New Top-Tenner shakes NME reporter Norrie Drummond
There was a time, not so long ago, when pop singers were modest, humble creatures. But latest trends are to have a go at fans and fellow artists. Modesty, apparently, has given way to downright conceit.
One of the new breed popsters, who considers himself God's gift to show business is Crispian St Peters! He jumps up to No 10 in this week's NME Chart with "You Were On My Mind".
"There are very few British groups with anything like a good stage act," opined Mr. St Peters when we met in a Soho pub. "Off hand I can only think of three which have anything to offer. The Who, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles," he said generously, then added: "And the Beatles are past it."
Crispian - real name Peter Smith - doesn't think much of Lennon-McCartney compositions either. "I've written about eighty songs ," he told me, "and they're of a better class than most of the Beatles songs."
Dave Nicolson, Crispian's youthful-looking manager, nodded in agreement, "This boy is going to be Presley all over again."
"Better than Presley," interrupted Crispian. "I'm going to make Presley look like the Statue Of Liberty."
Among Mr. St Peters other claims is that he is more exciting on stage than any other solo British singer. "I am sexier than Dave Berry," he went on. "And more exciting than Tom Jones. Tom has rubber legs and that's all."
STARTLING CLAIMS BY CRISPIAN
* I'll be better than Presley
* Beatles are past it
From what Crispian St Peters has just said, the reader could be forgiven for assuming that he was a dreadful bore, who talked only of his own greatness. Yet, although he is steadily gaining the reputation as the Cassius Clay of pop, Crispian can be an intelligent and witty companion.
"I made two records last year but they flopped," he continued, biting into a ham sandwich as consolation. "Then I went to Australia and worked for about three months in a Sydney hotel. A fantastic experience! I learned how to handle a cabaret audience. Now I feel I can do anything Sammy Davis can do. After all, anyone can do a James Cagney impression." He then proceeded to do a takeoff on Mr. Cagney as he appeared in many of his roles. When he returned from Australia, Crispian recorded his third disc, "You Were On My Mind".
"We took the number from an LP by Barry McGuire," he said. "I had met McGuire when he was over here and we talked quite a bit about music."
I mentioned to Crispian that several people had compared him to Adam Faith.How did he feel about this? "It's a load of old .............. " he said vehemently. "Adam Faith has developed into an album singer. I am a pop singer - and I'm exciting, like my record is". "You Were On My Mind" has been growing on people for some time. Now it's going like a bomb. "I think that my type of is reminiscent of the golden era of rock. The same type of material as the early Presley, Gene Vincent and Jerry Lee Lewis records. We all have something in common - we move. I think audiences are tired of just watching three guitarists and a drummer get on to a stage and merely sing without any action."
How did 22 year old Crispian break into the pop business? "I have been singing and writing songs since I was eleven," he told me thoughtfully. "When I left school I had many jobs. I worked on a farm, then in a garage. One day I was backing a brand new car out of the showroom and crashed it into a wall. End of that job! Next I recorded one of my own compositions called "At This Moment". Then I did "No, No, No" before "You Were On My Mind", but I feel it will be about two years before I reach the pinnacle of my success."
He told me that in a few weeks time he'll be doing several concerts with the Walker brothers. "I think they are very talented," he said generously, "but there again, they are American."
Norrie Drummond New Musical Express 29/1/66