Paul Fitzpatrick: London, March 2022
And where better to start than the song that inspired the series title?
Eighteen With A Bullet by Pete Wingfield
A soulful homage to singers of the doo-wop era, ‘Eighteen With a Bullet’ lived up to its name when it entered the American Billboard HOT 100 charts at number 18 (with a bullet) in 1975.
A hit on both sides of the Atlantic, the protagonist endeavours to woo his love interest with a series of double entendres, using hip music industry lingo to seal the deal.
“Be my A-side, baby, be beside me”
“So let me check your playlist Mama“
A lover of soul music, Hampshire born Wingfield was an in-demand session keyboard player who also played live with BB King, The Hollies and Van Morrison.
Spotting his potential, Island Records gave him the opportunity to cut an album in 1975, sadly, it would be the only solo album album Wingfield would release but it spawned this classic track.
After his dalliance as a solo artist Wingfield went on to become a renowned producer and developer of talent, manning the boards for Dexys Midnight Runners debut album, ‘Searching for the Young Soul Rebels’ as well as the ‘Sunshine on Leith’ album for The Proclaimers.
Wingfield worked on numerous projects throughout the 80’s and 90’s including the Paul McCartney ‘Run Devil Run’ album, playing alongside McCartney, Dave Gilmour and Ian Paice.
I confess to having nostalgic memories and a soft spot for this song.
I passed my driving test and got my first car in the summer of 75 and ‘Eighteen With a Bullet’ was part of a treasured mix-tape alongside other 1975 goodies like… Bowie’s ‘Young Americans’, 10cc’s ‘I’m Not in Love’, Bee Gees ‘Jive Talking’ and ‘One of These Nights’ by The Eagles.
Hearing it now still takes me back to that summer and the freedom of being mobile for the first time.
Largely forgotten and rarely mentioned, ‘Eighteen With a Bullet’ made a comeback of sorts when it featured in the 1998 movie soundtrack for Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and has more than earned its moniker as a bona fide ‘one hit wonder’