Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Motels - Take the L

While the Motels may have seemed like an overnight success in the early 1980's, the original version of the band actually formed in 1971.  Led by the beautiful and charismatic Martha Davis, the Motels kicked around the California rock scene for years before finding a niche as a new wave act.  In fact, this version of the Motels was essentially the second iteration of the band, with only Martha Davis as the common member.

"Take the L" was off the group's breakthrough album, 1982's All Four One.  It was the Motel's third LP, and nearly turned into a total fiasco.  All Four One was a reworked version of the group's Apocalypso album, which Capitol Records rejected.  [The darker and less radio-friendly Apocalypso was finally released in 2011.]  In fact, "Take the L" was not on Apocalypso, although "Only the Lonely" was.

The video for "Take the L" was directed by Russell Mulcahy, who directed "Video Killed the Radio Star," "Bette Davis Eyes," "Total Eclipse of the Heart," and most of the early Duran Duran videos including "Rio" and "Hungry Like the Wolf."  Shot like a magazine, "Take the L" is an excellent example of an early music video.  In spite of heavy airplay on MTV, the song only reached #52 on the charts, though the All Four One album did better (#16), led by "Only the Lonely" (a #9 hit).

The Motels next LP (1983's Little Robbers) also did well, and the group enjoyed another big hit in "Suddenly Last Summer."  From there the band's popularity gradually waned, and Martha Davis broke up the band to officially go solo in 1987.  Davis re-formed the Motels with new members in 1998 and they remain active as of this writing.

Martha Davis' solo effort "Dont Tell Me the Time" was posted on ERV in June 2014.

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