6 November 2010

One Hit Wonders #15 - Joy Sarney - Naughty Naughty Naughty

Joy Sarney - Naughty Naughty Naughty

Label: Alaska
Year of Release: 1977

So it's like this - John Schroeder's Alaska label spent most of the seventies releasing what could only be considered to be commercially viable (although often gimmicky) material.  Discs with the disco in mind were put out, as were populist ballads, and even football songs.  The public remained unmoved.

Perhaps this record should therefore be taken as proof that winning formulas come in unlikely packages, for this is the only single on the label to succeed in getting one of their artists on "Top of the Pops" - and lo and behold, it's a ballad to Mr Punch out of Punch and Judy sung by sultry ex-session singer-turned-housewife Joy Sarney.  Alaska went to the trouble of actually hiring a professional Punch and Judy man for the session, gave Joy a bunch of extremely peculiar lyrics about her love for the hooked-nose one ("He's been in trouble with the law for Grevious Bodily Harm... I'm his puppet, but he won't pull my strings") mashed the lot together with the kind of bouncy lightweight rhythm frequently reserved for Paul Nicholas singles, and watched as to their delight they enjoyed their only hit.  If you created a computer randomiser to pick up subject matter and style for a record, you'd probably come up with something which seemed less absurd.

It doesn't seem as if anyone else involved with the making of the single thought it would break through.  The then-rookie engineer (and these days well-paid producer) Chris Tsangardies has gone on record as saying "The bloody thing was atrocious... it will haunt me, but it was a break".  Reportedly, Joy herself is good humoured about the record, and is under no illusions about its status in the grand scheme of things.  On top of that, only recently the BBC included it in a list of clips of the worst "Top of the Pops" appearances of all time, largely by dint of the unusual nature of the record rather than as a comment on Joy's performance.

After "Naughty Naughty Naughty" peaked at number 26, it would seem that an attempt was made at pulling Joy back into the music industry full-time, as a follow up "Angling for A Kiss" was released later that year.  However, it failed to chart, and that seems to have been the end of that.  In the meantime, online conversations rage about whether Joy Sarney actually hails from Liverpool or Southend.  I spent my teenage years growing up in Southend, but on the basis of evidence I've been presented with, I'd say it's probably safe to conclude that she lived and worked in both places at one point or another.  Let's not fight about who can rightfully place her on their local walk of fame, eh readers?  We can share the credit.

Please don't ask me who the credited "Friends Of Joy" are on the B-side singing the cod-country track "Letters of Love", either.  I'm sure it was probably an afterthought on the part of everyone concerned.


Simon said...

Do you know the semi-famous local radio blooper involving this song being faded out for a newsflash?

23 Daves said...

No, this is news to me! Please furnish me with more information if you can.

Mondo said...

When I lived in Hadleigh, I had a friend in Dawes Heath Road who said she lived a few doors down from him..

Great voice though - gave me some early stirrings if I remember

The Confused said...

I've got that blooper sitting on my hard drive somewhere waiting to be edited from a pile of old c-90 tapes I transferred a few weeks ago. The newsflash involved Cecil Parkinson resigning after being caught out in some affair... it fades back into the song as it's going "naughty naughty naughty!"

Awful record. Shocking how John Schroeder, a man with a decent CV fell to coming up with nonsense like this!

23 Daves said...

Have you heard his Man City record yet, Confused? It's over here:


Your worst fears will be realised.

Reimer said...

Thank you so much for sharing this track - it's been a running joke in my pad for some years now, quite the worst TOTP spot I can think of, with possible exception of 'Cartoon Heroes' by Aqua.

Real Gone said...

I'm absolutely amazed this was engineered by Chris Tsangrides, who only the year before had engineered Judas Priest's 'Sad Wings Of Destiny'.

From engineering one of the finest metal albums of all time to working on this! It's a funny old world.

bassman said...

Joy certainly lived in the Southend area prior to "Naughty, Naughty, Naughty". She often used to perform at the Odysseye Folk Club which took place each Sunday night at The Railyway Arms public house near to Southend Central Station.

Fantastic deep blues voice which was spell binding with the right material, which unfortunately this was not

Mr Punch said...

Sadly I remember seeing this the first time round and seeing it again I wonder where all the years have gone. It was one of the most memorable pieces of kitch seen ever. It was also very entertaining compared with the other items on this edition of TOTP
The trouble is that it has got into my brain and I keep singing it much to the annoyance of my wife. Thank you Joy for making my day.

Anonymous said...

At last I have thought of a way of winning Eurovision for the U.K. Get hold of Joy Sarney, Mr Punch and an assortment of balloons and bobs your uncle we are on to a sure fire winner

23 Daves said...

Are you sure that's not the kind of mistake we're already making on a regular basis?!

Ian Beresford said...

I have a Joy Sarney Fan Club page on Facebook if anyone would care to join

Anonymous said...

I always thought this was a very rude record about anal sex - it's all there in the lyrics "That ain't the way to do it" - "Oh yes it is!". Also the singer's name Joy Sarney (ie joy sandwich) must be a clue.

Anonymous said...

As a young innocent 7 year old I just liked this track for the fun factor.

But having seen it recently I also concluded it is probably about anal sex, as another person recently posted.