Played John Lennon from 1978 to 1980 in productions of BEATLEMANIA on both sides of the United States. Appeared with his band in the 1986 Francis Ford Coppola film, PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED. Played Buddy Holly in 1987 film, LA BAMBA. Golden Globe and Grammy nominee. Songs covered by the likes of Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs, Ronnie Spector and Bette Midler. 10 studio albums, seven EPs, six live albums, six compilations. 1982 self-titled debut album at No. 72 of ROLLING STONE’s 100 Best Albums Of The 80s.
When talking about Detroit native Marshall Crenshaw, with all these accomplishments, it’s hard to think of him as a (real) one-hit wonder of the 80s on the BILLBOARD Hot 100, despite the fact that it’s actually true.
After the success of 1982’s MARSHALL CRENSHAW album and “Someday, Someway” single, for his second album, the multi-talented singer / songwriter / musician recruited über-producer Steve Lillywhite (U2, Big Country, The Psychedelic Furs, Peter Gabriel, Joan Armatrading) to produce his second album, FIELD DAY.
Originally, fans weren’t happy with the noticeably sharper-produced album, but ultimately critics heralded FIELD DAY (Robert Christgau gave the album an A+), and fans followed. Though the album didn’t fare as well as his self-titled debut, Marshall Crenshaw avoided the dreaded “sophomore slump” of second albums, and more importantly, he found his feet. Compared to the Power Pop style of the late, great Alex Chilton, Marshall Crenshaw once admitted, “Some of the stuff I’ve done you could call power pop, but the term does have sort of a dodgy connotation.”
The first single released from FIELD DAY, “Whenever You’re On My Mind,” is, dodgy or not, just over three minutes of pure Power Pop perfection. Though it was a hit on MTV and reached No. 23 on BILLBOARD’s Rock Tracks Chart, it just missed reaching the BILLBOARD Hot 100, stopping at No. 103.
For many years, all I knew of Marshall Crenshaw was his film work and the gorgeous “Someday, Someway.”But, a few years back, I found one of his collections and discovered how incredible and brilliant and underappreciated he is, and how this guy should have had a ton of big hits!I honestly don’t know anyone who doesn’t like (or even more accurately, love) Marshall or songs such as “Someday, Someway,” “You’re My Perfect Waste Of Time” or “Whenever You’re On My Mind.”
If you take anything away from this post, I hope it’s this: whenever someone like Marshall Crenshaw’s on your mind, keep listening long after “Someday, Someway,” because even if they technically are a (real) one-hit wonder, it doesn’t make it right, it doesn’t mean you have to believe it, and you can rejoice in finding such a music treasure.
Some (real) American one-hit wonders are exactly what they are labeled and known for. But others, like World Party, Timbuk 3, The Church, Tom Tom Club, Romeo Void, The Vapors, Bronski Beat, Split Enz and Marshall Crenshaw, absolutely deserve your attention to listen further and go past that one “hit.”
“I never thought I’d be in this situation / It seems wherever I go I’m with you / And though I never seem to find my place / At every turn I see your face / Whenever I think about you / It seems to be a reverie, you’re here with me / ’cause whenever you’re on my mind / Whenever you’re on my mind / I leave the world behind / Whenever you’re on my mind…”