Saturday, September 24, 2005

MP3: Cats UK / Lorraine Chase: Naaah! Luton Airport!

Another bizarre blast from the past today, in fact something unlike anything else you're ever likely to hear. I'm talking about the classic one hit wonder that is Luton Airport by Cats UK. Inspired, and often mistakenly thought to be sung by, Lorraine Chase, the songs title came from an advert that Chase appeared on for Campari in which she famously said "Naaah, Luton Airport!". I haven't seen the advert, but obviously by 1970s standards it must have been pretty hilarious to inspire it's own song. But then it did only have On The Buses to compete with. For all non Brits, Lorraine is an actress who started her career in the 70s and now appears in abysmal country-based soap opera Emmerdale Farm. It's like our equivalent of Sunset Beach, but with cows instead of beaches. This song is probably equally as incomprehensible for anyone non-British.

And what a song. Not really a surprise that this was a one hit wonder really. It did only get to number 22 (in October 1979), and its practically impossible to find out anything out about who Cats UK actually were. And maybe that's a good thing. What's great about it is how specific it is, as if Luton Airport presented a sort of great lyrical metaphor for us all to live and learn by. Could the same be done for Portsmouth Coach Station, or Chester Post Office? We'll never know. The only other Cats UK song published as far as I can tell is the bside to this single which I think was a cover of Sail Away, which i'm kind of glad I don't have on mp3.

So the song itself. To me it sort of sounds like an outtake from Grease sung by Pat Butcher from Eastenders, but far worse. Check out that synth bit after the solo that sounds like The Killers. Lovely. Something very new wavey about the whole thing in fact. Except that a real female new wave singer, like say Debbie Harry, doesn't sound like a cockerny fishwife. My recommendation would be to play it for all your friends, and then to confuse people on a friday night by all walking down the street drunkenly singing it as loudly as possible, just to make the world a little more insane. Or possibly, to shout "Naah, Luton Airport!" between songs at any gig of your choice, and to email a recording to me. You could then win your very own copy of Luton Airport. Word. In fact the best thing i've heard about the song is how rival football teams sing it in order to taunt Luton fans. If only all football fans were as creative, t'would be a much more interesting game.

To see a quite lovely clip of the song being performed on Top of the Pops, click here. I'm afraid there are no Cats UK fansites for you to peruse, but you can look at this lovely IMDB page for a nice Lorraine Chase profile. Enjoy. I think.

Download: Luton Airport - MP3 2.17mb (rapidshare)


Blogger simon h b said...

Being old enough to remember the flood, I have memories of the Campari campaign which inspired - if "inspired" is the right word - the song. Chase at this time was a model, rather than an actress (our standards were lower then) and Campari was seen as an exotic drink. The idea, i think, was to try and squeeze in on the back of the success the Joan Collins/Leonard Rossiter Martini ads.

So, a posh man, with a moustache and a cravat, is taken with the astonishing beauty of Lorraine Chase (like I said, lower standards back then) and, pouring her a glass of Campari, asks her "were you wafted here from paradise?"; whereupon Chase replies, of course, "nah, Luton Airport."

oooh-eee-ooow, indeed.

12:43 pm, September 25, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The lead singer was called Bea Rowley and I was the singer in the middle of the three! What a blast from the past finding this on a website! The song was written by Paul Curtis and John Worsley on the beach on holiday in Majorca with their families.On their return they approached Lorraine Chase about recording the song but as I understand it she declined. Cats UK were put together by agents Jill Shirley and Jenny Dunster of Razzamatazz. I was working with another group at the time and represented by Razzamatazz when the call came to do TOTP. One of the singers was on tour in the musical Cabaret in Birmingham and I got the call to step in. We did 2 episodes Top of the Pops in the end that October and it was great fun. It is so strange to look at that photo now after all these years as I don't have any pictures or video. Would love to know if anyone out there has a video of either episode! - Pippa

5:17 pm, November 17, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pippa, I had the 45rpm of another Cats UK single, it was a doule A side Holiday Camp/Charlies Angel. I used to love it and something probably really rare to get a hold of but I no longer have it.

Presumably no chance of getting this again. Would anyone have a copy and be able to post on the net?

John, Australia

11:21 am, February 21, 2007  
Anonymous zaran said...

hi all, i have the singles luton airport, sixteen looking for love (which is fab and my fav by the girls) and also holiday camp which i prefer the b,side!! viv hope (deena payne)of emmerdale on itv was in the group too she was also a backing singer for another band too..wish the cats had done an album!!!

6:23 pm, August 15, 2007  

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