Wednesday, 18 January 2017

January #3 - 2017 Claims Its First Casualty?

The other day I put the cloud on random and up came an old album track by Peter Sarstedt. I enjoyed it so much I thought I'd write a post about it. One quick google search later and I discovered something the news had failed to inform me (and by the news, I guess I mean facebook and the blogosphere, since that's where I get most of my news these days, distrusting many of the conventional media outlets): Peter Sarstedt passed away on January 8th 2017.

Sarstedt is most remembered for his classic 1969 Number One, Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)? with its hilariously bohemian lyrics and faux-European accent.
Your name it is heard in high places
You know the Aga Khan
He sent you a racehorse for Chistmas
And you keep it just for fun, for a laugh haha

They say that when you get married
It'll be to a millionaire
But they don't realize where you came from
And I wonder if they really care, or give a damn
I always loved this song, despite or more likely because of it's rather pretentious lyrical wordplay, though it's been much parodied over the years, most notably by Flight of the Conchords on the hilarious Rambling Through The Avenues of Time. Although it was Sarstedt's biggest hit, the follow-up, Frozen Orange Juice also went Top Ten. He released 15 albums in total in a career spanning more than 50 years, and though I only own a couple of his records, I'd say there's much to appreciate beyond the two famous songs. The track that popped up on my cloud, for example, from his 1975 album Tall Tree is definitely worth 3 minutes of your time...
I belong to this society
I'm an employee
No one knows my name
I am called consumer and concern*
I am 23
And I'm an employee
No video on youtube, so here's the link: Peter Sarstedt - Employee.

(I transcribed the lyrics myself as they don't exist online. Not sure about the word "concern"... but I can't make out what else it might be.)

After writing this post, I made the mistake of google-searching PS obits. The first I came across described Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)? as the worst pop song ever written. And this is why I write this blog, to fly in the face of fashion, as Julian Cope once sang. To irk the musos. Because musos and critics often refuse to allow humour any place in pop music. They think it should be deathly serious and that anything even remotely fun or funny destroys the art. Well, you know what? I think pop music should be fun. That's not to say it can't tackle serious issues too, but I often go to music as an escape from real world horrors. I go to pop when I want to smile. Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)? always puts a smile on my face. Thanks for that, Mr. Sarstedt. Great 'tache too.


  1. You've beaten me to it - I did hear of Peter's demise which was ironic (along with very sad of course) as on my long list of posts I plan to write at some future date, his name was at No.3. There were three Sarstedt brothers who all had very different pop careers - first was Eden Cain in the early sixties then Peter then Robin (Clive) who did a cover of My Resistence is Low in the '70s. Thought it was interesting as usually brothers end up in a band together ie those Bee Gee brothers but they all did their own thing.

    As for flying in the face of fashion that is very much my modus operandi as you know! I have just realised however that the only post I have trashed in the last 12 months is one about the Bee Gees because I was a bit embarrassed to have admitted I really liked them. Going to right that wrong this year however and do another homage - Shame is there is only Barry left now!

    1. I look forward to reading your own reminisces on Mr. Sarstedt, Alyson.

      As for the Bee Gees... no embarrassment needed there:

      (Although it's interesting to note that NOBODY commented on that post at all. Which might say something.)

  2. I saw this sad news on BBC teletext and blogged about it. He's the first musical loss of 2017 I think, but we'd lost the excellent actor Om Puri before that.

    1. Sorry, Mark. I must have missed your post, otherwise I'd have known about this much sooner. Must try harder to keep up.

  3. Yes, I think there is absolutely a place for fun, humour, escapism and moustaches in pop. Peter Sarstedt was just the perfect example of '60s suave too - I'm sure my mum and older sister had crushes on him. I had no idea he'd recorded 15 albums so all power to him...

    1. Looking at that picture now, I think Steven Toast might have based his look on Sarstedt.

    2. Toast is definitely seem weird hybrid of Sarstedt, Peter Wyngarde and Dickie Davies!

  4. ... Cut myself off mid-comment there, as I meant to add that I'm glad to read and hear about a variety of music on blogs, across genres and tastes, whether or not they match my own preferences. All adds to the interest!
    Looking out for your Bee Gees post now too, Alyson!

    1. Agreed. And I'm always drawn more to bloggers who can cross genres and are unashamed to go against the music elite when their tastes steer them that way.

  5. 'Where Do You Go To My Lovely' is an audio time capsule that takes me straight back to a period before I was fully aware of pop music, though some songs still managed to permeate my childish consciousness. There are a few examples, 'Cinderella Rockefella' by Esther & Abi Ofarim is another that springs to mind.

    1. That's a lovely description, Swede, and I know exactly what you mean, especially given that I was quite late to the party when it came to being a pop consumer.


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