Posts Tagged ‘Bonnie Hayes’

fullsizeoutput_1018So I found myself, as a visitor, in a hospital room yesterday morning with time to kill. Sure, I have a few games on my phone that I sometimes (obsessively) play, but I wasn’t in the mood. What to do? I decided to give the new-to-me Xfinity TV app, which enables subscribers to take the cable-TV experience with them, a try. (It’s Xfinity’s way of competing with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, I imagine.) It’s a good idea marred by the same basic problem of cable-TV in general: excess.

In other words, every friggin’ channel you don’t want is there, sharing space with the few you do, in the “live” TV section. As a result, scrolling through the guide is something of a nightmare.

fullsizeoutput_1017So, just as I often do at home, I found my way to the OnDemand section; and, thus, today’s Top 5 was born. No rhyme nor reason to the picks – these are, quite literally, the first music-minded opening sequences that occurred to me (that I could find on YouTube, I hasten to add).

1) Fast Times at Ridgemont High – “We Got the Beat” (Go-Go’s). I have to say, I’ve seen this teen comedy many times, including at the movie theater at the Village Mall in Horsham in 1982, though not once in the past 25 years…until yesterday, that is, when I watched the first few minutes to gauge the quality of the picture via the hospital’s Wi-Fi. Which is to say: I’d forgotten just about everything about it, including that the Go-Go’s provided the soundtrack to the opening – and what an opening! In just a few minutes, it portrays mall-based teen life circa the early ‘80s as well if not better than anything I’ve seen.

2) Valley Girl – “Girls Like Me” (Bonnie Hayes & the Wild Combo). Another early ‘80s teen film, another early ‘80s pop masterpiece. (I wrote more about the film here.)

3) Saturday Night Fever – “Stayin’ Alive” (Bee-Gees). Through the years, the film has taken something of a backseat to its pulsating soundtrack, which is a shame: It’s a quite-good (and fairly downbeat) look at life in NYC during the late ‘70s.

4) Grease – “Grease” (Frankie Valli). What can be said about this film? Some folks hate it; I don’t. As I wrote here, I saw it a dozen times in ’78 – and have seen it far more times than I can count in the years since.

5) Foxes – “On the Radio” (Donna Summer). Another good (though not great) film that documents a slice of life experienced by some teens in the late ‘70s/early ‘80s. It’s notable for starring Jodie Foster and former Runaway Cherie Curie. (I couldn’t find just the opening credits, so the below clip is actually for the entire film. I.e., it’s sure to be removed by the YouTube gods soon…)

And a few bonuses…

6) American Graffiti – “Rock Around the Clock” (Bill Haley & the Comets). A classic film that never gets old. On a related note: Cindy Williams’ memoir, Shirley, I Jest!, includes her memories of making the movie – along with lots more. Well worth the read!

7) Billy Jack – “One Tin Soldier” (Coven) – Oh, I know: Billy Jack?! Despite its many flaws, it’s one of my favorite movies. I first saw it as a kid, when this song and the film’s fight scenes grabbed my attention; and, in the decades since, the underlying hippie message of peace and love (and karate chops to back ‘em up) appeal to me all the more…

IMG_5201I’ve been skipping through the years every which way of late, somewhat like Marty McFly in Back to the Future II – where I stop next, who knows? Today’s edition picks up the non-linear tale in January 1983 with Trouser Press, a magazine I usually read at the bookstore.

It was a difficult time for the music industry. As Mick Farren points out in his “Surface Noise” column: “The record industry is in almost complete decline, bled to death by cowardice, ignorance, home taping and video games.” And: “Mass market radio…has gone after the zombie market and based itself largely on music a decade or more old.”

The albums I bought that month included Lou Reed’s The Blue Mask; Neil Young’s Trans; Van Morrison’s Moondance; Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Chronicle; Janis Joplin’s Greatest Hits; and Todd Rundgren’s The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect. There was much more that I wanted, and a few came from this issue.

IMG_52071) Bonnie Hayes with the Wild Combo – “Shelly’s Boyfriend.” Bonnie & band are featured in a quick-hit feature with fellow newbie acts R.E.M., Wall of Voodoo and Trees, who apparently was just one guy (Dane Conover). It covers “who,” “how,” “what” and “why.” We learn that “a decade ago, San Francisco native Bonnie Hayes was a teenager playing keyboards in jazz-rock fusion bands. In the ensuing years she lived the life of the journeyman musician, moving to New York and then Atlanta, working in every sort of bar band imaginable, from jazz to Top 40 to country. At one point she cranked out ‘heavy rock’ in a group that included future Foghat member Nick Jameson.” Later, we learn that Hayes & Co. “play energetic, gleaming pop music, not unlike current cotton-candy ‘new wave’ bands but with considerably more depth.”

Here’s a cool video of Hayes and the Wild Combo from September of ’83 performing “Shelly’s Boyfriend” and “Shake.”

IMG_52082) Bruce Springsteen – “Atlantic City.” Starkness at the Edge of Town reads the headline for this review of Springsteen’s now-universally acclaimed Nebraska album, which he recorded on a four-track cassette recorder. The songs were demos; he assumed, while laying them down, that he’d flesh them out in the studio with the E Street Band. The sparseness of the tracks, however, seemed to capture a certain essence that was lost when they were ported into the E Street soundscape; and, as a result, Springsteen released his original takes instead. Reviewer Ira Robbins, however, isn’t totally sold: “When Springsteen searches for the point of essentially meaningless crimes in the title track and ‘Johnny 99,’ he comes up empty-handed.” Later, he observes that “[w]hen Springsteen doesn’t force Big Truths onto his subject matter he’s a more perceptive commentator and ultimately more profound.”

 

IMG_52113) Bow Wow Wow – “I Want Candy.” I have doubts that the Top 20 Domestic Albums Chart featured at the front of the magazine is accurate. Chief reason: Too many outlier acts, like Yaz, English Beat, R.E.M. and the Malcolm McLaren-created and -controlled Bow Wow Wow, which featured teenager Annabella Lwin and the Ants from Adam & the Ants. There were controversies surrounding the group, ranging from McLaren’s supposed support of home taping to his sexualization of the underage Lwin, most notably in a recreation of Manet’s “Le Déjeuner sur l’herbs” painting that was used as the See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang Yeah, City All Over! Go Ape Crazy! cover art in the U.K. and for the Last of the Mohicans E.P. in the U.S. (I won a copy of the E.P. in a give-away from our local newspaper, the Today’s Spirit. I forget when, exactly.)615jjsYYBmL._SY355_

Regardless, this is still a fun rendition of the 1965 Strangeloves’ hit. It originally appeared on Last of the Mohicans and, then, topped the I Want Candy album, which – if the Trouser Press charts are to be believed – was No. 18 on the charts.

IMG_52154) Rachel Sweet – “Shadows of the Night.” In the quick-hit Fax & Rumours section, there’s this: “Rachel Sweet may be small, but she’s not about to let other female singers walk over her. Last year the atomic Akronite recorded D.L. Byron’s ‘Shadows of the Night,’ but added lyrics of her own (with Byron’s approval). This year Pat Benatar is riding the song into the charts. It’s Sweet’s version, however, and the post-punk popper isn’t credited. Sweet’s manager/father is aiming for an out-of-court settlement with the song publisher to smooth ruffled egos and redirect royalties.”

IMG_52165) R.E.M. – “Radio Free Europe.” “The unassuming quartet got together in their native Athens, Georgia a little more than two years ago,” we learn in the “how” section of this quick-hit feature. Under “why,” we’re told: “R.E.M. is compared to everyone from the Byrds, B-52s (fellow Athenians) and Psychedelic Furs to the Who, Television and Herman’s Hermits. They themselves list influences as disparate as Patti Smith, Donna Summer and Pere Ubu. Their haunting, minor-key songs feature insistent choruses, Stipe’s raspy singing and Buck’s ringing Richebacker. Lyrics, written mostly by Stipe, are purposely oblique. ‘You should just be able to get a feeling from the whole song,’ Buck says. ‘It doesn’t have to make any sense as far as structure goes.’”

Here they are on Late Night With David Letterman later in the year…

vg_first_cdThe 1983 movie Valley Girl is not a five- , four- or even three-star effort, yet it’s fun with a capital F. It ably captures the flavor of the early ’80s while unreeling a plot shared by many a teen flick: a girl (Deborah Foreman) falls for a guy (Nicholas Cage) from the wrong side of the tracks.

The DVD bonus features are cool, too. Nicholas Cage sits down with the film’s director, Martha Coolidge, for a fascinating conversation; and there’s a documentary that hones in on the acts whose music filled the totally tubular soundtrack. The singer from Modern English, for example, recalls how the band was playing to, at most, 200 indifferent club-going folks a night in England when “I Melt with You” – thanks to MTV – became a major hit in the States. They flew to Florida for their first gig (dressed for cold weather, no less), and found themselves playing to a crowd of 10,000 screaming fans who knew all the words to all their songs.

moremusic_vgIn addition to Modern English, that soundtrack included songs from the Plimsouls, Flirts, Josie Cotton and Bonnie Hayes. At the time, though, licensing issues prevented its release on vinyl – a real shame, as it likely would’ve helped some of them graduate from “struggling” to “successful.” It wasn’t until a decade later, in fact, that two CD collections “inspired” by the flick hit the store shelves. (Some of the songs weren’t in the movie, but are representative of the era.) So, for today’s Top 5: Music From Valley Girl. Some are true lost treasures.

1) Modern English – “I Melt With You.” I saw Modern English in May 1983, when they opened for Roxy Music at the Tower Theater. My main memory of their performance: kids spilling into the aisles to dance when they played this song.

2) The Plimsouls – “A Million Miles Away.” Never saw the Plimsouls, but I did catch Peter Case at Dobbs one very-late night in 1989 on his tour in support of his The Man with the Blue Post-Modern Fragmented Neo-Traditionalist Guitar album. Good show.

3) The Flirts – “Jukebox”

4) Josie Cotton – “He Could Be the One”

5) Bonnie Hayes with the Wild Combo – “Girls Like Me”