Friday, February 8, 2019

"I Wanna Be a Cowboy" by Boys Don't Cry

One-Hit Wonder Alert!
Song#:  2673
Date:  04/05/1986
Debut:  90
Peak:  12
Weeks:  19
Genre:  Synthpop, Dance-Pop, Novelty

Pop Bits:  This UK band was started up in the early 80s by a recording studio owner named Nick Richards. He and his house band would work up songs between other sessions and in 1983 they issued out an indie EP titled Don't Talk to Strangers. Nothing much came from it, but they kept on recording tunes. Richards was a fan of spaghetti Western films and one day he was walking around the studio saying "I want to be a cowboy." Someone heard Richards and told him that the phrase would be a cool song title. Richards got his band together and quickly wrote and recorded "I Wanna Be a Cowboy." Richards then got it pressed to vinyl under his own label, Legacy, and using connections began to get it circulated to clubs. Not long after, he got a call from the small US indie label Profile. They were interested in releasing the song in the States. Richards made a deal with the label thinking not much would come from it Yet the quirky song started to get some attention after its release and began climbing the Pop chart. It nearly made the Top 10, but stopped just shy. The hit prompted Profile to want an album and the band came up with a self-titled debut that contained the hit. A follow-up single failed to chart and a second album the following year yielded nothing. Those results brought an end to the band. This lone novelty-ish hit would be their only claim to fame and due to that they were labeled a one-hit wonder.

ReduxReview:  Let's just say it - this song is utterly inane. Yet the dang thing is so stupidly catchy that it's nearly hard to resist. It also helps that the production was pretty great. I remember the sound coming from my vinyl 45 really rocked my speakers. I think more than anything I just like the groove and production. The novelty of the rest wasn't so annoying that I couldn't listen to it. I don't necessarily love the tune, but it's kind of fun to have it rattle up on the speakers in a playlist. Sadly for the band, this was one of those songs that was so unusual and unique that it was going to take something absolutely amazing to get folks to pay attention to them and they just didn't have that second go-to special song in their arsenal. Well, if you are gonna end up a one-hit wonder, why not make it something as catchy and kooky as this?

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Some folks thought that perhaps this band was named after the 1980 album and single by The Cure. However, the name came about from an earlier hit. British band 10cc had a #2 hit in 1975 with "I'm Not in Love." During the mid-section of the song, a female vocalist whispers "be quiet - big boys don't cry." She repeats the last four words several times and the oddball spoken word section helped to make the song a hit. Richards got the name of his band from the phrase. (Note - the female vocal part in 10cc's song was performed by the band's secretary Kathy Redfern.)  2) In 1997, singer/songwriter Paula Cole reached the Pop Top 10 with her Grammy nominated hit "Where Have All the Cowboy's Gone?" Remixes of the hit soon followed including one produced by The E-Team (DJ EFX and Big Ed) that was titled the "E-Team Drugstore Cowboy Mix." Along with other mixes, it was released on a CD maxi-single of the song. Included in the specific mix (and not on the original recording) was a clip of a man saying "I wanna be a cowboy." The tone, inflection, and cadence of the added snipped was nearly identical to the chorus of the Boys Don't Cry song. While a one-off thing might have been fine, the problem was that it was repeated 24 times throughout the mix. That led to Richards and co-writer Brian Chatton to file suit against Cole, her label, and the remixers for copyright infringement. It seems the $7 million lawsuit never went to trial, so it assumed that some legal settlement may have been the result.


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