Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Bop Girl - Pat Wilson

Pat Wilson is one of the forgotten figures of Australian pop music. Well, it's time to get correct and give Pat the respect she deserves! Few artists can claim to have sculpted something that captures the zeitgeist of the 1980s as perfectly as Pat Wilson's "Bop Girl". The song, the cover art and the music video all encapsulate the essence of the decade that taste forgot.

"Bop Girl" was a #2 hit in 1983 and by all accounts ruled the airways for most of the year. The song even generated enough interest to score an American and European release, which at the time was something of a coup. So, what happened? Pat released another couple of singles from a five track EP (also called "Bop Girl") but as far as I can tell, was never heard from again. What a travesty! Her other songs were uniformly excellent and Pat oozed charisma. I would love to know what happened to her.

Many hits from the early 80s remained radio staples well into the 90s, but I never remember hearing "Bop Girl" when I was growing up. It's almost as if Pat was written off as an embarrassing artefact of the 1980s and hidden away at the back of the dusty cupboard of Australian music history, right next to Colette and Jason Donovan. In fact, to my eternal shame, I only discovered Pat after watching a youtube clip of Dannii Minogue covering "Bop Girl" on Young Talent Time. I was astounded by Dannii's amazing performance but also by the insanely catchy song - which I thought might have been an old Beach Boys tune that had been given an YTT makeover. I was genuinely surprised that it was an Australian song from the 80s. Surely, something this good would have been a staple on radio? Obviously not.

There has been something of a happy ending for Pat. "Bop Girl" has become a favourite on music video channels due to the appearance of a young Nicole Kidman in the hilarious video clip, while "Strong Love" was chosen to be part of the Countdown revival album. Hopefully, Pat will now be worshipped by a new generation of fans for her small but invaluable contribution to Australian music.

Watch these essential "Bop Girl" clips:

The Bop Girl music video - directed by Gillian Armstrong ("Little Women", "My Brilliant Career" etc). Look out for Nicole Kidman's bad dancing. This is surely in the running for the best Australian clip of the 80s.

Bop Girl Countdown performance - be amazed by Pat's intricate finger dance, drag queen make-up and the bizarre aerobics going on in the background

Dannii's scintillating version of Bop Girl on Young Talent Time - how brilliant is Dannii? Watch out for fellow ex-YTT member Tina Arena as a backing singer/dancer.


Anonymous said...

What a glorious place you have here.I actually have the Bop Girl 12inch alongside my collection of Norman Gunston 12inches of trashy disco covers that include Bop Girl and Thriller!!You have made it to the top of my favourites list.I shall be returning with interest frequently my friend.Thumbs up.

Trash Addict said...

Norman Gunston covered Bop Girl!? And Thriller!? I would LOVE to hear that! I'll have to start rummaging around my 2nd hand record shops.

Thank you for your kind comments. I'm glad someone else appreciates Pat's magic!

Trash Addict said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Andrew Heart said...

Hi there, Pat's Bop Girl is soo catchy! I listened to it all the time in 2008 after getting addicted to it on foxtel music channel. i wish someone would interview her to see what she's up to.
Apparently she is a resident of Elwood, Melb, Aust.
She appeared at a gathering at an Elwood school a few years back.

trev said...

dont forget though people the meaning of the words "bop girl" is a girl who masturbates same with cyndi laupers "she bop" is the same theme . noone seems to get this and usually are in shock that they have been singing about playing with oneself especially if singing in front of others

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