Back in the 1980s, two acts attracted a lot of critical adulation. OK, a lot more than two acts were beloved by the critics, but here me out. One was Prince, the diminutive purple-loving pixie from Minnesota who made some of the greatest funk music on the planet before completely losing it circa 1993. The other was The Housemartins, the self-proclaimed Fourth Greatest Band From Hull, who made some of the greatest Britpop songs ten years before it became fashionable, then split in 1988. Two of them went on to form the Beautiful South, but this is not their story.
Quentin, the Housemartin who changed his name to Norman, went on to dabble in beats and electronica and stuff. He formed the studio-based Beats International combo, and had a #1 hit in 1990 before it all went a bit pear shaped. Then he formed the studio-based Freakpower combo, who had one of their minor hits used on a jeans commercial, and found it turned into a major hit. He recorded under the name Pizzaman, and delivered fresh toppings to the middle of the charts. Then he recorded under the name Fatboy Slim, and had yet more big hits and eye-popping videos. Then he married Zoe Ball, had a son Woody, and everyone was happy.
Where were we? Oh yes. One of Norm's mates was listening to Prince's
Purple Rain soundtrack, and was blown away by the freshness of one of the tracks,
I Would Die 4 U. It was never a significant hit in the UK, peaking at #58 over Christmas 1984. And with a bit of a thumping beat here, and a glitzy glossy guitar funk backing, he cooked up the perfect single in next to no time.
The song is a sheer slice of noise, with that thumping beat carrying on at exactly the right speed to excite, but not to tire. There's a guitar for most of the tune, though it bows out to allow effects and funkiness to pop up from time to time. Even the vocals are authentic, sounding almost but not quite the same as The Purple One circa 1984.
Off to the record company it was, but thanks to the obscure and arcane rules that govern the UK singles chart, the CD was excluded from the sales tabulations (and hence from the most influential Best Sellers By Volume In Stores list) for being too darned good. Or having four tracks when only three were permitted, or something equally stupid. The result was that the track didn't have the usual appearance of a high entry then a quick fade, so was able to maintain its radio presence for a lot longer than would otherwise have been the case. Result!
The Space Cowboy may release an album in time.