Tuesday, 15 August 2017

The Roxy (Tyne Tees/ ITV) 1987-88


The Fall perform 'Hit the North' on The Roxy (10 November 1987)


 Tyne Tees' short-lived The Roxy (1987-88) is only remembered as a footnote in the history of British pop TV, invariably described as "The ITV Top of the Pops". The reasons for its failure are pretty apparant in retrospect - a reluctance of the ITV network as a whole to get behind the project, its use of the second-best Network Chart (shared with Independent Local Radio and the NME), presenters who weren't household names, the difficulty of competing with an established TV brand of proven value in Top Of The Pops (especially when a Roxy appearance required recording in Newcastle and not London) meaning that a lot of minor barely-hits got performed on the show at times.

 However, watching many clips from the show online 30 years on, I'm struck by how well made the programme often was and what a good job it did of making a range of songs seem exciting. The Roxy came to be largely because Tyne Tees' pioneering live Channel 4 music show The Tube (1982-87) had finished, and a desire to make good use of the company's five years accumulated experience of making music television combined with the need to bring fresh youth audiences to ITV (always a problem for the channel). When watched in comparison with Top of the Pops performances of the same song, the Roxy versions often come off better to my mind - especially in terms of direction, sound and use of and engagement with the studio audience (particularly in the earlier editions recorded in a converted cinema with proscenium arch theatrical staging).

 From a distance of three decades The Roxy looks like a very good television show and a useful gazetteer of a lively pop time. Here is a complete list of studio performances, and links to YouTube videos of the majority:




21.07.1987 

With Los Lobos (La Bamba), Siouxsie & The Banshees (Song From The Edge Of The World), Freddie McGregor (I Just Don't Want To Be Lonely), Marillion (Sugar Mice), Shakin' Stevens (A Little Boogie Woogie), New Order (True Faith)

28.07.1987 

With Wet Wet Wet (Sweet Little Mystery), Errol Brown (Personal Touch), Hue & Cry (Labour Of Love), Samantha Fox (I Surrender), Def Leppard (Animal)

04.08.1987 

With Westworld (Where The Action Is), Spagna (Call Me), Freddie McGregor (I Just Don't Want To Be Lonely), Echo & The Bunnymen (Lips Like Sugar), Kim Wilde (Say You Really Want Me), Los Lobos (La Bamba)

11.08.1987 

With Then Jericho (The Motive), Sinitta (Toy Boy), Pseudo Echo (Funky Town), Def Leppard (Animal), New Order (True Faith)

18.08.1987

With T'Pau (Heart And Soul), The Jesus & Mary Chain (Happy When It Rains), Rick Astley (Never Gonna Give You Up), Wet Wet Wet (Sweet Little Mystery), Yello & Shirley Bassey (The Rhythm Divine)

25.08.1987

With Johnny Hates Jazz (I Don't Want To Be A Hero), Black (Wonderful Life), Sinitta (Toy Boy), Then Jericho (The Motive), Squeeze (Hour Glass), Rick Astley (Never Going To Give You Up)

01.09.1987 

With ABC (The Night You Murdered Love), Chris Rea (Loving You Again), Levert (Casanova), The Housemartins (Me And The Farmer), Cliff Richard (Some People)

08.09.1987

With Depeche Mode (Never Let Me Down Again), Jonathan Butler (Lies), T'Pau (Heart And Soul), M/A/R/R/S (Pump Up The Volume), Black (Wonderful Life), Level 42 (It's Over)

15.09.1987 

With Curiosity Killed The Cat (Free), Johnny Hates Jazz (I Don't Want To Be A Hero), Cliff Richard (Some People), The Communards (Tomorrow), Def Leppard (Pour Some Sugar On Me)

22.09.1987

With Hue & Cry (Strength To Strength), Karel Fialka (Hey Matthew), Housemaster Boyz (Housenation), Shakin' Stevens (Come See About Me), M/A/R/R/S (Pump Up The Volume)

29.09.1987

With The Christians (When Fingers Point), Steve Winwood (Valerie), Level 42 (It's Over), Lloyd Cole & The Commotions (My Bag), Erasure (The Circus)

06.10.1987

With Living In A Box (So The Story Goes), Jelly Bean (The Real Thing), Sisters Of Mercy (This Corrosion), The Cross (Cowboys And Indians), M/A/R/R/S (Pump Up The Volume), Gary Numan (Cars (E Reg Model))

13.10.1987

With Terence Trent D'Arby (Dance Little Sister), Ray Parker Jnr (I Don't Think That Man Should Sleep Alone), UB40 (Maybe Tomorrow), Was (Not Was) (Walk The Dinosaur), Bryan Ferry (The Right Stuff)

20.10.1987

With The Alarm (Rain In The Summertime), Scarlet Fantastic (No Memory), Erasure (The Circus), Blue Mercedes (I Want To Be Your Property), Bryan Adams (Victim Of Love)

27.10.1987

With Then Jericho (Muscle Deep), Was (Not Was) (Walk The Dinosaur), Black (I'm Not Afraid), T'Pau (China In Your Hand), The Style Council (Wanted), Rick Astley (Whenever You Need Somebody)


03.11.1987

With The Communards (Never Can Say Goodbye), Maxi Priest (Some Guys Have All The Luck), Heartbeat (Tears From Heaven), Marillion (Warm Wet Circles)

10.11.1987

With Mirage (Jack Mix IV), T'Pau (China In Your Hand), The Fall (Hit The North), Joe Cocker (Unchain My Heart), Rick Astley (Whenever You Need Somebody)

17.11.1987 

With The Proclaimers (Letter From America), The Housemartins (Build), The Communards (Never Can Say Goodbye), Glen Goldsmith (I Won't Cry), Johnny Hates Jazz (Turn Back The Clock)

24.11.1987 

With Blue Mercedes (I Want To Be Your Property), Paul McCartney (Once Upon A Long Ago), Mirage (Jack Mix IV), Maxi Priest (Some Guys Have All The Luck)


01.12.1987

With Labi Siffre (Nothin's Gonna Change), The Proclaimers (Letter From America), ABC (King Without A Crown), T'Pau (China In Your Hand)

08.12.1987 

With The Alarm (Rescue Me), Johnny Hates Jazz (Turn Back The Clock), T'Pau (China In Your Hand)

15.12.1987 (VIDEOS ONLY)

With Wet Wet Wet (Angel Eyes), New Order (Touched By The Hand Of God), Simply Red (Every Time We Say Goodbye), Belinda Carlisle (Heaven Is A Place On Earth), The Pogues & Kirsty McColl (Fairytale Of New York), Level 42 (Children Say), Rick Astley (When I Fall In Love)

22.12.1987 (HITS OF 1987)

With Pet Shop Boys (It's A Sin), M/A/R/R/S (Pump Up The Volume), Rick Astley (Never Gonna Give You Up), Rick Astley (Whenever You Need Somebody), T'Pau (China In Your Hand), Los Lobos (La Bamba)

05.01.1988

With Wet Wet Wet (Angel Eyes), Krush (House Arrest), Sinitta (GTO), The Christians (Ideal World), Climie Fisher (Rise To The Occasion)

12.01.1988

With Terence Trent D'Arby (Sign Your Name), Morris Minor & The Majors (Stutter Rap), The Stranglers (All Day And All Of The Night), Lloyd Cole & The Commotions (Jennifer She Said), Depeche Mode (Behind The Wheel)

19.01.1988

With Bros (When Will I Be Famous), Tiffany (I Think We're Alone Now), Joyce Sims (Come Into My Life), Dollar (Oh L'Amour), Krush (House Arrest)

26.01.1988 

With Jermaine Stewart (Say It Again), Two Men, A Drum Machine & A Trumpet (Tired Of Getting Pushed Around), The Christians (Ideal World), Tiffany (IThink We're Alone Now), Terence Trent D'Arby (Sign Your Name)

02.02.1988

With Jack 'n' Chill (The Jack That House Built), T'Pau (Valentine), Sharpe & Numan (No More Lies), Sinéad O'Connor (Mandinka), Bros (When Will I Be Famous)

09.02.1988

With Taylor Dayne (Tell It To My Heart), The Mission (Tower Of Strength), Billy Ocean (Get Outta My Dreams Get Into My Car), Robert Plant (Heaven Knows), The Screaming Blue Messiahs (I Wanna Be A Flintstone)

16.02.1988

With Was (Not Was) (Spy In The House Of Love), T'Pau (Valentine), Eddy Grant (Gimme Hope Jo'anna), Bourgeois Tagg (I Don't Mind At All), Jermaine Stewart (Say It Again), The Communards (For A Friend)

23.02.1988

With Coldcut & Yazz (Doctorin' The House), Vanessa Paradis (Joe Le Taxi), Alexander O'Neal & Cherrelle (Never Knew Love Like This), Bryan Ferry (Kiss And Tell), Bomb The Bass (Beat Dis)

01.03.1988

With Belinda Carlisle (I Get Weak), The Primitives (Crash), Sisters Of Mercy (Dominion), Johnny Hates Jazz (Heart Of Gold), Derek B (Goodgroove)

08.03.1988

With Bomb The Bass (Beat Dis), Erasure (Ship Of Fools), Taja Sevelle (Love Is Contagious), Aswad (Don't Turn Around), Aztec Camera (How Men Are)

15.03.1988

With Bros (Drop The Boy), Eighth Wonder (I'm Not Scared), Belinda Carlisle (I Get Weak), Glen Goldsmith (Dreaming), INXS (Devil Inside), The Communards (For A Friend)

22.03.1988

With Wet Wet Wet (Temptation), Simon Harris (Bass), Sinitta (Cross My Broken Heart), Aswad (Don't Turn Around), Climie Fisher (Love Changes Everything)

29.03.1988

With Status Quo (Ain't Complaining), Taylor Dayne (Prove Your Love), Glen Goldsmith (Dreaming), Eighth Wonder (I'm Not Scared), Aswad (Don't Turn Around), Brenda Russell (Piano In The Dark)

05.04.1988

With Jermaine Stewart (Gonna Get Lucky), T'Pau (Sex Talk), Lloyd Cole & The Commotions (From The Hip), Pat & Mick (Let's All Chant), Bananarama (I Want You Back)



Sunday, 7 May 2017

Gallery: British Playwrights of the 1970s



David Mercer and David Storey enjoy a night out, 1966


A gallery taken from assorted TV Arts features, 1966-83.




David Mercer
David Storey




Friday, 26 August 2011

The Carpenters - Yesterday Once More (1973/ No. 2/ 17 weeks/ A & M)

Those were such happy times
And not so long ago...

For me, The Carpenters stand as the absolute antithesis of easy listening, presenting song after song to the listener that look searchingly into what it means to be alive and face the likelihood of vulnerability and disappointment. This is achieved with a stoicism and a lack of grandstanding that makes their work amongst the most grown-up in pop, supported by memorable, spacious arrangements that allow the mood of the songs to truly breathe and allow the listener to enter into the world of the music.

None of this would be possible without the wonder that was Karen Carpenter's voice, my favourite in pop, with its remarkable capacity for intimacy, a sense of closeness and compassion that made Herb Alpert remark that listening to her sing was "almost like she had her head in your lap". Every song seems like a confidence entrusted to you, the listener, alone. By the time that you get to the latter records, things like 'Make Believe It's Your First Time' and 'Touch Me When We're Dancing' the effect is almost unbearable, half-literally the voice of a dying woman, her brother's way with a tune and an arrangement audibly faltering behind her.

Even in their earlier glory days, this discomfort is always present. Hence this, their biggest ever British hit, is a song about youth meeting maturity and the ultimate limitation and failure of pop music;

When I was young
I'd listen to the radio
Waitin' for my favourite songs
When they played
I'd sing along
It made me smile.

The songs are now back on the radio and the opportunity to sing along has returned for the woman who was once the girl. This provides the opportunity for the girl and the woman to meet each other face to face, like the old and young Houseman in Stoppard's Invention Of Love;

Those old melodies
Still sound so good to me
As they MELT THE YEARS AWAAAY!

Something has gone horribly wrong for her between then and now. Love either never came, or failed, or was sought in the wrong places. The anticipation of grown-up feeling meets its actual reflection through the portal of the nostalgia show.

When it comes to the part
Where he's breaking her heart
IT CAN EVEN MAKE ME CRY - JUST LIKE BEFORE

Yes, but its a different intensity of crying now, isn't it? Not the impatient anticipation of love and incipient adulthood, but its failure or cruelty. Those songs seem both deeper and flimsier now ("Every Sha-la-la-la/ Every Wo-o-wo-o/ Every shing-a-ling-a-ling"...)

The dear old music, "back again, just like a long-lost friend", doesn't help her deal with the present.

It's as desperate as watching somebody hug themselves for comfort and understanding.

In the 1973 parent album, the effect is accentuated by the song fading into a 15-minute pastiche radio show 'Oldies Medley' of Carpenters-interpreted hits of 1963 (1960s nostalgia and so early!), the tenor of which gradually changes, from youth ('Fun Fun Fun'), to sex ('Da Doo Ron Ron'), to lost love ('The End Of The World'), to unrequited love ('Johnny Angel'), to betrayal ('The Night Has A Thousand Eyes'), to songs of anticipated love and triumph unbearable to return to... ('Our Day Will Come' and 'One Fine Day')

Flashing past her eyes like a suicide whose life flashes past her eyes.

And then a reprise for a minute. The sepulchral lines;

When I was young I'd listen to the radio...

So fine...

So fine...

are repeated on a loop, each time fading further into silence, against a single static piano chord.

The breaking string. The severing of the past from the present.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

New York New York - So good I went there twice (1980 and 1999)

I have a theory that every childhood has its optimum point of receptiveness: the time when the openness to sensation and sense of wonder of the early years has yet to dim, but once some acquired knowledge and social skills can start to be used to find ones way in the world. For me, this blessed point was around the age of seven and that was the time that my parents took me on holiday to America: Seven days in New York and three days in Princeton.

I tend to remember everything anyway, but these ten days seem to contain an unstoppable bounty of memories; the long haul jumbo jet with the pleasure of being given gifts and puzzles and drinks and a dinky orderly meal and headphones to Bernard Cribbins introduce songs by the Muppets, the criss-crossy roads and seemingly much brighter daylight of New York, a forth of July parade where I am presented with a helium balloon, new and unfamiliar breakfast cereals, the coach journey from New York to Princeton that takes an entire day and then being shown a map of America and seeing what a tiny distance we had travelled, the great staircase of MOMA, a trip to Chinatown where I am given a small red rubber dragon, a Broadway matinee of Peter Pan where the principle boy flies out into the gallery and the pirates are funny and the dog is clever followed by daddy taking me to an ice cream parlour that serves 120 flavours where I choose coconut.

I imagine that I must have radiated more charm on holiday than I did at home. On a bus, an old lady compliments the little English boy and tells us how if I was staying with her she would enjoy taking me to Central Park and the Statue of Liberty. My mother is pleased by this exchange, both because I am managing to make a good impression, and that the love that she feels for me is reflected in the responses of strangers.

Which is not to say that my memory is rose-tinted - I never trust those whose childhood recollections present an unceasing flow of delight. Surely childhood is as much about frustration and feeling afraid or hurt as it is about happiness?

In Princeton I drink gallons of orange juice and develop a rash.

My mother has an aura of fear and fluster that strangers can be quick to pick up on - on a sidewalk a hairy and ragged-looking individual sees us and adopts a demonic pose that makes my mother cry out and hold me close to her. "He's probably on drugs", my daddy explains. Once we have crossed the road I notice that the hairy man is now joking with a companion and looks quite normal, and am not sure about my father's judgement.

Most trying of all, while the three of us are walking downtown, my father spots some distraction and goes gadding off after it. We become separated and mummy has to get a taxi back to the hotel with me - the driver has large aviator-style sunglasses and an air of quiet authority that impresses me. Back in our room my mother - who does not take well to the cross-Atlantic time difference - has to have a headachey lie-down all afternoon. When my father arrives back they argue. "You selfish PIG!" mummy tells daddy. "You pig!" I parrot back, entirely taking my mother's side in this dispute. "Now, now! Don't say that" responds my father, prepared to take this criticism without response from his wife, but not from his son. When you are seven years-old, and trapped in a small hotel room in a foreign city with your angry unhappy parents you can't escape to the playground or the garden.

One evening I find myself sitting alone on a sofa in the lobby of this hotel - we must have been about to go out and my parents gone back to the room to fetch something. I decide to pass myself off as a real American and integrate myself with the city. I walk out of the hotel and onto 46th Street. What shall I do now? Many people are walking fast in both directions. A man amongst them is on roller skates. He looks like a suitably interesting person to engage with. I make eye contact with him. What would be an appropriately American thing to say? "Hi!" I announce. "Hi" he replies, perplexed, before he skates off again. Satisfied with this exchange, I return to the lobby and my place on the sofa. My parents come back to collect me. I don't tell them about my expedition, not because I think that I've done anything wrong, but because I am not sure that I can convey the meaning and significance of my action. It was an instinctive thing that one does, hoping that its significance will become clear to oneself in later years.

It takes me almost twenty years to return to Manhattan, from the last months of Carter to the last months of Clinton. I sometimes find it amusing to review the progress of my life as being like a microcosm of a nation state, with booms and depressions, alliances and wars. Retrospectively, this period seems like some kind of pinnacle of good fortune - through having stable employment and not having to pay rent, I have a surplus of £6,000 in the bank. I am twenty-seven years old, one of the lowest rungs of adulthood and the latter reaches of being genuinely young. I have lucked into staying, free, for a week at a marvellous apartment that resembles the set of Friends on Bleeker Street. This is with my friend Polly, an actress training at the Actors' Studio and her landlady, an amazing old lady of Broadway, who carries sixty years of theatrical history on her shoulders.

It is in this blessed coalescence of circumstances that I find myself walking through Greenwich Village on a Friday night, a young man with money in his pocket and supposedly ready for pleasure and experience. I'm even dressed in a white suit, a costume that I've always wanted to wear. The only problem is that - I can't think of anything that I want to do. I feel rather tired and uncertain of what the time is. I wander around for a bit, milling in crowds and looking at the shop fronts and restaurants. I am amused to see an establishment that promotes itself as 'Mr Slinky's bar and celebrity hangout', but resist the temptation to go in to see if Tom Cruise is hanging out there tonight. Around me are unceasing crowds of people who actually belong here, or at least who make a better fist of making it look as though they do. I give up the ghost and go back to the apartment, where I read an act of When We Dead Awaken and try to get to sleep.

In this journey from boy to young man some sense of venture has clearly been dissipated. The impulse to catch the eye of a roller-skater and say "Hi" seems to have gone.


Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Mr Bloe - Groovin' With Mr Bloe (1970/ No. 2/ 19 weeks/ DJM)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaQWOne1sfo

What couldpossibly be more 1970 then a novelty discotheque harmonica one hit wonder? A novelty discotheque harmonica one hit wonder performed a knocked together made-up band of top session musicians, of course! (The harmonica ace behind Mr Bloe is Harry Pitch, who can also be heard on the theme tune to Last Of The Summer Wine)

The title encourages the listener to think of the harmonica as being the musical embodiment of Mr Bloe, and the single as the wordless epitome of Mr Bloe's conception of grooving. And Mr Bloe most assuredly and instantly memorable groove to share with us -

Wahwah! Wah-wah Wahwah wah Wawah! Wah Wawah!

repeated many times. But Mr Bloe can also be a reflective and laid back character, who sometimes breaks off from his main groove to look over his shoulder and give a smile to the listener -

Wah wah Wawah - Wahwahwah...

He's brought some friends along with him, too. Although they are very much supporting characters in the Mr Bloe show, their contributions are vital. There's a peripatetic bassline - dumdadalumlum- dumdumdum! - and a drum that provides cascading rolls whenever Mr Bloe catches his breath, and lets us know that yet another

Wahwah! Wah-wah Wahwah wah Wawah! Wah Wawah!

is about to reappear and delight us once again.

Like a lot of instrumental records, the particular delight of Mr Bloe lies in its use of space, ensuring that the listener fully discerns every pleasurable detail of the record and immediately wants to play it again to moment that it finishes.

Postscript: Oh this is interesting - I've just found the US original single that Mr Bloe is a UK copy of. It sounds more Northern Soul and a bit more frenetic than the British hit -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIipqsDkd3A

So, whether by accident or design, the session musician version does change the tune into something different, and not in a cheap or tacky way.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Gene Pitney - Backstage (1966/ No. 4/ 10 weeks/ Stateside)

I can never understand why Gene Pitney doesn't have the same kudos as Roy Orbison. Both men worked within the same form, the highly melodramatic ballad, and both used highly distinctive voices to extract the maximum possible emotion out of their material. Both singers also always came across as being genuinely humble and modest in interviews.

In Pitney's case, the voice is a quavering adenoidal tenor, purpose built for the expression of anguish. The amazing thing about this voice is that it will build and build throughout a song, and then - just when the listener thinks that things couldn't possibly get any more exciting or compelling - build some more, reaching a kind of delirious catharsis.

The songs that he interpreted were generally short and unhappy. They are usually tales of lost love, or the fear of being about to lose love. When, less often, Pitney sings about finding love, the effect is equally uncomfortable, because he tends to be consumed by guilt at stealing someone's girl or cheating on someone, most famously in '24 Hours From Tulsa'. 'Backstage' is a definitive lost love tale, given a metatheatrical spin through being the story of a successful pop star.

A brief drum-roll and fanfare sets the scene. "Ladies and gentlemen, tonight's star attraction";

A thousand hands -
applaud tonight...
I sing my songs...
My star shines bright...
I stop and smile...
I take my bow...
I leave the stage...
and then some-how -

Hubris is swiftly followed by nemesis;

Backstage I'm lonelee
Backstage I cry
You've gone away

Diminuetto;

and each night
I seem
to die
a little...

On the second verse, Pitney becomes notably louder and more desperate-sounding;

Out on that stage
I'll play the star
I'm famous now!
I've come so far..
A famous FOOL!
I let love GO!
I didn't KNOW!
I'd miss you SO!

It's taken a while to get there, but the second chorus brings the first extended anguished phrase;

Backstage I'm lonelee!
Backstage I cry
Hating myself
since I let you say -
GOODBYYYYYYYYE!

A middle eight cranks up the tempo, the strings echoing the singer's manic excitement;

Every night a different girl!

(jajajajajajaJA!)

Every night a different club!

(jajajajajajaJA!)

And yet I'm lonely all the time...

(swirlywirlwirlwirl)

When I sign my auto-graph!

(jajajajajajaJA!)

When I hold an in-ter-view!

(jajajajajajaJA!)

Can't get you out of my MIIIIND!

The point of self-revelation;

Come back my love!
Come back to me!
I need you now!
So desperatelee!
What good is fame?
It's just a game!
I'd give it awll to be the same

Backstage I wait now -
ho-ping I'll see
Your smiling face waiting there backstage for meeee-eeee!

(A trumpet backs that "meeee-eeee!")

Your SMI!LING! face waiting backstage for meeeeee-eeeeee!

She won't be there. Surely that's it?

No. Pitney reminds us of the scene;

BACKSTAAAAAAAAGE!

And them, that astonishing Roy Orbison trick of taking things one stage further than anyone could realistically expect them to go;

BACKSTAAAAAAAAAAAA-AAGE!

I've found a new layer of poignancy in this song since the 2006 death of Gene Pitney, alone in a Cardiff hotel room, after a show on a comeback tour. When he was found dead on his hotel bed he was fully dressed and looked, according to his tour manager, "as though he had gone for a lie down".

Sunday, 21 August 2011

The Temptations - I Can't Get Next To You (1970/ No. 13/ 9 weeks/ Motown)


It starts like the end of a record; applause and lively party whooping and yelping. This is clearly going to be exciting.

Then a voice attracts the attention of the crowd;

Hold on everybody! Hold it! Hold on... listen!

A bluesy piano line. Then the song proper starts.

Has there ever been as great a vocal group as The Temptations of the late sixties and early seventies? They were reacting to the departure of Jimmy Ruffin, their troubled original member and figurehead, emerging stronger and more defined as individuals from the process. There's a great joy in renewal and re-invention in their music of this period. The Motown writers present them with harder and more socially engaged songs ('Cloud Nine', 'Papa Was A Rolling Stone', et al), and they place their trust in a visionary producer, Norman Whitfield.

Whitfield does two things, he makes them go psychedelic soul, a most appealing genre, giving them funk through wah-wah guitars, driving bongo-style drums, etc. He also, derived from Sly & The Family Stone, accentuates the tremendous range of brilliant and different voices in the group, making the experience of hearing to the babble of diverse interpretation so ecstatically surprising for the listener. Such as the set-up of this song;

Dennis Edwards (certain, grown up tone) I! Can turn the GREY sky BLUE-ah!

Melvin Franklin (lower, sonorous, slightly comic and croony) I can make it rain, whenever I want it to!

Eddie Kendricks (falsetto, excited) I can build a CASTLE from a SINGLE GRAIN OF SAND!

Paul Williams (gritty, aggressive, agitated) I can make a ship sail (Huh!) on dry land!

Otis Williams (smoother, more soulful, sort of regretful insousciance) I can make the seasons change - jus' by a wave of my hand!

This is tremendously exciting, like a team-up of superheroes, the godlike claims made more plausible by the multiplicity of testimonies. But what happens when the voices join together? Dennis Edwards exposes an Achilles heel;

But my life is incomplete, and I'm so bluuue!
'Cause IIIIIIEE! can't get next to you.

(vox X 4) I CAN'T GET NEXT TO YOU! (Dennis: NEXT TO YOU!)

It's a Promethean story, the hydra-headed Temptation challenging the gods with his powers but failing in his human needs. The way that the song is structured and delivered you don't doubt the force of that need for a moment, much though you enjoy being seduced by the superhuman claims.

Those godlike powers in full; in addition to the aforementioned five, flying like a bird in the sky, buying anything that money can buy, turning a river into a raging fire, living forever "if I so desired" (that smooth insouciance again!), turning back the hands of time, changing anything from old to new.