aka The Vinyl Villain incorporating Sexy Loser
#009 – The Bodysnatchers – ‚Ruder Than You’ (Chrysalis Records, ’80)
first of all I would like to thank you for all the comments on Blancmange and B-Movie in particular, but ultimately I am of course grateful for every comment that comes in – it shows me that this series isn’t completely useless. It’s interesting though, isn’t it, that especially the two last episodes have struck a chord with so many people. I mean, both featured rather ‘eupeptic’ music: which normally is nothing that the usual reader of this blog would fancy by and large.
But there you are, I’m happy of course. And if I were clever, I would not change this winning horse and continue in some similar reader-friendly vein. But no, today we are back with some Ska again. Or some Rocksteady, to be precise. ‘Oh no, not again!’, I hear you cry, but for those of you who never read the first post: the singles come in alphabetical order, there is no clever segue in one form or another. So I am contractually obliged to follow with this line, I’m afraid:
The Bodysnatchers often get a bit neglected when it comes to the ‘big’ names within 2 Tone. Everyone knows The Specials, The Selecter, The Beat and Madness. But who could name one of the four tunes The Bodysnatchers did back then? Not many of you, I’m sure. And this is a mistake, believe me!
The combo did indeed consist of seven girls, as the below sleeve (of my German pressing) suggests. Alas, they weren’t septuplets, as on the sleeve, now, that would have been awesome!!
The story, well, goes as it so often goes: Fruit seller Nicky Summers saw The Specials and was so hooked that she recruited a civil servant, a fashion designer, a lifeguard, a secretary, a freelance illustrator and a schoolgirl. Together they formed a band, the fact that some of them could barely play their instruments and others couldn’t play them at all didn’t hinder them in learning to play as they went along
Rhoda Dakar Vocals
Nicky Summers Bass
Stella Barker Rhythm Guitar
Sarah-Jane Owen Lead Guitar
Pennie Leyton Keyboards
Jane Summers * Drums
Miranda Joyce Saxophone
* later replaced by Judy Parsons
The Bodysnatchers got their first gigs in 1979 and started with covering some old Rocksteady tunes, ‘007’, ‘Monkey Spanner’ and ‘Let’s Do Rock Steady’, the Dandy Livingstone number. The latter then became the A-Side of their first single, issued on the Two-Tone Label in the following year. The B-Side though was an original Bodysnatchers-composition, and as brilliant the A-Side is, I always preferred the B-Side:
mp3 : The Bodysnatchers – Ruder Than You
They had a second single in 1980, ‘Easy Life’ (a tune of theirs) with ‘Too Experienced’ (a Winston Francis cover) on the flipside. And that, much to my dismay, was the end: an album never saw the light of day, although I’m sure it would have been a massive corker. The Bodysnatchers disbanded in October of 1980, but their career in music was not over: Rhoda and Nicky had intended to work together after the split but the idea came to nothing while four other band members found some success in the form of The Belle Stars: Stella, Miranda, Sarah-Jane and Judy. Quite often they used old Bodysnatchers-numbers in their repertoire, so did Rhoda a bit later in her collaboration with Jerry Dammers under the Special AKA – moniker together with the original Specials’ leftovers.
You see, every day is a school day, as they say. Then again I don’t care if you learned something today or not. For me, the only thing that counts is if you have enjoyed the song.
And by God, I do hope you did!!