21 September 2016.
The Only Ones, consisting of Peter Perrett (vocals, guitar), John Perry (lead guitar, keyboards), Mike Kellie (drums) and Alan Mair (bass) released their debut single in June 1977. They disbanded in March 1981 after a career that had seen six singles (seven if you count that one was given a re-release) and three albums. None of the singles charted while the first two albums reached #56 and #42 respectively in May 78 and March 79.
It wouldn’t normally be the sort of stats that get you noticed far less fondly remembered. Except for the fact that this was one of the singles:-
It had passed me by on its first release in April 78 and again in August 78 when CBS Records, convinced of its quality, tried again. I wouldn’t have heard it until 1981/82 when I began frequenting the Strathclyde University Students Union where the song was a staple of the alternative downstairs disco, sometimes airing two or even three times a night s each of the DJs doing a stint would give it a spin. Once heard, never forgotten and for most folk it was instant love. By now the record had been long deleted, so I never got my hands on a physical copy of it, but in due course a few years later it would be included on a new wave type compilation and so at last I could play something other than the version I had on hissy cassette tape.
It’s an astonishingly good piece of music. It’s damn near the most perfect ever guitar-pop song, in terms of the tune, the playing, the doom-laden verses and the ridiculously catchy sing-a-long chorus. Don’t even bother trying to argue otherwise, as you’re wrong.
I’ve dug out, from other sources and sadly not the original vinyl, the b-sides to the two releases of the single:-
As it turned out, many of you agreed with me. Here’s a re-run of the comments left after the posting:-
Brian : Best song ever! I have never been out for karaoke, but this is the song I would do if I ever did. I have sung it with that perfect nasal drawl hundreds of times at home and always with a big grin.
Charity Chic : I’m with Brian – one of the best, if not the best song ever.
Colin Milligan : Fantastic Song, my brother had the 7″ and Special View got almost as many plays – I always thought it was a double A side. Thanks for sharing.
billisdead : When I was 10/11 yea s old I used to eye Stiff’s oldest brother John’s copy of AGAP with extreme envy more so than with any other of his or anybody else’s records. John once said to Stiff that he thought that I would kill for this single and he wasn’t far off the mark. I was 20 odd before I got a near mint copy for myself. Such a great record, in my top 21 singles.
JTFL : Classic. Kind of tragic, too, but as close as you can get to the perfect rock song.
therobster71 : I wrote about the lyrics of this song in an English degree essay about the poetic use of language.
Quite simply the greatest pop song ever written.
The Swede : I bought The Only Ones’ debut single, ‘Lovers of Today’, the morning after hearing it on John Peel’s show and stayed with the band from beginning to end. The second album, ‘Even Serpents Shine’, is a nigh-on impeccable piece of work. Peter Perrett is currently recording a solo album produced by Chris Kimsey.
(I once sang ‘Another Girl Another Planet’ with my mate’s punk band at his wedding bash. It’s a great song to sing, though sadly the marriage didn’t last.)
Echorich : Have to add my name to those who believe this is one of the best guitar pop songs EVER! If you had asked me in the very early 80s I would have thought Another Girl, Another Planet was a world wide smash! It got massive play from the burgeoning ALT. Rock radio.
Here’s the Peel Session version.
It was the band’s second time recording a session for the much-loved and much missed DJ. It was recorded on 5 April 1978 and broadcast nine days later. Such was its popularity that the session, which also included The Beast, No Peace For The Wicked and Language Problem, was repeated on three further occasions in May, June and August 1978.
I think it’s fair to say that this is one of those occasions when the studio version knocks the session version out of the park, although I do love the additional half-arsed shout which comes in just before the guitar solo around the halfway point.