Alvin Stardust’s arrival at Stiff in the early 80s marked a bizarre middle-of-the-road turn for the label. He had previously enjoyed success in the 1960s, appearing in Billy Fury’s first movies, 1962’s Play It Cool, and then recording under the rockabilly guise of Shane Fenton and the Fentones. He managed to sustain the hits in the 1970s by embracing glam rock and camped-up biker chic for hits with My Coo-Ca-Choo (later covered in 2007 by a reformed Department S) and the 1974 number one, Jealous Mind.
But by the 1980s it looked unlikely that Alvin could continue the hits. A perfect Stiff Records challenge, then, and one which they rose to, hitting number four with Pretend (BUY 81), aimed squarely at the Radio 2 “housewives choice” market, complete with a video of Alvin walking dogs and joyriding milk floats.
He can still be found on stage today, working the musical circuit in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Boogie Nights. But despite all these hits, Alvin will probably be best remembered by retro TV junkies for the classic “you kids must be out of your tiny minds!” public safety announcement for the Green Cross Code.