324. ‘Long Haired Lover From Liverpool’, by Little Jimmy Osmond

Hot on the heels of Chuck Berry’s smut-fest ‘My Ding-A-Ling’ comes another Christmas novelty, and 1972’s festive #1. Two novelty chart-toppers in a row! Aren’t we the lucky listeners…?

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Long Haired Lover From Liverpool, by Little Jimmy Osmond (his 1st and only #1)

5 weeks, from 17th December 1972 – 21st January 1973

Actually no. We are not. For everything that ‘My Ding-A-Ling’ got right, ‘Long Haired Lover From Liverpool’ gets wrong… It’s not funny, it’s not subversive, it’s not got a bawdy bone in its body. It’s a nine-year-old boy singing a music hall ditty, and it is intensely, painfully, terrifyingly catchy.

I first listened to it a few days ago, after finishing my previous post, and it has been lodged in my brain ever since. I’ll… Be… Your… Long-haired lover from Liverpool, And I’ll do anything you say… Was Little Jimmy Osmond from Liverpool? No, obviously not. They were Mormons from Ogden, Utah. Had he ever been to Liverpool? Doubtful. But he’ll say he is, and that he has, for his sunshine daisy from LA…

He’ll also be her leprechaun sitting on a toadstool, her clown, her puppet, her April Fool… Anything she asks, as long as she’s his sunshine daisy from LA… You have to wonder if Little Jimmy had any idea what the hell he was singing. But he does it like a pro, like the youngest son from a family steeped in showbiz. Before I’d even seen any pictures of him, I could picture his cheeky grin and chubby cheeks. His voice is ear-piercingly high, especially on the title line, but then I suppose nine-year-old’s voices usually are.

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It’s strange. On the one hand I am aware that this is a genuinely heinous piece of music. Meanwhile the other hand is tapping along happily. But lo! Suddenly, just past the two-minute mark, the song fades. Finished. I like to think that the sound engineer just couldn’t take it anymore and slid the volume dial down, while Jimmy and his band kept going for another three minutes, unaware…

‘Long Haired Lover From Liverpool’ had been written and recorded a few years earlier, by a Christopher Kingsley, and played on local radio. That’s where Mother Osmond heard the song and thought it would be perfect for her Jimmy. And it was – Osmond mania was sweeping the world in late ‘72. Little Jimmy was, apparently, particularly huge in Japan. We’ve had one Osmond at the top of the charts already this year, and I have to admit that I’d choose ‘Long Haired Lover From Liverpool’ over Donny’s ‘Puppy Love’ any day of the week.

At nine years and eight months old Jimmy Osmond was – and still is – the youngest artist to be credited with a UK #1 single. (Though younger children have featured on #1s, without getting a credit… more on that anon.)

And that’s that for 1972. What a strange year for chart-toppers! Some have been era-defining, others have been heart-breaking, while some have been hilarious. And a few have just been really, really bad. Roll on 1973!

9 thoughts on “324. ‘Long Haired Lover From Liverpool’, by Little Jimmy Osmond

  1. At the time, I loathed this record (and sorry, I loathed ‘My Ding-a-Ling’ too). Forty years later, we all found out that Jimmy and Donny, whatever you thought of their records, were guys that no normal human being could genuinely dislike. A friend of mine has met them both (as adults) and says they are really nice people. (And like others we could name, with apparently no creepy skeletons in the closet). I also have another friend who used to do regular discos for a bikers’ club, at which they would play in sequence ‘Black Night’, ‘LHLFL’ and ‘Born To Be Wild’, and the punters were really rockin’ on the dance floor to all three. I can’t bring myself to diss this record out of hand any more.

    1. Yeah, I don’t think you need to vehemently hate a silly Christmas novelty recorded by a nine year old… It is what it is. Though I don’t think I’ll have many nice things to say about either of Donny’s upcoming #1s… Still, we all regret things we did as teenagers, and I’m glad to hear he’s a nice guy.

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  4. My younger brother bought this the same week i bought T.Rex Solid Gold Easy Action and John & Yoko’s Happy Xmas War Is Over and it irritated me eventually. I dont hate it and i dont hate Jimmy. Shhh dont tell anyone but i loved the follow up Tweedledee, he just totally threw himself into the cheese with gusto! He turned up as an adult until recently in the uk in theatre or tours and yes a thoroughly nice man with a sense of humour about the old days.

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