Year of Release: 1969
Although he's most famed for the Teenage Opera project, which we've discussed at enormous length here, Mark Wirtz really did put it about a lot as both a producer and performer in the sixties. He wasn't quite up there with Joe Meek in terms of prolificness, but his output did also veer all over the road, ranging from throwaway novelty silliness to intricate, ambitious soundscapes.
"Caroline" is very certainly the former. It is seriously strange, though, being a ballad about a woman so obsessed with her weight that she won't eat anything apart from fruit and salad when she's out with the Wirtzman. Wirtz ends the song by going into a long diatribe, pleading with her not to worry about "getting fat", as her present behaviour is ruining many a dinner date. You're forced to conclude that the poor lady probably had some sort of eating disorder (seriously - it doesn't sound right).
With a strolling, trotting rhythm to it, "Caroline" also somewhat startlingly resembles the music from the 1980s Toffee Crisp "seance" adverts, which is probably a coincidence unless the songwriters Leander and Mills were hawking off-cuts to advertising agencies at that point.
Inevitably, this single isn't high on anyone's list of Wirtz wants, but it's such a ridiculous record that it's worth logging here. Obviously all involved must have hoped that it might strike a chord with men everywhere frustrated with their calorie-counting better halves, but I'd be willing to wager that total bemusement was the only response forthcoming.