Amateur Hour

Album: Kimono My House (1974)
Charted: 7
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Songfacts®:

  • "Amateur Hour" is a coquettish tale about inexperienced young men visiting women in the "hinterlands" in order to learn more about sex ("She can show you what you must do to be more like people better than you"). It was the second single to be released from Sparks' album Kimono My House after "This Town Ain't Big enough For The Both Of Us."

    Like its predecessor, "Amateur Hour" was a Top 10 hit, peaking at #7 on the UK charts in 1974. Sparks' lead vocalist, Russell Mael, said of the song's success: "Singles have a lifespan of about four minutes in England. Thus, while 'This Town' was losing steam, 'Amateur Hour' was released as the follow-up. It was satisfying that a song that was so different in nature from our initial success with 'This Town' could also be successful with the British and European public."
  • In our interview with Martin Gordon, who played bass for Sparks during the Kimono My House era, he revealed he was unhappy with the recording of this song. This was due to him being forced to perform on a Fender bass guitar instead of his signature Rickenbacker 4001 - described by the rest of Sparks as "really wimpy" - and through a DI ("Digital Input") instead of an amp: "When I was asked, during live rehearsals for an upcoming UK tour, to replace the 4001 with a Fender Precision, I failed to see the logic, and refused to comply. I had already compromised my sound once, on the recording of the tune 'Amateur Hour,' where I, reluctantly, replaced the previously recorded 4001 bass line with an anonymous Fender. Which, to make matters worse, wasn't even run through an amp but was DI'd. Plonk, plonk, it went."
  • In 1997, Sparks recorded an electronic version of this song featuring synth-pop duo, Erasure, for their retrospective album, Plagiarism.
  • Kimono My House was Sparks' third album. It was released in 1974 and is widely considered to be the sibling duo's commercial breakthrough. The title is a pun on the Rosemary Clooney song, "Come On-A My House."

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