Thursday, 18 August 2016

Music That Saved Me--Letter M, Part 1

There are lots of M's so lets get started, shall we?

Men Without Hats
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What would the 80's be without Men Without Hats? I loved them so much I bought their cassette of Rhythm of Youth at Eckerd drugs of all places.  I bought it because I adored The Safety Dance which was written after their lead singer Ivan was kicked out of a club for pogo dancing to punk music. They were a French Canadian band so many of their songs had some French it them. Spiderman was lucky enough to see the video for The Safety Dance as his first video on MTV. I was not so lucky--mine was Up All Night by the Boomtown Rats. But I digress. The video for Safety Dance is straight out of a Bruegel painting.
Watch it here:
 I also loved this one off of Rhythm of Youth. it's an environmental song called Antarctica. It's a good example of Ivan's "I'm a teenage boy with my voice breaking" thing he did.
Listen to it here:

Midnight Oil
I din't know much about this Australian band but I fell in love with the message of the song Beds Are Burning. It was the first time I had head anything about aboriginal rights. Their lead singer  Peter Garrett went on to be the Australian equivalent of a labour MP and was made Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts. 
Watch it here:

The Moldy Peaches
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This was Kimya Dawson's band before she went solo. There songs were all very edgy and urban with titles like Who's Got the Crack and Downloading Porn With Davo.  But my favourite song by them is Nothing Came Out. It is the heartbreaking song of a young tomboy who likes her best male friend but he has an interest in skinny, pretty girls that like to talk about bands while all she wants to do is watch cartoons and ride bikes together. The angst of unrequited love is captured perfectly in Kimya's breaking voice. this is so lo-tech that a telephone can be heard ringing mid song causing the faintest whiff of trying not to laugh from her.
Listen to it here:

Marc Almond
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You will know him best as the charismatic lead singer of Soft Cell. Since there are more Letter S's than Letter M's I am including Tainted Love here as a bit of a cheat since it was originally a Soft Cell song, but he did re-record it as a solo artist. I had this on 45 record and wore a groove into it. I recorded it onto cassette and used to play it in my old blue Subaru (my beloved first car) and thump the ceiling of the car every time the music went THUMP THUMP which made the lighting fixture fall down and dangle precariously by the wires about my head. I told my dad I had no idea how it happened.  Here he is on Top of the Pops (think American Bandstand) miming his little heart out.
Watch it here:

But I really fell in love with his solo song Tears Run Rings. I remember hearing it on the radio and the words really spoke to me. I had no idea who Marc Almond was I just knew I had to have this. I drove straight to the mall and bought it on cassette single. Lyrics helpfully provided below video.
Listen to it here:

The Monkees
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The Monkees made a comeback in the late 80's. They showed their sitcom on Nick at Nite and a whole new generation fell in love with the Pre-Fabricated Four. They were perhaps the first manufactured boy band. Elizabeth J and Dana D and I were mad for them and we all went to see them in their 1986 reunion tour (me in Texas, them in Florida) and we had many sleepovers where we watched marathons of episodes we had taped off of the telly. 

I had been seriously in love with Davy Jones since he appeared on that Brady Bunch episode where Marcia says she can get Davy Jones to come to the school disco. I loved his tiny elvish self and British accent. Part of my journey to being an anglophile was Davy Jones as well as Jack Wild who starred in Pufnstuf (but for that's  a story for another day)

I remember very clearly watching them sing this song at the end of the Christmas episode. It was acapella and was in a foreign language (I now know to be Spanish) and I had no idea what it was about, but it haunted me. It's basically a song about the immaculate conception where "a raging wolf sought to bite Mary, but God almighty protected Mary by making her a virgin". If you know Spanish you can pick up words like wolf (lobo) and God (Dios) and actually it just sounds better in Spanish not knowing what it means. Ríu, ríu, chíu is my favourite not-in-English Christmas carol.
Watch it here:

My beloved Davy Jones looks at bit bored as he waits to sing his bit (and even while he sings) and I feel needs a swift kick up the arse for this. Micky Dolenz is singing his heart out. And Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith look suitably serious. 

That's all for Letter M, part 1. Stay tuned Monday for letter M, part 2! 

1 comment:

  1. Great choices! Midnight Oil is one of my very favorite bands ever. So much political insight. The lead singer became a member of Parliament in Australia. One of the other members founded the sexy swim wear company Wicked Weasel. Men Without Hats! I love them so much. They had another great song called Pop Goes The World. Interestingly enough, on Armed Forces Television in Germany, the Safety Dance music (but not the lyrics) was the background for all the Safety tips commercials.