Monday, May 8, 2017

"A Girl in Trouble (Is a Temporary Thing)" by Romeo Void

Song#:  2034
Date:  09/01/1984
Debut:  80
Peak:  35
Weeks:  13
Genre:  New Wave

Pop Bits:  This San Francisco band, featuring Debora Iyall on lead vocals, got started in February 1979. Their post-punk sound quickly gained them an audience and by 1981 they had released an indie LP titled It's a Condition. The well-received album and the band's live shows got the attention of several popular musicians including Ric Ocasek of The Cars. Ocasek offered to produce some tracks for the band and later in '81 the EP Never Say Never was issued. This led to a deal with Columbia Records and the band's first major label album Benefactor. The popular title track from Never Say Never was included on the LP and got issued as its first single. It made an impression at Dance (#17) and Rock (#27), while the video made waves on MTV. The results were encouraging and Columbia called for another album. The band came up with Instincts and this first single led the way. Boosted by a popular MTV video, the song did well at Dance (#11) and Rock (#17). It also became their first song to chart at Pop where it broke into the Top 40. The album also sold well getting to #68. It set them up for even better success, but soon things unraveled and the band decided to call it quits in 1985.

ReduxReview:  For some reason at the time this song didn't stand out to me. I thought the title was intriguing (which was inspired by Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean"), but the tune seemed dull to me and lacked a solid hook. I got more familiar with it years later via an 80s compilation. It's a subtlety powerful song that was sometimes overshadowed by the popular "Never Say Never." It's a solid song and it's too bad the band wasn't give a chance to capitalize on the hit. 

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Apparently, a headline in a local magazine was the inspiration for the band's name. The cover featured an article titled "Why single women can't get laid in San Francisco." Somehow, this led to them thinking about the lack of romance and that turned into Romeo Void.  2) The music business is full of unfortunate stories where the labels basically pull the rug out from under an artist for one reason or another. Apparently, this happened to Romeo Void and it brought an end to the band. Everything was going great for them in '84. They were on tour and this single had become a hit. Most any label would be pleased with what was happening, but according to Iyall, via the band's manager, the label reps were not all that thrilled. Apparently, the reps had issues with Iyall's appearance, in particular her weight. With MTV becoming more important, image was a key factor and the label didn't necessarily think Iyall fit in. This became apparent when the label demanded that another, prettier girl appear in the video for this song. The band went along with everything, but it seemed that the label still wasn't satisfied. Without notice, the label pulled all PR, interviews, etc. from the band mid-tour despite the hit song and good-selling album. Soon they were just dropped. Whether this was all due to Iyall's appearance or if there were also other issues at play is not fully known, but it certainly was odd to dump a band that was doing well and breaking through on the charts.


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