The space-age bachelor pad music revival of the mid-Nineties may have been a boon for retro-furniture salesmen but didn’t result in a lot of interest in new music that sounds a lot like the old music cluttering up crates on the floors of every Goodwill and Salvation Army store, selling for a mere pittance. The Five Thoughts of Sylvia, however, had a marketing strategy, if you can call it that—hiring a full-time model to stand around and strike fanciful poses straight out of a 1957 issue of Vogue during their shows, their interviews and even a few high profile sales meetings with retailers! Even Roxy Music never thought of that!
This legendary British rock icon donned many fanciful masks in his 40–plus-year career, Buzzy Sandwitch, Wuzzy Wonderful, Analog Cabin and Mr. Stephen to You, but no Stephen Oddyssey persona resonated longer in the public’s imagination than Hedda Glittersnipe, an intergalactic Hollywood gossip columnist whose guise he adopted on and offstage for the 1973 concept album, Hedda Glittersnipe and the Scandals of Earth and Space. This blurring of the line between fantasy and reality reached a bipolar zenith when he began a series of legendary New Musical Express interviews with himself. As Hedda, he was the first to break the story of Stephen Oddyssey’s “retirement” shortly after the release of this single about a dead ingénue who haunts a Schrafts soda fountain shop in the hopes of being discovered for the “New Faces of 1941”. The Hedda saga may have ended here, but for Stephen Oddyssey, image makeovers as a disco power broker, household appliance rocker, singer songwriter in rags and finally, rock elder statesman who gets blamed for everything pretentious that comes down the pike, still lay ahead.
As a vocal group, The Gladhanders had been around in some form or another in Philadelphia since 1961, recording songs no one on either side of the R&B or pop chart divide could identify with, from “Lipstick on Your Car Door” to “Lollygaggin’” to “None of Your Shenanigans” to “Show Me The Fool Again.”
By 1973, lead singer Melvin Hampton was ready to pack it in and return to his first love, resource consumption accounting, but as he puts it, “that’s when disco saved The Gladhanders and we recorded “I’ve Got So Much to Forgive.” We went from being nobodies singing nonsense to somebodies singing nonsense overnight. That thump thump thump behind us, that gave us some authority. We could sing ‘bull mallarky’ and no one would question us.” Continue reading
Perhaps the least motivated of any second-tier British invasion groups, The Lazyfaires failed to click with the US at a time when merely having a Manchester relative should have been enough to unseat an American idol on the pop charts.
Much was made of the fact that The Rolling Stones’ debut UK album made no mention of the group’s name on its front cover but The Lazyfaires broke even further ground in anonymity when their debut album featured only an empty spotlight on its sleeve as none of the group had bothered to turn up for the photo session. Continue reading
Bullfighting’s loss was music’s gain when the singularly named Manalone failed to become head Toreador at the Bullfighting Academy of Majorca on account of being “too good-hearted.” This same affliction made him a perfect vessel for lovelorn ballads in which the girl is never gotten and much lonely bull is dispensed. Amazingly, with “Unfriend Me”, a 1994 slice of pure power pop, Manalone not only anticipated a futuristic world where people could reject one another through their computers, he also came up with new terminology like “unfriend me” and “happy face emoticoms” which, true to form, he receives neither acclaim nor compensation for. Surely a case where being a lover and not a fighter has cost a man severely. Continue reading
…says award winning writer, author, musician and rock and roll sneerster Serene Dominic.
How many times has this happened to you—you’re at a party, the subject turns to music and you blurt out bland opinions like “There’ll never be another band like the Beatles” or “Thank goodness the Eagles patched up their differences so they’re back to doing what they do best.” Chances are people stopped listening to your opinion right after you said “Well, if you ask me…” But that’s another story.
It’s for people like you who aspire to beige that we, in conjunction with Bendi Records, have created The Serene Dominic 24/7 Club. As a public service to tastemakers everywhere, Mr. Dominic, noted rock historian and musician in his own right, is eager to share his encyclopedic pop knowledge about obscure musical acts no one has ever heard of so that YOU, cherished subscriber, can better your station in life.
Each week for 24 weeks, The Serene Dominic 24/7 Club will send subscribers free of charge: Continue reading