Icehouse – Electric Blue (Extended Mix)
This one always rings as a fan favorite amongst my peers :)
“Electric Blue” was the second single released of Australian band Icehouse’s album Man Of Colours. The song would skyrocket to the top of the charts in Australia and fair incredibly well here in the States at #7.
The real cool factor with this tune is that it was co-written by John Oates of none other than Hall & Oates! As legend would have it, John called lead singer Iva Davies to say he was a fan of their band (now is that class or what!!) and the phone call lead to this collaboration. John has said that if Icehouse didn’t record the song it would have ended up on the next Hall & Oates album (1988′s Ooh Yeah!). Can you imagine?
This is one of those records that Mom owned in the record collection I used to obsess over, and interestingly enough (and I have to ask her about this) the record copy we had was a promo. I remember it clearly therefore I am certain, gold stamped jacket, white label “for promotional purposes only”. This is probably the first time I ever saw an actual promo! Not a clue where she got this from.. possibly a gift, maybe from someone she knew connected with a record store.. or some shop just stuck the promo out on the shelf for sale when they ran out which is entirely possible.
In any case, it’s little subtitles like that which I think are totally cool :)
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Telefone (Long Distance Love Affair) (Extended Version)
The first single released from Sheena Easton’s album Best Kept Secret, “Telefone” (still not sure why we would spell it that way on the US release) would become a #9 hit in 1983, the highest charting position worldwide.
In addition to the distinctive early 80′s drum patterns and synth notes, what really stands out for me is the recollection of the cheeseball music video, a black and white parody of old-time monster movies featuring the likes of Frankenstein and Dracula and a few other horror characters. Pretty out of context for the song, but hey it’s the 80′s, anything goes right?
Here we have the longer and much preferred “extended version” from the US 12″ single. The version that would be played in the dance halls if you were strutting your stuff back in that early era of awesome!
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Lionel Richie – You Are
This is the track that let the world know that Lionel Richie, the solo artist, was not only going to release your typical ballads, but also have offerings that incorporated a little up-tempo action to them.
Probably my favorite moderately up-tempo track of his, “You Are” was released as a single off his 1982 debut solo album and quickly became a hit on multiple charts.
I’ve always really dug the smoothness of the verses and the pinging of those accent notes. And then the dramatic shift (almost abundant joy) for the chorus.
Little known fact in regards to this one, and the album in general.. Richard Marx was trying to break into the music business around this time and was circulating a demo he made to various people. Somehow the demo tape landed in the hands of Lionel Richie who took it upon himself to call Marx and say “I don’t really know what I can do for you but if you want to LA you can spend some time on the sessions with me, introduce you to some people etc.” Long story short, he went and one of the first gigs as a professional recording artist was that of a backup singer for Lionel Richie who contributed one of the layers of “you are the sun, you are the rain..” to this classic tune. He’s pretty buried in there, but believe me he’s there :)
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New Wave Weekend!!!
Chaz Jankel – Number One (Extended Version)
Here we have ourselves a tune that falls across the board.. we close out the new wave weekend with this song, but it’s also a Lost Gem, and it’s also a Soundtrack Selection!
Chaz Jankel, who was involved in various bands prior to his solo impact on an array of movie film scores, had his greatest success commercially on the pop circuit with this track.
I think that most devote 80′s fans will associate this tune with one of those classic “video sequences” from the now cult 80′s flick Real Genius starring Val Kilmer. I haven’t seen the film in ages, but if memory serves me, they were getting ready for some big test or something, possibly scheming some dubious plan.
Presented here is the “extended version”. You never hear this song anymore in an capacity. So I hope this one rings a bell for you, if not a cool introduction to a long lost piece of new wave artistry.
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New Wave Weekend!!!
The Vapors – Turning Japanese
The culmination of elements of post punk, surf pop, and basically good old up-tempo bop (possible pun, but I’ll get to that later:) … “Turning Japanese” by The Vapors is an 80′s new wave must!
Materializing at the start of the decade, this song is one of the great examples of the shift in sounds. Or to put it another way, previously regarded works labeled as “artsy” or “avant garde” were now crossing over into the mainstream. Hence, the new wave!
This track with it’s fast paced tempo and the cute little “japanese” notes as accents, make for great pop which is probably why this tune was a Top 40 hit back in the day and remains a very popular cut from the era of decadence.
Now a rumor started a long-long time ago that this songs lyrics were a reference to… a-hum.. self pleasure.. but the songwriter has denied such accusations stating that the songs is merely a representation of the angst of transforming ones mindset unwillingly. Guess those interested in a song routed in the former will have to rely on Cyndi Lauper’s “She Bop” :)
New Wave Weekend!!!
Thompson Twins – Hold Me Now (Extended Version)
Undoubtedly the biggest hit of the Thompson Twins career, and like many artists, the big hit that they could never live up to.
Now the Thompson Twins are fantastic. You explore any of their earlier work, it’s totally new wave awesomeness. Those bold and sterile synth and drum patterns, the one’s that defined that early era. Then we’ve got these guys crossing over into more mainstream territory with something like this.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s excellent, but you see what I mean about an apparent shift. Chart topping commercial appeal!
The band has said that the track was like a dream come true, perfect from inception to execution. However, once you release a big hit (this gem would reach number 3 on the US charts by early ’84) the record companies start breathing down your neck to start cranking out more material of equal (if not better) charting power. The demands of which are often impossible and such is the case here.
Funny enough, when I was a little kid I had no idea this band was British, so I would have sworn that harmonizing line was “my poor Italian heart” a humorous twist that to this day me and my contemporaries often distort every time this song gets played.
Here we have the “extended version” from the UK 12″ single. This is the preferred version by this 80′s man :)
The Motels – Only The Lonely
It’s unfortunate that a great band like The Motels (which by the way I always thought was a cool name for a band) often gets summed up by their two big hits.. this one and “Suddenly Last Summer”.. and even I cut them off there which I know is totally wrong.
Like so many other bands on my to-do list, whenever their “hits” come up I always say to my self, “I just love the tone of those tracks, there’s gotta be some lost gems or key album cuts in their catalog of albums” with intent to further explore their other works.
“Only The Lonely” would reach number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song is beautifully layered, due in part to the fantastic sound coming off those keyboards which serve as the foundation for the great pop that lays on top. The tune packs just enough drums and guitars to stand behind that amazingly, sultry vocal that defines the track. An amazing song in all regards.
I can’t seem to locate an original 12″ mix for this one, therefore I don’t believe one exists. If my 80′s kids know otherwise for this track, be sure to let me know!