Friday, 14 January 2011

91: Glenn and Chris, “Diamond Lights” (no.12, 1987)

Hold on, hold on; I know, I know, I know. I know. A controversial choice, for all sorts of reasons. (Not least that Messrs. Hoddle and Waddle’s involvement in various England and Spurs recordings over the years means they could legitimately be dropped from the one-hit squad altogether.) For years, the bemulleted twosome’s stirring declaration of their love for a cold-eyed beauty has been blighted by memories of their TOTP appearance (preserved, just about, here), which has allowed countless “I Love the 80s” nostalgia shows to point at the haircuts and rolled-up sleeves and laugh and wonder what on earth they were thinking. (For the record, I think Chris’s jacket-and-jeans combo looks perfectly presentable. Glenn’s white suit, not so much.)

Listen to “Diamond Lights” without the cheap visual shorthand, though, and what you discover is a song so weird, so not what you’d expect two footballers to be singing - either in its relatively complex late-80s orchestration or its grandiose emotional content - that it takes on the sound of an especially wonky masterpiece. (By contrast, Gazza’s “Fog on the Tyne/Geordie Boys” double-whammy, Ian Wright’s “Do the Right Thing”, and Andrew “Andy” Cole’s “Outstanding” all make a dull, perfect kind of sense - the same commercial sense that nowadays leads players to bring out fragrances “for men” and turn their hand to producing appalling Danny Dyer movies.)

Factor in that it was written by the man behind Russ Abbot’s spectacularly cheesy crossover success “Atmosphere”, and “Diamond Lights”’ one-of-a-kind strangeness could only be matched if Craig Bellamy and Jimmy Bullard teamed up in the coming months to attempt a Nine Inch Nails cover. For their part, Glenn and Chris went their separate ways shortly thereafter, alas, although after his big-money transfer to Marseilles, Chris made an ill-judged - although thankfully little-heard - assault on le hit-parade francais. If you don’t much care for “Diamond Lights”, compare it to his Basile Boli duet, “We’ve Got a Feeling”, and prepare to think again.

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