This is a story, a very special story.
It’s about Brian Jones, one of the Rolling Stones.
In a parallel universe, not far from ours, this song was a massive hit. One of the defining songs of the 1980s. Alas it was not to be. It got to 67 in the UK chart in 1984. First a bit of background…
You probably don’t need me to tell you that Psychic TV emerged in 1981 from ashes of Throbbing Gristle. In some dictionaries Throbbing Gristle are *the* definition of punk, and are certainly more punk than much of what got the punk tag. Throbbing Gristle invented industrial music, did everything independently, didn’t care what anyone thought of them, and gave their audience the whole punk package: shocking visuals, confrontation with a capital C, extreme lyrics, and they generally made a bit of a racket. Now, following a series of reissues, many critics and punters love them. At the time it was a different story. Anyway that’s another story for another day and is also a long winded way of saying that I still marvel how the person who gave us ‘Hamburger Lady’ with Throbbing Gristle, could - and did - go on to make Godstar.
Psychic TV, featured Throbbing Gristle’s main man Genesis Breyer P-Orridge (born Neil Andrew Megson). Genesis was quite the pioneer. One of the first I can remember to go in for body piercing, an early exponent of acid house and techno, and - with Psychic TV - he actually went as far as starting his own occult order. Were you a member of ‘Thee Temple Ov Psychick Youth’ perchance? None of which prepared anyone for the simple pop genius of ‘Godstar’. For a start it bears no relation to either Throbbing Gristle or indeed Psychic TV for that matter. You can enjoy its anthemic pop simplicity (and a great video too) here.
Genesis is touchingly sincere…
And you were so beautiful, you were so very special,
I wish I was with you now, I wish I could save you somehow.
…and ss the song reaches Brian Jones’ final moments Genesis wonders….
Where were all your friends that night
as you switched off the final light?
I saw your body in the water
Like a lamb going to the slaughter
As I write this I actually struggle to think of a better pop song - or at least one that came from such an unlikely origin. What other examples are there of classic pop songs from unlikely artists?
By the by this incarnation of Psychic TV also included Alex Fergusson who is one of those characters who seems to add a bit of magic to projects he is involved with, including what I would argue was the golden age of Alternative TV, and not be confused with him what manages Manchester United FC (would be great if they were one and the same though eh?).