One day in 1986, my senior year in high school, I took a pair of my thrift-store combat boots to the back yard and spray painted them several different day-glo colors…all because of King.

King was the name of the UK-based New Wave/funk band fronted by Paul King, known for his rooster-like mane of black, spikey hear and high-water dress pants which showed off a pair of combat boots painted different colors. Between creating fashion statements, the group found time to record some catchy tunes, the most popular being “Love & Pride”, a dub-heavy workout with the fakest synth horns ever. The Body & Soul Remix was even dubbier, coming off like a reggae LP played at 45 RPM. I caught the video on MTV one afternoon and immediately ran to the hardware store for some spray paint:

Taking my lead, my good friend and fellow musical outcast Mike spray painted his boots…then his girlfriend did hers…then her friend…

King’s second single, “Won’t You Hold My Hand Now” was more straightforward dance rock, with a nice groove to go along with Paul King’s vocal histrionics. It didn’t make a dent in America. The “Heavy Times Mix” didn’t help matters much, turning the song into a lesson in endurance.

The Steps In Time album is out of print now, but goes for about $90 on Amazon – file this one under “who knew?” alongside my re-flex CD.

Oh yeah, two short years later, I traded my painted combat boots for real ones as I entered Army Basic Training. What a way to get a new pair of boots.

“Love & Pride” peaked at #55 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart in 1985.
“Won’t You Hold My Hand Now” failed to chart.

Get King music at Amazon.