Monday, May 5, 2008

Some Fun Tunes & A Whole Lot Of Cheesiness

Tight fit were the U.K. studio based vocal trio of Steve Grant, Julie Harris and Denise Gyngell. In 1981 they released their debut single ‘Back To The 60s’ which climbed to #4 on the British charts (US#89, OZ#71). The song was a medley of 60s hits including ‘Dancing In The Street’ and ‘You Really Got Me’, much in the style of the Stars On 45 effort around the same time, and Jive Bunny & The Mastermixers in the late 80s. ‘Part II’ was released a few months later but only reached #33 in the U.K.

From their debut album of the same name came an updated version of ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Wimoweh)’. The song originally charted way back in 1939 for Solomon Linda & The Evening Birds under the title ‘Mbube’. The best known version came in 1961 when The Tokens took it all the way to #1 in the U.S. (UK#11, OZ#2), and Robert John reached #3 on the Billboard charts in 1972 with his version.

Tight Fit’s take on the song didn’t vary much in the way of structure but when accompanied by a tongue in cheek promo clip, it seemed to hit the right note with record buyers in the U.K., spending 3 weeks atop the charts in March ‘82 (OZ#11). It’s no coincidence that Bucks Fizz were big at the time, and the trio of Tight Fit could definitely draw comparison in image and sound (well all except the fact Bucks Fizz were a quartet). And there was also more than a hint of ABBA about the group’s sound as well - and since ABBA had all but called it a day in 1982, it’s likely a lot of their fans needed a new fix.

My favourite Tight Fit track (well the only other one I liked much) was the next single ‘Fantasy Island’ (no connection with the TV show around the same time). The promo clip was a total cringe fest but that aside the song had an irresistible melody, and really did take you away to a tropical island in the sun, well for 3 minutes anyway. It reached #5 in the U.K. (OZ#49) and would be Tight Fit’s last major hit. A second self titled album followed later in 1982 but whether it was the lion waking up and eating them, or a case of them falling overboard on the way back from Fantasy Island, Tight Fit’s career faded from view. Actually from what little information is out there it appears Steve Grant went on to a career in musical theatre, whilst Denise Gyngell married one Pete Waterman (he of the mega-huge production team of Stock, Aitken & Waterman). I did come across an article from early ‘07 that referred to Tight Fit recording again but the only original member mentioned was Julie Harris.

Anyway if you’re after something to brighten your day, have a listen to Tight Fit’s take on ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ then wander off to ‘Fantasy Island’ for some fun in the sun:

And have a serious cringe at the height of 80s cheesiness with the promo vids to Tight Fit’s ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ and ‘Fantasy Island’:

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