Inventor of Britpop wallows gloriously on 'suicide standards' twofer
Without the kitchen-sink double-whammy of Newley’s Stop The World musical and The Strange World Of Gurney Slade TV series, the rich vein of ‘English’ pop songwriting (Kinks/ Bowie/Blur/Pulp etc) would not have pulsed so strongly. Newley also had the most unique interpretive vocal talent of the last century. No one did cheeky or chirpy better, but his morose “wee small hours” balladeering is a near-perfect dismal pleasure.
From 1960 and ’64 these two suicide-songbook extravaganzas, luxuriating in orchestral gorgeousness, recall the twilight resignation of Sinatra’s “Only The Lonely” but with added Clown-Grimaldi grimace accentuated by East End vowels. Notably, “Winter Of My Discontent” finds Newley intoning
“The world is full of… [dramatic pause] DISSONANCE!” I’m not joking. Neither was Newley.
A clown’s white-face has rarely been so profound stained.