4 October 2012

Second Hand Record Dip Part 82 - Tom Catz - It's The Fonz/ Love Walked Out The Door

Who: Tom Catz
What: It's The Fonz/ Love Walked Out The Door
Where: Music and Video Exchange, Notting Hill, London
Label: Weekend
When: 1978
Cost: £2

True fact: back when I was a five-year old boy, my family nickname was "The Fonz".  This was not because I owned a leather jacket or could even click my fingers in a commanding and charismatic fashion (I couldn't even whistle yet) but, I suspect, as some kind of ironic joke.  I doubt the Fonz dribbled peanut butter sandwiches around his face or regularly tripped over the family dog.  He was certainly never spanked for pissing up against a neighbour's wall whilst being caught short in the garden, that's for sure (unless there's an aborted "Happy Days" script out there I know nothing about).

Still, it's evidence of the ubiquity of the character at the peak of the success of "Happy Days".  The Fonz was deemed to be the very epitome of cool, almost something to aspire to.  As a small boy I definitely wanted to be The Fonz, but by the time I had the choice as a grown adult I obviously never tried.  Cool has context.  Clicking your fingers and saying "Hey" is all well and good in a feel-good retro sitcom, but it would make you seem like an utter pillock whilst doing a Saturday job in a supermarket.  Respect would not be forthcoming from your colleagues if you clicked your fingers at them whilst replenishing the cheese counter.

So then... "It's The Fonz" was obviously a cash-in song designed to profit on a craze in much the same way that "Kung Fu Fighting" had some years before.  The crucial difference here is that "Kung Fu Fighting" was a hugely enjoyable record, whereas "It's The Fonz" pastiches doo-wop vocals and feels right, but isn't a potent enough bit of pop to really make the grade.  One of the first rules of any successful novelty record is that you should be humming it after the first play even if you utterly despise it - "It's The Fonz" doesn't really achieve that.  Oddly though, the flip-side "Love Walked Out The Door" is a serious sounding piece of soul which sounds as if it could have been a hit in its own right had the wind been blowing in the right direction (God knows "Top of the Pops" was filled to the brim with this stuff throughout that period).

The Internet is being very unhelpful in helping me to identify who Tom Catz was (and I'm assuming he was a person rather than a group) but media buffs will no doubt note the fact that he was signed to London Weekend Television's label, a relatively short-lived venture which often put out records by the kind of variety acts who graced its programmes, such as these chaps.  It's highly probable that he did have some sort of media profile at the time, but as for where, who knows?  Most of my searches just lead to either one or two suggestions, none of which take me any further forward.

Sorry for the scuffed-sounding nature of these sides, by the way - I tried my best to clean them up.


Sterling Cale said...

Ska-tinged doo wop! Might have caught on if it wasn't for the sandpapered larynxes of the backing singers.

Steve Burdin said...

Check out another tribute to the great character, 'The Fonz Song' by The Heyettes. with added vocal accompaniment by a Fonz soundalike. So bad it's good...