Onigo Boingo - Nothing Bad Ever Happens To Me (1983)
Oingo Boingo was probably the quirkiest of all new wave bands. They were a little bit dance and a little bit horror mixed into a bag full of fun delight. I remember Oingo Boingo most for their Halloween concerts. I saw them two years in a row in the mid 80’s at Irvine Meadows (which is now called the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater). They were great. Almost as good as the show was the audience. We saw several people dressed like Danny Elfman. The costumes ranged from basic to outlandish to extravagant.
“Nothing Bad Ever Happens To Me” is from Oingo Boingo’s 1983 album “Good For Your Soul”. The song was extremely popular on KROQ and other stations that played new wave music.
From the 1983 album “More Fun In The New World”, X came forward with a somewhat new and polished sound with this album. They did extremely well with it and reached #86 on the Billboard Album chart. The album also included “I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts“, “We’re Having Much More Fun” and an outstanding remake of Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Breathless”.
The song “The New World” found X with a great rhythmic track and some rootsy guitar chords. Exene and John Doe touch on politics of the early 80‘s with this song. Somewhat a complaint of Reagonomics and the economy at the time.
A solid tune, "The New World" presents the reinvention of X as politically-minded roots rockers. In fact, it's rather an anthemic song. "The New World" rails against the injustices and unfairness of the world. The punch line being that the biggest injustice is that today's Election Day and so all the bars are closed. On the other hand, it was to date the poppiest and catchiest tune X had written, complete with a chorus that nicks the key line from Martha and the Vandellas' "Dancing in the Streets."
Surprisingly in 1983/84 this song enjoyed brief airplay on dance floors in areas such as L.A., New York City and Orlando. It wasn’t a huge dance club hit, but it was played and people actually danced to it.
From Joy Division’s debut 1979 album Unknown Pleasures “New Dawn Fades” shares the emotion of pain and pleasure encapsulated in Ian Curtis’ dark and mournful vocal. This song never fails to draw me in and capture every feeling in my body. The song has a dour feeling of somber soul that sends an electric chill to the spine.
The song has been popular over the years and has been covered by a few artists, including Moby in cooperation with New Order. There's also a version from Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante. It was featured in the 2005 movie remake House of Wax, the 1995 movie Heat, during the moment where Al Pacino and Robert De Niro meet on screen for the first time; and a live version was used in the 2006 Norwegian film Reprise.
This is it for now... but please check back every month or so for an update...
Remember the late 70's and early 80's? That was a time of big musical change. It was the dawning of a new decade and the youth of the world was craving upbeat new sounds in music. That new sound is what ended up being called New Wave. It was a hybrid of punk, pop, dance, fun and fashion all wrapped up in an electronic rhythm.
The following are some of our early New Wave favorites from the late 70's. (Our next blog will take a look at some of the New Wave favorites which came about in the 80's.)
Gary Numan - Cars (1979): Gary Numan hit the scene big with his worldwide hit "Cars". Prior to this he had received critical acclaim and a #1 hit in Britain with "Are Friends Electric" which also hit the Top 20 in several other countries worldwide. But it was "Cars" a few months later which hit huge all around the world including Top 10 in the U.S. and #1 in Canada. Gary Numan finally hit it big in the U.S. But his chart success in North America did not last long as "Cars" ended up being his only hit in the U.S. and Canada. Although his hits continued in the UK all the way through 2003. He managed to rack up an impressive 16 Top 20 hits in the UK.
"Cars" is included on his 1979 classic album titled "The Pleasure Principle" and includes other great tunes such as; "Airplane", "Films" and "M.E." "The Pleasure Principle" made it to #1 in the UK as well as #16 in the U.S.
LeneLovich - "Lucky Number" (1979): "Lucky Number" was all the buzz in the underground throughout 1979 and for the most part it remained a cult favorite. The song did reach #3 in the UK and #18 in Austria but did not chart anyplace else in the world. Regardless that did not stop this mysterious tune from becoming a huge dance club hit in the U.S. where to this day you can still hear this song on a retro night. The song also became a favorite on L.A.'s popular KROQ radio station.
After "Lucky Number" Lene's successes on the charts were few, although she did reach #1 in Austria with 1982's "Blue Hotel".
"Psycho Killer" by Talking Heads (1977): "Psycho Killer" made a huge splash in 1977 and garnered much attention for Talking Heads but was a chart failure. The song reached only #13 in Holland and #92 in the U.S. but failed to chart anywhere else in the world. The song written by David Byrne, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth contains an insistent rhythm, and one of the most memorable, driving bass lines in rock & roll.
David Byrne has said of the song: "When I started writing this (I got help later), I imagined Alice Cooper doing a Randy Newman-type ballad. Both the Joker and Hannibal Lecter were much more fascinating than the good guys. Everybody sort of roots for the bad guys in movies."
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Well there you have it my friends a few of our favorite early New Wave tunes from the late 70's. There were so many more and with in the next few weeks and months we will dig into many more tunes and bands.
Please feel free to add your thoughts on these songs and artists and let us know others you'd like to hear about in this blog.
This is the place to share thoughts on that quirky upbeat music which was popular from the late 70's to the early 90's.
Remember when we all sizzled on the ground down down down to Rock Lobster and the name of the bar was Heaven, a place where nothing nothing ever happens a place to find that Tainted Love. It was a time when we felt safest of all in our Cars. But soon the night turned into a Town Called Malice as we listened to our Lucky Number on a Mexican Radio and felt like we were Turning Japanese.
Yes, these were some crazy times and I was Dancing With Myself at a White Wedding. But, In A Big CountryEverybody Wants To Rule The World. One Way Or AnotherLove and Pride took the Train In Vain to find that Genius Of Love under the Red Skies tonight.
And when it was all said and done The Look Of Love was Just Like Heaven when we all went back to work on that Blue Monday.
And, that was it a crazy and wild carefree time known as the 80's when every Nowhere Girl and Smalltown Boy danced and sang their way through the weekend.