Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"Wild Wild West" by The Escape Club - April 3rd 80's Quest Song/Band of the Day

This song reminds me of two things:
  1. Going down to Tijuana, Mexico circa 1988 and dancing to this song in the clubs down there.
  2. One of my dear friends (since we were 11-years old).  She rarely had the courage to get up and dance in front of people, but this song always got her moving.
Again, this was one of those songs that hit in 1988 when I was an exchange-student in San Diego, California. I remember I bought the cassingle (cassette single) of this song there. Remember cassingles? Once I returned to New Hampshire in December at semester’s end, it went through a whole other cycle of popularity as it hit in New England.
The Escape Club were a pop band from London, England formed in 1983 consisting of members Trevor Steel (lead singer/rhythm guitar), John Holliday (guitar), Johnnie Christo (bass), and Milan Zekavica (drums). Steel, Holliday and Christo played together in a band called Mad Shadows. When their drummer left, Zekavica came on board from his previous band, Espressos. When they started playing out, they decided to change the band name to The Escape Club. They released a single called "Breathing" on a small independent label, but it did not take off. The band’s live shows were being received favorably and as the band grew more popular EMI Records took notice and signed them. The Escape club released their first album, White Fields in 1987. They went on tour as the opening band for China Crisis and the Alarm, but their album still did not take off commercially. The band decided to re-enter the studio and take a more dance-based approach to their music. EMI rejected the record, but Atlantic Records was interested.
In 1987 the band moved to Atlantic Records where they released their breakthrough album, Wild Wild West in the Summer of 1988. The first single was also called "Wild Wild West". It hit #1 in the U.S. before the band even set foot on American soil. The video for the song was in heavy rotation on MTV. In the U.K. the video was banned for being too sexist in offensive; however. Which I find pretty surprising, as it is usually the other way around! Stuff usually gets banned in the more puritanical America, and played just about everywhere else without incident. I guess this song was the exception, and in fact, The Escape Club is the only British band to have a #1 hit in the United States, while not charting in the U.K. at all. A couple other singles were released from this album, "Shake for the Sheik" (which got to #28) and "Walking Through Walls (#81).
The Escape Club contributed a cover of The Doors song "20th Century Fox" for a compilation for an American television show. The album was called The Wonder Years: Music From the Emmy Award-Winning Show & It’s Era.
In 1990 the band went into the studio to record their next album, Dollars & Sex. It was released in March 1991, but the lead single "Call It Poison" failed to make the U.S. Top 40. They tried again with a second single "I’ll Be There", a song written in memoriam of a friend of the band’s wife who had died which resonated with listeners experiencing losses of their own. The song became their second Top Ten hit reaching #8 on the Billboard Charts. Faced with heavy debts, the band members drifted apart. The band never officially broke up, but by 1992 the members had drifted so far apart it was mutually agreed upon that they were no longer a band.
Christo and Zekavica pursued other projects. Steel and Holliday (who were the core songwriting team for the band) continued to work together and wrote, produced, and remixed for artists including Sting, and the Baha Men. They also started a new collaboration of their own electronica pop-music called


Forty-seven dead beats living in the back street
North east west south all in the same house
Sitting in a back room waiting for the big boom
I'm in a bedroom waiting for my baby

She's so mean but I don't care
I love her eyes and her wild wild hair
Dance to the beat that we love best
Heading for the nineties
Living in the wild wild west
The wild wild west

Mandy's in the backroom handing out Valium
Sheriff's on the airwaves talking to the D.J.'s
Forty-seven heartbeats beating like a drum
Got to live it up live it up
Ronnie's got a new gun


Now put your flags in the air and march them up and down
You can live it up live it up all over the town
And turn to the left, turn to the right
I don't care as long as she comes tonight


Heading for the nineties living in the eighties
Screaming in a back room waiting for the big boom
Give me give me wild west
Give me give me safe sex
Give me love give me love
Give me time to live it up


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