Hidden Gems On My MP3 Player: The Payola$
I know, it's been a while, and I'll do some more music based posts from now on. In the meantime I have to confess that I love this track! I think I first heard it when I saw Valley Girl for the first time and from that moment on I couldn't get enough of it, along with other tracks in the film such as Melt With You, Johnny Are You Queer? and the brilliant Million Miles Away by the Plimsouls. All of which I'll be covering in due time.
With an opening that goes as such;
Can I touch you to see if you're real?
Cause in nothing there's something I feel,
Will my heart take the strain?
Or will it break down again?
The Payola$ exploded out of the traps into everyone's heart as they watched Nicholas Cage lusting after Deborah Foreman. Truth be known Cage wasn't the only one lusting after the perky Debbie.
It got better.
Have I been sleeping for all these years?
Is it magic that makes you appear?
When you walked in the room,
I felt my heart race
But you acted rude when I looked at your face
Pure poetry. Well, it's considered poetry when you're fifteen years old and yearning for an unreachable girl on the movie screen.
The Payola$ hailed from Canada and really were one-hit wonders* for the most part. I'd not heard anything from them beforehand, or since, and once I began to locate music I bought a few singles and the odd album. Not a good idea - this was their best track and if you want to hear it properly then play it in the dead of night. It's a brilliant track for mood and atmosphere. Still, for a band that fall into the 'almost were' category they weren't all bad, and guitarist Bob Rock certainly kept his ears, and options open and became the heavy metal producer of choice. Rock is responsible for producing albums by Metallica, Bon Jovi, Areosmith, The Cult, Cher, Motley Crue, David Lee Roth, some of which were pretty darn good and some of which would earn him the death penalty in some countries, so he's certainly not starving for a Payola$ reunion. Which actually happened - back in 2003. What? You didn't see it? Shame!
What stunned me about this video is something I never really noticed until the other night when I downloaded and watched it. That's not the late actor David Graf there, moonlighting, but you could be forgiven for thinking as much. It's lead singer Paul Hyde! Now I'm waiting to see the interview where Graf is quoted as saying, "Yeah, you know, I signed for the Police Academy films, read the script and couldn't get a handle on the character. Then I saw The payola$ and suddenly there he was before me - Eugene Tackleberry!" Please, someone tell me that interview exists.
Think I'm kidding? Look at the above photo of the Payola$ on stage from 1981 and look at this photo of Graf in the first Police Academy flick (that's him in the middle for the one person out there who's never suffered through any of those films). Separated at birth? You decide. Even the video has Hyde in full Tackleberry mode, wide eyes, curly hair and just being a general maniac. Now if you visit the Payola$ site then don't expect much. It's virtually devoid of any activity whatsoever, even the promised download doesn't exist. Which is a shame as I'd love to hear what they sound like now.
* Ok, allow me to finally define what a 'One Hit Wonder' actually is. By my own ruling, and this should be across the board, a 'One Hit Wonder' is exactly that - an artist or band who had one entry into the top ten on a chart. It's great if it goes to number one but the follow-up release has to die the death. It doesn't matter how long the band exists for, hell, even Led Zeppelin are 'One Hit Wonders' because they only ever had one #1 single.
This criteria rules a band like Dexy's Midnight Runners out of contention. Why? While their most famous song Come On Eileen did indeed hit the upper ends of the charts, other releases, Jackie Wilson Said, Geno (which went number #1 in the UK) and There, There, My Dear, also went top ten. On the other side of the fence Men Without Hats are indeed 'One Hit Wonders', as Safety Dance is their only real claim to fame. So next time some idiot DJ somewhere spins a tune and says it's a 'One Hit Wonder', tell them to check their facts and get it right.