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Tony Grist

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Peter Sarstedt RIP [Jan. 9th, 2017|01:22 pm]
Tony Grist
I have veered between wishing I could write something as effortlessly zeitgeisty as his big song and deploring its self-pity and misogyny but never- at any time- have I been able to frog-march it out of my head. I have succeeded in forgetting many much better songs but this- with its hum-along accordion melody- has been stuck in my head so long it's acquired squatter's rights.

It's the sound of 1969. But specifically the sound of 1969 in Europe- where we imagined ourselves throwing cobblestones at the riot police and then hopping into our bright red sportscars to drive to Juan-les-Pins and have lunch in a cafe patronised by "others of the jet set". It's a having your brioche and eating it kind of a song, drip-feeding the listener a list of Euro-trash luminaries and then rising above them all with stony-faced proletarian right-mindedness.

Sarstedt never stopped writing and releasing songs. I don't know what any of them are- or whether any of them are any good- because he only ever managed to capture the attention of the world that one time. Well, it's more than most of us will ever do.

All together now....

You talk like Marlene Dietrich
And you dance like Zizi Jeanmaire
Your clothes are all made by Balmain...

And so on for five minutes of something which if it isn't exactly genius is a pretty good simulacrum.
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: huskyteer
2017-01-09 02:32 pm (UTC)
I love it, mostly because I always pretend it's about Modesty Blaise.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2017-01-09 03:50 pm (UTC)
It could be, absolutely.

I used to follow Modesty's adventures in the Evening Standard. She was well cool.
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[User Picture]From: huskyteer
2017-01-09 04:55 pm (UTC)
I found her through the novels when I was buying up everything 1960s-spies. I love her relationship with Willie especially.
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From: cmcmck
2017-01-09 02:48 pm (UTC)
'He bought you a racehorse for Christmas, and you keep it just for fun'

That one is right up your street I guess!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2017-01-09 03:51 pm (UTC)
I think that's my favourite line- along with the one about the picture she stole from Picasso.
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[User Picture]From: fflo
2017-01-09 03:47 pm (UTC)
Great post.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2017-01-09 03:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks.
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[User Picture]From: basefinder
2017-01-10 11:33 am (UTC)
I played the portion of the song available free on iTunes, as I'd never heard it. Very cool.

I can certainly see how it would be popular. Or would have been popular back in that day.

Thanks for sharing!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2017-01-10 12:52 pm (UTC)
It never made much of an impression in the States- but it was a big hit in Britain and across Europe.

And it hasn't gone away. It still gets plenty of airtime.
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