Friday, May 22, 2009

The Road Less Travelled


When I was a boy, this song was never off the radio. After being No.1 for weeks in 1971, Middle Of The Road's Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep was a staple right up until the Eighties kicked in.

So it's a terrible shame that this bouncy, handclap-laden turn of the Seventies groover doesn't get the exposure it so richly deserves and has all but disappeared into the bottom of the karaoke list. I suppose the band name doesn't help at all. Middle Of The Road? No thanks.

But really, what's not to like? Ultra catchy singalong chorus, shout-out opening, lumpen Seventies plodding on the spot beat, mountainous vocals, fuzzy bass and of course, those handclaps mean this gem is an absolute classic. And let's not forget the hotpants of the foxy lead singer. Some might call it cheese, and though I disapprove is ever a song was to be described as such, this is it. But it transcends that. It's pure pop gold. It's the perfect song for getting everyone on the dancefloor at my club (remember that?).

And here it is for your sunny Friday listening pleasure. It's a definite summer day song. They were Scottish, you know:



Enjoyed that? Then don't forget to check out other hits like Sacramento, Tweedle Dum Tweedle Dee and the lovely, shimmering, Holiday 72-invoking Soley Soley. I believe they're still big in Germany.

12 comments:

A Kitten in a Brandy Glass said...

Well, if we ignore the song's high irritant factor (which is subjective), I think it's the fact that it's a song about a baby bird that's lost its mother. And that's not a metaphor or anything: it really is about just that. So you can't sing along without sounding like a primary school teacher.

Also in the category of "why the hell did anyone think this topic was worth writing a song about?" is Skiing In The Snow by Wigans Ovation.

Planet Mondo said...

It did, and it still does, give Mrs PM the terrible creeps for some reason..In the same way that Spirit In The Sky spooked me..

It's not cheese. It's bubblegum - and that has it's place in the scheme of things - who can argue with Sugar Sugar (have you heard the fab Archies/Velvet Undergound mashup - here if you fancy a blast)

PS - Randomly 'Chirpy' made me think of chopped liver when I first heard it

Ishouldbeworking said...

The original is overlaid for me by memories of Irish 'showbands' doing covers. You really need to hear it being 'interpreted' in a thick Kerry accent...

Five-Centres said...

I hesitated to say bubblegum as I didn't think it was quite so poppy, but I suppose actually it is. Love that mash up!

Kitten, next time we meet I'd like you to sing this in a primary school teacher way please.

Simon said...

I seem to recall it being used in a Victoria Wood sketch once. A comment along the lines of "and he's got a mistress, I don't knowhow long it's been going on but he said their song was Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep".

Chris Hughes said...

It never occurred to me until this moment that it was about a baby bird. I just never connected the "where's your mama gone" bit with the "chirpy chirpy cheep cheep bit".

I am thick. But then again, we all have our Basil Brush moments.

Anyway, it lives on of course on the football terraces ("Where's your X gone?") as so many tunes of that era do.

And Liza Tarbuck sang it to amusing effect in the 'Men's Sana' episode of Victoria Wood.

Five-Centres said...

Are you quire sure it's about a bird? I suppose it makes sense, but I rather thought it was about a Paula Wilcox type singleton who wore boots and hotpants being abandoned by her lover.

A Kitten in a Brandy Glass said...

Here are the lyrics: they are rather hard to construe as being about anything other than a baby bird, let's put it that way.

Mac and Katie Kissoon, by the way, did the version of the song that's better known to Americans.

Bright Ambassador said...

I bloody hate that record. For reasons which I won't go into here, it's ended up on my iPod. Groo!

Five-Centres said...

Lyrics in the loosest sense of the word.

Now that's interesting because in all these years I never knew the line was "little baby bird". I thought it was "little baby gone".

Howevere, I steadfastly refuse to believe it's about a bird. That's far too simplistic. It's pet names for actual people, surely?

Tell us why it's on your ipod, BA.

Bright Ambassador said...

I downloaded it for someone as a favour because they needed the song that was no.1 on the day they were born, and, consequently, it's on my iPod. I suppose I could delete it from my iTunes library, but, well, it did cost me 79 new pence. I'm not saying I'm tight, but...

Rob The Builder said...

One of my earliest experiences of vinyl was a 'Chirpy Chirpy' cover by those poptastic pigs, Pinkie and Perkie.

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