Wednesday, 5 December 2012
This half-forgotten example of rodness was one of the minor controversies of the Seventies. I vividly remember this video being shown on Top Of The Pops, and provoking one of those moments of domestic discomfort usually associated with the Benny Hill and Kenny Everett shows, i.e. my mum would tut and mutter under her breath between fixing my dad with a gimlet eye lest he be exhibiting the slightest nano-smidgen of excitement, while my dad would ironically say excitable things like "ooh I say!" or "my word!" to disguise any genuine pleasure he may or may not have been experiencing. Then, the inevitable argument would ensue.
Anyway, "Hot Legs" is a bit of a disappointment in hindsight. Already, in 1976, we're seeing the emergence of tame pseudo-raunch, which is probably why the be-stockinged legs were drafted into the video. The Osmonds-clean backing band do a poor job at appearing blue-collar. I like Rod, but his foghorn of a voice is more suited to sparse arrangements than to dense ones. With his spiky hair and big conk, I like to think of him as an anthropomorphosized cormorant, best heard cawing on an isolated cliff top. Despite his libidinous reputation, he does melancholy far better than he does sexy.
Most poignant of all is the overt invocation of chuckberriness two-and-a-half minutes in, clear evidence if any were needed that the source is already receding into the distance, and acting out is the only way to recover it.