Monday, July 2, 2012

Georgia Satellites - Keep Your Hands to Yourself

"Keep Your Hands to Yourself" has one of the best opening lines of any eighties song: "I got a little change in my pocket going jing-a-ling-a-ling."  And with that auspicious beginning, the Georgia Satellites burst onto the music scene.  The Satellites played a wonderfully retro brand of rock and roll that owes as much to Chuck Berry as it does to Lynyrd Skynyrd.  However, their hybrid rock & roll/country stylings were well off the beaten trail in the mid-1980's, a fact that would eventually hurt the band.  [If this story reminds our readers of Lone Justice or Jason and the Scorchers, well, you may be on to something.]

The Georgia Satellites originally formed in the early 1980s, and actually broke up in 1984, as their career appeared to be going nowhere.  Fortunately, their manager continued to shop the band's demo recordings, and eventually found a small British label that released them as the Keep the Faith EP.  The positive response led to the band re-forming and they were subsequently signed by Elektra in 1986.

Their eponymous debut was a huge hit -- the album topped out at #5, while "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" peaked at #2, kept out of the top spot by Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer."  Sadly, from there it was all downhill, as rock radio more or less ignored the band, although they did manage to have a minor hit in 1988 with their cover of The Swinging Blue Jeans' song "Hippy Hippy Shake."  The band finally broke up in 1990.

Lead singer/songwriter Dan Baird would go on to have success with his 1991 CD, Love Songs for the Hearing Impaired, which goes on the list of greatest album titles ever.  Baird continues to perform as of this writing.  Other members of the Satellites re-formed the band and continue to perform as the Georgia Satellites.  Additionally, lead guitarist Rick  Richards is also a member of Izzy Stradlin and the Ju Ju Hounds (Izzy was a former member of Guns n' Roses, by the by).

Cool trivia fact:  "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" was supposedly based on an argument between the Satellite's drummer and his girlfriend, and was written on a tour bus.

Cool Trivia Fact #2:  The demo version of this song helped land the Satellite's recording contract.  However,  the band did not like any of the 'professional' takes of the song, so they put the original demo version on the album, and it is the version that you hear to this day (including in the video above).

The Satellites' video for "Battleship Chains" was posted on ERV in March 2014.

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