South African million-selling all-girl group formed in 1977
Clout were originally a 5-piece, all-girl group, though their cover version of an obscure Righteous Brothers' song, 'Substitute' (composed by Willie Wilson), featured members of the band Circus.
The Circus musicians were paid R34 each for the arrangement and backing the session. It was just another daytime gig - pocket-money for club favourites who were making R1 200 a month each from door money. For them, backing a Clout single was just another step in their progress from Hillbrow to Hollywood. Just like Clapton playing on the Beatles White Album. It didn't threaten their own career: their own album, In The Arena, had just been released.
Produced by Graeme Beggs and first released in November 1977, 'Substitute' reached UK#2 for 3 weeks in June 1978 (held off the coveted #1 spot by 'You're The One That I Want' by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John) and achieved #1 status in New Zealand, Australia, Germany, France, Belgium, Holland and South Africa. Went to #67 (some sources say #61) in the USA for 1 week in September 1978 and stayed 10 weeks in the US charts. For a full chart history of 'Substitute' in the US and UK charts go here.
Apart from its sales in Britain (over 600 000 sales) it was in the Top 5 in France for 4 weeks (400 000 sales); No.2 in Holland (100 000); No.1 in Belgium (60 000); and No.1 for seven weeks in South Africa.
The Edge TV Interview
Cindy Alter: Graeme Beggs actually knew Glenda. Glenda was our keyboard player and Graeme had managed Glenda's band that she was with before. She told us there's this manager, he's got a record company, he'd like to see you. Can I bring him around one Saturday afternoon when we're rehearsing? And that led on to another thing. Graham came to a few rehearsals - he liked what he saw. He saw some potential there and said "Look I've got a good song I'd like you to record". And that was 'Substitute'.
On the fact that "she hasn't got millions and doesn't drive a BMW or a Mercedes," Cindy mentions that they, "...didn't read the fine print and what ensued was not what we had expected." She further states that, "It did become a bit of a puppet show with the grand master puppeteer raking in all the money and the poor little puppets getting put in the box at the end of the day."