Saturday, 2 May 2015

Simply Red 'Lady Godiva's Room' (from Montreux EP)

Chart Peak: 11
'Lady Godiva's Room' was one of the tracks on Simply Red's Montreux EP... I teas the last of five 1992 chart singles following 'For Your Babies', 'Wonderland', 'Thrill Me' and 'Your Mirror'.
The Montreux EP was of course so-called because it was recorded at the well-known Swiss jazz festival. Strangely, although the group performed a full-length set (available as a bonus DVD on some re-issues of the Stars album) with several of their hits, only four tracks were released at the time and three of them were cover versions. Well, OK, Simply Red doing cover versions isn't that unusual (the aforementioned Stars was one of their few all-original albums) but that wasn't the most obvious commercial move. 'Lady Godiva's Room' was the only original song on the release and even then it was a B-side from several years earlier, which would be the second time Mick Hucknall went back to the B-side cupboard: 1988's single 'I Won't Feel Bad' had been the flipside to the original release of 'Holding Back The Years' three years before.  'Lady Godiva's Room' was also the fourth track in the sequence, although it was the promoted track from the EP, even getting a proper video. I'm not sure how they expected to recoup that from a single that wasn't even promoting an album, but they would have had plenty in the bank from Stars.

Perhaps the surprise here is how good the track sounds now. I'm in the relatively small number of people who think Simply Red had already peaked by the end of the 80s, although of course this song was written by 1987. It has a mystique that is rare in Mick Hucknall's work and although it sounds similar to a few of his other songs of this era (possibly why it was only a B-side originally) it's one of his best compositions in my opinion. The lyric, with its continued refrain "the honeymoon is over" is more intriguing than his typical attempts to pastiche old soul songs or his sappy "socially conscious" stuff. Really this song was a bit too good to bury.

Also appearing on: Now 5, 7, 9, 20, 21, 23, 32, 33
Available on: Men And Women [Expanded] (studio version)

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