Canadian synth-pop duo Kon Kan released “I Beg Your Pardon” in 1988. The first single from their debut album, Move to Move, peaked at #19 on the Canadian Singles Chart, #5 on the U.K. Singles Chart, and #15 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
Kevin Wynne sang lead vocals on all but two songs on Move to Move. Barry Harris also provided vocals, keyboard, and guitar. Harris recorded two more albums using the Kon Kan moniker before he formed Outta Control. He gained his most success as Thunderpuss 2000, one-half of a remix duo with DJ Chris Cox. Wynne left the band after the first album and worked on the business side of the music industry. Today, rumor has it he’s a semi-pro video golfer.
The song generated controversy for Kon Kan’s sampling of “Rose Garden” by Lynn Anderson, “Disco Nights (Rock-Freak)” by GQ, “Get Up and Boogie” by Silver Connection, “Call Me” by Spagna, and the opening bars of theme from movie The Magnificent Seven.
The band’s name is a play on the abbreviation for Canadian Cotent (CanCon), which requires a third of all music played on Canadian commercial radio stations must be Canadian in origin.
I Beg Your Pardon [Radio Mix] 3’59
I Beg Your Pardon [Club Mix] 6’39
I Beg Your Pardon [In the Green — House Mix] [Theb-4We Re-Mixitmix] 7’43
I Beg Your Pardon [I Beg Your House] 5’16
The music video for “I Beg Your Pardon” is rather straight forward. Wynne sings into the receiver of a pay phone while Harris dances about and plays a portable keyboard. A 70s lounge lizard offers comic relief, while a cowgirl who resembles the love child of Roy Orbison and k.d. lang lip-syncs to the Lynn Anderson sample and plays an accordion. A group of young men and women provide some arm motions during the bridge
I remember walking into the Sound Warehouse on Hulen Street in Fort Worth after I finished my shift at Target and the Move to Move album was playing. I believe “Puss n’ Boots/These Boots (Are Made for Walking)” was the song playing at the time I walked in. I browsed the record bins and by the time “I Beg Your Pardon (I Never Promised You a Rose Garden) [12″ Mix]” played, I decided to buy the CD.
When I first started hanging out with my college roommate, Chris, he kept asking me if I had ever heard this cool song he wanted to find. He’d try to hum the melody, but he could never get it right. One day, months later, I put my Kon Kan CD on to listen while I cleaned house and Chris came running out of this bedroom as soon as “I Beg Your Pardon (I Never Promised You a Rose Garden)” began to play, shouting, “That’s it! That’s it!”
For my 23rd birthday, Chris took me to dinner and to see the movie adaptation of Carrie Fisher’s Postcards from the Edge. When we came back to the apartment, Kon Kan blasted from my stereo along to a strobe light. My friends Trixie and Susan were waiting to kidnap me and take me to a comedy club. It was a fun night!
What are your memories of “I Beg Your Pardon” by Kon Kan?