397. ‘Under the Moon of Love’, by Showaddywaddy

In my last post, I wrote about how Chicago had forced me to take soft-rock seriously, to appreciate the subtlety, and the craft. ‘If You Leave Me Now’ was such a lovely, well-made song that it was beginning to work…

Under the Moon of Love, by Showaddywaddy (their 1st and only #1)

3 weeks, from 28th November – 19th December 1976

But here come Showaddywaddy to undo all their good efforts. There goes subtlety, flying out the window. In comes thumping, rollicking, primary-coloured rock ‘n’ roll. The 1950s, reimagined by a toddler on a sugar high. Without seeing a picture of the band, you can instantly imagine the comedy quiffs, and the colourful teddy-boy suits.

Let’s go for a little walk…! Under the moon of love! I offer you these lyrics as lead singer Dave Bartram delivers them, with an emphatic exclamation mark after each line, after each word even: Let’s! Sit! Down and talk! Under the moon of love…! He’s having a great time with this song, which means the listener – as long as they’re willing to leave their musical snobbishness at the door – enjoys themselves by the same measure.

I hate the concept of ‘guilty pleasures’. But, yes. ‘Under the Moon of Love’ is prime guilty pleasures material. ‘If You Leave Me Now’ is an objectively better piece of music, but I am enjoying this record ten times more. It’s fun, dammit! What I wouldn’t give for Showaddywaddy to invade the po-faced charts of 2021!

You were lookin’ so lovely… (Uh-huh-huh)… Because nothing says late-fifties doo-wop-slash-rock-n-roll like a well-placed ‘uh-huh-huh’… Under the moon of love! If you were being unkind, you could claim this as the final nail in glam rock’s coffin, the final fart of the corpse. The sound that can be dated right to the very start of this decade, in ‘Spirit in the Sky’ and ‘I Hear You Knocking’s fried guitar, through the huge-hitters like T Rex, Slade, Wizzard and The Sweet, down through Mud’s dancing, Gary Glitter’s prancing and The Rubettes’ falsettos. To this silly slice of rock ‘n’ roll revival.

Though to be fair, Showaddywaddy had been around since glam’s heyday, when their debut ‘Hey Rock and Roll’ peaked at #2. Since then they had revived Buddy Holly’s ‘Heartbeat’, and Eddie Cochran’s ‘Three Steps to Heaven’, while this, their only #1, kicked off a run of seven straight Top 5 hits lasting well into 1978, long after most of the big glam acts had fallen from the charts. They are still a-rocking to the this day, after a few line-up changes, on the oldies circuit.

As well as Eddie Cochran, they brought back the Kalin Twins’ ‘When’, and ‘Blue Moon’. But perhaps ‘Under the Moon of Love’ was the one that went all the way to the top simply because it wasn’t a big hit first time around. It was originally recorded by Curtis Lee in 1961, making #46 on the Billboard 100. It’s slightly better, in the way that originals usually are, while it was produced by an up and coming chap called Phil Spector.

Finally, Showaddywaddy’s turn at the top means we’ve now had a seven-piece (Pussycat), and two eight-pieces (Chicago and Showaddywaddy) atop the charts. Late ’76 seeing a reinvention of the term ‘big band’. But that run is about to come to an end, for the year’s final chart-topper is by a solo act. And I know it’s April, but we’re about to get a little festive…

15 thoughts on “397. ‘Under the Moon of Love’, by Showaddywaddy

  1. Showaddywaddy always had the same effect on me with each release – “ooh that’s instantly catchy!” followed by me getting quickly bored with it a few weeks later. I think this one is their best track of all the covers though, possible exception of Three Steps To Heaven, but I also rate their Xmas song, Hey Mr Xmas as a forgotten pop goodie, and their stomping also-not-a-cover debut hit Hey Rock ‘n’ Roll, which is very Glitter Rock.

    I’ve never caught one of their shows – but I’m pretty sure it would a fun night out!

    1. I like them, from what I’ve heard, especially ‘Hey Rock n Roll’. Very instant, and very throwaway.

      First time I think I ever heard of Showaddywaddy was through Kasabian boasting that they had replaced them as Leicester’s most famous band. (Not sure they did, though.)

      1. Hah! I’m not sure Kasabian (who are very good) are as famous as Showaddywaddy. When theyve had 7 years of non-stop top 10 recognisable songs, maybe! The Sergio solo project The SLP is even more fab than Kasabian though, one of my fave singles from the last decade in Nobody Else

      2. Kasabian’s first two albums were great, then I kind of lost track, thought the singles I heard were always good. Looks like that might be it, though, since they sacked the singer. I’ll check out the solo stuff.

  2. badfinger20 (Max)

    I don’t know why…but Sha Na Na came to mind for a second but these guys are different…but they are 50s based also though. They seem like a cabaret act… the kind of act you would see at a nightclub or a….riverboat. It’s a lot of fun though.

    1. I just checked out Sha Na Na… they were the band in ‘Grease’?! They seem more doo-wop than Showaddywaddy. I can definitely see these guys on cruise ship. They’re still touring today!

      1. badfinger20 (Max)

        Sha Na Na…no they had their own tv show and were huge in England. Keith Moon was a huge fan of them. You are right though….they were doo wop but still that show kind of thing.

      2. Oh really! I’d never heard of them. If they were good enough for Keith Moon…! Apparently they did appear in ‘Grease’, though, as Johnny Casino and the Gamblers.

      3. badfinger20 (Max)

        You taught me something there. They had a tv show here…I’m not sure if it was shown over there.
        These guys are slick and Sha Na Na were more “greasers” pardon the pun lol.

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