Over the years Peter has inspired a number of semi-professional bands to write and record tribute songs in recognition of the impact he made on Seventies culture. Here are just a few of the more memorable ones and the stories behind them.
BREADWINNER: Morris De Cony, Fay Allright, Mr.Rubbish and Bob McGrath.
A British-based pop-combo, whose brand of music has been described as not unlike “Ray Coniff filtered through the eyes of a social outcast like Charles Manson…”. Their fascination with Peter began when percussionist/singer/composer, Bob McGrath, found a copy of his infamous album under a tree in the New Forest. After playing it to friends in a local art group, he sent a questionnaire to Peter via his agent for inclusion in a fanzine, ‘One More War’.
When the art group got themselves banned from performing in their local town, the musical wing of the company – Breadwinner, decided to make a record. The result was ‘Give Us A Light…’, which found its way onto vinyl in April 1990, and featured no less than three WYNGARDE-related songs; ‘If WYNGARDE Was A Woman’, ‘Hey There, Petter (sic) WYNGARDE’, and ‘Jason Kinky Winky’.
‘If WYNGARDE Was A Woman’, written by McGrath, opens with a cheesy drum beat, and is described rather poetically as the “aural equivalent of an exquisite piece of porcelain from Harrods” (!?). Part reggae/part Latin amour, it could well be the perfect accompaniment to one of Senior King’s most exotic assignments:
“On a Seagull’s wings I fly,
With Pete up to the sky,
Please don’t ask me why,
Oh, if WYNGARDE was a woman.
If WYNGARDE was a woman,
I’d sail the seven seas,
To find her jewels and spices,
And other sexy treats.”
‘Hey There, Petter (sic) WYNGARDE’ gets the female touch in the form of Fay Allright, defies easy description. It was recorded using a mad violinist and double-tracking Fay’s voice. The track, which features just about everything from grunge to rave and all stops in between!), was written as her obsession with Peter was reaching its peak. Fay says that she’s still very proud of the song.
Perhaps the best of the trio is the middle-of-the-road ‘Jason Kinky Winky’, which features the harmonised voices of Morris De Cony, and which is described as “all your wildest Stereolab and St. Etienne fantasies come true.” Morris says that he always imagined Jason King as a 50’s Teddy Boy grown-up, hence the Rockabilly style. Although he had little interest in the album initially, having been badgered into the studio by McGrath, De Cony admits that he’d love Peter to hear the songs and to be aware of their continual devotion to his life and work.
THE PAISLEY WHEELCHAIR EXPERIENCE: Freddie, Karen, Elizabeth, Helen, Amado, The Pogeria Twins.
This Slough-based “avant-garde cabaret” combo were, during the late 90’s, one of the hottest bands on the London pub and club circuit, boasting a set which included such numbers as ‘Shaken Not Stirred’, which paid homage to the legendary Jason King and his TV contemporaries.
In 1997, the band released a limited-edition CD featuring four tracks entitled: ‘The Return of Jason King’, ‘Medallion Man (Disco Mix), and ‘Tank Top Wearers Lament’. Each copy of the CD, which was issued in a black and white sleeve featuring photographs of Peter as Jason, were personally signed by the great man himself and sold exclusively via the Official Appreciation Society.
‘The Return of Jason King’, which was written by Freddie Valentine, calls for the resurgence of the Seventies crime-fighter to help rid our streets of muggers and teenage tearaways:
‘The Return of Jason King’
Crime is everywhere, there are muggers on the street,
Who will stab you in the back to get the trainers off your feet.
Well we need a superhero, someone who can swing,
The nation cries out! Return of Jason King!
His big moustache,
His brandy glass,
His car is fast
His clothes are flash
How we love his ‘tache,
And his brandy glass,
And his car so fast
And his clothes so flash.
The return of Jason King, He won’t wear a wedding ring,
He’ll go shagging eve
rything, He really is the king – the king of cool.
Jason has returned, He’s been gone for quite a while,
So he’s fighting crime, With glamour, wit and style.
Well, we want our superhero, someone who can swing,
The Paisley’s cry out! Return of Jason King!
I see a man in a silver Bentley, he’s smoking a six foot cigarette,
He’s very smart, He’s immaculately dressed,
He’s got a droopy moustache, writing Mark Caine novels earn him his cash,
He speaks Italian, Japanese and French…
He’s Jason King of Department S.
“With regard to the ‘The Return of Jason King’ CD,” says Freddie Valentine of the Paisley’s. “All copies were sold within in two and half months of its release! As we vowed to make this a collector’s item for JK fans, we have resisted the temptation of pressing up more copies! So the people that have a copy, have one of only 40 in the whole universe!!!”
Trivia fact: One of the last copies was taken by Mike Flowers of Mike Flowers Pops! Aside from the 40 copies signed by the great man himself, there were ten promo copies which were given to easy listening DJ’s in London clubs, where the song got a nice bit of exposure!
The Adventures Of Parsley:
Another band of interest to PETER WYNGARDE fans is The Adventures of Parsley. They are a space-age Hammond Organ combo from London who perform various TV and film themes wearing authentic Space 1999 outfits. Their album ‘Top TV Themes’ includes a great version of the Department S theme, and they have even covered The Paisley Wheelchair Experience’s ‘The Return of Jason King’ single in their live set!
MINX: Jez Fielder
In the autumn of 1999, this Sussex-based rock band recorded a “medium-paced pop cheeser” entitled simply ‘Jason King’, which was written by the bands’ lead-singer, Jez Fielder.
His strides are swingin’
All the ladies singing
And he’s wearing French Cologne (I say!)
A Large Moustache and a bouffant hairdo
A gold and marble phone (What’s the matter with it?)
He wines and dines them
And sixty-nine’s them (Try this new pate, mmmm)
And all the ladies swoon for him
But the chaps all think he’s gay
He’s the man with the tan in the Kaftan
Get up and do your funky thing
He’s the hair with the flares oh yeah hair hair
Hello! Hello! Get up and do you’re thing!
The man with the Canary Kaftan speedboats up the Seine
Behold the man with the brazen tan
He’s thinking of Mark Caine (Chapter Nine)
But if there’s no bestseller in the making he’s the best
At infiltrating syndicates just call Department S
(I wonder what they do for the rest of the week?)
Velvet lapellations of a lavish purple hue
If you point a loaded gun at him he’ll say,
“How do you do!”
The claret never clashes with his caviar cravat,
You won’t find bigger whiskers on a huge dyspeptic cat
(Zut alors! What a thing to say)
Recent contact with Jez Fielder revealed that the band are now no more, and the song was never released.
HARRINGTON PAPWORTH AND WHITWORTH STOTES:
Gloucester-based Indie band released a one-off single in 1997 entitled ‘Shake and Shout’, which fans of Department S will instantly recognise as the disco frequented by one Jason King in the ‘Man From X’ episode.
Initially named ‘Guns For Hire’ and formed in 1980, ‘Department S’ changed their name to escape any links with the spreading ‘Ska’ & Two Tone craze that was sweeping the country. The name was chosen due to the various members fond memories of the TV show and the fact that it seemed to tie them to no particular youth movement.
After releasing one single as ‘Guns For Hire’, the band released 3 singles under the new name. ‘Is Vic There?’ and ‘Going Left Right’ both charted in the UK, while ‘I Want’ fared better in Europe. They split up in 1982.
Paul is a musician from Holland who records in his own studio at home, playing all the instruments himself.
One of his songs, ‘Flux Spleen Kittens’ has a strong connection with PETER WYNGARDE, since it features a sample of the drum beat from the first track on PETER’s album, ‘Come In’.
“The song came about after I heard the WYNGARDE album at a friend’s house,” says Paul. “After sampling the drum beat, I added lead and bass guitar, plus loads of synths to the track. The whole intro to ‘Come In’ gave me a feeling of something that was way ahead of its time. Bearing in mind that the album was recorded in 1970, it still fits today’s musical colours perfectly.”
The Hellfire Club: The OFFICIAL PETER WYNGARDE Appreciation Society: https://www.facebook.com/groups/813997125389790/