If you’ve got nothing to do on a Tuesday from 8 PM to midnight Eastern time, you should head on over to Bastard Radio and listen to Destiny’s Bastard Children, the Web radio show I’ve been cohosting for the last eight years or so. Known as Bastard #1 on the air, my cohosts Bastard #2 and Bastard #3 spin some nice college rock and wax poetic on plenty of topics.
I say this not simply for self-promotion, but because just a few weeks ago Bastard #2 pulled a great one off on #3 that seems fitting for this blog. Each week they play some of the bands that were listed in the Alternative Press “100 Bands You Need to Know in 2008” list. Bastard #3 sits behind the board and pops on the CDs, while #2 talks up the song about to be played. So #2 did his normal thing, #3 hit play and what comes on, but “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley. I’ve been rickrolled on the web before but it’s the first time I’d heard of a radio rickroll. I have to give it up to whomever first started the rickroll, because this shit just never gets old.
How about some more “B” artists this week!
“Smalltown Boy” — 1984, #48 (download)
Bronski Beat ended up being a sounding board for gay issues. “Smalltown Boy” was about a gay child being shunned by his family, other singles were about prejudice against gay people and their album The Age of Consent printed those ages from different countries around the world on the sleeve. This song is memorable to me not only for the great synth rhythm but also for Jimmy Somerville’s unique vocals. Apparently he’s what’s called a “counter-tenor’’ which for some reason I had never heard of before. I learn something new every day I suppose.
“When Will I Be Famous?” — 1988, #83 (download)
I’m torn on this one. I want to hate it, but for some reason, I don’t. I think it has something to do with the chorus and the lyrics “when will I/will I be famous?/I can’t answer/I can’t answer that.” For reasons I can’t explain the fact that they can’t answer that is kind of weird to hear. I get the concept of the track, but it’s still kind of funky to me and that’s okay because I think it’s one of the more unique hooks of the decade. Seems like one of the “Bros” — Luke Goss — is now an actor and will be in Hellboy II coming out soon.
I love me some funk, but The Brothers Johnson just never did much for me. Their ‘70s output was significantly better than the few years in the ‘80s while they were still a band. I don’t like their vocals on the ballads like “Treasure” and “The Real Thing” was funk that wasn’t funky enough. You could argue that 1980’s “Stomp” was a decent track, but that’s about it from their last few records.
“(Come On) Shout” — 1985, #76 (download)
Was the gimmick to this song the fact that when you see it on paper you immediately think it’s a cover of the classic Isley Brothers tune? It’s certainly not that, but it is a pretty catchy song from the Girls Just Wanna Have Fun soundtrack. I really can’t find any information on Alex Brown, but if you check out the video below, she looks a hell of a lot like a young Whitney Houston.
“Girlfriend” — 1986, #57 (download)
I tend to think that anyone that hasn’t followed Bobby Brown or New Edition throughout their careers either don’t know “Girlfriend” or his debut record King of Stage exist or at least forgot about it once Don’t Be Cruel came out. This is certainly closer to New Edition than his more memorable solo work but doesn’t even come close to what he did just two years later.
“Gravity” — 1986, #93 (download)
I always get a chuckle when I hear this song. If this was anyone else I’d rip them apart, but I respect the Godfather enough to give him a pass on this. I don’t know whether Dan Hartman wrote this first and then just reworked it for the mega-hit “Living in America” or wrote “America” first and then this, but damn if they aren’t the same song.
“Somebody Else’s Guy” — 1984, #75 (download)
Jocelyn Brown was a studio vocalist and a background singer for a number of groups, such as Chic, Cerrone and even Right Said Fred in 1991. She released one album in the ‘80s on her own called One From the Heart and this was the only song from her to cross over from the dance chart to the Hot 100.
“Stargazer” — 1980, #59 (download)
Brown had a few bigger hits in the ‘70s, but his best song was a single in 1984 — some little song he wrote called “Material Girl”.
“Stop” — 1989, #65 (download)
The daughter of ‘60s star Joe Brown, she had a much better career in the U.K. and Australia. In the U.S. this was her only hit and it took a re-release of this track to actually get it to chart.
Jackson Browne is like the absolute middle ground of the ‘80s for me. I enjoy pretty much everything he did in the decade but I would never go out of my way to listen to him. I was actually kind of shocked to see he was in the RNR Hall of Fame. The guy only had two top 10 hits in his career, so on paper he looks like a pretty week candidate. There must be plenty about Browne that I just don’t know though, as it couldn’t just be the music that got him there.
“Foolish Heart” — 1989, #91 (download)
I don’t think Sharon Bryant’s career went exactly the way she planned it. She started out as the lead singer for Atlantic Starr and had a decent run on the R&B charts with them in the early ‘80s. She then left for a solo career in 1984 and it took her five years to get a hit. Meanwhile, Atlantic Starr crossed over onto the Hot 100 with the mega hits “Secret Lovers” and “Always” and from ’85-’88 were one of the top R&B groups.
“Let the Feeling Flow” — 1982, #42 (download)
“You’re Looking Like Love to Me” — 1983, #58 (download)
“Slow Dancin’” — 1984, #82 (download)
“Take No Prisoners (in the Game of Love)” — 1985, #78 (download)
“Without You” — 1988, #89 (download)
I have said the name Peabo Bryson more in the last three to four years than anyone else that doesn’t know him personally. I honestly don’t remember how we first got started on the Peabo Bryson kick because it’s not like we play that type of music, but Peabo became a favorite of my radio show and comes up in conversation at least every few weeks. Every now and again a picture of Peabo gets taped up in the studio and he watches over us. I think when we first started talking about my man Peabo, we were making fun of him, but now it’s pure admiration. There are two pieces of the DBC archive that we all love. The first is the one-off Ask Peabo/Ask Danzig segment. The other is one of the most requested outtakes in the history of the program. We were attempting to make some promos for the show and somehow I got in a very strange place and decided to make some clips as Peabo Bryson. Of course, up until he pitched some Time Life collection I actually had never heard him speak before and it turns out my approximation as to what he sounds like was a slight bit off. Even today I use way more bass than I really need to, well — just because. Peabo — Uncut & Unleashed is a gem that has never aired but needed to be posted. Just in case you are at work, or helping your child with her homework — this ain’t the cleanest of clips we’ve ever done so use caution.
“Holiday Road” — 1983, #82 (download)
Not the greatest song that Buckingham has ever performed, but memorable since it was from one of the funniest movies ever made, National Lampoon’s Vacation. The soundtrack is a pretty tough find these days.
That’s it for the week. Next week, we finally finish off the the letter “B”! Woot.