Friday, November 1, 2013

The Blow Monkeys - Digging Your Scene

The Blow Monkeys were part of the U.K. blued-eyed soul scene of the mid 1980's.  The band formed in 1981 and were led by singer/songwriter Dr. Robert (Bruce Robert Howard).  While the group had ten singles and four albums on the U.K. charts between 1986 and 1990, they are essentially a one hit wonder in the U.S. -- although they did contribute a cover of "You Don't Own Me" to the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.

For the blog, we opted to go with their one charting single, 1986's "Digging Your Scene" from the Animal Magic LP.  The smooth retro soul sound contrasts nicely with the lyrics, which are pretty blatantly about AIDS.  Interestingly, Dr. Robert (the songwriter) was straight but really enjoyed the gay/club scene in Britain.  Given all of the negative attention on AIDS at the time, he decided to write a song expressing his support for the community.  "Digging Your Scene" would go on to reach #14 in the U.S., while the album went to #35.

While the Blow Monkeys were unable to maintain their success in the U.S., they remained popular in the U.K. and became increasingly political over time.  Their 1987 anti-Thatcher song "Celebrate (The Day After You)" was banned by the BBC for it's perceived political bias, although it did reach #52 on the charts there.  The band broke up in 1990, but reunited in 2007 and has continued to perform as of this writing.

Cool trivia fact:  Although The Blow Monkeys' name sounds slightly obscene, it is actually Australian slang for someone playing the Didgeridoo.  It turns out that front man Dr. Robert spent his teen years in Australia before returning to the U.K. and I suppose that he liked the expression.

1 comment:

  1. The Blow Monkeys Ha! Ha!
    "Interestingly, Dr. Robert (the songwriter) was straight but really enjoyed the gay/club scene in Britain."
    After watching this video. OK What Ever You Say...
    It is a really good song.