The history of the Berkeley, California New Wave / Alt-Rock band, The Motels, goes back to 1971. The history of my association with The Motels began in 1982 when I heard the opening chords to “Only The Lonely” (no relation to the 1960 Roy Orbison song of the same name).
The Motels had released 3 albums before their 1982 album ALL FOUR ONE was the one that really put them on the music map. Don’t tell that to Australia, though – they were on to The Motels from their 1979 self-titled debut. In the land Down Under, The Motels’ first 2 albums were certified gold, and 1979’s “Total Control,” which nearly became The Motels’ first charting American single, was a No. 4 hit in Australia, and covered by Tina Turner in 1985 on the WE ARE THE WORLD charity album.
“Only The Lonely” entered the BILLBOARD Hot 100 way down at No. 90 the last week of April 1982. Just about 3 months later, it found itself taking up residence at No. 9 for a month, and was ranked at No. 29 for all of 1982. The stirring vocals of Martha Davis no doubt helped propel the song, not to mention the memorable guitar and sax work; all reasons that attracted me to the song, and to the band.
Martha Davis and The Motels would go on to have 7 more Hot 100 hits, including 3 more Top 40 hits (1983’s “Suddenly Last Summer” and “Remember The Nights,” and 1985’s “Shame”). They are still together and making music, and have released 2 albums since 2008. Though I enjoyed the music of The Motels, I was never what you would call a big fan, but it was “Only The Lonely” that got me interested in the band, and it was “Only The Lonely” that found its way to my humongous dome today, and I wanted to share.
“It’s like I told you / Only The Lonely Can Play…” (it can play if you click on the link below, that is…)