2 January 2010

Monaco - God Only Knows

Monaco - God Only Knows

Label: Pinnacle
Year of Release: 1978

Nope, this isn't Peter Hook's "other" band covering the Beach Boys - although it has to be said that this would be an interesting proposition in itself. Rather, this appears to be one of Pinnacle's numerous flop seventies singles, all of which seemed to be designed as shoe-ins for the Nation's Favourite Chart (rather than the then non-existent indie chart) but were largely met with disinterest. These early scrapings of independent pop show a label that - unlike Rough Trade later on - was actually more interested in creating hits than stretching musical boundaries. It's little wonder that Stock Aitken and Waterman operated their PWL label through them in the eighties.

This version of "God Only Knows" is a major rewrite which may well irk the Wilson purists a great deal. Monaco - who I'd be willing to bet were actually a hastily assembled session band - have taken the delicate original and turned it into a piece of loverman pseudo-soul, something to twitch your crotch to suggestively during those moonlight love sessions. Whether you approve or disapprove of this rearrangement, which appears to be stylistically pitched in a similar way to "Me and Mrs Jones" with its smooth sound and slow, seductive guitar, it has to be said that it does what all interesting cover versions should do, which is to reinterpret liberally rather than create idle carbon copies.

Whoever Monaco were, they never seemed to be heard from again - although "Earthy", the instrumental B-side on offer here, has an insistent groove which I would say is probably ripe for sampling.

Oh - and Happy new Year to all our readers as well!

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