It's a shame The Lucy Show picked an awful sitcom to name themselves after, since the duo of Mark Bandola and Rob Vandeven had little in common with the strained comedy of an aging TV icon with a scotch-fueled voice and brassy henna rinse mugging
It's a shame The Lucy Show picked an awful sitcom to name themselves after, since the duo of Mark Bandola and Rob Vandeven had little in common with the strained comedy of an aging TV icon with a scotch-fueled voice and brassy henna rinse mugging
I’ve had it up to here listening to a small segment of people trying to put down America.Â America’s the greatest land on Earth and we oughta be proud of what we have!Â I’m proud of America.Â I’m proud of our people, and I’m gonna prove it!Â We’re American and damn proud of it!Â Frankly, I’m getting a little ticked off.Â Go to Hell!
Ah, Bob Serpentini.Â Anyone who lived in Northeast Ohio in the mid-’90s remembers his obnoxious commercials for his Chevrolet dealerships, where he would rant about his right-leaning views for a good thirty seconds (like the quote above), before launching into a hard sell for the latest Impala.Â His commercials were so over the top, they became a bit of a local phenomenon, if not an ironic one.
Local boys Dink took advantage of this, sampling one of Serpentini’s spots for the intro of their first single, “Green Mind,” (download) bearing the band’s trademark fusion of industrial beats, rock guitar, and hip-hop samples.Â Spawned from Kent, Ohio, the same area that gave birth to DEVO and the Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde, Dink gigged for months before local alternative radio station WENZ added “Green Mind” to its regular rotation.Â The band’s multi-media live shows and radio play brought the major labels sniffing around.Â Dink eventually signed to Capitol, who released Dink’s self-titled debut album in 1995.Â With that major label backing, a snazzy video was shot (in Akron!) for the single and MTV added it to the rotation of “120 Minutes” and “Alternative Nation.”
It's a shame that U.K. synthpop duo Soft Cell became the epitome of an '80s one-hit wonder.Â While they charted with several singles overseas, "Tainted Love" was their sole American hit, despite releasing several excellent singles and albums.Â One of those unfairly ignored singles was
Richard Jobson and Stuart Adamson founded Scottish punk band the Skids in 1977 - and if that second name sounds familiar, it's probably because you know Adamson's more famous combo, Big Country.Â But years before, Adamson honed his songcraft and guitar playing on three Skids
There’s never been a musical trend that Cher has been afraid to jump upon.Â From watered down hippie-dippy love songs to disco to adult contemporary schlock, the Dark Lady has matched only maybe Bowie in appropriating the current musical climate for her own campy needs.Â And New Wave was no exception.
Cher’s flirtation with New Wave started as the ’80s blossomed – she had just released a second, much less successful follow-up to Take Me Home, and the Casablanca disco sound she was currently trading in was on the wane.Â Enter Black Rose, a “punk” band that featured Cher on vocals and her then-current boyfriend on guitar.Â The idea was that Black Rose was a real band, not a vanity project, so Cher’s image was purposely left off the front album cover art and the press materials downplayed her presence.Â The result was a universally ignored album and Black Rose soon withered and died.
Flash forward two years later – Cher signed to Columbia Records for a one-album deal and was teamed with a group of hot writers to record her pop comeback, 1982’s I Paralyze.Â Paired with Olivia Newton-John songwriter/producer John Farrar, who was on fire with a streak of hits for John that appropriated New Wave’s synths and drum machines, Cher released the title track (download) as the lead single.Â Sounding like an outtake from Physical, “I Paralyze” had all the makings of a sure-fire hit.Â However, the single suffered from scant promotion – no video was shot and Cher only made dulsatory appearances on “Solid Gold” and a rapidly aging “American Bandstand” to market it.
Cher’s then-diminished standings in the pop world and the weak promo push resulted in a non-charting lead-off single, not a good sign for the I Paralyze album as a whole.Â While most of the world couldn’t hum a bar of the song, it remains a favorite of diva – she even mentions it in her VH1 “Behind the Music” episode as a song she loves and would like to re-record someday.
After a vacation summering in beautiful Silver Lake, California (aka, barhopping),Â John C. Hughes and the world's foremost Belinda Carlisle impersonator, a.k.a. his buddy Matty (or "Bearlinda," if you prefer), return to review some singles, No on Prop 8 style. This week your rainbeaux
Is there such a thing as a casual Trash Can (or Trashcan, if you prefer) Sinatras fan?
I ask that since every TCS fan I’ve met has been nearly obsessive in their love for the Scottish band, which has been making critically acclaimed, hook-filled jangly pop albums since the early ’90s.Â Unfortunately, sales have never quite matched that acclaim, but a small, devoted cult of fans has supported the group through the lean times, keeping candles burning during years-long gaps between albums and tours.
After getting some radio and MTV notice for their 1990 debut, Cake, the group took nearly four years to follow up with I’ve Seen Everything.Â While I adored Cake, I found …Everything hard going at first, giving it a few shots before giving up on it completely when the hooks didn’t jump out immediately enough for my pleasure.Â My mistake.Â While lead-off single “Hayfever” (download) was actually very catchy, I found it a bit of an anomaly compared to the denseness of the rest of the album.Â And the video got quite a few spins on MTV’s “120 Minutes,” eventually even being featured and mocked on “Beavis & Butthead.”
While I loved “Hayfever,” it wasn’t enough to get me into the rest of the album until a year or so later, when I put …Everything on and just let it play.Â Freed from expectation, the songs revealed previously hidden hooks and accessibility.Â Highlights include “Killing The Cabinet,” the title track, and my favorite, the acoustic-driven “I’m Immortal,” (download) filled with the fantastic wordplay (unintelligible as it sometimes is) the band is famous for:
Starting out as a trio called the Strutters, singer/songwriter Mark Kjeldsen along with rhythm section Bobby Irwin and Ron FranÃ§ois re-branded themselves as the Sinceros, trading in New Wave and melodic power pop.Â Epic Records took notice and signed the band in the late '70s,
Former Monkee Michael Nesmith closed out the ’70s in a better position than when the decade began.Â After the Monkees disbanded, Nez knocked around a bit on RCA Records, scoring a sole Top 40 hit with “Joanne” in 1970, then a few lower charting country-rock singles as the years wound on, until he parted ways with the label.Â It was probably the best move of his career, outside of auditioning for the Pre-fab Four.Â Free of a major label contract, Nez founded Pacific Arts, a multi-media company specializing in commercials, filmwork, music, and most prescient, music video.
One of Pacific Arts’ first projects was a music video show for the kids’ network Nickelodeon called “Pop Clips,” which was one of, if not the first all-music video program.Â The big bosses at Nickelodeon liked the show and concept so much, they used it as a template to create the world’s first all-video channel, MTV.Â Ah, those were the days…
Nesmith began filming videos for his songs in 1977 with a clip for “Rio,” a single that became a minor hit overseas.Â Two years later, he released Infinite Rider On The Big Dogma, a definite step away from the light, country-rock flavor for which he was best known.Â Infinite Rider had plenty of rock, a bit of soul, and even some near-rap infused funk, as evidenced on the single, “Cruisin’.” (download) probably better known as the “Lucy And Ramona” song.Â While “Cruisin'” failed to chart, it must have been somewhat of a regional hit, since I remember the local Top 40 station in Cleveland playing the hell out of it.Â It didn’t hurt that the video clip Nes created for the single got plenty of exposure on HBO, Showtime, and Cinemax, in those glorious days when the channels filled time between movies with music videos.
It’s an old pop joke that winning the Grammy for Best New Artist is pretty much the kiss of death for long-term success. See the Starland Vocal Band, Milli Vanilli, and today’s featured combo, Australia’s Men at Work. While not the massive flameout some other Best New Artist winners were, Men at Work had a sadly truncated shelf life that no one really saw coming.
Their first two albums were massive successes, filled with hits. You know ’em all: “Doctor Heckyll and Mister Jive,” “Be Good Johnny” … okay, I kid. “Who Can It Be Now” and “Down Under” were huge, along with “Overkill” and “It’s a Mistake.” Both albums, Business as Usual (1982) and Cargo (1983), came hot on the heels of each other; combined with the constant touring and promotional schedule for both, the band needed a much deserved break. Two years later, the group was reduced to a trio of singer Colin Hay, saxophonist Greg Ham, and guitarist Ron Strykert. By the time their third album, Two Hearts (1985), hit the streets, the group had been further reduced to a duo — Strykert left during production.
This pretty much made Men at Work “The Colin Hay Show,” and he seemed determined to take Men at Work in a more mature, less novelty-based direction. Gone were the quirky reggae hooks of songs like “It’s a Mistake” and in their place was straight-ahead adult pop-rock like the lead single, “Everything I Need” (download). The new direction wasn’t necessarily bad, just different, but it wouldn’t be unfair to say it wasn’t really Men at Work.
Scottish trio One Dove found themselves branded with the trip-hop label after releasing their debut Morning Dove White in 1993.Â It wasn’t a label undeserved, really, since the group’s expansive, five-minute plus opuses tended to obscure the catchy hooks underneath layers and layers of shuffled beats, foggy synths, and in the case of the original “Guitar Paradise Mix” of the album’s lead single, “White Love,” squealing electric guitar.
Where the “Guitar Paradise Mix” meanders for more than ten minutes, the Stephen Hague radio mix of “White Love” (download) gets right to the point, pushing the melody to the front, beefing up the dancier aspects of the song and putting vocalist Dot Allison in center stage.Â The tinkering resulted in a decent-sized modern rock radio hit for the band, a dance floor smash, and a video in regular rotation on MTV, no small feat for a dance act in the age of grunge:
Same deal with Morning Dove White‘s second single, “Breakdown” – the original “Cellophane Boat Mix” (download) was a much more dubby affair with a drowsy Allison vocal, while whiz kid Hague’s superior radio mix (download) strips the song down to its hooky essentials, energizing the vocals in the process.Â “Breakdown” also has some neat wordplay, as Allison laments a lost love to the moon:
I remember the night you left me
The moon was full, I felt empty
Tides and werewolves may be turned
But you don’t know how to cry
Here's an oldie but a goodie, in a whole new style: the classic video for a-ha's "Take On Me," redone literally. What does that mean, you ask? Watch and learn, friends. Watch and learn.
It may be the height of over-sharing to admit this, but Revenge of the Nerds was a movie that really spoke to me in high school.Â As a computer-loving, comic book-collecting, Dungeons & Dragons-playing sophomore, I certainly related to Lewis and Gilbert and their struggle and desire to fit in.Â Maybe I wasn’t as persecuted as they were, but I certainly felt a kinship for being teased for being smart and not athletic (not that I was any sort of genius, mind you).Â While the movie was meant to be another Animal House-style comedic romp, the background and weight given to the lead characters led to a few actually somewhat poignant moments.
But for all those thoughtful moments, Revenge of the Nerds was most certainly primarily a comedy, with plenty of classic, repeatable lines (“What the fuck are ‘robster craws?'”) and memorable scenes, such as the infamous panty raid as pretext for hiding cameras in a sorority (talk about predicting the future of the Internet early!).Â Also memorable was the movie’s soundtrack, a hodgepodge of minor New Wave also-rans and never-weres, like Gleaming Spires and Bone Symphony.
Gleaming Spires began life as a band called Bates Motel, gigging around Los Angeles in the early ’80s.Â It was there they were discovered by Ron and Russell Mael, and Bates Motel became the new backing band for Sparks, playing on Whomp That Sucker, Angst in My Pants and Sparks in Outer Space.Â During this period, with an okay from the Maels, the group began recording on their own again under the name Gleaming Spires, releasing a few albums and a novelty New Wave number called “Are You Ready for the Sex Girls,” (download) which got some airplay on KROQ.Â A year or so later, it also ended up being used in Nerds during the Lambda Lambda Lambda/Omega Mu bash.Â Gleaming Spires recorded one more album after their Nerds exposure, then faded away.
Remember when the Hustle swept through discos everywhere?Â People were taking Hustle classes, the nightly news reported on the fad, there were instructional records and books.Â Hey, remember when everyone did the bump to, say, “Lady Bump?”Â How about in 1977, when everyone was doing the latest dance, the “Crazy Thing,” to Jeff Lynne’s “Doin’ That Crazy Thing?”
No?Â Oh, sorry.
Creating a new dance craze was definitely on someone’s mind when Jeff Lynne took a short break from leading the Electric Light Orchestra to release this forgotten single.Â “Doin’ That Crazy Thing” (download) was released with the mugshot picture sleeve overseas, but here in the States the 12″ version can with a sleeve complete with step-by-step instructions on how to do the “Crazy Thing,” the new moves that were destined to sweep the nation.Â Except, like, they didn’t.Â The copy I found was sadly saddled with a generic Jet Records sleeve, damn it.
“Doin’ That Crazy Thing” was a strange detour for Lynne, a downtempo, straight-ahead disco tune slipped out under his own name rather than ELO’s, even though the group would flirt with and nearly fully embrace disco a short two years later.Â You don’t hear about the one-off solo single, it’s never been released on CD (to my knowlege) and along with its almost identical B-side, “Goin’ Down To Rio,” (download) it’s been written off in Lynne/ELO history.
Y’know, if you name your kid Herbert or Poindexter, you’re just setting that child up for a lifetime of teasing and ridicule.Â And if you name your band Kajagoogoo, well, you can expect a certain amount of critical derision.
That’s probably why after the success of the band’s first album, White Feathers, and Top 5 single, “Too Shy,” the group ditched both lead singer Limahl (the story goes Limahl was a Buddhist while the rest of the ‘goos were Christians) and the “googoo” suffix to release their second album, Extra Play, under the new name Kaja.Â Except we here in the States are the only ones that got that title and improved moniker – everywhere else in the world Extra Play was known as Islands, the cover art was completely different, and the band remained Kaja with the googoo still intact.
Another difference was the U.S. got a different first single and remix of said song.Â “Turn Your Back On Me” (download) kept with Kaja’s new mission as probably New Wave’s first overtly Christian act (unless you’d like to throw U2 in there), as the funky, bass-fueled number featured lyrics with a heavily allegorical Judas/Jesus theme – or maybe it was really supposed to be sung from Limahl’s point of view?Â No?Â Hrmm.
“Turn Your Back On Me” got a beefier mix for its Stateside release, as well as a different video than overseas, to no avail, since I never saw it on MTV, only once on Nickelodeon when they used to play music videos between programs.Â While bassist and new vocalist Nick Beggs probably had a better voice than Limahl, he was lacking the charisma of the exiled Buddhist, and it didn’t help that he resembled ’til tuesday’s Aimee Mann:
Note from John: My Phagz on 45 partner (not THAT way!) Matty has been on my jock non-stop, begging me to feature today’s artist on Lost in the ’90s since its inception.Â After nearly nine months of crying, hounding, and Abby Ewing-level blackmail, I finally told the bitch to put his money where his mouth is and write the damn thing himself if he wants to see it so badly.Â And the sucker fell for it!Â So, here’s Matty with today’s post…
Board games, candy, AWFUL boys, Nancy Drew books and girls who sing – these are a TON of my favorite things!
Melissa Farris and Margaret McCartney met while waiting tables at the Zig Zag cafÃ© in DC.Â The two had been playing guitar for about 3 and 6 months respectively when they recruited bassist Phil Satlof and drummer Jack Hornady to form their first band, (named in homage to Fonzie’s paramour, Leather Tuscadero).Â Says Melissa via e-mail, “We knew that between them they owned both a drum kit and a bass, and that was very important. Plus they were nice to us.”Â When asked if my foggy memories of their inception happening at a Halloween party in the fall of ’93 were accurate, she adds “I think the Halloween story might have been that we decided to form a band whilst liquored up at a Halloween party. Like everything we did in Tuscadero, the decision was made with an almost tactical precision.”Â This is so my kinda gal!Â I still won’t balance my checkbook without a fistful of candy corns and a Natty Lite!
Like the stuff Indie legends are made of, Mark Robinson of Teenbeat Records signed the band on the spot at their first gig.Â The whole story is like a Girl Band Geek FAIRYTALE – not unlike my recurring dreams of my fairy Godmother Kim Shattuck waving her Gretsch wand and changing my Converse Hi Top and pack of Parliaments into a Go-Go’s driven Coopers limousine to Ladyfest! – but for realsies!!!
What's up, every bizzle? It's Jizzle-ohn in the hizzouse with another Lost in the Izzle. Before you grab the flaming torches and pitchforks, let me just say that's my li'l way of introducing you to today's artist, hip-hop pioneer/legend Frankie Smith, co-author of the classic
We all know Charo for her ubiquitous variety show and Love Boat appearances throughout the ’70s, but did you know the former MarÃa del Rosario Pilar MartÃnez Molina Baeza Rasten was also an accomplished flamenco guitarist? Of course you did. A young Charo learned guitar from Andres Segovia, considered an icon of modern classical guitar music. After she moved to the States and married Spanish bandleader Xavier Cugat, Charo began forging her “cuchie, cuchie” persona with countless stints on The Tonight Show, The Mike Douglas Show, even the infamous Brady Bunch Variety Hour.
Throughout her years of campy shtick on TV, Charo never stopped recording, both classical-guitar works and more dance-oriented Latin-fusion disco with the Salsoul Orchestra. In fact, she scored three hits on the Hot Dance Club Play chart in the ’70s, starting with “Dance a Little Bit Closer,” which reached #18 in 1978. Later that year “Ole Ole” climbed to #36, while the second single from her Ole Ole album, “Stay With Me” (download), didn’t get quite so far. But “Stay With Me” is an excellent salsa/disco hybrid, with “let’s spend the night together”-type lyrics that were de rigueur in the disco era, and a more restrained vocal than you’d expect from the hyperactive Spaniard. While the track didn’t do much here, it was a big hit overseas, helping Ole Ole sell more than half a million copies worldwide.
Hardcore David Bowie fans are probably familiar with the name Ava Cherry, but for the benefit of everyone else, Ava was Bowie's lover in the early to mid '70s, as well as one of his backup singers in the Astronettes during the Diamond Dogs/Young Americans
Combining shoegaze and dreampop with straight-ahead power pop, Washington D.C. indie-rock darlings Unrest were the brainchild of Mark Robinson, founder of the TeenBeat label.Â After a few post-punk experimental years, Unrest tamed their sound a bit (with plenty of more unorthodox tracks here and there) and snagged a distribution deal with famed 4AD Records, which was itself distributed in the U.S. by Warner Brothers.Â This is a roundabout way of basically saying their 1993 album, Perfect Teeth, was the first to get a major label push which resulted in the band getting some MTV play on “120 Minutes.”
It was there that I first saw the video for “Cath Carroll.” (download) a swirling, manic pop confection that sounded like Catherine Wheel covering the Partridge Family.Â The song was an ode to the NME journalist and Factory Records artist, and a Robert Mapplethorpe portrait of Carroll was used for the cover of Perfect Teeth.
However, it was the second video taken from the album, “Make Out Club,” (download) that finally drove me to the record store.Â Brandishing a definite Pixies/Frank Black vibe, the single’s infectious dueling jangly guitars and stop/start structure made it irresistable.Â The trouble was finding a copy of the album to buy.
Anyone who’s ever worked at a record store that buys and sells used CDs can tell you what titles they see over and over again.Â Jagged Little Pill, Cracked Rear View, the entire Cranberries catalog … these are discs that clog the bins coast to coast, as music buyers buy, absorb, and ultimately get sick of these huge mega-hits.Â The second type of disc you see a lot is the one-hit wonder album – Vanilla Ice’s To The Extreme or today’s featured artist’s album, Chumbawamba’s Tubthumper.
A loose collective of musicians who had been making music in the U.K. since the early ’80s, Chumbawamba had a number of indie releases under their belt before signing to EMI in 1997.Â Tubthumper, their major label debut, was their 7th overall (or so, depending on whether you count live sets or offshoots), so calling them a one-hit wonder, while technically correct in the States, seems a little unfair.Â But that one hit, “Tubthumping,” was a doozy, blasting out of radios and MTV for what seemed like an hourly basis.Â The single went Top 10 and it brought the album along with it, eventually selling over three million copies.Â Trouble is, most people who bought it listened to the hit and had little time for the other eleven songs.
That’s a bit of a shame since at least one other song on the album isn’t bad at all.Â It just happens to be the second single “Amnesia,” (download) a charging, horn-accented driving song that should be used as the theme music to some sports highlight show somewhere.Â While American radio seemed to embrace the single, sending it fairly high up the airplay chart, singles buyers were nonplussed and the song failed to chart on the Hot 100.Â Perhaps it was Alice Nutter’s, um, uncertain vocal that kept it from being a hit.Â While a little Nutter went a long way as an accent on “Tubthumping,” perhaps a lotta Nutter was too much.Â Or maybe it was the tango break in the middle of the dance/rock hybrid that threw people off.
Let's get all the cute little jokes about the title of today's featured song out of the way first, shall we?Â I'll pause while you do so. G'head, get 'em all out. All done?Â Good.Â Moving on
Boy, we’d buy anything in the ’70s, wouldn’t we? Laverne & Shirley, the most successful spin-off from Happy Days, was riding high in 1976, overtaking its parent show to capture the number-one slot in the Nielsen ratings. It was time to cash in.
Lunch boxes, Mego “action figures” (don’t call them “dolls”!), Colorforms sets — you name it, the L&S logo was slapped on it. Then someone had a bright idea: since Laverne and Shirley were often shoehorned into painful musical numbers (remember the annual Shotz Brewery Talent Shows?), why not release an album of Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall singing their favorite ’50s and ’60s hits?
Because they can’t sing, that’s why not!
Logic has rarely stopped anyone from making a cash grab, so 1976 saw the release of Laverne & Shirley Sing, a charitable title at best. While Cindy Williams has a, um, passable singing voice, I think we all know how Penny Marshall handles a tune. Thankfully, her nasally whine was kept to a bare minimum on the album’s single, a remake of the Connie Stevens hit “Sixteen Reasons,” (download) where “Laverne” simply keeps a number count.
What’s amazing is the number of professional musicians who lent their expertise to the project. Melissa Manchester is credited with backing vocals, Kenny Loggins plays some percussion, and Elvis Presley arranger Jimmie Haskill did, well, the arrangements. In fact, Haskill gets name-checked along with Michael “Lenny” McKean in the one nonmusical skit on the album, “More From Our Yearbook,” (download) where the girls recite what fellow students wrote in their high school yearbooks.
Sadly, Laverne & Shirley Sing wasn’t nearly as funny as the first few years of their sitcom. It’s an artifact of a simpler time in the record industry, when novelty records were both a traffic driver and a gateway drug for young consumers into the world of music buying. Strangely enough, Collector’s Choice brought the album to CD for the first time in 2003, and more amazingly, it’s still in print (and on iTunes!).
Riding a rockabilly/Motown revival during the early ’80s that also included the Polecats, Roman Holliday and the Stray Cats, Britain’s JoBoxers (with American lead singer Dig Wayne) barely scraped the Top 40 in the States with “Just Got Lucky,” another one of those hits that got bigger as the years rolled on, being featured in plenty of movies, most notably The 40-Year-Old Virgin. But while “Just Got Lucky” is what the band is best known for here, it was actually their first single in the U.K., “Boxerbeat” (download), that was the bigger hit. And hey, how about that spoken word intro ripped off fresh from Madness’ “One Step Beyond?”
“Boxerbeat,” an infectious if goofy mission statement, hit #3 in the U.K., predating “Just Got Lucky’s” success. It was released here as the second single off the band’s debut, Like Gangbusters, complete with another Bowery Boys-inspired video. Unfortunately, MTV didn’t shine to “Boxerbeat” like they did with the group’s first single.
In the U.K., the success of the first two singles led to a third, the relatively nondescript “Johnny Friendly,” (download) which goes on about three minutes too long. More interesting is the album’s fourth single, the hopefully winking “She’s Got Sex.” (download) I say “hopefully,” because I want to believe the band was being somewhat cheeky with the junior high lyrics about a girl who’s gotta have it. The video leads me to believe the band was in on the joke:
So, who worries about the music their kids listen to? I don't have any kids myself, but when I was visiting my 13-year-old niece recently, she asked me to get her the new Ting Tings and Office CDs (very hip, that one). At first I
“DROP THAT GHETTO BLASTER!”
When NYC performance artist Karen Finley screamed those words on her obscure 1986 single “Tales of Taboo,” she probably never dreamed she’d end up on one of the biggest dance floor anthems of the ’80s. But DJ Mark Moore heard it and decided to include it in the number of samples he used to create S’Express’s huge 1988 club hit, “Theme From S’Express.” (download)
In fact, let’s run down those samples, shall we?
â€¢ You’ve got Finley’s declaration, as mentioned,
â€¢ “I’ve got the hots for you” comes from TZ’s “I Got The Hots For You” (surprise!)
â€¢ “Uno, dos, tres, quatro” is from Debbie Harry’s “Feel The Spin,”
â€¢ I believe that’s Holly Johnson’s laugh from the end of “Welcome To The Pleasuredome” at the end,
â€¢ and Rose Royce’s “Wishing On A Star” gets nicked from liberally.
Who knows what else is hiding in there? While M|A|R|R|S ran into considerable legal difficulty due to all the uncleared samples in 1987’s “Pump Up The Volume,” I never heard of any similar issues with “Theme From S’Express.” Perhaps the frenetic video caused legal departments seizures when it was screened during strategy meetings?
Naked Eyes, ABC, Belinda Carlisle, and the Human League are currently crisscrossing the country on the Regeneration Tour, an oldies-revival trek that thankfully isn’t entirely mired in nostalgia, since all the bands involved are performing more than just rote lists of hits. I caught the Regeneration Tour at the Gibson Amphitheater in Los Angeles a couple weeks ago, and I can say it’s definitely worth the time (three hours!) and money. Lost in the ’80s fans will appreciate the deep set lists that have liberal sprinklings of album cuts and even some new tracks.
For example, Naked Eyes not only played “Promises, Promises,” but also “Fortune and Fame.” ABC ran through a couple songs from their latest, Traffic. The Human League made my night by tearing through stellar renditions of “Seconds,” “The Lebanon,” and more songs I’d never dreamed of hearing live. The nicest surprise of the night, however, was Belinda, who, along with some predictable Go-Go’s numbers, had a sizable sense of humor about her standing as an Adult Contemporary solo artist. For example, before starting one tune, she winked to the audience, “You hear this next song these days in supermarkets and grocery stores everywhere.” Cue “Circle In The Sand.”
Another surprise was Carlisle beginning her set with the anthem “Live Your Life Be Free,” (download) the second single from her 1991 album of the same name. While a decent-sized hit overseas, “Live Your Life Be Free” was a complete and total stiff in the U.S., failing to chart. In fact, Belinda’s fourth album was a complete non-starter Stateside, the first single, “Do You Feel Like I Feel?” stalling out at a feeble #73, a sad showing for an artist whose first three albums featured several Top Ten hits.
A rockier than usual single in Carlisle’s solo career, “Live Your Live Be Free” probably didn’t deserve to flop so hard. Sure, Belinda does her usual Stevie Nicks-sitting-on-a-washer-during-the-spin-cycle vocal performance, but the chorus is soaring and sort of sounds like the type of thing Robbie Williams would record ten years later. However, it was hampered by a video that, while high-gloss and gorgeous, was a complete mismatch for the song.
We've talked before about songs we loved in our younger days that just don't quite hold up to an older ear's scrutiny. Unfortunately (or not, if you still love it), today we have another example to showcase. While Modern English's 1982 single "I