This is a group who released some popular songs in the 80s, and it is a surprise to realise that (with the exception of one of them) they didn’t have that many big hit singles. Prefab Sprout (which must be a contender for one of the strangest group names of the decade) formed in the late-70s. Their frontman was Paddy McAloon, who became much-acclaimed for his songs, some with lyrics that were witty, and some that were poignant.
In November 1985, they had their first Top 40 hit single with “When Love Breaks Down”. This was an example of their struggle to have their songs make the chart, as this one had to be released three times before becoming a success. Also around this time, Paddy appeared on the cover of NME. And “Cars And Girls”, which is another of their best-known songs, didn’t make the Top 40 at all when it was released in February 1988.
But in April 1988, “The King Of Rock ‘N’ Roll” was released, and this reached no. 7, to become their first and only Top Ten hit single in the UK, but it was well-deserved. This is a rather odd song about a veteran rock star reflecting on how he is now known for only one song and his best days are behind him. And they soon became aware of the irony of this being their biggest hit single.
And there is also the rather amusing video, that interprets the lyrics rather literally, as this features a hot dog and a jumping frog, but I don’t know where “Albert Cookie” is in all of this though (yes I know that isn’t the actual lyric!). And after their third album “From Langley Park To Memphis” became their first to make the Top Ten, there was now some optimism that their fortunes were turning and they could be able to keep up this run of high-profile hits with the next single, and guess what happened.
These hopes were dashed rather quickly when in July 1988 “Hey Manhattan” was released, and made only no. 72, which was disappointing to the level that many fans were surprised. Going into the 90s though, Prefab Sprout did have some more Top Ten hit albums, and Paddy had some more mainstream success when he provided the theme to Where The Heart Is, the cosy Sunday night ITV drama that made Heartbeat look like Cracker by comparison.