Earlier this month Rough Trade records surfaced this 2007 Youtube video of Peter Doherty, frontman of The Libertines and Babyshambles, performing Wham!’s 1984 mega-hit ‘Last Christmas’ and it’s a startling trip down memory lane.
Now, we’re big Libertines fans here at Far Out, we’re big Pete Doherty fans for that matter. Alongside Carl Barat as the dueling frontmen of The Libertines Doherty soundtracked much of our formative years and we’re very grateful to him. But this video does beg the question: what were we on?
At the point of it’s recording, which we think is 2005/6 although the video is a 2007 upload, Doherty was at the height of his infamy, spending as much time in crack dens, tabloid papers and model’s beds as he did on the stage. Yet his endearing, eccentric and characterful performance is what drove fans into bedlam. One thing is clear from this video, it was not for his voice.
In this video, Bilo, as Pete was sometimes known to his fans, offers very little in the way of playing ability, missing notes, screwing up lines, his voice choking and cracking. He looks at times sad, at times vacant, and more often than not distracted. Much of which is owed to his rock and roll lifestyle and penchant for packet.
But the startling thing is, that for fans of Mr. Doherty, such was his influence and integration in people’s lives that his drifting troubadour charm is and reminiscent of a more poetic and prosperous time – like watching a Victorian dandy via Gio-Goi performing a disco smash hit – and is intoxicating for them. So, the likelihood is this will still be one of the best performances of Wham!’s ‘Last Christmas’ they’ll ever clap their eyes on. And we’re one of them.
So to those people… and ourselves… Merry Christmas! Here’s Pete Doherty singing ‘Last Christmas’ back in 2007.