Posted by: Liza Rosenberg | July 22, 2007

80s Music Video Sunday #31

I have friends around the same age as me who grew up in Europe while I was growing up in the US, and it’s interesting to note that while musical trends on both sides of the Atlantic were very similar, there were certainly differences in the way that these trends played out. Whenever I take one of those inane little music trivia quizzes, I know for a fact that I’ll probably score much lower if the quiz is geared, for example, towards a British audience as opposed to an American audience, as many of the artists that were popular in the UK never came to the US.

Even when a band was popular on both continents, band names often had subtle differences, such as the group known in the US as Yaz, but in Europe as Yazoo which, incidentally, launched the phenomenal career of Alison Moyet, whose amazing voice is hardly known at all in the US, and probably wouldn’t be known to me if I hadn’t spent so much time in Israel during my high school and university years. I can even remember returning to the US following trips to Israel, dumbfounded that the music to which I’d grown so attached during my journey was almost completely unknown in the US.

While there are many popular European artists haven’t been able to break into the US market at all, or have just barely made a splash, including my beloved Housemartins, there are other artists who, while popular in both regions, have select albums that were released in one area and not the other, or albums that were released in both places but with different album covers, such as Depeche Mode‘s album “The Singles 81>85“. And of course, individual songs are often not released everywhere as singles, or songs might be released at different times. When we were in the US during June of 2006, NRG (who lives in Europe) and I were driving somewhere (we had coordinated visits to our parents for the first time ever) and Daniel Powter‘s “Had a Bad Day” came on the radio. The song had been a huge hit in Israel and Europe for over a year at that point, and we were both surprised to hear that it had only recently been released in the US.

This week’s featured artist for 80s Music Video Sunday is one of those bands that were more popular in the UK than in the US. I can only remember two XTC songs being in relatively decent rotation in the US – “Senses Working Overtime” and “Making Plans for Nigel” – more so the former than the latter. A week spent driving around the UK nearly four years ago listening to copious amounts of local radio reminded me of this band’s existence, and an online search when I returned to Israel introduced me to a treasure trove of songs by this band that I’d never known existed. Today’s video is my favorite XTC song – “Mayor of Simpleton”, which caught my ear the very first time I heard it.

Mayor of Simpleton
XTC

Never been near a university,
never took a paper or a learned degree,
and some of your friends think that’s stupid of me,
but it’s nothing that I care about.

Well I don’t know how to tell the weight of the sun,
and of mathematics well I want none,
and I may be the Mayor of Simpleton,
but I know one thing and that’s I love you.
When their logic grows cold and all thinking gets done,
you’ll be warm in the arms of the Mayor of Simpleton.

I can’t have been there when brains were handed round
(please be upstanding for the Mayor of Simpleton),
or get past the cover of your books profound
(please be upstanding for the Mayor of Simpleton),
And some of your friends thinks it’s really unsound that you’re ever seen talking to me.

Well I don’t know how to write a big hit song,
and all crossword puzzles well I just shun,
and I may be the Mayor of Simpleton,
but I know one thing and that’s I love you.

I’m not proud of the fact that I never learned much,
just feel I should say,
what you get is all real, I can’t put on an act,
it takes brains to do that anyway.
(And anyway…)

And I can’t unravel riddles problems and puns,
how the home computer has me on the run,
and I may be the Mayor of Simpleton,
but I know one thing and that’s I love you
(I love you).

If depth of feeling is a currency
(please be upstanding for the Mayor of Simpleton),
then I’m the man who grew the money tree
(no chain of office and no hope of getting one),
some of your friends are too brainy to see that they’re paupers and that’s how they’ll stay.

Well I don’t know how many pounds make up a ton
of all the Nobel prizes that I’ve never won,
and I may be the Mayor of Simpleton,
but I know one thing and that’s I love you.

When all logic grows cold and all thinking gets done,
You’ll be warm in the arms of the Mayor of Simpleton.
You’ll be warm in the arms of the Mayor of Simpleton.
You’ll be warm in the arms of the Mayor.
(Please be upstanding for the Mayor of Simpleton.)

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