Sunday, September 27, 2015

New World: Rooftop Singing



New World were an Australian group who enjoyed modest success in Britain in the early 1970s.

This song was written for them by Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn, the most prolific hit makers era. Most of their songs were dross, but Chapman later redeemed himself by producing Blondie's Parallel Lines.

Rooftop Singing reached only no. 50 in the UK in 1973, but they had reached no. 6 in 1971 with Tom Tom Turnaround".

The Seekers had been huge in Britain in the 1960s, so I suppose Chinnichap thought it was worth taking a punt on another folky Australian vocal group.

But I have a vague memory that a whiff of scandal surrounded New World.

Wrinkled Weasel's World quotes Mike Hurst, the band's producer:
Mickie Most introduced me to an Australian band called New World. They were on Opportunity Knocks. So, my first comment was, “Surely, we are going to see if they win it” and Mickie said, “Oh, they will”. That was my first intimation that things weren’t quite as they should be. 
A guy from ATV who produced the show said, “and when they win the final..” and I looked at him and said, “How can you be so sure?” and he said, “Don’t worry, we are very sure. They are going to win.” That’s when it all came home and I realised it was fixed. The fix was nothing to do with me; I was just going to make a record.
And that blog goes on to record how it ended:
Of course, the fixing scandal of Opportunity Knocks blew open and that’s what killed New World. They were at my house in Henley, rehearsing. They got a phone call and literally ran out of the house. 
I had never seen people move so fast. They had a car waiting to take them to Henley station. They went back to London and the next thing I heard, the band had been arrested. 
Of course they could never be accused of anything but they were material witnesses to the Opportunity Knocks fix. After it all got out it destroyed their career.
UK Game Shows tells a slightly different story:
The pop group New World were tried at the Old Bailey for trying to fix the outcome of the show on which they appeared. They had asked friends to send in bogus votes.
If anyone has more leads on this long-forgotten scandal, I would be interested to hear about them.

They would probably be more fun than New World's songs.

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