Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Certain Songs #1398: The Only Ones – “Another Girl, Another Planet” | Medialoper

Album: The Only Ones
Year: 1978

Almost three years ago in the entry for Eddie & The Hot Rods “Do Anything You Wanna Do!“, I wrote about how in 1979 — after reading about it in Trouser Press — I bought a soundtrack to a film I’ve still never seen called That Summer! which doubled as an amazing sampler of what was then called “new wave” music.

In any event one of the head-spinning songs on that soundtrack was today’s entry: the stone cold utter motherfucking classic “Another Girl, Another Planet” by The Only Ones.

Led by mercurial singer-songwriter Peter Perrett, The Only Ones were never even close to punk rock in any way, shape or form, but there was no doubt that punk rock kicked open the door that allowed them to get a record deal and therefore release a rock ‘n’ roll single that was instantly timeless and almost without peer.

What “Another Girl, Another Planet” was not, however, was a hit single. Obviously not here in the U.S., where “Another Girl, Another Planet” was the lead track for the Only Ones U.S. debut, 1979’s Special View, which was really a best-of masquerading as a debut, but even stranger, not in the U.K., either, where songs like this could top the chart.

But it didn’t get airplay there either, possibly because one of the interpretations of the song was that it was about using heroin, and therefore untouchable by the BBC. Boo!!!

That said, where “Another Girl, Another Planet” was a hit was with anybody whosever heard the fucking thing, which over the next four decades has attained the stature initially denied it.

And why not? From the opening muted strums of Perrett’s rhythm guitar, the big build by drummer Mike Kellie and initial guitar duel between Perrett & lead guitarist John Perry, “Another Girl, Another Planet” is firing on all cylinders even before Perrett opens his mouth and sings about smack or is it love sweet love?

I always flirt with death
I look ill but I don’t care about it
I can face your threats
And stand up straight
And tall and shout about it

Either way, Perrett comes to exactly the same conclusion every single time:

I think I’m on another world with you
With you
I’m on another planet with you
With you

It’s such a great chorus, so indelible and catchy, that it doesn’t even matter why: all you wanna do is sing along with it, and if it was just a bunch of organ-filled verses that mix drugs language with love language and that all guitar lead chorus, “Another Girl, Another Planet” would be pretty fucking great, but it’s just getting going.

After the second chorus, the song breaks down so it’s just Perrett slashing his rhythm guitar and singing “Another girl, another planet” and then he rushes it as he sings it a second time while drummer Kellie pushes him with a couple of quick rolls: “anothergirlanotherplanet, uh-uhhh!”

It’s at that point where lead guitarist John Perry takes over the song, doubling Perrett on the “uh-uhhhh” and then aiming for the fucking stratosphere with a solo that just keeps going and going and going and going, especially when bassist Alan Mair starts doing some pretty awesome counterpoint runs his own self. This is why they weren’t punks: it’s not that punk guitarists like Mick Jones or Paul Weller wouldn’t take long solos, but even at their most conventional, they weren’t playing solos like this.

Perry’s solo was way more like, oh, I dunno, the solo on “Two Tickets to Paradise” or Michael Schenker’s solo on “Rock Bottom” than any solos coming out of punk rock. It simultaneously makes no sense at all and all of the sense in the world, especially in a song about being transported by smack or is it love sweet love? Either way, Perrett is hooked.

Space travel’s in my blood
There ain’t nothing I can do about it
Long journeys wear me out
But I know I can’t live without it

“Another Girl, Another Planet” is one of those songs that continues to bring it right until the very end, as after the final chorus Perrett is still trying to figure things out while while Perry is still fucking around with his guitar and Kellie is spinning some vicious drum rolls.

Another girl is loving you now
Another planet is holding you down
Another planet

And wham! It just ends, after 3:00 of complete and utter rock and roll bliss that would have killed in the mid-1960s and will still sound great in the mid-2060s, when people are singing it to each other on Mars.

This was why, by the way, The Only Ones were a pretty good choice to open for The Who during their post-Keith 1980 U.S. tour: they were a new band so The Who got some points with those of us in the fan base who were paying attention what was rushing through the door that punk kicked open, but they didn’t present or sound like anything too radical for the older folks in the crowd. Some of whom were probably in their thirties!!!

And indeed it was a combination of my love for “Another Girl, Another Planet” and knowing that I was going to see them open for The Who that led me to purchase Special View in the spring of 1980 — I wanted to be aware of their music, and I was hoping that maybe they had any other songs as good as “Another Girl, Another Planet.” Of course they didn’t, which is fine, because hardly anybody else did, either.

“Another Girl, Another Planet”

“Another Girl, Another Planet” official video

“Another Girl, Another Planet” performed live, 1979

“Another Girl, Another Planet” performed live 1996

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