Graham Parker On Punk, New Wave, New Romantics and Paul Young -
Graham Parker photo by Ros O'Gorman, music news,

Graham Parker photo by Ros O'Gorman

Graham Parker On Punk, New Wave, New Romantics and Paul Young

by Paul Cashmere on November 2, 2020

in News

Graham Parker likes touring the USA because his lower profile means he doesn’t have to play the hits.

The UK New Wave legend generated radio play in Australia and the UK with songs like ‘Hey Lord Don’t Ask Me Questions’, ‘I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down’ and ‘New York Shuffle’ in the late 70s but America didn’t catch on until his 80s albums like ‘Another Grey Area’, ‘The Real Macaw’ and ‘Steady Nerves’.

Watch the Noise11 Classic Interview series with Graham Parker at SXSW in 2007.

“’Hey Lord Don’t Ask Me Questions’ was big in Australia and England, Europe,” Graham told Noise11 at SXSW in 2007. “In America rarely people call out for that. I’ve trained them well, especially with my solo show. I can do an hour and a half of the less obvious songs. I throw in some weird cover versions. I sometimes do a retrospective set. That’s a good one to do solo. I do something of each album starting in ’76. They are not what you would call the favourite song. They know that I have a right to do what I want. It feels good and its working for my voice at a different point in time”.

‘Hey Lord Don’t Ask Me Questions’ was written by American R&B singer Anne Peebles. “I did a cover version of it as well. Its an Ann Peebles song. You have to check out Ann Peebles. She did the definitive version,” he said. “She is the girl who did ‘I Can’t Stand The Rain’. I did the nasty, more intense version and Paul Young did the commercial, unnecessary version. She co-wrote it with someone else. I hope she got her dosh from it”.

Graham Parker grew from the London pub scene just as punk was brewing. “In ’76, the entire year was only happening in the back pages of the music press. I made two albums in ’76. It was like being in a field of one. We established ourselves in one year and then the punk and new wave came along and people put us in a new bag. I don’t think I belonged. It didn’t serve my purpose in any way. Those punk bands were kind of a one note thing and we weren’t. The musicians in the room were varied. Anyone who could do ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’ by The Supremes and ‘I Want You Back’ by the Jackson Five is not the Sex Pistols as good as they were. We were much more varied”.

In the 80s England’s New Romantics acts, Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet and Culture Club rendered Parker antiquated. “I didn’t get lumped in with that. It wasn’t me. I didn’t go in for the bad English version of American cocktails and a pirate shirt. It wasn’t a good time for me. I’d be playing shows and no-one would turn out. I can draw a bigger crowd now than then. It was not a great period”.

The most recent Graham Parker album was ‘Cloud Symbols’ in 2018. Graham will turn 70 on 18 November 2020.

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