song of the day – “You Make Me Feel So Good” | BOOK OF LOVE | 1986.

fall-2016-beg-poster

One of the first things I learned about WMPG community radio in Portland, Maine when I started my little 80s radio program, STUCK IN THE 80s, there in 1996 was the Begathon.  WMPG gets approximately 1/3 of its funding from the University of Southern Maine, approximately 1/3 from underwriting, and approximately 1/3 from listener donations.  A large chunk of the latter comes from the Begathon.  What started out as a 2-week pledge drive in which volunteer radio hosts would “beg” to raise money for the station is now split up into two 1-week pledge drives, one in the Spring and one in the Fall.  It’s come a long way since my first Begathon in the Fall of 1996.  My very last Begathon for WMPG will be today, Sunday, 9.25.2016.

book of love

The New York (and later Philadelphia) Synthpop band Book Of Love has been a favorite on STUCK IN THE 80s since the show’s 1996 inception, ten years after the release of their self-titled debut album, and I couldn’t imagine my last Begathon show on WMPG without them. 

book of love LP

The third single released from that album was “You Make Me Feel So Good,” written by vocalist Susan Ottaviano and keyboardist and them some, Ted Ottaviano (interestingly enough, despite their last names, they are not related).

“You Make Me Feel So Good” wasn’t a hit anywhere, though it did reach No. 23 on BILLBOARD’s Dance Sales chart.  It was always a hit with me, and I appreciated that Ted Ottaviano played the melodica (otherwise known as a “hooter,” the namesake of their fellow Philadelphians, The Hooters) on this song.

you-make-me-feel-so-goodI could easily dedicate their own song to Book of Love, because their music has always made me feel so good, but today (as I will during the show tonight) will dedicate this song to my listeners, my fans, my friends and family, people who have called up or e-mailed requests week after week, or don’t feel they have to call but tune in faithfully, and to everyone who has pledged money during STUCK IN THE 80s over the past 20 years to help keep WMPG community radio going, as well my fellow MPGers (some of them donors as well), and my two amazing regular guest hosts and dear friends, Hope and Shawn.  I’m forever grateful and I thank and love you all.  YOU make me feel so good!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TgX7k5bId0

book-of-love

Advertisements

song of the day – “Money Changes Everything” | CYNDI LAUPER | 1985.

One of the first things I learned about WMPG community radio in Portland, Maine when I started my little 80s radio program, STUCK IN THE 80s, there in 1996 was the Begathon.  WMPG gets approximately 1/3 of its funding from the University of Southern Maine, approximately 1/3 from underwriting, and approximately 1/3 from listener donations.  A large chunk of the latter comes from the Begathon.  What started out as a 2-week pledge drive in which volunteer radio hosts would “beg” to raise money for the station is now split up into two 1-week pledge drives, one in the Spring and one in the Fall.  It’s come a long way since my first Begathon in the Fall of 1996.  My very last Begathon for WMPG will be on Sunday, 9.25.2016.

fall-2016-beg-poster

An artist I love to play any time of the year, Cyndi Lauper, is responsible for a  song I love to play any time of the year – especially during Begathon – her 1985 hit, “Money Changes Everything” (from her amazing 1983 debut album, SHE’S SO UNUSUAL).

shes-so-unusual

1022233465“Money Changes Everything” was actually a cover of a song first recorded in 1978 by the Atlanta, GA Rock band, The Brains, written by vocalist and keyboardist Tom Gray.  Their version led them to a contract with Mercury Records, and they re-recorded “Money Changes Everything” for their 1980 self-titled debut album, produced by the legendary Steve Lillywhite, who also produced albums that year for The Psychedelic Furs (their self-titled debut) and Peter Gabriel (his third self-titled album, also known as MELT, and featuring “Games Without Frontiers” and “Biko.”

SHE’S SO UNUSUAL contained a near-even mix of originals, like “Time After Time” and “She Bop,” and cover songs, including “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” (originally by Robert Hazard), “All Through The Night” (Jules Shear), “When You Were Mine” (a fantastic cover of the Prince original), and “Money Changes Everything.”

money-alt-cover

Released in late 1984 as the fifth single from SHE’S SO UNUSUAL, “Money Changes Everything” debuted on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 three days before Xmas 1984, the same week Cyndi’s fourth Top 5 single from SHE’S SO UNUSUAL,  “All Through The Night” dropped out of the Top 10 (Cyndi was the first female recording artist to have four Top 5 singles from one album, and a debut album at that).

“Money Changes Everything,” which features a solo from friend and “Time After Time” co-writer, Rob Hyman of The Hooters on the Hohner Melodica (otherwise known as a “hooter”), reached the Top 40 of the Hot 100 in just four weeks, but stalled for a week at No. 27 in February 1985, and though it didn’t reach the Top 10, “Money Changes Everything” did help keep Cyndi in the Top 40 every week for 13 consecutive months, ever since “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” debuted in the Top 40 in late January 1984.

Around the globe, “Money Changes Everything” reached No. 14 in New Zealand, No. 19 in Australia and No. 40 in Canada.  It was a big hit in South America, reaching No. 3 in Colombia and No. 10 in Chile.money-live

The official video for “Money Changes Everything” (a link to the video is below) was a live performance piece, where she sported a haircut not many folks could pull off (but she did), she was getting love much love from the audience, and when she wasn’t dancing all over the stage, she was kicking and beating the shit out of this metal garbage can.  She eventually she climbed into another garbage can on the stage, and she (and the garbage can) were elevated over the audience.  When I saw Cyndi perform in Boston in May 2016 with my dear and talented friend, Hope, it was also nice to see Cyndi still showing love for the song (and the audience too), and it was the last song she performed before her first encore.

live-money

“Money Changes Everything” is actually about money and how it interferes with personal relationships.  While that’s certainly true in real life, I’ve never looked at the song that way, especially at Begathon time.  For a small community radio station like WMPG that, for one week twice a year, asks listeners for help to keep the station running 24/7/365, money from listeners DOES change everything…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pp4suZ4jNXg

cyndi-1984-large

song of the day – “The Feeling Begins” (from THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST) | PETER GABRIEL | 1989.

Peter Gabriel is famous for taking his time in releasing studio albums – six years between SO and 1992’s US, 10 years between US and 2002’s UP, and eight years between UP and 2010’s covers concept album, SCRATCH MY BACK.  But every one of these albums was more than worth the wait, all exceptional in their own way.

a conspiracy of hopeBut, just because there was a gap between these albums doesn’t mean Peter Gabriel wasn’t busy.  For example, inbetween SO and US, Peter started his long association with Amnesty International and participated in all 28 of Amnesty’s Human Rights Concerts (a series of concerts that ran between 1986 and 1998), and of which also included the likes of U2, Sting, Bruce Springsteen, The Hooters, Joan Armatrading, Tracy Chapman and  Sinéad O’Connor.  Peter would perform at six Amnesty concert events in 1986 and another 20 in 1988, as well as the Secret Policeman’s Ball benefit shows.

In addition to his work with Amnesty International, Peter Gabriel did actually release a brilliant film score between SO and US, for the 1988 Martin Scorsese film, THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST…but unlike most film soundtrack or scores, he didn’t release it right away.the last temptation of christ

Of the delay in releasing the film score, Peter Gabriel said, “After we finished mixing the film, there were some unfinished ideas that needed developing, and I took some extra time to complete this record.  There are several places the were not able to be included and I felt the record should be able to stand as a separate body of work.  I chose the working title for the film – PASSION.”

On this album, you’ll find music represented from many parts of the world, and musicians to match, hailing from the likes of Turkey, India (L. Shankar, Manny Elias), Egypt (Hossam Ramzy), Morocco, Senegal (Youssou N’Dour, Baaba Maal), Pakistan (Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan) and many more.  Several of these artists would appear on Peter Gabriel’s next album, 1992’s US, and later on their own compilation released by Peter’s label, Real World Records, the 1993 companion album, PLUS FROM US.

PASSION (Music From THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST) was released as a 2-album set (and on one CD and cassette) on June 5, 1989, nearly 10 months after the release of the film itself.  PASSION was well-received everywhere, being certified Gold here in the U.S., as well as receiving a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Score – Motion Picture and winning a Grammy Award in 1990 for Best New Age Album, Peter’s first Grammy Award.  It has been long-regarded as a landmark album for the popularity of the World music genre.

passion

I have long-regarded this album as one of the most moving and beautiful bodies of music I have ever heard, and my passion for PASSION will stay with me forever.  If you are moved by today’s “song of the day,” “The Feeling Begins” (which is the album opener for PASSION) as much as I was the first time I heard it, I encourage you to continue that feeling and listen to the entire album. The PASSION will stay with you too…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTAaKAVpOOM

peter gabriel 1989

song of the day – “Need You Tonight” | INXS | 1987.

I was already a big fan of the Melbourne, Australia Rock band INXS long before their sixth studio album, KICK, was released in October 1987.  The album was only out a couple of weeks and change when I saw INXS perform at Colby College’s Wadsworth Gym (in Waterville, Maine) on November 7, 1987.  Leadoff single “Need You Tonight” hadn’t even reached the Top 40 of the BILLBOARD Hot 100 yet… but that would soon change after I saw this show; EVERYTHING for INXS would change forever after I saw them perform just this one time…

KICK full cover

The full gatefold cover for KICK…

Unlike concerts now, you could go to a college show like this, wait in line, and rush to the be in front of the stage, which is exactly what I had done.  I saw some folks I met a month before when The Hooters performed there.  On that early November night, were all in the front row waiting for a show to remember.

I’ve seen a great deal of performers in my time, and it was truly amazing to watch Michael Hutchence onstage that night.  The whole band was sensational, but Michael was so charismatic, so confident.  The Colby stop for INXS was among the last Stateside visits for INXS in 1987, and when they returned to the U.S. in late February 1988, “Need You Tonight” had already reached No. 1 on the BILLBOARD Hot 100, and the band performed three dates at Radio City Music Hall in NYC in mid-March with “Devil Inside” inside the Top 20.  By the time the KICK tour ended in November 1988, INXS had gone from playing colleges like Colby to sports arenas and then some.

Back to that Colby show, “Need You Tonight” and KICK weren’t quite hits just yet, but the momentum was there.  You could tell the band was going to explode into something huge, something they prolly hadn’t expected.  For years, apart from the Top 10 success they had with “What You Need” in 1986, INXS primarily played colleges and smaller venues.  Several of my friends have mentioned attending a concert INXS did in Portland, Maine (at the Exposition Building) with The Go-Go’s back in the early 80s.  Lucky bastards.

michael hutchence 1987

Michael Hutchence, 1987.

Between the growing popularity of INXS, the onstage charisma of Michael Hutchence, and the small venue at Colby College, a kick-ass front row view turned into chaos quick.  Everyone wanted to be near Michael and the band, and started migrating towards the front, even though there was no room to be had.  The concert had to be stopped, and one of the kind people I met at The Hooters show a month before had to be carried off the stage because she was getting crushed against the security barrier.  Michael Hutchence himself even told people to move back before anyone else gets hurt.  And, once I left the front row for a spot on the side bleachers (about halfway back in the gym), I started enjoying the show again.

The INXS show was on a Saturday night, and at the time, I was the new DJ at a local chem-free nightclub called Studio 2.  The club was open for chem-free dancing (mainly high school kids) from 8:00pm until midnight every Saturday (and some Wednesdays during the Summer).  I had been DJing there for prolly 5 months.  If I recall, it was my first night off (so I could see the concert).  After the INXS show, I went back to check on things at Studio 2 and to say HI to a girl I was interested in (it wasn’t reciprocated in the end).  I drove back to Colby to see if I could still meet the band, but I was too late.  So, I missed my one chance to meet Michael Hutchence and INXS that night…over a girl.  

I’ll never forget that INXS show, and how the band catapulted from colleges to stadiums within a year, and how I was so glad to be a witness to the early part of that.  Honestly, as much as I love KICK, it’s not my favorite album by INXS – that distinction goes to 1982’s SHABOOH SHOOBAH, the album that introduced the band to the U.S. (including yours truly), and other parts of the globe outside of Australia and New Zealand.

INXS Need You Tonight

“Need You Tonight” spent a week at No. 1 on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 in late January 1988, a fitting start to a huge year for INXS.  “Need You Tonight” spent nearly half a year on the Hot 100, and was ranked at No. 2 for all of 1988 here in America, ranked just behind George Michael’s “Faith.”  It also charted on several of BILLBOARD’s other charts, reaching No. 7 on the Dance chart, No. 12 on the Rock chart and even No. 73 on the R&B chart.  Pretty impressive.

Around the globe, “Need You Tonight” was a massive hit and was apparently needed almost everywhere, reaching the Top 10 in the U.K., Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand and South Africa.  The video for “Need You Tonight” / “Mediate” also picked up five (of nine) MTV Video Music Awards in 1988, for Best Group Video, Breakthrough Video, Best Editing In A Video, Viewer’s Choice and Video Of The Year.

need you tonight video

Clips from the “Need You Tonight” video.

KICK went on to sell more than six million copies in the U.S. alone, and remains the band’s biggest album overall worldwide.  The other three singles released from KICK here in America all reached the Top 10 of the Hot 100: “Devil Inside” (No. 2, April 1988), “New Sensation” (No. 3, July 1988) and the gorgeous “Never Tear Us Apart” (No. 7, November 1988).

Ten years and 15 days after the memorable performance by INXS at Colby College, Michael Hutchence sadly took his own life at the far-too-young age of 37.  This year, we’ve lost some music heroes and heavy-hitters, including David Bowie, Prince, Glenn Frey of The Eagles, Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire, Country legend Merle Haggard, and Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead at the end of 2015. 

The death of Michael Hutchence was the first music death that really hit me hard, especially since I thought ELEGANTLY WASTED (released in April 1997) was the band’s best album since KICK.  It would have been cool to see the direction they were going.  But, it was not to be. 

rockstar inxs

From ROCK STAR: INXS, 2005 (from left, guitarist Tim Farriss, drummer Jon Farriss, lead singer and ROCK STAR: INXS winner J.D. Fortune, keyboardist (and then some) and chief songwriter Andrew Farriss, rhythm guitarist and saxophonist Kirk Pengilly, and bassist Garry Gary Beers).

I applauded the band for wanting to move forward, even without their brother Michael.  They did a worldwide reality TV show (ROCK STAR: INXS) to find a new lead singer (Canadian J.D. Fortune got the call), released an album because of it (2005’s SWITCH), and picked up their biggest hit since 1992 (“Pretty Vegas,” No. 37 Hot 100, No. 1 Canada).  INXS released a remix album in late 2010 before calling it quits in November 2012 after 35 years.

“Need You Tonight” has been oft-mentioned as being the “sexiest song of the 80s.”  It’s a fair statement.  I don’t, however, believe that was my reasoning for choosing the song as my debut attempt at karaoke with my dear friend Michelle in Portland a week ago, but I’m glad I chose it.  I was even nerding out and wearing my INXS “Need You Tonight” 12” single T-shirt while singing the song.  It’s what I do.  And, I didn’t think my performance was all that bad.  I got some applause, my friend (and karaoke-er extraordinaire) Michelle enjoyed it, and I’ll prolly do karaoke again because of the experience. 

INXS need you tonight x2 2.28.16

That’s me nerding out in the WMPG studio under the bright lights, 2.28.2016, with my matching import “Need You Tonight” single and T-shirt.

Though Michael’s been gone 19 years this year, and it’s been six years since they parted ways, INXS has long been my favorite band.  And, even though I got to see them just the one time, it was a part of music history – and my music history – that I’ll never forget.  For Michael Hutchence, Andrew Farriss, Jon Farriss, Tim Farriss, Kirk Pengilly, Garry Gary Beers (and J.D. Fortune too), I thank you, and I will need you and your music to stay with me forever, but for now, I’ll take tonight…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F93ywiGMDnQ

INXS 1987

nothing compares 2 U.

niagara falls

Niagara Falls lit up in purple, in honor of Prince…

It’s been 5 hours and 6 whole days… since I heard the news that shocked and saddened the entire planet – Prince was gone.

I was at work in Central Maine on the afternoon of Thursday, April 21, 2016, and a couple of hours away from heading 2 the Portland, Maine area 2 see Colin Hay perform.  A co-worker walked over 2 my cubie and said, “Prince died.”  I said, “That’s not funny.”  He wasn’t kidding.  And, a minute later, I confirmed it on the Interweb.  I felt bad 4 not believing him, but then again, I’m still in a bit of denial about the whole thing, even though I know he’s really gone.

After the New Year, I had reset my 5th Generation iPod (the last one with the wheel), and since then, I had only put a handful of Prince songs back on there, and that’s all I had with me the day he died. 

colin hay 4.21.16

Colin Hay, live at the Westbrook (Maine) Performing Arts Center, 4.21.2016.

That afternoon, on my hour-plus drive 2 see Colin Hay at the Westbrook (Maine) Performing Arts Center just outside of Portland, I was going up and down the radio dial 2 see if any radio stations were playing Prince.  I heard “Raspberry Beret” twice, “When Doves Cry” a few times, and “Let’s Go Crazy” too.  The afternoon DJ at the “younger” station of the 2 Classic Rock stations in Portland talked about how the Portland NBC station had been there 2 talk about Prince, but did he play a Prince song after that?  No!  He went into a Boston song.  Really?  They try coming across as hip when they’re anything but…  Effing commercial radio.  As 4 the “older” of the 2 Classic Rock stations in Portland – I didn’t hear any Prince at all. 

eiffel tower

The Eiffel Tower in Paris, lit up for Prince, 4.21.2016.

I even scanned the AM band 4 a bit, and came across this AM talk station (not sure where it’s out of), but they were talking about Prince, and how he wasn’t Little Richard or this person or that person.  C’mon!  You can’t compare Prince 2 anybody, especially on the day he died.  Show some respect already!  Nothing compares 2 Prince.  Yet one more reason I don’t listen 2 talk radio.  Effing blowhards.  Did Prince have the most No. 1 songs or the most singles ever?  No.  What he did have was a sensational gift 4 music, and he shared that music, and is prolly the only one who could have gotten away with writing about love, sex and God – all in the same song.  And there were many of those songs…

Colin Hay put on another amazing show hour after learning Prince died, and even did a little bit of “Little Red Corvette” for Prince, and for those in attendance.  He said it was a “weird day,” and it was, and it still is, but seeing Colin perform that night helped get me through the day…

princePrince’s first album, FOR YOU, was released in April 1978, but I didn’t learn about Prince until the next year, the year I started getting into music – 1979 (my first blog post is about that very subject).  From his self-titled second album, “I Wanna Be Your Lover” debuted on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 the week of Thanksgiving 1979. 

I know I’ve said this before, but one of the things I loved most about listening 2 Casey Kasem and AMERICAN TOP 40 was the music trivia.  I’ve even incorporated it into my STUCK IN THE 80s radio shows on WMPG-FM and WMPG.org.  One of the first things I learned about “I Wanna Be Your Lover” is that Prince was just 21 when he released that song, and did everything on that song (and the PRINCE album too) – everything was written, arranged, composed, produced and performed by Prince.  I didn’t know of anyone else who did that.  And he was just 21 and recorded the album in 2 weeks!  Damn.

Well, it impressed me enough 2 buy the single (and later, the album too), and “I Wanna Be Your Lover” stopped at a respectable No. 11 for 2 weeks in January / February 1980 (and spent 2 weeks at No. 1 on BILLBOARD’s R&B chart).

cyndi when u were mine japanSince I was listening 2 (mostly) Top 40 radio in the early 80s, Prince’s next 2 albums, DIRTY MIND and CONTROVERSY, weren’t even on my radar until several years later.  In fact, it was Cyndi Lauper’s 1983 album, SHE’S SO UNUSUAL, that introduced me 2 Prince’s song, “When You Were Mine” (originally from his 1980 album, DIRTY MIND).  I would see Cyndi perform that song as part of the 30th Anniversary tour for SHE’S SO UNUSUAL back in October 2013.  It was a dream come true.  I am seeing Cyndi perform songs from her first Country album, DETOUR, in May 2016.  I am hoping she’ll play “When You Were Mine” in honor of Prince.

1999 albumPrince’s music returned 2 my life with the 1982 album, 1999.  The video 4 the first single, “Little Red Corvette,” was a groundbreaking video, as it was one of the first videos on MTV 2 feature an black recording artist (along with Michael Jackson).  I have 2 confess, when “Little Red Corvette” was climbing the charts (to a No. 6 peak on the Hot 100, his first Top 10 hit), I was not a big fan of the song.  It was okay, but I wasn’t digging it as much as I would later in life.  But I did buy the 2-album set (I think it was the first 2-album, non-hits collection set I ever knew about, and thought it was cool that someone was releasing a double album just 4 the sake of releasing a double album). 

chevy prince tribute

A very classy tribute from Chevrolet in honor of Prince, quoting a line from “Little Red Corvette…”

The single 4 the Cold War Classic “1999” might have been the reason I purchased  1999 the album.  Loved loved loved that song.  Took me years 2 learn what it was really about; not the kind of party song I took it for in my youth.  “1999” was actually the leadoff single 4 the album, but it stopped at No. 44 on the Hot 100 for a quick couple of weeks at the end of 1982.

1999 singleWith “Little Red Corvette” still in the Top 10 in early June 1983, “1999” re-entered the Hot 100 at No. 70, and 2 weeks later, quickly landed in the Top 40.  “1999” was on its way 2 the Top 10, when it got held up at No. 12 for 2 weeks in late July 1983.  But that’s not the end of the story for “1999.”

In late 1998, just before the year the song is named for, “1999” was re-issued a third time, and it even landed at No. 40 on the Hot 100 for one week.  I was in Washington, D.C. 4 New Year’s 1999, and it was amazing 2 hear that the song and the album, 1999, were all sold out everywhere. 

For New Year’s Eve, I was at a big venue 4 a big D.C. New Year’s party, and when they played “1999” as the song turned into the actual year, I admit I was caught up in it.  It’s funny, though, because “1999” the song is not about 1999 at all.  It’s about the Cold War (very much happening in 1982), and was about Prince expressing himself and his fears of of nuclear war.  So, “1999” the song was actually about 1999 turning into the year 2000, and 2 enjoy it, because by 2000, we most likely wouldn’t be around (“Party over, oops, out of time…”).

delirious1999’s third (proper) single was the short but fun “Delirious,” which spent a month at No. 8 in October / November 1983.  1999 was the album that made Prince a star.  But it was his next album that would turn him into a superstar…

1984’s PURPLE RAIN was a massive album, not just 4 that year, but 4 any year.  PURPLE RAIN gave Prince the biggest album of the year (No. 1 for 24 weeks; no other recording artist has matched that feat until Adele’s 21 album did this decade).  The album generated 5 Top 40 hits, including 4 Top 10 hits, and two of those were No. 1 songs, “Let’s Go Crazy” (2 weeks, September / October 1984) and the biggest single of the year (“When Doves Cry,” 5 weeks, July / August 1984). 

purple rain

PURPLE RAIN also garnered Prince 2 Grammy Awards and gave him the last-ever Academy Award handed out 4 Best Song Score.  PURPLE RAIN has gone on 2 become not only one of THE biggest soundtracks ever recorded, but one of THE biggest albums of all-time, selling over 13 million copies in the U.S. alone.  On a ROLLING STONE magazine list of the Top 25 Greatest Soundtracks of All Time, PURPLE RAIN was ranked at No. 2, behind The Beatles’ “Help.” 

purple rain poster

Upon hearing the news of Prince’s passing on Thursday, 4.21.2016, I don’t know why, but I had this sudden urge 2 hear “The Beautiful Ones,” the third of 9 songs on the album.  2 be honest, it was one of the songs I tended 2 skip over back in 1984, but today, I love it’s soulfulness, it’s beauty, and it’s love for, well, love.  I was good 2 play it on the show again 4 the first time since my 25th Anniversary Tribute show to PURPLE RAIN back in 2009.

There was no question in anyone’s mind that Prince loved making music.  Save for 1983 (unless U count the 2 albums for 1999) and 1993, Prince released an album every year between his 1978 debut through his last album 4 Warner Bros., CHAOS AND DISORDER, in 1996. 

around the world full LP cover

The full album cover for 1985’s AROUND THE WORLD IN A DAY.

I loved the hits from 1985’s AROUND THE WORLD IN A DAY (“Raspberry Beret,” No. 2; “Pop Life,” No. 7), and even once played the full 22-minute remix of “America” (which just missed the Top 40, No. 46) on an Independence Day show on STUCK IN THE 80s.prince parade

Like AROUND THE WORLD IN A DAY, I enjoyed his hits from PARADE (songs from UNDER THE CHERRY MOON), notably his No. 1 song, “Kiss” (2 weeks at No. 1, April 1986) and the underrated follow-up single, “Mountains” (No. 23), which many folks have forgotten about I’m sure, but not me.  It was nice 2 actually get a request 4 this on my first of 2 Prince tributes this past Sunday night (4.24.2016).

As much as I adore PURPLE RAIN, it was Prince’s 1987 album, SIGN “O” THE TIMES, though, that ended up being my favorite Prince album of all-time.  SIGN “O” THE TIMES was another double album, which I again thought was pretty cool, and it a lot more depth and encompassed many genres – like Funk, Soul, Pop, Rock – than any other album I had ever heard from him. 

sign o the times

The cover art for Prince’s SIGN “O” THE TIMES…

The title track from SIGN “O” THE TIMES was the album’s first single, and right away, Prince was in groundbreaking mode again.  Infused in this classy Funk Pop song were lyrics about serious life issues concerning gang violence, drug abuse, the Challenger disaster, nuclear war and as much as he could include in 5 minutes.sign o the times single

Prince was not a fan of President Ronald Reagan, and was mentioned in Prince’s Cold War Classic “Ronnie, Talk To Russia” (from CONTROVERSY), and though Reagan knew about AIDS as early as the first year of his Presidency (1981), he was reluctant 2 talk about it for years.  “Sign ‘O’ The Times” was one of the first songs ever 2 mention AIDS, I think, in part, because Reagan wouldn’t.  “Sign ‘O’ The Times” was the first of 3 Top 10 hits from the album 4 Prince, and reached No. 3 in April 1987. 

if i was your girlfriendThe second single released from SIGN “O” THE TIMES was an interesting but bold choice, “If I Was Your Girlfriend.”  The song is told in a male perspective 2 a woman, or, would his girlfriend open up 2 him more if he was a female friend rather than her boyfriend.  TROUSER PRESS magazine said the song was one of the highlights on SIGN “O” THE TIMES, stating that the song “redefines a relationship in a surprisingly mature way.”  Though the song was a Top 20 U.K. hit, it was a little too intimate 4 U.S. radio, and it stopped at No. 67 (Keep in mind this was the same year that some U.S. radio stations wouldn’t even air the word “Sex” in George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex,” if they even aired the song at all.).

u got the look“U Got The Look” was the album’s third single, and with the help of Sheena Easton, it became the biggest single from the album, reaching No. 2 in October 1987.  The fourth and final single released from SIGN “O” THE TIMES was “I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man,” which hit No. 10 in February 1988.  80s Alt-Rockers Flesh For Lulu and Sigue Sigue Sputnik have covered the song, as well as other bands like The Goo Goo Dolls and My Morning Jacket.  The song’s B-side, “Hot Thing,” wasn’t marketed as its own single, but got enough airplay 2 reach the Hot 100 on its own, peaking at No. 63.

I think all of SIGN “O” THE TIMES is brilliant, but some other songs from the album that stand out 4 me are the lovely “Starfish And Coffee,” the funky “Housequake” (“Shut up already! Damn.”), the epic 9-minute jam, “It’s Gonna Be A Beautiful Night,” and, the stirring, guitar-driven “The Cross,” which I think would have been an excellent choice 4 a single, but that’s me.lovesexy

Though I really didn’t get into Prince’s 1988 album, LOVESEXY, I did (and still do) enjoy “Alphabet St.” (No. 8) and “When 2 R In Love,” a ballad that was originally on 1987’s THE BLACK ALBUM, which was pulled so that the more radio-friendly LOVESEXY could be released instead (THE BLACK ALBUM remained a bootleg 4 many years, before finally getting a proper release in 1994; my favorite track on THE BLACK ALBUM, “Bob George,” prolly has more “motherfuckers” in it than the first DIE HARD movie).

batman

Fast forward to 1989.  BATMAN was the biggest film of the year.  In fact, at the time, its $251 million dollar gross 4 the movie starring Jack Nicholson as the Joker and Michael Keaton as the Caped Crusader (still my favorite Batman)  made it the fifth-biggest film of all-time, behind JAWS, RETURN OF THE JEDI, STAR WARS and E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (nearly 30 years later, it’s ranked at No. 95 for all-time).  Prince had something 2 do with that success, as he was rightfully chosen 2 do the soundtrack. batdance

First single “Batdance” quickly became Prince’s fourth No. 1 song (August 1989), and the soundtrack spent 6 weeks at No. 1 on the BILLBOARD album chart.  Other Top 40 singles from the soundtrack included “Partyman” (No. 18) and another collaboration with Sheena Easton, the ballad “The Arms Of Orion” (No. 36).  Another single, “Scandalous!” was a Top 5 hit on the BILLBOARD R&B chart.  At a time where many cars came with cassette players in them, I played the hell out of the cassette version of this album.  One of my all-time favorite Prince albums, even if most people don’t even remember “Batdance.”

With the advent of the 1990s, I started 2 lose touch with Prince’s music, though it wasn’t all lost – I loved 2 songs from 1990’s PURPLE RAIN sequel, GRAFFITI BRIDGE: “Thieves In The Temple” (No. 6), and, a song he wrote, produced and sang backup vocals on for 13-year-old newcomer Tevin Campbell, “Round And Round” (No. 12). diamonds and pearls

I also loved the Top 40 singles from 1991’s DIAMONDS AND PEARLS album: “Gett Off” (No. 21), “Cream” (No. 1, 2 weeks, November 1991), the gorgeous “Diamonds And Pearls” (featuring Rosie Gaines; No. 3, February 1992), and the severely underrated “Money Don’t Matter 2 Night” (No. 23). 

1992’s LOVE SYMBOL ALBUM would be the last studio album 4 Prince released on Warner Bros. 2 go Platinum.  It gave us the gems “Sexy MF” (No. 66), “My Name Is Prince” (No. 36), “The Morning Papers” (No. 44), and, “7,” whose peak position gave chart nerds like me something 2 get extra nerdy about – it peaked at No. 7 in February 1993.love symbol album

After the LOVE SYMBOL ALBUM, much of my interest in the rest of Prince’s 90s work and beyond, much like that of the wonderful David Bowie, had waned.  I did, however, enjoy some of Prince’s later work, starting with “The Most Beautiful Girl In The World” (3 weeks at No. 3, April / May 1994; to date his last Top 10 U.S. hit). 

I also enjoyed his cover of The Stylistics’ No. 3 1972 hit, “Betcha By Golly Wow!” (from his first album after leaving Warner Bros., a 1996 3-CD set appropriately titled EMANCIPATION).  Apparently, Prince had always wanted 2 do a cover of this song, but Warner Bros. never allowed him 2 do it.  Once he was out of his Warner Bros. contract, it gave him the freedom 2 not just do that cover song on EMANCIPATION, but covers of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make U Love Me,” “The Delfonics’ “La, La, La Means I Love You” and Joan Osborne’s 1995 hit, “One Of Us” (written by The Hooters’ Eric Bazilian). emancipation

In 1999, Warner Bros. released THE VAULT: OLD FRIENDS FOR SALE, an album submitted by Prince three years earlier, with songs recorded between 1985 and 1994.  It was the last album of his Warner Bros. contract, and it appears that they wanted 2 get a jump on Prince’s actual new album that year, RAVE UN2 THE JOY FANTASTIC, with a fantastic cover of Sheryl Crow’s “Every Day Is A Winding Road.”  The strategy of Warner Bros. did not work.  RAVE not only charted higher (No. 18 vs. No. 85 for VAULT), but it was certified Gold.

musicologyIn January 2001, I became the Music Director 4 WMPG, originally a volunteer position that turned into a University of Southern Maine job 3 1/2 years later.  It was the best job I ever had, something that was truly tailored 4 me.  In that time, at least 3 of his albums that decade were released to college radio – 2004’s MUSICOLOGY, his first double-platinum album since 1991’s DIAMONDS AND PEARLS.  A great deal of the success of this album came with Prince’s brilliant idea 2 include a copy of the album with tickets 2 his concerts, a feature that has become more commonplace today with many artists (my tickets 2 Duran Duran included copies of the new album). 

3121The 2006 album 3121 brought Prince back 2 the top of the BILLBOARD Album chart, and included the funky “Black Sweat” and beautiful “Te Amo Corazón,” a No. 7 hit in Italy.  His 2007 album, PLANET EARTH featured my favorite on the album, “Guitar,” which was a favorite in Japan as well, reaching the Top 10 there.  After PLANET EARTH, Prince left my music radar again until last year’s brilliant and poignant protest song “Baltimore.”

“Baltimore” was initially a digital-only single eventually released on Prince’s HITnRUN PHASE TWO album earlier this year, and was in response 2 the fatal police shooting of Freddie Gray in Baltimore in April 2015.  Six Baltimore police officers were charged in the death of Freddie Gray.  I think “Baltimore” is one of THE best songs Prince ever did.  He even did a Rally 4 Peace concert in Baltimore on Mother’s Day 2015.  I hope those who didn’t know the song “Baltimore” existed while Prince was still alive will discover it now.

baltimore

The poster 4 Prince’s Baltimore Concert / Rally, Mother’s Day, 2015.

One of the things I loved about Prince was that he fought hard 2 put out the music he wanted 2 put out, even if it always didn’t work out with his record label.  Prince was unwavered as he was at the top of the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC)’s 1985 list of the “Filthy Fifteen,” a list of songs (mostly Pop and Metal songs) the group, co-founded by Tipper Gore, found “objectionable.” parental advisory

This is the group that gave us those “parental advisory” stickers on CDs and albums that everyone loves so much, and is pretty much irrelevant today.  I’m sure such a group couldn’t keep up with all the “filthy” lyrics in today’s music.  Prince’s “Darling Nikki” and “Sugar Walls,” the song he wrote 4 birthday girl Sheena Easton under pseudonym “Alexander Nevermind”) topped the list.  (4 some reason, Tipper Gore must have skipped over his song, “Erotic City.”  Or maybe, she really liked it and that’s why it wasn’t on the list.)  Madonna’s “Dress You Up” and Cyndi Lauper’s “She Bop” were on the list as well.

a love bizarrePrince was so incredibly talented, a truly gifted musician, singer, songwriter and actor who never forgot where he came from.  He was also very generous.  He contributed countless dollars 2 charities in the Minneapolis, MN area (where he lived his entire life), he gave parties at his Paisley Park estate (on the conditions of no smoking, no drinking and no swearing), and he wrote many songs that ended up being hits 4 other recording artists, like “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinéad O’Connor, “The Glamorous Life” and “A Love Bizarre” 4 Sheila E., “Jungle Love” by The Time, “I Feel For You” by Chaka Khan (originally from his self-titled second album), the aforementioned “Sugar Walls” by Sheena Easton, and “Manic Monday” by The Bangles (under the pseudonym “Christopher”), which was ranked at No. 2 behind his own “Kiss” at No. 1 in 1986. 

AON tom jones kissSpeaking of “Kiss,” two great cover versions of that song were released – in 1986 by U.K. Alt-Rock band Age Of Chance, and the only American Top 40 hit 4 The Art Of Noise out of London featuring the pride of Wales, Tom Jones.  It spent 2 weeks at No. 31 on the Hot 100 in January 1989, reached No. 1 in New Zealand and Spain, and the Top 10 in 8 countries, including the U.K.

It’s funny – I’d like 2 think I know a lot about 80s music, but it’s kinda cool 2 learn something new, even after more than 25 years since the end of the decade.  After Prince died, all of these stories surfaced throughout the Internet about him, including lists of the songs he wrote that were hits for other artists.  One of these songs was the Top 5 1983 Stevie Nicks hit, “Stand Back.”  Stevie Nicks wrote the song, but according a ROLLING STONE piece, she says the song “belongs to Prince.”

stand backIt was the day of her wedding, and on the way to her honeymoon, she heard “Little Red Corvette” for the first time.  Humming along 2 Prince’s song, Stevie Nicks wrote all of “Stand Back” that day.  The day she was 2 record “Stand Back,” Stevie Nicks called Prince 2 tell him the story of how the song came about.  Less than a half hour later, Prince showed up at her studio, and “walked over to the synthesizers that were set up, was absolutely brilliant for about 25 minutes and then left.  He spoiled me for every band I’ve ever had because nobody can exactly recreate – not even with two piano players – what Prince did all by his little self.”

One of the many things I admired about Prince is that he did extended remixes of his B-sides, like “Erotic City” (the B-side of “Let’s Go Crazy”) and “La, La, La, He, He, Hee” (the B-side of “Sign ‘O’ The Times”).  I can’t think of anyone else who did that!

erotic city

prince gold purple rain award4 a short time in late 2005 and early 2006, I owned a copy of an authentic Recording Association Industry Association of America (RIAA) Gold record 4 PURPLE RAIN.  I had just quit a longtime job in Portland, cashed out my 401K (which I don’t recommend) at the end of the year (which I especially don’t recommend), and it was an impulse purchase while i was inbetween jobs.  But, when I couldn’t find another job right away, I  needed the money, and basically got my money back.  I don’t even have a picture of it, though the small picture included here is what it would have looked like.  Now some people online are selling their gold records similar 2 this 4 thousands of dollars.  Greedy bastards.

4 U prince tributes 2016

I’m doing 2 tribute shows 2 Prince (called 4 U).  The first tribute show aired this past Sunday (4.24.2016) and it was weird, mainly in the sense that I was constantly getting choked up and jamming 2 the music at the same time.  Never had a feeling like that before, not even with David Bowie.  But, the show was well-received, a lot of people tuned in and contributed.  Some folks commented on how I played songs they hadn’t heard of before (prolly like “Baltimore” and “4 The Tears In Your Eyes,” a song that originally appeared on the WE ARE THE WORLD album in 1985).  There was even a Prince song I had forgotten about that was requested by a listener – “Good Love,” from the 1988 soundtrack 2 the Michael J. Fox film, BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY.

empire state

The Empire State Building lit up in Purple for Prince…

This week, the outpouring 4 Prince’s music has been phenomenal.  With just a half-day of tracking 4 the charts, Prince is now at No. 1 with the 2001 compilation, THE VERY BEST OF PRINCE, and No. 2 with PURPLE RAIN. 

And, six of his Top 40 gems are back on the Hot 100, led by “Purple Rain” at No. 17.  With just that half a day of tracking, I’m betting he’ll have an even bigger week next week.  I always thought that Prince’s signature song, “Purple Rain,” should have reigned at No. 1 in late 1984, but was denied the top spot by Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.”  Wouldn’t it be something if “Purple Rain” could be his last No. 1 song?  At the very least, it was the No. 1-selling song of last week, which is pretty impressive 4 a 1984 song in a 21st-century digital world…

On the day Prince died, my dear and über-talented friend, Hope, put out a short but fitting post on her amazing blog, HEXBREAKER (hexbreaker9.wordpress.com), which included a cool quote from Eric Clapton I never knew existed until her post: When asked what it feels like to be the best guitarist alive, Eric Clapton said, “I don’t know. Ask Prince.”

purple rain single

A future No. 1 song in America, more than 30 years after its release?  Would be nice to have Prince’s signature song reach the top of the BILLBOARD Hot 100…

My goal was 2 have this blog post out over the past weekend.  When I started on Sunday, 4.24.2016, it had only been 0 hours and 3 days since Prince had passed away.  But, as it turned out, I had a lot 2 say; I couldn’t stop writing.  4 those folks who have been kind enough 2 read through 4,000+ words of my love 4 Prince, I thank U.  I’ll be back 2 regular posts soon, but I wanted 2 get this one 2 U first, and remember Prince in the best way I know how. 

We’ve lost a lot of heavy hitters in the music world this year.  I had just gotten my David Bowie tattoo 8 days before Prince’s passing.  While I won’t get be getting a tattoo of Prince, or a “Little Red Corvette” anytime soon (budget won’t allow it), I’m betting my next car’s color will be purple.  Perhaps I’ll name her Nikki too.  Maybe Prince would have like that. 

R.I.P. Prince and thank U, 4 your music, your generosity, your energy, and 4 standing up 4 what U believed in.  I believe at some point it’s going 2 finally hit me hard that U R gone, and when that happens, I’ll cry, I’ll say a couple prayers, and I’ll thank U again, 4 being a part of my life 4 all these years.  Peace and love 2 U, wherever you are. 

P.S: Chevy was right – “Baby that was much too fast…”

Prince UK 2011

album of the week – NERVOUS NIGHT | THE HOOTERS | 1985.

I first learned about The Hooters during my first semester at the New England School of Broadcasting (now the juggernaut known as the New England School of Communications), from Darlene, one of fellow students and one of my new friends attending the school from Great White North.  And, from that first listen (on cassette) of their album, NERVOUS NIGHT, I was hooked for life.

hooters with hooters

The Hooters were formed in Philadelphia in 1980, and got their name from the melodica, an instrument with roots in Germany and which blends the keyboard and the harmonica.  The band was formed by Rob Hyman and Eric Bazilian, who had worked together in another Philadelphia band in the 1970s called Baby Grand.

Playing anywhere from clubs to high schools to TV shows, The Hooters were making a name for themselves in Philadelphia, and their original music was played on the big rock station in the City of Brotherly Love, WMMR.  In 1982, they opened for The Who at JFK Stadium in Philadephia – a concert that also included Santana and The Clash.

amoreIn 1983, The Hooters released their first album, an indie album on Antenna Records called AMORE.  It sold over 100,000 copies, which, at the time, was pretty impressive for an independent – and localized – album.  This album contained original versions of songs like “All You Zombies,” “Hanging On A Heartbeat,” “Fightin’ On The Same Side” and “Blood From A Stone” – all songs that would appear on their major label debut, NERVOUS NIGHT.  But I’ll come onto that in a bit.

Later that year, Rob and Eric were asked to help out on a major label debut album by new solo pop recording artist Cyndi Lauper, which turned into not only an amazing working relationship, but they all remain close friends to this day, and have a truly high regard for each other.  Cyndi and Rob co-wrote the song “Time After Time,” which would become Cyndi’s first No. 1 song on the BILLBOARD Hot 100, earned a Grammy Award nomination for Song of the Year, and remains as one of the most-covered songs of all-time.  In June 1984, the same month “Time After Time” reached No. 1, Columbia Records signed The Hooters to their first major label recording contract.

NERVOUS NIGHT, their debut album on a major record label, was released on May 6, 1985.  The album got off to a slow start, but first single, “All You Zombies,” worked its way to a No. 58 peak at the end of June 1985.  For those who don’t know, “All You Zombies” has nothing to do with those popular creatures on current shows like THE WALKING DEAD or iZOMBIE (of which the song recently appeared, interestingly enough), but is actually about stories from THE BIBLE.

the hooters live aidThe Hooters got a boost on July 13, 1985, when they were featured as the opening band at the American version of the Live Aid benefit concert.  Outside of Philadelphia, they were the least known band at Live Aid.  Famous promoter Bill Graham wanted The Hooters to perform at Live Aid, against the wishes of organizer Bob Geldof, who asked in a ROLLING STONE interview, “Who the fuck are The Hooters?”  Ironically (and I love this piece of trivia), many years later, Bob Geldof ended up being the opening act for The Hooters somewhere in the world, most likely in Germany, where the Philadelphia band are rock legends.

The second single off of NERVOUS NIGHT (and the album’s opening song), “And We Danced,” entered the BILLBOARD Hot 100 about a month after Live Aid.  Replete with its fun and popular video set at a drive-in, “And We Danced” became the band’s first Top 40 hit, spending a week at No. 21 in late October 1985 and 20 weeks on the entire chart.  In 1986, The Hooters were nominated for an MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist in a Video for “And We Danced.” 

“Day By Day,” NERVOUS NIGHT’s second song, became the band’s third – and highest-charting – single, and helped propel the album to a No. 12 peak on the BILLBOARD album chart.  “Day By Day” spent 3 weeks at No. 18 in February / March 1986 and spent 18 weeks on the Hot 100.

“Where Do The Children Go?” was the fourth single released from NERVOUS NIGHT, and was a collaboration between The Hooters and fellow Columbia Records label mate, Patty Smyth (of Scandal).  It spent a sole week in the Top 40 of the BILLBOARD Hot 100, peaking at No. 38 in late May 1988.

According to a February 1986 edition of the Allentown, PA daily newspaper, THE MORNING CALL, the ballad was written after Eric Bazilian read an article about three Quakertown, PA teens who committed suicide.  Eric said, “The lyric opened up to include the theme of childhood loss of innocence.  It’s a song with different meanings.”

A version without Patty Smyth recorded live at Philadelphia’s Tower Theater served as the video for “Where Do The Children Go?” and it won a BILLBOARD award for Best Concert Performance.

nervous night

Other songs on NERVOUS NIGHT include “Don’t Take My Car Out Tonight” (they sure did love doing songs about cars!), “South Ferry Road,” a faithful cover of Love’s 1966 hit, “She Comes In Colors,” and three songs re-recorded from their original versions that appeared on their 1983 indie album, AMORE: “Hanging On A Heartbeat,” “Fightin’ On The Same Side” and “Blood From A Stone.”  The title track, “Nervous Night,” oddly enough wasn’t on the LP release, but it did appear on the cassette and CD versions.

rob hyman and me 1987

The Hooters’ Rob Hyman and me, Colby College, October 1987.  Can’t believe he took a picture of me with that ridiculous moustache I had…

My love for The Hooters only grew with time, and when I had my first car in 1987, my license plate read, “HOOTRS,” which equally got me cheers and dirty looks on the highway, and I’m betting both groups of folks didn’t know it was actually about the band and not, well, you know.  I saw The Hooters perform three times, twice headlining during their ONE WAY HOME tour in 1987.  I got to meet the band on that tour, and even got a picture with Rob Hyman (check out that 80’s stash on me – yeah!).

 

The Hooters have always been one of my favorite bands, and during my 10-year tenure as Music Director for WMPG in Portland, Maine (which is where my little radio show, STUCK IN THE 80s, has aired for 20 years now), I got to interview Rob and Eric for my radio show back in 2008, in support of their 2007 album, TIME STAND STILL.  It was an amazing interview with two of my favorite musicians of all time, and one of the interviews I’m most proud of.

But it was the album, NERVOUS NIGHT, by the band once known as the Fab Philly Five – Rob Hyman (lead vocals, keyboards, accordion, melodica), Eric Bazilian (lead vocals, guitars, mandolin, harmonica, saxophone), David Uosikkinen (drums, percussion), John Lilley (guitar, mandolin, dobro, keyboards, vocals) and then-bassist and vocalist Andy King – that garnered my attention all those years ago. 

The band is still around, touring throughout the world, still massively popular in Germany and in my heart.  Hoping they’ll come back this way again soon, for what I’m sure will not be a nervous night…

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEvr99j7ruPxBGO-KJ3_UVp-n3pQwFLlv

the hooters

album of the week – FLOATING INTO THE NIGHT | JULEE CRUISE | 1989.

One of my many peculiarities (yes, it’s true) is that I can tell you what my favorite movie is (2004’s ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, with Jim Carrey);what my favorite TV show is (CHEERS); my favorite band (INXS); my favorite singer (the incomparable Cyndi Lauper); and, my favorite song (Simple Minds’ 1985 gem, “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” from THE BREAKFAST CLUB; but, for whatever reason, I can’t tell you what my favorite album is. 

Sure, I have many albums I consider favorites, and many of those are 80s albums I’m certain I’ll feature here at some point in the blog as “album of the week,” such as Duran Duran’s RIO, Cyndi’s SHE’S SO UNUSUAL, INXS’ SHABOOH SHOOBAH, The Hooters’ NERVOUS NIGHT and Prince’s SIGN “O” THE TIMES.  But, I never got around to calling any album my favorite.  It’s weird, I know, but that’s me.  At the very least, I can share some of those favorites with you here.  My goal is to highlight an album a week, so let’s begin.

twin peaksI’ve always admired the work of Academy Award-nominated filmmaker David Lynch, although I wouldn’t call myself a huge fan.  When TWIN PEAKS debuted in April 1990, some of my friends immediately fell in love with it, couldn’t stop raving about it.  At the time, I couldn’t get into it.  I’d love to revisit the series again before the next incarnation comes out in 2017.  Maybe the second time around will do it for me.  The one connection I still have to TWIN PEAKS, and have had before the show ever started, was its theme song, “Falling.” 

“Falling” was co-written by David Lynch and composer Angelo Badalamenti (Lynch’s go-to film composer).  The vocal version of “Falling” was by a Dream Pop singer by the name of Julee Cruise, someone I had never heard of.  I’m not entirely sure of how the music of Julee Cruise entered my life – perhaps it was a cassette owned by my French roommate during the first semester I started my second bout with college in January 1990, or maybe it was the 13 watts of alternative power of the mighty WUMF, the college radio station at the University of Maine at Farmington, whose memorable slogan was, “Because it always gets worse from here…”  I am sure of this, though – the music of Julee Cruise will never leave my life, her debut album in particular.

david lynch angelo badalamenti

Friends and frequent collaborators – Composer Angelo Badalamenti and filmmaker David Lynch.

FLOATING INTO THE NIGHT is among the first CDs I ever purchased (as some people did in the late 80s and early 90s), and it’s still with me today.  I revisit it often.  David Lynch composed all of the lyrics to the 10 songs that appear on the album, and Angelo Badalamenti composed the music.  And Julee Cruise provided her dreamy vocals against the lush, celestial musical backdrop.  It is an infectious album, still, more than a quarter century later.

floating into the nightI can’t tell you how many times I fell asleep to this beautiful album, and I mean that in the highest regard.  From the first notes of the album’s opener, “Floating,” I was hooked.  Then there was “Falling,” the gorgeous alt-pop gem that actually reached No. 1 in Australia more than a year after its original release on FLOATING INTO THE NIGHT, no doubt due to its popularity as the vocal version of the TWINS PEAKS theme.  It also reached the Top 10 in the U.K., Ireland, Norway and Sweden.

Every song on the album is incredible, but the ones that stand out for me include the playful single “Rockin’ Back Inside My Heart”; “Mysteries Of Love,” which was featured in Lynch’s 1986 film, BLUE VELVET; the quiet and amazingly haunting “Into The Night” (replete with a kick-ass unexpected surprise three-quarters of the way through); and, the album’s simple and lovely closer, “The World Spins,” whose lyrics plead, “Love, don’t go away / Come back this way / Come back and stay / Forever and ever.  Please stay…”  And I did stay; I did stay madly in love with this album.

Julee Cruise would work with David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti again on an Elvis Presley cover of “Summer Kisses, Winter Tears” for the soundtrack to the 1991 Wim Wenders film, UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD.  After that, she did some acting, collaborated with artists such as Bobby McFerrin, Delirium and Moby, and released 3 more albums between 1993 and 2011. 

It was her vocal presence on FLOATING INTO THE NIGHT, though, that keeps Julee Cruise close to my music heart (with many thanks to the lush collaboration with David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti).  If you don’t already own this magical album, you should pick up a physical or digital copy, and try falling asleep to it.  I guaRONtee you’ll be floating into the night…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cixs8LCHwX4

julee cruise

The wonderful Julee Cruise…