more stolidly romantic Englebert. Jones is forever getting caught up in Drama, being deceived and luring other women into who knows what mischief in turn. Clearly here his girl has gone off with another man (how CAN she?) and he...sniff...knows he's never going to love...aggaainnnnn....a patently silly thing to sing, obviously, and the cheese that was in the fridge with Carr is plainly right on the table here for all to see.

That he had to drag himself through such songs was the secret misery of Jones' career; he wanted to be on Motown or Stax, he wanted to be the Welsh Solomon Burke, but The Man plc said there was hay to be made singing weepy ballads like this, which was written by...oh look who's here, it's Lonnie Donegan! Yes, this song marks the unexpected return of Donegan, who wrote and recorded this song in '62 and must have been delighted with Jones' hit version. Suddenly another facet of the complex world of music is revealed - Lonnie Donegan, inventor of punk rock, has this as a hit, in the US as well as in the UK. See? There is always an upside in the darkest of times; and late August '67 was the beginning of the last month of pirate radio, with the effective switchover being signalled by this song's great success (#2 for a month) as well as Englebert's next #1 - and there is hardly anything the Light Programme can't play in the Top Ten.

The Housewives of Valium Court are the audience that is being courted here, not the kids. The vivacity of the charts of just a few months ago has been swept away, and in that sweeping away the charts are confusing, the general tone is becoming more and more is as if it's the end of an era and everyone knows it, and Jones is just carrying that sorrow, unwittingly, for all who thought that Love could conquer all. It is a bittersweet time, one of "Itchycoo Park," and "The Day I Met Marie" and "Burning of the Midnight Lamp"; wistful songs about how enchantment is either fleeting or already gone. The Summer of Love isn't over just yet, but it certainly hasn't been all that it was cracked up to be - or perhaps it could have happened, had more people been less scared and more adventurous? The Housewives sat back and got gently drunk as Tom sang his song of woe - ah women, he's giving up on them now, for sure...while station after station packed up and brought their ships ashore. What now?

1 comment:

George L said...

Wow! I really love this song. It was a hit in the States in summer of 69. I think Tom really puts a lot of soul into his performance.