Pete Wylie And The Oedipus Wrecks – Sinful!
At the beginning of May 1986 a song appeared in the charts and marked the debut in his solo career of a very particular artist. Do you remember Pete Wylie? He had really been a very active character since the 70’s, making and breaking a lot of bands, perhaps the most famous being The Mighty Wah! To tell the truth, it takes at least two lines to make a list of the groups he founded – and the various names are evolutions of each other: Wah!, Wah! Heat, Shambeko! Say Wah!, JF Wah!, Wah! The Mongrel.
Pete was born as a guitarist and composer in the most creative part of England, and the least glamorous. If in London the majors pushed the careers of iconic idols, in the Liverpool area, the real industrial and creative heart of the United Kingdom, the ground was fertile for alternative groups such as China Crisis (authors of Black Man Ray) and It’s Immaterial with Driving away from home. And of course, for the creative genius of Pete Wylie, the man with a heart as big as Liverpool, part-time rock star, full-time legend, as he calls himself with irony.
Pete Wylie had already known great success in 1984, when his The Mighty Wah! climbed the charts with the unforgettable Come Back. And actually The Mighty Wah! were Pete and his eternal muse, and for a period she was also his life partner, the talented and intriguing Josie Jones.
In May 1986 this beautiful single comes out, which once again expresses the creativity over the top of the great Pete. By the way, in the official chart archives, Sinful! is a song by “Pete Wylie and The Oedipus Wrecks”. Who Oedipus Wrecks are has never been known, it is also likely that Pete invented the name of this group from scratch, with a play on words that starts from a Greek tragedy, Oedipus the King, precisely Oedipus Rex in Latin, which is transformed into “Oedipus wrecks”, a term that will also be used by Woody Allen in 1989 for one of his screenplays based on a conflict between a jealous mother and son, an ultimate Oedipus complex in reverse.
Actually Pete and Josie appeared singing in the video but also in broadcasts like Top of the Pops, so maybe Oedipus Wrecks was… Josie!
The song speaks in general of the disillusion of young people in seeing a world where evil feelings are presented as a model to move forward, and leads to think on how difficult it is to remain yourself and believe in your values in such a context. But the video is fantastic: shot in an empty indoor pool, it is a continuous procession of curious and disturbing figures, apart of course Pete and Josie. Among the various weird characters we find an aviator without an airplane who tries to fly with a cloak, beautiful models hugging mannequins, dancers wrapped and almost forced into black costumes, gray officials who live only in their uniformity, and above all the real protagonists of the video: a group of young and charming nuns, with cloaks that flutter to reveal their legs and with winking poses.
And in fact, even when Pete was performing at Top of the Pops, we saw him, we saw Josie, and we saw the dancers dressed as nuns, who perhaps summed up the concept of sin in a more evident, aesthetic way, even if I think Pete was more angry with a context of values and corruption.
Who knows if one day we will be able to have a comment on this beautiful song directly from the great Pete Wylie, part time rock star, full time legend!
Pete Wylie on Wikipedia