A Better Song

Since I posted an annoying song, here’s a good one.  A women’s prison riot, two-gun Mathilde, and a, um, suggestive arrival of State Troopers.  What, I ask, is not to love here?

Word

A recent letter to the WSJ in response to a Theranos story:

I am a former biotech analyst. Several years ago, the chairman of a client company told me he had seen an interview with Elizabeth Holmes and thought she was terrific and his company would be interested in working with her. He wanted to know what I thought.

Here is what I did: I went to the Theranos website and looked at the management and board of directors. I immediately noticed two red flags: First, the lack of relevant experience in the CEO’s bio, and second, the board appeared to be decorated with famous names unrelated to Theranos’s business.

Next, I called the company and introduced myself to the person who answered the phone. I explained the reason for my call and that I would like to speak to Ms. Holmes or leave her a message. I was told that there was no mechanism by which I could do that or anyone else with whom I could speak. Red flag No. 3.

It took me 10 minutes and cost my client zero dollars. Any life-sciences analyst would have done exactly the same thing and undoubtedly reached a similar conclusion. No rocket science here. So pardon my skepticism at senior members of corporations testifying as to how much money they spent on due diligence. Perhaps it’s time for their shareholders to make a change.

Elizabeth Silverman

Prism Biomedical Research

New York

Moe Tucker Doc

I came across this somewhat recent documentary on Mo Tucker, and it’s really interesting to see how her playing evolved and the weird kit configurations she used. Fortunately, it makes no mention of her late life conversion to kook.

Essential Summertime Listening

Whilst we round the bases on the 40th anniversary of the release of Beauty and the Beat (July 8, 1981), please enjoy a song I’ve always associated with summer. As you guys may or may not know, “Our Lips Are Sealed” was cowritten with Terry Hall from Fun Boy Three, and they have a version as well. Regarding the video itself, Wikipedia says …

The official music video for the song features sequences of the band members in carefree tableaux (riding around LA in a 1960 Buick convertible, stopping at a lingerie shop, and splashing around in a fountain) interspersed with footage of the band playing a club booking.

Jane Wiedlin says the band was initially unenthusiastic when Miles Copeland, president of their label, I.R.S. Records, told them they would be doing the video. “We were totally bratty”, she recalls. The video was financed with unused funds from a The Police’s video budget.

The concept was simple. The band would drive around the streets in a convertible car and be followed by a camera. Belinda Carlisle would sing, and the other members would do cute things, The ride would be intercalated with some scenes of the band performing the song at a club.

They wanted an older-style convertible, and found a red 1960 Buick LeSabre at Rent-a-Wreck.

After riding around some streets in Beverly Hills, at some point, they stop at the famous Trashy Lingerie store located at La Cienega Blvd. The girls get into the shop, excepting Wiedlin, who remains in the car doing the solo part of the song (Belinda can be seen in the driver’s seat trying to hide).

The day of shooting was very hot -says Wiedlin- so it was the band’s idea to end the video by jumping into the Electric Fountain on the corner of Wilshire Blvd. and Santa Monica Blvd. “I thought, at any minute the cops are gonna come. This is gonna be so cool.”

Wiedlin looks back on the video experience fondly. “I have horrible ’80s poodle hair in [it]”, she recalled in a 2011 history of MTV. “But there’s a simplicity and innocence to the video that appeals to me.” In one sequence, Belinda Carlisle can be seen trying to hide; she later admitted this was deliberate, as she thought the whole idea of a music video was ridiculous and unlikely to catch on.

Here’s the Fun Boy Three version, which I don’t associate with anything.

Edison What?

This stupid, irresistibly catchy song by a band with a very uncatchy name is a perfect example of the kind of vacuous, boneheaded bubblegum pop that dominated AM radio in the late 60’s/early 70’s.  It’s a song I never would have admitted  liking back then.  The band looks about as interesting as their name, so the video required plenty of gyrating dancing girls to maintain any visual interest.  At first I thought that explained the singer’s goofy grin.  Clearly he was expecting a cut from casting couch proceeds.  But closer inspection reveals that the dancing girls were spliced in from elsewhere.  Oh well, I guess one-hit wonders only cash in so far.

Here are the Replacements assassinating it:

Happy Birthday Lola

 

”I wanted an intro similar to what we used on “Dedicated Follower Of Fashion”, which was two Fender acoustic guitars and Dave’s electric guitar; so I went down to Shaftesbury Avenue and bought a Martin guitar, and this National guitar that I got for £80, then double-tracked the Martin, and double-tracked the National – that’s what got that sound.”

 

I leave it to our designated Kinksman to comment on all things Lola vs Powerman and Moneygoround, but I enjoyed the 50th birthday article here.

The subject matter sailed over the heads of the BBC censors, who only balked at the lyrical mention of Coca-Cola, which violated its rule about commercial insertions. In reaction, Davies subbed in “cherry cola” on an alternate version.

While gay references had cropped up in pop songs before, “‘Lola’ was the first big hit with an L.G.B.T. theme,” said JD Doyle, a music historian who ran the authoritative radio show “Queer Music Heritage.” “‘Lola’ made history.”

According to Davies, “Lola” encouraged other songwriters to explore related territory. “Before he passed away, Lou Reed told me that ‘Lola’ was a big influence on him,” he said. “It was reassuring to him when he did ‘Walk on the Wild Side.’”