This is one of the more curious stories in late-90s pop music. Gay Dad were a group that seemed to come from nowhere, and in January 1999 they had a Top Ten hit with “To Earth With Love”, which mostly consisted of someone shouting “Aerosmith rule!“, accompanied by some noisy guitars and weird keyboard noises. Some people were rather curious as to what this band were actually about.
Not much was known about the members at first, they were represented by a mysterious white on blue symbol, and it was wondered if they were a wind-up to some extent, a few people who had worked behind the scenes in the music industry deciding to make a deliberately overblown song, and try and push it into the Top Ten. And when this happened, as “To Earth With Love” reached no. 10, even they couldn’t resist an appearance on Top Of The Pops.
Music magazines were briefly intrigued by them, insisting that they were the next big thing, and they tried to get the to bottom of what they were exactly. Eventually, their frontman Cliff Jones (who had previously been a writer for Mojo and The Face) appeared on the cover of magazines NME, Melody Maker and Select, adding to the debate of how “real” they were, and whether this was all an elaborate prank. In June 1999 their album “Leisure Noise” was released, which was similarly hyped, and reached no. 14.
And also in this month, the second single “Joy!” was released, which reached no. 22, not doing as well as expected, and leading to mutterings about lack of radio airplay scuppering their chances of making the Top Ten again. They weren’t really able to find any excuses though when third single “Oh Jim” was released in August 1999 and reached only no. 47. Maybe the joke had worn a little thin by this point, and this failure was more a case of “oh dear”.
However, Gay Dad did carry on into the early-2000s and released some more singles, but by then everyone seemed to be a little tired of Cliff’s rather nonsensical comments in interviews, and they had been laughed out of town by most record buyers by this point. Gay Dad split shortly after, and Cliff went off to work in songwriting and production for other bands. They did have a briefly interesting moment though, and they were a band that promoted their music in an unusual way.