Sunday 13 January 2008

Boys Wonder "Goodbye Jimmy Dean" (Boys Wonder Records, 1988)

Posted by Picasa

So, here's that other Boys Wonder single I was on about in the post below, which, for me, is the highpoint of their career. Everything about this single is just perfect, from the opening salvo of guitar riffs, to the proggy little burbles of synths which move the melody from verse to chorus, from the soaring middle eight to the key change, right down to the tongue-in-cheek kiss-off of the ending; it's just a textbook example of how to write, structure and perform the ultimate pop song.

This single followed on from the relative disappointment of their years at Sire Records, where hopes had been high, budgets had obviously been bigger, and that lack of success could have easily resulted in a rather jaded outlook on life and the music business. Instead, Boys Wonder focused their attention on rather different targets: the eighties obsession with out-of-date idols. Every home seemed to have a poster of James Dean in his "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams" pose, the stars of a bygone era were supposed to be touchstones for the youth of a forward-thinking and technologically exciting age. the charts were full of Motown reissues and Stax covers, old soul sold to us via Levi's ads, and Rock'n'Roll condensed into short bursts of Jive Bunny mediocrity: something was very, very wrong. Boys Wonder lined all of these sacred cows up in a line, and shot them all down, one by one.

As it turned out, sadly, no-one was really listening. This single sold even less well than their previous releases. Something had to give, and Boys Wonder began, slowly but surely, to reassess their situation. The end of the eighties saw the rise in power of dance music in the UK, and there were few bands who weren't changed by it, or who would openly flirt with the medium. Boys Wonder continued for a while after this release, putting out a couple of white-label dance 12"s, and another single, the Balearic break-funk of "Eat Me, Drink Me", with its Steve Proctor remix. After that, as mentioned below, Corduroy beckoned. But this single will always remind me of what could have been, and will stay with me as a consummate example of the Majesty of a simple, cocky pop song. Enjoy.

Boys Wonder "Goodbye Jimmy Dean" (mp3)


Mick said...

Never heard this before. Can’t stop playing it - absolutely brilliant. Probably the best thing you’ve posted. There’s a great game of spot the musical reference to be had here. Apart from the obvious Who at the start and Beatles at the end I’m picking up loads that I can’t quite place in the middle because I’m enjoying the song so much.

So It Goes said...

Yes, Mick, Won't Get Fooled Again leapt out of the speakers at the start and Twist And Shout at the end...nothing wrong with that at all. Pastiche par excellence.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for posting Goodbye Jimmy Dean. This was on the jukebox in the Student Union when I was there in the late Eighties and I have been looking for it for years.

It's an absolutely brilliant track.

Iain Baker said...

Everybody loves this, don't they? And they're's the business :)

I Am Not The Beatles said...

Hello Iain,

Just popped over on a link from Mick's Birthday Post.

Thanks for that - I'd never heard that song before from the lovely Boys Wonder.

So how does it relate to their Sire stuff, like No What Earthman ?

Were they really dropped that astoundingly quickly ?

All the best,

Ian TB

Iain Baker said...

Hey Ian, small world! It was your post on BW that spurred me on to post both the other BW singles!
The Sire deal seems to have only lasted for a couple of singles, so i'm guessing the record company just put those out, tested the water, and decided not to pick up the option on the album. Of course, by then, the band probably had a publishing deal in place, which meant they had the funds to keep releasing further singles themselves..."Goodbye Jimmy Dean" was their last as an out-and-out Rock band, the following releases are basically Dance 12"s....
Nice blog, btw, i'll link to it from mine!

I Am Not The Beatles said...


I've just scrolled down through the rest of your recent posts and found the totally marvellous Shine On Me. That's a bit good innit ?

Thanks for both your kind words, kind link, and a fascinating blog (which I quite literally only discovered yesterday, and am now steadily devouring page by page) - and I shall link straight back at you this afternoon.

Hope all is well,

Ian TB

Anonymous said...

Try for new Boys Wonder site.

Anonymous said...

boys wonder a massive fan got all their singles,but i hear theres more stuff out there demos etc....i emialed someone called madden on iamnotthebeatles blog ,he said hes got some stuff and will put it out on cd for a fiver .i never got a reply,does anyone know where i can get anything.also living in leeds unfortunatly i never saw them live but i do recall they were due to do a gig in leeds but ben had fallen off the stage at a previous gig.any truth in this rumour cheers deanroy.....b.o.y.s!

Viagra said...

This was a great record!