When Jim Carroll posted details about the latest round of Electric Picnic acts on his blog, one reader was so bewildered by the inclusion of Kid Creole & the Coconuts that they replied, “Kid Creole !!?? Mother of God! Anybody for Patrick Hernandez?”
Now there would have been a reason for me to go without comfort for an entire weekend. Patrick Hernandez‘s biggest and, let’s be honest, only real worldwide hit, Born To Be Alive from 1979, is still one of my favourite songs. It’s like all your electric Giorgio Moroder dreams come true. Oh, and the video simply can’t be beaten for non-stop paving-the-way-for-Gary-Barlow dancing. Sigh. It could be that I’m just entirely, soppily nostalgic about this song, but the 10-year-old me was a very happy soul and it just takes me back there; maybe 1979 wasn’t the sunniest summer on record but it certainly seems like it listening to this.
Admittedly, I didn’t realise until recently that Hernandez is French – it shouldn’t really matter, of course, but with a christian name like that and a surname like that, it came as a bit of a surprise. Especially since he sings the word ‘born’ almost as if it’s ‘boing’.
Almost as interesting as the song is the fact that, after Born To Be Alive became a hit in America, he toured there and amongst his troupe of dancing girls was a youthful Madonna. Naturally, his website proudly displays photos of a semi-nude Hernandez with his young “discovery”; personally, I’m more fascinated by its ‘Goodies’ section, which contains the finest yellow desktop wallpaper with ‘Patrick Hernandez’ written on it that I have ever seen.
What a hero.