It’s been New Wave November on our blog and social media sites this month and since today is the last day of the month, we want to go out on a high note. We will do just that by introducing you, or re-introducing some of you to a great New Wave/Power Pop band out of Atlanta, GA called The Producers.
The band released two albums on Portrait Records in the early eighties. The debut album was self-titled and was released in 1981. The follow-up, You Make the Heat came out in 82. She Sheila from that album went to #48 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.
Although the band never hit the top 40, they did have success on an upstart cable channel that also premiered in 1981. Music videos for She Sheila, What’s He Got and a few other songs got airtime on MTV in the very early days of that station. They also appeared on MTV’s New Year’s Rockin Eve in 1982.
The band was dropped from Portrait Records after the second album. They released a third album on an indie label but was back to the major leagues with MCA for their fourth album, Coelacanth. Before that album was released, the band was let go from MCA as part of a label purge in 1989.
The Producers “retired” in 1991, but they still get back together for shows every once in a while. If they come to your town, check them out for sure. They were a band that created great music and every New Wave and Power Pop fan should know who they are and know their music. Take a few minutes and watch the videos below and we think you will agree with us!
In June of 1981, a few months before the premiere of MTV, The USA Network started airing a late-night weekend variety show called Night Flight. The show featured music videos, cult and B movies, music-themed documentaries, animation, stand up comedy and a program that is now somewhat legendary among the early shows of cable, New Wave Theater.
Originally airing on KSCI in Los Angeles, the show featured LA-based New Wave, Punk and underground bands and artists. Well known acts such as X, The Blasters, Fear, The Circle Jerks, 45 Grave, and The Dead Kennedys appeared on the show. It was hosted by musician and songwriter Peter Ivers.
New Wave Theater usually aired during the last hour block of Night Flight. With that late time slot, Iver’s offbeat monologues, and the public access look about the program, you truly did get a feeling that this was underground television being piped into homes all across the nation via this new thing called cable tv. It truly brought the LA alternative scene to folks who previously could only read about it in music magazines.
Sadly the show came to an end with the death of Peter Ivers. He was found bludgeoned to death in his apartment on March 3, 1983. The case remains unsolved to this day.
When music historians and writers talk about the history of New Wave, the mid-seventies scene at CBGB’s night club in New York will always come up. Bands like Talking Heads, Television and Blondie will always be mentioned, and rightfully so. Some will even go back further and bring up names like The Velvet Underground, The Modern Lovers, and The New York Dolls. Anytime you talk about the history of New Wave it should be mandatory that you also have to talk about the first album from The Cars which was released on June 6, 1978.
The band and legendary producer Roy Thomas Baker created a masterpiece that fused rock, pop and synthesizers that perhaps more so than any other record set the tone for the early 80’s new wave heyday. The self-titled debut featured three singles, two of which hit the top forty. All three songs, while never going any higher than #27 on the singles charts in America all became classics. Just what I needed, My Best Friend’s Girl and Good Times Roll have never left the airwaves becoming staples of album-oriented and classic rock radio.
Three other songs, You’re All I Got Tonight, Moving in Stereo, and Bye Bye Love, while never being released as singles also became mainstays on rock radio. The eighties classic film Fast Times at Ridgemont High featured Moving in Stereo in a memorable scene featuring Phoebe Cates and Judge Reinhardt. The album went on to become six times platinum.
The Cars should be in the mix of every true New Wave fans music collection. The album was ahead of its time then and still sounds fresh forty-one years later.
Our video today is Never Say Never by the San Francisco new wave band Romeo Void. The song first appeared on the band’s EP which was also called Never Say Never and was released as a single in 1982.
Although the song did not hit the top 40, it did become a popular video during the early years of MTV. The song’s success led to the band being signed by Columbia. Their major-label debut, Benefactor also featured Never Say Never but it was a shorter and “cleaner” version.
The band had a top forty hit in 1984 with A Girl in Trouble (Is a TemporaryThing), however, many would argue that Never Say Never is actually the band’s best-known song. Also in 1984, Never Say Never was part of the soundtrack of the movie Reckless starring Aidan Quinn and Daryl Hannah.
When many people think of music in regards to the Generation X era, they might think of the New Wave and Hair Metal scenes of the eighties. While those styles might provide the most common visual reminders of the time, the years from the mid-seventies to the mid-nineties also brought us Rap, Disco, Techno, Industrial, Goth, Thrash, Death Metal, Grunge and don’t forget the UrbanCowboy country boom of the early eighties.
Can you think of any other genres? What was your favorite of the era?