Saturday, May 15, 2010

Gruppo Sportivo -- "Hey Girl" (1979)

She said "Your nose is running, honey"
I said "Sorry, but it's not"
(Listen to the song a couple of times -- you'll get it eventually.)

Someone once described Gruppo Sportivo as a Dutch band with an Italian name (which the band saw on a poster and liked -- it means "sports team") that sang in French and English (sort of).  They are another one of the great bands that I became acquainted with in 1980 thanks to the "Mystic Eye" radio show.

Gruppo Sportivo's song lyrics sound they are the result of a partnership between a literature professor and a really obnoxious, show-offy 6th-grade boy.  (I'm pretty sure the 6th-grader wrote the lines quoted above.)  I'm a sucker for pop songs with goofy yet clever lyrics -- Sparks, 10cc, etc. -- especially if the band includes a Farfisa or Vox Continental organ:

Gruppo Sportivo's first album -- which was released in Europe in 1977 -- was titled Ten Mistakes.  Their first American album -- which was released in 1979 -- was titled Mistakes, and most of its content came from Ten Mistakes.  

The first song on Mistakes is "Mission a Paris," which the band's website describes as "a dime-store spy novel of stolen NATO plans and secret rendezvouses at the Eiffel Tower."  (Whoever wrote that line could use an ESOL class or two.)

Mission a Paris
Shoot down immediately
Oh oh so and so
Du Deuxieme Bureau
Who stole a NATO plan
For flying carpet men
A secret formula
Ca va et cetera
(The Deuxieme Bureau was the French military intelligence agency.)

It's not easy to find the songs from this album on the internet.  Here's a Dutch home video of a Paris vacation which uses roughly the first half of this song as its soundtrack:

The most outrageous song on the LP (and there was some very stiff competition for that title) was "P.S. 78," an infectious little ditty about a high-school French class:

We are American kids
Rich daddies and big t*ts
Vive la France, les Wallons
Le camembert, et le bonbons
(If you can't remember the difference between camembert and brie, this article will help.)

Unfortunately, I can't find this song in its entirety on Youtube or elsewhere online -- the best I can do for you is to provide a 30-second taste of "P.S. 78" courtesy of Amazon.

Finally, here's "Hey Girl":

Mistakes is no longer in print (although you best believe I'd sell my vinyl version in a heartbeat if the price was right) but the Back to 19 Mistakes CD has 10 of the 12 songs on the original album, plus an interesting version of Wall of Voodoo's "Mexican Radio," of all things.  If you'd like to buy it, just click here:

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