I lost a key file that had notes for several singalongs - and I just discovered the fact this morning. It took me all day to solve it, but on the way home tonight, I heard PLJ's Saturday Night at the Eighties, and it just jumped out at me. I wanted to write a singalong that reflected that gay boys like boy music and rock music too... maybe not quite the same way the straight boys do... but valid nonetheless. Anyway, these just came together for me:
- Aerosmith, Dude (Looks Like A Lady). PLJ actually played "Love in an Elevator", but for my money, the "comeback" single off of their first Geffen album still surpasses it. Though they get lumped in with the late eighties high point of metal and hair bands, Aerosmith was never really that - their roots go back to the Arena Rock bands of the seventies, and their influences, especially the Roplling Stones, reflect their interest in blues and r&b as well. "Dude" is a remarkable single for bringing it all together - the shouting horns, the hard rock vibe, and the slightly confused "anything goes" nature of the lyric, which are just shy of Lola.
- Rick Springfield, Love Somebody. Springfield's a better musician than he usually gets credit for - thanks to General Hospital, his music will usually carry that eighties stain of soap actor turned rocker that's not really fair; just watch to see how "Jesse's Girl" has way more tension than you might think (and you know, I feel so dirty when they start talking cute). Love Somebody is just a straight ahread pop/rock cut, but Springfield's delivery always had an urgency that lifted it above the ordinary.
- Wang Chung, Let's Go. It's a shame that Mosaic, the album this comes from, kicked off with the hugely successful - and painfully lame (we'll get to that shortly, I promise) - Everybody Have Fun Tonight. When we got this album at my college radio station, the cut that really impressed me was this one, which was the followup single and did nicely... but the damage was done. And no, it's not necessarily the most rockin' single, but a number of pop/rock hybrid stations played it back then, and well... the eighties were like that.
- Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Do You Wanna Touch. It'd be easy to pick nearly a half dozen others (I debated "I Love Rock and Roll" longest), but this hard driving, intense track is Jett at her early eighties crossover best - tough, sexy, and still entirely accessible. And she still is.
- Def Leppard, Photograph. Sure there was the weird, Marilyn Monroe thing of the video, but MTV only provided the exposure that the music delivered; Photograph helped put hard rock back into the pop radio mix - for better and worse - and still holds up as tuneful music with a hard edge.