Bertie Higgins: Key Largo (1982)

 |   |  1 min read

Bertie Higgins: Key Largo (1982)

Bertie Higgins -- born in Florida despite his London East End-sounding name -- didn't make much long-term impression on the charts, except for this ballad about the romantic Golden Age of the Silver Screen which topped Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart in '82.

Higgins, who had been a drummer in Tommy Roe's backing band in the Sixties, neatly captured a couple of generations' nostalgia for something they never knew but had sometimes seen on the classic movie channel -- that on (and off) screen chemistry between rumpled Humphrey Bogart and the ice-cool luminosity of Lauren Bacall which sizzled in black'n'white on late night reruns.

For those locked into suburbia or enduring the dawn of the Reagan era, this conjuring up of the long lost romance of youth -- and using the Bogie-Bacall '48 drama Key Largo as a metaphor -- was hugely appealing.

They used to say when the times get tough the songs get soft, and maybe that was also part of the appeal. Key Largo sounded more magical than most places, be they real, the movie or the metaphor. It was escapism with a memorable chorus.

And it didn't matter a jot that Bogie's phrases "here's lookin' at you kid" and "play it again" used here didn't come from Key Largo but from Casablanca.

It mattered so little that the image I've used here doesn't come from Key Largo either -- but from The Big Sleep.

For more one-offs, oddities or songs with an interesting backstory use the RSS feed to get your daily update From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Larry Wallis: Police Car (1977)

Larry Wallis: Police Car (1977)

The punk era tossed up -- threw up? -- some real oddities, few more unexpected than Wallis who was no spring chicken in the world of short haired rock'n'roll for angry 18-year olds. He'd been... > Read more

Eddie Hinton: I Want a Woman (1986)

Eddie Hinton: I Want a Woman (1986)

Alabama-born Eddie Hinton (1944-95) is hardly a household name but was one of the great Southern soul songwriters and sessionmen. As a Muscle Shoals musician he played guitar on scores of sessions... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Laura Riz: Gypsy Soul (Arc/Elite)

Laura Riz: Gypsy Soul (Arc/Elite)

Look, I have absoluely no doubt that singer Riz -- who was previously a fashion choreographer and director who sang light jazz and bossa nova -- makes music as authentically "Gypsy" as... > Read more

The Dire Straits Experience, Aotea Centre, Auckland Oct 2 2014

The Dire Straits Experience, Aotea Centre, Auckland Oct 2 2014

Some time at the tail end of last century I spent a very funny evening backstage with Tina Turner, Neil Diamond and Rod Stewart. There were lots of laughs . . . although it did seem there was... > Read more