Friday, October 8, 2021

"Groovy Kind of Love" by Phil Collins

#1 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  3637
Date:  09/03/1988
Debut:  52
Peak:  1 (2 week)
Weeks:  25
Genre:  Pop, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  While Collins wasn't necessarily a soundtrack king like Kenny Loggins, two of his Pop #1 hits came from films; "Against All Odds" from the movie of the same name and "Separate Lives" from White Nights. Collins would add to that total with this single from the soundtrack to the comedy crime film Buster, which just happened to star Collins along with Julie Walters. In addition to starring in the film, Collins would supply four new songs to the soundtrack, which also featured a few oldies along with snippets of the score by Art of Noise's Anne Dudley. Prior to the film's release, this first single from the soundtrack was issued out. The song quickly took off and made it to the top of the Pop chart in eight weeks. It would stay at #1 for two weeks and then leisurely descend spending an additional sixteen weeks on the chart. The single would end up being a gold seller. It would also reach #1 AC along with hitting #1 in Collins' UK homeland. It marked the first and only time that a Collins solo hit would reach #1 in both the US and the UK. The soundtrack album would eventually become a gold seller despite only reaching #54 on the chart. This song would be Collins' fifth Pop #1 apart from his band Genesis, with whom he reached #1 once. It would also earn Collins a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male.

ReduxReview:  I admit that when this came out I didn't know it was a remake. I thought it was an amazing song and ran out to get the single. After seeing the songwriters listed and figuring in the "groovy" title, I realized something was up. I later learned, probably in Billboard or via the American Top 40 radio show that Collins was not the first to record the tune. Still, I loved it and played the single quite a bit. While the record buying public love the song, it didn't get a lot of critical accolades. It was considered a schmaltzy remake of a good 60s tune and a vehicle to keep Collins as a hot property pop star. These days, I don't think those assessments were too far off. Collins was trying to up the ante by attempting to be a movie star and in case that didn't work (it didn't...) he was certainly still going to be a music star and the idea to remake this song (apparently courtesy of singer/songwriter Stephen Bishop) seemed like a potential big win (it was...). Despite being a gold-selling #1 hit, I don't hear this song often these days. It has taken a backseat to other Collins/Genesis hits and in some ways I think that is okay. It was an interesting remake at the time it came out, but it is now sort of an odd, yet pleasant artifact in Collins' discography.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This is a remake of a song originally recorded by the English beat band The Mindbenders and released as a single in 1965. The song would reach #2 in both the US and the UK. The song's melody came from the Rondo section of composer Muzio Clementi's Sonatina, Opus 36, No. 5, which was published in 1797. Brill Building songwriters Toni Wine and Carole Bayer Sager wrote lyrics to go with the adapted melody. The completed song was first given to Lesley Gore, but her producer turned it down due to the use of the slang word "groovy." The tune then got picked up by The Mindbenders. It was their first single after their original leader Wayne Fontana left the group. It would prove to be their only Top 10 hit without Fontana. Collins' ballad-style remake would surpass the upbeat original and top both the US and UK chart. (Weird side note - Toni Wine was also a session vocalist and was one of The Archies. She was also one of the voices used in the famous Meow Mix commercials.)  2) While Buster was Collins' first starring role in a film, it wasn't his first time acting. He actually attended acting school as a teenager and in '64 was cast as the Artful Dodger in West End runs of the hit musical Oliver! He also was cast in a British TV children's movie called Calamity the Cow. After auditioning for the lead part in 1968's Romeo and Juliet (which eventually went to Leonard Whiting), Collins put acting aside to focus on music. Buster was based on 1963 Great Train Robbery in England and one of its participants Buster Edwards (he actually makes a cameo in the film). Reviews of the film were generally mixed and although it did fairly well in the UK, it was a box office dud in the US. The soundtrack, however, became far more popular.


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