Mr. King

Once again, my friends, you find me posting a blog centred on a single. Not even a few extra songs on an EP; nope, I am doing a single today. But it is a good song. It would necessitate being a very good song for me to write a blog about it. If you follow me, you will see that most of my entries are for LPs or EPs. This one isn’t. It is for a single.

I am stumbling through this rough introduction to present a song that goes by the name Mr. King. From the first listen, this song had me in a musical headlock, pushing an earworm into my thick skull with all its might.

 Mr. King’s sound is reminiscent of The Beatles in their Abbey Road days. Reminiscent, they are not a Beatles clone. Nor are they a tribute band. They are The Bablers, and Mr. King is their brand new single.

Mr. King opens with a crescendo of piano, and this is really cool; they do the song 100% live with original instruments: upright piano, electric guitar, bass and drums. If I tried to do that in this blog, it would read like alphabet soup.

The Bablers founder, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Arto Tamminen – who’s led the band, now alongside Janne Haavisto (drums, vocals), Pekka Gröhn (bass, keyboards, vocals), and Hannu Pikkarainen (guitar, vocals) since its late ’70s genesis – tells us about the track and how it differs from the boisterous guitar pop of the two prior single. “It’s built to be a classic big piano pop ballad, the kind you’ve rarely heard since the golden days of pop.” 

Arto Tamminen lays out the backstory behind the emotive lyrics, offering insight into the choice to release the song as the English monarchy – and so much of the world – enters a new era. “It’s been a long day. A lot of public activities. Horses and soldiers. Roaring audiences. Applause. Flags. Smiling faces,” explains Arto. “Finally, at the castle, someone is knocking at the door. It’s troubadour asking permission to sing a song, crafted especially for the occasion. Permission is granted. He starts to sing, and in the chorus asks the most important question…” 

The most important question. It is relevant not only to the coronation of Charles III and his wife, Camilla, as king and queen of the United Kingdom but to everyone. The most important question is this, “How happy are you?”

I probably wouldn’t be too far from the truth if I said that many of us go about our day with faked smiles and an uneasy balance between happiness and wanting to pull a blanket over our heads and tell the world to go away. I like to quote a favourite song, “Stop The World (And Let Me Off.”

So, how happy are you? What makes you happy? Is your happiness dependent on external circumstances that you have no control over?

We have no control over other people, so why depend on them to make us happy? People will let us down. But we do not have to let them control our happiness. So, how happy are you?

Do I have enough money to keep me happy? Do I have enough drugs? Do I have enough records? The “Do I have enough” list goes on and on. Will we ever have enough things to keep us happy?

How happy are you?

That’s a good question and the crucial hinge point for the song Mr. King. Both the deft handling of the subject matter and the richness of the music marked a change of pace after the last two singles from The Bablers. That versatility won’t surprise longtime fans or anyone who’s heard the band’s thrillingly eclectic and lovingly crafted 2021 Big Stir Records album Psychadilly Circus. I highly recommend listening to this album if you haven’t already.

Mr. King added a touch of extra happiness to my already happy day. Mr. King will be released and streaming everywhere worldwide on May 5, just one day before the coronation of King Charles in the UK. Mr. King is now up for pre-order/pre-save at and all major streaming platforms. It follows the hits “You Are The One For Me” (which reigned as The Coolest Song In The World on Little Steven’s Underground Garage last year) and “Holding You Tight Tonight” as the latest track to hit the international airwaves from the out-of-print album Like The First Time, previously released to great acclaim only in Japan and slated for international reissue by Big Stir.

I hope you will be happier after listening to Mr. King. I was.


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