Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Powerpop - the Favourites

I don't hold with the revisionist view that Abba were one of the great pop groups. They weren't really very good at all. We knew that at the time, and we were right. They were very competent at writing catchy melodies, but there was no fantasy, no glamour, no fun - just efficiency. Which means that they made a couple of decent singles and that was it.

The best of those singles, by a country mile, was their 1975 hit 'S.O.S.', which is a perfectly decent song. Better than the original, though, is this 1979 version by Nottingham band the Favourites, which treats it as a piece of punk-pop and makes the most of that minimalist guitar riff. It was Annie Nightingale's record of the week on Radio 1, but sadly wasn't a hit.

Fronted by Darryl Hunt, the Favourites released one further single - 'Angelica' (1979) - and then split up. Hunt himself had formerly been a member of Plummet Airlines, who'd released a very fine record 'Silver Shirt' on Stiff Records (1976), though it got completely lost, possibly because it was sandwiched in the Stiff catalogue between Richard Hell's 'Blank Generation' and Motorhead's first single. Difficult to get an elegaic pub-rock song heard in that kind of company.

After the Favourites, Hunt went on to become a member of the Pogues. But I still think this is his finest moment.

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