1. Rio (Carnival Version) - Duran Duran
2. White Feathers - Kajagoogoo
3. We Live So Fast (Special Dance Mix) - Heaven 17
4. Always Hoping - Vicious Pink
5. Underneath the Radar (12" Remix) - Underworld
6. Photographic - Depeche Mode
7. Sex Dwarf - Soft Cell
8. Heaven is Waiting - The Danse Society
9. A Day (Remix) - Clan of Xymox
10. Dancing in Berlin (Dance Remix) - Berlin
11. Whip It - Devo
12. I Melt with You - Modern English
13. Just Like Heaven - The Cure
14. Never Say Never - Romeo Void
15. Chosen Time - New Order
Notes and other random things: Every so often, I go real old school with the old school. The multiplier makes this podcast feeble decrepit school in some ways. Everything you hear in this one is roughly 1981-1985, the exceptions being Underneath the Radar by Underworld and club/radio mainstay Just Like Heaven by The Cure.
This episode begins with Duran Duran's Rio, the lead-off track for their album of the same name. The particular version here, the Carnival Version, is very similar to the original, though it contains a few more measures of instrumentation for a nice change of pace to the familiar one any retro lovers will know by heart. Stephen "Tin Tin" Duffy, known for his catchy 80s tune Kiss Me and for his band The Lilac Time, was the original vocalist for the band, though he left after a year figuring they would go nowhere. Simon Le Bon eventually became the frontman and the highly recognizable face of the group, though it's keyboardist Nick Rhodes with his flair for production and keyboard wizardry that really helped define the group's sound. An avid fine artist, he was acutely aware early on of the power that music videos could have on album sales, as any boy on the verge of his teens will recall from the early days of MTV. Though most guys at that age were taunted and teased mercilessly for listening to such flamboyant music, Duran Duran were an early guilty pleasure that found their way into my regular music rotation when I wasn't hanging out with the rabble-rousers.
Speaking of Mr. Rhodes, there is a larger connection between Duran Duran and Kajagoogoo, the second band appearing in this episode, than just the beat matching. It was Nick who discovered them and persuaded them to sign with EMI records despite a bidding war among three other record labels. He also helped produce their first album, White Feathers, along with Duran Duran producer Colin Thurston (who has made several appearances here on CRC doing work for Talk Talk and others). That album contained the title track heard here. An interesting side note: Nick also produced Kajagoogoo's biggest hit, Too Shy, which went on to top the charts in 1983. The kicker is that Duran Duran wouldn't have their own number one until later to the chagrin of Nick. I'm certain there are no sour grapes as Duran Duran went on to have a much longer career when all was said and done.
Over the past two episodes, the summer edition and this week's new wave edition, you may have seen and heard your fill of Modern English for a while. Both Face of Wood and now the heartbreakingly overplayed I Melt With You come from the band's second album called After the Snow. If I may say so, it is one of my all-time favorite albums. Vocalist Robbie Grey, Gary McDowell, Michael Conroy, Richard Brown, and Stephen Walker put together a sound that resonates with me more than any other: guitars, percussion, excellent vocal timbre and just the right level of keyboard accoutrements. I'm pretty sure that is the reason I fell in love with New Order and mid-80s The Cure as well. Produced by Hugh Jones, who did a lot of work with Echo and the Bunnymen, and released in 1983, After the Snow has great melodies, lovely arrangements and every song hits the sweet spot. And though I Melt With You was re-recorded and re-issued in '90, used in a Burger King ad, a Hershey ad, a Ritz ad, a Taco Bell ad and in cover form by Nouvelle Vague for automaker GMC, and overplayed on 80s flashback radio shows everywhere, if you can somehow transport yourself back in time and try to remember how you felt when you first heard it, you'll recall just how amazing this song still is. A little Modern English trivia: The band formed in Colchester, Essex in 1977 and were originally called The Lepers. Thankfully that didn't stick.
Heaven is Waiting from Danse Society represents the pinnacle of the band's early output. Kind of like B-Movie, they suffered from poor timing, ill-conceived decisions from label management and never really were able to capitalize on momentum. While recording the material for the Heaven is Waiting album, the guys sought to work with Ian Broudie, who produced for Echo and the Bunnymen, had his own band Care and later went on to form The Lightning Seeds. Anyway, Ian had other projects in the works and the band instead teamed up with Nigel Gray, who had worked with the Police and Siouxsie and the Banshees. It should have been a good fit, but Gray apparently had a rigid schedule consisting of 10am -5pm sessions. The problem was that even if a session was going well, he would call it a day at 5pm. The result was an album that, according to keyboardist Lyndon Scarfe, "was dull, lifeless, uninspired, and depressed the shit out of us." While the guys did eventually hook up with Brodie to retool the tracks, their Arista label decided to release the Stones cover 2000 Light Years from Home as their third single, something the band fought adamantly to prevent. Despite a video and a huge promotional push, the single failed to chart and it thus began their ultimate demise. Shame, really.
As founder of 415 Records, Howie Klein brought bands like Wire Train, Translator, Until December and Red Rockers to the fore. He later went on to become the President of Reprise Records from 1989 until 2001. In this episode, you'll hear one of the ultimate sexual equivocations from the 80s in the track Never Say Never by Romeo Void, another one of Klein's finds. Lead singer Deborah Iyall is Native American and if anyone could look less like how she sounds, Deborah would certainly qualify with her half-spoken, half-sung style. Though Romeo Void disbanded in 1985, she did a couple of solo albums and, having teamed up with songwriter Peter Dunne, is still performing live today, though they haven't quite generated the buzz that she and her band did in 1982 with this tune.
That's all for this episode. As always, if you like any of the music you hear, please support the artists. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the image above is from artist Patrick Nagel. His iconic work appeared on the cover of the Rio album by Duran Duran, though an alternate image was used on the 2001 limited edition remastered version. Nagel died in 1984 at the young age of 38. He was found dead in his car after suffering an apparent heart attack. Ironically, he had earlier participated in a 15-minute celebrity Aerobathon to support the American Heart Association.
So, on that happy note ... but I'll be back again soon with another episode, so there's that!
Thanks again to everyone for your continued support.