Small Five Inch [Record]: Jona Lewie – Big Shot [Momentarily]

The late 70s saw the leap from 7″ to 12″ singles for club play. But there were more leaps of format to be made; many not so widely adopted by the labels. Stiff Records deserves some credit for bringing back the 10″ single and rescuing it from decades of neglect. They also decided to move in the opposite direction with a 5″ single for the ironically named “Big Shot [Momentarily]” by the label’s eccentric keyboard pop magician Jona Lewie. Lewie is a profoundly talented player who runs the gamut from sleek electropop to gut bucket blues without breaking into a sweat. The single in discussion today adroitly spans both of those divergent ideals!

Stiff | UK | 5" | 1980 | BUY 5-85

Stiff | UK | 5″ | 1980 | BUY 5-85

Jona Lewie: Big Shot [Momentarily] UK 5″ [1980]

  1. Big Shot [Momentarily]
  2. I’ll Get By In Pittsburgh

As his follow up single to the hit “[You’ll Always Find Me In The] Kitchen At Parties” singer offered up another A-side not on his “On The Other Hand, There’s A Fist” album. “Big Shot” was matched with the brief B-side “I’ll Get By In Pittsburgh” which was from his long player. “Big Shot” is a cheerful electro-polka hybrid with its jaunty beat rendered entirely on synths while the song is periodically shot through with strummed electric guitar riffs reverberating metallically! It sounds for all the world like a soundtrack for some children’s animation but for the mordant lyrics that seem astonishingly prescient in today’s diminished world.

“Big shot – they tell me that’s what I could be (2x)
But it’s – momentarily
You know it’s – momentarily
They put you in a wigwam
And make you do it on a program on T.V.” 

Isn’t that the gist of several “reality” programs they have now? The bouncy number fits nicely on a 5″ single, which clocks in at 2:59 – probably all that can fit on a record that’s mostly label.

The B-side is even better suited to its small physical area on the disc with “I’ll Get By In Pittsburgh” clocking in at a svelte 1:48! The tune itself sounds like some long lost Professor Longhair ’78. On the “On The Other Hand, There’s A Fist” album it’s revealed in the liner notes that the boozy little ditty was recorded with garden variety cassette deck to better give high fidelity the slip. Listening to this, it’s hard to believe that this was recorded in 1978. Lewie slurs the lyrics so joyfully, it’s almost impossible to make any of the lyrics out. But if you can’t tell by the feel, then you’re listening to the wrong record!

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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3 Responses to Small Five Inch [Record]: Jona Lewie – Big Shot [Momentarily]

  1. Echorich says:

    I am, to use a truly Northern English term, Gobsmacked Monk! Another Jona Lewie fan!! I knew there had to be more than one of me… A leader of Stiff’s more eclectic side which also included his compatriot in arms Ian Dury, Jona Lewie was Punk/New Wave’s cocktail sophisticate who drank all the cocktails before they could be passed around! Music to bring a big smile and sometimes uncontrollable giggle to my person. It’s amazing that he has such a broad background – blues, jazz, glam/glitter and even electronica. His musicianship shows through in all these styles. I’m just really glad Stiff allowed him to release some truly fun music.


  2. I have this! I’ve always liked the mini-vinyl single, though it’s impractical for anything but punk rock and the shortest New Wave songs. Of course I liked the 10-inch vinyl too. Oh heck, and 78s (but that was mainly because there so thick they were more like music hamburgers than records. And they spun too fast to read the label!).

    But if companies had sold these for $1 or $2 as a loss-leader to get people to check out new bands back in the day — hey, maybe iTunes would never have been invented!


    • postpunkmonk says:

      chasinvictoria – What!? You mean you don’t remember the one-sided single from CBS Records in 1982? Only pay for the hit? Save money? Yeah. That transformed the industry as I recall.


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