Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Mexican Radio by Wall of Voodoo

A big part of the earliest synthpop scene in the late 70s and early 80s (and, to be fair, beyond as well) was the prevalence of novelty one-hit wonders.  One such outfit was Wall of Voodoo, who had a strange hybrid style of making spaghetti western-style songs with synthesizers (and more traditional pop/rock instruments too.)  They have, for example, an odd cover of "Ring of Fire".  They're mostly known for "Mexican Radio" of course, which came out in 1983.  Although L.A. based, the song was a bigger hit in much of the rest of the world than in the US, but it got some pretty decent coverage on early MTV, because that was the format that they most often covered in their early days.

Of course, in 1983 I was only 11 years old, and I lived in a relatively small town that had country and top 40 and oldies stations (at least, those were the only radio stations I remember from that long ago.)  We didn't have cable in 1983--wouldn't for a few more years yet--so I couldn't have watched MTV when it was heavy in its New Wave stage even if I had wanted to.  I mostly discovered Wall of Voodoo some ten years (or maybe even more) after the fact on 80s compilations.  Which, at least, were fairly common in the early to mid-90s.  Which I find to be an encouraging sign; while record company execs were sure that we had all "moved on" to Grunge and Neo Punk like Green Day, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Collective Soul, etc. in reality there was a big demand for 80s style music.  And if we couldn't get 80s style music, then there was a big demand for actual 80s music, even of (maybe even especially of) the New Wave electronic type stuff.

Eh, I dunno.  Maybe I'm reaching.  It's certainly a moot point now, in the days of itunes, Amazon mp3 downloads and label-less artists.

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