Q-Tips was a true one-off, a spinoff of 70s British pop band Streetband, a group saddled with a novelty hit that stinted their growth. After a handful of records, they would morph into Q-Tips, a tribute to a retro sound, not unlike Darts or Sha Na Na. Unlike those two bands, Q-Tips paid tribute to Motown, Northern Soul, and the then-popular Mod revival. Though they paid their dues and respect to their favorite genre by covering a few songs–“Tracks of My Tears,” “Some Kind of Wonderful,” and Joe Tex‘s “S.Y.S.L.J.F.M (The Letter Song)”–most of their material was all original. What made Q-Tips really great was the power-combo punch of an extremely tight horn and rhythm section backing up a seriously powerful frontman, Paul Young, whose singing belied his age. He sounded like a seasoned veteran, even though he was but a young man of twenty-four. Unsurprisingly, the powerful combo would become a top live act based on great material like the ballad “A Man Can’t Lose (What He Don’t Have),” or like the jaunty “(Now I’m Left With A) Beautiful Memory” and “Please Don’t Stay At Home,” which comes complete with a blatant rip-off of Paul McCartney‘s contemporary hit, “Coming Up.” As good as they were, Q-Tips would not last; Young would soon embark on a solo career, while his rhythm section joined up with Adam Ant’s touring troupe. Though sounding nothing like Young’s forthcoming success (save for superb B-side “Stay The Way You Are”), Q-Tips proves to be an excellent one-off for a talented young man in the process of finding his muse.
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