For more than a decade, Derek Philpott and his son, Dave, have been writing to pop stars from the 1960s to the 90s to take issue with the lyrics of some of their best-known songs.
But then, to their great surprise, the pop stars started writing back…
Dear Mr Pop Star contains 100 of Derek and Dave’s greatest hits, including correspondence with Katrina and the Waves, Tears for Fears, Squeeze, The Housemartins, Suzi Quatro, Devo, Deep Purple, Nik Kershaw, T Pau, Human League, Eurythmics, Wang Chung, EMF, Mott the Hoople, Heaven 17, Jesus Jones, Johnny Hates Jazz, Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine, Chesney Hawkes and many, many more.
My thoughts: Well, I have to say this book is genius and a must for any music lover or indeed anyone with a sense of humour.
Derek often complained to his son Dave, that band names and lyrics of songs didn’t make any sense and began writing to said bands to get their take on it. After unsuccessfully going through official channels they started going through the back door, or rather the backstage door. We all know someone who knows someone, don’t we! So after many years, bands started to reply and this is a collection of the letters to and from.
Dr Hook shares thoughts on what effects modern technology may have had on being in love with a beautiful woman, Tears for Fears give explanations of a crush on a certain weather girl and Starship explain how cities are indeed built on Rock N Roll. Mott the Hopple tell us how personal experiences from life on the road can form the basis of many song lyrics and that listeners can interpret as something completely different. All these questions are responded to in the same humour as which the original letters were sent.
As you read you will find yourself singing the titles and partial lyrics quoted in the letters. Even if you don’t know all the songs and haven’t the foggiest of what Derek or Dave are on about, you will love the artists’ responses.
You may be forgiven for thinking that the authors of these letters are slightly unhinged, and it is clear that the bands may have often thought that too, which is maybe why some went unanswered, but the bands included in this book have taken it in good faith and responded with the same mentality. These are my sort of people with a clear passion for music.
The book is 400 pages long that ends with the B52s’ Love Shack. You couldn’t have chosen a better song to have stuck in your head.
It’s easy to pick up and put down, I’m sure it will be the perfect toilet book for men and an ideal Christmas gift for any lover of music from the 1960s-1990s.
Available from 20th September 2018
You might like to check out more of my Recommended Reading. If you’re a music fan read some of my music features and interviews including:
So are there any lyrics that you’ve come across the meaning of that came as a surprise?