Robert Palmer – Johnny & Mary (1980)
Todd Terje Feat. Bryan Ferry (2014)
It’s funny but as a Kid of the 80’s, ‘Johnny & Mary’ seemed as if it was omnipresent on television and radio during that decade. One would think it was a big hit in commercial terms particularly in Robert Palmers English neck of the woods, Merry Olde England but nay,it only reached a piddling Number 44 (!) in the pop music charts meaning it likely escaped being endorsed by the malevolent benevolence Jimmy Saville at the time of its release in 1980.
However, it was a number one hit in a post-Franco Espana so no doubt it was a song soundtracking many formative sun and sangria package holidays to the Balearics and Coastal resorts by pasty Brits and Europeans so there was that, Palmers groovy electronic ditty contributing to an exciting new era of lucrative tourism, budget travel hedonism and intercultural relations in the EC so to speak.
No idea where I was going with that really but suffice to say that Bryan Ferry has always represented a certain decadent, hedonistic loucheness, slightly classier than a night in Benidorm where affected ennui, stylish Eurotrash and beautiful women commingle in a tastefully decorated cocktail terrace overlooking the Aegean Sea whilst he croons in a perfectly tailored suit under the moonlight. Not that Palmer wasn’t a stylish attired middle-aged dude with a certain thing for elegant ladies and slick soul pop himself but the analogy doesn’t work if….okay, I know I shouldn’t be analyzing my writing as I write, lest it feel stilted and self-conscious but I guess what I’m really trying to say instead of leaving you the reader to interpret for yourself is this….I like both versions of this song of course though Palmers version resonates like a haunted echo in me memory bank so it gets a slight edge I suppose.
In the brand spanking new edition, Norwegian producer and DJ Todd Terje conjures up some tastefully melancholic atmospherics and has chosen Mr Ferry, the only other person alive who could do the song justice (Robert Palmer RIP). So, hang on I guess they both work for the middle-aged dance floor crowd, one is fleet of foot with a steady pulse and the other a stately shamble with a silent sigh.