Wednesday, 3 April 2013

The Bluebells 'Young At Heart'

Chart Peak: 8

Charted at No. 54 on 19th June - sped to No. 36 the following week.
Including this song when it hadn't gone Top 30 at time of going to press seems confident (especially since the front cover of the album promises "30 Top Thirty Hits") but it was the follow up to a Number 11 hit. In the event the confidence was justified when this swooped into the Top 10 and effectively overshadowed anything else they ever recorded. And whilst I don't normally throw forward to appearances on volumes I haven't yet written about, it seems dishonest to overlook the fact that this single was Number One twenty years ago this week, having been re-issued off the back of a TV advert: it was thus promoted to become the opener of Now 24.

Not bad for what started out as an unimpressive Bananarama album track, co-written by Bobby Bluebell (not his real name) and thus borrowed for his own band's debut album. The Bluebells version is heavily re-written; even more, as it turned out, when violinist Bobby Valentino successfully sued for a share of the writing credits. He seems to have used the proceeds to sue the RnB singer of the same name who appears on Now 61. Anyway, this version is a definite improvement in arrangement and performance, and plays up the gypsy-folk element which had been made trendy a couple of years earlier by Dexys Midnight Runners. It's a bit jollier, and the lyrical changes actually play down slightly the original meaning of the song, which in the Nanas version is clearly about the grown-up child of a divorcing couple. The Bluebells drop the section about not taking sides, and the song becomes more of about nostalgia and growing up, as the narrator wonders aloud why he now feels the love for his parents when as a teenager he only wanted to get away from them. Only the line in the first verse where marrying young "was their only crime" really foregrounds the original intention, but the vibe has its own merit and this is in fact a good single, though so overplayed nowadays that it's only for this sort of thing that I really take the time to listen to it properly.

The band seem to have tired of this success too, splitting not long after. They did however reform to promote the re-release.

Also appearing on: Now 24 [same track]
Available on: Take On Me - 80's The Collection

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