Cheryl Baker – ‘If Paradise Is Half As Nice’ (1987)

Cheryl Baker (left) won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1981 as a member of Bucks Fizz. Image courtesy of Man Alive! via Flickr.

Without a shadow of a doubt, Cheryl Baker is a shameless self-promoter.

Just look at the television shows that she has presented: ‘The Saturday Picture Show’, ‘Record Breakers’ and ‘Eggs ‘n’ Baker’. Bucks Fizz appeared on all of them at the drop of a hat.

And nothing changed when it came to her irregular solo recordings.

In 1987, Baker was the resident cookery expert on BBC One’s Saturday morning kids’ show ‘It’s Wicked’.

Yes, you’ve guessed it; she also performed her début solo single, ‘If Paradise Is Half As Nice’, on the show.

This cover version follows in the footsteps of Bucks Fizz’s previous two albums, ‘I Hear Talk’ and ‘Writing On The Wall’ (which included covers of ‘Talking In Your Sleep’ and ‘Love The One You’re With’), which saw Baker and company trying to re-invent themselves as a pop rock band.

Unsurprisingly, ‘If Paradise Is Half As Nice’ is the same vein as the likes of Journey and the track is also depressingly predictable. It pretty much ticks every cliché possible in rock music.

Even though it’s competently performed, you can spot the anthemic keys and riffs from a mile off (the same can also be said for her performance of Barbara Dickson’s ‘If You’re Right’ on the gameshow ‘3-2-1’).

I can’t help but think that this cover could have been half-decent if a few risks had been taken in the production department.

There’s no doubt that Baker wants to do a good job, down to her costume choice and posture in the embedded clip.

She could be accused of being too much of a try-hard, but her enthusiasm is worthy of faint praise.

This version of La Ragazza 77′s ‘If Paradise Is Half As Nice’ was unashamedly jumping on the soft rock bandwagon in the 1980s, but it could have been far worse.

This version will appeal to fans of MOR rock, even if its cheese and unoriginality is noticeable.

But there’s no denying that this was very run-of-the-mill and added nothing to a genre that was greatly saturated by 1987.

No wonder it failed to peak beyond Number 94 in the UK Singles Chart.

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This review was self-published in April 2012.

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