Another Girl Another Planet and Sweet Jane: The Search for the most perfect pop song…

I think way too often about the perfect pop song. The perfect pop song is the preservation of the heart in the amber of four chords and a stuttering beat between them. Three chords hasn’t cut it since doo wop was popular, The Shangri La’s were the coolest chicks in town, and Wild Thing was the only bump and grind groove that mattered. You need that minor kick to get the engine fluttering, and I’ll stand in my combat boots on Peter Perrett’s table and defend Another Girl, Another Planet to any drawling dumbass that can’t hear genius when it unfolds before them.

Actually I think it is a straight tie. I have listened to one, then the other on repeat whilst trying to distract myself from the fights, gunshots, the dogs barking, the yelping and sirens, and the liberal feminist scumbags that sell their less privileged sisters down the river while they sit pretending the fucking boat isn’t sinking with us all on it. If you have never sold your body and soul for a bag of smack, or a place to sleep, or a fucking meal and almost got killed in the process and yet want to still push sex work as a positive thing you don’t have a fucking clue on the matter. I have one more thing to say, Nordic Model is the only way to go that is humane and not patriarchal and woman-hating…Sorry, yes, where was I….perfect pop songs.

As gay as I am, I have a soft spot for Peter Perrett of the Only Ones. He has that Johnny Thunder’s whine, that skinny legged junkie boy swagger, that cute snotty sneer, and the kind of just off-beat stutter that can only be purchased by some dedicated drug over extended periods of time. The genius of this just off the beat hiccup, the sheer impossibility of doing this on purpose is where half the perfection of Another Girl lays. You could almost believe this other girl via another planet and heading back in time, took the direct flight to New York from somewhere near London, became sweet Jane…and jumped into a Stutz Bearcat with Jack while the classical music plays march of the wooden soldiers on the radio: Lou has the same just off the beat jazzy hiccup, though his comes slightly more off the rails than Peter’s. I guess that what happens in New York, it speeds up just about anyone’s demise and sends ’em just off the beat and left of center in no time at all.

Peter’s song is only about girls as much as it needs to be for the BBC censors, space travel is in his blood, he don’t need rehabilitating, he looks ill but he don’t care about it in glorious sunny drive down the highway jangling guitars, the pulse of the beat, of life, of love, of hedonism and nilhilistic heart-rush whoomps from somewhere deep in the sub woofers. These boys are playing to win and I fail to see how they didn’t make it very big indeed, well I can see…they needed to be in CBGB’s suffering in the bathrooms, playing to the Bowery nightlife and wondering if they could get away without paying their bar tab whilst admiring Blondie and the Dead Boys. They would have been glorious out there, and instead of a sweet footnote, they would have been bigger than the Ramones. In fact, think about it Needles and Pins with Joey and Peter and the boys in punk sissy supergroup glory. I don’t know if I wanna live in this dull grey world no more where there is no Ramones and The Only Ones are not hugely successful.

Sweet Jane hits the spot with the jangle shimmery start, it sounds like the sunlight bouncing off the surf, it sounds like a memory sliding into place of a time where cars were boats and radio johns played music for protest kids. Lou was fond of pointing out to audiences that this song was NOT three chords, in fact was four, there is a B minor in there. He is right of course, it is elevated from that three chord jive, with it’s blushing women, it’s heavenly wine and roses break and Lou’s own sneer against the way things are and should be and he cannot abide with. Lou knows villains don’t always blink their eyes, but sometimes wanna be your boyfriend in a Ramones cute little punk ditty kinda way, but end up stabbing you in the guts in the Chelsea Hotel.

Four chord perfection from both sides of the Atlantic. I call it a tie. May the best group never faint or blink their eyes, and never ever need rehabilitating on this planet or another!


  1. nickreeves

    Well, there’s no argument here whatsoever. You and I share/wear the same heart x

    For many years Even Serpents Shine was my favourite album. It lacked, of course, Another Girl. I shall have to revisit it. Thank you.

    Perfect pop songs…ah, such a rare and beautiful lover. In a top 5 behind these 2 that you mention…oh, I don’t know…

    …actually, off the cuff, are you familiar with Drop Nineteens’ Winona? It is a thing of beauty: goosebump inducing, slack, jumbled, sexy, off kilter…bliss x

    1. The Paltry Sum

      Oh…I haven’t heard that in years, blissful stuff!…ok…Ill take your Drop Nineteens…and raise you a Brian Jonestown Massacre Straight up and Down. Even Serpents Shine is one of my favorite highway albums…but Breaking Down from the eponymous ’78 album is just makes that album pip it at the post, I think.

  2. nickreeves

    Nice. I am partial to some Anton Newcombe. I can’t help it. And I suspect that he can’t help it, either…which is his genius. He seems to live it. Whatever ‘it’ is. In a similar way that B. Gillespie does; as a magnificent magpie. Though, AN is clearly a low rent BG!
    DIG! is certainly one of my favourite rockumentaries
    ps (if we can use this phrase!)

    1. The Paltry Sum

      Ever read Digging the Vein by Tony O’Neill? It was a thinly veiled autobiographical account of almost being a long term part of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, it all fell apart in LA, and so did he, poor bastard. He made it out alive, back to the UK, and seems not really too much the worse for wear after it all…Anton seemed like a real tough cookie, a bit psycho in a not very good way really. psing in a river?

      1. The Paltry Sum

        He probably thought it a little too discrete for his intended audience, or else worried that Anton would get on a jet plane and come kick his poor little limey backside?

      2. The Paltry Sum

        Anton was a monster by our anti-hero’s account…I wouldn’t want to irritate him either! It would have been more satisfying and less… your face. He really got LA down pat, he nailed it. I think it might have all have been worth it, just for that.

      3. nickreeves

        😉 well, Detroit, I’ve worked 8 days this week. I have one more and then some days off. I should head to the land of nod. Thanks for a lovely evening. zzz
        ps. have a great afternoon etc.

  3. Nicholas Peart

    Great article. I am a big fan of The Only Ones. Love all their three albums. Peter Perrett is a very gifted songwriter (and highly underrated) and I feel lucky that I saw them at one of their re-union shows at the London Koko back in 2008 when drummer Mike Kelley was still around. That was a great gig! I am happy that Peter is still going and that he seems to be looking after himself a bit better these days.

    1. The Paltry Sum

      Hello! Yes Peter P looks like he is doing well, which is great to see. You were very lucky to see them live with Kelly on drums, I bet it was a fantastic show! Perrett is so under-rated, as is the entire band, it is as if the world simply chose to mostly ignore the British Ramones (I say the Ramones with the caveat that The Only Ones are just as visceral but Perrett has the more thought provoking songs…no one listens to the Ramones for intellectual stimulus…now I sound like I’m dissing Johnny and the Boyz…)
      Glad you enjoyed reading! Kind regards, TPS

  4. Nicholas Peart

    Haha…I don’t mind The Ramones. I bet they were great live – especially back in the CBGBs days. Yes that was a really good show – such a mesmerising experience. Those Only Ones songs are so powerful. I also saw Peter solo at a small London club back in 2015. That was another great gig. He was playing with his sons and played loads of Only Ones songs, plus a few songs from when he had an outfit called The One during the 90s (check out the Woke Up Sticky album) and also some new songs. He has since signed a deal with Domino records I think and released a couple of solo albums. I’ve only heard the first one and it’s not bad. I saw him again in London in 2017. This time he mainly played stuff of his new album and only a few Only Ones tracks. It was a good night but not as great as those last times I saw him. Having said that, I am really happy he’s active again and in a good place. There’s a very good book about him called Homme Fatale by Nina Antonia – really worth checking out. Some quite mind blowing stories in there. Best wishes, Nick

    1. The Paltry Sum

      I had the Woke up Sticky album…great title…I haven’t read Homme Fatale, but read some amusing stories about Peter…he seemed like quite the guy. You went to CBGB’s? Its a clothes shop now, the bastards destroyed it. Last time I was there was probably late 90s, if I remember right. I’m just listening to the Ramones right now, actually, I’m on a junkie boy kick.

  5. Nicholas Peart

    I once went to CBGB’s when I visited New York back in 2006. I saw some unknown bands – none of note. Although I do remember the last band that was playing brought out Steven Van Zandt as a special guest and they did a blistering cover of 7 And 7 Is by Love. Arthur Lee had passed away about a month before and this was a tribute to him. I was quite lucky as later that year CBGB’s closed down. I never visited CBGB’s back in the day (I am too young!), but I can imagine that would have been quite an experience! I can confirm though that when I visited the toilets were filthy – so some things never changed!

    Homme Fatale is a riveting read and there are some amazing stories in that book. Some very sad ones too. It’s an absolute miracle Peter is still alive. He was friends with Johnny Thunders and Johnny was warning HIM that he was taking too many drugs rather than the other way round – Can you believe that!? Sadly Johnny didn’t live very long (I think he died in 1991) and his death didn’t seem to be too much of a wake up call to Peter. Anyway, I am happy that he is clean and sober now and active with music again. He looked in good shape the last two times I saw him.

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