4/9/18

THE 1983 HIDEAWAY 200: The 12"s (Part One)

The first of at least four posts devoted to my favorite twelve-inch singles of 1983 is a spotlight on five promo-only singles; those wonderful sounding but hard to come by tracks exclusive to radio stations back in the day. For those of you playing along at home, this is part three overall of the 1983 Hideaway 200. (After several frustrating attempts to scan my own vinyl, I used the scans below from my fellow Discogs users. Sharing is caring.)
It may come as something of a surprise to you my dear readers but I have just a few colored vinyl albums and singles on-shelf here in The Hideaway's HERChives. The sweet blue vinyl promo only 1983 release of The Fixx's "One Thing Leads To Another" is NOT one of those; my copy is of the black vinyl in a plain white sleeve variety. Working at Arby's back in August 1983, I recall hearing the extended version of "One Thing Leads To Another" played during the Friday and Saturday night mix shows on local radio and being frustrated when I went to record stores to buy it and was told it was only available on the pricey imported UK twelve-inch single, which was always sold out so it didn't matter anyway. But then one day in 1996 at PDQ, I found this US promo for $8 ($10?) with the word RARE written on the price tag and, after thinking for maybe a whole ten seconds, bought it and hurried home to listen. (I had already picked up the 8:00 Special Remix Version <as it's listed> on Oglio's Hit That Perfect Beat! Vol. 2 CD shortly after its release in 1995 but I still felt strangely and deeply compelled to pick it up on vinyl because I had been frustratingly unsuccessful in my earlier quest.) The blue vinyl pressing is a beauty (based on the scans I've seen, at least) and it is my favorite shade of blue as well but I just can't see paying more than $10 for it, ya know? But who can say if I ever saw it in person that my hardline budget wouldn't go flying out the window and I'd hand over all my saved up allowance? "One Thing Leads To Another" was a number 2 hit on the Rock chart and number 4 on the Pop chart.
It seems like I wrote about this unique edit just the other day. Or maybe I was actually having a face to face with someone about it. Remember those? (It was actually back in October 2017, sheesh.) Red Rider was one of the first new-to-me acts I heard on the radio after we moved from Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base here in Tucson in 1981. That first song was "Lunatic Fringe" and it is still a favorite today. The band's follow-up single was "Human Race" from their 1983 album Neruda, one of my favorite albums. The song was the third track on Side One, following the instrumental "Light In The Tunnel" and "Power (Strength In Numbers)" but someone had the nifty idea to graft the mourning instrumental to the steady driving beat of "Human Race" for the video and the label sent out promo only twelve-inch records with the Special Video Version to AOR stations. Once again, I seem to recall the local rock stations (KWFM and KLPX) playing this sounds-like-it-was-meant-to-be edit and initially being thwarted in my attempts to acquire the record though I eventually did. On the CD front, the "Light In The Tunnel/Human Race" (Special Video Version) appeared on Neruda when it was released on compact disc in 1987, as one of three bonus tracks, including "Lunatic Fringe", which had been enjoying renewed interest after being included on the soundtrack for the 1985 film, Vision Quest. "Human Race" peaked at number 11 on the Rock chart.
For me, the 1983 album Uh-Huh! is John Mellencamp's second best album, with a trifecta of hits opening the album and then, on Side Two, the buried treasure of another triple play in "Play Guitar", "Serious Business" and "Lovin' Mother Fo Ya". The first of those three down and dirty rockers, "Play Guitar" sums up in the simplest, most relatable way possible the sole reason many boys pick up a guitar. I didn't hear "Play Guitar" on the radio nearly enough when it was released but thanks to the rewind button on my girlfriend's Alpine deck, I heard it plenty and that's the thing: there is a "bad" word in the song and a special, edited version was sent out to radio stations to keep the airwaves "clean" though the same word in a slightly different form or context was easily heard in Pink Floyd's "Money" which was played as is. "Play Guitar" wasn't a critical must-have like the first two singles mentioned above and I almost never listen to it but I'm glad to have it on the shelf. "Play Guitar" surprisingly only made it to number 28 on the Rock chart. Don't think he made a music video for this one.
Our first remix (and 45RPM twelve-inch) of the day is Planet P's "Why Me? (Dance Remix)", courtesy of Fran├žois Kevorkian and John Potoker. It was a promo-only twelve-inch single that took me years to find but it was well worth it as the remix is a great listen, with sounds coming at you from all angles while still retaining the new wave, space rock edge of the original. (My love of Tony Carey's work is on the record HERE.) Shortly after this record was added to the collection, a special CD version of the album was released on Renassaince  Records, featuring four bonus tracks, including both sides of this promo-only single. "Why Me?" was a number four hit on the Rock chart and stalled at number 64 on the Pop chart.
The way I remember it is after seeing the film,  National Lampoon's Vacation, the barely half-hour long soundtrack album was nowhere to be found so my record-collecting and mixtape mixing friends and I broadened our search to find this song on 45. So then it was every man for himself with the glory going to whoever found the song first. Mike scored a copy of the soundtrack album but it turned out to be warped and none of us could get it to play without skipping. Chris found a 45 but it had a scratch on it, giving an annoying click when we tried to record it for a mixtape. Then I found this promo-only twelve-inch in the Just Arrived (New Arrivals?) bin at Al Bum's and took it home for $3. Looked clean, no smudges anywhere to be found and it played (and plays) like a dream. Scored my first CD with the track in Words & Music with Lindsey Buckingham in 1992 but I believe the interview parts bled over onto the beginning and possibly the ending of the song. (But I sold my copy and cannot verify that.) Take that home tapers! My second CD with the track is Time-Life's A Hollywood Christmas, which I picked up for $5 at CVS as a cut-out. As you would have hoped, the song resurfaced in the pointless and dreadful Vacation remake in 2015 and ended up on the soundtrack album along with two covers of the song though, if haven't heard them, you ain't missing a thing. "Holiday Road" only managed to make it to number 82 on the Pop chart. <sad trombone sound>
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