I first heard Homely Girl on Top of the Pops in 1974: its naive romanticism tied in with the funny feelings I had watching the Pan’s People girls dancing around in baby doll outfits (see below). I was six-years-old and didn’t quite understand what those funny feelings were.
It’s a very sweet song: the singer telling the girl of the title how he loved her even back when she wasn’t great looking. Only he had the insight to see that, beneath it all, she was beautiful. He’d always loved her, well before she blossomed into the incredible woman she is today. So the song is essentially an advertisement for what a wonderful man the singer is – unlike the boys who taunted her.
Apart from the cleverness and economy of the lyrics – telling a grand, human story with a minimum of fuss – there’s the smooth, countryfied soul of the music (with its charming nursery rhyme horns), Eugene Record’s yearning lead vocal and the graceful backing harmonies. Lovely.