Random Runners-Up: ‘Bend It!’, by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich

I’m going to spend the next week in the company of some songs that almost featured on this blog in their own right. Instead, all these hits peaked in the most frustrating position of all… #2. As with this feature last year, they’ve been chosen at random – honest – and the date generator has thrown up some interesting choices. Two songs I’ve never heard of, a couple that I’m acquainted with, and one that nearly everyone on this planet knows word for word… Kicking us off, here’s one I’m acquainted with:

‘Bend It!’, by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich

#2 for 2 weeks, from 6th-20th October 1966 (behind ‘Distant Drums’, by Jim Reeves)

One of the kookiest bands of the decade – in a decade that wasn’t short on kooky bands – sat in second place for a fortnight with this Greek-sounding foot-stomper. Bend It! Bend It! they exhort… Just a little bit… It’s all about two people fitting together, like a jigsaw puzzle. It’s all a little suggestive – suggestive enough to get it banned and hastily re-recorded in the US.

Like many of DDDBM&T’s hits, ‘Bend It!’ doesn’t follow standard pop song conventions. Each verse works its way up to crashing, plate-smashing crescendo, before settling back down to a woozy stomp. Apparently it was inspired by ‘Zorba’s Dance’ – that tune you hear in every Greek restaurant. I’d say it was more than just ‘inspired by’ that earlier hit…

Still it’s a fun tune. Dave Dee and pals knew how to keep it interesting. A year or so after this they scored their only chart-topper, the epic ‘Legend of Xanadu’. That was another fun one, and fairly unique for the band in that the title wasn’t followed by an exclamation mark. They also scored Top 5 hits with the thumping ‘Hold Tight!’ (their breakthrough and my favourite), ‘Okay!’, and ‘Zabadak!’

The fact that this single featured on an album called ‘If Music Be the Food of Love… Then Prepare for Indigestion’ is both brilliant, and a fitting summary of the band’s approach to making pop music. Try everything once! It’s just a shame that they seem to have slipped from the official sixties pantheon.

Another #2 is up tomorrow…

7 thoughts on “Random Runners-Up: ‘Bend It!’, by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich

  1. Dave Dee & Co were a class act. Sadly, once the 70s came along, they seemed to be regarded as embarrassing, disposable teenybopper fodder and nobody wanted to remember them, mainly because their hits were always written by someone else, i.e. the Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley partnership. Now they are regarded as innovators before their time. The first single ‘Hold Tight!’ was driven by some brutally hard rocking rhythm and lead guitar, but if you called it ‘heavy rock’ you would be laughed at – it was so damn infectious that nobody really noticed. Last Top 10 hit was a psychfest, the extraordinary ‘Last Night in Soho’ (which slipped past the BBC censors with what was quite a steamy storyline for that time), and in between that they gave us mandolins, Russian balalaikas, and calypso-flavoured tunes that marked them out as a band that mixed commercial pop with zany world music trimmings. The ex-policeman who was at the crash in Wiltshire that killed Eddie Cochran and injured Gene Vincent, and then turned to singing, did pretty well for himself. And I think they are still Salisbury’s only claim to rock’n’roll fame, unless someone else can correct me. A DDBMT ‘Best Of’ CD has always been on my shelves and never gathers dust.

    1. I love the pounding ‘Hold Tight!’ – I’d rather it had been the #2 over this but hey ho.

      Ps. I looked at my settings and it seems making comments editable once posted is above my pay-grade. I’m sure nobody will notice your slip!

  2. badfinger20 (Max)

    I read about these guys for years but until the Tarantino movie Death Proof I never heard them…I like what I’ve heard. Yea I love Hold Tight! the best.

  3. I love this band. Vastly under rated cos they had a sense of fun, and cos of the name. They had a variety of genre and willingness to mix it up and i was mad on the nonsense lyriced Zabadak when i was 9 and the epic sounds of Xanadu and Last Night In Soho, the latter really is a mighty record and im pissed off that Edgar Wright gives Tarantino the credit for the title of the forthcoming movie of the same name when he just nicked it. I would have forgiven both if theyd had the decency to put the record on the film soundtrack! Pah! Mind you edgar has just done a bio film doc on the possibly the most unique band still going strong 50 years on and as great as ever. Sparks, This Town Aint Big Enough For Both Of Us being brilliant debut and also a number 2 peaking hit 🙂

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