Ruby Tuesday: Mega City Four, “Anne Bancroft”

The ’90s were flooded with a ton of UK-based bands who made precious little impact on the U.S. charts…mostly because the few of them who scored Stateside release for their debut albums rarely got a chance to build an audience by getting to put a second album on our shores. But if it was bad for the British bands who were just getting started, you can imagine how rough it was for the artists who’d already been around for awhile and still couldn’t get an album released over here.

Such was the case for Mega City Four, the pop/punk/grunge band who got rolling in the late ’80s and went on a three-year streak of releasing an album a year – Tranzophobia (’89), Who Cares Wins (’90), and Terribly Sorry Bob (’91) – yet with none of them finding American distribution. Finally, in 1992, high-profile indie label Caroline Records cut the band a break and delivered Sebastopol Rd. onto our nation. Were we grateful? Not so much. Those who actually heard the album were thrilled; unfortunately, their numbers were few, and that was the last America heard from Mega City Four. (The Brits, meanwhile, were gifted with two further studio albums, a live record, and a collection of the band’s Peel Sessions.)

One of the highlights of Sebastopol Rd. was a unique love song, one sung to – of all people – Mrs. Mel Brooks, a.k.a. Mrs. Robinson herself, Anne Bancroft. We’ve all had an unrequited and ultimately pointless crush on a movie star at some point in our lives, but MC4 frontman / songwriter Wiz put pen to paper and, in three and a half minutes of bouncy pop bliss, captures the feelings that might happen if you never had that inevitable realization, “I am never, ever going to actually meet this person.”

To put it into prose form…

I get some second looks, but they can’t hold a candle to you.
Your photo’s in my book.
I’m wearing it out.
I gaze into your eyes.
The distance gets me down; I just want be around you.
My friends think I’m a fool, keeping it up for such a long shot, but I don’t care who knows it: I’m right here waiting for you.
My latter years are strewn with broken dreams and delusions; I hope like any fool, but this time I’m sure it’s coming true.
I don’t care who knows it: I’m right here waiting for you.
I don’t care who knows it: I’m right here waiting for you.

Alas, Wiz isn’t waiting any longer: he passed away from a blood clot on the brain on December 6, 2006. But if there’s any justice in the afterlife, he and Ms. Bancroft have already had a good laugh over how she inspired one of the finest moments of his songwriting career.

Mega City Four – “Anne Bancroft” (Sebastopol Rd.)