Hammer Glamour girl Caroline Munro turned heads in the 1970s appearing in a number of noteworthy horror films including The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971), Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972) and Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter (1974) as well as popular genre films such as The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974), At the Earth’s Core (1976) and the James Bond feature The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). Her “girl next door” sex appeal and sassy screen persona has gained Caroline a cult following over the years that even led to the making of a documentary about the actress called Caroline Munro: First Lady of Fantasy (2004) but some of my earliest memories of Caroline are linked to the music she recorded in the ’80s and the videos she appeared in.
Who can forget Caroline’s sexy bedroom dance with Adam Ant in the “Goody Two Shoes” (1982) music video? It’s definitely one of my favorite music video moments from the ’80s! I liked the video so much that I even tried to emulate Caroline’s hairstyle in it when I was a teenager. Caroline Munro also recorded a single with Gary Numan in 1984 titled “Pump Me Up” that didn’t get much play in the US but found a small audience in Europe.
Top: Caroline dances with Adam Ant in the video for “Goody Two Shoes” (1982)
Bottom: Caroline sings “Pump Me Up” with Gary Numan (1984)
Before Caroline ever appeared in any films or music videos she recorded a two song demo way back in 1967. She was only 17-years-old when she tried to break into the music biz but she eventually focused on modeling and acting.
I first learned about Caroline’s early music career thanks to The World of Hammer Glamour site which mentioned that she had recorded a single called “Tar and Cement” but in the last few years I’ve learned a little bit more about the actress’s first single.
Back in December of 2007 I posted a lengthy look at the musical career of British actor Richard Harris that I titled Richard Harris Sings. In that piece I briefly discussed the Al Martino song “Here In My Heart” that Harris sang during the film This Sporting Life (1963). I had read that Harris recorded a copy of “Here In My Heart” so I spent some time trying to track down the recording and in the process I stumbled across a great site focused on Caroline Munro’s musical career.
At the site there is a lengthy article about Caroline’s early recordings including her first single “Tar and Cement” that features a song called “This Sporting Life” as a b-side. In the article the writer mistakenly credits soundtrack composer Roberto Gerhard for writing the song. Although the b-side of Munro’s first single and the Richard Harris film share the same title, the song that she actually recorded is an old blues standard originally written by Brownie McGhee in the 1930s called “Sporting Life Blues.” Over the years “Sporting Life Blues” has been rearranged, retitled and recorded by a number of different artists including the Chas McDevitt Skiffle Group, Ian Whitcomb, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page.
Top: Caroline in Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972)
Caroline Munro’s version of “Sporting Life Blues” is simply called “This Sporting Life” and the arrangement can be traced to the Chas McDevitt Skiffle Group. A similar arrangement was recorded by Ian Whitcomb in 1965 and Whitecomb’s version of the song became extremely popular in the mid ’60s. I wouldn’t be surprised if 17-year-old Munro was a fan of Whitcomb’s version of the song since it probably inspired her own recording. Munro’s interpretation of “This Sporting Life” can be found on the British CD compilation Dream Babes, Vol. 2: Reflections and the arrangement is credited to the renowned producer and composer Mark Wirtz. It also features some impressive backing musicians including Eric Clapton, Steve Howe, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker.
Caroline Munro’s vocals on “This Sporting Life” are not the tracks strongest element but for a first recording by an inexperienced 17-year-old I think she shows a lot of promise. There’s something really sweet, sentimental and genuinely appealing about her interpretation of this bluesy rock song from 1967. For fun I thought I’d share Caroline’s recording of the song here so other Hammer Glamour fans can enjoy it:
– Caroline Munro – “This Sporting Life” (1967)
w/ Eric Clapton, Steve Howe (from Yes) and Jack Bruce & Ginger Baker (from Cream)
To find out more about Caroline’s recent activities visit The Official Website of Caroline Munro.