Friday, September 27, 2013

Parrot Records: It's Good News Week

When we began our look at Parrot Records on Sunday, our first selection was Jonathan King’s “Everyone’s Gone to the Moon.” King returns in part with a UK one hit wonder by Hedgehoppers Anonymous. “It’s Good News Week” was a tongue in cheek tune about social consciousness that King composed and forced on suggested to the band. Actually, it was a good move, as it proved to be a UK hit.

King was thoroughly engaged in this British hit from 1965. Not only was he the songwriter, but he was the band’s producer and promoter of sorts. He even rechristened the band from The Hedgehoppers to become Hedgehoppers Anonymous. A “hedgehopper,” by the way, was British slang for a pilot and the group chose the name as they met while members of the Royal Air Force.

Although “It’s Good News Week” was a Top 5 smash in the UK, Americans simply did not get the dark humor of the song. Add to the trauma of the lyrical content, you had lead vocalist Mike Tinsley’s over-the-top cheerful enunciations regarding verboten topics of nuclear war, reanimating the dead, population control, and experimental brain surgery; consequently, its lack of airplay garnered a US chart position at only #48.

Hedgehoppers Anonymous recorded five singles only two made it to the American charts: “It’s Good News Week” and “Don’t Push Me”; the latter had a dismal showing at #110. It became better known in Australia when the original recording was used as the theme song for the TV show “Good News” week during its first run from 1996 to 2000. During the show’s second leg from 2008 to 2012, a cover version replaced the original. As “It’s Good News Week” really wasn’t an American “hit,” it still manages to be occasionally played on US oldies radio stations – and that is “good news.”

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