David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Day 264: The Clique (We Didn't Kiss, We Didn't Love, But Now We Do)

July 2, 2023

I never was any good at getting in with the right clique. This problem carried over to my musical interests.

When REM's Life Rich Pageant was my favorite album, I became obsessed by "Superman," its final track. Sung by Mike Mills and not Michael Stipe, the song was atypical REM from the get-go. Then, I noticed the small print (actually no print, since it was not listed on the packaging) that said it was written by Bottler and Zekley. Pseudonyms for the band? A little digging led me to learn that it had been recorded by a 60s band, "The Clique."

In these days before the internet, I worked long and hard to find my "Clique." When I eventually succeeded, I discovered a British "The Clique," who had released couple of albums in the mid-1960s. But none featured "Superman." What the hell? Turns out that I later discovered there was an American "Clique" in the 1960s, a Texas band that had recorded the original "Superman." This "Clique" emerged in the late 1960s, releasing their "Superman" in 1969.

Both "Cliques" produced pretty good basic garage band stuff (recognizing that "garage band" is soooo American; perhaps the British word is "mod"). In essence, we are hearing the same kinds of riffs, making me think that cliques everywhere are mostly the same, a discovery I wish I had made in high school that might have made me realize the cool kids were in some ways as anxious and neurotic as the rest of us. Maybe I am overthinking the 60s, though, where the explosion of rock and roll post-Beatles meant variations on the same theme. In a decade where American rhythm and blues was being supplanted by British invasion, which was to later to challenged by American psychedelic rock, it seems only fitting that there was a British clique and an American clique, both making music not that different from each other.

Throughout all this research, though, I discovered one very cool song by the British "Clique": "We Didn't Kiss, We Didn't Love, But Now We Do," a track that could be identified as the epitome of Garage Rock. 

As with any clique, initially, through a single discordant guitar chord, you don't feel welcome in. However, after that the licks sound like The Troggs or early Stones, while the slightly tinny vocals could be The Standells and "Dirty Water." Between the chorus, which opens the song, and subsequent verses, we get slight tempo changes suggesting a slightly more complex song structure than many garage rock songs. Of course, in writing that, I might be affirming that there are distinct lyrics filling those verses. That would need to be corrected: lyrics can't be described as too many or too deep; but that's o.k., focus entirely on the crowing of the chorus, "We Didn't Kiss, We Didn't Love, But Now We Do, Do." "Louie, Louie?" "Do, do." Keep it simple stupid.

It also seems only fitting that while the Americans were singing about being super heroes, the Brits were singing about having a successful snog. And eventually, by the  late 1980s, the Brits roll out a new British "The Clique," also, according to Wikipedia, characterizing themselves as a "mod band." Not to be outdone, the Aussies, always running away from Great Britain and to the United States of America, provide a 2000-teens "Clique," a duo (not sure two people can ever make a clique; perhaps this is pop music irony in the way that the Thompson Twins and Cocteau Twins both were never duos). The Aussie "Clique" came out of Australia's The X Factor, just going to show again that television can ruin even the tightest clique.

Nevertheless, it is 2023 and I still put "We Didn't Kiss, We Didn't Love, But Now We Do" in my I-phone rotation. Sometimes one just needs a couple of chords, a stupid lyric, and 2 1/2 minutes of loud, sloppily played rock and roll to remember how it felt to be 16 and looking for love . . .  or at least a place in the clique.

Getting this onto my phone would have been almost impossible for the longest time. Reprints of this Clique were non-existent in the 1980s or 1990s. Then to my surprise, I find it included with the free CD provided by Mojo magazine in 2000. Mojo offered such free compilations pretty frequently and so to get Maximum '65 --

-- with some Pentangle, Kinks, Donovan, The Sorrows, along with my coveted "We Didn't Kiss, We Didn't Love, But Now We Do" was a gift from God. He/She/They almost made up for ignoring the ineptitude that kept me out of cliques 45 years ago.

The Clique. "We Didn't Kiss, We Didn't Love, But Now We Do." We Didn't Kiss, We Didn't Love, But Now We Do. Pye Records, 1965. Link here.

Day 263: "Oyster Band "Don't Slit Your Wrists For Me"

Day 265: Brian May "Let Your Heart Rule Your Head"

See complete list here.