Celia and the Mutations: Mony Mony / Mean to Me

celia_mony

Format: 7″

Label: United Artists

Country: UK

Year: 1977

Purchase price: $4

Purchased at: The Bop Shop, Rochester NY

 

“I say yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah”

I have a special fondness for those fleeting passionate souls that manage to to have the good fortune to have their voices heard, a momentary flareup that results in a rare precious slice of vinyl being produced.

celia_mony4Who Celia Gollin was is a mystery, her story lost in the sands of time. The odd bits of trivia I was able to dredge up reveals that she may have been a makeup artist on one of The Stranglers’ early albums, and that she was supposedly ‘discovered’ by a member of the band playing in a London club with the former keyboardist from Kilburn & the High Roads. She may also have had musical aspirations as early as 1975, as she is credited with vocals (along with Brian Eno!) on a work called ‘Ensemble Pieces’ by Christopher Hobbs, John Adams, Gavin Bryars. This album is of note, as it was the second released on Eno’s Obscure Records label.

Odds are Celia and the Mutations would be complete forgotten if it weren’t for one reason: ‘The Mutations’ were actually The Stranglers. This was no secret even in 1977 and the single caused a bit of a buzz at the time due to the connection. Sadly interest waned and their second single ‘You Better Believe Me’ failed to garner any interest.

celia_mony3‘Mony Mony’ is a cover of the 1968 #1 UK hit by Tommy James’. What Celia’s voice may lack in refinement in more than makes up for with raw zeal, punk in the truest sense of the word. The song would later be covered with some success by Billy Idol in 1987.

The sleeve is another fine example of the two-tone black and red color motif popular with late 70’s punk, and bares many similarities to The Stranglers’ ‘Something Better Change’ EP released two months later, even using the from sleeve art from the Stranglers’ 7″ (in altered form) on the backside of the single.

celia_mony2

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