SPECIAL FEATURE

 

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Come Said the Boy (E McCusker) – Mondo Rock 1983

 

Ross Wilson had moved on from his Daddy Cool doo wop days and producing hit albums for Skyhooks in the 1970’s, to a smooth, synth-laden 80’s pop sound with his new band Mondo Rock. After several lineup changes, and particularly after the addition of guitarist/composer Eric McCusker, Mondo Rock clicked into gear and produced no less than four top 40 singles – State of the Heart (#6 in 1’80), Cool World (#8 in ’81),Chemistry (#20 in ’81) and Summer of ’81 (#31 in ’81), and two equally successful albums – Chemistry (#3 in ’81) and Nuovo Mondo (#7 in ’82)

Mondo Rock’s most successful phase as a group coincided with this song becoming their biggest hit and one of their most revered and enduring. At the time the band comprised Ross Wilson (guitar/vocals), Eric McCusker (guitar), James Black (guitar/keyboards), James Gillard (bass) and John-James Hackett on drums and drum programming.

They went into the Fast -Forward recording studios in Montreal, Quebec with producer John Sayers to cut their fourth studio album, The Modern Bop, which would be mixed at Sayers Music Farm Studio at Byron Bay (NSW), Come Said the Boy was the lead single, released three months before the album in November 1983.

The song is based on a synth groove of considerable subtlety and restraint unlike the narrative which  is focused on straightforward adolescent sexual initiation. Synth-inflected guitars, keyboards and a barely-there drum pattern smoothly segues to the opening lyrics, which get right to the point, as they reveal a provocative tale of juvenile lust and lost virginity. It was a highly evocative Eric McCusker composition which recalled an earlier Ross Wilson song Cool World, sung with great passion and drive by Wilson, even the song title invites speculation and creates anticipation before it begins.

 

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The Catholic Church-owned Sydney radio station 2SM banned the song on the basis that it implied teenage promiscuity, which was not completely accurate, as the song does not imply but rather explicitly describes teenagers having sex and the lyrics make no attempt to lay the message between the lines ”Oh, but come said the boy, let’s go down on the sand/ Let’s do what we want to do, let me be a man for you/ Just say come with me boy, just take my hand/ I’ll let you see what you wanna see, come on be man for me.”

The song charts the rites- of -passage of teenage lovers at the end of the school year, intriguingly the girl in question is confident, experienced, even powerful, and this appealed to fans generally.

Eric McCusker has said that he understands that many people have lost their virginity to this song, which was partly inspired by a young man who told Eric about his efforts to lose his virginity at a beach party on Bronte Beach (Syd). The boy’s auntie, with whom he was staying, interrupted the pair before consummation, dragging the boy home with the words “Your mother would never forgive me if I let you stay out.” Auntie would probably never know how cruelly prophetic her words were for the young man who remained chaste and chastened as well.

 

The song became a classic summer hit and remains a unique example of the genre, the promo video was shot at Maroubra beach (Syd) and the song charted at #2 nationally for the band’s most-played single.

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