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Live It Up 64: She Sells Sanctuary

This is the sort of guitar-based music you don’t tend to hear these days.

The Cult: She Sells Sanctuary

Live It Up 63: The Winner Takes it All

This has an unusually grown-up lyric for a pop song, dealing as it does not merely with a teen break-up, but divorce, with the viewpoint partner obviously still enamoured of her departed husband.

“But tell me does she kiss/Like I used to kiss you?
Does it feel the same/When she calls your name?”

ABBA: The Winner Takes it All

Live It Up 62: Kyrie

It’s not often you get a song with a title in Greek, or with part of its lyric in Greek, appearing in the charts.

But Mr Mister did exactly that with this song’s title and chorus.

The recording is still very much an eighties production, though.

Mr Mister: Kyrie

Live It Up 61: Incommunicado

This was the first single from Clutching at Straws, Marillion’s last album before the departure of Fish. The band’s sound had by this time become more polished, less raw than on Script for a Jester’s Tear and Fugazi and a concept album like its predecessor Misplaced Childhood. Dealing as it did though with the exigencies of pop stardom and lifestyle indulgence it had the potential to be alienating. The single did reach no 6 in the UK though. (And no 24 in the US.)

I assume this is the video made at the time:-

Marillion: Incommunicado

Live It Up 60: Luka

There aren’t many pop songs which deal with the subject of domestic violence, but this one does. I heard Vega on the radio many years after it was a hit saying she took the name from that of the boy who did indeed live on the floor above her. She subsequently found he was playing on the fact that it had been used in the song as a chat-up line!

The first video below is the official one, the second a “live” performance.

Suzanne Vega: Luka


Live It Up 59: Drive

I saw from The Guardian that Ric Ocasek, song-writer for the US band The Cars, has died.

The group’s highest UK chart placing was at no. 3 with My Best Friend’s Girl in 1978, a song which was of a piece with those punkish times.

The much less abrasive Drive reached no. 5 in 1984 but its use the next year in the Live Aid concert of 1985 to background scenes of the famine the concert was designed to help alleviate led to a reissue where it climbed to no. 4. Since then it’s been almost impossible to hear the song without those images coming to mind.

This, though, is the official video from the original release.

The Cars: Drive

Richard Theodore Otcasek (Ric Ocasek): 23/3/1944 – 15/9/2019. So it goes.

Live It Up 58: Twist in my Sobriety

The second single – and second hit – from the laconic Tanita Tikaram.

It’s unusual to hear an oboe so prominently in a pop song.

Tanita Tikaram – Twist in my Sobriety

Live It Up 57: Rip it Up

Following on from the last post in this category here’s another Scottish band which found success in the 80s starting out with the now legendary Postcard Records, though by the time of this song they had moved on.

Orange Juice’s Rip it Up was also the first time that lead singer Edwyn Collins troubled the higher reaches of the UK charts.

Here’s the band playing live on the old Grey Whistle Test.

Orange Juice: Rip it Up

Live It Up 56: Don’t Talk to Me About Love

In the sixties and seventies Scottish pop acts who had success in the wider world weren’t all that numerous. By the eighties things had improved a bit. Altered Images were to the forefront.

Here’s a Top of the Pops appearance of theirs from 1983. I didn’t remember quite how much electronic instrumentation there is in this.

Altered Images: Don’t Talk to Me About Love

Live It Up 55: Tom’s Diner

This song had a triple life, first released on a compilation album in 1984 then in 1987 as an a capella version on Suzanne Vega’s second album Solitude Standing (with an instrumental reprise as the album’s last track) but as a single managed to reach no 58 in the UK, and finally as a remix by DNA in 1988 when it climbed to the dizzy heights of no 2.

It was also apparently critical in the evolution of digital compression to allow the development of MP3 technology.

Suzanne Vega: Tom’s Diner

Tom’s Diner original

Suzanne Vega/DNA: Tom’s Diner remix

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