Friday 29 September 2023

Product Placement #22: Jelly Babies

In case you've just arrived from another planet, iffypedia tells us that, "Jelly Babies are a type of soft sugar jelly sweets in the shape of plump babies, sold in a variety of colours." Something about the use of the phrase "plump babies" in that sentence makes me consider Jelly Babies in a far more sinister light than I ever have. If you have just arrived from another planet, please note that we do not eat human babies, no matter how plump and tasty they might look.

To make matters worse, Jelly Babies were originally called "Unclaimed Babies". I'd like to reiterate... we do not eat human babies, claimed or unclaimed.

Jelly Babies were a big favourite of Tom Baker's Doctor Who...

When Beatles fans found out that George Harrison liked the odd Jelly Baby, they started chucking them at the band. But they didn't have Jelly Babies in the USA, so when the band went over there, people chucked Jelly Beans at them instead. Which were a lot harder.

George Harrison on Jelly Beans.

Even more dangerous is the popular school science experiment, The Screaming Jelly Baby. Luckily nobody ever chucked one of those at The Beatles.

There were a couple of bands named after Jelly Babies, but I could only find music by one of them...

The Jelly Babies - The Pleasure Of Her Company

Beyond those guys, who else likes their Jelly Babies in the world of pop...?

Let's start with a classy B-side from Hot Chip...

You're choosing something sweet, you chew on something sweet
A fleshy rubber made of me
A packet does contain a beautiful refrain
Least when the two of you stand free

Hot Chip - Jelly Babies

1982 was a great year for music. And then there was Johnny Demestos...

Johnny Demestos – Leave My Jelly Babies Alone

Did you know that Barbra Streisand once sang a song about Jelly Babies?

OK, that's not strictly the truth. However, once you've read the lyrics below, you might wish that was what the song was about...

Like Guava Jelly 
Baby, here I am,
Come rub it on my belly 
Like Guava Jelly 

Barbra Streisand - Guava Jelly

I always thought Babs was such a sweet young thing. Like butter wouldn't melt. Then I saw the cover of the album that came from...

 ...which has surely got to be one of the worst album covers ever. You call your album ButterFly, and that's the image you decide to go with, Babs? 

I subsequently learned that the album was solely produced by her then-boyfriend, Jon Peters... so I'm guessing clear heads might not have been involved in the cover selection process.

Guava Jelly was originally recorded by Bob Marley. And somehow, his version seems a lot less sordid...

Bob Marley - Guava Jelly

But I've gone off on a tangent as I'm pretty sure neither Bob nor Babs were thinking about Jelly Babies when they sang that song (although the white powder the sweets are often covered in might have been of interest to Jon Peters).

Here's a whole shop full of sweets, including Jelly Babies, Rhubarb & Custard and a quarter of Sherbet Lemons...

Eddie's Brother - Sweet Shop

But today's best tune comes from Ipswich punks The Adicts (originally known as Afterbirth, until wiser minds prevailed), from their 1985 album, Smart Alex. If only because it includes the lyrical couplet below...

Why do you have to be such a party-pooper?
You wouldn't even dance to Alice Cooper!

They don't write 'em like that anymore.

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