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.