17 February 2019

Paul Dean and The Thoughts - You Don't Own Me/ Hole In The Head

"Sorry Pen". It's an angry song by Paul Nicholas telling his partner what's what and what's not.

Label: Decca
Year of Release: 1965

Paul Nicholas is one of light entertainment's most flexible characters. From pop singer to stage actor to comedy actor to director, the man has jumped on every opportunity going, and impressively enough, managed to succeed at all of them. While the British public are most familiar with his charming but flawed character Vince in "Just Good Friends", his career actually began in the recording studio.

"Paul Dean" was one his early aliases, and "You Don't Own Me" is a very unexpected cover of a Lesley Gore near-hit. In Lesley's hands, it sounds like the defiant cry of an independent young woman who doesn't want to be saddled with a serious and possessive relationship. At the point of its 1964 release, it must have sounded like a fairly radical and powerful piece of work. Paul Nicholas swaps the gender roles around for his version, and it just sounds sneering and boorish, and at the point of Paul protesting that he doesn't just want to be an attractive piece of fluff on his woman's arm, slightly unusual (though he is Paul Nicholas, I suppose). It's hard to imagine female record buyers being attracted to it, and judging by its low sales, the men didn't bother either.

"Hole In The Head" on the flipside is a bit more of a rocker, but doesn't quite make up for the shortfall.

It almost goes without saying that Nicholas' career after this disappointment gained significant ground. Even his flop records were interesting - "Over The Wall We Go" under the alias of Oscar was a Bowie-penned police-mocking ditty which, while not a hit, is certainly an entertaining footnote in both his and Dame David's story. His stint in the musical "Hair" paid enormous dividends, and by the seventies he was invading the pop charts (and the hearts of numerous women) on a regular basis.  From the eighties onwards, his acting career took bloom, and he was most recently seen in 2016 playing Neville Chamberlain in the film "Masaryk".

Back in 1965, he was merely serving his apprenticeship, and "You Don't Own Me" is just a case of the wrong material being given to a capable artist. So it goes. 

But what of his backing group here, The Thoughts? Unless I'm mistaken, it looks as if they're the same Liverpool group who eventually delivered the blistering Ray Davies track "All Night Stand" the following year. Consisting of Pete Beckett on vocals and guitar, Phil Boardman on lead guitar, Dave Croft on drums and Alan Hornby on bass, they're not to be overlooked themselves; certainly not on their most famous number.

1 comment:

john111257 said...

Powerful cover, i prefer this version