Cover Versions

Red Light Spells Danger

Light Spells Danger

Song: Red Light Spells Danger
Artists: TopGear Band (featuring Justin Hawkins of The Darkness)
Original artist: Billy Ocean

Hands up, I admit it. I wanted to include this Billy Ocean track because it’s a personal
favourite. But I had a problem. When I went looking for cover versions of it, I found quite
a long list. Trouble was, I hadn’t heard of any of the artists.
So, as a somewhat ‘shabby’ compromise, I present a version of it performed by the
members of the TV motoring programme TopGear which they did for Red Nose Day
In it, Jeremy Clarkson says he had had only seven lessons before attempting to be the
drummer on the track. He drops the drumsticks a short way into the song. Deliberate or
an accident? I’ll leave you to decide. But it’s a bit of fun and that’s what Red Nose Day
is all about.

How they persuaded The Darkness vocalist Justin Hawkins to perform, I’ll never know.
The song was included as the finale of Top Gear of the Pops, a one-off programme that,
as the name suggests, combined elements of the motoring show and the BBC’s Top of
the Pops music charts programme. It replaced a special edition of A Question of Sport
that had been recorded some months earlier because the contestants included Jade
Goody who had made racist comments on Celebrity Big Brother 5 and the Beeb felt it
best that they drop it rather than stir up anti-Goody reactions.
Billy Ocean’s original version peaked at No 2 in the UK charts in 1977. Rastafarian
Ocean was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2020. Ten
years earlier he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the MOBO
awards in London.

For me, Red Light Spells Danger is the perfect ‘sing along in the car’ track. So, it came
as no surprise when I discovered Peter Kaye and Sian Gibson had included the track in
their Car Share TV series (see below). Kaye’s reaction to the track being cut short by
the radio station exactly matches mine. Having made a few appearances on BKK1 to
promote these Cover Versions blogs I know it’s not always possible to let a track finish
on the radio. But I still find it annoying when the DJ cuts a favourite track short. How
about you?

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