Lucky Dip

This was The Bangles’ follow-up single to “Manic Monday” but it was only a minor hit. One of my favourite records of theirs though.

Download: If She Knew What She Wants – The Bangles (mp3)

Photo: Julie Christie by Michael Ward, 1963.

Up The Workers

It’s Labor Day here today, the holiday when America celebrates the crushing of working people by unfettered capitalism. Or something like that.

Download: Crushed By The Wheels of Industry (Parts 1 & 2) – Heaven 17 (mp3)

Something for the Weekend

Nick Heyward looks like Edwyn Collins for the Smash Hits set in this video and the group often sounded like it too. Still bloody marvelous though, and the girls in the audience look like they’re loving every minute.

Lucky Dip

Download: (I Love You) When You Sleep – Tracie Young (mp3)

Photo: Elizabeth Taylor on the set of Suddenly Last Summer, 1959

Something for the Weekend

Not had any Prefabs here for far too long. Pardon the pun but this song makes me swoon.

Luxury Pop

It didn’t take Spandau Ballet long to ditch the hard electronic stomp of their early singles for a sound that better reflected their roots as Soul Boys. Their musical evolution also reflected the trajectory of the 1980s, a bit heavy and intense at first then becoming more glitzy and aspirational. They started out with the style and sound of underground London clubs but later provided the soundtrack for wine bars, double-breasted suits, and Club 18-30 holidays in Magaluf.

I liked their early stuff but Tony Hadley’s big voice made them sound a bit Teutonic at times and he was better in lighter musical surroundings. One of my favourites of their later singles was “I’ll Fly For You” from 1984 which wasn’t a huge hit like some others of theirs — you know, the one we all slow danced to at cheesy discos — but it’s cut from the same expensive cloth with a smooth, gliding surface and crisp, ringing guitar. And of course it has a creamy saxophone on it, the instrument that Spandau (and “Careless Whisper”) helped make synonymous with 80s pop.

Download: I’ll Fly For You (12″ mix) – Spandau Ballet (mp3)

The Singles Box

I used to work with a bloke who was such a big Theatre of Hate fan he got their name tattooed on his arm. Unfortunately for him they broke up about a year later which should be a lesson to all you kids out there: Think twice before you get that tat.

I didn’t mind Theatre of Hate, but Kirk Brandon‘s wobbly, operatic voice was an acquired taste, and I think I was more inspired by his Punkabilly style than his records. But I did like the first single he released with his new band Spear of Destiny in 1983 which is more poppy than anything he’d done before. The chorus is massive, soaring stuff and the track has a Celtic feel like they were trying to do a Big Country. His voice is still a bit Marmite though.

Download: Flying Scotsman – Spear of Destiny (mp3)

I Have Twelve Inches

Looking around my iTunes library for a suitable track to go with the previous post I found this which I recorded off my 12″ vinyl copy a long time ago but never posted for some reason.

Remixed in 1982 from an earlier b-side, this a sleek Euro-disco groover that glides along on Mick Karn’s rubbery bass playing and some honking sax. I was never a huge Japan fan but this does make me want to suck in my cheekbones and go pose outside a Berlin nightclub. Hopefully I’d be allowed back in England after.

Download: European Son (Extended Remix) – Japan (mp3)

What’s it all about?

The sentimental musings of an ageing expat in words, music, and pictures. Mp3 files are up for a limited time so drink them while they're hot. Contact me: lee at londonlee dot com





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