Monday, May 23, 2016

Girl: Slade's Gudbuy T’Jane

Purchase Slade, Gudbuy T'Jane

It might make things easier to start this post off by asking, “What song isn’t about a girl?” I’ve certainly never written one that isn’t about a girl.  When I was young, spinning the AM dial endlessly looking for music, I was struck by the fact that almost every song was about love. Most of them about being in love with girls.

So, it was particularly hard to choose a song for this post, but for some reason I got on a Slade kick and few weeks back, and thought: why not Gudbuy T’Jane?

Why was I on a Slade kick? Why not? Slade was a glam rock outfit from England, who, while never really going over the top in terms of acclaim, did notch 17 consecutive top 20 hits in the early 70s. Not a bad run. Brits know them better than Americans, but those of us who went a little nuts for Quiet Riot’s Cum on Feel the Noize owe Slade a certain debt of gratitude. I don’t recall how I got down the Slade rabbit hole recently, but I did. And I’m glad of it.

Slade is an interesting band. A little glam, very British looking, but they always sounded to me like a bottom-heavy southern rock band. Perhaps it the vocal delivery, twangy and snarly, or maybe it’s just the very American riffs that power most of their tunes. Try not to pay attention to the ridiculous Viking cum Highlander cum Martian explorer get ups: these guys looked goofy, but they capture and very specific, 70s riff rock vibe that sinks in, like only the best pop songs can.

“Gudbuy T'Jane" is about a girl, of course named Jane. A little research says it was written for a particularly spaced out San Francisco radio DJ who allegedly assaulted one of the band members. Supposedly she kicked him, hard, with heels. But then again, there’s also the claim it was written about witnessing a very specific sex act on some obscure San Francisco game show. Again, by a girl named Jane. The song was originally titled Hello T’ Jane. Details are murky. What is clear is that the song was written as the single follow up to one of those top 20 tracks, Mama Weer All Crazee Now. Hello again, Quite Riot?  (That’s a connection of explore sometime, perhaps: bands that do multiple covers of the same band.) What’s also pretty clear is the fun riffed-out groove of this peon to our mysterious girl, Jane. Rock like this put Jane in good company with the likes of Queen’s Fat Bottom Girls, Rod Stewarts Hot Legs and maybe even the girl with American Things, in AC/DC’s You Shook Me All Night Long. I would count her in the same company as Jane’s Addiction’s Jane, but, then again, you never know. We never to know our Jane’ as well as we’d like, do we? 

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