One Random Single a Day: “Un éléphant sur mon balcon” (1970) by Roger Whittaker


It’s only the very first review of my Random Single a Day challenge (which technically starts next year, but I was itching to get a head start) and I’ve come across something that is as weird and wonderful as I was hoping to get! From my brief research, Roger Whittaker is a Nairobi-born folk singer of popular music that occasionally nabs some radio hits in the German, Australian, and even US AC charts. He has a deep growl of a voice that reminds me a whole lot of Tom Jones, often to truly uncanny levels.

From my brief research, it seems he mostly sings in English and German; I just happened to stumble upon one of his very rare French-language singles, I guess. My French is very limited, so I had to run the lyrics through a translator to get a whiff of the song’s content – not that it made very much sense! He’s basically just singing about an elephant who lives on his balcony – how it got there, it’s not very clear, but it involves the French ASPCA somehow – and… well, that’s it. The elephant smokes cigars, drinks bourbon, and scares his neighbors, but he seems to be pretty okay with it; even happy about it.

Apparently, Whittaker is also well-known for his whistling skills, which he demonstrates a couple times throughout this song, though it’s nothing particularly mind-blowing. Actually, apart from the bouncy earworm of a melody and the guitar and horns that are occasionally cool, this is painfully average. Even Whittaker’s voice gets a bit tiresome after a while. I feel like his more folky efforts might be more worthwhile, as this just feels like a processed pop single that aims to be more radio-friendly than anything else. There’s even a part where the speaker notes a telephone conversation – “Allo, allo!” – and the vocals mimic the hollow speakerphone quality of “Yellow Submarine”. All in all, I guess I’m glad I listened to it, as the perky nature of this recording is too charming ignore – but I think I’ll pass up any future listens of this one.

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2 Responses to One Random Single a Day: “Un éléphant sur mon balcon” (1970) by Roger Whittaker

  1. Pingback: One Random Single a Day: “Vroeg of Laat” (1983) by Toontje Lager | Films Like Dreams, Etc.

  2. Pingback: One Random Single a Day #15: “Give Me the Good News” (1982) by Crocodile Harris | Films Like Dreams, Etc.

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