Wednesday, July 21, 2010

#205: Something Stupid (The Incest Song)

Promises had a career that lasted slightly less than The Knack, but, unlike The Knack, all of Promises are still alive and their music just isn’t as fondly remembered. You can all sing My Sharona, even if you don’t want to, but you’d be hard pressed to sing Baby It’s You. But at least The Knack wrote their own songs, each time someone hears Isn’t It Time by the Babys and thinks of a girl with huge norks, John Waite dies just a little bit more. But then each time someone hears Hungry Eyes and thinks of John Waite, Eric Carmen throws another dart into the wall and vice versa for Missing You.

It all comes around.

Promises exploded onto the television in the ‘70s via a great video clip that showcased the band. The lead singer/keyboard player, Benny, wore what appeared to be black leather hillbilly overalls, which he then gave to Willem Defoe – don’t believe me? You’ve never seen Streets of Fire? For shame! The guitarist, Bjorn – sorry, Jed (no, I’m not making that name up), well, he could have been Jimmy Page for anyone cared, because the attention was firmly focused on singer Leslie Knauer as she wore tight blue jeans, a tight, tucked in white shirt and braces. And if you ever watched Donnie ‘Bags Under The Eyes I’m Stoned’ Sutherland and Night Moves, you’d know that she had, in the words of the immortal Claude The Crow, an ‘impressive set of lungs’*. And indeed she did. So impressive that her braces started at the top of her shirt and ran down the sides, in a move that guaranteed that many an adolescent youth made a sticky mess of the sheets. Even Molly Meldrum appeared to be all a-bars when he played the clip, but that might have been the rough trade appeal of Benny more than Leslie’s assets. “What’s A Girl To Do” Leslie sang on the b-side of their only hit. A rhetorical question at best as several hundreds of thousands of males, and some females, had several suggestions.

But what interested me the most was that band was related. Not related like hillbilly or Tasmania related, but brothers and sister. Which made the song just a bit too creepy for words really. Why? Have a look at these lyrics, which are probably wrong in places, but hell, who cares?

(BENNY) You’re here with me now what you say you don’t want me anymore
You’re holding me now what you say you can’t see me no, no more
You whisper divine and cling tight onto me
I can’t take no more
Oh no
(LESLIE) Baby it’s you
Make me feel the way that I do
You know I can’t ever forget or stop you
Baby it’s you,
(BENNY) Running your fingers through my hair but saying you can no more
You kiss in my ear with a heart chilling breath that you can no more
Laying beside me with legs all around me
I can no more
Oh no
(LESLIE) Baby it’s you
Makes me do all the things that I do
You know I can’t ever get to stop you
Baby it’s you
Etc etc etc etc

‘Laying beside me with legs all around me’? I don’t know about you, but if I found my sister laying beside me with legs all around me I’d shoot myself, unless she was Elle McPherson, circa 1988 and I was adopted. Even with Leslie’s massive attributes I’d be more than slightly weirded out by that, and you have to wonder if the brothers didn’t spend a bit of their youth catching glimpses of their sister in her not so smalls. Not since Frank Sinatra sang a love song duet with his daughter Nancy has there ever been such a blatant song of incest. Even towards the end of the song, during the fade out, just when you think it can’t possibly get worse, it does. Have a listen and you’ll hear Benny plaintively wail, “Never forget you”. Brrrrrrr. This is a guy, singing a passionate love/lust song to his sister, and vice versa. They may have looked hillbilly, sounded hillbilly, but they were Canadian. Yes, the home of Bryan Adams, Terence & Phillip, Godzilla’s back and Scott the dick, spawned Promises.

That explains a bit. Actually it explains a lot.

Baby It’s You was huge in Australia, mainly due to Leslie’s huge, soft focused knockers bouncing up and down on the idiot box – we saw as much of those as we did Kiss in 1979 singing I Was Made For Loving You and Sure Know Something, and on radio it was just as prominent as say Girl’s Talk or The Devil Went Down To Georgia. Sadly that was about it for them. They were big in Germany, but then so was Attila the Hun, people piddling on each other after sex and Hitler, so I’d not use that as a barometer of success. But success they had – they were big in New Zealand – but so were Soul Factory but nobody has ever heard of them and they’ve dropped off the face of the earth completely it would appear. And they were big in South Africa, but so was apartheid, oppression and the wholesale slaughter of people.

Three albums!! Promises released three albums before they self-destructed in a move that Buddy Holly would have loved. As we all know, the single that Buddy had in the charts when he died was titled, “It Don’t Matter Anymore” and the last single by Promises was titled, “Let's Get Back Together”. “Let’s not and say we did,” the world yelled and that was that for them.

Since then the rumours have been rife. Leslie went into porn. You wish. Leslie was decapitated, no, that was Jayne Mansfield, a few years earlier, same sized tits but different head. Leslie married Benny. Possible…but what we do know is that Leslie went on to sing with one of those 1980s big teased hair, lingerie and leather wearing soft rock bands that can now be directly linked to global warming and the hole in the ozone layer. Once that died she formed a band called Kanary. Get it? Knauer. Kanary. Oh, the wit!! Anyway, they’re gone now and as they didn’t reform for the Countdown shows, unlike Patrick Hernadez, I doubt we’ll ever be bothered by them again. Thankfully.

But we still have that vision of Leslie bouncing around in the one place and stroking that microphone in such a suggestive manner that….back in a second.

*Claude’s actual comment. Oddly enough that wasn’t his best moment, that came when he told one of the Eagles that he was a boring old arsehole, only to get into an on-air verbal fight, culminating in said Eagle abusing Claude and telling him that he didn’t know what he was talking about. Claude’s famous retort, as heard live on air at just past 1am(ish) – “How smart are you fuckhead, you’ve just spent ten minutes abusing a hand puppet.” God we loved Claude The Crow. If he wasn’t abusing Eagles he was throwing used band-aids and viewers toe-nails into Shirl The Curl’s hair.


Marius Maximus said...

Hey, for whatever obscure reason this song popped into my head today. (Somewhere in the universe, somebody must be humping somebody else's leg - or however this works.) I had not even THOUGHT of this song (or those knockers) in... ummm... twenty bazillion years or so. Googled the song and found both a Youtube video and your blog entry. Am glad to have found both! Good writing, dude, this is some funny stuff! The "back in a second" bit is especially hysterical. Anyway, thanks for the grin, and for the info on the band and their single hit. Man, those hoohas were EPIC! :) Anyway, having found your blog, I guess I'll read more of your entries. The number of this entry (#205) seems to indicate I'm going to be busy for a while. Finally, hope you're doing well, and keep up the good work!

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