Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Randy Tuesdays #3: The One That Went Into Space

3. Randy Vanwarmer

I think those may be the two coolest pictures I ever featured on this blog. You know why? Self confidence. Sometimes I think that's all you really need to succeed in this world. A little bit of positive hubris. Probably explains why I never got anywhere.

I first encountered Randall Van Wormer back in the 70s when Terry Wogan made his heartbreaking ballad Just When I Needed You Most a huge UK hit. Sounding a little bit Chicago, a little bit Leo, it made a pretty big impact... if only because our Tel played it to death.

I didn't really know anything else about RVW until I looked into him for this feature. Apparently, his second album moved away from big sloppy ballads into "dark" and "alternative" territory. "Dark" like It Doesn't Matter Anymore, which opens like this...
I never figured out
Who put the tablets in my drink
The poison worked so fast
I poured the last drop down the sink
...and then gets much, much darker. "Alternative" like Terraform and 21st Century which go all sci fi and downright weird.

After that, he returned to ballads. He continued to release albums up until his death in 2004, but had more success as a songwriter for other people. Somehow he ended up in Nashville, writing a number of big country hits.

Now, those of you who were expecting this particularly Randy to make an appearance probably expected me to choose his big hit. And I probably would have done, had my research not revealed that he co-wrote this, one of my favourite songs by contemporary country star and former Mr. Miranda Lambert (soon to be Mr. Gwen Stefani), Blake Shelton.

I've featured this one here before in My Top Ten Mexico Songs, but I have no problem with playing it again because I love it. I'm guessing reactions to this post will be divided pretty evenly between "you should have played Just When I Needed You Most" and "you should have skipped him altogether", but I live to be surprised...

Randy Vanwarmer's cremated remains were sent into space along with the ashes of James 'Scotty' Doohan from Star Trek. I tell you what, the remaining Randies in this list are going to have to go some to beat that!


  1. Until today my knowledge of RVW ran to that single song
    Thank's for the education

  2. He was definitely on my list but like CC didn't know much about him so thanks for the knowledge - It will come in handy someday (or maybe not!).

    Mr Vanwarmer is really looking smug and confident on that record sleeve but he needn't be - A definite turn-off. Good to have chosen something less obvious as don't know if any of us really want to hear JWINYM again (even me!).

    1. "Everything you never wanted to know and couldn't be bothered to ask" might become the new tagline for this series.

  3. I don't think RVW is the only one who was sent into space; I am seriously thinking I must have been abducted by aliens at some point in the late '70s because this name, title and song are completely unknown to me. So weird! I genuinely don't know how I can have been so oblivious to this at the time but I don't have a single recollection of anything to do with the man (and that is a pretty memorable name).
    So this has been extremely educational, thank you Rol - athough I must say it appears my life was none the worse for the lack of this particular Randy.

    Sounds a bit Dr Hook to me too, btw.

    1. Somehow, I wouldn't have expected this to have been on your radar in your punk heyday, C.

      You're right about Dr. Hook though: that was the third element I couldn't quite put my finger on.

  4. My first visit for a long while....I'm going to be in for a few hours.

    This post is a perfect example of what makes this blog so very special. It's funny, it's informative, it makes most readers think 'WTF??' and it's the work of someone who isn't afraid to make fun of himself in the name of great and entertaining writing.

    That famous Randy Vanwarmer song annoyed the hell out of me back in the day - and I'm sure Uncle Terry only picked up on it so that he could say something that sounded vaguely smutty on the radio but he couldn't be pulled up for. But this post put a smile on my face.


    1. Thanks, JC. I think you're probably right about old Tel.


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