Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dwight Twilley - Girls

Mixing rockabilly, country and British Invasion pop, Tulsa-born Dwight Twilley does not fit neatly into one music segment.  Combine this with nearly unbelievable bad luck throughout his career (including plane crashes, bribery scandals and O.J. Simpson) and his lack of real success is understandable.

In spite of these issues, Twilley had two top 40 hits -- 1975's "I'm on Fire" (as the Dwight Twilley Band) and 1984's "Girls," from Twilley's solo album called Jungle.  Coincidentally, both singles peaked at #17 on the charts.

The "Girls" video is a Porkies tribute, and there even is an R-rated version with nudity (FYI, the version here is PGish).  The video shoot was co-funded by The Playboy Channel, and featured Bunnies.  I believe that at the time Playboy was looking to create R-rated videos for its own music video show.  As an aside, I originally saw this video on the old USA Network show Nightflight, a truly great TV show that mixed videos, interviews, concert footage and indy films.

The video is great, cheesy fun, complete with male and female shower scenes, and features the coolest full uniform football player pretending to play guitar solo scene ever.  (Yes, really).

Cool trivia fact:  Tom Petty sings backup vocals on "Girls" -- he and Twilley were on the same label and became friends in the late 1970's.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

INXS - Don't Change

It is easy to downplay INXS; they sounded like a new wave bar band, and were not the most innovative or creative group of their time.  What INXS did, however, was churn out a ton of really good rock songs; they had 10 top 40 hits in the U.S. and have sold more than 30 million units worldwide, mostly in the 80's and early 90's.

"Don't Change" was the last song on 1982's Shabooh Shoobah and the second single from the album (after "The One Thing.")  It reached #80 on the U.S. charts, so it was not a big hit at the time, but is widely regarded as on of the band's best songs.  Sound-wise, "Don't Change" comes off almost as a rocked up version of Roxy Music, with big, atmospheric keyboards and a great chorus.

Of course, the band followed up Shabooh Soobah with four consecutive platinum albums, including 1987's Kick (which sold 6 million units in the U.S. alone.)  The nineties were tougher on INXS, and the original lineup ended with the tragic death of lead singer Michael Hutchence in 1997.  I suppose that the stories of virtually all rock bands are tragic in the end.  Still, it is cool to go back in time, so to speak, and see them as a young Australian band doing a simple video of a great song.

Note:  The INXS/Jimmy Barnes song "Good Times" was posted on ERV in September 2013. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cinderella - Shake Me

While Cinderella's image was hair-metal, their sound was more bluesy, hard rock.  "Shake Me" fits right in with this, and is a spiritual successor to "You Shook Me" (covered by Led Zeppelin) or "You Shook Me All Night Long" (AC/DC).  Now that I think of it, there should be more hard rock songs using the verb 'to shake' -- I propose the ultimate song could just be called "Shake" or "Shaken" or "Shaky."

Moving right along, "Shake Me" was the first song from Cinderella's first album, 1986's Night Songs.  The video does feature another fine example of a supernatural guitar -- it falls from the poster and then magically teleports the attractive young woman right on to the stage at the local Cinderella concert.  Though this is not as impressive as laser beams (or ill-tempered bass, for that matter), it still is pretty cool.  And no, apparently not all Les Pauls can magically teleport young women.

"Shake Me" did not chart, but Night Songs hit #3 on the charts in early 1987, spawned 2 other singles that did chart, and sold 3 million units.  The band went on to sell more than 20 million units in the 80's and early 90's, before the shift to grunge (and problems with lead singer Tom Keifer's vocal chords) ended the bands' run of platinum records.

Cool trivia fact:  Cinderella was discovered by Jon Bon Jovi, who saw them in 1985 at the old Empire Rock Club in Philly. He told his A&R rep about them and soon after they were signed to Mercury/Polygram.

Cinderella's "Gypsy Road" was posted on ERV in June, 2015.

Monday, December 12, 2011

MTV's 10th Anniversary Video

The Pretenders video was the 50th Video we have put up at ERV, and we thought that it would be cool to show something different.  Think of this as a musical sorbet, to cleanse the palate prior to the next bunch of tasty videos.

This video was shown during MTV's 10th Anniversary Special, a one-hour special that aired on the channel in 1991.  As a result, there might be some 90's videos on it, (heavens to Murgatroyd!!) but the clip is dominated by 80's acts.  While most of the video clips shown are not rare, a few from this site do slip in.

Can you recall ...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Pretenders - Day After Day

It took Chrissie Hynde years to find the right fit in a band, but once she did, the results were impressive.  Hynde was originally from Ohio, but moved to London in the early 1970's in order to pursue a career in music.  After several failed attempts (including early versions of both The Clash and The Damned), Hynde found her band in the Pretenders.

The band was named after The Platters song "The Great Pretender," and found almost immediate success -- their first album hit #9 in the U.S. and was a #1 album in the UK in 1980.  Pretenders II followed in late 1981 and hit #10 on the U.S. charts.

"Day After Day" is a rare Pretenders song not written entirely by Hynde (guitarist James Honeyman-Scott co-wrote it).  The song was never released as a single, but the band did release a video (of course), which went into heavy rotation on my favorite video music channel.  The song is classic Pretenders, mixing pop, new wave and punk into something greater than the sum of its parts.  This is a band at the top of their game.

Unfortunately, drugs would soon destroy the first incarnation of the band.  Bassist Pete Frandon was kicked out of the Pretenders in June 1982 due to drug use, and guitarist James Honeyman-Scott died days later of cocaine intolerance.  Farndon subsequently drowned in 1983, after taking heroin in a bathtub and passing out.  Hynde soldiered on, but to my ears was never quite able to fully re-capture the magic of the first version of the band.

Note that "2000 Miles" was posted at ERV in December, 2012.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Steve Perry - Strung Out

By 1984, the relationship between Steve Perry and the rest of the Journey had become strained, so Perry did what all 80's lead singers did under similar circumstances:  he released a solo album.  Street Talk went on to become an enormous success, selling more than 2 million units and peaking at #12 on the charts.  Four songs broke the top 40, including "Oh Sherrie," which hit #3.

"Strung Out" was the fourth single from Street Talk, and it charted (at #40), before fading into relative obscurity (until now, that is).  The video was shot after "Oh Sherrie," but plays like a slightly amusing prequel (for those who are not familiar with "Oh Sherrie," just watch them back-to-back).

While "Strung Out" is admittedly pretty basic (i.e., commercial), I have always had a soft spot for it (call it a guilty pleasure).  It is, I think, a catchy, well crafted song.

After Street Talk, Perry waived over whether to leave Journey, and actually started work on a follow up album, tentatively called Against the Wall.  Eventually, Perry returned to Journey and sang on 1987's Raised on Radio, before leaving the band (Perry actually left the industry as well, for 7 years).  Against the Wall was never finished, but a few of the songs made it on to Perry's 1994 solo album For the Love of Strange Medicine.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Chilliwack - My Girl (Gone Gone Gone)

Chilliwack's history dates all the way back to 1964.  Originally called The Classics, and then The Collectors, the band became Chilliwack in 1970 (!).  The band named itself after a town near Vancouver (which in turn is named after a Salishan phrase meaning "going back up").

While the band had no less than 10 songs that charted in the U.S. between 1973 - 1983, they are best known for their 1981 album, Wanna Be a Star, and "My Girl," their biggest single, which peaked at #22 in the U.S. (and was a #1 hit in Canada).  While the song may sound like there is a story behind it, Bill Henderson (who wrote it) states that it was a total figment of his imagination.

The band released two albums after Wanna Be a Star, but was unable to generated much momentum, and broke up in 1984.

Special shout out to Steve and Karen, who posted this on their fb pages and spurred me to action.  It is great to have old friends who like 80's music.

Cool trivia fact:  The second single from Wanna Be a Star, called "I Believe" hit #33 on the U.S. charts, so technically Chilliwack is not a one hit wonder.  No, I don't recall ever hearing "I Believe" either.