Record of the week: Dickies – Banana Splits
Highest entry: Damned – Love Song – 26
21 Mar 2022 – Seeing the Dickies play Banana Splits on Top of the Pops – it was a video, not in the studio – was amazing. I’d never seen music played so fast before. It was thrilling and exciting. And Love Song – it was a time of great music, but look at the top of the charts and it was not so good. However, it provided the balance to kick against. It’s hard to put yourself back in the position of the context of the past.
6th May 1979
Dunno, quite a good day wasn’t it
Exactly one year since Ipswich won the cup
21 Mar 2022 – This was a great period of time to be an Ipswich Town fan and I was annoyed when Bobby Robson was eventually enticed away to manage the England team. They never got the mojo back after that.
7th May 1979
Carey Camp starts
21 Mar 2022 – Hmm – a couple of hundred kids camping for 5 days. Was that a good idea? As a teacher now, I think I would refuse to be part of that! But then, when I think about the teachers at the time they were probably all in their twenties and thirties and still full of enthusiasm. As a kid though, as a student, this was an interesting week, that did eventually get out of control.
For the most part, we were sleeping in tents of 8 and I don’t recall any shenanigans. The teachers were probably smart enough to pick which kids were in which tents and we weren’t yet brave enough to go against the rules sent down for us.
8th May 1979
Went to Old Harry
God were my legs killing me
21 Mar 2022 – Again, probably a good adult tactic was to wear us the fuck out so that we would get back to camp and just sleep. I found out that on Friday we would be going to Swanage and I was desperate to find a record shop so that I could the Pop Muzik 7″. It was all I could talk about. Pun intended.
9th May 1979
My legs weren’t as bad as yesterday
UEFA Cup Final (1st Leg)
Borussia Muchengladbach 1-1 Red Star Belgrade
10th May 1979
1. Art Garfunkel – Bright Eyes
2. M – Pop Muzik
3. Boney M – Holiday
4. Abba – Does Your Mother Know
5. Racey – Some Girls
21 Mar 2022 – On this night several of us got to sleep in a different field in two-man tents and this was a cause for shenanigans as the teachers were not around. Also, longer summer nights made for a long period of twilight and so we screamed and shouted whilst roasting food on campfires and generally causing the kind of mayhem that 11-year-olds can – which really isn’t that much. But eventually, the teachers in the faraway field came and told us to pipe down. They noticed that there was a big smear of butter down the side of one tent and were very upset about it. Matthew owned up that it was him who threw the butter and we expected him to be led off in disgrace but instead, we all got punished and sent back to join the others.
I was worried about the ramifications because I really wanted to go to Swanage the next day. That was all I could think about.
11th May 1979
Sick at camp
Wish I knew what was at No 1
QPR 0-4 Ipswich
21 Mar 2022 – And so fate intervened as I started vomiting up dodgy food as the sun rose in the early morning and I felt sick as a dog. Someone else had suffered the same fate and we got put in a room at the camp for the rest of the day. Not to be outdone, I gave my money to one of the teachers in the vague hope that they would pass a record store and could be the single for me.
But I was to be disappointed and frustrated, feeling sure that they probably didn’t even bother to find a record shop, because my request was obviously far more important than whatever else it was that the teachers had planned.
I had recovered my dodgy stomach throughout the day, enough to enjoy the final night of festivities, where everyone sat around a huge bonfire singing songs. No doubt Kumbaya was in there.
Some of the kids had prepared a short skit, which I’m sure was initiated by the teachers. It involved a girl standing by a tree and another person came along. The girl said – oh I like your shoes, where did you get them? To which the traveller replied ‘John Lewis’ (a famous clothing store). Another person comes along – oh I like your socks, where did you get them? ‘John Lewis’ again. Another person – trousers – ‘John Lewis’. Another – shirt – ‘John Lewis’. Another – hat – ‘John Lewis. And finally, (I can picture the boy but don’t recall his name, he was a bit of a class clown) a boy comes along in his underpants and the girl says Who are you? to which he replies ‘I’m John Lewis.’ We all cracked up and thought it was very daring.
12th May 1979
Carey Camp ends
FA Cup Final
Arsenal 3-2 Man Utd
Rangers 0-0 Hibs
Information from the Facebook group: Decade 77-87 – a grown-up disco: new wave, punk, postpunk, goth & indie
On this date in 1979, THE DICKIES released the single BANANA SPLITS (THE TRA LA LA SONG), (April 12th 1979).
THE DICKIES were Leonard Grayes Phillips on vocals, Stan Lee (aka Stan Sobel) on lead guitar, Chuck Wagon (aka Bob) on keyboards and sax, Karlos Kaballero on drums, and Billy Club on bass, a year zero punk outfit that emerged from a San Fernando garage in late 1977.
Within a matter of weeks, they’d been given a spot at the Whisky on the Sunset Strip.
“We just came out of nowhere,” said bassist Billy Club. “We’d been together about a week when Rodney Bigenheimer (L.A. man-about-town) came out to the garage we were in. We had about eight songs. He booked us at the Whisky.”
The Dickies were based just outside L.A. and all agreed that the radio was “an outrage – all that disco shi t. We’ve been hearing the same thing on it for the past five years”. But acting on their anti-disco manifesto had to wait until punk reared its head in the form of the Sex Pistols crossing the Atlantic and passing through the States.
“We played the Whisky – like, it was a Tuesday night, no one was there, but we got a cult following, and we started headlining the Whisky weekends and playing the Starwood,” explained Stan. “It was a joke, then all of a sudden: Dickiemania.”
A typical description of a Dickies live show went something like this: “…The lead singer wears a plaster leg cast, while guitar player Stan adorns womens’ lace panties on his head. The bassist wears a flasher’s yellow raincoat with black polka dots…It’s party-time.”
As for the music, a Los Angeles Times writer called it “primarily punkoid in structure and delivery, but pop elements to set them apart from the blunt, primitive school”. After much debate, “Easy listening punk” appeared to be the band’s favourite. Time would see their catchy melodic sound labelled “pop-punk” or “bubble-gum punk”.
Their songs were covers – ‘Paranoid’, The ‘Tra La La Song’ (from the Banana Splits cartoon show) and brilliantly odd picks like ‘Sound Of Silence’, plus a growing number of originals.
Notably, The Dickies achieved a series of firsts: the first California punk band to appear on network television, the first California punk band to be signed to a major (A&M Records) and the first U.S. punk outfit to tour Europe. By 1979, they‘d won over a lot of British fans.