Song of the Day, June 16: I Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You by the Alan Parsons Project
June 16, 2016 Leave a comment
Today’s song is the first in a long-running musical partnership. After Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson assembled studio talent for Tales of Mystery and Imagination, credited accidentally to the Alan Parsons Project, they kept the name and began a successful run of prog-pop concept albums. Tales was based on the work of Edgar Allan Poe; for their next outing, they explored themes from the stories of Isaac Asimov on I Robot. (The comma from Asimov’s title was dropped due to licensing conflicts.
The first vocal track on the album features a singer who would become a Project mainstay. Lenny du Platel was born in Karachi and moved to London with his first band in the mid-60s. His distinctive voice and stage presence were noticed by Dudley Moore and Lynsey de Paul, who renamed him Lenny Zakatek and shepherded a moderately successful solo career (including work with future members of 10cc). He then joined Gonzalez, a dance-oriented band. Parsons recruited him to sing for the Project between Gonzalez activities.
His powerful, edgy voice is perfectly suited to the blistering get lost theme of I Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You. A serious rocker, including a surging bass line from David Paton, it’s one of the band’s finest moments and became their second Top 40 hit in the US. Zakatek sang lead on the Project’s next two Top 40s, then alternated with Woolfson on most of the remaining chart moments.
Enjoy this wonderful song today.
BONUS! The Project recorded an early promotional video for the song. The sound on the only version I could find is lousy, but the video is interesting and features Parsons surrounded by some remarkable period tech.