During the past twenty-five years, I’ve probably owned more than six thousand CDs and, at last count, Paloma and I have accumulated nearly eight hundred albums in a mere two months or so.
Throw in a handful of jobs somewhat related to the music industry and I’ve had the chance to hear or at least familiarize myself with a lot of bands. It’s rare (or it used to be rare) for me not to have even heard or read of a name. And somehow The Korgis evaded me.
Anyone who does know the name likely does so from the autumn of 1980 when they had their only US hit with the song Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime. I missed it at the time – I was about a year from becoming interested in music – and I don’t recall ever hearing the song on the radio in the past twenty-eight years.
The first time I ever heard the song at all was in the summer of 1988 when The Dream Academy covered it on their second album. I knew that they hadn’t written it, but I wasn’t aware that it had been a hit song for another band.
Beck sang a version of Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime on the soundtrack to the movie Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind and, at some point, I ended up with a copy of The Korgis’ original.
So, I was excited to grab their album Dumb Waiters on vinyl and it’s been a delightful discovery. So much so that I was pleasantly surprised to find The Korgis’ debut album not long after. They’re one of those bands that – similar to more recent acts like Crowded House or the underappreciated Jellyfish – don’t reinvent classic pop but certainly, through their own eccentricities, make it sound new.
From a bit of perusing the Internet and the scant details on the band, it seems like a lot of people might have missed out on The Korgis as well.
The Korgis – Young ‘n’ Russian
Maybe there’s a reason The Korgis found so little success in the States. Could their debut single’s cover and (obviously) its title led folks in the heartland to believe that they were Communists? I mean, it was 1979 and the Soviet Union was the Evil Empire (although I don’t think Reagan gave them that pet name until several years later). My friend The Drunken Frenchman often, over drinks, yearned for such simpler times.
Anyhow, I hear a bit of The Cars in this one and The Cars’ debut had come out the year before that of The Korgis.
The Korgis – I Just Can’t Help It
Now here is The Korgis I’ve come to love – lush, dreamy, and some of the most saccharine-sweet sentiments this side of The Carpenters. And somehow, they manage to fit tracks like this one, effortlessly, with ones like Mount Everest Sings the Blues, a jaunty number whose lyrics detail the grievances of Mount Everest sung from the mountain’s perspective.
The Korgis – If I Had You
If I Had You immediately made me think of John Lennon’s #9 Dream. And, again, their lyrics are as gauzy as the music. The cover for the single is rather intriguing.
According to the Wikipedia entry, the song hit #12 in the UK, so somebody must have been listening.
The Korgis – Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime
My introduction to The Korgis and likely yours, too, Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime is a lovely song, wispy and fragile. There’s something both whimsical and melancholic about the artwork for the 45.