“They call her Fancy Pants
and if you give her a chance
She’ll just dance, dance, dance”
Growing up in the 70s I was aware of a distinct line with regard to manufactured music and image. On the one side you had songs supported by groups who believed in the music and enjoyed their image (e.g. the Sweet), on the other you had groups playing lip service and who seemed uncomfortable with what they were being asked to do. Despite catchy songs (and since remembering Fancy Pants a week ago I can’t get it out of my head) I always felt that Kenny fell into the second group and this seems to be born out when their strange background is looked at.
Now there were four different aspects to Kenny namely – an Irish singer Tony Kenny, session musicians (including Chris Spedding of “Motorbiking” fame), songwriters Martin and Coulter (of Bay City Rollers fame) and a prog-rock group called Chuff.
Recording as Kenny, Tony Kenny had two hits in 1973 with “Heart of Stone” and “Give It To Me” and then disappeared from the scene. Despite the lack of a singer, Martin and Coulter, following their split with the Bay City Rollers, produced a number of songs with session musicians and released one of these “The Bump” (which had been a b-side for the Rollers) under the name Kenny. As the song started to climb the charts they realised that they needed a group to front it up on TOTP and in publicity shots. When Chuff were initially approached and asked to become Kenny they were dubious as the music was totally at odds with their Pink Floyd / Yes aspirations, however given the carrot of money and TV appearances they agreed – Kenny now had a physical presence!
There were four hits “The Bump”, “Fancy Pants”, “Baby I Love You, OK” and “Julie Ann” during ‘74 and ’75 all recorded by session musicians and fronted by Kenny aka Chuff. However while the songs were hits the money promised to Chuff was not forthcoming and a court case ensued between the group and the songwriters. While the group won the case their time on the charts was over, with new single and album making little impact, and the group disbanded.
Kenny have never reformed but have left us with a couple of catchy tunes and (disturbing) memories of them appearing on TV in brightly coloured jumpsuits.