1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

Just another music list

Charly – Sean Rennie

Charly - Sean Rennie

Charly – Sean Rennie

Sean Rennie was born in Ireland, auditioned for the Vienna Boys Choir, but didn’t make the grade. He moved to South Africa in 1964 and formed a band called Purple Haze. While still with the band he started making a name for himself as a solo arist. His first Springbok Top 20 hit was in 1970 called ‘I’ll Walk With You,’ which made it to number 13. A few years (and singles) later, he popped up with ‘Charly’ (2 years before Rabbitt’s ‘Charlie’ a completely different song). ‘Charly’ made number 4 on the SA Top 20 and had a 13 week run there.

Perhaps it’s just the fact that he was born in Ireland, but there is a Joe Dolan thing going on in this song. It’s a love ballad similar to those that Dolan was famous for and Rennie’s voice, while not quite as sharp, has a similar pleading quality to it. Where it does differ from Dolan is that the song hinges around a psychedelic riff that has been modified for a pop song. A Greek bazouki sound pops up during the chorus giving the song a Mediterranean flavour.

‘Charly’ tells the typical story of boy meets angel, boy marries angel, angel buggers off. The stuff of true romance. It was produced by David Gresham and Alan Goldswain and was a good example of what was popular pop back in the 70s. It was a local(ish) lad doing what the artists in the UK and US were doing, and doing it well.

Where to find it:
Various Artists – The Best of SA Pop Volume 3 (1994) GSP, CDREDD 610

Video:

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