Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Peter Wyngarde: When Sex Leers Its Inquisitive Head

In the world of music esoterica, there's the bizarre and there's the utterly inexplicable. Peter Wyngarde's When Sex Leers Its Inquisitive Head, originally released in 1970 as Peter Wyngarde, falls into the latter category. A late-'60s/early-'70s British TV star, the somewhat terrifying-looking Wyngarde became a sex symbol for his portrayal of smooth-talking detective Jason King, first as part of the cast of Department S and later as the star of its spin-off, the appropriately named Jason King. As was the custom among TV sex symbols of the time, Wyngarde cut a record. As was certainly not the custom of TV sex symbols of the time, the theatrically trained Wyngarde cut a concept album based on the subject of male sexuality. Pulled shortly after its release, the album, now re-released, became a highly sought-after collectible. Filled with spoken-word pieces set to music, When Sex Leers Its Inquisitive Head reveals Wyngarde as a total loonball, particularly during the three-song opening segment that culminates in "Rape," a little number that finds him affecting all manner of stereotypical accents to explain how rape differs from nation to nation while a horn-driven melody, screams, and a voice chanting "rape, rape, rape" provide the background. (Sample lyric: "In France, of course / where fun is greedy / the women are a little more seedy / and rape is hardly ever necessary.") Whatever inspired—possessed?—Wyngarde on that track doesn't manifest itself as memorably anywhere else on When Sex Leers Its Inquisitive Head, although moments come close, making this a record to treasure for fans of the truly perverse, and for the severely misguided.