Yesterday I learned that Boney M’s Rivers of Babylon is in the top five UK best selling singles list of all time. That really, is little surprise since I cannot remember the last time I tuned into a local radio station and not heard this immensely catchy tune about a place where people, apparently, sit down.
No, the real surprise, is the band’s origin. For years I, like many, assumed that this highly successful 70s pop trio was from America until somebody (I don’t know who) revealed that they came from Germany.
It was a terrible piece of news.
I liked Boney M. I liked the fact that they had the chutzpah to allow a man wearing unbearably small shorts and a disastrously rhomboidal haircut to be the front man for a disco outfit that, alarmingly, may well appeal to children.
Maybe it was just me, or maybe it was because we didn’t have the internet in those days, but I bet a fair few of us who shook their bones quixotically to the funky beats of Daddy Cool, Rasputin or Brown Girl in the Ring (never sounds quite right does it?) just assumed that the Boners (sorry) came from somewhere cool like New Orleans, LA, New York or Chicago.
I feel cheated over all this, and although I should have noticed that unmistakable German lilt during the talking bit in Rasputin, nobody took the trouble to point this out. It’s all a thorough disappointment and now that I am aware of the true origins of this band I simply cannot go out in my favourite, silver testicle-hugging shorts again.
It is, I accept, a powerful image.