The Infinite Jukebox: The Tymes and The Mighty Avengers’ ‘So Much in Love’


‘So Much In Love’ is not a case of two different arrangements by two different groups of the same song, but rather two different songs in two different contexts, by two different singers, coming out within twelve months of each other.
The song by The Tymes, which I heard long after the one by The Mighty Avengers, was their debut single in 1963, the title track of their first album, and an American no. 1 single that reached no 21. in the UK charts.
The Tymes were one of that almost unending supply of American vocal groups, the same group that had a UK no. 1 in early 1975 with ‘Ms Grace’. Their ‘So Much In Love’ was an unequivocal, idyllic love song, too light for gospel and soul but not quite categorising as pop.
I say ‘idyllic’: to use the term Wilfried Mellers adopted for the early and simple Beatles’ tracks, it’s an eden-song, it’s words as lightweight and inconsequential as anything McCartney the sentimentalist produced, anchored by no more than the paper on which they’re written. As we stroll along together, holding hands, walking all alone. Love as state of being, detached from everything else but the presence of the loved one, walking beside you. Not even walking, but strolling, inconsequential.
To emphasise this, the group take on practically all the musical duties. It’s their voices, their harmonies, their call and response we hear, to little more than what we’d now call a click-track at first and then, after the first chorus, a bass and percussion buried deep below the voices.
And yes, it’s about love. The lovers stroll along the beach, they stroll down the aisle to their wedding. So in love are (these) two, no-one else but me and you, reality doesn’t intrude on this and the group sing smoothly and happily out of a world of pure fluff. But a fluff we would all love to wrap around us when we are in love and nothing else matters, or exists, come to that.
So much for ‘So Much In Love’: what of ‘So Much In Love’?
I’ve known the other song for a lot longer than the one by The Tymes, having discovered it in the late Seventies on Annie Nightingale’s Sunday afternoon request show, in her Daisy Chain feature. Each week, she’d play an obscure song, without announcing its title or the artist. The challenge was for listeners to write in to, first, identify it correctly and secondly, nominate a similar obscurity for that week’s Daisy Chain. This went on for years, and rarely did I identify her selections.
‘So Much In Love’ was a plain and simple song, distinguished only by a bit of a plinky-plonky piano, the guitar, bass and drums being limited to the point of negligibility. The melody in the song was sustained by the vocals, a straightforward verse-chorus structure without a middle-eight to break it up, and a ‘guitar solo’ that consisted of duplicating the melody of the verse in single notes.
To be honest, it’s pretty amateurish all told. But from somewhere, I found I liked it, and made a point of being there the following Sunday to find out what it is. The Mighty Avengers, who’d clearly ripped off their name from Marvel’s superhero team, were from Coventry. This song was the first of a few singles the band recorded, no albums, not even enough tracks to justify a retrospective LP, and it was their only ‘hit’, reaching no 44.
Judging by the other singles, none of which I heard until the 2000s, the band’s limited musical abilities never developed.
So what makes this ‘So Much In Love’ different from the other one? If I tell you that it’s written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richard, could you guess?
No use crying now, The Mighty Avengers’ lead singer sings, trying to bland the spite out of the words and make this into a chirpy singalong. You’ll get by somehow. Yes, this is a break-up song, but the sting is swift in coming. You thought that you had me right where I oughtta be, you thought I was so much in love with you, do what you wanna do, but now you know, I’ve changed my mind.
Yes, we are here where we expect to be with the Glimmer Twins, at the heart of misogyny central. ‘So Much In Love’ is not so powerful a song, nor so deep a melody as ‘Out of Time’, but it’s telling the same story.
We don’t know the story. She’s wanted a time out, a break, for reasons we are not told because they don’t matter. Whatever it was for, however genuine they may have been, is irrelevant. It’s never been the same since you played your game is the verdict, and there is only one in this relationship who is allowed to play games and it’s not her. Anything that is less than complete and constant devotion is read as an attempt to take control, and only one person is in control and that’s Michael Philip Jagger.
No matter how The Mighty Avengers try to soften the blow, this is a poison pill of a song, and it’s jauntiness conceals a heart of vitriol that is the complete opposite of the other ‘So Much In Love’. Being in love is a weakness so far as Jagger and Richard are concerned. And they are not and will not be weak.
You thought I was so much in love with you, well, think again.
Two songs. The same name. Twelve months. Two worlds. I like them both. Explain that.

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