Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The A-Z Of All Time Great Singles: I

I is for: 'I Think We're Alone Now' - Tommy James & The Shondells (1967) / Tiffany (1988)*
*And also Girls Aloud, but their version was uncharacteristically woeful and pointless. For shame, Girls Aloud.

(So check this out for inter-textual pop-geekery: My choice for 'H' (Heaven Is A Place On Earth) was knocked off the Number One spot in 1988 by my choice for 'I' (I Think We're Alone Now).You might - but probably won't - be interested to learn that the song that knocked Tiffany off Number One was another 'I' record, Kylie's 'I Should Be So Lucky', completing a remarkable triple-whammy of 80s Girl Pop chart dominance during this period.)

So, I have A Bit Of A Thing for 80s / early 90s Super Pop; The Bangles, Pat Benatar, Go-Gos and Ex Go-Gos...and yes, even Tiffany. Well...not really Tiffany. But this song at least, and one good song is all that matters. I've dug Tiffany's version on some level ever since I was a kid, but only I only found out that it was a cover-version a couple of years back. I like pretty much both versions equally. They have different things going for them, but they fulfill the same remit in their respective eras, that of being Definitive Bubbblegum Pop.

Tiffany's video for this, if you recall, was filmed in a mall. If you want to know what US teen-culture looked like in 1987, watch this video. It tells you everything you need to know. If you want to know what US teen-culture looked like in 1967...go buy the Doors first album. But also take three minutes to listen to The Shondell's original version of I Think We're Alone Now, because although it couldn't have less to say about the Woodstock Nation, it's certainly a very enjoyable slice of MOR Apple Pie pop-rock, and has the edge on 'Light My Fire' in that it's like about a fith as long, and has a chirrping crickets sound effect on it, and no matter how much acid he gulped, Jim Morrison never thought to put insect sound effects on his records.**

**Tiffany had the good sense to repeat the crickets sound effect at the beginning of her version, a pretty cool nod to the original. Thus ends the nerdiest A-Z post so far.

1 comment:

Dazzy Hitch said...

The late 80's was definitely a good time to be a horny teenager - my bedroom walls were adorned with posters of Belinda,Kylie,Debbie Gibson, Wendy James & yes, flame-haired mallrat Tiffany. I obviously had a thing for wholesome girl-next-door types (and Wendy James, who I can't imagine any horny teenager not fancying).

"I Think We're Alone Now" is an okay song, and certainly stands out from Tiff's short discography of dull ballads & uninspired covers - only "Radio Romance" comes close to emulating the joie de vivre of her finest four minutes.

As a fellow chart anorak, I thought I'd finish by "treating" you to a couple of obscure chart-topping facts, one of which I think is quite cool, and one that I'm actually embarrassed I know...

1. In December 1959, Adam Faith's "What Do You Want" was replaced at number one by Emile Ford's "What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For?", the only time the title of a chart topper has included the whole title of the song it has replaced at the summit.

2. On 27th August 1988, the top three records were Yazz's "The Only Way Is Up", Kylie's "The Loco-Motion" & Brother Beyond's "The Harder I Try" - the only time in chart history (as far as I'm aware) that the top three records all started with the same word. Pity that word was something as dull as "the", isn't it? I read that "amazing""fact" in Record Mirror at the time, and unfortunately have never been able to forget it - it feels like such a relief to finally share my shame with someone...