Monday, May 9, 2011

Speaking in Tongues: Wunderbar

Tenpole Tudor: Wunderbar


Tenpole Tudor was – and still is – a British band that emerged from the 1970s punk rock scene. By the time this German-titled single was released, in 1981, they had crossed over to what was loosely called New Wave, before that term referred to bands with resourceful haircuts, cheekbone-highlighting make-up and an obsession with synthethisers.

Singer Edward Tudor-Pole (his real name) had appeared, as Eddie Tenpole, in the Sex Pistols film The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle, in which he performed a few songs, including the title track. In fact, he was penciled in to replace Johnny Rotten as the Pistols’ lead singer before manager Malcolm McLaren decided to break up the band which he had essentially created.

Wunderbar (the single sleeve spells it incorrectly and probably deliberately with an Umlaut, the two dots on certain teutonic vowels) reached #16 in the UK charts. The song is a cursory existential reflection that is relieved by reference to a German woman who says nothing but repeatedly exclamations of “wunderbar”, a word that means “wonderful”.

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