Bands Of The 80’s: The Psychedelic Furs

The Psychedelic Furs, referred to as “The Furs” by 80’s music fans, is an English band founded in 1977 with roots in the British post funk scene.  The “Furs” gained international attention when they provided the title song for the 1988 John Hughes directed film “Pretty in Pink” starring Molly Ringwald, James Spader, and Andrew McCarthy.  The film also starred the young Jon Cryer, from todays Two And A Half Men, cast as Duckie.  The song Pretty In Pink was actually re-recorded from an original Furs album called “Talk, Talk, Talk” produced in 1981.  Rumor has it that the original meaning behind The Furs “Pretty In Pink” was referring to the attractive skin tone of a naked female and not the puffy pink prom dress Molly wore in the movie.   To view video of The Furs with scenes from the movie access this link….   PrettyInPink

Prior to calling themselves the Pyschedelic Furs, they called themselves RKO which consisted of brothers Richard (vocals) and Tim Butler (bass), Duncan Kilburn (sax), Roger Morris (guitar) and Paul Wilson (drums).  Some of the band members left over time, some new ones joined, but the Butler brothers stuck with The Furs and still headline the band today.  I had the opportunity recently to see the Furs at the House of Blues in Houston.  I was unsure of what to expect.  Sometimes you see bands that have been around a long time or are trying to make a comeback, and you sort of feel sorry for them.  Not the case with The Furs.  Frontman Richard Butler still has the unique vocal talent and was a powerful presence on the stage, and the joy he was feeling was written all over his face.  The band sounded great as well.  The crowd was really into the show and sang many of the songs played, especially Heartbreak (HeartbreakVideo) and Love My Way (LoveMyWay Soundtrack).   My favorite Furs song is Ghost in You  (ghostinyouSoundtrack) .  Butler sang it with the soft tone the song deserves and did not “over sing” the vocals, but rather told a story.   Overall it was a great experience, shared with the Wifee and a dear friend, Chris.   If you have the opportunity to see The Furs, I highly recommend it.

Some of the early “Furs” – Tim Butler (bass) in middle & Richard Butler (vocals) on the right

The following is a listing of albums released by The Furs:

  • The Psychedelic Furs – 1980
  • Talk, Talk, Talk – 1981 (contains the original version of Pretty In Pink)
  • Forever Now – 1982 (contains the hit Love My Way which was produced tby Todd Rundgren in Woodstock N.Y.)
  • Mirror Moves – 1984 (contains my favorite “Ghost In You”)
  • Midnight To Midnight – 1987 (contains “Heartbreak Beat”)
  • Book Of Days – 1989
  • World Outside – 1991

Recent photo of The Furs.  (Blog-002)

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Bands Of The 80’s: The Thompson Twins

If you have watched the 80’s classic “Sixteen Candles” , starring brat pack queeen Molly Ringwald, you have heard the music of the Thompson Twins.  The movie soundtrack contained “If You Were Here”  by the Twins, appropriately played as Samantha Baker (molly’s character) exists the church after her sisters wedding, only to find her dream boy “Jake” waiting for her, leaning against his red porsche.  Don’t know about you, but my high school ride was a yellow 1971 VW Bug. Not exactly a chick magnet.  Those were the days.  Back to music…..the Thompson Twins provided us with some great dance tunes during the decade and were one of the more popular groups.  They reached the U.S. Top Ten with songs “Hold Me Now”, Lay Your Hands On Me”, and “King For A Day”.   The Thompson twins were neither a duo nor were they related. Founding member Tom Bailey was attending college in Cheshire, England when he founded the band with three other male musicians.  Eventually, Bailey added his girlfriend Alannah Currie and Joe Leeway to the band and released its first album “In The Name Of Love”.  The album did not perform well and the band was trimmed to a trio of Leeway, Bailey, and Currie (from left to right on album cover below).

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The Thompson Twins had their American commercial breakthrough in 1984 with the song “Hold Me Now” from their album “Into The Gap”, probably their most recognizable song.  It actually was a bigger hit in the U.S. than in the U.K., peaking at number three; it reached number four in England.   See Hold Me Now Video Here.

Into the Gap also featured the hits “Doctor Doctor” and “You Take Me Up,”.  The Thompson Twins quickly released the album “Here’s To Future Days” in 1985, featuring the hit “Lay Your Hands on Me” , which became an American Top Ten hit, as did “King for a Day”.  Leeway decided to leave the group in 1986, and the Thompson Twins remained a duo, releasing the album ” Close to the Bone” the following year.  In 1988, Bailey and Currie made their romance public when the couple had a child.  That same year, they released the remix album The Best of Thompson Twins: Greatest Mixes.

Tom and Alannah married in the US in 1991 and the following year moved to New Zealand with their two children.  In 1993, The Thompson Twins disbanded, but Tom and Alannah formed a new group called Babble and released two acclaimed albums – “The Stone” in 1993 and “Ether” in 1996.  In the mid-1990s, Alannah gave up the music industry and focused her attention on “Mothers Against Genetic Engineering in Food and the Environment”, an organization she founded after her sister died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.  In 1999, Tom produced and played keyboards on the hit album “Mix” by the New Zealand band Stellar, and won the “producer of the year” award for this at the New Zealand equivalent of the Grammys.  He has also been involved in the film industry by arranging soundtracks and providing instrumental music on several films.  Unfortunately, Tom and Alannah split up in 2003.  Last report I have is that they both live in England.   Their relationship did not last, but we will have their music forever.   (blog-001).

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