Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lene Lovich.

While the ongoing ‘80s throwback, which has been gaining momentum since the ‘90s, gives us all the opportunity to relive adolescent glory, or imagine it if that era is a little before your time, it seems kinda sad that you pretty much get subjected to the standard hits that were ubiquitous at the time. Billy Idol, Madonna and Michael Jackson, that’s the ‘80s, hmmm, not the ‘80s I remember, but then I grew up on the other side of the pond and we had some stuff that wasn’t popular stateside and vice versa. I know that super obscure items from that decade have been exhumed via the newly found passion for Italo, Cosmic music etc., but the cool thing about the UK top 40 charts at that time was that some of that stuff was in there.

“Big Man Restless” by Kissing The Pink was a big Baldelli record, and thus an arcane delight, but the band also had a UK top twenty hit in 1983 with their song, “The Last Film.” Let’s just say that the UK charts back then seemed a little more exciting and a lot less prefabricated and ruined by quasi-payola. One UK artist who deserves more than just the cult adulation she has received is Lene Lovich. Born in Detroit to an English mother and a Serbian father, she moved back to the north of England with her mother when she was thirteen. The first time most of us heard of her was when her single “Lucky Number” got into the UK top ten in 1978.

It was a striking piece of new wave rock, with Lovich’s unusual vocals and noises, and a fast, funky and exhilarating backing track. It really stood out at the time, and 1978 was the first year when you could see new wave really taking shape. Lovich was a standard bearer for it, along with the likes of Elvis Costello, Ian Dury and The Pretenders. The single was followed by her debut album, Stateless, on the infamous Stiff Records label. Her career continued on into the ‘80s with songs like “New Toy,” "It's You, Only You (Mein Schmerz)" and “Blue Hotel,” though she never regained the profile that she achieved with that ground breaking single in '78.

However, she didn’t go away and down the years Lovich has also written lyrics, guested and performed with artists as diverse as Nina Hagen, Cerrone, The Residents, Thomas Dolby and George Clinton. Recently she has crafted lyrics for French house producer Bob Sinclar, including “The Beat Goes On,” and “Kiss My Eyes.” A cult artist she may be but her influence is still felt and tunes like “New Toy” and “Lucky Number” will never go away. Also if you have the “Lucky Number” single, flip it over and listen to the brilliant “Home,” an excellent track that I always played more than the a-side.


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