Chalkhills: XTC Reel by Real

Updated: 4 April 2021

The 12 Flavors of Hercules

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"... the aborted bubblegum sampler album, The 12 Flavors Of Hercules, a release that would have claimed to be a 'best of' the mythical American bubblegum label, Hercules."

Karen O'Brien did an interview with Andy Partridge for The Independent on Sunday, published on September 6, 1998:

[In 1993] Partridge had presented a new project, songs he had written as homage to the bubblegum-pop bands of the late Sixties to early Seventies. He felt the idea was blissfully simple: "I wanted Virgin to say that they'd bought this entire back-catalogue from this imaginary label called Zither. They said, 'So you go on Top of the Pops and play one of these songs?' I said, 'No, this is a fake historical document!' So they said, 'Okay, we get a young band and dress them up in early Seventies clothes?' I said 'No, no!' They just didn't get it." Cue much shaking of pony-tailed heads.

The Zither project was to have been “nicely banal, pitched around 1970, a dozen tracks about sex. . .” Four of the songs have been released in one form or another. “Cherry In Your Tree” (originally intended to be performed by “The Captain Cooks”) was released on the children's album Carmen Sandiego Out Of This World in April 1994. “Candymine” was released on a single Andy Partridge did for John Flansburgh's Hello CD of the Month Club in November 1994. “Standing In For Joe”, released on Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2), was originally intended for the bubblegum album. “Visit to the Doctor” was released in 2006 on Fuzzy Warbles Volume Seven. “My Pink Aeroplane” was redone for a French railway advertising campaign, as “Tin Toy Clockwork Train” (by The Dukes of Stratosphear). Andy Partridge released “Cavegirl” (to have been performed by “The Candy Coat Hook”) in April 2020 as a free download. And one of the fictional band names intended for the project, “Knights In Shining Karma”, was used as the title of a song released on Apple Venus Volume 1.

Andy Partridge tweeted on November 29, 2018:

I was very prepared to make the fake BUBBLEGUM album after the Dukes. The story went that Virgin bought the rights to an American bubblegum label called Hercules, and were to release a 'best of' sampler of this label, as THE 12 FLAVORS OF HERCULES. 12 tracks by 'different' bands.

Some of the other fictional bands to have been recorded for the project include the following:

  • The Lemon Dukes
  • Knights in Shining Karma
  • The Captain Cooks
  • Solid Gondolas
  • The Tweedledeens
  • The Herbert Fountains
  • The Periwig Pack
  • Cake's Progress
  • Jellyache
  • Ancient Grease
  • The Piccadilly Circus Tent Rip Repair Company
  • Kitchener's Sink
  • The Barbers Of Penzance
  • Anonymous Bosch
  • Funnel Of Love
  • Irving Merlin
  • Isambard Kingdom Necessary On A Bike
  • Butterfingers
  • The Four Posters
  • Kandy Koat Hook
  • Chew Chew Train
  • The Belly Babies
  • Candycane And Abel
  • The Brighton Peers
  • The Flying Sorcerers
  • The Maybe Sitters
  • The Robber Ducks
  • Tum Thomb
  • Monopoly Money Millionaires
  • Fuzz Petal
  • Edgar Allen Poetry
  • Genie Gas Faster
  • Stepanova Express
  • The Peppermint Panzers
  • The Lollipopes
  • Jingerbread Jigsaw
  • The Tweedledeans
  • The Smokers Set
  • Choc Treatment
  • Herbert Fountain
  • The Sopwith Caramels
  • The Extinct Bombs
  • Pie Are Squared
  • Seymour Clearly And The Spectacles
  • Cockhorse
  • Joyschtick
  • The Shopping Liszt
  • Frome Wasn't Built In A Day
  • Cheese As Christ
  • Figure Head
  • Zigurats And Whisky
  • Solid Gondola
  • The Damsel Busters
  • The Ten Commandos
  • Blitz Craig

Lyrics, Charts and More

Some of the songs to have been included on the project include the following:



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4 April 2021 / Feedback