January 21, 2009

Mod-A-Day: The Times

It's a good question. Where have all the power poppers gone? Whatever happened to Thames Beat? Indeed, whatever did happen to that Thames beat? Of course it would help to know what the hell the Thames beat is. First and foremost, in my humble opinion Whatever Happened to Thames Beat? is the best song every produced by the very productive sometime mod band The Times. The Times were really Ed Ball. Ed Ball was, and presumably still is, something of a fixture on the London music scene. His bands include mod/punk stalwarts like Teenage Filmstars, Television Personalities and The Times. He was also a big wig at Creation Records in the 80s sheparding good music to the flock. Ball seems to be something of a troubadour, a combination of Ray Davies and Elvis Costello, a musician with a fine lyrical sense, and a knack for knowing how to be offbeat without being off kilter.

Whatever Happened to Thames Beat? was on The Times' second release, 1983's This Is London. I first discovered it on the 1985 Countdown compilation from Go! Records, and it instantly became for me one of those songs that just does something for you personally. It's one of my all time favorites, and both the music and lyrics just touches a chord somewhere in my brain that makes me mod all over.

The Times-- Whatever Happened To Thames Beat