271. ‘Dizzy’, by Tommy Roe

Into the next thirty #1s, with perhaps the most ‘sixties’ sounding chart-topper that we’ve come across yet. It’s pure swinging-sixties montage music, a pop song that you would use in between scenes in an Austin Powers movie. You can see swirling lava-lamp colours, and mini-skirted girls jiving. Yeah baby!

Tommy_Roe

Dizzy, by Tommy Roe (his 1st and only #1)

1 week, from 4th – 11th June 1969

It’s a song that just about manages to stay on the right side of ‘cool’, rather than ‘cheesy.’ And considering that this is a song that uses terms like ‘fellas’ and ‘sweet pet’ in its lyrics, that’s a pretty impressive feat. It’s catchy, that’s for sure, and the drums are real swingin’. The strings too, have a kind of tongue-in-cheek drama to them. Plus, I keep losing count of how many key changes are crammed into its three minute run-time.

The title itself is also very sixties. ‘Dizzy’, because he’s in love, man. You’re makin’ me dizzy, My head is spinnin’, Like a whirlpool it never ends… I’d say it’s a chorus that’s entered the common tongue – though whether that’s down to this original or the comedy version that will take it back to the top of the charts in twenty years’ time I don’t know.

I prefer the pre-chorus, though – one that builds up an irresistible head of steam: Girl you’ve got control of me, Cos I’m so dizzy I can’t see, I need to call a doctor for some help… I like it. A nice palate-cleanser of a disc. A short, sweet blast of late-sixties goodness.

TOMMY_ROE_DIZZY+-+4PR-595290

Tommy Roe’s story is quite interesting. ‘Dizzy’ was a huge comeback for a singer who had failed to have a chart hit of any kind in the UK since 1962-63, when he had had big success with the Buddy Holly influenced ‘Sheila’ – a US #1. Considering the massive changes in popular music that have happened in the past seven years, this was a pretty impressive feat. Not that the comeback lasted very long… One #24 follow-up single and that was that.

Still, it might go some way to explaining the winning combination of bubble-gum and mild psychedelica that makes ‘Dizzy’ such a funky pop tune. One foot in the past, one very much in the present. Tommy Roe continued to record and tour throughout the seventies and eighties, before announcing his retirement officially in 2018, aged seventy-five.

13 thoughts on “271. ‘Dizzy’, by Tommy Roe

  1. Here’s a song and an artist that I learned about from listening to “Malt Shop Favorites” on Direct TV. By all rights, Tommy Roe should not be on a Malt Shop Era station, but after a while, his music began to grow on me never-the-less. I still strongly prefer the 1950’s and early 60’s era, but “Dizzy” has kind of a happy, Brady Bunch vibe to it. 🙂 And oh wow! You finally said what I’ve been thinking about “Sheila” – it is SO Buddy Holly influenced! I thought it was just my Buddy-obsessed imagination, but I guess I’m right. So thanks for mentioning it!

    • I think that Dizzy is a good mix of sounds – early sixties pop chords with some late sixties ‘grooviness’. And yes, Sheila sounds like it owes a big debt to Buddy!

  2. Dizzy was the first record I ever bought, 2 Singapore dollars on Changi evening market record stall and I was obsessed by it for months aged 11. Tommy Roe’s Greatest Hits was the first CD album I bought. The rhythm is irresistible, so much so that it was sampled wholesale for the fab Fascinating Rhythm by Bass-o-matic in 1990 – William Orbit knowing class when he hears it! The song so good Vic Reeves covered it. Around that time I saw Vic Reeves do it live, and I saw Tommy Roe do it live. Bubblegum as Art into the 90’s…!

    • Wow, interesting stuff. First record bought is such a rite of passage, and Dizzy is a pretty cool one. Bubblegum but with enough of an edge… The hook stays with you like few other songs do. My first exposure to it was the Vic Reeves version.

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