1. Let Me Go - Heaven 17
2. New Song (Extended Version) - Howard Jones
3. Domino Dancing - Pet Shop Boys
4. Living in a Box (Razormaid! Mix) - Living In A Box
5. I Don't Want Your Love (Curiosity Mix) - Duran Duran
6. What is Love? (Deeeee Mix) - Deee-Lite
7. Pablo - Beloved
8. I've Been Thinking About You (Def 12" Mix) - Londonbeat
9. Ride the Bullet (The DNA Remix) - Army Of Lovers
10. I Say Yeah (Razormaid! Mix) - Secchi
11. Intoxication (Dubfield Mix) - React 2 Rhythm
12. Dirty Epic (Album Version) - Underworld
13. X-ray - Camouflage
14. Russian Radio (Razormaid! Mix) - Red Flag
15. 1963 - New Order
Notes and other random things:
Believe it or not, I get a lot of great email from listeners, so before I get to the music, let's dig into the CRC mailbag:
Dear DJ Tintin,
You're always busy with your pod-thingy. What, you too much of a big shot to call anymore?
Heh...sorry, mom. Just trying to give people their fill of good retro music. I'll call you next week. I promise.
Okay, that's it for the mailbag this week.
As for the music, most of this episode is rather upbeat and fun with one glaring exception: 1963 by New Order. Regular listeners will notice that New Order turns up a lot in these podcasts, yet I've never really devoted much time to writing much about them. I don't know why that is, exactly. After all, they're one of my favorite bands of all time, so you'd figure I'd give them a ton of column inches in my write-ups. But, everything about the band has always been understated, from their lyrics, to their cover art, and even to their significance in music history. In a weird way, I suppose, my omissions might be a greater sign of respect for a group that managed for so long to conceal itself. I mean, they weren't much for interviews and their liner notes rarely revealed anything about the members. Heck, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, and Stephen Morris were sort of unwilling rock stars anyway, their new band coming about after the dissolution of Joy Division and the death of former band mate and lead singer Ian Curtis. There was some serious discussion as to whether or not they wanted to continue as a band after the tragedy. Thankfully, they did continue on. They overcame early criticisms of being a Joy Division sound-alike and eventually developed their own sound, creating some of the most memorable dance music from the 80s. Blue Monday, for instance, is still the top-selling 12" dance mix of all time. (Check out CRC #19 to hear the song.)
As for 1963, there is disagreement about its meaning. A superficial listen to the lyrics reveals a grim scenario whereby a man murders his lover and takes on another. The song is a recap of the failed relationship and seems to be sung from the perspective of the deceased. When taken into account with the date, 1963, however, the song, depending on what you believe, takes on a deeper significance. While much of New Order's music is left for open interpretation, as the band has said, it has also been said that lead singer Bernard Sumner wrote the song about the death of John F. Kennedy. According to some, Sumner had a theory that surmised JFK hired a hitman to kill Jackie so that he could be with Marilyn Monroe. History turned out differently and the bullets found a different target. So distraught was Monroe, she killed herself. The song, therefore, is sung from Jackie's perspective, begging John to spare her life. It's an interesting theory, but history will also show that Monroe died a year before Kennedy. Some have suggested the song refers to a soldier taking on another wife while fighting overseas and killing his domestic lover out of necessity or perhaps guilt. Some have suggested “Johnny” is a reference to Bernard's adoptive father John Dicken. Whatever the case, it's admittedly a sort of a down way to end a podcast lyrically, though the song's producer, Stephen Hague, has pointed out that it's the only song about domestic violence you can dance to. I'll hang my hat on that statement.
New Song by Howard Jones is the first appearance for HoJo on CRC. With few exceptions, his music was always positive, but when you’re a self-described optimist that glove would seem to fit. Listen closely and see if you don’t find similarities between this song and Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel. While it’s long gone now, Jones' distinctive Mohawk hairdo was quite the spectacle back in the day.
They were one-hit wonders in the U.S. with their 1987 hit Living in a Box, but the band of the same name had a second album that did quite well in Sheffield, England, their place of origin. The song Blow the House Down from the 1989 release Gatecrashing included Queen’s Brian May on guitar. This particular song is from their eponymous debut.
After Living in a Box, the podcast took an odd house-y kind of turn. Pablo has a dub feel and comes from Beloved’s remix album called Blissed Out. I’ve Been Thinking About You is the 12” version of the #1 tune by Londonbeat from 1991. The original appeared on their second full-length release called In the Blood. The first time I heard this tune, I thought it was Roland Gift and the boys from Fine Young Cannibals. A reasonable mistake, but a mistake no less. Ride the Bullet is the b-side of Crucified, probably the best-known hit from Army of Lovers. They always reminded me of Dead or Alive with Victorian-era costumes instead of drab-looking gothic clothes. This particular track was remixed by DNA, who has done many remix projects including the classic version of Tom’s Diner by Suzanne Vega (CRC #9)
I Say Yeah is an awesome dance track by Italo-Disco producer Stefano Secchi. This particular song is the Razormaid! remix of the track and features vocals by Orlando Johnson.
React 2 Rhythm grew out of the West London dance scene. The song here, Intoxication, was the second major release from the group, having signed initially to legendary producer William Orbit’s Guerilla Records imprint. This particular mix, the Dubfield Mix, was one of two by techno outfit Leftfield. The other was called the Clubfield Mix. At least half a dozen others remixed this track including pre-eminent 80s remixer Justin Robertson and John Digweed.
Underworld has appeared on CRC before with their track Skyscraper I Love You (CRC #17). Here they return with the album version of Dirty Epic from the same dubnobasswithmyheadman CD. It’s hard to believe the transformation these guys have gone through over the years and maybe even harder to believe Karl Hyde and Rick Smith have been making music together for over 30 years. Though they haven’t yet been on CRC, their early ‘80s outfit Freuer will make an appearance at some point in time.
Finally, there’s the Camouflage track X-ray. This version was taken from their limited, 2-disc, numbered best of collection called Rewind. In case you were wondering, I own pressing #3502. As the band puts it, they “liked the aura of the letters forming this word.” Before shooting the video, they wanted to watch the film The Man with the X-ray Eyes. The main character in the film is named Ray Milland. Because it took them ages to find a copy of the film they had watched as children, they eventually named the bonus track of the X-ray single In Search of Ray Milland. Bet you didn’t know that!
Seems like these write-ups keep getting longer and longer every new episode. I’ll have to work on shortening them. I just don’t want to gyp any of the bands out of their due glory, though I may have to concentrate on the songs that have really neat stories behind them in the future. I don’t know. We’ll see, I guess.
That’s all for this episode. I’ll be back again soon with more mail from the mailbag and some more groovy retro tunes. Until then…be good, everyone.
By the way, the image associated with this episode is Half Face with Collar by Roy Lichtenstein. It is significant not only for the high price it was supposed to fetch at auction (and didn’t), but for the fact it was completed in…you guessed it…1963. Thanks to the website artobserved.com for the great image.