Saturday, June 9, 2012

Marshall Crenshaw - Whenever You're On My Mind

For people who don't believe that a pop song can be a well-crafted work of art, may I present Marshall Crenshaw.  He wrote a truckload of great pop songs, and his first two albums, 1982's self-titled debut and 1983's Field Day are chock full of them.  It is just short of criminal that he is an official one hit wonder, as only 1982's "Someday, Someway" broke the top 40.

In retrospect, I think Crenshaw may have been hurt by the video music revolution as much as any artist -- he released a couple of performance videos in 1982, but "Whenever ..." was his first 'real' video.  My guess is that he wasn't into the whole music video thing at the time.  Additionally, his 60's influenced pop songs may have been seen as a bit dated in the early 1980s.  Looking back on them now, however, reinforces the timeless nature of his songs.

"Whenever You're On My Mind" is a great example of his work.  On its surface, it is a love song, but the catchy hook and thoughtful lyrics make it one of the better love songs written in the decade.  Plus, you have to love a songwriter who uses the word reverie (go ahead, you can look it up if you like ... I'll wait).  Amazingly, neither the song, nor the album (Field Day) even charted upon their release in 1983.

The video was played a little back in the day, and then seems to have been forgotten.  In fact, it was hard to find even today.  For folks who like it, I suggest listening to samples from his first two albums -- there are a lot of pop classics there.

Cool trivia fact:  Crenshaw co-wrote the Gin Blossom's 1995 hit "Til I Hear It from You," which peaked at #11 in 1996 (the highest charting song that Marshall Crenshaw wrote).  The guitar intro, in particular, sounds a lot like a Crenshaw lick.


  1. One of my favorite albums (Flag Day). Wow! Brings back memories of my first apartment and college days in Atlanta/Decatur GA '83/84! Thanks for the video post!

    1. Glad that you liked it. It is amazing how songs can bring us back to a specific time and place, even years later.

  2. I've always wondered who the actress is in this classic video.