Well, it’s finally here. Today (November 8, 2016), my Country, the United States of America, will elect one of the two most unpopular Presidential candidates in recent memory (or all-time). I’ll come onto that in a bit.
On this historic Election Day in the US of A, today’s “song of the day” (a choice that will prolly surprise no one) is actually by a band from the U.K. – “Election Day” by Arcadia.
31 years after the fact, almost everyone and their mother knows that, in 1985, when Duran Duran went on a hiatus, two side projects were formed: the “supergroup” known as The Power Station – Robert Palmer, Chic’s Tony Thompson on drums, and Duran’s John Taylor and Andy Taylor – and Arcadia, comprised of the other three members of Duran Duran – Simon LeBon, Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor.
Both acts were successful but short-lived, and by the time Arcadia’s first single, “Election Day,” was released, The Power Station had already scored a couple of U.S. Top 10 hits and a third Top 40 hit.
True to its name, “Election Day” was released in October 1985, just weeks before Election Day, and about a month in advance of its parent album, SO RED THE ROSE. A couple of Saturdays before a pretty tame Election Day here in America (compared to the Presidential election of 1984, where Ronald Reagan was re-elected in a landslide and almost unanimous victory), the song “Election Day” was the highest-debuting song on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 that week, coming in at No. 46.
AllMusic reviewer Kelvin Hayes referred to “Election Day” (also the opening song on SO RED THE ROSE) as a “darkly romantic irking toward erotic and has brass stabs not dissimilar from their Bond [No. 1 hit from earlier that year] ‘[A] View to a Kill’.” There’s another connection between “Election Day” and the A VIEW TO A KILL film – Grace Jones appeared in the film AND sang backing vocals on “Election Day” (and served as the song’s narrator).
There was one verse that was dropped from the version which ended up being released, and more than 30 years later, it’s eerie how this verse could pertain to this year’s U.S. Presidential election:
“Don’t even try to induce, In all my restrain there’s no hesitation / All the signs on the loose ’cause sanity’s rare this end of the hard day / Shadows are crawling out of the subway / Any way that you choose in every direction just to confuse me…”
By the end of November 1985, “Election Day” garnered enough votes to reach the Top 10 in just six weeks, but with some pretty heavy contenders ahead of it (three of which would rank in the U.S. Top 10 for all of 1986), “Election Day” stopped at No. 6, spending a couple weeks there just before Christmas 1985.
Around the globe, “Election Day” reached the Top 10 in (at least) the U.K., Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and Norway, and No. 12 in Holland.
Arcadia had one more Top 40 hit on the Hot 100 (“Goodbye Is Forever”) and one other MTV hit (“The Flame,” which was a Top 40 hit in Holland and Ireland), and SO RED THE ROSE would be the only album Arcadia would release. Simon LeBon, Nick Rhodes and John Taylor reunited for Duran Duran in 1986 and had a huge hit with the title track of their Nile Rodgers-produced album, NOTORIOUS.
As of this writing, Election Day 2016 is underway here in Maine and many parts of America. If you are kind enough to be reading this blog post and you live in America, I’m not going to tell you how to vote, but PLEASE VOTE if you’re able. I realize the two main candidates for this Presidential election each have their own baggage and wouldn’t have been my first choices, but whoever you choose, please choose with your heart and with your conscience.
At this point, the best we can do is pray that whoever gets elected will move forward from this election BS and be good for the Country I have loved for a half-century. If you’re voting, be safe out there and may the Force be with us all…