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John C. Hughes Tag

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Soooo, where’s Lost in the ‘70s/’80s/’90s been? Has that Hughes character been slacking off? Well, not quite.

It may be fairly obvious from my 400+ posts about the subject, but I’m a music junkie. Hardcore, even. That’s why when a new job opportunity presented itself, I not only jumped on it, but I pretty much grabbed it in a headlock until it cried “Uncle!”

I’m the new Senior Director of Online Marketing for Rhino.com. Cool, right? It’s a dream job for me – surrounded by other music freaks, I dreamed of swimming in pools of New Order and Monkees reissues, living happily ever after. I started last Tuesday with a head full of ideas and a smile on my face.

Then the layoffs hit.

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“And they told us what they wanted was a sound that could kill someone from a distance …”

In 1986, after years of trying to break Kate Bush in the States with only the minor Top 40 hit “Running Up That Hill” to show for it, EMI decided to capitalize on Kate’s recent success with Hounds of Love in the UK by releasing a best-of, which could also serve as a catch-up primer for the US.  The Whole Story collected various tracks from Bush’s first five albums, along with a newly recorded version of her first single, “Wuthering Heights,” and one new track which was issued as a single to promote the disc.

“Experiment IV” (download) was a creepy tune that told the story of a top secret military operation where scientists were attempting to create a weapon using only sound. Unfortunately for them, they succeed. The single was accompanied by an equally spooky video that was banned from Top of the Pops, but got plenty of MTV play Stateside.  It also featured Dawn French of French & Saunders and a relative unknown by the name of Hugh Laurie:

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Netherlands-based Xymox had been kicking around in goth circles for most of the ’80s as Clan of Xymox, but when they signed to major label Wing in 1989, they shortened their name and expanded their appeal. Their major label debut, Twist of Shadows, was filled with more of the band’s Cure-inspired danceable goth, but this time the hooks were front and center.

The album’s first single, “Obsession” (download) set the tone, as the thunder that begins the track segues into an industrial-tinged dance beat as vocalist/guitarist Ronny Moorings (there’s a gothic name for you) sings in a Robert Smith style. The combination was irresistible to alternative dance clubs and video got a fair amount of play on MTV’s 120 Minutes (God, I miss that show):

But it was the album’s third single (after “Blind Hearts”), “Imagination (Edit),” (download) that brought the band the most mainstream attention. This time around bassist Anke Wolbert took the vocal lead over a New Order beat that was certainly more in vogue in 1990 than during the band’s mid-80’s efforts. They were rewarded with some sporadic Top 40 radio airplay and the single even charted in the lower reaches of the Hot 100, an unimaginable feat for a former 4AD band.

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If you’ve been reading this column for the past four years or so, you may remember me calling out certain songs as one of “the top blahblah new-wave songs ever.” I’ve done it a few times, as I recall — most recently last Tuesday, in fact — and good commenter Pete stated:

“John, I’d be curious to know what your other top 5 new wave songs are …”

Well, Pete my friend, because you asked for it, here are not only my top 5, but my top 15! Who says it’s a waste of time to comment on Popdose?

First off, some ground rules:

  • While acts such as Roxy Music, Sparks and David Bowie certainly laid the groundwork, if not the entire friggin’ blueprints for what we call new wave, this list is limited to artists who came of age and were active during the classic new-wave period from 1979 through 1984, give or take as I feel like.
  • And what the heck is new wave, anyway? While we can argue it was just an umbrella term coined by Seymour Stein to cover any of his acts that weren’t overtly commercial, let’s agree for our purposes that we know it when we hear it.
  • It would be easy to rattle off ten or twenty songs that really should be on this list, like for example, New Order’s “Blue Monday.” But this is Popdose: we assume you’ve seen obvious lists like that a million times and the average Popdose reader is more knowledgeable and likes to be challenged. So, while we’re not gonna go all Pitchfork-y on you and rattle off names like Pylon or the Plastics, you may seem some less obvious choices.
  • This list will be from a very American point of view, since I sort of grew up in America and stuff. Don’t worry though – it’s probably the most Anglo-centric Americanized list you’ll ever read.
  • And last, but not least, this is my list, my opinions, my decisions. It is by no ways meant to be comprehensive, complete or the final word on anything. That’s why you’re going to leave comments after you read it, so I can either praise you for bringing up an act I forgot, or ridicule you for suggesting I left out the Bongos and how dare I.

And with that, let’s begin!

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This is a tough one. Is it possible to look past someone’s reprehensible criminal behavior and enjoy their art? A question asked many times about many people. In this case, we ask this question of ’70s glam rock god Gary Glitter, one of the biggest pop stars of that decade in the UK. After many attempts at a recording career throughout the ’60s, Glitter finally concocted a signature sound with the epic “Rock & Roll Part 2” (1972). Originally a 15-minute jam, once the song was cut up into the mostly instrumental single version (complete with football cheer “Hey’s”), it made the Top Ten in England and the States, one of the few glam successes on this shore.

Glitter followed that up “I Didn’t Know I Loved You (‘Til I Saw You Rock & Roll),” (1972) (download) a bit of a sound-alike of his first smash, albeit with vocals and a more melodic hook this time around. Let’s face it: Glitter’s songs all pretty much sound the same. The stomping beat, the crunchy guitars, the shouted “Hey’s” – but I’ll be damned if they’re not all catchy as hell. While his second single was another Top Ten hit in the UK, it did noticeably less business here, barely denting the Top 40. It would also be his final chart hit in the United States. It wasn’t for lack of trying – Glitter toured sporadically Stateside and even did some local television appearances, like this Los Angeles-based dance show where he performed his second single. But first, Gary had to judge a dance contest:

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I have a soft spot in my heart for Ms. Wilde. After all, she was the very first artist to be featured on Lost in the ’80s back in … what was it — more than four years ago? Yikes. I maintain that “Kids in America” is one of the top-five new-wave songs of all time, and while Kim never really reached the heights of her 1981 self-titled debut again (artistically, at least — she did top the charts here in the U.S. in ’87 with the limp Stock/Aiken/Waterman-lite remake of the Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”), it wasn’t for lack of trying.

Kim’s second album, Select (1982), was pretty much in the same vein as her debut, with her brother Ricky and father, Marty, handling all of the songwriting and production (both had had brief success as singers in the UK in earlier decades). In the liner notes for the album’s recent rerelease (thank you once again, Cherry Pop Records!), Ricky recalls being inspired enough by Ultravox’s success to move away from the more guitar-oriented sound of Kim’s debut to the colder, programmable-synth soundscapes of Select.

The Ultravox influence was readily apparent on Select‘s first single, “Cambodia” (download), a downbeat, atmospheric song about an air force pilot who goes missing during a top-secret mission. Not exactly the stuff number-one singles are made of, but it topped the charts in several European countries, including France and Sweden. And my my, a lot of Kim’s videos tended to feature her rolling around in bed, fully clothed …

My bio for Popdose when it first appeared in January of last year began thusly: “John C. Hughes calls himself such to differentiate himself from the other John Hughes.” A lame joke, but one based in truth. Ever since I was 16 years old, I’ve heard the following from people after they hear my full name for the first time: “You mean, like the director?”

I wish.

The other John Hughes was responsible for a huge formative portion of my life, and that’s no exaggeration. The man introduced me to National Lampoon, he was the cool older brother whose music I’d listen to, he was the guy who made me believe I could escape small-town Ohio and make a living — get this! — doing something creative that I loved. I mean, after all, we even had the same name, so I could do it too, right?

I remember when Sixteen Candles opened. The Avon Lake Theater in Lorain County, Ohio, was included in a nationwide promotion where you got a free Sixteen Candles T-shirt and poster if you came to see the movie on your actual 16th birthday. That was enough for me — the movie opened on May 4, 1984, and I turned 16 on the 16th.

I had no idea one little teen movie could have such an impact. I loved everything about it: the paper-thin plot (Sam’s parents forgot her birthday!), the realistic cadence the characters used when they spoke, and the music. My Lord, the music …

John Hughes and I must’ve been related somehow. We had to have been. Thompson Twins. Paul Young. Spandau Ballet. Wang Chung. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. Psychedelic Furs. Yello. Sigue Sigue Sputnik. Seriously — have you read the stuff I write about?

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Elastica frontperson Justine Frischmann could certainly be called a central figure in the ’90s Britpop movement.  After all, this was the former guitarist from Suede who gave that band its name, as well as dating its singer, Brett Anderson.  Then, she split with Anderson and took up with Blur vocalist Damon Albarn in a storm of tabloid fury.  But all that paled in comparison to the mark she made when her band, Elastica, became the first Britpop band to really break America.

Buoyed by the instantly catchy single “Connection” (so instantly familiar that Wire sued the group for nicking “Three Girl Rhumba”), Elastica’s self-titled debut stormed the charts on both ends of the Atlantic in 1995.  “Connection” was all over MTV, even during the day – Oasis and Blur were still resigned to the 120 Minutes/Alternative Nation ghetto at the time.  The single even peaked at #40 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks Chart, something other Britpop bands could only dream of in a sea of Candleboxes and Red Hot Chili Peppers.  Elastica even went Gold.

Elastica’s second single in the US, “Stutter,” (download) was actually their first ever single overseas.  A truly nasty tune (in the best way) about a boyfriend who’s having trouble getting it up for his girlfriend (oh, Brett!  Or Damon!), “Stutter” was a punky blast of Blondie mixed with the Pretenders and a dash of Ramones for good measure.

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It was feast and famine in 1986 for former New Romantics turned MOR balladeers Spandau Ballet. While the previous two years saw the group score more chart hits in the UK with their Parade album, plus a triumphant performance at Live Aid, the quintet’s fortunes in the States were less impressive. Their last US hit, “Only When You Leave,” peaked at a paltry #34 and none of the follow-ups even charted. It was another example of a group huge in Europe, but ignored in the States.

The band tried to change their luck by leaving longtime label Chrysalis and moving over to Epic Records (although both were distributed by CBS Records).  Spandau also began talk of refining their sound a bit, moving away from the smooth-jazz crooning to a more rock direction — at least as rock as Spandau Ballet could muster.  The results of this shift were hardly evident in Through the Barricades‘ first UK single, “Fight for Ourselves,” a limp attempt at a fist-raising anthem hampered by rinky-dink production from Art of Noise co-conspirator Gary Langan. Don’t believe me?  See and hear for yourself:

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Nothing frustrates me more than watching shows like VH1’s Top 100 One-Hit Wonders and seeing Michael Ian Black or Frangelinellica (or whatever) struggle to toss off witty bon mots about artists like A Flock of Seagulls (three-hit wonders, thank you!) or Spandau Ballet (another three-fer, gracias) – I mean, sure, conventional wisdom dictates that these bands had one really big hit everyone knows, but facts are facts, people.  Just because the majority of Americans don’t remember “Pop Goes The World” doesn’t mean Men Without Hats are one-hit wonders.  Ask a hosehead!  They’ll tell you.  This is serious business.  Research!  Journalistic standards!  If we can’t get something simple like chart history correct, what hope do we have in finding out the truth behind Goldman Sachs?

Okay, maybe not that serious.  But, still.

Andrea True is one of those artists always unfairly singled out as a one-hit wonder.  But illuminating those forgotten follow-ups is the mission of the Lost in the… series, so I cannot shirk my duty.  A former adult film entertainer, in 1976 True found herself in Jamaica filming a television commercial when an attempted coup kept her in the country longer than she anticipated.  Being resourceful, she had disco writer/producer and former Jobriath sideman Gregg Diamond fly down to her, where they created the monster smash “More, More, More.”  A full-length album of the same name soon followed, along with a second single, “Party Line,” which quickly flopped.

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It must have sucked to be a non-Boy George member of Culture Club.  Well, except for Jon Moss, who was actually sucking a member of Culture Club.  Okay, cheap shot.  But seriously, here you are, finally realizing your dreams of being in a hugely popular rock band and, to paraphrase Roy Hay in the group’s Behind the Music special, you’re stuck in the middle of a gay soap opera.

Besides the lead singer and drummer having screaming fits in hotel hallways, you’d also have to deal with the pressure of your label demanding a third album of original material in as many years.  And to top it all off, your singer and visual focal point of the band has become a raging coke head.  Is it any wonder your third album was a comparative failure to the first two?

Culture Club’s Waking up with the House on Fire was aptly named, since the band was in a shambling mess of an emergency.  After their first two multi-platinum smashes and several hit singles, expectations were extremely high for the third and the only place to go was down.  The album’s first single really set the tone, as “The War Song” was a simplistic, jingoistic, embarrassing attempt by Boy to be political.  “War, war is stupid” – shock!  Thanks to the chart momentum from the last two years, it still made the Top 20.

While the U.K. and other territories got “The Medal Song” as the album’s second single, Epic made the wise choice of picking “Mistake No. 3” (download) to be the follow-up single in the States.  I’ve read that the song was about Boy George warning young couples against marriage, that being the titular mistake number three.  I’m not quite sure what the first two mistakes are supposed to be.  Shagging your drummer and snorting coke, perhaps?

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Punk legends in Los Angeles before they could legally drink, Jeff and Steve McDonald spent most of the ’80s as a cult sensation, loved as much for their pop culture references (name-checking everyone from Linda Blair to the Brady Bunch to Charles Manson) as they were for their thrashy brand of bubblegum-laced power-pop.  As the ’90s dawned, the band entered a new phase, signing to Atlantic Records for their major-label debut, Third Eye.  You may recognize the title, since, despite being a killer album, it filled cutout bins nationwide almost immediately after its release, and Atlantic dumped the boys.  It was a matter of bad timing, since two short years later, a little trio from Seattle named Nirvana would take that same Knack-goes-to-a-Black-Flag-show concept and change alternative music forever.

After Nevermind opened commercial radio and MTV up to what we old people called “college rock,” the time was ripe for Redd Kross to finally get its due.  With a new line-up, the McDonalds scored a new deal with Mercury Records which released Phaseshifter, Redd Kross’s most accessible set yet.  While the video for “Jimmy’s Fantasy” got a few spins on MTV’s “120 Minutes,” Modern Rock radio wasn’t biting and despite being the best-reviewed album of their career, Phaseshifter failed to shift any units.

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The late ’80s and early ’90s saw a strange trend of UK power-pop bands fronted by blond bombshells:  Transvision Vamp, the Primitives, and one of the more criminally ignored, the Darling Buds.  Fronted by drop-dead knockout Andrea Lewis, the Darling Buds drew upon influences from Blondie to the Smiths and packed them all into manic, three-minutes-or-under, hook-filled gems.  It was dangerous to drive to their debut Pop Said – you were sure to get ticketed for speeding.

MTV and Modern Rock radio made a minor sensation of their debut single, “Let’s Go Round There,” (download) with its vague similarity to the Manchester sound recently made popular by the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays.  The Buds were much more accessible, however, and if they had held out a few more years, they would have definitely been swept up by the alternative nation movement ushered in by Nirvana.

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In 1988, Leslie Phillips turned her back on a successful career as a Christian Contemporary artist, changed her performing moniker to “Sam,” and recorded her first mainstream pop album, The Indescribable Wow, with producer and soon-to-be husband T Bone Burnett.  It was a bold move that paid off critically, if not commercially.  The album sold a fraction of Phillips’ Christian work, but her inventive songwriting and unique voice won her a new cult of fans.

But it was her third secular album that saw Phillips come closest to breaking through to the pop charts.  1994’s Martinis & Bikinis was packed with Beatles-esque hooks, clever wordplay, and sterling production by Burnett and XTC’s Colin Moulding on key tracks.  Lead single “I Need Love” got some Modern Rock radio love, but it was the second single, “Baby I Can’t Please You” (download) (one of the Moulding tracks, a fact that becomes quite obvious upon listening), that got the most attention.  Besides a video that made regular rotation on MTV’s 120 Minutes and Alternative Nation, it was also featured on the Melrose Place soundtrack compilation that sold quite a few copies.

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It’s amazing to even consider now, but once there were debates on who’d be the bigger band – U2 or Big Country?

It’s obvious who won that little argument, but believe it or not, there was a time around 1983 where it was a dead heat.  Both bands had critical acclaim, hotly touted live shows, and briskly selling albums.  But Big Country had the lead when it came to mainstream acceptance, scoring a Top 40 hit with “In A Big Country” and a platinum album with their debut, The Crossing.  U2 were just starting to break though with War, but singles “New Years Day” and “Two Hearts Beat As One” didn’t make much of a dent on the charts.

Things had changed a bit three years down the road.  U2 were coming off the biggest album of their career at that point, The Unforgettable Fire, and had finally crossed over to Top 40 with “Pride (In The Name Of Love).”  Meanwhile, Big Country remained one-hit wonders, with the EP Wonderland and their second full-length, Steeltown, both flopping in the States (while doing well in the UK).  In 1986, Big Country could use a hit.

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The Sundays began the ’90s by combining the best of the previous decade’s indie rock – The Smiths and the Cocteau Twins – with a wall of guitars courtesy of David Gavurin topped with the exquisite vocals of Harriet Wheeler.  Tasting near-immediate success with their debut, Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, and its single, “Here’s Where The Story Ends,” the group traded in atmospheric, jangly guitar pop heavy on the reverb.  A similarly flavored follow-up, Blind, followed in 1992, best known on these shores for featuring a dream-pop reading of the Stones “Wild Horses.”  Budweiser commercials beckoned, both albums went Gold, then the Sundays – vanished.

Five years later, the Sundays suddenly reemerged.  During their hiatus, Gavurin and Wheeler built their own home studio and recorded 1997’s Static & Silence.  Gone was the wall of reverb production, replaced by a cleaner sound that firmly placed Wheeler’s voice front and center.  A lot of the atmosphere from the first two albums was gone, but thankfully, the songs were still there, just brighter.  No tune on the set showcased this new direction more than the single, “Summertime,” which became a Top 10 Modern Rock hit and even hit #13 on the Adult Top 40 Chart (whatever that is).  Static & Silence became the band’s highest charting album and it looked like mainstream crossover success was next.

The second single chosen from the set, “Cry,” (download) was the song probably most like the Sundays of old.  A total 180 from the sunniness of “Summertime,” “Cry” dealt with loss and regret set to a downbeat guitar riff.  A huge fan of the Sundays’ first two discs, I, of course, loved it.

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It never hurt to have a visual hook to get on MTV in the ’80s.  From Bananrama and Dexys Midnight Runners’ hobo-chic, to Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran’s new romantic ruffles, a cool gimmick was sometimes all a band needed to get them over some middling material.

This was certainly the case with the Unforgiven, a power-pop/alterna-country/cowpunk act from California’s Inland Empire.  Dressed up in their best Western gear, the group emerged from the ashes of a more straight-ahead Cali punk act, the Stepmothers.  A little U2, a little Alarm, and a lot of look, the Unforgiven signed to Elektra Records and immediately set out to get their visual inspiration, Clint Eastwood, to direct their first video – a move they’d soon regret.

According to the bio on their website, the group had their agents at CAA send Eastwood a copy of their album in an effort to secure his directorial duties for their lead single, “I Hear The Call.” (download) Clint politely declined, but kept the album and allegedly ripped off the cover photo, font and hell, the band’s name for his movie of the same name.  The band soldiered on and MTV jumped on the video anyway, for a brief moment at least:

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The recent release of a cleaned up and remastered Ultravox greatest hits compilation (including a bonus DVD with all the Midge Ure-era videos) got me thinking about how much I used to love this band, despite their being so serious all the time.

Despite hooks and squiggly synths galore, Ultravox seemed to be consumed with capital-A Art.  From the somewhat pretentious nature of their lyrics (“The Voice,” “Vienna,” “The Thin Wall,” etc., etc.), to the lavish and sumptuously shot videos, the group seemed to always be on a quest to make a grand statement.  The lighter side of Ultravox’s talent seemed to be saved for Ure and Billy Curry’s work with Visage, the New Romantic vehicle for Blitz Kid Steve Strange.  But thankfully, every so often Ultravox would prove they weren’t completely devoid of humor or whimsy.

To be fair, they proved this pretty early during the Ure era with “All Stood Still,” (download) the fourth single from Vienna, the band’s first album to feature Midge.  Copping Devo right down to the simply Mothersbaugh-esque vocals and paranoia-infused lyrics, the track ended up being the group’s second Top Ten hit in the U.K., scoring them a spot on Top of the Pops:

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In 1967, the Monkees sold more records than the Beatles.  And the Rolling Stones.  Combined.  That year they also scored their third number one single, plus another Top Five hit.  The assembled-for-television quartet were the biggest rock music act in the United States and United Kingdom.  Three short years later, they’d be stripped down to  duo and watch their final pre-reunion single peak at a pathetic #98.

So, what happened?

First, The Monkees was canceled after two seasons when the boys and network couldn’t agree on a new direction for the third year.  Then, the quartet’s feature film debut, Head (co-written by none other than a psychedelically-enhanced Jack Nicholson), was a confusing, resounding flop.  To make a bad situation worse, their first variety special for NBC was scarcely watched, scheduled against the Academy Awards.  Citing exhaustion, Peter Tork split, leaving the remaining three to release two more middling albums as a trio before troubadour Michael Nesmith rode off into the country-rock sunset.

And then there were two.

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There are certain acts and albums I absolutely adored in my younger days in the ’80s that I don’t quite care for now. One of these groups is the Thompson Twins, the New Wave trio that broke into the charts big time with the 1984 single “Hold Me Now” and its album, Into The Gap.  As a high-school sophomore, I wore out my copy of Gap, but I really loved their 1982 effort, Side Kicks, which featured “Lies” and “Love On Your Side.”

But while Side Kicks still holds some appeal, I really could go the rest of my life never hearing “Hold Me Now” or “Doctor, Doctor” again.  So, when I came across the new, deluxe remastered editions of both albums that came out late last year, I didn’t exactly rush to purchase Into The Gap.  But after staring at for a few months each time I went to the record store (remember those?) I finally broke down and bought it.  And I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it.  Again.

“Sister Of Mercy” (download) was the the album’s fourth single in the U.K., while the U.S. got “The Gap.”  The U.S. single faltered in the upper 60’s, but “Sister Of Mercy” became the album’s fourth Top Ten hit in the U.K.  I have to wonder if the song’s lyric, about a woman who finally snaps and stabs her husband to death, was a bit too much for U.S. radio.  Too bad, because while “The Gap” was a decent enough song (love those hand claps!), “Sister Of Mercy” could have been yet another smash for the trio.

Here's an example of a great song that couldn't be confined to a B-side. Wide Boy Awake was Adam & the Ants bassist Kevin Mooney's first project after splitting from the Ants following 1980's Kings of the Wild Frontier. While his new group only released

I bought and fell in love with Blondie's Parallel Lines album when I was around ten years old, and always wondered who the mysterious "Lee" was who was credited for writing the disc's driving opener, "Hanging On The Telephone."   As a youngster, I pored over

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No, no, dear reader, I didn’t lose track while writing at 11pm once again and accidentally throw up a Lost in the ’80s post.  By 1990, Adam Ant was pretty much considered washed-up.  His last album, 1985’s, Vive Le Rock, sank without a ripple (despite being a fun, Tony Visconti-produced, glammy blast), and Ant was spending most of his days playing minor parts in b-movies in an attempt to cross over to Hollywood.  That’s why it was such a shock to suddenly see a new Adam Ant album on the racks as the ’90s dawned, much less one produced by Prince bassist Andre Cymone.

“Antmusic meets the Minneapolis sound!” promised the promotional sticker slapped on the longboxes of Manners & Physique, and while the contents within were a little more towards the Minneapolis/crossover funk sound that Cymone and Jody Watley made popular, Adam’s vocals and lyrics provided a little bit of Antmusic flavor.  Longtime Ants guitarist Marco Pirroni was part of the mix too, albeit so buried and watered down, one has to wonder why he bothered to show up.

Lead single “Room At The Top” (download) was a surprise hit, catching the attention of Top 40 radio programmers who sent the song into the Top 20, becoming Adam’s second Top 40 hit.  This was even more unusual since MTV pretty much shunned the video, figuring Adam to be a has-been too representative of their early days.  They gave it a few perfunctory plays here and there – I think I recall seeing it exactly once:

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When Siobahn Fahey left Bananarama in 1988, most people probably never expected to hear from her again.  For Fahey to return to music with a goth look fronting a Siouxsie Sioux-influenced dance/electro combo was probably the most unexpected thing of all.  But in 1988, Fahey’s solo project, Shakespear’s Sister (originally with an apostrophe, later without) released its debut album, Sacred Heart, and single, “Break My Heart.”

A double A-side in the UK (teamed with “Heroine,” the first US single), “Break My Heart (Copa Mix)” (download) failed to chart.  It didn’t do much better as the second US single, but a nice remix made some minor club noise and the video was pretty to look at:

I much preferred the 12-inch’s B-side, “Run Silent (Revolution Mix)” (download) that featured saving grace Marcella Detroit, who would soon become a full-fledged member of the band, making Shakespears Sister a duo.  The dance mix featured above is a driving alternative to the equally fine, if calmer album mix used in the video.

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Where to begin with Ms. Lear?  How about her modeling career in ’60s France?  How about her years-long romance with surrealist Salvador Dali?  How about her relationships with Bryan Ferry and David Bowie?

How about the (unconfirmed) fact that she began life as Mister Lear?

While several of her contemporaries remember Amanda back when she was Alain, Lear has never publicly admitted she’s had a sex change.  That’s okay, though, because plenty of her (former?) friends are more than willing to come forward to tell their tranny tales.  In either case, Lear became a rock star accessory by the ’70s, hanging on the arms of the aforementioned Ferry and Bowie.  That’s her on the cover of Roxy Music’s For Your Pleasure and she acted as emcee for Bowie’s 1980 Floor Show TV special, aired here in the States as an episode of NBC’s The Midnight Special.  There’s a bootleg of outtakes from that special that makes the rounds (*cough*torrent*cough*), and it’s hysterical.  Here Bowie and Lear try to get through an impenetrable exchange while futzing up over and over (skip to about the 1:00 mark):

I don’t wish to imply there was a lot of nose candy on that set, but yeesh, I think I can hear Stevie Nicks’ teeth grinding from here.