Monday, September 12, 2016

"Each Word's a Beat of My Heart" by Mink DeVille

Song#:  1785
Date:  02/11/1984
Debut:  95
Peak:  89
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Although the name sounds like a person, it is actually a rock band headed up by Willy DeVille (real name Billy Borsey). Initially known as Billy de Sade and the Marquis, they change to Mink DeVille in 1975 and soon became one of the house bands at the famous CBGB's in New York. They were a popular attraction at the club and by 1977 they had signed with Capital and issued a debut album titled Cabretta (the US version was self-titled). The album was well-received by critics, but it failed to catch on and peaked in the lower half of the Top 200 Albums chart. Their next three albums would suffer the same fate, however some European countries hooked into the band and the albums sold well. By 1983, Mink DeVille just consisted of Willy DeVille and some other musicians that filled out the band. They had also moved over to Atlantic Records who, for the new album Where Angels Fear to Tread, replaced DeVille's long time producer Jack Nitzsche with their own team. At first, the new recording seemed to be headed in the right direction when this single became DeVille's first to reach the Pop chart. But it disappeared quickly as did the album. The "band" would put out one more album on Polydor, but it failed to click. Willy DeVille continued on as a solo artist and issued several albums for different labels over the years, but like before, he remained off the grid in the US while doing well overseas. DeVille died in 2009 of pancreatic cancer.

ReduxReview:  I love the opening of this song. It then goes into a groove that is like a happier version of "Every Breath You Take." It has shades of Elvis Costello as well. It's a subtle song that hooked me after a couple of listens. Mink DeVille is one of those artists that I've wanted to explore. Their first albums are often considered rock classics. I'm pretty sure this song is more commercial and tamer than their earlier material, which usually turns off a lot of critics/fans, but I like it. Seems like now might be a good time to finally dig into this band. I can already tell you that the song "Maybe Tomorrow" from their 1981 album Coup De Grace is pretty great. Check it out.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  DeVille's most recognizable song is not this lone chart entry, but one that ended up in a movie. For his first solo album in 1987 title Miracle, DeVille worked with producer Mark Knopfler (of Dire Straits). Around the same time they were working on the album, Knopfler was also involved with the soundtrack to an upcoming film. A song DeVille had written for the album struck Knopfler as something that would be perfect for the movie. After they got it recorded, the song was submitted to the director, Rob Reiner. He loved the tune and DeVille's song "Storybook Love" became the love theme to Reiner's film The Princess Bride. The song got the attention of the Academy and DeVille ended up with an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song. He would perform the tune on the show as well. DeVille ended up losing the award to the #1 hit from Dirty Dancing, "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes.


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