CYCLE MUSIC #08
The Smiths 「This Charming Man」

The monthly column “CYCLE MUSIC” delves into various aspects of cycling-related songs, including jackets and music videos. This month, let’s introduce The Smiths’ “This Charming Man,” which starts with the lyrics “Punctured Bicycle.”

Personally, this song is one of the three tracks that captivated me when they were released in real-time during my music-loving 17-year-old days, along with The Style Council’s “My Ever Changing Moods” which I covered in the first installment of this series and Aztec Camera’s “Oblivious”.

In the early 1980s, I was into the acoustic pop that emerged from the UK beyond the waves of punk and new wave. While The Smiths are often associated with Morrissey’s charismatic vocals and lyrics, I was struck by the freshness of Johnny Marr’s guitar in the intro. Along with the melodious and beautiful vocals, Andy Rourke’s groove, influenced by Motown beats and dubbed the “strongest bass line,” propelled the music. Hearing it on FM radio and being instantly captivated, I quickly went to buy the 12-inch single. I was also drawn to its jacket, which depicted a scene from the 1950 French cinema “Orphée” directed by Jean Cocteau, featuring Jean Marais lying in a puddle.

Realizing the multifaceted meanings conveyed in the poetic lyrics that depict the story of a young man who punctures his bike on a desolate hill and a charming gentleman who passes by in a fancy car in “This Charming Man” was something I came to understand in college, but it was the exhilarating sensation of riding through the verdant English countryside on a bicycle that captivated me at 17 (similar to “My Ever Changing Moods” and “Oblivious”). Even after 40 years, it still brings a fresh sense of excitement and exhilaration to my heart.

It’s worth mentioning that among The Smiths’ songs, alongside “The Boy With The Thorn In His Side,” which features Johnny Marr’s pleasant lingala-style guitar and Morrissey’s yodeling voice, “This Charming Man” remains a favourite that DJs occasionally play, sometimes even the “New York Remix By Francois Kevorkian.”

The Smiths「This Charming Man」

Profile

Toru Hashimoto (SUBURBIA)
Editor / Music Selector / DJ / Producer. Founder of Suburbia Factory. Owner of Shibuya’s “Cafe Apres-midi” and “Apres-midi Selecao.” Over 350 compilation CDs, including series like ‘Free Soul,’ ‘Mellow Beats,’ ‘Cafe Apres-midi,’ ‘Jazz Supreme,’ ‘Music With A View,’ and many others, have been curated, making him the world’s foremost selector. He oversees and produces music broadcast channels “usen for Cafe Apres-midi” and “usen for Free Soul” on USEN, wielding significant influence in Japanese music scene since the 1990s. In recent years, his ‘Good Mellows’ series with a focus on mellow chillout has gained great popularity both domestically and internationally.

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CULTURE
CYCLE MUSIC #07
B.J. Thomas “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head”

It’s been a year since the passing of Burt Bacharach, the iconic composer of the 20th century. His art of songwriting, characterized by sophisticated yet beautiful melodies and vibrant, stylish arrangements that make full use of “Bacharach Magic” chord progressions and rhythm changes, along with bold and elegant structures, continues to captivate people’s hearts worldwide. His witty and imaginative compositions, combined with urban and deeply resonant lyrics (especially those of Hal David), create a timeless marriage that still resonates with people around the world, transcending generations.

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CULTURE
CYCLE MUSIC④
Georgie Fame”Happiness”

Ever since this column started, when I listen to music, I somehow become conscious of cycling jackets, music videos related to bicycles, titles, and lyrics related to cycling. But when I thought of this song, I was delighted. It’s Georgie Fame’s beloved groovy tune “Happiness.” This song is from the 1971 masterpiece album “Going Home” is known to those in the know, and on the back cover, you can see Georgie Fame wrapped in a boa leather blouson, riding a bicycle.

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