Wednesday, August 12, 2015

"Escalator of Life" by Robert Hazard

Song#:  1363
Date:  03/05/1983
Debut:  83
Peak:  58
Weeks:  9
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Musician Hazard (real name Robert Rimato) played around his hometown of Philadelphia for many years before developing his band The Heroes. They had a strong set of songs, five of which appeared on an EP that they recorded. Things started to fall in place for the band when Rolling Stone writer Kurt Loder saw them perform one night. Loder wrote a little article on the band that appeared in the magazine and it wasn't long before the record companies started to knock on Hazard's door. He answered the call from RCA, who took the band's EP and remixed it for release. This song was issued as the first single and it did well enough to get near the halfway point of the chart. A follow-up song didn't fare as well, but it was enough for RCA to flip the bill for a full album.  "Wings of Fire" got released in 1984, but unfortunately the album flopped and Hazard's time at RCA came to an end. Hazard continued to perform and record up until the time he passed away in 2008 following surgery for pancreatic cancer. Although his solo career never fully took flight, he will always be remembered for one specific song (see below).

ReduxReview:  I became aware of this song thanks to an 80s compilation. Hazard kind of sounds like the American version of Peter Murphy (Bauhaus). He has one of those deep, dark voices that is very distinctive. It adds a bit of menace to his songs. I like the lyrics to this one and the first part of the chorus that includes "we're shopping in the human mall" reminds me of that scene in "Dawn of the Dead" when the zombies are on the escalator. I can't say this song should have done much better than it did, but I like it. Hearing this tune though makes it a little difficult to believe he wrote the hit mentioned below. But his original version is kind of cool and it works for him.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Hazard is responsible for one of the biggest hits of the 80s. While sitting in a bathtub in a hotel room, Hazard ended up writing "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." Told from a male perspective, he added the song to his set list and recorded a demo version in 1979. Another Philly band, The Hooters, ended up getting involved with the debut album of newcomer Cyndi Lauper thanks to her producer (and their friend) Rick Chertoff. The Philly connection seemed to bring "Girls" to Lauper's attention and with Hazard's participation, the lyrics were modified to reflect a woman's point of view. Lauper's version would be her debut single. It would go on to become a #2 platinum record and a classic of the decade. Hazard's more rock-oriented original can be heard via YouTube.


No comments:

Post a Comment