HERC Does Techno [1992]

While conversing with a long-time friend last week about music we used to listen to A LOT but then completely abandoned and haven't heard in years, techno music circa 1992 kept coming up. Repeatedly. We began to make a list and then dug the following CD singles out of the Hideaway Archives, blew the 25 years of accumulated dust off the cases (not really, we clean the disc cases at least once a year here in the dusty desert) and fed them one by one into the Sony 5 disc changer and enjoyed some damn fine music. Until the third, fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh remix had us scrambling for the remote to skip to the next disc. Strictly for the hardcore, only for the faithful, are you ready?

This trip down memory lane almost stalled out at the gate as we began to play this disc by Emergency Broadcast Network. Was it ever considered dance music? Or just a curiosity piece with a few familiar samples and the voice of George H.W. Bush sampled and chopped so that he is chanting "We. Will. Rock. You."? (The previous year Queen's U.S. record label, Hollywood Records, had released a promo only CD single featuring Bush's voice over "We Are The Champions", seemingly celebrating the end of the first Gulf War aka Operation Desert Shield.) Then we recalled U2 using this video of Bush's "We. Will. Rock. You." to open their Zoo TV Outside Broadcast Tour and we moved on to the next disc, a little less enthused than we were at the start.
The familiar stuttering beats of The Movement's "Jump!" got us up out of all chairs immediately, doing as we were told though we barely lasted a couple of minutes before collapsing back into our chairs, sweaty, thirsty, and gasping for breath while our hips, knees, and ankles throbbed in pain. This track was and is the real deal, a dance floor Drill Sargent-led song with easy to follow commands "Jump!" "Jump!". After a brief cooldown session out back in the pool, we returned to find the CD still playing the fifth of seven mixes which just happens to be our favorite: the seven minute plus workout known as the Hot Tracks Extended Extended Mix. We turned the volume up and just nodded our heads until it was over.
"Everybody Screeeeeeeeeeam! Feel Good!" Our daughter was five years old in 1992 and she loved to sing along to this Top 40 song so I bought the CD single to have in the car for rides to and from school as she started first grade. Eventually, the song grew on me as well and I was surprised as anyone to hear it transformed into a chorale on the Romeo & Juliet soundtrack a few years later. Then the song underwent another transformation and emerged on the radio again as "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)" after that and the lyrics (originally written by Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich) seem wiser as the years march on, the Sun continues its daily peekaboo game and wrinkles reveal themselves daily as we walk by the mirror.
We love the art for The S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M.'s cover of Bill Wither's wonderful "Lovely Day" though we have no idea why they chose the longer title. The song, one of four cover versions included on The Bodyguard soundtrack and the only single released from the album not sung by Whitney Houston, is our favorite of the bunch. We had no idea there was a music video until we found this one on YouTube. As much as we dig this tune, we skipped the other seven mixes on this nearly hour-long "single".
The samples of Kate Bush from her song "Cloudbusting" are what hooked us on the Utah Saints and their "Something Good" back in 1992. The music is nearly as relentlessly urgent as that of "Jump!" but more melodic than harsh and not nearly as dominated by drum machines though the duo would give the song a reworking in 2008, complete with this running man music video.

Two iconic themes from our youth
given the techno treatment in 1992
We have been super fans of Speed Racer in this house since way, way back (LOVE the Mammoth Car!) and picked up the cassingle of this without hearing it first. The many samples from the show, including sound effects and the theme song by Danny Davis & The Nashville Brass, throughout both the Club Mix and Radio Edit made this an instant hit with the kids. Which lead us on a quest to find episodes of the series to share with them as well. The Hardcore version features the many grunts and groans of Speed and his lady-love Trixie edited in a very suggestive way. Later bought Speed as a CD single and went as a family to take in the 2008 film.
We've probably seen more episodes of Sesame Street than any other show ever and are not ashamed to admit we watched the occasional episode up through high school and into college and we continued watching along with each of our kids as they came along as well. Needless to say, the show's theme is deeply embedded within our brains so when we saw this sitting in CD single section of the music store, we picked it up hoping it was what it indeed turned out to be - a techno version of the show's theme song complete with samples of the original. Our CD has five versions of the song while the one above only has three versions though it does have the original Oscar the Grouch smoking a suspicious cigarette cover art that some folks find absolutely fascinating. During the last relocation of the Hideaway Archives, two discs were accidentally smooshed and cracked; "Sesame's Treet" was one of those discs.

1 comment:

  1. Has it been 25 years? That seems like half a lifetime ago.

    I was unfamiliar with Sesame's Treet, but Dr. Smooth hipped me to the Maynard Ferguson version of that theme: https://open.spotify.com/track/4JkQknCVFtNPiNJteh7CiX