Here’s a question, everybody: how did we get this far in Adventures Through The Mines Of Mellow Gold – #30! – without covering Pablo Cruise? I intend to remedy this right now!
Pablo Cruise – Love Will Find A Way (download)
Honestly, I don’t know why you guys read what I write: up until ten minutes ago, I thought Pablo Cruise was a dude. I thought he hung out with Dr. Hook and traded pirate wuss stories.
Pablo: You’re a doctor, right?
Pablo: (pulls down his pants) Does this look infected to you?
Hook: Yarrr! That be the Chancroid!
Pablo: The Chancroid?
Hook: It’s a sexually transmitted disease caused by the fastidious Gram-negative streptobacillus Haemophilus ducreyi.
Pablo: Excuse me?
Hook: (pause) uhhh, I mean…YARRRR! Those be fearsome barnacles on your crow’s nest! Tell me, matey, have ye engaged in sexual intercourse of late?
Pablo: No! Never! In my life! That’s why it’s so confusing!
No, it turns out that Pablo Cruise is a whole gaggle of wusses who, as a collective group, turn 35 next year. That’s right: you’ve been groovin’ to The Cruise since 1973. (If you recall feeling some sort of emotional loss between 1985 and 2004, it’s because the band broke up during this period. They’re back together now, but we’ll talk about that a little later.) In ’73, The Cruise formed in San Francisco, and was picked up by A&M (way to go, Herb Alpert!). Their first two albums didn’t produce any hits. It’s not hard to figure out why; if you were just browsing in the record store, would you have picked up this album?
“Hmm…new band I’ve never heard of…gorilla on the cover…sure, that’ll get my hard-earned cash!”
And would you have been interested enough to purchase their second album?
And in the great Awkward Male Rockers Sitting Around Naked Competition, Pablo Cruise takes a narrow lead over Orleans!
Their third album, A Place In The Sun, was released in ’77 and included their first hit, “Whatcha Gonna Do.” Not coincidentally, it was the first to include their awesome (and I say this without a trace of irony) logo:
Original bassist Bud Cockrell left after A Place In The Sun, replaced by Bruce Day from Santana. With Day, the band recorded their most successful album, Worlds Away, which featured three hits in the Hot 100, including the one we’re discussing today.
And who the hell was Pablo Cruise, anyway? When asked the question, the band would respond “He’s the one in the middle” and chuckle to themselves. After that joke got old (approximately 30 seconds after its creation), the band would respond seriously: “Pablo represents an honest, real, down to earth individual; and Cruise depicts his fun loving and easy going attitude towards life.” Don’t believe this story, folks. The story I heard backstage at last summer’s free Pablo Cruise/Poco/Firefall/Ambrosia/Sneaker/Orleans/Gino Vannelli concert was that the lead singer named his left nut “Pablo” and his right nut “Cruise.” (How did I find this out? Someone came up to me and asked if I’d like to go “sing backstage with Pablo Cruise.” Let’s just say that a duet of “A Place In The Sun” was not what they were talking about. I’ll never be the same.) (…and there goes my readership!)
As if it wasn’t obvious enough in their name, Pablo Cruise was all about the musical smooth sailing – and they managed to achieve that goal without all of their songs sounding exactly alike. A number of them would probably qualify for Mellow Gold status, especially “Whatcha Gonna Do” and “Cool Love.” We’ll probably hit ’em up at some point, but today, it’s all about “Love Will Find A Way.” Instrumentally, the song’s fantastic: when the keyboard and the bass are the most prominent instruments in the mix, you know you’re in mellow territory. The keyboard pretty much echoes the lead vocal, and the bass, while repetitive, is doing most of the heavy lifting in this song. The guitar provides the lead lines, but no rhythm. Yeah, I would have preferred those lead lines to be covered by a saxophone, but I can live with the guitar; it gives the song a bite that’s missing from most Mellow songs (not that it’s a bad thing, mind you). I bet “Love Will Find A Way” would have found a perfect home on Rockin’ Easy. And maybe I’m crazy, but those backing vocals sound even a little Motown-esque. Pablo Cruise had soul!
Question for you: does this song remind you of anything? The minute I heard the bassline, I thought of “Bitch” by the Stones, but then the first verse immediately reminded me of another, perhaps more popular song. Any thoughts? I put together a little mashup to illustrate what instantly jumped into my head.
Hey, wait a minute…I think I just figured out Pablo Cruise’s secret identity! As mentioned above, the album was produced by Bill Schnee, who went on to work as engineer and producer on albums for Whitney Houston, Steely Dan and Huey Lewis and The News – and hmmm, he also remixed “Neutron Dance”…that’s suspicious.
I really can’t make too much fun of these lyrics; they’re not pathetic in the slightest. They don’t suck up to an uninterested woman, they don’t end with someone breaking down in tears, and I’m not even convinced they’re being sung to a woman. What the hell is going on here? Maybe this is the difference between Yacht Rock and Mellow Gold: Yacht Rock is all about the smooth, but not necessarily about the wussy, and vice versa for Mellow Gold. I must be reading too much into this, but at this very moment, Pablo Cruise is making me question everything I know about music.
Hang on…I think I have it! Pablo Cruise were mellow mentors. You see, they were smooth cats who had been around the block, and their purpose was to help guide other wusses. Think about it: when Dan Hill is crying over the loss of his woman, Pablo Cruise
is are is there, reassuring him that “love will find a way.” When Paul Davis is mistakenly believing that his cool night’s going to find him love, The Cruise is are is there to ask him, “whatcha gonna do when she says goodbye?” The late ’70s and early ’80s wimps owe their gratitude to Pablo Cruise. They’re like the senior class of Mellow Gold: they’ve been there, done that, have the tear-soaked hankie. They’re going to help the freshman class realize that the mellow lifestyle could very easily lead to heartbreak. Pablo Cruise, we are in your debt!
Of course, Pablo Cruise very quickly became the kids that graduated, but still hung around in the parking lot. Sure, after the success of Worlds Away, Pablo Cruise released a few more successful albums, featuring singles such as “I Want You Tonight” (also mellow!), “Slip Away,” and others that I’m sure you’ll mention in the comments. However, they also adapted their sound to fit in with the disco trend, a move that disappointed many of their fans. As new wave took over the early ’80s, Pablo Cruise just couldn’t fit in, and in 1985, they finally threw in the mellow towel.
Don’t be too sad, friends: for starters, we can take comfort in the way that The Cruise smoothly rocked their audiences back in ’78.
And not only that, in 2004, three of the original members reunited, and you can still find them touring today! (Well, not today. Today, they’re probably working their day jobs.) But you can find out all the information you need by heading over to the official Pablo Cruise website, with exciting features such as:
– Illiterate discography! (“Love Will Find Away” and my personal favorite, “Your Out To Loose.”)
– Merchandise! This is all well and good, but this is the shirt I want, and it’s not for sale. I don’t care that a girl’s wearing it; I would TOTALLY wear a yellow shirt with the Pablo Cruise logo on it.
And that brings us to the end of another week of Adventures Through The Mines Of Mellow Gold! Stay gentle and see you next time!