Peter Sarstedt: Mary Jane (1969)

 |   |  1 min read

Peter Sarstedt: Mary Jane (1969)

If people remember UK singer-songwriter Peter Sarstedt for anything at all it is his European-sounding ballad Where Do You Go to My Lovely? . . . and perhaps his summery follow-up One More Frozen Orange Juice.

Both were hits in '69, the former winning him an Ivor Novello songwriting award.

Sarstedt was the younger brother of Eden Kane -- he of Boys Cry fame -- and his other brothers Richard and Robin also briefly troubled the charts.

But although his '69 self-titled album contained tracks with acid-drenched titles like I Am a Cathedral, No More Lollipops and Many Coloured Semi-Precious Plastic Easter Egg -- and also the countrified My Daddy is a Millionaire which makes you wonder if it was directed at Gram Parsons -- his song Mary Jane (used as a coded reference to marijuana, as in Lennon's What's the New Mary Jane) seemed to take quite a contrary stance to the liberal enjoyment of drugs.

In fact in this very disconcerting piece you'd think Mary Jane was as debilitating and as dangerous as heroin, certainly as addictive if you believe the lyrics.

The arrangement by Ian Green (who worked with Cilla Black and Timi Yuro, and arranged Something in the Air) makes this like the soundtrack to a toker's version Man with the Golden Arm -- with a little of Dave Dee's whiplash from Xanadu thrown in just so you know the Devil is on your tail.

It's an odd one.

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

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Daniel Lentz: On the Leopard Altar (1984)

Daniel Lentz: On the Leopard Altar (1984)

To be fair to Paul McCartney, he's always said he can't pick a hit single and never knows if he's written one until people line up to buy it. Even so, when Mojo magazine asked him in '97 -- as... > Read more

The Rainmakers: Let My People Go-Go (1986)

The Rainmakers: Let My People Go-Go (1986)

Bob Walkenhorst of Kansas City's Rainmakers had a good line about his fellow Americans' willingness to get out of it. "The generation that would change the world is still looking for its... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

ESSAY ON DESIGN (2007): The Internationalism of Idiocy

ESSAY ON DESIGN (2007): The Internationalism of Idiocy

In an ideal world good design should be like fine wine and excellent food: only noticeable by its absence. But we live with ordinary chardonnays, indifferent meals, and abusive or annoyingly awful... > Read more

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Voodoo (Rough Guide/Southbound)

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Voodoo (Rough Guide/Southbound)

No one would deny Dr John being on this voodoo collection (more correctly “vodou” in Haiti, the country it is most associated with), but the Night Tripper is here with his... > Read more