They Could Have Been A Bit Like The Beatles: Danny Wilson 'The Second Summer Of Love'

Whatever it was that had got in the water in 1989 (and presumably it was some distant relative of that kerrazy 'acid'), you just couldn't move for music made by people trying to sound a bit psychedelic.

And not just the ultra-modern up-to-the-minute neo-psychedelia touted by the likes of The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, The Lightning Seeds and all those Euro-House outfits, which had broadsheet columnists straining at the leash to write something unfathomable about 'The Second Summer Of Love' (which, apparently, had something to do with shoes), nor indeed the
accomplished retro-inflected stylings of Julian Cope and XTC. No indeed not, as for some inexplicable reason, this extended right the way to mainstream acts of the sort that you wouldn't have expected to want to get 'a bit sixties'.

But 'get a bit sixties' they certainly did, even if most of them had virtually nothing resembling the first idea of what they were supposed to be doing, and this made for some... interesting results. But which of these 'interesting' results came closest to the holy grail of sounding a tiny bit like 'The Beatles' as they were believed to sound by someone who had spent their entire life with a bucket wedged firmly on their head and professed not to like the bits on the Red and Blue compilations where it 'goes a bit flower power'?

Well, we're going to be spending the next few weeks addressing just this pressing concern, weighing up the seven likeliest contenders against each other by virtue of the following criteria:

Sing This All Together (See What Happens): Just who were the act in question, and how did they come to arrive at this rather peculiar artistic volte-face?

Brought His Mellotrode And Freaked 'Em All Out: How heavily did they adopt phasing, sitars and other musical trappings of the original so-called 'Summer Of Love', and more importantly, how convincing did it sound?

On The Bus Or Off The Bus: Did the lyrics espouse radical counter-cultural ideas or just sound like one of their regular songs only with a couple of mentions of 'rainbows'?

The Green And Purple Lights Affect Your Sight: Was the video a far-out multicoloured assault to rival The Trip or did it just have them miming in a studio?

I'm Picking Up Bad Vibrations: Just how savagely did an uncomprehending fanbase turn on them as a result?

Ha Ha Ha... We Blew Your Mind!: And finally, how long did this hallucinogenic deviation last for? Clue: it normally wasn't very long at all...

So, join us on this Magical Mystery Tour to the centre of the Greatest Hits album - where such abberations are normally hidden in the hope of avoiding anyone noticing them - to discover just who was the most... A Bit Like The Beatles!

1. Danny Wilson 'The Second Summer Of Love'

Sing This All Together (See What Happens): Highly-touted ‘Sophisto-pop’ trio with too many hats get some sort of an inkling that there’s something in the air, and decide to jump on the bandwagon in their own special way. A bit like when people like Herman’s Hermits sang about flowers for one or two singles before they got spooked by that bloke from Procol Harum dressed as a druid on Top Of The Pops and went ‘normal’ again. Not off to a good start, then. THREE POINTS.

Brought His Mellotrode And Freaked 'Em All Out: Hmmm, there’s really not that much in this that could warrant the label ‘psychedelic’, coming across as more of an updated pastiche of sixties West Coast harmony pop outfits than their more lysergically-frazzled contemporaries. Which, to be fair, was pretty much Danny Wilson’s usual musical template anyway. Still, you have to concede it’s very well done. FIVE POINTS.

On The Bus Or Off The Bus?: "Acid on the radio/acid on the brain/acid in the calico/acid in the rain". Outstanding. NINE POINTS.

The Green And Purple Lights Affect Your Sight: A real big hitter from the days when having a ‘good video’ could still be a major selling point, this impressively realised effort sees the band mime to the song forwards whilst shoppers perambulate and bikinied lovelies leap in and out of swimming pools backwards. They also do some A Hard Day’s Night-esque spinning around on chairs and leaping about in jerky motion, and act the goat with giant L, O, V, and E letters on a hillside, ending up looking oddly like an insert from Jigsaw. EIGHT POINTS.

I'm Picking Up Bad Vibrations: Always one of those bands whose profile and critical adulation seemed to far outstrip their actual chart statistics, The Second Summer Of Love was one of only two Danny Wilson singles to chart (they were very much an ‘albums band’ of course), and only managed a paltry number 23. Not that you’d know it from how often it was on the radio. SIX POINTS.

Ha Ha Ha... We Blew Your Mind! Danny Wilson didn’t last too much longer, splitting up in 1991, and their ‘psychedelic’ phase lasted for considerably less time than that. Still, just about anyone you care to question will remember their two hits, and oddly the lesser The Second Summer Of Love in particular, which is more than you can say for most of their musical contemporaries, and which nets them a reluctant TWO POINTS. Which means they walk away – backwards – with a respectable TWENTY FOUR POINTS.

Next Time: it's the turn of Donnie, Danny, Jon, Jordan and Li'l Joe, as New Kids On The Block go puzzingly pop-psych...