Sunday, 25 January 2015

David Dundas - David Dundas (1977)

David Dundas along with song writing partners Roger Greenaway and Eddie Howell, knew how to write a catchy tune. Originally a writer of commercial jingles, it was was obvious that Dundas knew how to get a catchy hook in the head of the television viewer.

The Brutus Jeans advert was the one that started things off for Dundas, securing him a record deal with Air/Chrysalis in 1976. The full song re-write "Jeans On" went on to chart around the world, hitting number 3 in the UK, number 17 in the US and number 1 in Germany.

Another of Dundas' catchy advert tunes was the killer, "Come To C&A", which was re-written as "Where Were You Today" and included on his self titled album, released in 1977. Blue Mink recorded there own version, released in 1977 on the Target record label.

The album is full of strong well written songs, as you'd expect. Fans of 10cc, Pilot and Andrew Gold will find a lot to love on here, especially "New York Doll" (with Bridget St John on backing vocals), "Another Funny Honeymoon" which was the follow up single to "Jeans On". "Stick On Your Lollipop" is pure Abbey Road era McCartney, so twee that even Ringo would have refused to play on it!

In 1978, a follow up album "Vertical Hold" was released and would be Dundas's last. More polished but less catchy than it's predecessor, it's not without a few moments of greatness, especially "Never Surrender" which bears a strong resemblance to Electric Light Orchestra.

Following the lack of chart success of "Vertical Hold", Dundas returned to TV, radio jingles and film scores, including Withnail and I in 1984.

My David Dundas LP came with a press release insert. I've included it here at the end of the post as an addendum as it doesn't appear anywhere else online and is quite interesting if you'd like to know more about DD....

"I just try to write songs which people like to buy" says David Dundas.

 As a commercial songwriter, a tunesmith in the 'four-minute-verse-chorus-end' sense, Dundas is all too aware of resting on his creative laurels and is, by his own admission, still learning.  After all he's only recently had his second hit single, though his pedigree as a TV jingle writer is far more prolific. He's penned adverts for everything from Spanish holidays to orange barley. But it was his success with the Brutus jeans had that led to his Jeans On single hitting the charts and the beginning of David Dundas the pop singer.

Before that, and before Dundas the jingle writer it had been Dundas the TV actor, Dundas the movie actor, Dundas this stage actor and Dundas the aristocrat.

Born in 1945, David Paul Nicolas Dundas is the second son of the third Marquess of Zetland. After leaving Harrow school he went on the stage, graduated into films (including Prudence and the Pill with David Niven), into TV, back on the stage "standing about with spears and stuff" and finally into jingle land.

After turning the Brutus advert into a single Air/Chrysalis now handle Dundas the pop star. On May 1, shortly after the success of his second single "Another Funny Honeymoon", David releases his first album, co-written with Roger Greenaway and Eddie Howell.

"It's not as sophisticated, polished album" says David. "It's just a rough collection of songs with a feel, a beginning and an end". The album, simply called David Dundas took about two months to make. It was recorded at Air, RG Jones and Morgan Studios using a close-knit band of session men consisting basically of Alan Tarney, Trevor Spencer, Dave Marquee, Barry Morgan and David himself on piano.

"Around the end of January we realised that the album had to be ready in six weeks and it wasn't even written. So my wife Corrina and baby Daisy star went away for about three weeks and I sat with Roger and Eddie and more or less wrote the album.

"I like working fast. It doesn't give you time to start worrying or change your mind".

Since Jeans On was a hit in Britain it has always been a hit somewhere around the world and to date has sold 2 million copies which has kept the Dundas promotion machine in full swing. He still writes Tunes for commercials as well, as much for allegiance as for the exacting discipline they require.

"But", he points out "it's such a difficult thing writing commercials AND songs. I can't just sit down one morning and do a commercial and then start on a song. You've got to give yourself some room". 

Eventually David would like to get a band together for the road and record something of a concept album. "As I go on I'm going to get less commercial and more quality I hope. But I can't afford to indulge myself in the more obscure things at the moment after one or two hits".

David Dundas may still be learning but he is learning fast.


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