Results for 1981

dijs

Jim

“Lust to Love”The Go-Go's,The Go-Go's

While recently flipping through the stacks of his musical library, Jim came across Beauty and the Beat, the 1981 debut album from California's The Go-Go's. The all-female New Wave band is probably best known for their hit single "We Got the Beat," but Jim is a bigger fan of another Beauty and the Beat song, "Lust to Love." Written by two of the band's five members, guitarists Jane Wiedlin and Charlotte Caffey,“Lust to Love”turns the table on the tired trope of men being the only ones with sexual appetites and is emblematic of the band's underappreciated-at-the-time power pop songwriting talent.

Go to episode 473

Greg

“Sex Beat”The Gun Club

One of the things Greg admires most about Alejandro Escovedo is his ability to choose great covers to perform. He reminds his new audiences of great older songs they might not be familiar with. One such song is "Sex Beat" by The Gun Club. The track was released on the California post-punk outfit's 1981 debut Fire of Love. Greg describes front man Jeffrey Lee Pierce as a legendary figure of that era and genius guitar player. Put a quarter into the Desert Island Jukebox this week to hear his song "Sex Beat."

Go to episode 156

Jim

Glenn Branca passed away on May 13th at the age of 69. Jim's desert island jukebox pick highlights Glenn's contribution to the nascent noise, and no-wave scene in New York in the early 1980s, an exciting time when there were "no lines between what was going to blow up as hip-hop, what was going to blow up as graffiti art and experimental noise, but also [there were no lines between] pop music and rock and roll and the remnants of punk." Artists and break dancers alike were winding up in the same place. Against that backdrop, Glenn released The Ascension in 1981, which combined "avant-classical composition, multi-harmonics and dissonance" with a "lot of feedback". Jim remembers that watching the Glenn Branca Ensemble at CBGB was like "top of your head sheared off, brain spilling on the floor". For his pick, Jim chose Lesson # 2 from Glenn's album The Ascension, "which is really where [Glenn's career] begins".

Go to episode 661
news

Music News

A glance at the numbers coming out of the traditional music industry institutions don't paint a pretty picture. But, as Jim and Greg explain, for everyone outside the major labels and distributors, 2008 hasn't actually been such a bad year. Apple is reporting a 34% increase in sales. This includes iTunes downloads as well as players and accessories, but compare these stats with the 20% dip the record companies are reporting, and you get even more proof that the old model needs tweaking.

There's another surprising news item coming out of the digital music realm. If you had asked Jim and Greg years ago to bet on what artist would dominate digital music sales today, they would never have guessed Journey. The power balladeers' 1981 hit "Don't Stop Believin" just became top selling catalog track in iTunes history with over 2 million downloads. How did this song eclipse heavy hitters like "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Bohemian Rhapsody?" Greg attributes the song's late blooming success to 3 things: its association with the Chicago White Sox, its use in the Sopranos' finale, and its use during Kanye West's most recent tour. Jim would prefer to never have to hear from Journey again, but Greg will defend the song's catchiness, particularly that unforgettable keyboard riff.

In sadder news, South African singer Miriam Makeba died last week at the age of 76. Greg says that Makeba is to South Africa what Edith Piaf, Mahalia Jackson and Celia Cruz are to their home countries. Her passion for South Africa and for all of the continent mirrored her voice and her music, and in the case of her recording contract, jeopardized it. Makeba is best remembered through the conviction you can hear in songs, so Jim and Greg play the updated version of "Pata Pata" from her 2000 album Homeland.

Go to episode 155