Joan Jett – Bad Reputation

Like many others in the early 80’s, I first learned about Joan Jett from the classic I Love Rock-n-Roll.  However, since all of my music (or most of it anyway) came from the Columbia Record & Tape program and I was limited by what they actually had available.  You may remember back in the day (before this wonderful thing called the Internet) that information about tracks available on a particular recording was limited by the editorial space allotted for the individual description found in the catalog.  Often the editors would only list a couple of the tracks in addition to their short description.

I knew Joan Jett sang I Love Rock-n-Roll, but I didn’t know what album it was on. (Yah, I know it was on the same titled album, but at the time I hadn’t actually heard a dj say so.)  The only tape available in the monthly paper catalog was Bad Reputation.  Going out on a limb I ordered it and just hoped that the I Love Rock-n-Roll was on it.  It wasn’t, but in the long run that was okay because this was another cassette that I wore out.

Honestly, Joan Jett was a little more punk than this New Wave-esque boy generally liked to listen to.  However, Joan’s delivery of the lyrics over her hard-rock guitar really struck a chord with me (so to speak).  The lead and title track, Bad Reputation, sets the tone for most of the album.

I don’t give a damn ’bout my bad reputation
You’re living in the past it’s a new generation
A girl can do what she wants to do and that’s
What I’m gonna do
An’ I don’t give a damn ‘ bout my bad reputation

One couldn’t really say that Joan sang the lyrics as much as she shouted them over a hard-rock guitar.  This debut album, never caught on like her later I Love Rock-n-Roll, but there are many good tracks on it.  Bad Reputation itself was used much later in a scene from the first Shrek movie (the scene where he fights the soldiers in an arena).

Some tracks were remakes of stuff that I recognized from listening to “nostalgic radio” on one of Denver’s FM stations (nostalgic radio played mom and dad’s music).  You Don’t Own Me begins as a ballad with great piano and then switches to, you guessed it, hard rocking guitar; Wooly Bully retains the original acoustic piano background and feeling from the original… with added electric guitar; and Shout too retains the original feeling and Joan’s shouting vocals seem very apropos.

Two additional songs really stood out in my mind. Listening to Joan on my headphones asking Do You Wanna Touch?… Oh, yeah! I did.

Every girl an’ boy
Needs a little joy
All you do is sit an’ stare
Beggin’ on my knees
Baby, won’t you please
Run your fingers through my hair

The other outstanding track, All Right With The Boys, was an affirmation for me that she did, in fact, like boys (I really wasn’t sure at the time).  These two songs were exactly opposite on another on the cassette.  In fact, if I timed it just right, I could wait for the end of one track, flip the cassette in my Walkman and the other track would be exactly queued.  Do the same at the end of each song and I could just listen to All Right With The Boys and Do You Wanna Touch over and over again.  Later, when Sony came out with the auto-reverse cassette feature a simple push of a button would change songs.

Bow Wow Wow – Aphrodisiac

Bow Wow Wow was touring in support of their When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going release and in this case was opening for The English Beat.  The show actually opened with Joe “King” Carrasco & The Crowns, followed by Bow Wow Wow and finally The English Beat.  Don’t get me wrong I did and still do love The English Beat, but Annabella (I mean Bow Wow Wow) on stage stole my heart (I mean the show).

Can you tell I was a 16 year old with raging hormones at the time?  Annabella danced on the stage in her short, red, leather skirt and Native American themed costume, singing such songs to me (I mean the audience) like:

Ooh, I got arrows in my quiver, ooh, I got you you’re in my sight
Woh, when you’re close you make me shiver, woh, come with me and spend the night
Finding a way, a way to make whoopee, finding a way, a way to make love
Finding a way, a way to make whoopee, finding a way, a way to make love

And:

I want him, I need him, I want him, I need him
He can move it, he can groove it, he’s a rhythm machine
He can take me, he can break me, he’s so hard and so mean
He’s my lover, he’s my hero, take it fast, take it slow
My baby, my baby, my baby oh no

Bow Wow Wow also gave us:  Aphrodisiac, Lonesome Tonight, Cowboy, Do You Wanna Hold Me, Louis Quatorze, Jungle Boy, Rikki Dee and What’s The Time (Hey Buddy)… and they are all here on this compilation.

As you can tell I’m a big fan of Bow Wow Wow and have all of their releases except one.  Well, okay, I have it on vinyl, but Do You Want To Hold Me has a regrettable whine in the background from being overplayed using a bad needle.  So, I should say, I have all of their recordings that are available on CD, except When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going.  While searching for that one, I came across Aphrodisiac – The Best Of Bow Wow Wow, which has all of the songs that were on When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going that I didn’t already have on other CDs… except one.  So I’m still in search of one song, Love Me.

If you are a fan of Bow Wow Wow, but not a crazy fan like me and just want to get a great mix of their material, Aphrodisiac – The Best Of Bow Wow Wow is worth picking up.  I bought it new through Amazon for less than $10 I think.

And…. just because I’m a crazy fan of Annabella Lwin (duh!) I offer the following nuggets:

    • Annabella recorded a cover of Like A Virgin for a release called Virgin Voices which was all covers of Madonna songs (I have this on CD).
    • Annabella recorded a cover of I Love Rock & Roll the Joan Jett song (I bought this on iTunes).
    • Annabella recorded an album of her own after Bow Wow Wow broke up (I have that on vinyl but am still trying to find it on CD or digital format).
    • Boy George reportedly tried out as a lead singer for Bow Wow Wow before they settled on Annabella – wow, that would have meant a totally different band.
    • The band backing Annabella in Bow Wow Wow is comprised of the Ants… from Adam & The Ants before Adam left the Ants and just became Adam Ant.

Enjoy!!

Rachel Sweet – Blame It On Love

I think it is appropriate that I start this blog out with the first post on Rachel Sweet.  It was her that captured my imagination as a 13-year old boy after hearing her belt out B-A-B-Y and Just My Style on the compilation cassette that Uncle Ted gave me. This CD though is a re-issue and contains not only the stellar Blame It On Love, but also the prior year’s …And Then He Kissed Me.

I first purchased Blame It On Love in vinyl form in 1982.  I purchased it (along with Falco’s Der Kommissar) from the Peaches Records & Tapes store in Denver, Colorado.  Of course, I had already heard the entire track list (over and over) from Rachel Sweet’s debut album Fool Around.

Blame It On Love presented Rachel as older and sexier which fit right it with what I thought about her already.  Prior to purchasing the album I had seen the first single and opening track, VooDoo on MTV.  The song starts out “Close your eyes, baby make a wish” in a very sultry voice and the chorus “the voodoo that you do so well” certainly cast a spell on me.

…And Then He Kissed me includes Rachel singing Shadows In The Night.  Penned by Rachel, this was actually made popular by Pat Benetar.  The title track is a remake of two songs written by Phil Specter and performed by numerous other groups in the 60’s.  Rachel sings them back to back starting with …And Then He Kissed Me and blending directly into Be My Baby. After receiving the CD in the mail and importing into iTunes I found that I was marking most every track on the album between 2 and 4 stars.

This two album CD is a must have for any Rachel Sweet fan who doesn’t already own them and to remind you why you loved Rachel Sweet back in the day.