I found this in Oxfam in Headingley circa 1993. I knew Tom Robinson's raised fist classics (2468 Motorway, Glad To Be Gay) and the more thoughtful mysterious side (War Baby, Atmospherics), and that he'd just returned to form as an acoustic troubadour with a new batch of songs with his trademark mix of biting cynicism and warm hearted optimism.
But nothing prepared me for what I was about to receive. It's a smirky saucy swirly gay disco track with a hands-in-the-air chorus. This bright shiny setting is a great juxtaposition for Robinson's dry throaty vocal tone.
Never meant to be so friendly
Never made the room look nice
Never heed a word of warning
Never take my own advice
Ooh, I got a brand new problem
He's pretty and he's five foot ten
I've been in love three times this week
I'm just about to fall again
In a 2004 interview for the excellent radio show and online resource Queer Music Heritage, Tom said
In many ways one of my favorite gay songs of all the ones that I wrote that had a specifically openly amorously gay theme, I like "Never Gonna Fall In Love Again" because I sent the lyric to Elton John and he came back with the music for it, and so it was a collaboration between two gay artists. And he is a great songwriter, there's no question, so it's got good changes and a decent melody. And his version of course was a slow ballad and…a bit drippy to be honest.
And although he sent me back a demo which had all the pronouns as I'd written them, when he recorded it himself he kind of slurred them a bit, so where it's "I wish he didn't make me rabid" his is "I wish-he didn't make…" you know it was just a little bit on the ambiguous side.
Ah, but that's all right. That's where he was at the time and what Elton has done (A) for the gay movement, and (B) in the fight against AIDS, with the Elton John AIDS Foundation, you know, is fantastic and we owe a huge debt to the man, so I think he's allowed to slur a few of his pronouns here and there
A wild collision of talents, it's not only co-written by Tom Robinson and Elton John, but produced and engineered by Nick Drake's guy John Wood, and mixed by Sex Pistols producer Bill Price.
To make it stranger still, while the B-side is credited to Tom Robinson Band, the A-side is 'Tom Robinson With The Voice Squad'. Who might this shady group be? Er, it's the Tom Robinson Band.
According to Tom's official site
Although TRB were playing on the record, its hamfisted disco style was so alien to what the band was about that at the other members' request it was released as a Tom Robinson solo single and the group split shortly afterwards.
Robinson didn't let his step falter, swiftly putting on a solo gig of gay songs to mark the tenth anniversary of the Stonewall riots. That show was released as the Cabaret 79 album which, generous gent that he is, is available for free download from his site.
Whilst Never Gonna Fall In Love (Again) is not disco proper - crank it up and there's no Chic-esque bass whoomf - it's a great piece of perky cheeky pop-disco and a real unexpected delight.
download Never Gonna Fall In Love (Again) (4.6MB MP3)
The single donated all performance royalties to London Gay Switchboard, which is still very much in action. If you download the MP3, why not make a donation? Just £1 covers the cost of a ten minute call.