Saturday, 15 November 2008

Fellows first came to prominence as "Jilted John", a character who had a hit single in 1978 that was named after his own alter ego. The single was performed in the aggressive, minimalist style of the then-prevailing punk/New Wave style, but with poppier influences, somewhat akin to Buzzcocks. The novelty hit was most memorable for its biting, out-of-tune lyrics ("I was so upset that I cried all the way to the chip shop" for example), a first-person narrative of a bitter teenager named John whose girlfriend Julie had left him for another guy named Gordon, 'just 'cause he's better lookin' than me/just 'cause he's cool and trendy.'

Produced by Martin Hannett for his Rabid Records label, the song was first played on national radio by John Peel who commented that if the single was promoted by a major record label he could see it being a huge hit. This proved to be the case when it was picked up by EMI International. The song was introduced by David Jensen on Top of the Pops as 'one of the most bizarre singles of the decade', and the song went on to reach number 4 in the UK singles chart.

Two follow-up singles were released the same year under the guise of 'Gordon the Moron'. A pseudo-concept album also produced by Hannett followed, entitled True Love Stories, charting John's love-life - and two further singles, neither of which were hits. No other recordings followed these, making Jilted John a one-hit wonder. However a cash-in single by Julie and Gordon sold moderately well as did lapel badges bearing the legends "Gordon is a moron" and "Gordon is not a moron".

Fellows revived the Jilted John character at the 2008 Big Chill festival, premiering a new song about Keira Knightley's ultra-thin figure.

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