Doctor & the Medics

  • Doctor & the Medics
  • Doctor & the Medics (UK Illegal) 1985 
  • Spirit in the Sky EP (UK Illegal) 1985 
  • Laughing at the Pieces (IRS) 1986 
  • I Keep Thinking It's Tuesday (IRS) 1987 

If you’re going to be a one-joke band, you’d better pick a doozy. England’s absurd glam-psychedelic Doctor & the Medics chose to record a carefully unreconstructed version of the greatest god-rock bubblegum hit of all time, Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky,” and let the wave of ’60s nostalgia do the rest. Defying all logic, it proved to be a brilliant commercial gambit, catapulting this ridiculously dressed trifle of a band into the charts on two continents. The quintet’s otherwise self-penned first album has little else to recommend it, although Craig Leon’s production (XTC’s Andy Partridge takes easily audible credit for one song) and attractively musical vocal interplay between the Doctor (Clive Jackson) and Medics Wendi and Colette keep it listenable.

The American edition of the second LP contains the group’s spot-on re-creation of Abba’s “Waterloo,” with saxual contributions by living legend Roy Wood, as well as the Doc’s awful gussied-up version of “Burning Love.” Other than one William Orbit remix that employs soon-to-be-trendy acid house rhythms, I Keep Thinking It’s Tuesday lacks any discernible personality or reason for existing.

In addition to a chart career, the group built something of a twisted psychedelic empire in the UK in the ’80s, operating a nightclub (Alice in Wonderland) and a fashion shop (Alice’s) on Portobello Road in London. They also staged events, including the infamous Magical Mystery Trips, all-night film festivals at the Scala and other events for several years. They also recorded and performed as Gwyllum and the Raspberry Flavoured Cats. Former members went on to join the Armageddon Dildos and Corduroy.

[Ira Robbins]