30 July 2012

Brenda and Johnny - This Can't Be Love

Label: Decca
Year of Release: 1964

So much has been written about the "Doctor Who" theme tune over the years that it almost feels as if there's very little left to be said.  One of the most groundbreaking (and terrifying) electronic compositions ever recorded, you could sit and talk about it as being one of the wonders of recorded sound if you wanted, and I probably wouldn't argue much with you.

When released as a single it didn't chart, but it sold slowly and steadily over the course of many Who seasons, and the other wonder surrounding the disc became what the hell this was doing on the flip.  Acting as the dark side of a record filled with futuristic horror is a couple called Brenda and Johnny performing a beat version of Rodgers and Hart's "This Can't Be Love", whooping up an utterly conventional storm.  It's an enjoyable piece of period pop, actually, filled with odd beats, buzzing guitars and over enthusiastic vocals, and possesses a naivete that renders it completely charming - but the connection with "Doctor Who" is something that has baffled record collectors for many years.  There were no Brendas or Johnnys in any of the series, there are no obvious links to the BBC Radiophonic Workshop here (Mike Leander takes on production duties) and in fact the whole thing simply seems to be a strange offcut from the Decca archives.  One would have thought that they could have found a more appropriate piece of instrumental music somewhere in their vaults, but perhaps there were other reasons (money, time, favours) which involved this being used instead.

Whoever Brenda and Johnny were, it would seem the duo never bothered us again - at least not in this guise - but certainly enjoyed a long and sustained period of publicity throughout the sixties by finding their voices heard by every "Doctor Who" fan who purchased this record.  Have you seen them?  Do you know who they are?  Do call.


Stacey Bruno said...

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