Thursday, 10 April 2008

Guilty Pleasures Pt4

And so to part 4 of this occasional series which is proving to be quite cathartic and it features singer, Pauline Matthews, or Kiki Dee to give her stage name. The reason Kiki Dee is a guilty pleasure for me can be summed up in one song title, ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’. This dreadful duet with Elton John was a huge hit in the UK and I hated it. I still hate it, so let’s move on.

Kiki started her promising career in the 1960s singing in local bands and doing backing vocals for the likes of Dusty Springfield. As a result of her vocal potential, she holds the accolade of being the first white British star to be signed by Tamla Motown, who released a little known album in 1970 and then dropped her. By 1973, Elton John’s Rocket label had picked her up and she had a decent hit with the beautiful ‘Amoureuse’. Up until this point, I had been completely unaware of her, but this single enthralled me with its beguiling melody and moody vocal performance.

I still have the scratched vinyl 7-inch copy that I rushed out to buy when my affair with Kiki started. Although never a rock ‘n’ roll rebel in the accepted sense, she did have a powerful strident voice and in 1974, with a proper rock band assembled around her, she released my favourite of her albums, ‘I’ve Got the Music in Me’ and had a hit with the triumphantly raucous title track.

This album collected together a bunch of much rockier tracks that we were used to from her and she seemed to be aiming at the sort of rock chick market that Pat Benatar would inhabit a decade later. Whilst the album was a reasonable success, the rock chick demeanour never really suited her more staid image and consequently her career failed to take off. Then, in 1976 just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, THAT single was foisted on us. The result was that she seemed to lose her fragile identity completely and became ‘that woman who sings with Elton’ complete with guest appearances. With punk on the horizon, it was about here that we parted company as I couldn’t stand the embarrassment of admitting to liking someone who was famous for doing naff duets with EJ.

Nevertheless, I still play my copy of ‘Amoureuse’ and her ‘rock’ album, but I don’t tell many people about it, so please keep it quiet!

So that’s the story of me and Kiki. What next you may well ask, Clodagh Rodgers?


Barbara(aka Layla) said...

Thanks for sharing this, I hadn't thought of her in years.

musicobsessive said...

Hi! Thanks for stopping by. I think your comment can be filed in the 'case proved' folder. No one really thinks about her these days despite some good stuff in the early 1970s. A bit like Judie Tzuke in the 80s - now there's a subject...