Jonathan King

Bubblerock Is Here to Stay

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Imagine, if you will, Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock," performed as a waltz. Contemplate, if you can, "Mr Tambourine Man" rearranged for 15 tambourines. And finally, if your stomach is still up to it, consider the Supremes' "Reflections," if it thought it was "Whole Lotta Love." Congratulations. You have just visualized Bubblerock Is Here to Stay, the first and only album ever released by Bubblerock, a Jonathan King concept whose name so aggressively summed up the music that it didn't actually need to make records. The mere threat would have ensured world domination. "It's the easiest thing in the world to look back on a great old sound and remember how much you loved it," King's liner notes explained. "[But] a re-hearing can only bring nostalgia." In order for the song to live again, it needed to be invented. "Which is why the music industry has given birth to Bubblerock. . .[and] the million sellers as never heard before." And it is as brilliant in execution as it was in conception. So what if "It's My Party" never really required the addition of the words "boo hoo" to emphasize the line "I'll cry if I want to"? Or if "Have I the Right" should never sound like a pantomime of Deep Purple. To deny the magnificence of such manglings is to overlook the fact that the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" really does work as a country song, in which form it gave Bubblerock a major U.K. hit in 1972. Close to a decade later, Mute Records chief Daniel Miller would make a similar gesture in the guise of the Silicon Teens, and be feted as a visionary. King and Bubblerock, on the other hand, were written off as another annoying novelty from the man who made a career of such things. Justice, however, will not be denied. No one remembers the Silicon Teens today. But Bubblerock Is Here to Stay.