The Last Of The Teenage Idols: The Story Behind Alex Harvey's Insane Masterpiece
From rock to doo-wop to an avant-garde guitar solo – how The Sensational Alex Harvey Band out-weirded Bowie to become the most unlikely pops star of 1973.
Alex Harvey often joked that his was the longest internship in the entire history of rock’n’roll. The Glaswegian was 40 by the time he scored his first hit in 1975, when The Sensational Alex Harvey Band covered the old Tom Jones favourite Delilah.
The previous couple of decades had seen him front his Big Soul Band, release a succession of failed solo records and serve in the house band in the West End production of Hair. It was an extended practicum that fed directly into one of SAHB’s most celebrated songs, The Last Of The Teenage Idols.
“The whole thing started because it was a sort of tribute to when Alex won a competition to find Scotland’s Tommy Steele,” explains former SAHB bassist Chris Glen. “It was the fifties, and Tommy Steele was like the Elvis of Britain at that time, so the song was leaning towards that.”
“Alex used to look back on the whole idea of it as quite comical,” adds drummer Ted McKenna. “You can hear the sarcasm in the song, and the intonation in his voice, especially at the end, is quite funny.”