Minneapolis garage rockers The Castaways performing their hit “Liar, Liar” in the 1967 “feminist” beach movie, It’s a Bikini World.. The song reached #12 in the charts in 1965. Dig this guy’s falsetto! Plus you get a real boss go-go dancer. What’s not to love here?
“Liar, Liar” was covered by Debbie Harry in the 80s. The Castaways original was later used on the soundtrack to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
Here’s the first of a series of pieces I’ll be doing on one-hit wonders. While my intent is to be as informative as possible, I’m starting off with an artist that I can find very little information on, the mysterious J. Bastos.
“Loop di Love” was recorded in 1969 by J. Bastos (Juan Bastos) and became a big hit in Holland and Germany in 1971. It kicks off with one of the more bizarre and memorable verses in pop history and goes on to tell the story of a young man’s chance encounter with a prostitute.
I saw you walking down the street
Love di loop di love
Your hair was hanging down to knees
Love di loop di love
Your waist was waving like a ship
Love di loop di love
The way you look made me sick
Love di loop di love
The only biographical information I can find on J. Bastos is that he lived somewhere in northern Germany and the song was recorded as a joke among drunken friends and became a fluke hit. And that info is from an alleged disgruntled former employee of Bastos who claims he was hellish to work for and fell into being a popstar totally by accident. It’s odd, considering the notoriety and popularity of “Loop di Love,” that so little is known of its creator. Anyone got any info on J. Bastos?
The tune is based on a Greek fishermen’s song “Darla Dirlada.”
A double dose of J. Bastos - a promo video shot in Amsterdam and a performance on German TV.
Here’s a great clip of the French space/rock/sci-fi/disco outfit Rockets performing their biggest hit, a cover of Canned Heat’s “On The Road Again” on the Italian TV show Stryx in 1978. Rockets combined the electronic pulse of Eurodisco with the driving power of classic 70’s rock. Terry Miller, author of the blog post quoted below, sums Rockets up perfectly: “Imagine Gino Soccio mixed with ZZ Top. Interstellar Rock!” It’s camp and fun, if not a little scary due to the matching bald-heads-and silver-skin look, and just how seriously they are taking it.
Like Giorgio Moroder, Rockets had been around for quite a while before finding international success on the first wave of European disco in the late Seventies, even managing to sign to the hallowed Salsoul Records in the States for one album . Although it’s fair to say they were a novelty act, that didn’t stop them from having some seriously bitchin’ tunes. Their front man Zeus B Held went on to produce a number of well known European acts in the 80s, including Nina Hagen and Gina X Performance. From The Stranger’s Line Out blog (by Miller):
In 1972 producer Claude Lemoine produced a single called Future Woman for a band called Crystal. With the single’s poularity the band decided to change it’s name and look, so in 1974 they became The Rocket Men (or Rocketters in France). They shaved their heads, wore matching “space age” outfits and painted themselves with silver make-up. They didn’t quite have the formula right though, unitl 1976 when they changed their name to Rockets. They did a dancier, spacier remake of thier hit Future Woman which brought them, once again, popularity throughout Europe. It didn’t hurt that their live shows were full of lasers, smoke, exploding cannons of fire and a tripped out light show.
I’ll be posting more from Stryx in the near future, but unfortunately most of the footage does not look or sound as clear as this clip.
I can never get enough of the obscure, psychedelic sounds of Rubble, the twenty-volume Nuggets-inspired “freakbeat” and “pop sike” compilations from Bam Caruso Records and Phil Lloyd-Smee. If you like Nuggets or the British Nuggets II, there’s not a lot of overlap. I love all the Nuggets comps, too, but I’d give the Rubble collections the edge just because they required even more dedicated crate-digging. I think the effort was worth it.
One group I discovered on a Rubble comp is The Mirror, a British beat group who apparently reached the lower rungs of the German pop market as they made the scene on The Beat Club TV show with their song, “Gingerbread Man.”
Talk about your pure pop perfection, “Who Do You Think You Are?” was a 1974 hit that topped the charts in the UK for a (quasi-comedy) band called Candlewick Green, who first came to the public’s attention by winning the TV talent show, Opportunity Knocks for eight consecutive weeks. It was actually written by Des Dyer and Clive Scott of the band Jigsaw, who recorded the song, but both groups shared the same management, and Dyer and Scott allowed the song to be recorded by Candlewick Green for the UK market. (Jigsaw had their own one hit wonder with “Sky High,” one of the first 45s I ever bought). Both versions are pretty similar, and shared the same arrangement.
Americans know the version by Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods, who also had a hit with the maudlin 70s AM radio staple “Billy Don’t Be A Hero.” The Heywoods used to perform in amusement parks all over America in the 70s. I recall seeing them when I was a kid at either Cedar Point, or King’s Island.
I could play this song over and over again for weeks! The tune is ridiculously catchy no matter who is performing it, but I’d give the Jigsaw version the edge over both the Candlewick Green and the Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods versions. Still, the BEST version was the cover that St. Etienne did in 1993. An off-album track, it struck exactly the right tone with its mix of their “retro modernist” electro-soul sound and Sarah Cracknell’s almost spoken vocal. I saw them perform this song on two consecutive nights in Manhattan in 1994 and it was a special highlight of their live show.
Below, St. Etienne performing “Who Do You Think You Are” on TOTP in 1993, with the always gorgeous Sarah Cracknell looking especially marvelous here:
Marvel at the patented Jabberwocky wordplay of Pete “The Mad Daddy” Myers on “What is a Fisteris?” Myers was a rock and roll radio madman of the late 50s and 60s in Cleveland and New York. He killed himself in 1968, despondent over professional problems.
“Fisterises like pretty girls named Ingaborg with silver snoopers in their hair, sometimes moping about the snurds and limrocks they’ve loved and lost, sobbing big teedle-dools. Like everyone, they dislike artichokes for breakfast when the bumblebugger’s gone.”
In what is beyond the shadow of a doubt UK pop crooner Paul Young’s finest moment I have somehow found the mythical and difficult to obtain Dangerous Minds toaster post. I guess this was a top 20 hit in Blighty back in ‘78. Fine topic for a tune,really. Any song wherein actual toast is used as an instrument is just fine by me. Every time you go away you take a piece of toast with you.
Looks like it’s mid-60’s day at Dangerous Minds. So be it ! Here’s both sides of this moody/self-loathing/noisy/lysergic 1967 single from Minneapolis band The Calico Wall. Looks like there’s next to no information about this anywhere, but have a listen to this glowering beast. It’s perfect for the rainy day here in Los Angeles