Keskasay? Saint Etienne vs Right Said Fred

Picture of Fred EP cover

I do like a good cover version, me. I don't go much for photocopies, though, as they invariably end up a paler version of the original (Liberty X seem to be some of the worst offenders c.f. their limp version of Shalamar's 'A Night To Remember'). And frankly, I'm rather bored of artistes doing Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' – OK, you can sing already, now shaaaadup! I want a cover that does new and exciting/scary things to the original.

So, imagine my delight when I happened on the intermittently wonderful Saint Etienne and their rather fucked up version of 'I'm Too Sexy'. In 1992 some artists on the Heavenly label released a tribute to UK cheesemeisters Right Said Fred. Saint Etienne, The Rockingbirds and Flowered Up did one song each and The Fred EP hit the Top 30 and made some money for the Terence Higgins Trust. Hurrah!Pic of Saint Etienne

Back to the track. Right Said Fred's version topped the US charts in 1991 and was pretty much ubiquitous for a couple of years. It was rather silly to begin with : "I'm too sexy for my cat… poor pussy, poor pussycat" etc. Then those arch retro Saint Etienne types put squelchy early-90s sequencers all over it, changed the lyrics a bit {"I'm too Shaky for my Stevens" indeed} and got Richard Fairbrass from the Freds in to reprise his vocal alongside Sarah Cracknell's breathy warbling. The whole this is equal parts cool and weird. This is (not) helped by it constantly turning into 'David's Song' (Theme from the tv series Kidnapped) for absolutely no reason. At the end someone repeatedly chants 'I'm a male stripper and a go-go boy' (a homage to 'Male Stripper by Man 2 Man feat. Man Parrish, I presume).

What on earth is it all about? And I would have paid a great deal of money to have seen this on Top Of The Pops that week in 1992.

As Minge might say, it's fabulous.

Download I'm Too Sexy – Saint Etienne (4.8MB) 

Like this? Buy The Fred EP here. 

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9 comments

  1. Enda P Guinan

    Interesting……. I wonder how strict they are on the copyright thing. There are a few places that allow free storage, but thay can enforce the copyright thing. Thanks, Doc!

  2. aspri sokolata

    that cover is deadly! I fully agree with you: if you’re gonna cover a song, at least be original & creative about it… otherwise please don’t!

    Another boring cover for example is that girl band corering Donna Summer’s ‘On the Radio’… blandorama!

    I love the way Sarah C. cooes “I’m a model, you know what I mean…” Hell I don’t but it’s fab anyway!

  3. Enda P Guinan

    [Richard:] I’m / too sexy for my cat, / too sexy for my cat, / oh, pauvre pussy-cat! / I’m / too sexy for my cat, / too sexy for my cat, / oh, pauvre pussy-cat! /

    [Sarah:] Pussycat! / Ba ba-ba ba, ba ba-ba ba / Pussycat! /

    Gotta love ’em! Bonkers.

    I think that cover of ‘On the Radio’ was by ex-Eastenders *star* Martine McCutcheon. It was dull. Now if she had ukeleles, Gregorian chants and some death metal axe solos, it might have been interesting. πŸ˜‰

  4. eguinan

    Eh? Ain’t you in the same hemisphere? [Looks back at preceeding discussion and realises Pete may not be referring to geographical hemisphere….]

  5. Minge

    You’re right. It is fabulous. I’m a huge St Etienne fan and bought this the week it came out. I play it every so often, usually on Summer days when I can lay in the long grass. I don’t know why it’s suited so well to that, but it is.

    It’s fabulous.

  6. RowaN

    Can you please set up another link for this song? I’m eager to hear it and cant find it on eBay. I’m just listening to the various mixes of RSF’s I’m Too Sexy 2007 atm… fine cheese keeps getting better with age. =]

  7. eguinan

    RowaN, that would be very naughty of me as I only make things I don’t own available for a brief time. If I had your email, I could explain in further detail…..

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