Sunday, June 10, 2012

Contempt: Money is a Girl's Best Friend



A posting on the Do You Remember? board captures an experience I had a few weeks ago:
I'm currently watching an episode of Top of the Pops from 1977 on BBC4 and they just had a band called Contempt on singing "Money is a Girl's Best Friend". I feel like I've slipped into a parallel universe as I don't remember this band or this song at all. I was 16 in 1977 and really into music so I don't know how it/they passed me by. I can't find much about them on the Internet - anyone help me out here?
I think I was 17 by the time this came out, but otherwise I could have written that myself. And Money is a Girl's Best Friend - which can best be described as "interesting" - must be obscure, because I can still identify many singles from 1977 by their first few notes.

Follow that thread on Do You Remember? and a later posts puts us in the picture:
I'm pretty much an expert on Contempt as I'm the 21 year old daughter of the then-bass player, Nick Pallett (stripey shirt). I can tell you anything you want to know, I'm in the process of writing a pretty detailed Wikipedia article about them. There's been a sudden revival of interest since their TOTP appearance (not saying that's a good thing - most of the interest is just a kind of bemused distaste!). 
Don't be surprised that they passed you by - my mum was also 16 at the time and didn't remember a thing about them! (They're married now and she still refused to believe he was telling the truth about his performance until she'd seen it with her own eyes!) 
Basically they were invited onto TOTP as an introductory act; their single 'money is a girl's best friend' was due to be released the following Friday morning. If it did well they would have released more singles and an album (which they had already recorded). However, Polydor records didn't distribute the singles properly and the majority of record shops never stocked it, so people forgot about them and it never charted. 
The band were back to square one and returned to playing university gigs; meanwhile my dad lent the master tapes of the entire album to the manager, John Scott, who never returned them. One night a few months later my dad and Howard Paul, the front man, came to blows backstage at a gig over (amongst other things) Howard's repeated boasting about their TOTP appearance.
It's a shit business.

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