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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

Live It Up 54: Garden Party

This piece of rather heavy-handed social commentary was, in 1983, the third choice of single for Mariilion.

As a result this version does not use the word that rhymes with rucking in the two words that follow it, presumably to avoid being banned and to safeguard airplay. Live versions of the track have no such inhibitions.

Marillion: Garden Party

Live It Up 53: Don’t Dream It’s Over

I must have heard this when it first came out but don’t consciously remember doing so. Well, it was released in 1986 and I was in the first throes of fatherhood that year. Still I suppose the song may only be familiar from repeated plays on the radio since.

(The first song I remember associating with Crowded House by name is actually Chocolate Cake from 1990.)

The talent in the band and Neil Finn’s songwriting ability is clear here though.

Crowded House: Don’t Dream It’s Over

Live It Up 51: Robert de Niro’s Waiting

This is one of those songs whose jaunty sound hides a darker underside in the lyric. The video here more than hints at that but undercuts it at the end.

Live It Up 51: Robert de Niro’s Waiting

Live It Up 50: Echo Beach

A bit of 80s fluff.

Martha and the Muffins: Echo Beach

Live It Up 49: Steamy Windows – RIP Tony Joe White

I was sad to read of the passing of singer-songwriter Tony Joe White, who died last week. His was an idiosyncratic voice.

I have already noted his sole UK hit Groupy Girl. His greatest success was perhaps as a writer of songs made famous by others. Elvis Presley recorded Polk Salad Annie (I featured White’s version here.) Tina Turner had a big hit with Steamy Windows in 1989. White’s version is a bit less strident.

Tony Joe White: Steamy Windows

White’s breakthrough as a songwriter came with Rainy Night in Georgia which has been covered multiple times. His original is still quite soulful, though.

Tony Joe White: Rainy Night in Georgia

Tony Joe White: 23/7/1943 –24/10/2018. So it goes.

Live It Up 48: Good Tradition

Tanita Tikaram had an unusual background for a 1980s pop star, born in Germany to a Indo-Fijian father and Sarawakian mother, moving to England in her teens.

This is one of those jaunty-sounding pop songs which has a lyric that hints at something darker.

Tanita Tikaram: Good Tradition

Live It Up 47: The Way It Is

I’m sure you were expecting this. You know how my mind works. I just held it over for an extra week.

A wonderful piece of piano playing from 1986.

Bruce Hornsby And The Range: The Way It Is

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