The ILB potted guide to “The Most Beautiful Girl”
We did one of these before for “Wild World“, and that actually got me my dick sucked of a Vietnamese girl, so fuck it we may as well make these a regular feature. ILB’s back and in full swing, baby…
First things first: don’t confuse “The Most Beautiful Girl” with either a) the recording by the then-named The Artist Formerly Known As Prince from 1994 called “The Most Beautiful Girl In The World”, which is his only UK #1 single as a performer b) the Rodgers and Hart song from the musical Jumbo covered by, among others, Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett or c) the girl who used to sit in my psychology lectures during freshman year of uni, wearing a Nirvana hoodie.
No, we’re talking about the 1973 country pop track recorded most famously by Charlie Rich. I’ve become briefly obsessed with this track in recent days… I think it may be the best song ever there isn’t really a great version of. Every take on it I can find is either overblown or shit, possibly as a result of that countrypolitan 70s radio song sounding like fucking anathema these days (too slick to be outlaw, too rough for people who won’t shut the fuck up about Taylor Swift to embrace). Here’s a brief Spotify-enabled rundown of the versions of it that are out there:
The most listened-to version on Spotify, dwarfing Charlie Rich, despite being in Swedish. One of the great disappointments a man can experience in the internet era is coming across some piece of wacky foreign film footage on Youtube, only to discover a few weeks later that it’s actually from a Finnish/Japanese/Reunion Island comedy show, and is thus meant to seem ridick. Like the Andy Richter-looking Dutch guy licking that kid’s face. Anyway, Larz-Kristerz look like one of those unfunny “WORST ALBUM COVERS EVER!!!!” bands, but are actually a bunch of Swedish guys “in” on “the joke”. Not sure what the joke is as I can’t speak Swedish, but there’s probably some white-hot satire lurking in these lyrics. Or maybe they just say “cock” a lot.
Or “Kenny Rogers without a beard”, as you probably know him. I honestly do love this track, but I think my love for it is despite Charlie Rich, not because of it. Like I say, all those country-pop musicians of the early 70s… for all of the coke they snorted and whiskey they gargled, I can’t hear any of it in the music. Which seems like a big failure to me. Rich was a guy who ended up touring with Tom Waits before he carked it, and yet this is some fucking Rated Universal, designated driver music right here.
The most famous former goalkeeper that isn’t Pope John Paul II, Albert Camus or Nicky from Westlife. Didn’t really hear much about him for a bit, then you did because his son was having hits, and then his son stopped having hits so you didn’t hear about his father again. Absolutely fucking ridiculously overblown and not in a good way. Like being forced to live entirely on a diet Guylian chocolates.
Name two famous Kenyans: Jomo Kenyatta and Roger Whittaker. Do you think they ever hung out much? Was Kenyatta’s revolutionary fervour aided by Roge’s whistling ability? This song contains no whistling at all, which seems to be pretty off for a Roger Whittaker track, like employing Bez to stand perfectly still while he shakes his maracas or something.
This is the point where I’m meant to tell you that these soul/funk legends absolutely blew the original honky whitebread version out of the water. But no, no they didn’t, they did what 90% of so-called “classic” soul covers of rock/pop tracks actually do, which is just say…the…lyrics…very…slowly. It’s no “Harvest for the World”, put it that way.
The best version of this track out there, and with no yodelling. Was kinda stunned to discover Slim Whitman was still alive, but then I was all 😮 when I found out the guy that played Al in Happy Days was still with us as well. Do you think he’ll die before or after Hugh Hefner and Tay Zonday when it comes to people who’ve been in Weezer videos?
Sounds like a TV Offal sketch minus the bitterness. It was just that Slim Whitman was still alive I was surprised to learn today: apparently Ray Conniff was heterosexual as well? Not gonna lie: I have my doubts about this “fact”.
Some days, I honestly think Hank Marvin might be the greatest guitarist ever. If you don’t like twangy “singing” effects on guitars, then you should go away and listen to 808s or something instead. Kinda feel that Marvin is happy that, due to mainly playing hypeman to Sir Cliff for most of his career, he doesn’t get the usual phlanx of stans that most guitar vets in the game do.
Fuck this, I’m off to bed.
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