BONUS POSTING : JOHN WAYNE IS BIG LEGGY

Right…..this bonus posting came about after a throwaway comment by Swiss Adam yesterday. He was writing about Return To Brixton, a remix version of the song by The Clash that was released in 1990 on the back of the bass line being used to propel Dub Be Good To Me by Beats International to #1 in the singles chart.

SA said:-

CBS, sensing a hit, decided to get a top dj to remix Guns Of Brixton, for the club scene. Jeremy Healy was the dj and a 12″ single with three new versions was put out. It stormed into the charts reaching number 57. I don’t remember the clubs and bars of 1990 being awash with this version either. Well done CBS, good work.

To be honest I quite like the remixes, they present the song a bit differently, give it something else. They’re not as good as the original no, and yes, they’re probably for completists and the curious only.

Jeremy Healy was in Haysi Fantayzee previous to his dj career. I’ve been watching the Top Of The Pops re-runs from 1983 this year and the January editions had Haysi Fantayzee on several times doing Shiny Shiny,a sort of pirate, nursery rhyme, tribal, glam, anti-nuclear thumper. Having recorded it, I re-watched it a few times too. Two words – Kate Garner.

The thing is I don’t recall the song Shiny Shiny, but I do remember another Haysi Fantayzee single and one which was a massive hit:-

mp3 : Haysi Fantayzee – John Wayne Is Big Leggy

The song reached #11 in the charts in August 1982, The band performed it twice on Top of the Pops and on Saturday morning children’s television. The song, with its “Shotgun, gimme gimme low down;  fun boy, okay, showdown” intro was taken to be a nonsensical novelty song about cowboys.

Only it wasn’t; and there’s a case to be made that John Wayne Is Big Leggy is one of most subversive Top 40 hits of all time. I didn’t believe that when it was put to me by someone many years later in what was a drunken discussion. But its true….

It was an allegory for the treatment which the white settlers used on the Native American Indians. However, I wrote it like John Wayne having anal sex with a squaw.

Jeremy Healy of Haysi Fantayzee.

Yup….as wiki says, it’s combination of political satire and sexual humour wrapped in nursery rhyme style lyrics. John Wayne is having sexual intercourse with a Native American female but when his bandolier restricts their intimacy, she suggests he removes it. He refuses and suggests he sodomises her instead:

So she says to him – Take off that thing, It’s getting right between us.
Now listen honey I can’t do that, not even for you my sweetness.
Now Big John, if that’s a fact, then how’d you propose we do our act?
If that’s the way it’s gonna be, get the hell out of my tepee.
Now speckled hen just stop your squawkin’, Big Bad Rooster’s doin’ the talking.
I know a trick we ought to try, turn right over – you’ll know why.

The inspiration for this surreal imagining Healy reading Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown.

People kept saying we were writing nonsense lyrics but we didn’t explain anything because, if they knew, it wouldn’t get played

Kate Garner of Haysi Fantayzee

Respect where respect is due for getting it past the censors at the BBC…..

Oh and I think Andrew Weatherall might have noted the title of the b-side:-

mp3 : Haysi Fantayzee – Sabres of Paradise

As I said earlier in the week, you do learn something new every day.

JC

9 thoughts on “BONUS POSTING : JOHN WAYNE IS BIG LEGGY

  1. Wow. I’ll certainly never listen to that again in the same way. Kinda makes me want to track down an album by these guys and see what else might have been going on in their lyrics….

    …and having just checked out the track listing for their one album, Battle Hymns for Children Singing, I’ve found songs called Sister Friction, Make Me A Sinner and Here Comes The Beast… all of which now take on a far more sinister meaning.

    Thanks for that, JC.

  2. SA most probably won’t have noticed this yet, but next to Kate Garner there were two blokes in the band, one of which was married to almighty Patsy Kensit …. for just 10 months! Still, it must have been the best 10 months of his entire life, I assume … oh boy!

  3. The first time Haysi did TOTP for John Wayne they actually showed what they meant by “turn right over – you’ll know why”, having recreated the ‘act’ on stage. The second time they were asked on, they were also asked NOT to do that…… unsavoury dance move.

    Other than Jez and Kate, the third member of HF was Paul Caplin, who wrote the music, played most of the instruments and kept in the background. Paul went on to write more music (including Marilyn’s hit “Calling Your Name” and now manages a great blues/jazz/gospel singer, Zeeteah Massiah, who gigs in and around London and has had 3 album out on the Creative Control label.

  4. Nice one JC
    Jez was married to Patsy Kensit?? And here was me thinking that The Chain was his claim to fame!

  5. Mix equal parts Malcolm McLaren and Blitz aesthetic and you get Haysi Fantayzee. Oh and you could dress Kate Gardner in dirty dish towels and she would have been stunning. Model, photographer and early 80s Pop Singer…not a bad CV.

  6. I remember the totp conrad mentions and being into lyrics knew the reference. My oh my add in kate garner and it all had a big impact on me at 15

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