498. ‘My Camera Never Lies’, by Bucks Fizz

Precisely a year on from scoring their first number one single, Bucks Fizz score their last. And what they lacked in longevity, they more than made up for in variety.

My Camera Never Lies, by Bucks Fizz (their 3rd and final #1)

1 week, 11th – 18th April 1982

Their chart-toppers have grown less cheesy as we’ve gone on: Euro-camp on ‘Making Your Mind Up’, pure-pop on ‘The Land of Make Believe’. This one is actually quite modern, very early-eighties, power pop. Very, dare I say it… cool? Seriously, this sounds a bit like something Cheap Trick, or The Cars, would have been putting out at the same time.

My camera never lies anymore, Cos there’s nothing worth lying for… The subject matter isn’t your usual pop group fodder, either. The singer has been following his significant other around, taking snaps of her infidelities. He’s both a sympathetic sap; and a total creep. Meanwhile there are angular guitars, power chords, zippy direction changes, and a catchy gimmick in the click click ahhhhs.

I like the lines where the girls have their say in return: It doesn’t matter anymore to you, Cos everything you tell me is boring… It reminds me of ‘Don’t You Want Me’. Mixed-sex bands don’t do that often enough – have a conversation, or a battle, through the lyrics. While the harmonies in the My camera-ra-ra sections are both stupidly catchy, and very complex. I’m starting to think that this is the Fizz’s best #1, though I have the same problem here that I had with ‘…Make Believe’: the drums are too much (on the album version we end with a full-on drum solo).

The band members have gone on record saying that this is their best song, but that it came too early in their career and has been forgotten among their poppier moments. In fact, it’s a shame that Bucks Fizz’s other (better) hits are completely overshadowed by ‘Making Your Mind Up’, and that skirt-whipping move. And it is definitely a shame that you won’t be hearing ‘My Camera Never Lies’ on the radio anytime soon.

Most of Bucks Fizz’s singles were written by Andy Hill, who has written big hits for many big acts, some of which are still to come on this countdown. I’d like to draw a more modern comparison here, with Girls Aloud: another willing pop group with a dedicated song-writing team, who churned out peerless pop in the mid-‘00s. In fact, sticking with this theme, I’d say Bucks Fizz are the very first act on this countdown that feel ‘modern’ to me.

I mean that in the sense that I was born at the tail end of their heyday, while their members were still featuring on kids’ TV into the late-eighties and early-nineties… (‘Eggs ‘n’ Baker’ anyone?) They are the very first, of many, acts I’ll write about here, that were directly part of my childhood, rather than being a famous band my parents listened to, or an act I discovered in my teens or later. Anyway, I’m off now to find a clip of Cheryl Baker walking down Baker Street, singing ‘Baker Street’, on ‘Going Live’ circa 1992, to convince myself that six-year-old me didn’t dream it…