Friday, February 21, 2014

Jigsaw -- "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" (1971)

Admit it.  You've never heard of Jigsaw, which was a British pop band that released a half dozen albums in the seventies.  

You have heard one of their singles, which was a #3 hit in the United States in 1975.  But more about that song in March, when 2 or 3 lines will return to featuring song with words instead of instrumentals.

Jigsaw on tour in Japan
Jigsaw was formed when six Coventry-area musicians who had previously played in Scott and the Antarctics, the Surfcyders, Clockwork Shoppe, the Mighty Avengers, Pinkerton's Assorted Colours, Aurora Borealis, and the Fortunes got together in 1966.  (I swear those band names are real -- except for one of them.  See if you can figure out which one is fake.)

Jigsaw started out as a crazy-ass rock band who would set its drum kit on fire and blow up its stack of Marshall amplifiers during live shows.  But after a few years of that, the group began recording more mainstream pop records.

The Leatherslade Farm album cover
Jigsaw's arrangement of Johann Sebastian Bach's famous "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring," which was the final movement of his cantata, Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben ("Heart and Mouth and Deed and Life"), was released in 1971 on the group's debut album, Leatherslade Farm. 

The Leatherslade Farm farm
Leatherslade Farm was where the participants in "The Great Train Robbery" -- a 1963 robbery of a Royal Mail train that netted almost $77 million in today's dollars -- hid out after pulling off that daring heist.  Among the items that were later found at the farm by police was a Monopoly game, which the thieves apparently played with real money from the robbery.

If you are of a certain age -- 2 or 3 lines is certainly of a certain age -- you likely will remember a record titled "Joy" by Apollo 100, which almost certainly was inspired by the Jigsaw recording we are featuring today.  Apollo 100's "Joy" climbed all the way to #6 on the Billboard "Hot 100" in early 1972, and was later included on the soundtracks of Boogie Nights (which was a great movie) and The 40-Year-Old Virgin (which was a wretched movie).

I think Jigsaw's version of the popular Bach piece is far superior to the Apollo 100 version.  (It's certainly far crazier.)  But I'll let you be the judge.

Here's Apollo 100's "Joy":

And here's Jigsaw's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring":

Told you so, motherf*ckers!

Amazon doesn't seem to offer Jigsaw's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring," but click below if you'd like to buy Apollo 100's "Joy" from Amazon:

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