If you want to discover minor hit singles by media stars, the 1995 UK Singles Christmas Chart is for you.
Michael Barrymore’s ‘Too Much For One Heart’ charted at Number 25, and was surely an inspiration for Father Dick Byrne’s ‘The Miracle Is Mine’.
Meanwhile, Mr Blobby’s ‘Christmas In Blobbyland’ – which peaked at Number 36 – was more like a selection of conversations with Noel Edmonds, with added choirboys, than an actual song.
And then there was Frank Bruno.
Regarding bad cover versions, the boxer teaming up with Mike Stock and Matt Aitken to cover Survivor’s ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ sounds like a match made in heaven.
This is especially the case if you have heard Bruno’s vocal performance during his, Sam Fox, Bruno Brookes and Liz Kershaw’s reworking of Mike Sarne and Wendy Richard’s ‘Come Outside’ for the 1991 Children In Need appeal.
But, on the surface, this cover doesn’t seem too bad.
There’s no denying that it is sub-standard, and the production duo are going through the motions, but it wouldn’t look out of place on a cheaply assembled “sporting anthems” compilation.
Then it hits you. This cover doesn’t feature ANY creative input from Bruno.
All there is are some cheap Hi-NRG production and an unknown session singer, who isn’t credited in the sleeve notes AT ALL.
And, to make matters worse, BMG Records were more than happy to give Sky Sports a plug, as their commentary for Bruno’s world championship victory was sampled, but they couldn’t even credit the song’s only vocalist.
However, by Christmas 1995, this was nothing new.
For example, in May 1995, The Farm were given a mere production credit for Everton FC’s ‘All Together Now’, despite the former performing the majority of the song.
You would expect Bruno’s single to be a novelty cover but, sadly, this isn’t the case. At the time, it represented a new low and it still remains a complete rip-off.
It also shows that Stock and Aitken only care about money and chart performance. For instance, Stock told Billboard in July 1996:
“Record shops have become like libraries – they are repositories of knowledge. I believe if a record shop looked like McDonald’s, red and yellow and fun-looking, they would sell more records.”
But the worst thing about Bruno’s ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ is that the public was fooled by this stunt; it peaked at Number 28 in the UK Singles Chart.
Just imagine the look on little Billy’s face when he played Bruno’s single for the first time on Christmas Day.
And I don’t care if this version sounds barely passable – that’s dull. I want to hear Bruno making a dog’s dinner of it.
Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Frank Bruno: shame on you.
And, if anyone says that Stock and Aitken care about music, just object and show them this single.
This review was self-published in November 2012.
Gambaccini, Paul et al (eds) (1996) The Guinness Book of Top 40 Charts. 2nd edition. London: Guinness Publishing.
Weller, H. (ed) (1997) The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles. 11th edition. London: Guinness Publishing.