Gene Chandler – Duke of Earl

As nonsense love songs go, this is one of the strangest and best. Steeped in Doo-Wop (though a little late to be classed as proper Doo-Wop) through it’s “Dook, dook, dook of Earl” backing and the yearning lead vocal, it’s Chandler telling his girl that he and his love are invincible. Not because he’s empowered by her love – but because he’s the Duke of Earl. Of course.

As can be seen in the video, Chandler took the British aristocrat thing quite seriously by carrying a cane and wearing a cloak, top hat and monocle. In pre-Beatles America this was probably how most of them saw us. But what’s particularly great about the ludicrousness of Chandler’s get-up is that it’s totally in keeping with the song’s misunderstanding of the aristocracy. A Duke of Earl? It doesn’t make sense. And even if it did, how does this grand title enable him to walk through the world with nothing able to stop him?

Obviously, none of that matters. All that matters is the song’s dramatic gorgeousness. So dramatic and gorgeous, in fact, that it stunned the life out of the audience watching this performance.

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About Paul Saxton

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