Love Song – The Damned

“Ladies and Gentlemen, how do?”

If we’re talking about famous rock songs called Love Song and their influence it would be rude of me not to mention The Damned at this stage. And I don’t wish to be rude. I wasn’t raised like that.

So then. Love Song was the bands first bona fiddle-de-dee hit single. By this we mean it cracked the top 20. Partially due to the fact you could buy the 7″ single in 4 different sleeves, each one with a different member of the band on the front. You just have to look at their varied sartorial choices to see why that would be attractive to a young wanna-be punk looking for insights into how they can ‘get the look’. It was a trick everyone from Motörhead to various boy bands would employ at latter dates (So there’s a bit of influence right there before we’ve even got to the song).

Now looking back over their shenanigans to date, these enthusiastic cheeky chappies may have revived the spoken word intro back with their debut single New Rose. Back then they were doffing their red berets to The Shangri Las. The most Lemmy sounding of salutations at the top of this one though are reportedly spoken by English TV character actor Jack Howarth. He played grumpy old man Albert Tatlock in long running UK TV staple soap opera Coronation Street. A show that’s been on air since 1960 and is still on to this day. Jack’s sampled contribution was not revealed until many years after his death and as such no royalties were ever paid. So we’ve not had a note of music yet and we’ve covered marketing innovations and sampling scandals… And its still only 1979.

“I’ll be the ticket if you’re my collector, I’ve got the fare if you’re my inspector, I’ll be the luggage, you’ll be the porter, I’ll be the parcel if you’ll be my sorter”

In many a non-romantic, romantic sequitur Davy V, Rat Scabies, The Captain and Dr Ward thrash through an upbeat chipper number that’s all London vowels and knock about fun. The music is a marvelous example of that early punk clatter and rush. The sorts of things one would rarely compare to a summers day are used to describe a significant others importance. Train tickets, luggage, boxes, litter. This song was released almost five years before the punk poet and self proclaimed Bard Of Salford Dr. John Cooper Clarke would put pen to paper on his most famous composition and ask the object of his affection to “Let Me Be Your Vacuum Cleaner” on I Wanna Be Yours. The comparative technique shows he was clearly influenced by the song that would eventually make it’s way onto this most influential and innovative of all the punk bands second album Machine Gun Etiquette. The name behind the haircut may not have known it then but he had penned the second most popular set of wedding vows in the United Kingdom (after yer traditional ‘Til death version) according to research carried out for Nokia in 2006. Of course the profile of these words was boosted further when Alex Turner and his Arctic Monkeys closed out their massive AM album in 2013 with a rendition of Dr John’s poem set to their own brand of indie rock.

“I’ll be the mail, you’ll be the guard, I’ll be the ink on your season ticket card, I’ll be the rubbish, you’ll be the bin, I’ll be the paint on the sign if you’ll be the tin”

This type of contrast in comparison when making an alternative rock and roll declaration of ones inner most feelies can also be found evident in too many a tune to list. See the recent Lenny Cohen post for reference to Evan Dando’s Lemonheads triumphantly down trodden Being Around. Again it is a perfect case in point with “If I was a carpet would you wipe your feet, in time to save me from dirt off the street” or even in high priestess of Ironic Alanis Morissettes oeuvre. They all owe a debt to The Damned and Love Song. To it’s way of saying nice things in plain unpoetic ways. It’s not crass but it’s not exactly Wordsworth either.

“Just for you here’s a love song and it makes me glad to say It’s been a lovely day and it’s okay, It’s okay”


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