Saturday, December 17, 2011

Key Largo - Bertie Higgins

Bertie Higgins
(B. Higgins, S. Limbo) Epic ES 726


Chart Entry: 12th April, 1982
Highest Position: #2
Points: 102,915
From the album
"Just Another Day In Paradise".


In a similar vein to The Clash's "The Right Profile" and Kim Carnes' "Bette Davis Eyes", Bertie Higgins brought the legendary Humphrey Bogart to the radio with a homage to the actor. Who cares if he mixed up his movie quotes and re-wrote some of the movie scenes, "Key Largo" struck a chord with the public, sending it to #2 on the Australian charts in what would be Bertie's only chart appearance.

Key Largo was released in 1948, pairing Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall for the fourth and final time. The married couple were one of the most glamourous and popular couples in Hollywood, and relatively happy despite their differences - Lauren loved the nightlife, Humphrey liked to stay home. The film was more a thriller than a love story, but Humphrey and Lauren still shine as they battle not only a nervous group of gangsters, but a raging hurricane.

"Key Largo" was a love song, but there was criticism that Bertie had all his Bogarts mixed up. The lines "Here's looking at you kid" and "Please say you will, play it again" were obviously lifted from Humphrey's most famous movie, Casablanca, but "Key Largo" was not meant to be a re-creation of the film, rather a reminiscence of times spent watching old movies with his loved one. However, there were still errors that could legitimately be pointed out. There was no "sailing away to Key Largo" as Humphrey rocked up on a bus to pay his respects to the family of his dead friend. Lauren played the widow who was already at the hotel owned by her father-in-law. Furthermore, while in real life Humphrey was an avid sailor, Lauren couldn't stand the ocean as she suffered from seasickness.

Casablanca was relegated to supporting duties on "Key Largo", but Bertie provided its own song on his album, Just Another Day In Paradise. The song "Casablanca" was quickly recorded by Japanese singer, Hiromi Go, his version reaching #2 on the Japanese Oricon charts, selling over half a million copies in the country. Just Another Day In Paradise rode those coattails as it hit #4 in Japan, becoming the second biggest selling album of the year by a Western artist.

"Key Largo" was a US #1 Adult Contemporary hit, reaching #8 on the Billboard Hot 100, but the UK turned their backs on the single, placing it at #60 at its peak. Australia gave the single its best chart performance, but Bertie's follow-up was nowhere to be seen. His albums' title track, "Just Another Day In Paradise" failed to make any impression, bar a #46 placing in the US before disappearing from the charts forever. There has been another four albums released over the years, but these days Bertie, himself, is involved in the film industry, acting, producing and writing his own scripts with son, Julian.


Chart Run:
(25 weeks) (Australian Music Report)

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