Category: new wave

On this day in music history: October 14, 1985 – “Listen Like Thieves”, the fifth album by INXS is released. Produced by Chris Thomas, it is recorded at Rhinoceros Studios in Sydney, Australia from March – August 1985. After gaining a significant following outside of their native Australia with their previous albums “Shabooh Shoobah” and “The Swing”, INXS’ fifth release marks the beginning of a long and prosperous working relationship with producer Chris Thomas (The Sex Pistols, The Pretenders, Elton John). Thomas proves to be a demanding taskmaster in the studio. Just as the sessions are about to wrap, the producer tells the band that out of the material they have recorded, he still doesn’t hear a “hit”. Guitar player and keyboardist Andrew Farriss pulls out a demo tape of a song he’s been working on tentatively titled “Funk Song No. 13”. Farriss plays it for lead singer Michael Hutchence, who pens the lyrics for it overnight. The finished song is re-titled “What You Need” (#5 Pop). The band rehearse it on a Sunday and then record it in its entirety on Monday. INXS publicly performs the song for the first time, during their segment of the Live Aid worldwide telecast in July of 1985, months before the albums release. Issued as the second single from the album, it is the bands breakthrough hit in America, bolstered by an innovative rotoscope animated music video directed by Richard Lowenstein and Lyn-Marie Milbourn. It spins off three other singles including “This Time” (#81 Pop), “Kiss The Dirt (Falling Down The Mountain)”, and the title track (#54 Pop). It gives the band their biggest album to date in the US, setting the stage for the commercial and artistic pinnacle they achieve with the follow up “Kick”. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2011, and is also reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by Music On Vinyl. It is also reissued as a standard weight LP by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab in 2013, as part of their “Silver Label” reissue series. The album is also remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP in 2017. “Listen Like Thieves” peaks at number eleven on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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Born on this day: October 14, 1958 – Singer, songwriter and musician Thomas Dolby (born Thomas Morgan Robertson in London, UK). Happy 61st Birthday, Thomas!!

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On this day in music history: October 14, 1983 – “She’s So Unusual”, the debut album by Cyndi Lauper is released. Produced by Rick Chertoff, William Wittman and Cyndi Lauper, it is recorded at the Record Plant in New York City from December 1, 1982 – June 30, 1983. Having spent nearly a decade of singing in various cover bands, Lauper suffers numerous hard knocks, including damaged vocal chords, the break up of her band Blue Angel after the failure of their lone album, and personal bankruptcy. Her luck turns around in 1981 when she meets David Wolff while singing in a local bar in New York City. Wolff becomes her manager, helping her to secure a record deal with CBS/Epic subsidiary Portrait Records in 1982. Paired with producer Rick Chertoff, he brings in his friends Rob Hyman (keyboards, synthesizers, backing vocals), and Eric Bazilian (bass, guitar, backing vocals) (of The Hooters), drummer Anton Fig, bassist Neil Jason, singer/songwriter Jules Shear and Ellie Greenwich (backing vocals) to play on the album. Initially getting off to a slow start, things pick up steam rapidly when the music video for the first single “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” (#2 Pop) goes into heavy rotation on MTV, and other video outlets at the end of the year. It launches the Queens, NY born vocalist into pop superstardom, with Lauper becoming the first female artist in history to spin off four top five singles from one album, including “Time After Time” (#1 Pop), “She Bop” (#3 Pop), and “All Through The Night” (#5 Pop). “Unusual” spends 65 weeks in the top 40 alone (77 weeks total on the Top 200), winning Cyndi the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1985. It also wins a second Grammy for Best Album Package. The memorable front and back cover photos were taken by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz at Coney Island in New York City. The album is first remastered and reissued on CD in 2000. It is remastered and reissued again in 2014 for its 30th anniversary on CD and clear vinyl. A special two CD boxed edition is also released with the second disc containing nine bonus tracks. The box unfolds into a 3D diorama mock up of Cyndi’s bedroom from the “Girls” video. It also comes with a paper cut out of the singer, and sheet of vinyl colorforms with various outfits to dress the doll with. The Japanese edition includes “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough” as a bonus track, and a DVD with an hour long documentary. The boxed edition also comes with a twenty four page full color booklet, fully annotated and featuring dozens of rare and previously unpublished photos. In 2019, a limited edition LP pressed on yellow vinyl is issued as an exclusive at Barnes & Noble. “She’s So Unusual” peaks at number four on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 6x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: October 14, 1983 – “Twist Of Fate” by Olivia Newton-John is released. Written by Stephen Kipner and Peter Beckett, it is the thirty sixth single release for the pop vocalist and actress from Cambridge, UK. After the huge success of “Physical” and second greatest hit album (“Olivia’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 2”), Olivia Newton-John teams up again with her friend and “Grease” co-star John Travolta for the film “Two Of A Kind”. The romantic comedy also features a soundtrack album with songs from major artists including Chicago, Journey, Patti Austin, and Boz Scaggs. Olivia herself contributes three solo tracks to the soundtrack, and the duet “Take A Chance” with Travolta. One of the solo tracks by Newton-John is “Twist Of Fate”, written by Stephen Kipner (“Physical”, “Heart Attack”, and Peter Beckett of the band Player (“Baby Come Back”, “This Time I’m In It For Love”). “Fate” marks a departure from Olivia Newton-John’s previous singles, in sporting a more rock based synthesizer sound. The single is produced by David Foster, who has graduated from working as a studio musician and Grammy winning songwriter, into an in demand producer after helping engineer Chicago’s major comeback. Unfortunately for Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta, lightning does not strike twice at the box office, when “Two Of A Kind” is a critical and commercial favor. Fortunately, it doesn’t prevent the soundtrack album or “Twist Of Fate” from becoming successful. The single is a smash right out of the gate, with the picture sleeve sporting sexy black & white photos of Newton-John clad in dark sunglasses, taken by photographer Herb Ritts. Entering the Billboard Hot 100 at #49 on November 5, 1983, it peaks at #5 nine weeks later on January 7, 1984. Along with the standard 7" release, “Twist” is given an extended 12" club mix by Arthur Baker, with edits by The Latin Rascals (both uncredited). Initially released in the US as a promo for club DJ’s and radio by MCA Records, due to public demand it’s issued as the B-side of the 12" for the follow up “Livin’ In Desperate Times” (#31 Pop) in early 1984. “Take A Chance”, the B-side of “Twist Of Fate” becomes a surprise hit on AC radio, peaking at #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Even more surprising, after nearly fifteen years of non stop hits, “Twist Of Fate” is Olivia Newton-John’s last US top ten hit to date.

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On this day in music history: October 14, 1982 – “Friend Or Foe”, the debut solo album by Adam Ant is released. Produced by Adam Ant and Marco Pirroni, it is recorded at Townhouse Studios in London from Early – Mid 1982. Progressing from their punk rock roots to achieving major pop stardom in the UK and across the rest of Europe within five years, Adam & The Ants disband only four months after the release of their third and most successful album “Prince Charming” in March of 1982. Ambitious to strike out on his own, Adam Ant (born Stuart Goddard) takes guitarist Marco Pirroni with him and the pair begin working on Adam’s first solo album. Building on the musical template than made Adam & The Ants a huge success, they also incorporate brass instruments into the mix. The duo write eleven of the twelve songs on Ant’s solo debut, producing and playing guitar and bass respectively, and are supported in the studio by musicians Bogdan Wiczling (drums, percussion), Martin Drover (trumpet, flugelhorn), Jeff Daly (saxophone), Jude Kelly (vocals), Sam Brown, Sonia Jones and Vicki Brown (backing vocals). European fans get their first taste of Adam Ant as a solo act in May 1982 with the release of the first single “Goody Two Shoes” (#1 UK, #12 US Pop). Co-produced with former Ants drummer Chris Hughes (Tears For Fears), the song is written about Ant’s run ins with the British tabloid press, invading his privacy in attempts to dig up dirt on the pop star. Issued in the US in tandem with the album, it becomes Adam Ant’s breakthrough and biggest hit. The original UK single release of “Goody Two Shoes” differs noticeably from the album version which is issued in the US as a single. The UK single features Hughes on drums, and the album version/US single includes a re-recorded drum track played by Wiczling. It spins off two more singles including “Desperate But Not Serious” (#33 UK, #66 US Pop) and the title track (#9 UK). “Friend Or Foe” becomes a major success in the US and propels him beyond the cult following garnered stateside with Adam & The Ants. Originally released on CD in 1985, it is remastered and reissued in 2005 with twelve additional bonus tracks including the UK single version of “Goody”, demo recordings and outtakes. “Friend Or Foe” peaks at number five on the UK album chart, number sixteen on the Billboard Top 200. and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.  

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Remembering B-52’s guitarist Ricky Wilson (born Ricky Helton Wilson in Athens, GA) – March 19, 1953 – October 12, 1985

On this day in music history: October 12, 1981 – “October”, the second album by U2 is released. Produced by Steve Lillywhite, it is recorded at Compass Point Studios in Nassau, Bahamas in April 1981 and Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin, Ireland from July – August 1981. Immediately after the end of the tour in support of their debut album “Boy”, U2 begin writing material for their sophomore release. The song “Fire” is actually written and recorded while the band are taking a break from their first tour, recording it at Island Records’ founder Chris Blackwell’s Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas. The remainder of the sessions take place over the Summer at Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin. With Bono, the Edge and Larry Mullen, Jr. involved in the Shalom Fellowship, a Christian faith group that three members belong to, is influential in the songs written for the new album. With bassist Adam Clayton not sharing the same spiritual values as the other three, and with Bono, Edge and Larry torn between the “rock & roll lifestyle” they’re living and their faith, it threatens to tear the band apart. Having come from a family where his parents were Catholic and Protestant respectively, Bono is able to reconcile the differences between his religious beliefs and drive to be a successful musician after manager Paul McGuinness convinces him not to leave the band. U2 suffer another set back during the recording sessions when Bono loses a briefcase filled with lyrics for the in progress songs, leading him to largely improvise new ones during the two months it takes to complete the recording. The album is initially met with a mixed and decidedly less enthusiastic response than their debut “Boy”, and for many years is the lowest selling album of U2’s career. In later years, the transitional release is reassessed more favorably and is seen as the bridge to their next album “War” and beyond. It spins off two singles including “Fire” (#35 UK, #4 IRE) and “Gloria” (#55 UK, #10 IRE). In the US, the music video for “Gloria” is the first clip from U2 to receive significant airplay on MTV, which helps increase their exposure and growing fan base. “October” is remastered and reissued on CD in 2008, as a standard single disc, a deluxe two disc edition with the second CD containing live tracks and the songs “A Celebration”, “Trash, Trampoline and the Party Girl”, and “J. Swallo”, previously released on singles only. A remix of the track “Tomorrow” issued on the compilation album “Common Ground” is also included. “October” peaks at one hundred four on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: October 8, 1982 – “Spring Session M”, the debut album by Missing Persons is released. Produced by Ken Scott, it is recorded at The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen in Los Angeles, CA and Chateau Recorders in North Hollywood, CA from Late 1980 – Mid 1982. The band have their genesis in 1979 when drummer Terry Bozzio and singer and former Playboy Bunny Dale Consalvi meet while both are members of Frank Zappa’s band. The couple marry the same year, and make plans to form their own band. Also in Zappa’s band are guitarist Warren Cuccurullo and bassist and keyboardist Patrick O’Hearn. They form Missing Persons in 1980, also adding keyboardist Chuck Wild. With financial assistance from Cuccurullo’s father, they record four songs with producer and engineer Ken Scott (David Bowie, The Beatles, Supertramp) at Zappa’s Laurel Canyon home recording studio, The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen. The band release their self financed recordings as a four track eponymously titled 7" EP in 1980. Featuring the songs “I Like Boys”, “Mental Hopscotch”, “Destination Unknown” and a cover of The Doors’ “Hello I Love You”, the band begin the task of promoting it. Quickly turning into a top flight live act, they’re noted for their excellent musicianship, buoyed by Dale Bozzio’s distinctive vocals accented with yelps and squeaks. Missing Persons also gain notoriety for Bozzio’s striking appearance and stage presence, often wearing her bleached blond hair accented with streaks of pink and aqua blue, wearing barely there stage outfits. When influential new wave rock station KROQ begins giving their EP heavy airplay, it sells more than 7,000 copies with the track “Mental Hopscotch” topping the stations’ airplay chart. The buzz soon attracts major label attention, with the band signing with Capitol Records in early 1982. Capitol re-releases their self-titled EP, replacing The Doors cover with the newly recorded track “Words” (#42 Pop). Also making a video to accompany the song, it quickly becomes a staple on MTV. “Words” helps propel the EP (#46 Pop) up the charts, selling more than 250,000 copies, and stoking demand for a full album. The title “Spring Session M” is an anagram of the band’s name, quickly becoming a major hit. It spins off three more singles including the previously recorded “Destination Unknown” (#42 Pop), “Windows” (#63 Pop) and “Walking In L.A” (#70 Pop). Acknowledged as a definitive new wave album, it becomes Missing Persons’ biggest success. Originally released on CD in 1990, it is remastered and reissued by One Way Records in 1995, adding three bonus tracks including the two tracks from the EP and “No Way Out” (the non LP B-side of “Destination”). “Spring Session M” peaks at number seventeen on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: October 8, 1980 – “Remain In Light”, the fourth album by Talking Heads is released. Produced by Brian Eno, it is recorded at Compass Point Studios in The Bahamas and Sigma Sound Studios in New York City from July – August 1980. The bands third and final collaboration with producer Brian Eno, many of the albums songs are inspired by experiments with African polyrhythms and recording the basic tracks in pieces then looping and editing the final results. Talking Heads also bring in outside musicians such as King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew and singer Nona Hendryx. The final product is a genre defying and innovative work that receives great praise from fans and critics alike. The albums distinctive cover artwork, features photos of the four band members with red computer rendered masks obscuring their faces (except for their eyes, noses, and mouths). The design is created by drummer Chris Frantz and bassist Tina Weymouth in cooperation with Walter Bender from MIT (Massachusetts Institute Of Technology). The process involved in creating the computer generated rendering, proves to be very arduous and time consuming, due to the limited amount of computer memory available. It spins off two singles including the classic “Once In A Lifetime” (#103 Pop). In 2006, the album is remastered and reissued with four unfinished outtakes from the original recording sessions in 2006. The same year, it is also reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by Rhino Records. In November of 2018, the album is reissued as a limited edition pressing (5,500 copies), on red vinyl for Black Friday Record Store Day. “Remain In Light” peaks at number nineteen on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: October 4, 1982 – “Kissing To Be Clever”, the debut album by Culture Club is released (US release date is on December 13, 1982). Produced by Steve Levine, it is recorded at Red Bus Studios in London from February – August 1982. Formed in 1981, the band comes together after lead singer Boy George (George O’Dowd) leaves the band Bow Wow Wow, performing as “Lieutenant Lush”. George recruits Mikey Craig (bass), Jon Moss (drums) and Roy Hay (guitar, keyboards) to form the basis of the band. Calling themselves Sex Gang Children, they change their name to Culture Club, as in joke to reflect their distinctive backgrounds: George being Irish, Craig being of Jamaican-British descent, Moss being Jewish and Hay being Anglo-Saxon. EMI Records expresses interest in them, paying them to record several demos. When EMI hears the material, they decide not to sign them. Virgin Records hear Culture Club’s demo tape, they quickly sign them. Paired with producer Steve Levine, they begin work on their debut album. The two singles “White Boy” and “I’m Afraid Of Me” which are released first, the former does not chart in the UK or the US, and the later barely scrapes the UK singles chart. Late in the sessions, the band come up with the blue-eyed soul and reggae influenced “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me” (#1 UK, #2 US Pop, #39 R&B). With the lyrics being penned by Boy George, the song is about the singer’s often stormy romantic relationship with drummer Jon Moss, and past relationships. It establishes Culture Club as one of the most popular and talked about acts across Europe, and eventually around the world. As well as their well crafted pop songs, Boy George is singled out for his sexually ambiguous and androgynous style of dress, making him an 80’s style icon much like his childhood hero David Bowie. When “Clever” is released in the US, it matches the UK track listing which does not include “Time (Clock Of The Heart)” (#3 UK, #2 US Pop). The song is written and recorded after the album is mastered and pressed. Its only when it becomes a hit in the UK in December of 1982, that the bands US label Epic Records quickly remasters and inserts the song into the album, only a couple of weeks after its domestic release. It spins off one further single in the US with “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya” (#9 US Pop), which is not released in the UK due to their next single “Church Of The Poison Mind” (#2 UK) being issued instead. Originally released on CD in 1983, it is remastered and reissued in 2003 with four additional bonus tracks. Out of print on vinyl since 1989, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP (black and limited edition yellow vinyl) in 2016. “Kissing To Be Clever” peaks at number five on the UK album chart, number fourteen on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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