Song Of The Day 8/19/2016: Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel – “Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)”

The Hidden '70s, Part 2 – Today's song was a #1 hit in England, where Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel racked up four Top 10 singles in the course of their existence. Actually, "Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)" (#96, 1976) was the first of their singles to have the "Steve Harvey &" designation in the band name; before that they were just Cockney Rebel. Wikipedia, that invaluable source of info about Benedictine monasteries and Tekno the Robotic Puppy, says that Harley and the other Rebels suffered a bit of a chasm financially as Harvey wrote all the songs. At some point the other three banded together and told Harley they were going to be contributing their own compositions to the band. Harley replied with a snort. The other three left, a couple going to Be-Bop Deluxe, and the other probably headed for the showers. Harley wrote "Make Me Smile" as a taunting retort to the departed members: "You've done it all, you've broken every code/And pulled the rebel to the floor/You spoilt the game, no matter what you say/For only metal, what a bore!" OH NO HE DIDN'T. The sarcastic chorus actually means to say, "Come look me up in a few years and I'll show you what a big laugh I'm having." Man, it's getting hot in here, isn't it. I really like this song. It's one of those '70s rock songs that sounded so unusual on the radio around the time -- Dire Straits' "Sultans of Swing," Steve Forbert's "Romeo's Tune" -- that it's kind of amazing that it managed to become a hit. Well, in England, not here. You know what I mean.

Harley went on to have a boffo solo career. He was cast in the title role of The Phantom of the Opera, Andrew Lloyd Webber's showy prequel to 50 Shades of Grey, and recorded the title song with Sarah Brightman for a promotional single which made the British Top 10. After working on it for a few months he was replaced without much notice by Michael Crawford. Well, that's a crock. Later in the '80s Harley reformed Cockney Rebel and did a few dates. They called it the "All Is Forgiven" Tour. There's a lesson in all that.

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