Saturday, 10 October 2009

The Strange Sounds of Peter Wyngarde

Peter Wyngarde
is best known as sexy 60s sleuth Jason King but his more intriguing contribution to popular culture is the brilliantly titled 1970 album When Sex Leers Its Inquisitive Head, re-released last month by RPM. My colleague Pete alerted me to this most bizarre record after Marc Riley played a track on his excellent 6 Music show.

The album couldn't be more removed from a typical TV spin-off. RCA gave the actor carte blanche to produce whatever he liked and the results are best described as "extreme lounge". Wyngarde was at the height of his fame and other labels courted him in an attempt to cash-in on Jason King's popularity. As he explains in the re-release's sleevenotes:
"EMI phoned me up and asked if I'd record an LP. I said, 'Of what?' They said. 'We've got a lot of Frank Sinatra songs you could sing'. They were wanting to sell Jason King, not me at all. First and foremost I can't sing... I said I'd like to do my own thing. They said, 'What about some Frankie Laine songs?' 'Are you raving mad?' I replied. 'Why should I be allowed to fuck them up?'"

With hindsight RCA may have regretted their leeway. It's unlikely they expected an LP that's most memorable song is called Rape (sample lyric - "I became very suspicious when I saw he wasn't wearing any underpants"). The label deleted the album within weeks of its initial release.

You can find Rape on YouTube where the comments range from "this is seriously freaky" to "makes Eminem look like James Blunt".

This selection is lyrically tamer if no less odd and sees Wyngarde commenting on the late 20th century culture wars.

MP3: Peter Wyngarde - Hippie and the Skinhead

Buy: When Sex Leers Its Inquisitive Head

Related Links
Peter Wyngarde - BBC artist page


Mondo said...

Funnily enough - I've been playing two tracks from this over the last week - 'Come In' and 'Neville Thumbcatch'

Nigel Smith said...

Neville Thumbcatch is probably the best one on the album.

Peter said...

it is a really peculiar record, even for the time. and as you say, it's hard to imagine what they thought of it at RCA...and doesn't he sound like Viv Stanshall on 'Neville Thumbcatch'?

Coop said...

Hi music lovers, got an album or 7" sleeve that you've always loved, or really hated? Why not do your own version in pen, pencil, paint, collage or whatever takes your fancy and send it in to Sleevie Wonders for the world to marvel at. Come and visit, see what we've got so far.

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