Sometimes my inspiration for the “song of the day” comes from my ginormous head, sometimes it’s because of something I read, or sometimes it’s just as simple as hearing a song on the ol’ iPod. The latter brought me today’s “song of the day,” a forgotten gem (though not by me) from The Fixx: “Less Cities, More Moving People.”
“Less Cities, More Moving People” was the third single from the London band’s third album, 1984’s PHANTOMS, which gave The Fixx their second-biggest hit, “Are We Ourselves?” “Less Cities” was not a hit anywhere except maybe Germany, and since at the time, I was primarily listening to Top 40 music, I’m betting I heard it on The Artist Formerly Known as WTOS.
For those who know WTOS know it now for its hard rock, but back in the 80s, ‘TOS (with radio heroes such as Duane Bruce and Annie Earhardt; based out of Skowhegan, Maine, about 20 minutes from where I’m writing this in Winslow, in Central Maine) was unlike any other station I had heard. WTOS took chances, played 12” remixes, deep album cuts, introduced me to some alternative music, and I think that’s where I got my Dr. Demento fix every late Sunday night. No doubt did I find my love for “Less Cities” there, along with many other songs I would never have heard on the Top 40 stations of the day.
A couple of years later, in 1987, WTOS unceremoniously switched formats, much to the hurt and dismay of many listeners looking for that swell alternative music, yours truly included. The outcry was so big, a funeral for the old WTOS was held through the streets of downtown Skow-town. One of my oldest and best friends, Michael, then in his late teens, was a pallbearer. The closest thing to love like that for a radio station I have ever seen is with the station I’ve been involved with for 20 years now – the wonderful WMPG in Portland.
With a subject matter still relevant 32 years later, the tone of “Less Cities” was a bit of a cool, dark departure for The Fixx than songs like “One Thing Leads To Another,” and I still really dig it to this day. Can’t understand why it didn’t make any friends at radio. It always has a place on my show, STUCK IN THE 80s…
Fixx singer Cy Curnin once said this about what the song meant:
“It was this sort of nomadic gypsy sense that we had and the way we sit on our couches and wait for the news to come to us instead of going out to find out what’s really happening. That’s my anti-soundbite song. Cities that were based on deltas and riches were one thing, but cities that were built on misinformation and supply chains are short lived. So that’s what I was saying.”