I stumbled across this track years ago while trolling for dance music on YouTube. I was familiar with the band already because of earlier tracks like “Hear You Calling” and their cover of Tasmin Archer’s “Sleeping Satellite,” neither of which held much interest for me. But this track—featuring the vocals of Lizzy Pattinson, older sister of Twilight’s Robert—just nailed it: perfect dance-pop. According to Wikipedia, it reached #29 in the UK in 2002 but was never released in America.
I was a pretty decent Duranie by the time I left high school—due more to their Notorious album than to their earlier records—but a roommate told me that one of their best songs was one I’d never heard, found only on the b-side of 1983’s “Union of the Snake” 45. And he was right. Written, recorded, and mixed within 24 hours to meet a deadline, “Secret Oktober” has a spare, haunting appeal.
Just a few years ago, I watched an interview where Simon Le Bon remarked how the song’s rise in popularity over the years surprised him. The first video is the studio version, the second a wonderful live arrangement filmed in 1998 when the band consisted of only Le Bon, Rhodes, and Cuccurullo.
“When Will I See You Again?” and the theme song to Soul Train are the most familiar tunes by this trio, but “The Runner” is way more entertaining, plus it’s a super sing-a-long track. I’m using this live version not just because it’s a great performance, but I love how the PA system can’t handle Sheila Ferguson’s vocals when she belts into the song.
If you want a whiter version, try Bananarama’s awesome cover on their Ultra album.
I sure like Hayley. Not as breathy—or as odd—as Sarah Brightman, and not so much “show” in her shows. Just the voice, and a wholesome ambience. This is a cover of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s version of “Pie Jesu” from his Requiem. She did a studio recording of this track early in her career, but I believe the album was only released in Japan, and the import is pricey. At least we have YouTube.
In 1987, director Percy Adlon released his film Bagdad Café, about the unlikely friendship between a stranded German tourist (played by Marianne Sägebrecht) and the unhappy manager (CCH Pounder) of a rundown, roadstop motel in the desert outside of Las Vegas. (There was a spin-off TV series a few years later, starring Jean Stapleton and Whoopi Goldberg.)
I enjoyed the film well enough, but was utterly entranced by the primary soundtrack tune, “Calling You,” sung by Jevetta Steele and written by Bob Telson. It’s used repeatedly in the movie, often over desert images of arid, windswept beauty. Even 25 years later, it carries the same haunting quality.
Amy popped into the American music scene with her catchy “This Is the Life,” the fourth single from her debut album of the same name. I don’t think any of the tracks from that utterly charming album charted in the U.S. (the album didn’t, either, despite hitting no. 1 in several European countries), which is why she’s pretty much ignored the states since then. Her second album, A Curious Thing, which featured this week’s tune, wasn’t even released here. Her Life in a Beautiful Light from 2012 was released here, but only digitally.
And because I love listening to her talk, here’s a bonus clip.
I was totally blown away the first time I heard VAST (aka Jon Crosby), particularly the one-two punch of “Here” and “Touched” that opened his debut album, Visual Audio Sensory Theater. This tune from Nude, while not so intense, still captures the richness (or depth, or whatever it is) that I like about his sound, along with his typically evocative symbolism.