Friday, September 11, 2009

Life was in a ruin, she loved Johnny Fruin

Today, we're talking about Scottish songsmith, B A Robertson.

Those of you under a certain won't have a clue who I'm talking about, but to those of us over 35, the Bang Bang hitmaker is a national treasure.

He used to be everywhere. Every chat show, pop show, Saturday morning kid's show, musical collaboration with members of ABBA and variety show is where BA could be found. But as ubiquitous as he was, he didn't have that many hits.

If you look at his oeuvre - and I do, often - you'll only find a handful of hits like, To Be Or Not To Be, Knocked It Off, Kool In The Kaftan (which I bought in Germany, which at the time was all kaftans and hippie stuff, just the kind of thing we Brits mocked, like BA does on this record), Hold Me (with Maggie Bell) and of course the theme to the Wogan show (which wasn't a hit).

He was a big personality, a wag and a card, always game so always welcome. Sadly there's no greatest hits on CD, I've got all the singles, found some available on CD but not all. Things like Saint Saens or Bully For You may never see the light of day again.

So while we wait in vain for that to come out, let's sit back and enjoy my personal favourite:


LF Barfe said...

How many people know that Johnny Fruin was the head of WEA UK (BA's record company) at the time?

Five-Centres said...

I always wondered who he was. I read that BA had seen his name in a local paper and it always amused him, but that's patently not true.

Nation Stole My Robots said...

Also worth checking out is his go at presenting Friday Night Saturday Morning from January 1982:
Associates youtube clip

Later that year, he had a music-based chatshow all of his own. Surely not on the strength of that?

Mondo said...

Being a Pistols fan at the time - I always though he looked like Steve Jones (who was in his Professionals period in the BA days)

I had the same tee Jones is wearing in this pic 'Don't mess with the SAS'

LF Barfe said...

John Fruin obit here -

BA also produced Herbie Flowers' excellent Plant Life LP.

LF Barfe said...

BA wrote more hits than he had himself. Hot Shot by Stiff Pilchard springs to mind. And didn't he have something to do with The Living Years by Mike and the Mechanics?

Bright Ambassador said...

My sister fancied him, which I found rather strange as he's clearly NOT fanciable and always had a line of sweat in that ridge under his nose. Early teenage crushes are pretty weird.
She took my mother and pointed to his album, Initial Success - which was dispayed for months in our local record shop window - and made it quite clear that it was what she wanted for her birthday. I think it got played twice before her head was turned by Adam and the Ants.
The only thing I remember about the record was a song which opened with the line "Swinging from the rafters in black bra and garters", or something. And our hero could be seen on the cover clinging onto a giant fountain pen.

HughOwen said...

I was and am a huge fan of B.A.
I have even tried to do a webpage for him at but as the info for him is very rare and the fans even rarer and the You Tubes have even less then I think I can't make much better than what I have got. He did do a greatest hits called the Platinum Collection I think but it is now out of print. I do have Initial Success and Bully For You on MP3 and Vinyl and have R&ba on Vinyl only waiting to have copied to MP3. His earlier stuff is ultra rare Shadow of a Thin Man and Wringing Applause to mention a couple as Brian Alexander Robertson. I would love any info that anybody else has got and would share with people the stuff that is hard to find if you have any.

Regards Hugh

HughOwen said...

That webaddress should read sorry


Sky Clearbrook said...

He did a fair few TV themes if memory serves (like the Swap Shop "Hello, Hello" one). I mind he did one for the BBC Scotland teenage tour de force that was Maggie - a serialisation based upon the books of the same name some time in the early 1980s.

I don't remember much about the series, but it no doubt featured loads of Take The High Road "faces".

Five-Centres said...

THanks for dropping by Hugh. I'm glad other fans exist.

And Sky, I vaguely remember Maggie, but didn't realise BA was involved. A finger in every pie.

Chris Hughes said...

"Maggie! So far, so far so good!" That's stuck in the back of my head for the best part of 28 years, that has.

Always a twinge of disappointment went it came on after Harold Lloyd or The Adventure Game.

Frank said...

He also made an appearance in a Vincent Price film called monster club or something like that.