‘It’s important that people get to understand me a bit more’

Pleads the patient, confident, unblushable Kim Wilde, who’s just made a rompy video for her new single with four hunky chaps and is suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous press fortune for her trouble. Andy Strickland talks comebacks, fame, AIDS and number one singles in America…

Kim Wilde shakes my hand wearily, points in the direction of a departing Fleet Street hack and warns, “I hope you’re not going to spend an hour going on about AIDS like him.’ You’ll have read in the dailies that Kim has made a video to accompany her new single, ‘Say You Really Want Me’, that threatens the very fabric of our glorious society. Balls!
As she sits, relaxed, answering various blush-inducing queries with the patience and manners of a very confident pop star (well, not everyone’s had a US number one single) she is the perfect if slightly oldfashioned manifestation of a star from a bygone age. Her father Marty’s influence still looms large and you expect everything to suddenly go black and white, mini skirt innocent and Beatles wig barmy! Kim Wilde is the nearest !hing we’ve got to a Sixties pop star – all glitter and chart action one minute, aIl ‘oh is she still going?’ the next.
“I think it’s a symptom of living in a country that’s spoiled for records and good quality music,” she says of her irregular bursts of popularity. “With over 100 releases a week there’s bound to be a lot of good stuff around, and there’s some great American music these days.”
There’s an awful lot of cack around too.
“Yes, but it depends what you decide to concentrate on. If you just look for the bad side of things then yes, there is a lot of bad stuff about, but I prefer to look for !he good things.Theré’s too much made of the bad things in this country.”
If Kim’s career, at least in !he UK, has been up and down like Tower Bridge, it’s decidedly on an up swing at !he moment. ‘You Keep Me Hanging On’ was a mega single and everyone in the Wilde family is grateful for that. But what about the downswings?
“Well,during the time I wasn’t doing so weIl over here, I concentrated on writing, and having fame back has made me a lot happier because I know now that it can be done, coming back so strongly.
“It’s not the end of the world if you disappear for a few months, in fact it’s given me a lot more freedom in my head, and I feel better equipped to do it again should I have to. Not that I’d like to be out of the charts for a year or so again,” she quickly adds.
Charts, fame, comebacks – it’s all Sixties pop talk, things that her dad used to talk about when the young Kim was tailing her parents from summer season to panto land. She’s suitably blasé about the worry induced by a lack of chart action in her native land.
“I’m sure it was a worry at the time, but I can’t remember it being a great problem for me. Aiso, I was still going off to Europe and enjoying success in France so I was distracted suitably and my ego was being massaged elsewhere.”
And then along came ‘You Keep Me Hanging On’ and before you could say coverversion, Kim was back on ‘Top Of The Pops’, all sexy and innocent and cuddly. A look at the top 30 over the last 12 months might suggest that a cover version was a cynical business move for Kim.
“The decision to do that song in the first place wasn’t based on the number of covers around at all,” she assures me. “But the decision to release it as a single at that point definitely was. It had been in the can for 12 months so I can honestly say to you that it wasn’t a cynical decision to try and get a hit single. Mind you, I don’t expect anyone to believe me.”
ft must have come as something of a shock to suddenly have a number one in America.
“Yeah! The nicest part was getting a telegram from Lamont Dozier himself,” (part of the famed Motown team of Holland-Dozier-Holland that wrote the hit) “a fewdays after going to number one. It said he really liked the fresh sound we’d given to his song ]nd he thanked us for making him look good.”
And for making his bank balance a lot healthier no doubt.
“I’m sure he doesn’t need the money really.”
But back to AIDS, Kim, the video for ‘Say Y ou Really Want Me’ is a bit raunchy, isn’t it?
“Yes it is. We’ve given the TV people an edited version, taken out what I think are the funny bits but I imagine some people might find them offensive or too racy.”
But surely you’re corrupting a nation’s youth, undermining the very fabric of our glorious society?
“Well, speaking as a person who was very much into pop music as a young girl, I think I learnt more about sex from the girls who sat next to me at school. What they got up to even then at 12 years old was far more worrying than anything in my video.”
But you’re cavorting on a bed with no less than four hunky chaps, Kim.
Yes, but I’m laughing and I think that’s an important part of the video that it’s fun. Maybe it’s naive of me but that’s an honest reaction to it. I thought a lot about the moral issue, about kids watching it.”
When are you going to do some live dates in the UK? You’re not scared of the press are you?
“No, I’m not scared at all. If the press had seen some of my concerts in Europe, I think they’d change their minds about me. All I can say is that the crowd always seem to be enjoying themselves, but then that’s a typical thing for people like me to say. In general the press are very lucky that I bother to talk to them at all because I don’t have to do all this, but I think it’s important that people get to understand me a bit more.”
Yes, yes, yes, but getting back to AIDS for a moment…