Friday, 11 March 2011

Peter Cook & Dudley Moore - Goodbye-ee (1965/ No. 18/ 10 weeks/ Decca)


Now is the time to say Goodbye
Now is the time to yield a sigh (yield it, yield it)
Now is the time to wend our waaaayeeeeee
Until we meet again
Some sunny day.

Goodbye
Goodbye
We're leaving now,
Tattybye
Goodbye
We wish you all goodbye
Fartatata, fartatata..

At about 80 seconds, this will surely be the shortest single I write about here. It's also - top 20 hit or not - the world's hardest single to find. Until Dale Winton played it on Pick of the Pops one Saturday a couple of years ago, I had never heard the Decca single version before.

Its the closing song from each edition of Peter Cook & Dudley Moore's hilarious 1960s sketch show Not Only But Also, of which - with the characteristic foresight of the BBC archives - almost nothing survives. Dudley sat at the piano, Peter standing. For what is a merely functional tune to tail a TV show and allow the performers an opportunity to clown, the song has a real emotional kick to it, I think - like 'Give Me Sunshine' was to Morecambe & Wise. Goodbye, farewell, the note of leaving and loss. It's made more palatabley silly for the 1960s TV audience by being a twenties pastiche, a musical period also being mined at the same time for nostalgia and fun by The New Vaudeville Band and The Bonzo Dog Band.

One brilliant thing about this recording is how it lets both performers be funny in their own individual way while still working as a song; Dud (the musical one) contributes wild operatic falsettos and peculiar scat ad-libs, while Peter (the non-musical one) delivers a monologue that is both stentorian and oleaginous (and I'm old enough to recognise as a spot-on impersonation of Eamon Andrews, host of This Is Your Life)

I find this to be very funny and rather affecting. I wonder how somebody who had no idea who Peter Cook & Dudley Moore were would respond to it?

Here they are promoting the single to an audience of perplexed young London mods and hipsters on ITV's Ready Steady Go in 1965;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8e1zWT9R1Y

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