John Otway
September 4, 2002 12:56 PM   Subscribe

John Otway is a true maverick of the British music industry and is a legend in some sad quarters. His last hit was 25 years ago and now that he is coming up to 50 his fans have promised him another hit for his birthday. I see this as a fight for authenticity and against bubblegum. John must have that hit. It's a miracle he has survived, he deserves it.
posted by Fat Buddha (9 comments total)
Manufacturing a Hit = Authenticity?
posted by witchstone at 1:07 PM on September 4, 2002

Yeah, good luck with that. The popular music machine is easily penetrated by a nut with a website.
posted by mikrophon at 1:12 PM on September 4, 2002

Truly a great man, but probably never as great since Wild Willy Barrett went his own way.

Wild Willy used to drink in my local pub (near Aylesbury, UK) and would regale people with the stories of how he and John were going to become famous. The moment of national fame was in 1977, on a slow music week, to the bemusement of the studio audience, they performed Really Free in the Top of the Pops studio.

The other side of their original fame was undoubtedly the production of a large number of radio jingles for the Richard Skinner program on Radio 1. I believe songs such as Head Butts originated in those jingles. I vividly recall John's frequent voice over of "Dick Skinner in the evening", overlaid by Richard Skinner's indignant "Richard!"

I've seen John with and without Willy over the years and am amazed that he has never done himself serious damage with his onstage antics. He's jumped from speaker stacks, beaten mikes flat on his head and dived into non-existing audiences. This self-abuse was probably most effective when he had electronic drum pads in his pockets, strapped to his arms, legs, etc.

All this said, some of his songs have been quite beautiful, Louisa on a horse and Geneve spring to mind, but he is probably at his best with the quirky "Beware of the flowers, ... 'cause I'm sure they're gonna get you, ... yeah"
posted by daveg at 1:21 PM on September 4, 2002

witchstone, it is unlikely that a hit will be manufactured, a couple of scruffy grebos sat in their bedrooms hardly compare with the great moguls. What I meant was that here we have a man who has been playing for donkeys years and keeps on playing against the odds, simply because he loves it. He will do it for no money. Contrast this with the boy bands and teeny boppers aimed at pre teens with which we are being bombarded. A victory for Otway will be a victory for all those who believe that those who make music should have some interest in it. It will be a victory for those who remember when bands paid their dues, and it will be the biggest chuffin laugh of the year.
posted by Fat Buddha at 2:49 PM on September 4, 2002

Thanks for the update on a favourite character, Fat Buddha. I always associate him with another man I much appreciated back then, John Cooper Clarke.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 3:15 PM on September 4, 2002

No, no, my mind is slipping back into the late '70s - ahhhh

Joolz - "If Jello Biafra is the 'High Priest of Harmful Matter', Joolz is the Witch-Queen of poetry."
posted by daveg at 3:29 PM on September 4, 2002

Present idea for Otway's 50th. Give him Headbutts!
posted by inpHilltr8r at 3:38 PM on September 4, 2002

Miguel, like the pies in Cooper Clarkes "Chickentown", the videos on that site make me feel bloody old.
posted by Fat Buddha at 3:40 PM on September 4, 2002

ohmigawd, john cooper clarke ... i used to have that live album with the yellow spirals all over the front ... 'ou est la maison de la fromage'? while we're on the subject, i found the bloke from 'the dodgems' on the internet a while back teaching at an a rt college in australia, he sent me an mp3 of 'lord lucan is missing' that he'd taped from the john peel show. spectacular!j
posted by carter at 7:38 PM on September 4, 2002

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