Thursday, March 31, 2016

"Suddenly Last Summer" by The Motels

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  1597
Date:  09/03/1983
Debut:  60
Peak:  9
Weeks:  20
Genre:  Synthpop, Rock

Pop Bits:  This band's third album, the Val Garay ("Bette Davis Eyes") produced All Four One, proved to be their breakthrough with the single "Only the Lonely" hitting #9 (#6 Rock). By the time they were ready to record their follow-up album, Garay had expanded his role to becoming their manager. He would also direct the video for this first single that reached #1 on the Rock chart. The song slowly made its way to #9 becoming their second (and final) Pop Top 10. The tune would also reach #18 at AC. The hit helped their album, Little Robbers, reach #22. It would become their second gold LP.

ReduxReview:  I was already on the Val Garay bandwagon at this point. I loved his production style and what he did on recordings by Kim Carnes and The Motels. And then this song came out. I absolutely loved how this song sounded. The churning arrangement was mysterious and ominous with little touches of light showing through the cracks. And that distinct keyboard decent melted away the passing hot days of summer (along with what seemed to be her sanity). Paired with Martha Davis' vulnerable vocals, the song sent chills down my spine. It turned me into a mega fan of both The Motels and Garay. The album didn't disappoint either and is one of my favorites of the 80s. Although this song is not quite an absolute classic like "Only the Lonely," it comes damn close.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  Playwright and author Tennessee Williams passed away in February of 1983. At the time, The Motels were beginning to record their new album. Williams' death most likely put a spotlight on his works such as The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. But a smaller one-act Off-Broadway work may have inspired the title of this song. Suddenly, Last Summer debuted in 1957 and a year later was adapted into a film starring Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift. It tells the story of a woman (Taylor) who is being haunted by memories of her cousin's death (Clift). The man's mother (Katharine Hepburn) threatens the woman to keep secret the details of her son's life and his gruesome death. Although the song's writer, The Motels' lead singer Martha Davis, didn't base her lyrics on the plot, the work's title may have helped to inspire her reflection on life and the passing of summers.


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