When I hear a radio retro 80's weekend filled with Culture Club, Duran Duran, Soft Cell, Stray Cats, the Bangles, Pat Benatar, Tears for Fears, Foreigner, Quarterflash and Fine Young Cannibals I have to take pause. There was so much more than that during the eighties that I remember!
Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Fixx, the Smiths, the Clash, PIL … and countless others were mainstays of the alternative party/club scene that never get a reflection on any station. Seriously, when was the last time you EVER heard a Ramones song on the radio? And, damn it, you could not miss them - they were everywhere!
Don’t get me wrong; I dug on Oingo Boingo, Madness, Joe Jackson, the Motors and other Top 40 - 100, but where is the representation of the rest of the era? Where’s the justice?
But, I feel a rant coming on, so I’ll let it slide. The great thing about having way too many tracks, as the music whore I am, is that I can reminisce freely and play what I remember being revved up on.
These are a few angry, angry men here. Bellowing with the call for murder, one can almost see the froth dripping and spittle catapulted from the lips of these Brit punkers.
Amazingly, they guys turned away Chrissie Hynde (Pretenders) and Tony James (Gen-X) when they auditioned for the band. I personally prefer the live version, which gave it so much more of a livid stamp, but this’ll do.
Listen for the slight chuckle at the end. I like to think it tongue in cheek.
I believe in homicide i rest my case,
Don't cast a sigh you'd better believe it,
That's the truth of it take it or leave it, resign to it
No one cares when someone lies they'd rather say
That it's a red alert
You'd better believe it,
That's the truth of it take it or leave it,
Resign to it
Homicide, homicide, homicide, homicide!
Why wasn’t this a ‘hit’? It certainly was with the crowd I ran with, and we’d hear it on our local favorite station WFNX 101.7 in Boston quite a lot. They played all the alternative music that we craved. Matter of fact, I think it was on FNX that I heard the term ‘alternative’ used for the first time as a station format.
The Stranglers weren’t punk, not quite goth, not pop, but could have easily fit nearly into any one of those slots. When the Ramones toured the UK for the first time, the Stranglers warmed up the crowds, and it was in the UK that Skin Deep peaked the charts at #15. Shame it never charted in the US as it’s a good composition and a nice dance-to as well.
Many people tell you that they're your friend
You believe them
You need them
For what's round the river bend
Make sure that you're receiving the signals they send
'Cause brother you've only got two hands to lend
Maybe there's someone who makes you weep
And some nights loom up ahead
When you're asleep
Some days there's things on your mind you should keep
Sometimes it's tougher to look than to leap
Better watch out for the Skin Deep
So when someone throws out Kangagoogoo, Lipps Inc., Cristopher Cross, Queen, Kenny Rogers, M, Human League or Phil Collins, sure, I’ll take a listen and have me some guilty pleasures once in a while. But I also remember that the music scene was a hell of a lot deeper than what the Top 40 tells me it was.
Can be found on: The Best of 999 
The Stranglers: Skin Deep 
Can be found on: Aural Sculpture Addendum 1: Adding video starting with this post.
Addendum 2: The folks over at WNEW have asked me to write for them! I’ve always thought my style (if I do indeed have a style) is rather rough and stream of thought, and not as polished as what I read there. Joel, my contact man, really put me through a lot of rewrites to get it just right for the site, but I had fun doing it. I’ve always admired the site and a few of my fellow bloggers that I read voraciously (such as the good dj over at The Hits Just Keep On Coming) post there. So, that was really the tipping point for me. My first post is on the Motels and the song Dressing Up. If you get a chance, get over there and leave a comment letting me know what you think.