Wednesday, February 16, 2022

"I Beg Your Pardon" by Kon Kan

Song#:  3755
Date:  12/24/1988
Debut:  87
Peak:  15
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Synthpop, Dance-Pop, Hi-NRG

Pop Bits:  Canadian music DJ/producer/songwriter Barry Harris' career was not progressing as he had hoped and the frustration he felt led him to take a bit of a break and regroup. Intrigued by the burgeoning use of music samples and what Pet Shop Boys did with their cover of "Always on My Mind" (#4 US Pop) Harris began to develop a song based on the 1970 Lynn Anderson hit "Rose Garden." As he was working on the track, Harris needed a vocalist to sing the original lyrics he had written. A connection led him to hiring singer Kevin Wynne for the job. When the track, titled "I Beg Your Pardon," was finished Harris worked with a local indie label to get the song pressed and released. The song got some local attention with Harris playing the track at his shows. In attendance at one of Harris's club gigs happened to work for Atlantic Records. He liked what he heard and took copies back to New York. It wasn't long before Atlantic came knocking on Harris' door. They wanted to market Harris and Wynne as a duo and push out the single. The pair signed on with the label and "I Beg Your Pardon" was released nationally. The song quickly made its way to #3 on the Dance chart while at Pop the tune would crack the Top 20. It also got to #19 in Canada. Harris' track, which was meant to be more of a one-off project, became a left-field hit and Atlantic wanted more. Harris along with Wynne then set out to record a debut album that would be released later in '89.

ReduxReview:  This mishmash of original synthpop topped with several samples and interpolation certainly commanded attention. Its Hi-NRG beats mixed with Wynne's droll vocals also made it a bit unusual. Although he sounded like a depressed goth rocker being forced to sing "It's a Small World After All," it still worked. Sometimes these tracks of many ideas don't coalesce into a solid product, but this one manages to gel fairly well and not sound like someone was just having fun with a sampler. The throwback to Lynn Anderson was a nice touch and it helped open up the song to audiences familiar with "Rose Garden." It's an interesting relic from the time that is rarely heard these days..

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) The name Kon Kan was a take on "CanCon," which was short for Canadian content. CanCon was a requirement set forth by the Canadian Radio/TV and Telecommunications Commission that compelled radio and TV broadcasters to give a certain percentage of their programming time to content at least partially created by Canadians. As a sort of hint to Canadian radio stations and DJs that they were from Canada and to play the record, Harris and Wynne adopted the CanCon inspired Kon Kan as their name. However, the little ploy may have slipped over folk's heads as the song apparently caught on in the US first.  2) The main sample for this song came from the 1970 Lynn Anderson platinum-selling hit "Rose Garden," which peaked at #1 Country, #3 Pop, and #5 AC. It was the first of Anderson's five #1s at Country. Written by Joe South, the first artist to record the song was Billy Joe Royal in 1967. It appeared on his album Billy Joe Royal with Hush but was not issued out as a single. Joe South did his own version for his 1968 debut album Introspect. Again, the tune was not selected to be a single. Then in 1969, R&B singer Dobie Gray recorded a version that was issued as a single. It could only manage to "bubble under" the Top 100 at #119. A year or so later, country star Lynn Anderson's take on the tune would become a major hit. Other artists to have recorded the song include k.d. lang (1987, #7 Canadian AC/#45 Canadian Country) and Martina McBride (2005, #18 US Country/#98 US Pop).


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