Sunday, December 2, 2018

Heart - Even It Up

The early 1980's were a difficult time in the music industry.  While the disco and punk movements had somewhat faded from prominence, New Wave was now in full swing, and the classic rock acts of the 1970's seemed outdated by many listeners.

For Heart, this transition was compounded by the changing personnel in the band.  While the Wilson sisters (Ann - vocals and Nancy - guitar) remained the constants, guitarist (and Nancy's longtime boyfriend) Roger Fisher left Heart in 1979.

Undeterred, Heart soldiered on, releasing the Bébé le Strange LP in 1980.  This is a fascinating album, as the band's music is all over the place - to my ear, this sounds like a group working to rediscover what their sound is.  In the midst of this experiment is a great straight-up rock song, "Even It Up," with a cool early video to boot.  Particularly noteworthy are sailor Nancy (who seems to really like her Stratocasters), and the sax trio.

Bébé le Strange went gold and peaked at #5, while "Even It Up" reached #33.  Heart's greatest hits album was released later in 1980, and marked the end of their first period of mainstream success.  I suspect that most listeners and critics at the time would have viewed this as the likely end of the band.  Improbably, Heart re-positioned themselves as a pop/hair band in the mid to late 1980's, ushering in a period of commercial success that was even greater than their 1970's heyday.

Heart has remained active for many years, but appears to be on hiatus as of this writing.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Kool & the Gang - Misled

This is  Kool & the Gang's second appearance on ERV, as "Get Down On It" was posted back in 2013 (and has a solid if brief summary of the band).

Unlike the funk and R&B that characterized most of Kool & the Gang's work, "Misled" is a catchy pop gem with an excellent guitar hook.  Additionally, the video is the perfect stealthy Halloween type that we love at ERV.  From the creepy guys in robes to the Indiana Jones-inspired later scenes, the whole thing is steeped in pure 1984 awesomeness.  The ghostly white dancer and that amazing blue jacket round out the major characters in the video.

The song ended up being a big hit, and reached #10 on the charts, which surprised us.  To be fair, the 1984 Emergency LP also spawned "Fresh" and "Cherish," so it isn't as if there wasn't a lot of Kool on the radio back in the day.  However, we don't remember seeing the video on MTV, which is kind of a shame.

While Kool & the Gang did have a few hits after "Misled," they had mostly faded from view by the late 1980's.  However, they remain active in the industry as of this writing.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Huey Lewis And The News - Doing It All For My Baby

Although ERV has been mostly on hiatus of late, we could not miss the opportunity to celebrate All Hallows Even.  We've been posted rare-ish, Halloweeny (is that even a word) vids since soon after we opened up shop, 7 years ago, and it's become a tradition.  So, on to this years' festivities.

By 1986, Huey Lewis and the News had become big stars.  Fore! (the 1986 LP) was their second consecutive #1 album, and between Sports, Back to the Future, and Fore!, they scored 11 top 40 hits (and 3 #1s - "The Power of Love," "Stuck With You," and "Jacob's Ladder.")

"Doing It All For My Baby" was the last single off the Fore! album, and was released in June 1987.  The video has a prefect Halloween vibe, and is actually a tiny bit darker than I remember.  After the long intro, we're treated to a campy, monstery rendition of the song, with Huey and the band playing most of the major roles.

The song would go on to reach #6 on the charts, though I think this represented the end of the band's superstar period.  However, they have remained active in the industry (with some lineup changes through the years) until the present day.   

Cool trivia fact:  The model in the video is Tara Shannon, and there is an interview with her here.

We've previously posted videos for "Some of My Lies are True," "Workin' For A Livin'," and "Heart and Soul" (which was part of ERV's first All Hallows Even celebration in 2011.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Pat Benatar - Promises In The Dark

Pat Benatar's Precious Time album showcases the singer at the height of her powers and to this day it remains your author's favorite Benatar album.  While the LP didn't break new ground, it did show a refinement in the songwriting.  This combination of sharp, straight up rock and that voice (certainly one of the strongest in 1980's rock) proved irresistible to fans and led to huge commercial success.

While "Promises in the Dark" only reached #38 on the charts, the album went to #1 and ended up going double platinum to boot.  Sales were likely helped by the performance video, which was prominently featured on MTV, as was the sister video for "Fire and Ice."

After Precious Time, Benatar's sound evolved in a more of a pop direction, and eventually she even got into jump blues (on the True Love album).

Long time readers will recall that we featured Benatar's "You Better Run" cover as the second post on ERV in August 2011 (not coincidentally it was also the second video ever played on MTV).  In addition, her cover of "All Fired Up" was on ERV in March of 2014

Cool trivia fact:  "Promises in the Dark" is one of only two top 40 singles entirely co-written by Benatar and Giraldo (out of 15 top 40 hits).  The other one: "Ooh Ooh Song" from 1984's Tropico.

Cool trivia fact #2:  "Take It Anyway You Want It," (from the Precious Time LP) was co-written by Neil Giraldo and Martin Briley. (Yes, that Martin Briley, featured on ERV in October 2011 for "Salt of My Tears.")