Thursday, November 5, 2015

Great Obscure U.K. 60's Sides: Oscar (aka Paul Nicholas) Does Bowie

OSCAR-Over The Wall We Go/Every Day Of My Life U.K. Reaction 591002 1967

Oscar (born Paul Oscar Beuselinck) has a C.V. full of names.  He performed as Paul Dean (and was briefly a member of The Savages, Screaming Lord Sutch's backing band) and cut a single backed by The Thoughts (of "All Night Stand" fame for Decca) and a solo 45 as Paul Dean before becoming "Oscar" and later changed his name to Paul Nicholas where he would star in "Tommy", "Jesus Christ Superstar" etc and make the dreadful "Heaven Of the 7th Floor" disco record.

Signed to Robert Stigwood's Reaction label in 1966  he cut his first release with them as Paul Dean ("She Can Build A Mountain" b/w "A Day Gone By", both of which he wrote) as Reaction 590002 which was the labels second release following several variations of their debut 45 The Who's  "Substitute" ( 591001 with three differing B-sides!).  Stigwood was acquainted with Oscar's father Oscar Beuselinck Sr. a rather flamboyant, eccentric, allegedly acid tongued solicitor to the stars who it is said represented either Stigwood or Lambert & Stamp (depending on which book you read!). This was Oscar's third single for the label after the dynamic John "Speedy" Keen (later of Thunderclap Newman) penned "Club Of Lights" (591003) and Pete Townshend's "Join My Gang" (591006).

For his third Reaction release as Oscar he cut a previously unreleased David Bowie number called "Over The Wall We Go" that was released in January 1967 (this would be the first time an artist covered a track written under the name of "David Bowie" actually). It's an odd little ditty that's one third pub singalong, one third campy pop song and one third of a lost stage/film musical number not out of place in some Dick Van Dyke playing a Brit" bit. There are some catchy and hysterical lines in it like "My name it is Henry now some say I'm thick. I spent half me life in and out of nick my mom sends me presents to keep me in style soggy old cakes and hundreds of files.  Yeah I sussed all them files I'm a clever young man now I look stupid with manicured hands".  The lyrics were inspired by a series of prison break outs and provides a rather "gay" (in both uses of the word) picture of prison life with loads of double entendre and cheeky chappiness about it with full orchestration and horns full of pomp and circumstance complete with a silly chorus "Over the wall we go all coppers are 'nanas" . There are varying opinions of Bowie's "cameo" as various prisoner voices on this record but to my ears listen to inmate's Double 3425 and 3426 during the "roll call" sequence in the middle and see if you think that it sounds like him.  It has been reported that Oscar performed the number on comedian Ken Dodd's TV show "Doddy's Music Box" but clips have failed to materialize thus far (no doubt "wiped" like so many other 60's British television programs).

Promo sheet c/o Mark at

The flip side "Every Day Of My Life" is an overwrought orchestral/piano backed number more suited to Engelbert Humperdinck or more to the point, the garbage, which is where it belongs.  Despite the plug on TV as mentioned above it died a death. It was relaunched  in 1978 on Stigwood's RSO label by one "Ivor Bird", but if this was a re-release of the Oscar version I cannot say for certain as I have not heard it, like Bowie's "cameo" there are varying opinions.  Oscar would cut one more 45 on Reaction, a cover of The Bee Gee's "Holiday" (Reaction 591016) in September of 1967 before refocusing his career on acting before striking gold with the awful "Heaven On The Seventh Floor" in the U.S. (#6) ten years later (it tanked in Britain at #40).

"Over The Wall We Go" was legitimately reissued on the 2006 Castle CD compilation "Oh! You Pretty Things The Songs of David Bowie".

Hear "Over The Wall We Go":

Hear David Bowie's 1966 demo for "Over The Wall We Go":

Hear "Every Day Of My Life":

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