Bachelor Party Soundtrack

bachelorparty

Format: LP

Label: IRS (SP 70047)

Country: US

Year: 1984

Price paid: $1.49

Purchased at: Books and Melodies, Syracuse NY

 

“Let’s have a bachelor party with chicks and guns and fire trucks and hookers and drugs and booze!”

Ahhh, there’s nothing quite like a good-natured 80s sex comedy starring a lovable douche. Tom Hanks is no Bill Murray, but he doesn’t half try in this one, managing to bring a certain novel brand of sophomoric ass-hattery to the big screen.

 

 

Released in the summer of 1984, ‘Bachelor Party’- although not a runaway blockbuster- made a respectable $38.4 million at the US box office. Typical of the times, a soundtrack album was released… an album that outstrips the source material in terms of quality and class…

Track listing:

The Fleshtones: ‘American Beat ’84’– The Fleshtones hailed from Queens, NY and were local favorites that played at popular Manhattan venues such as CBGB, Club 57, and Max’s Kansas City. Originally released as the band’s first 7″ in 1979 on the Red Star Records label, this single saw a re-release when the band moved to IRS Records in ’84. Despite their cult status and long career (having released 22 studio albums in 38 years, the most recent in 2014) commercial success has so far eluded them…

bach1Oingo Boingo: ‘Something Isn’t Right’– It would be hard to find a band that had more of a presence in 80’s movie soundtracks than Oingo Boingo. ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’, ‘The Last American Virgin’, ‘Sixteen Candles’, and ‘Weird Science’ are some of their other notable movie appearances. This track and ‘Bachelor Party Theme’ are unique to this LP, not appearing on their studio alums. They were not released as singles.

Jools Holland: ‘Crazy Over You’– Jools was a founding member of the band Squeeze (formed 1974), releasing solo material as early as 1978. He is probably best known these days as the host of ‘Later… with Jools Holland’ which ran on British TV from 1992 on.

Adrian Zmed: ‘Little Demon’– Zmed is a minor actor who’s appeared in such films as ‘Grease 2’ and and the TV shows ‘Starsky and Hutch’, ‘Bosom Buddies’, and ‘Caroline in the City’. He also appears in this film in his ‘breakout’ roll as the character Jay O’Neill. This song is about as good as you’d expect from TJ Hooker’s Officer Romano, perhaps his best known role.

bach3R.E.M.: ‘Wind Out’– Arguably the biggest name on this album (in retrospect) and the biggest act to ever crawl out of Charlotte, North Carolina, REM tore up Indie radio in the late 80s and 90s. This decidedly minor track was released around the same time as their sophomore album ‘Reckoning’, and although no on the album it was included with the 1992 I.R.S. Vintage Years reissue.

Oingo Boingo : ‘Bachelor Party Theme’– This track and ‘Something Isn’t Right’ are unique to this LP, not appearing on their studio alums. They were not released as singles.

The Alarm: ‘What Kind of Hell’– Welsh band formed in 1977, The Alarm had some chart success in the UK and US during the 80s and 90s. The single appears on their 1984 freshman album ‘Deceleration’ on IRS. It also appears on the B-side of their 7″ single ‘Where Were You Hiding When the Storm Broke?’ which reached #22 in the UK.

Darlene Love: ‘Alley Oop’– Cover of the #1 hit by The Hollywood Argyles. Love is probably best known as the 60s Phil Spector artist who had a #1 hit of her own with 1962’s ‘He’s a Rebel.’ She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.

bach2Angel and the Reruns: ‘Why Do Good Girls Like Bad Boys?’– Hillary Carlip supposedly formed AATR when she was fourteen. Along with her Reruns (Julie Christensen, Perla Batalla and Nancy Scher) they performed tongue-n-cheek ditties of a caliber high enough to warrant inclusion on the Dr. Demento show. Other than inclusion on the soundtrack the band only appeared on vinyl one other time when they released ‘Beaver Cleaver Fever’ as a 7″ in 1982. Carlip is still active today as a successful author, screenwriter, and performance artist.

Yip Yip Coyote: ‘Dream of the West’– Yip Yip Coyote were another one of those hair-brained schemes cooked up by Malcolm McLaren. The gimmick with this band was their old-west theme. Odd, since the band was British. Turns out that cowboys didn’t play as well as pirates with 80’s music buyers. This song would be included a year later on their only LP, 1985’s ‘Fifi.’ Good stuff.

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Stray Cats: Look at That Cadillac / Lucky Charm

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Format: 7″

Label: EMI America

Country: US

Year: 1984

Price paid: 50 cents

Purchased at: Books and Melodies, Syracuse NY

 

Whoa, sittin’ in a bar knockin”em back, up pulls a big black Cadillac

Out steps a kitten, stand back cats, ‘way I go in that Cadillac!

Remember the movie ‘The Matrix?’ That movie was great- trend setting, entertaining, and it held a certain internal logic that really engaged the viewer and made them feel like part of the experience. And then the sequel (and another after that) happened and it really stunk. It was filled with boring nonsensical exposition, cheesy post-apocalyptic rave parties, and cringe-worthy characters. It was so bad it ruined the first movie for me.

Now I’m not implying that Brian Setzer’s solo career was as toxic as ‘The Matrix Reloaded’, but the neo-swing grooves of The Brian Setzer Orchestra was a 90s phenomenon I could have done without. Tacky and smug and responsible for perhaps the worst episode of ‘The Nanny’… even worse than that one with Rosanne Barr in it. Pretty much spoiled the carefree unpretentious Stray Cats for me.

‘Look at That Cadillac’ was the last single released from their third album, 1983’s ‘Rant ‘N Rave with the Stray Cats.’ It was a minor hit for the band, reaching #68 on the US charts. It was however their lowest-charting single and last single to make an impact in the US, effectively marking the end of the band’s activity during the classic New Wave period. The song itself is cute, but the joke’s starting to wear a bit thin.

I’m rather fond of the sleeve however. Admittedly it doesn’t stretch the band’s established style in the slightest, but does an admirable job of conveying the neo-rockabilly aesthetic. This is 95% due to the hair I think.

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Elvis Costello and the Attractions: I Wanna Be Loved / Turning the Town Red

elvis_iwannabeloved

Format: 7″

Label: F-Beat Records (XX 35)

Country: UK

Year: 1984

Price paid: $1

Purchased at: private sale

 

I guess I’m a victim of loneliness… but why should this be my destiny?

‘I Wanna Be Loved’ is the first single off of his tenth album, 1984’s ‘Goodbye Cruel World.’ It was the highest charting single from the LP, reaching #25 in the UK and #11 in Ireland.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a Elvis Costello fan. I find his voice whiny and just generally unpleasant. I’ve never understood why he’s considered a lyrical genius; perhaps I lack the ability to comprehend some subtle meaning hiding in the subtext somewhere? As a child of the New Wave I can recognize his importance… or at least his popularity. I feel bad that, even after giving him repeated goes over the years, he just doesn’t ‘speak’ to me. My failing in this regard gnaws at my soul, and is responsible for many a sleepless night.

That being said, when life gives you lemons you clone those lemons and make super-lemons.* A bunch of 7″ singles fell into my lap recently, primarily Kate Bush, but a good helping of Costello as well. I contemplated flipping them (the Elvis vinyl, anyway), but at the end of the day decided to hold on to them. I rationalized that ‘they’re good for me’ (aka- they make for a well-rounded collection) and at the price I paid for them I doubted I’d be able to score the same records down the road so cheaply, if I ever had the desire to search them out. I’ll throw very few records out of my bed for eating crackers…

The primary draw with this single is the sleeve itself. The New Wave-iness of the music itself is- to my ear, anyway- debatable, but I have no reservation in saying that the funky design and pink/blue/green color palette shrieks ‘1984’ as loudly as a valley girl screaming with delight at finding a sale on leg warmers at the galleria.

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*Yes, that was a ‘Clone High’ reference. Good show.

Urbaniax: Burning Circuits

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Format: 7″

Label: Sonet (SON 2271)

Country: UK

Year: 1984

Price paid: $5

Purchased at: Needle Drop Records, Rochester NY

 

Not sure if this one’s strictly ‘New Wave’ or not, in the most literal sense of the phrase. The single comes with a  handy insert that tells you everything you could possibly want to know about Urbaniax (aka Michal Urbaniak.) He was a jazz musician by trade, but decided to dabble in the then hot experimental/synth market.

The result? Herbie Hancock with a slight disco tinge to it. I can literally just see Mr. Urbaniax standing at a bank of keyboards manically twisting knobs with a big energetic grin on his face, sweat dripping from his brow as his head bobs manically to his ‘groove.’

Whether this is a good or bad image I’ll leave up to you.

There’s a connection with the Mute Records label here too. Not confident what it is, but it was important enough that the whole back side of the insert was dedicated to the topic. Near as I can tell Sonet approached Mute to distribute some of Mute’s product in Europe.

i-D magazine #15, March/April 1984

id_march84

Format: Magazine

Country: UK

Year: 1984

Price paid: $1

Purchased at: The Record Archive, Rochester NY

 

The link between fashion and popular music is not a tenuous one. Hell, whole books have been written on the subject. Arguably one one of the high points- a ‘nexus’ if you will- would have had to have been in London during the first New Wave period (1977-1985.)

id_march84aI have not the time nor skill to unweave the complex interactions between the two, but I will say that magazines such as i-D and The Face were barometers of cool back in the day, and valuable glimpses of times past today.

id_march84cStarted as a mere fanzine in 1980, i-D magazine was almost instantly recognized for its cutting edge use of photography and topography. Editor Terry Jones is credited with codifying the ‘straight up’ style of fashion photography; i-D staff would stop trendy people on the street and take head-to-toe shots of what they were wearing.

By 1984 the magazine was still shaking on its baby legs, as they had only made it to issue #15. The size of the magazine had changed several times during the years, by this point it had grown to a larger 8 1/2 X 11 3/4″ format. The edgy claustrophobic design of early issues remain however, with text crammed in every corner, to the extent that it begins to overlap and fall back on itself.

The cover is done in acidic blues, pinks, and oranges. Florescent ink was used; sadly these colors don’t scan very well and cannot be replicated onscreen so you’ll have to use your imagination when viewing the images in this post. But trust me, they positively scream. The cover model was an all-but-unknown musical artist known as Madonna. This was supposedly her first UK magazine cover; rather handsome values today reflect the desirability of this key issue.

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Propaganda: Dr. Mabuse

propaganda_drmabuse

Format: 7″

Label: ZTT (ZTAS 2)

Country: UK

Year: 1984

Price paid: $2

Purchased at: Books and Melodies, Syracuse NY

 

“The man without shadow promises you the world”

One of the early acts to sign to Trevor Horn’s (Buggles) ZTT label, Propaganda were a German experimental group with a synthpop edge. They had some measure of success in the UK before an ugly split with their label in 1986.

‘Dr. Mabuse’ was their first single, predating the album release by over a year. The song was split into four parts, the first two (‘the crimes, the deadly blows, the escape‘ & ‘one step beyond and life becomes a lie‘) appearing here. The theme revolves around an evil telepathic hypnotist, made famous by Fritz Lang in his 1922 film ‘Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler.’

The ‘song’ (that word sounds so small in this context) can hardly be contained, a dark sweeping majestic landscape brilliantly produced by Horn, a throbbing oh-so-German experience that can’t be rushed- it’s a long, winding road with no interest in human timescales.

Impeccably designed, the sleeve art captures the band’s tone, with its odd splicing of the old (German Expressionism) with the new (synthpop) into a slick, painfully modern, and (deservedly) pretentious package.

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Herbie Hancock: Mega-mix

Format: 12″

Label: Columbia

Country: US

Year: 1984

Price paid: $3

Purchased at: The Record Archive, Rochester NY

 

The stunning graphics on the sleeve really caught my eye. The inks they used are eye-popping greens and pinks, a similar color palette to that used on the Sex Pistols’ ‘Never Mind the Bollocks’ album. No connection, I’m sure.

I could wax poetic about Herbie and his connection to American New Wave music, but I won’t. Suffice it to say that it’s a good mix to have… especially for three bucks.

side-by-side of Mega-mix and Bollocks cover art