“Jilted John”

JILTED JOHN – “Jilted John” / “Going Steady” (EMI International INT 567) August 1978

Jilted John “Jilted John” – Started life as an unpromising demo tape until Rabid Records’ Tosh Ryan and John Scott shoved actor Graham Fellows into the studio with production genius Martin Hannett.

Given a edgy guitar riff and a monotone vocal, this shaggy dog story of unrequited love became the cuddly face of punk with it’s memorable refrain of “Gordon is a moron”.

In fact, Jilted John was perhaps the turning point for the movement in the public’s consciousness – once those intimidating, angular guitar sounds had been married to an amusing novelty hit, there didn’t seem to be much of a threat any more.

Fellows’ Jilted John album flopped; he re-appeared 15 years later as John Shuttleworth. (Mojo)

Bleating about the bush in the self-righteous, self-important, self-indulgent moniker of such worthy crusades as bitterness, vengeance AND obsessive disgust with his lot, King Elvis took two albums to tell Elvis Costello that he’s a victim not a lover.

At first he was OK. Then you twigged the cloned riffs, that the American accent he cultivated wasn’t High satire and by the time one finally realised that carping and moaning were all one’d known since one’d known El, WELL! Quite frankly, for me he was getting to be a pain in the calf.

But now the maladjusted misfit who WILL Be King skulks from the seamy underbelly of chip shops, bus shelters and baby-sitting settees in last year’s Akron, Ohio – Manchester . . . all ripe for rejection and a couple of covers.

“I was so upset that I cried all the way to the chip-shop,
when I came out there was Gordon standing at the bus stop.
and guess who was with him?
Yeah, Julie – and they were both laughing at me
oh, she is cruel and heartless to pack me for Gordon.
Just coz he’s better looking than me,
just coz he’s cool and trendy.
But I know he’s a moron, GORDON IS A MORON,
I know he’s a moron

Jilted John

Jilted John is destined to become to the ’80s (only 18 shopping months to go, kidz) what Presley, Rutles and Rotten were to their respective decades, and that’s an understatement. The maestro adopts his alter-ego alias of mild-mannered 18 year old drama sponge Graham Fellows between telephone booths and he’s touched by genius (her name is Sharon) (NME, 27/05/78)

It was only a matter of time before punk rock went novelty and ’Jilted John’ may have been the first ’tongue in cheek’ song with the 1978 punk rock sound. The single was released on Rabid Records, a small indie label back in April, then was quickly snapped up by EMI for national release. They obviously sensed that the time was right for a novelty punk rock act and so they were proved right as the single went top 5.

I remember hearing ’Jilted John’ loads of times on Radio 1. One time was on the car radio when we were being driven back from a football match in 1978. We had just played for Newbottle Community Centre Under 15s at East Herrington when this came on the radio. I just wish we had a lad called Gordon in our team but sadly we didn’t. That didn’t stop us all joining in with the chorus of ’Gordon is a moron’.

I wonder where my old football mates are nowadays? Never seen any of them since the early 80s….Bamba, Moffy, Parkin, Tucker and Hoody….this one’s for you. (EXPO67)

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