Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Dirk Bogarde Sings

I’ll bet you didn’t know that the professionally neurotic actor Dirk Bogarde was also a pop star? Well, he wasn’t really, but he did record an album called ‘Lyrics for Lovers’. Why? Because it was 1960, and that was the sort of thing famous people did then.

A fairly undemanding project, Dirk simply lends his fruity tones to the recitation of the lyrics from some famous standards over an orchestral backing. Contrary to the title of this post, he doesn’t sing; he speaks. At this stage, it would be easy to go mental and hail him as the Godfather of Rap or some such shit, but that simply isn’t happening: it’s a pleasant, forgettable, totally irrelevant record presumably aimed at melting the hearts of Dirk’s numerous female followers.

Here’s his version of ‘Just One Of Those Things’. He hams it up a bit, but then Dirk always had a very keen and sardonic sense of irony.

Interestingly, this record almost represents an end to the first stage of Bogarde’s career: fifteen years spent as a pretty boy pin up in an endless series of fairly pointless but very popular films. Within a year, his long and prohibitive contract to Rank complete, he would embark on a series of films that stretched him as an actor and would successfully change his public image from beefcake (he was known as the British Rock Hudson!) to heavyweight thespian, a serious player. Sadly, one of the casualties of this transition was his music career, and he never recorded a follow up LP.

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