Monday, February 6, 2012

"Do You Want to Hold Me" - by Bow Wow Wow - February 5th 80's Quest Band/Song of the Day

I was really bummed when I noticed that I would be due to write about one of my all-time favorite bands of the 1980’s on the same day the Superbowl was being played!  That meant that everyone would be distracted and not even notice.  But I am late with 80’s Quest, so it turns out that didn’t happen after all – Yay!  Because the band for Sunday February 5th is an English pop band by the name of Bow Wow Wow, and I absolutely loved them!
The video I posted for “Do You Want to Hold Me” was my first intro to the band.  MTV played the video, but not very often at all.  I happened to catch it and loved the drums, the insouciance, and the fashionable punky look of its mowhawked lead singer, Annabella Lwin and was hooked.  They were just a pop band, but they did GOOD pop, as far as I’m concerned.  They were a little different than other bands because they used an African Burundi drumming style in their songs that made their songs really infectious.  Many of their lyrics were also very risqué or tongue-in-cheek sexy…and you know that I liked bands that were sexy back in the 1980’s.  So put Bow Wow Wow in the sexy band file.  I also thought Matthew Ashman was really cute with his mowhawk, and that Annabella Lwin looked so cool with hers, and in her great outfits!
Since I didn’t hear Bow Wow Wow played all that much on the radio or MTV, whenever I went down to Boston I would stop in at the record store Nuggets and pick up all of the Bow Wow Wow records that I could.  I think I ended up with every 12-inch, EP, and import there was for this band.  Curiously, they were also the only band of this era that my parents did not mind (but I still liked them anyway!).  I would notoriously get yelled at on a regular basis to “turn down that music!” whenever I played an album in the house.  Whenever I played Bow Wow Wow, my parents never asked me to turn them down, though.  They liked them, and even asked who was playing.  I think the drums hooked them too.  I wanted to have my hair like Annabella Lwin, but of course they were not going to let that happen!
Malcolm McLaren, the infamous former manager of The Sex Pistols was looking to promote a new band, and promote his then-girlfriend Vivienne Westwood’s  clothing line of punk and S&M inspired clothing that they sold at their 430 King’s Road (London) shop which was first called Sex and later renamed Seditionaries and then World’s End.  McLaren was known for promoting his bands through staging wild publicity stunts that got people’s attention.
McLaren was approached by Adam Ant to manage Adam and the Ants following their debut album.  In 1980 McLaren persuaded 3 members of Adam Ant’s band:  Leigh Gorman, Matthew Ashman, and David Barbarossa to become the instrumentalists for his new band.  McLaren continued to manage Adam Ant and found him new band members.  He also began a 6-month long search for the singer of his new band.  An acquaintance of McLaren’s discovered 13-year old Burmese teenager Myint Myint Aye working part-time at a dry cleaner in North London and singing along with the songs on the radio.  She auditioned and was given the lead singer position of the new band which would be called Bow Wow Wow.  She was also given a new name, Annabella Lwin.  Originally Boy George (then known as Lieutenant Lush) was considered as a second lead singer for the band, but McLaren decided against it.
Bow Wow Wow’s first single “C30, C60, C90, Go” referred to the different types of cassette tapes (30 minutes, 60 minute, and 90 minute) that the band encouraged people to use to tape music off the radio and television, rather than buying them at a record store.  Needless to say, their record company EMI did not support this idea, and refused to promote the song.  EMI dropped the band after releasing their second single “W.O.R.K” and the band signed with RCA Records and had their first UK Top 10 hit with “Go Wild in the Country” in early 1982.
Controversy soon followed.  An album cover shoot made to recreate the famous Edouard Manet masterpiece, Dejeuner Sur L’herbe (Luncheon on the Grass) featured a naked 14-year-old Annabella Lwin.  Her mother exploded and alleged that McLaren was exploiting a minor for immoral purposes and got Scotland Yard to investigate.  Lwin was almost made to quit Bow Wow Wow.  The band was only allowed to leave the UK if Lwin was not promoted in a sexual manner, yet the picture was used on the cover of the band’s 1982 EP The Last of the Mohicans which was released in the United States and .  Many of Bow Wow Wow’s songs were also overtly sexual, for example “The Mile High Club” was about having sex in an airplane, “Louis Quatorze” was about a king seducing a 14-year old girl, “Sexy Eiffel Towers” was a series of excited sexual moans and squeals, and in “Aphrodisiac” they yelled to “take your clothes off this a hijack!”
The band had numerous hits in the UK.  In the United States they were most popular for the cover of The Strangeloves’ 1965 hit “I Want Candy” and 1983’s “Do You Want to Hold Me” off their last album When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going.  The band toured the United States relentlessly and by the end tensions were high and many were suffering from illness and exhaustion.  I suspect that Lwin’s young age and the restrictions that brought with it must have been difficult for her older band members to take.  In September 1983 the men ousted Lwin from the band and started a new group called The Chiefs of Relief.  Lwin embarked on a solo career and released the album Fever 1in 1986 and later formed a band called Naked Experience.
Since the split, Matthew Ashman died in 1995 at age 35 from complications of diabetes.  McLaren died in 2010 of peritoneal mesothelioma at age 64.  David Barbarossa (sometimes called David Barbe) continued making music and wrote a novel called “We Were Looking Up”. Leigh Gorman continued to perform and became a successful record producer and composed music for films and advertising. Lwin continues to sing and perform.
Lwin and Gorman reunited and went on a 1997-1998 Bow Wow Wow tour.  In 2006 the Bow Wow Wow songs “Aphrodisiac”, “I Want Candy” and “Fools Rush In” were used in the soundtrack of film director Sofia Coppola’s movie Marie Antoinette starring Kirsten Dunst. Many other bands were admirers of Bow Wow Wow including No Doubt and the Red Hot Chili Peppers as witnessed in the lyrics for their song “Suck My Kiss” when Anthony Kiedis sings “Swimming in the sound of Bow Wow Wow”.  Their former guitarist John Frusciante claimed that Matthew Ashman was an influence on his work and even used a Gretsch White Falcon which is the same kind of guitar Ashman also used.

I found so many great youtube clips on Bow Wow Wow, I could go on and on and on with what I found.  But here are a bunch more for you to chew on:

1.)  This clip shows Bow Wow Wow performing "Go Wild in the Country", and at the beginning you can see the album cover with a naked Annabella that caused such a stir!

3.)  This video shows what I feel is the insouciance of the band, their attitude, and smoking during an interview on some European televison program.  They perform their song "Man Mountain"

4.)  The original video (pre-sexy) for "C30 C60 C90 Go!"  Love this song!

5.)  An intereview with Annabella Lwin on some 80's show called Videowave in July 1983 (complete with a broken air conditioner in the studio and a sweaty Annabella Lwin).

6.) A good one of "Do You Wanna Hold Me" (Live) - you can see that Gretsch White Falcon guitar that Ashman played and that John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers was enamored of.

2)  This one is great! Bow Wow Wow playing New York 1981 and doing "Elimination Dancing" & "Radio G-String"


Children, I want to warn ya, 'cause I've been to California
Where Mickey Mouse is such a demon, where Mickey Mouse is as big as a house
Life is wasted on illusions, Tom and Jerry's my solution
Evil gangs will cut the demons, but I belong some real boy, look around
And I cry all night, do you want to hold me, hold me tight
Do you want to hold me, oh yeah, do you want to hold me, hold me there
Children, you got to hand me, you just got to understand me
Love and death ain't no physical thing
'cause making next ain't no one of 'em
And I cry all night, do you want to hold me, hold me tight
Do you want to hold me, oh yeah, do you want to hold me, hold me there
Do you want to
And I cry all night, do you want to hold me, hold me tight
Do you want to hold me, oh yeah, do you want to hold me, hold me there
And I cry all night, there ain't no more confusion in the night
There's someone there to tell me what is right
Do you want to hold me, hold me tight
And I cry all night, there's only one solution to this life
There's someone there to tell me what it's like
Do you want to hold me, oh yeah, do you want to hold me, oh yeah
Do you want to hold me, hold me there
Do you want to hold me, oh yeah
Do you want to hold me, oh yeah

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