Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sex Mechanics From Planet Xanadu

A blog I’ve recently started following, TYWKIWDBI (“Things You Wouldn’t Know If We Didn’t Blog Intermittently” ) put up a post on “Tall Paul,” a 1959 Annette Funicello song that was the first rock and roll single by a solo female singer to make it on the top ten charts. It’s… bizarre. It hardly seems to qualify at rock and roll, by the standards of today or even the standards of pop culture just a few years after the song was released. The blogger makes a valid point about this strangeness: “It’s axiomatic that tastes in music and art change with time, but sometimes the degree of change within the span of one lifetime is so extreme that the mind reels.” I was rolling that thought around in my head when I watched the following video.

It’s the Dutch band Mistral, performing its 1978 song “Neon City” on German TV. Having thought about it quite a bit, I honestly can’t decide if this is a “Tall Paul” or not. Does it, in fact, demonstrate how far music has come from what at least what a few Europeans thought would sound hot so many years ago? Or is it even stranger yet because it’s not all that far off from what certain pop genres are doing today, if not in terms of sound then at least presentation? Would I bat an eye at all if someone like Jessie J or Ke$ha wore these exact outfits on stage, maybe to dress up a more modern but equally vapid, equally terrible song? No. I might wince, but I would nothing about my facial reaction would indicate that this was strange.

I suppose I should also note that Mistral’s first single — “Nectar,” whose album art alone is worth a few seconds of consideration — has aged much better and in fact sounds quite a bit like early Goldfrapp.

Either way, I suppose the mind reels.

Now That’s What Europe Called Music, previously:


  1. Anonymous7:36 PM

    Neon Shitty, more like.

  2. Neon City was a comeback project of 'Shocking Blue' founder/composer Robbie van Leeuwen. Before, he wrote the world hit 'Venus' for instance. Trivia: years later some boyband called Nirvana covered his Shocking Blue hit 'Love Buzz'.

    - Dutch singer, guitarist and songwriter Robbie van Leeuwen was born in The Hague, Holland on October 29 in 1944. In 1967 van Leeuwen formed the rock group Shocking Blue; he had previously been a member of the well-known Dutch rock band the Motions. Shocking Blue scored a massive international smash with "Venus" in 1970; this song was written by van Leeuwen and boasts an infectiously bouncy guitar riff by him as well. Shocking Blue went on to enjoy a steady succession of hit songs, all written by Robbie. Exhausted by extensive touring and the pressure of being the sole songwriter for the band, van Leeuwen eventually left Shocking Blue in 1973.
    - He returned to the Dutch music scene in the mid 70s with the folk-jazz group Galaxy-Lin witch had a giant hit with 'Long hot summer'. Moreover, Robbie produced such solo singles as "Too Young" and "Loving You" for former Shocking Blue lead singer Mariska Veres.
    - After that had a hit songs with the studio outfit Mistral, who broke up in the early 80s.
    - Nowadays Robbie van Leeuwen is 68 years old and creates art objects.